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Intermittent Fasting, Is Right For You?

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Almost everyone can benefit from intermittent fasting (IF), which—as its name implies—means alternating between periods of eating and not eating for various amounts of time. “Fasting is the oldest dietary intervention in the world,” writes Dr. Jason Fung in The Complete Guide to Fasting. “Because it differs from conventional dieting in so many important ways, fasting carries many distinct advantages.”

Among them, fasting is simple, free, convenient, effective, and allows you to enjoy life’s occasional indulgences. You can do IF on almost any plan, whether you’re vegan or paleo, and it gives your overworked digestive system a much-needed break.

IF challenges conventional health theories: Many practitioners skip breakfast, don’t count calories and go long hours—sometimes days—without eating. They think when you eat may be just as important as what you eat. And it gets results. Intermittent fasting’s numerous benefits include weight loss and chronic disease management.

At the same time, no one plan works for everyone, and that includes IF. Even Fung notes certain people shouldn’t do IF, including pregnant or breastfeeding women, underage people, and malnourished folks. He advises others like people with type 1 diabetes to proceed cautiously with fasting. While you can usually work with a credentialed health care expert and modify fasting to your condition, I’ve found people with these five issues should think twice about, and—in one case—absolutely avoid intermittent fasting:

1. You have gallstone disease.

When you fast, your gallbladder doesn’t release bile. As your liver continues to deliver bile, it becomes concentrated. Breaking you’re fast means your gallbladder could forcefully release sludge or small stones from that buildup that could get stuck in the bile duct. If you have gallbladder issues, proceed cautiously with IF. One study showed that among people with gallstone disease, a long overnight fast increased hospitalization risk.

2. You have an eating disorder.

Here’s my one big thumbs-down for fasting. A systematic review of IF’s potential harms mentioned eating disorders, and writer Emily T. Troscianko asked whether IF is “A Fast Route to Disordered Eating?” in an intriguing Psychology Today essay. If you have bulimia or otherwise struggle with other psychological eating disorders IF could exacerbate those problems. An eating disorder is one condition with which you absolutely should not do fasting. Rather, always work with your doctor when struggling with any sort of disorder.

3. You have adrenal fatigue.

Fasting can keep your stress hormone cortisol ramped up, stressing your already-overworked adrenals. One study with 16 young, healthy female volunteers who fasted for 48 hours had elevated cortisol levels, suggesting fasting could create additional stress. You’re probably not going to fast that long, but beware if you have adrenal fatigue or your adrenals are already overworked from chronic stress—fasting could make your condition worse.

4. Your thyroid is shot.

Your thyroid performs many functions, including balancing energy, body temperature, and emotions. When this tiny gland isn’t working correctly, numerous problems can result. Triiodothyronine (T3) is your active thyroid hormone. Studies show fasting decreases T3, so if you have mild to moderate hypothyroidism, you might want to reconsider intermittent fasting.

5. You’re sick.

Your body needs a steady supply of nutrients if you’re ill, and if you’re not eating you can’t get them. IF could also create physiological or metabolic stress: the last things you want to create when you’ve got a cold, flu, or another virus. At the very least, I recommend bone broth and a nutrient-dense protein shake or green drink to meet those nutrient requirements.

If you don’t fall into those conditions and want to try IF, start out slowly. Have a big dinner, close up the kitchen for the night, and then have breakfast as late as possible the following morning. That creates about a 12-hour or longer fasting window—most of it while you’re sleeping—that helps your body dip into those fat stores. Gradually increase that fasting time, but if you feel nauseous or otherwise unwell, please eat something. Don’t risk your health!

Source http://www.mindbodygreen.com

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Health & Fitness

5 Moves to Target the Lower Abs

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It’s no secret that not all exercises that target the lower abs are created equal; some are more effective than others. For anyone that’s wanting to target the lower abs, it can be very frustrating, to say the least. However, targeting and strengthening the lower abs is possible. The trick is finding the best moves for you to build muscle and flatten or chisel the stomach the way you desire.

Also: Why the Glute Bridge Is Great for After an Abs Workout

Move 1: Rolling Plank
The plank in itself is a great move for the stomach area as a whole. However, this rolling plank works the entire core including the lower abdominal. It will also build strength in the lower back.

Here’s how to do it. Start in a plank position with the body making a straight line from feet to shoulders. Rotate the body to a right side plank and hold for about 10 to 15 seconds. Then repeat on the left side. 10 reps are recommended, 5 on each side.

Move 2: Hanging Leg Raise
Deep muscles are worked during this move as well as the lower back and abdominal area. The only equipment necessary is a chin-up bar. Simply hang from the bar with the feet together and knees bent slightly. Bend the knees and raise the hips at the same time and lift the thighs up to the chest. Pause then lower back to the start position. Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps each.

