Intermittent fasting, also known as IF, has become a popular method for getting lean and losing weight. It’s also said to boost energy levels, increase motivation and stamina, and improve cognitive function. It may even protect against cancer (1).
Those benefits don’t sound too shabby, do they?
While intermittent fasting does seem to offer some promising health benefits, it may not be for everyone — especially depending on whether you’re male or female. And as it stands now, there’s more research being done on intermittent fasting for rats than for humans.
It seems that whether or not intermittent fasting will work for you comes down to human biology. While shorter periods of fasting are generally considered safe for most people, some of the extended fasting times associated with intermittent fasting can be disastrous for a woman’s hormones — causing things such as reproductive issues and early menopause — and may worsen other pre-existing health conditions.
Before we get into the details, let’s look closer at what intermittent fasting is, how it works, and the pros and cons of this eating trend for women.
What is Intermittent Fasting and How Does it Work?Intermittent fasting may sound a bit technical, but you’ve probably done it before without even realizing it. First, it helps to know the difference between the fasted state and fed state.
The Fasted State vs. Fed StateWhen you eat every few hours, you’re in a “fed” state, which is when your body is busy digesting, absorbing, and assimilating the nutrients from your meals. Accelerated fat burning isn’t the #1 priority here. Most of us remain in the fed state during the day, aside from when we’re sleeping.
The reason why intermittent fasting can provide certain benefits for weight loss is because it allows your body to enter the fasted state, which is when your body’s fat burning can really accelerate.
How Intermittent Fasting Works
Intermittent fasting simply means you go a period of time without eating, usually between 12 to 48 hours. This length of time is known as your fasting window, during which time you only consume liquids, such as water, herbal tea, or broth.
Some experts recommend drinking low-calorie green vegetable juices and taking supplements while fasting to help keep vitamin and mineral intake consistent, while others believe only water should be consumed. Like many topics in the health realm, the rules around intermittent fasting are subjective, depending on who you ask.
If you fast for less than 24 hours, you’ll also have an eating window. This is the time allotted for meals before you begin your fast. For most people practicing intermittent fasting, their eating window is between six to 12 hours. The most common fasting times are 12,14,16, and 18 hours.
For example, if you were to do a 12-hour fast, your eating window would be 12 hours. You could start your eating window at 7am and end at 7pm. You would break the fast the next day at 7am.
Although some of the intermittent fasting methods online seem more intense than others (some can last upwards of 48 hours), the beauty of intermittent fasting is that you get to choose and experiment with how long you fast. This not only allows you to determine how intermittent fasting can fit in within your lifestyle, but to discover the fasting sweet spot that helps you feel best physically.
Pros and Cons of Intermittent Fasting for Women (And Why it Can Be Tricky)Some of the benefits of intermittent fasting may include:
When the female body senses it’s headed towards famine, it will increase the production of the hunger hormones, ghrelin and leptin, which signal to the body that you’re hungry and need to eat (2). Additionally, if there’s not enough food for you to survive, your body is going to shutdown the system that would allow you to create another human. This is the body’s natural way of protecting a potential pregnancy, even if you’re not actually pregnant or trying to conceive.
It’s not that you’re intentionally imposing a famine upon yourself — but your body doesn’t know that. It doesn’t know the difference between true starvation and intermittent fasting, which is why it defaults to this protective mechanism.
Therefore, some of the cons due to hormonal imbalances brought on by intermittent fasting may also lead to:
With all of these drawbacks, you may be wondering: could you (and would you still want to) practice intermittent fasting as a female? If you take a more relaxed approach, the answer is yes. When done within a briefer timeframe, intermittent fasting can still help you reach your weight loss goals and provide the other health benefits previously mentioned, without messing up your hormones.
The Best Intermittent Fasting Methods for Women
So, what exactly is a relaxed approach to intermittent fasting? Again, since there’s little research done on intermittent fasting, we’re dealing with a bit of a gray area. The opinions also tend to vary depending on which site you visit, or which health expert you ask. From what we’ve found, the general guidelines to brief intermittent fasting for women are:
Do not fast for longer than 24 hours at a time
Ideally fast for 12 to 16 hours
Do not fast on consecutive days during your first two to three weeks of fasting (for instance, if you do a 16-hour fast, do it three days a week instead of seven)
Drink plenty of fluids (bone broth, herbal tea, water) during your fast
Only do light exercise on fasting days, such as yoga, walking, jogging, and gentle stretching
Options for Intermittent FastingThere are several different intermittent fasting methods discussed online. Here are a few of the most popular ones.
When Should You Avoid Intermittent Fasting?Intermittent fasting isn’t a good fit for everyone. You shouldn’t consider intermittent fasting if you are:
Final Thoughts on Intermittent Fasting for WomenIntermittent fasting may work amazingly well for some people, and terribly for others. Most importantly, if you do decide to give intermittent fasting a try, be sure to listen to your body’s feedback. Easing into intermittent fasting by starting with shorter fasting windows can help with initial symptoms of hunger and discomfort. But if it becomes too uncomfortable, be honest with yourself, accept it, and move on.
At the end of the day, nothing can have a greater impact on your health than a diet rich in real, whole foods, and a lifestyle that prioritizes your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
When you compare grass-fed beef to grain-fed beef, it may just seem like beef with a higher price tag. After all, does it really matter what the cow was fed throughout its lifetime?
When it comes to your health, the short answer is yes.
Not only are there key nutritional differences between grass-fed and grain-fed beef, but there are also differences in the safety of the meat (not to mention the taste). There’s even a significant difference between grass-fed and grass-finished. Let’s take a closer look at how grass-fed beef, grain-fed beef, and grass-finished beef are different, and why this matters to your health.
The old adage, “you are what you eat” also applies to what the foods you eat once ate.
In other words, the beef you’re eating can only be as nutritious as what the cow was fed. Before we get into the differences in nutrient composition of grass-fed beef and grass-finished beef versus grain-fed beef, it’s important to first understand the different diets each type of cattle are raised on.
For the first 6 months or so, all cows start out with a similar diet: their mother’s milk and the greenery in their environment. Once they’re weaned off milk, grass-fed and grass-finished cows — also known as “pasture raised” cows — will continue to roam green fields, where they’ll enjoy chowing down on lush plants, shrubs, and the occasional bug for the remainder of their lives.
Since grass and plants can provide all of the nutrients a healthy cow needs, the result is highly nutritious beef. In fact, research shows that grass-fed cows are higher in conjugated linolenic acid (CLA), a fatty acid that’s been shown to have anti-carcinogenic effects and promote fat loss. They also contain 2 to 4 times more omega 3 essential fatty acids than grain-fed cows, which is important because we get far less omega 3 fatty acids in our diets today than what our bodies actually need (1)(2)(3).
Omega 3’s — which are found in unprocessed oils, wild fish, grass-fed beef, and nuts and seeds — play a critical role in hormonal health, cognitive function, growth and development, healthy skin, and keeping the body’s anti-inflammatory response in check.
Animals that are fed green grass also store more vitamin A in their livers (4). This explains why grass-fed beef is higher in beta carotene — the precursor to vitamin A. Grass-fed beef is also shown to be richer in vitamin E, B vitamins, magnesium, and potassium.
Now, let’s move on to how grain-fed cows are raised, and how a grain-fed diet alters the nutrient composition of the beef you eat.
How Grain-Fed Cows And Grass-Fed Are Raised
Grain-fed cows — also known as “conventionally raised” cows — are moved to a feedlot once they’re weaned from their mother’s milk at approximately 8 months. It’s in these lots that they’re fed grains, corn, and soy to fatten them up and produce a higher yield of beef. The cattle are also confined in very small spaces— not even enough space to move, which puts the animal under distress.
High stress levels can also lead to fatter animals. This is because cortisol is a fat storage hormone that’s part of the ‘fight or flight’, or stress response. Since the cow has been removed from its natural environment and experienced a dramatic change in living conditions and diet, there will undoubtedly be a certain level of stress endured by the cow, which results in elevated cortisol levels. When cortisol levels are consistently elevated, the body is more likely to store fat as a protective mechanism (5).
Alternatively, when grass-fed cows graze in fields, they’re getting exercise, which naturally results in leaner beef, as well as an animal that’s not stressed out.
Now, this isn’t all to say that grain-fed beef doesn’t have nutritional value. It still contains several essential nutrients, such as protein, B vitamins, iron, and zinc. But in addition to being lower in minerals, CLA, and promoting a poor omega 3:6 ratio, grain-fed beef also contains 4 times more saturated fat per 3 ounce serving.
The Difference Between Grass-fed Beef and Grass-finished Beef You Should Know AboutThere’s a major difference between grass-fed and grass-finished cows that many people don’t know about. Grass-fed beef is marketed as the healthiest choice for meat, but the term ‘grass-fed’ is unregulated, and accompanied by a major grey area.
You see, the term grass-fed doesn’t necessarily mean the cow was fed a grass diet their entire lives. It means they were started on a grass-fed diet, and may have been fed grains for the remainder of their lives, which is actually grass-fed, grain-finished beef.
In other words, as long as the cow was fed greenery at one point in its life, it can be labelled as grass-fed beef.
On the other hand, grass-finished beef means the cow was fed grass — and nothing but grass and plants — for the duration of its life. So while grass-fed cows will still contain omega 3 essential fatty acids, CLA, and other beneficial nutrients, grass-finished beef is ultimately the most nutrient dense beef you can buy, and ideally what to look for when you purchase beef.
Food SafetyAre Growth Hormones Safe or Not?There’s one other ingredient that goes into the feed of grain-fed cows: hormones. Synthetic estrogen, testosterone and growth hormones are another way to help cows grow 15% larger, faster.
Going back to our first point, “you are what you eat”, when we eat beef that has been treated with hormones, we’re also ingesting those hormones. While there’s limited research to show the impact that synthetic hormones — specifically sourced from grain-fed meat — have on our health, it may not be ideal for those who are already susceptible to certain cancers or are suffering from hormonal imbalances to be ingesting them (6)(7).
A large percentage of grain-fed cattle are treated with hormones. However, it’s possible to find hormone-free conventionally raised beef. Grass-fed beef are generally not exposed to hormones in their lifetime.