Move 3: Roll Up
The classic roll-up still can’t be beaten when it comes to the best move to build muscle in the lower tummy. Lay flat on your back, arms stretched straight above the head. Slowly bring them straight up, and raise off the floor to touch the toes. Slowly lower back down. Do 3 sets, 10 reps each.

Move 4: Leg Drop
Lift both legs to the ceiling. Make the abdominals tight then lower the legs slowly until they are a few inches above the floor. When the lower back starts lifting you’ve gone too far. Then raise them back up, and repeat. Do 10 reps and 3 sets.

Move 5: Scissors
Lift both legs straight to the ceiling. Lower the right leg until it’s just a bit off the floor, then switch legs. Do the move quickly with no breaks. Complete 3 sets of 10 reps each. For added benefits lift the head and shoulders off the floor.

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The importance of eating a diet high in alkaline foods and water

Alkaline for the Body

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I am sure that many of you have been told of the importance of eating a diet high in alkaline foods and water. What is not as often mentioned is just how alkaline foods and water work to ensure optimal health.

Also: How can I Stay Motivated when it comes to Home Exercise?

To begin with, the consumption of an alkaline diet regulates the body’s PH factor. The body’s PH is measured on a scale from 0 to 14. When the body’s PH is kept at just above 7.0 a variety of bodily functions work more efficiently. The resulting health benefits are both numerous and of great importance.

– A diet high in alkaline foods and water is an excellent buffer against cardiovascular disease. Alkaline diets are great for reducing inflammation, the result of this is often the lowering of both cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

– A diet high in alkaline foods and water lowers the chronic pain effects for a variety of ailments. Another benefit of an alkaline diet’s inflammation lowering qualities is a great reduction in chronic pain symptoms. Alkaline foods and water can provide significant relief for chronic sufferers of chronic back pain, headaches, muscle spasms, and joint pain.

– A diet high in alkaline foods and water provides protection of bone density. Alkaline diets provide excellent mineral balance which facilitates bone growth and health. In addition, alkaline diets promote the production of growth hormone and the absorption of Vitamin D which provides further protection for bones.

– A diet high in alkaline foods and water reduces the risk of cancer. Alkaline diets provide an abundance of antioxidant protection against cancer. Also, alkaline environments are not conducive to the growth of cancer cells.

– A diet high in alkaline foods and water prevents the development of diabetes. The pancreas is a bodily organ provided with the task of regulating the body’s blood sugar. The pancreas is dependent on an alkaline environment to function properly. One study, focusing on the effects of alkaline water on blood sugar, showed that just a month of drinking alkaline water can bring the blood sugar of diabetics to a normal level.

The health benefits of eating a diet high in alkaline foods and water cannot be understated. I am sure that after reading just a few of these benefits you will agree that making a conscious effort to incorporate alkaline foods and water into your diet is well worth the effort.

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Prevent Muscle Loss During Fasted Cardio with BCAA Supplements

BCAAs to Start Your Day

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Photo by Nicole De Khors

One of the most popular forms of extreme fat loss is fasted cardio. Usually done in the morning, this exercise method consists of working out the body anaerobically on an empty stomach, as opposed to full of calories from prior meals. The benefit of fasted cardio all lies in the specific targeting of fat reserves. More specifically, after eating a large meal, insulin levels are raised within the body. As cortisol levels are very high in the morning, they will target muscle cells with the increase in insulin. However, during a fasted state, those high cortisol levels in the morning can be utilized to target fat reserves as opposed to the muscle as the insulin levels will be greatly diminished during that fasting time. As explained by Men’s Fitness, “if you are fasted, insulin is low and cortisol will then go after body fat reserves”.

Also: Increasing Longevity Through Better Nutrition

For those looking to optimize their fat loss while still maintaining all of their hard-earned muscle, fasted exercise is not the only part of the equation. A healthy amount of Branch Chain Amino Acid’s to start your day will help to maintain all of that muscle that has taken so many dedicated hours in the gym to pack on. BCAA are essentially the very building blocks of muscles themselves. According to Layne Norton, experienced bodybuilder, and Ph.D., “BCAAs not only increase the rate of protein synthesis, but they also increase the cell’s capacity for protein synthesis”. So not only can this aminos help to you to maintain your muscles, it can also provide your muscles with a greater capacity for growth by targeting the actual muscle cells. But within a fasted state in the morning, we are primarily concerned with the rate of protein breakdown that may occur. Lucky for us, BCAA supplements can answer for this too. BCAA’s are also very capable of decreasing the rate at which protein breaks down. As explained again by Dr. Layne Norton, this can be explained by the aminos “decreasing the activity of the components of the protein breakdown pathway”.

In short, starting your days with a BCAA supplement is a great way to ensure that your muscle gains are not lost during fasted exercise. BCAA’s are one of the most well-researched supplements on the market and therefore finding a wealth of knowledge on them is not difficult. A simple search engine will guide you through a host of well documented and researched information. Additionally, these supplements are easy to find at any local supplement store or more simply online.

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