Antibiotics: 30 Million Pounds Used in Livestock
Think it’s common for Americans to take antibiotics? Some sources suggest over 70% of the antibiotics in the US are given to animals. In fact, over 30 million pounds of antibiotics were given to American livestock in 2011.
The danger of consuming antibiotics through meat is becoming more prevalent, as antibiotic use in livestock has recently been discovered as a leading cause of the rise in antimicrobial-resistant infections — leading to antibiotic resistance and increased mortality rates (8).
There’s no pretty way to say this: the feedlots grain-fed cows live in aren’t a sanitary environment. In fact, the ground the cattle stands on is basically a mix of bacteria, mud, dirt, and feces. These living conditions make the cows more susceptible to illness and disease, which is why they’re commonly treated with antibiotics.
While there’s no guarantee that a grass-fed cow won’t get sick and need a round of antibiotics in their lifetime, the living conditions of a pasture are far less of a threat to the cow’s health than a feedlot. That’s not to mention the greater amount of immune-boosting nutrients in a grass-fed diet versus a grain-fed diet — in which case, fewer (if any) antibiotics should be needed.
The difference in taste between grass-fed beef and grain-fed beef is up for debate.
Some argue that grass-fed beef tastes, well, grassier — while grain-fed beef has a richer taste because it’s higher in saturated fat. Others don’t notice a difference at all.
As you can see, all types of beef do contain nutrients that benefit your health. However, if we were to rank grass-fed versus grain-fed versus grass-finished in order of health benefits, grass-finished would be the most nutrient-dense choice, followed by grass-fed, and grain-fed.
Autoimmune diseases are increasingly common. About 50 million Americans are suffering from a least one kind. (1)If you have an autoimmune disease, it means that your body is basically attacking itself. Your immune system goes into overdrive and sees everything as a threat. Trying to protect you from this perceived danger, it starts fighting and attacking its own tissues and cells, mistaking them as hazards. This can lead to pain, discomfort, and all kinds of issues depending on the autoimmune condition you have.
There are many kinds of autoimmune diseases, including Celiac disease, Hashimoto’s disease, Graves’ disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel diseases.
Despite the wide range of different autoimmune diseases though, they all tend to have the same kinds of triggers. (2) If you avoid these common triggers, you can avoid flare-ups and reduce your symptoms.
5 Autoimmune Triggers You Can Avoid
There’s nothing worse than finding yourself in that midday slump, feeling sluggish, and struggling to stay alert.
Luckily, we have an Energy Solution designed specifically to help you keep your energy levels up no matter what your day has in store. The next time you find yourself unable to keep your eyes open, here are a few strategies to help you fight fatigue – naturally.
Supplement With Adaptogens Daily
Like worry or fear, stress can leave you mentally and physically exhausted. Even low levels of chronic stress can erode energy levels over time, leaving you feeling less motivated to do daily activities (1).
With an onslaught of stressors coming your way each day the need for a defense is evident. Getting a daily dose of adaptogens like those found in RENUVO, can help your body more readily mitigate stress to minimize its harmful effects and give you the boost you need (2,3).
This may be the most common coping mechanism for fighting fatigue due to its accessibility and instant affect. While there is nothing inherently wrong with caffeine, the large doses, synthetic ingredients, creamers, and added calories that come with it can be a problem.
Instead of grabbing an energy drink or sweetened coffee, choose LiftOff or Green Tea. They provide a moderate, effective dose of natural caffeine without any of the junk or added calories.
Choose the Right Snack
If done right, snacking can be an effective tool to keep your blood sugar stable while helping to fend off an energy crash. Studies have shown that when you are low on energy you are more likely to choose a more sugar-, salt-, or fat-laden snack (4).
In these times of need, having a nutritious snack on hand or in mind can help you stay on track, and help you refuel to get through your day. Choose snacks that provide at least a moderate amount of protein, healthy fats, and/or fiber. Protein Bites are a nutritious and tasty alternative that will leave you feeling satisfied while providing a steady flow of energy.
Did you know that it is easy to sometimes confuse signals of hunger with thirst? Thirst can masquerade as fatigue and negatively impact your mood (5). Even slight dehydration can leave you feeling tired and lethargic.
Making sure you are properly hydrated is key. Having a naturally sweetened sports drink such as Energy Go Stix on hand can help you keep your hydration and electrolyte levels in check while also providing a little boost of energy through the small amount of easily digestible carbohydrates it supplies.
Go for a Walk
Taking a break to go on a brisk walk can not only curb hunger cravings, but also help you feel more alert. One study showed that in comparison to eating a sugary snack, participants reported feeling more alert up to two hours later after taking a 10-minute walk. After incorporating daily walks for three weeks, participants reported an increase in overall energy levels and mood (6).
Take a Power Nap
Napping may not always possible with a busy lifestyle. But if you have the opportunity, take one! Studies have shown that they are an effective tool to restore brain power. A power nap that is less than 30 minutes during the day promotes wakefulness and learning ability (7, 8). For an even bigger boost in energy, try drinking a cup of coffee before you fall asleep. The caffeine isn’t likely to affect your nap because it’s not absorbed quickly enough, but by the time you wake back up you’ll feel its energizing effects.
Plan Ahead With a Good Sleep
Quality sleep is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. Just one poor night’s sleep can wreak havoc on all areas of your life – your waistline, mood, performance, and of course your energy levels the next day. There are many different strategies to enhance your sleep, but supplementing with a melatonin product like SleepRite AMJ can be one of the most effective. Sleep Support and Renewal can help you fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up without the drowsy feelings that accompany most sleep aides.
With our help along with a few simple tricks you can finally conquer your midday slump for good.
Finding the time to sit back and enjoy a book is almost impossible for entrepreneurs. But it's critical that you find the time to read. After all, reading can boost our brainpower, help us relax, and make us more empathetic. I personally find that when I read I am much more aware of good ideas, am able to set more goals, and become a better leader to those around me.
With the new year rapidly approaching, one of your goals should be to take the time to read in 2016. And, here 16 books to help you get started on achieving that goal. As a bonus, you now have an answer when someone asks you what you would like for the holidays!
1. The Startup Playbook: Secrets of the Fastest-Growing Startups From Their Founding Entrepreneurs, by David KidderHave you ever wondered how companies like LinkedIn, PayPal, and AOL got off the ground and became household names? David Kidder, a New York Times best-selling author and serial entrepreneur, sat down with 40 founders to get an inside look at how their businesses were able to succeed, as well as for advice on topics like leadership, how to inspire others, and persistence.
2. One Simple Idea, Revised and Expanded Edition: Turn Your Dreams Into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work, by Stephen KeyThroughout his career as an inventor, Stephen Key has licensed more than 20 simple ideas that have generated billions of dollars. Key has taken his experience and converted into this priceless book. Key takes readers through each step of launching a business, from an idea to cashing in on the idea, and presents it as a practical, real-world guide.
3. As a Man Thinketh, by James AllenFirst published in 1902, this timeless masterpiece by British philosophical writer James Allen has inspired millions of people with pieces of wisdom like: "All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts." Even if you're already read this book, it definitely deserves another reading.
4. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, by Tony HsiehHow has Zappos been able to make more than $1 billion in gross merchandise sales year after year? For starters, it is the shining example of how to do outstanding customer service. Zappos also prides itself on focusing on a company culture that embraces happiness. Thanks to CEO Tony Hsieh, Zappos has become one of the most beloved companies around, both for customers and employees. In his first book, Hsieh explains how he built a culture of passion and happiness through his life experiences.
5. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, by Ed CatmullAs the co-founder and CEO of Pixar, Ed Catmull certainly knows a thing or two about innovation and creativity. Catmull shares how leaders can create, drive, and maintain a culture of innovation. This book is so valuable that Forbes has stated that it "just might be the best business book ever written."
6. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, by Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell, the author behind excellent books like The Tipping Point and Outliers, strikes again with another intriguing and fascinating book. This time around Gladwell argues that those with disadvantages are actually stronger and more prone to success than those who don't have to face an uphill battle. Gladwell uses examples like Richard Branson and Charles Schwab battling dyslexia to back up his claim.
7. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, by Stephen R. CoveyFirst published in 1989, this now-classic book examines how to succeed not only in business, but also as a leader and as a human being. Covey outlines a step-by-step guide in which you can learn how to become a better person both professionally and personally by solving problems.
8. Meditations, by Marcus AureliusIf you're looking to add balance to your hectic life as an entrepreneur, then this book, which is a collection of inspirational phrases from Stoic philosopher and Roman emperor Aurelius, is essential. One of my favorites piece of advice is "You have power over your mind--not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength."
9. The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick), by Seth GodinThis is another winning text from Seth Godin, author or Purple Cow and Tribes, that is easy to consume, but packed with valuable insights, like the fact that winners know when to quit by cutting their losses, regrouping, and changing direction. It's a good companion book for entrepreneurs asking whether it's worth the fight or not.
10. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, by Laura HillenbrandWhile this isn't a business book, the inspiring true story of Louie Zamperini can help us all understand the importance of personal sacrifice and perseverance. If Zamperini could overcome the insurmountable challenges he faced during World War II, then you can overcome the barriers holding you back.
11. Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think, by Peter Diamandis and Steven KotlerThese two best-selling authors teamed up for a feel-good and visionary book that explores why the future is going to great thanks to technology. Diamandis and Kotler maintain that technology is going to solve some of the most pressing global concerns, such as food, overpopulation, and health care. This will present an opportunity for innovative leaders to start a profitable company that can also change the world.
12. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, by Ashlee VanceJournalist Ashlee Vance spent years with Elon Musk and interviewed more than 300 individuals to completely grasp the drive and vision of one of the most important entrepreneurs in recent history. The biography, which examines Musk's journey from South Africa to launching companies like PayPal and Tesla, also gives us a closer look at the hardships of entrepreneurship, such as Musk's meltdown in 2008.
13. The 7 Day Startup: You Don't Learn Until You Launch, by Dan NorrisIf you're a first-time entrepreneur, then this book is a must-read, since it can be used as a guide if you're bootstrapping your startup. Written by Dan Norris, an entrepreneur who experienced failure for seven long years until he created WP Curve, this book can help you start bringing in cash in literally a week.
14. Mindsharing: The Art of Crowdsourcing Everything, by Lior ZorefAfter a decade at Microsoft as the VP or marketing for consumer and online services, Lior Zoref is now a crowd wisdom researcher. This book, his first, can assist us with learning how to use the power of crowds, such as connections on social media, to make smarter and more objective decisions.
15. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, by Timothy FerrissIt doesn't seem possible, but serial entrepreneur and best-selling author Timothy Ferriss may have discovered a shortcut to entrepreneurship. Pick your niche; use your experience to your advantage; test to find out what your audience needs help with; and then release a product that solves that pain point. After that, you can enjoy your life by working less.
16. The Virgin Way: If It's Not Fun, It's Not Worth Doing, by Richard BransonLike so many other entrepreneurs, I'm fascinated with Richard Branson. It's hard not to be drawn to his charisma, wisdom, and excitement. In his recent book, Branson describes why leaders should listen, be passionate, and have fun the "Virgin Way."
Special note: If you're like me and have a hard time finding time and focusing to read, download the audiobook and listen to it. I personally do this and listen while I go for walks and drive in my car. It helps me to learn while on the go.
Fish Oil is one of the most commonly consumed dietary supplements.
It's rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are very important for your health.
If you don't eat a lot of oily fish, taking a fish oil supplement could help you get enough omega-3 fatty acids.
Here is an evidence-based guide to fish oil supplements and their health benefits.
What Is Fish Oil and Why Should You Care?Fish oil is the fat or oil that's extracted from fish tissue.
It usually comes from oily fish such as herring, tuna, anchovies and mackerel. Yet sometimes it's produced from the livers of other fish, as is the case with cod liver oil.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends eating 1–2 portions of fish per week. This is because the omega-3 fatty acids in fish provide many health benefits, including helping protect against a number of diseases.
But if you don't eat 1–2 portions of fish per week, fish oil supplements can help you get enough omega-3s.
Around 30% of fish oil is made up of omega-3s, while the remaining 70% is made up of other fats. Also, unprocessed fish oil contains some vitamin A and D.
It's important to note that the types of omega-3s found in fish oil have greater health benefits than the omega-3s found in some plant sources.
The main omega-3s in fish oil are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), while the omega-3 in plant sources is mainly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
Although ALA is an important essential fatty acid, EPA and DHA have many more health benefits (1, 2).
Another reason it's important to get enough omega-3s is because the Western diet has replaced a lot of omega-3s with other fats like omega-6s. This distorted ratio of fatty acids may contribute to a number of Western lifestyle diseases (3, 4, 5, 6).
Below are 13 of the many health benefits of fish oil.
1. Fish Oil Can Be Good for Heart HealthHeart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide (7).
Studies have shown that people who eat a lot of fish have much lower rates of heart disease (8, 9, 10).
There are a number of risk factors for heart disease, and many of these appear to be reduced by fish or fish oil consumption.
The benefits of fish oil for heart health include:
BOTTOM LINE:Fish oil supplementation can help reduce some of the risks associated with heart disease. However, there is no clear evidence that it can prevent heart attacks or strokes.
2. Fish Oil May Help Treat Certain Mental Disorders
Your brain is made up of nearly 60% fat, and much of this fat is omega-3 fatty acids. Therefore, omega-3s are essential for normal brain function (27, 28).
In fact, some studies have shown that people with certain mental disorders have lower omega-3 blood levels (29, 30, 31).
Interestingly, studies have shown that fish oil supplementation can prevent the onset or improve the symptoms of some mental disorders. For example, it can reduce the risk of psychotic disorders in those who are at risk (32, 33).
In addition, supplementing with fish oil in high doses can reduce some symptoms of both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38).
BOTTOM LINE:Fish oil supplementation can improve the symptoms of certain psychiatric disorders. This effect may be a result of increasing omega-3 fatty acid intake.
3. Fish Oil Supplementation May Help Reduce Weight and Waist Circumference
Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30. Globally, about 39% of adults are overweight, while 13% are obese. The numbers are even higher in high-income countries like the US (39).
Obesity can significantly increase the risk of other diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer (40, 41, 42).
Fish oil supplementation may improve body composition and risk factors for heart disease in obese people (43, 44, 45).
Furthermore, some studies have shown that fish oil supplementation, in combination with diet or exercise, can help you lose weight (43, 46).
However, not all studies have found the same effect (47, 48).
One analysis of 21 studies found that fish oil supplementation didn't significantly reduce weight in obese individuals, but it did reduce waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio (49).
BOTTOM LINE:Fish oil supplementation can help reduce waist circumference. It may also help reduce weight gain when combined with other weight loss methods.
4. Fish Oil May Support Eye Health and Help Protect Vision in Old Age
Similarly to the brain, omega-3 fats make up an important part of the structure of the eye. Evidence has shown that people who don't get enough omega-3s have a greater risk of eye diseases (50, 51).
Furthermore, eye health begins to decline in old age, which can lead to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Eating fish seems to help prevent AMD, but the results on fish oil supplementation are less convincing (52, 53).
One study found that consuming a high dose of fish oil for four and a half months improved vision in all AMD patients. However, this was a very small study (54).
Two larger studies examined the combined effect of omega-3s and other nutrients on AMD. One study showed a positive effect, while the other showed no effect. Therefore, the results are unclear (55, 56).
BOTTOM LINE:Eating fish may help prevent eye diseases. However, it's unclear whether fish oil supplementation has this same effect.
5. Fish Oil May Reduce Inflammation and Symptoms of Inflammatory Disease
Inflammation is the immune system's way of fighting infection and treating injury to the body.
However, inflammation can sometimes occur at low levels over long periods.
This is called chronic inflammation. It can worsen certain chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, depression and heart disease (57, 58, 59).
In these instances, reducing inflammation can help treat symptoms of the disease.
Fish oil has anti-inflammatory properties and can help treat diseases that involve chronic inflammation (60).
For example, in stressed and obese individuals, fish oil can reduce the production and gene expression of inflammatory molecules called cytokines (61, 62).
Moreover, fish oil supplementation can significantly reduce joint pain, stiffness and medication needs in people with rheumatoid arthritis, a disease in which inflammation leads to painful joints (63, 64).
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is another disorder worsened by inflammation. However, currently there is no clear evidence on whether fish oil improves symptoms of IBD (65, 66).
BOTTOM LINE:Fish oil has strong anti-inflammatory effects and can help reduce symptoms of inflammatory diseases, especially rheumatoid arthritis.
6. Fish Oil May Have Skin Benefits
The skin is the largest organ in the human body, and it contains a lot of omega-3 fatty acids (67).
Skin health can decline throughout your life, especially during old age or after too much sun exposure.
Fortunately, there are a number of skin disorders that may benefit from fish oil supplementation, including psoriasis and dermatitis (68, 69, 70).
BOTTOM LINE:Your skin can become damaged by too much sun exposure or during old age. Fish oil supplementation may help maintain healthy skin.
7. Omega-3 Fatty Acids From Fish Oil Are Very Important During Pregnancy and Early Life
Omega-3s are essential for early growth and development (71).
Therefore, it's important for mothers to get enough omega-3s during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
Fish oil supplementation in pregnant and breastfeeding mothers may improve hand and eye coordination in infants. However, it's unclear whether learning or IQ are improved (72, 73, 74, 75, 76).
Maternal and early fish oil supplementation may also improve infant visual development and help reduce the risk of allergies (77, 78).
BOTTOM LINE:Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for early growth and development. Fish oil supplementation in mothers or infants may improve eye development, although its effect on learning and IQ is unclear.
8. Fish Oil May Reduce Liver Fat
Your liver processes most of the fat in your body and can play a big role in weight gain.
The prevalence of liver disease is rapidly rising, particularly non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which involves the accumulation of fat in the liver (79).
Fish oil supplementation can improve liver function and inflammation in humans, which may help reduce symptoms of NAFLD and the amount of fat in the liver (80, 81, 82, 83).
BOTTOM LINE:Liver disease is common in obese individuals. Fish oil supplementation may help reduce fat in the liver and symptoms of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
9. Fish Oil Supplementation Can Help Improve Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety
Depression is predicted to become the second leading cause of disease burden globally by 2030 (84).
Interestingly, people with major depression appear to have lower blood levels of omega-3s (29, 85, 86).
Studies have shown that fish oil and omega-3 supplementation can improve symptoms of depression (87, 88, 89).
Moreover, some studies have shown that oils rich in EPA help reduce depressive symptoms more than DHA (90, 91).
BOTTOM LINE:Fish oil supplementation may help improve symptoms of depression, especially EPA-rich supplements.
10. Fish Oil May Improve Attention and Hyperactivity in Children
A number of behavioral disorders in children, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), involve hyperactivity and inattention.
Given that omega-3s make up a significant proportion of the brain, getting enough of them may be important for preventing behavioral disorders in early life (92).
Fish oil supplementation may improve perceived hyperactivity, inattention, impulsiveness and aggression in children. This may benefit early life learning (93, 94, 95, 96).
BOTTOM LINE:Behavioral disorders in children can interfere with learning and development. Fish oil supplementation has been shown to help reduce hyperactivity, inattention and other behaviors.
11. Fish Oil May Help Prevent Symptoms of Mental Decline
As you age, your brain function slows down, and the risk of Alzheimer's disease increases.
People who eat more fish tend to experience a slower decline in brain function in old age (97, 98, 99).
However, studies on fish oil supplementation in older individuals haven't provided clear evidence that they can slow the decline of brain function (100, 101).
Nevertheless, some very small studies have shown that fish oil may improve memory in healthy, older people (102, 103).
BOTTOM LINE:People who eat more fish have slower age-related mental decline. However, it's unclear if fish oil supplementation can prevent or improve mental decline in the elderly.
12. Fish Oil May Improve Asthma Symptoms and the Risk of Allergies
Asthma, a lung disorder that can cause swelling in the lungs and shortness of breath, is becoming much more common in infants.
A number of studies have shown that fish oil may reduce asthma symptoms, especially in early life (104, 105, 106, 107).
One study combined the results of eleven other studies involving nearly 100,000 people and found that a mother's fish or omega-3 intake could reduce the risk of asthma in children by 24–29% (108).
Furthermore, fish oil supplementation in pregnant mothers may reduce the risk of allergies in infants (109).
BOTTOM LINE:A higher intake of fish and fish oil during pregnancy may reduce the risk of childhood asthma and allergies.
13. Fish Oil May Improve Bone Health
During old age, bones can begin to lose their essential minerals, making them more likely to break. This can lead to diseases such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
Calcium and vitamin D are known to be very important for bone health, but some studies have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids can also be beneficial.
People with higher omega-3 intakes and blood levels may have better bone mineral density (BMD) (110, 111, 112).
However, it's unclear whether fish oil supplements improve BMD (113, 114).
A number of small studies have shown that fish oil supplementation reduced markers of bone breakdown, which may prevent bone disease (115).
BOTTOM LINE:A higher omega-3 intake is associated with higher bone density, which could help prevent bone disease. However, it's unclear if fish oil supplementation is beneficial.
How to Supplement With Fish Oil
If you do not eat 1–2 portions of oily fish per week, you may want to consider taking a fish oil supplement.
If you want to buy a fish oil supplement, then here is an excellent OPTION
Below is a list of things to consider when taking a fish oil supplement:
DosageEPA and DHA dosage recommendations vary depending on your age and health.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a daily intake of 0.2–0.5 grams of combined EPA and DHA. But it may be necessary to increase the dosage if you are pregnant, nursing or at risk of heart disease (116).
Choose a fish oil supplement that provides at least 0.3 grams (300 mg) of EPA and DHA per serving.
FormFish oil supplements come in a number of forms, including ethyl esters (EE), triglycerides (TG), reformed triglycerides (rTG), free fatty acids (FFA) and phospholipids (PL).
Ethyl esters are not absorbed by the body as well as the others, so try to choose a fish oil supplement that comes in one of the other listed forms (117).
ConcentrationMany supplements contain up to 1,000 mg of fish oil per serving but only 300 mg of EPA and DHA.
Read the label and choose a supplement that contains at least 500 mg of EPA and DHA per 1,000 mg of fish oil.
PurityA number of fish oil supplements don't contain what they say they do (118).
To avoid these products, choose a supplement that is "third-party tested" or has the GOEDstandard of purity.
FreshnessOmega-3 fatty acids are prone to oxidation, which makes them go rancid.
To avoid this, you can choose a supplement that contains an antioxidant, such as vitamin E. Also, keep your supplements away from light, ideally in the refrigerator.
Don't use a fish oil supplement that has a rancid smell or is out of date.
SustainabilityChoose a fish oil supplement that has a sustainability certification, such as from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or the Environmental Defense Fund.
The production of fish oil from anchovies and similar small fish is more sustainable than the production of fish oil from large fish.
TimingOther dietary fats help the absorption of omega-3 fatty acids (119).
Therefore, it's best to take your fish oil supplement with a meal that contains fat.
BOTTOM LINE:Check the instruction label of a fish oil supplement before consumption. Also, choose a supplement with a high concentration of EPA and DHA and that has purity and sustainability certifications.
Take Home Message Omega-3s contribute to normal brain and eye development. They fight inflammation and may help prevent heart disease and a decline in brain function.
Given that fish oil contains a lot of omega-3s, those at risk of these disorders can benefit from taking it.
When you buy a fish oil supplement, be sure to read the label to check for purity, concentration, form and sustainability.
However, eating whole foods is almost always better than taking supplements, and eating two portions of oily fish per week can provide you with enough omega-3s.
In fact, many of the studies mentioned above show that fish is as effective, if not better, than fish oil at preventing many diseases.
That being said, if you don't eat enough oily fish, you may benefit from taking a fish oil supplement in order to get enough omega-3s.
What is Autophagy and how can it change your life? This could be why I have no loose skin after 118 pounds of weight loss
1. Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves
Many of life’s problems and sorrows are inevitable, but feeling sorry for yourself is a choice. Whether you’re struggling to pay your bills or you’re dealing with unexplained health problems, indulging in self-pity won’t fix your problems. If you’re prone to feeling sorry for yourself when the going gets rough, train your brain to exchange self-pity for gratitude. Mentally strong people don’t waste their time and energy thinking about the problem, instead they focus on creating a solution.
2. Give Away Their Power
It can be very tempting to blame other people for our problems and circumstances. Thinking things like, “My mother-in-law makes me feel bad about myself,” gives others power over us. Take back your power by accepting full responsibility for how you think, feel, and behave. Empowering yourself is an essential component to building mental strength and creating the kind of life you want to live.
3. Shy Away From Change
Although we feel safest when we stay within our comfort zones, avoiding new challenges serves as the biggest obstacle to living a full and rich life. Learning to recognize when you avoid change because of the discomfort involved in doing something new could be the first step in a long journey toward improving your life. The more you practice tolerating the uncomfortable feelings associated with change—whether it involves taking on a new job or leaving an unhealthy relationship—the more confident you’ll become in your ability to create your future.
4. Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control
So often, we worry about all the wrong things. Rather than focus on preparing for the storm, we waste energy wishing the storm wouldn’t come. If we invested that same energy into the things we do have control over, we’d be much better prepared for whatever life throws our way. Pay attention to the times when you’re tempted to worry about something you can’t control—like the choices other people make or how your competitor behaves—and devote that energy into something more productive.
5. Worry About Pleasing Others
A lot of people say, “I don’t care what other people think,” but often that’s a defense mechanism meant to shield them from the hurt and pain associated with rejection. People-pleasers come in all forms. Sometimes you can spot one a mile away and at other times, their fear of angering others is deeply rooted. Doing and saying things that may not be met with favor takes courage, but living a truly authentic life requires you to live according to your values, even when your choices aren’t popular.
6. Fear Taking Calculated Risks
We make dozens—if not hundreds—of choices every day with very little consideration of the risks we’re taking. Whether we choose to wear a helmet on a bike ride, or we decide to take out a loan, we often base our choices on our emotions, not the true level of risk. Making decisions based on your level of fear isn’t an accurate way to calculate risk. Emotions are often irrational and unreliable. You don’t get to be extraordinary without taking risks, and learning how to accurately calculate risk will ensure you’re making the best choices.
7. Dwell on the Past
While reflecting on the past and learning from it is a helpful part of building mental strength, ruminating can be harmful. Making peace with the past so you can live for the present and plan for the future can be hard, especially if you’ve endured a lot of misfortune, but it’s a necessary step in becoming your best self.
8. Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over
It’d be nice to learn enough from each mistake that we’d be guaranteed to never repeat that same mistake twice. But the reality is that we’re prone to repeat the same mistakes sometimes. Learning from our mistakes requires humility and a willingness to look for new strategies to become better. Mentally strong people don’t hide their mistakes or make excuses for them. Instead they turn their mistakes into opportunities for self-growth.
9. Resent Other People’s Success
Watching a co-worker receive a promotion or hearing a friend talk about her achievements can stir up feelings of envy. But resenting other people’s success will only interfere with your ability to reach your goals. When you’re secure in our own definition of success, you’ll stop envying other people for obtaining their goals and you’ll be committed to reaching your dreams.
10. Give Up After Failure
It’s normal to feel embarrassed, discouraged, and downright defeated when your first attempts don’t work. From a young age, we’re often taught that failure is bad, but it’s nearly impossible to succeed if you never fail. Mentally strong people view failure as proof that they’re pushing themselves to the limits in their efforts to reach their full potential.
11. Fear Alone Time
In today’s fast paced world, obtaining a little quiet time often takes a concerted effort. Many people avoid silence and solitude because the lack of activity feels uncomfortable. But time to yourself is an essential component to building mental strength. Mentally strong people create opportunities to be alone with their thoughts, reflect on their progress, and create goals for the future.
12. Feel the World Owes Them Anything
It’s easy to get caught up in feeling a sense of entitlement. But waiting for the world—or the people in it—to give you what you think we’re owed isn’t a helpful life strategy. If you’re busy trying to take what you think you deserve, you won’t have any time to focus on all that you have to give. And everyone has gifts that can be shared, regardless of whether they’ve gotten a “fair deal” in life.
13. Expect Immediate Results
Wouldn’t it be nice if everything in life could happen at the touch of a button? We often grow so accustomed to our “no lines, no waiting” world, that our brains begin to believe that everything should happen instantaneously. But self-growth develops at more of a snail’s pace, rather than at lightning speed. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or develop a more gracious attitude, slow and steady wins the race and expecting immediate results will only lead to disappointment. Mentally strong people know that true change takes time and they’re willing to work hard to see results.
The good news is, everyone has the ability to build mental strength. But to do so, you need to develop self-awareness about the self-destructive thoughts, behaviors, and feelings that prevent you from reaching your full potential. Once you recognize areas that need work, committing to mental strength exercises will help you create healthier habits and build mental muscle.
This article was republished from huffingtonpost.com. You can find the original post here.
By Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, MD in Heart disease, Saturated fat, Sugar/fructose
The conventional advice we’ve been given to reduce heart disease, eat less fat and more carbs, is completely wrong and needs to be turned on its head. In fact, it’s the carbs and not the fat that we should avoid if we want to reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease, writes a cardiologist in The Washington Times. And he’s probably right.
"For decades, doctors and nutritionists prescribed low-fat diets to people trying to lower their risk of heart disease. Saturated fats in meats and dairy products were thought to clog our arteries. Grains — especially “whole” ones — were thought to help everything from high cholesterol to digestion.
A growing body of research suggests this advice was wrong. For most people, it’s carbohydrates, not fats, that are the true cause of heart disease."
Heart disease and cholesterol
This year, more than 610,000 Americans will die from heart disease. It’s the leading cause of death for both men and women.
For decades, doctors and nutritionists prescribed low-fat diets to people trying to lower their risk of heart disease. Saturated fats in meats and dairy products were thought to clog our arteries. Grains — especially “whole” ones — were thought to help everything from high cholesterol to digestion.
A growing body of research suggests this advice was wrong. For most people, it’s carbohydrates, not fats, that are the true cause of heart disease.
Consider a report published last year in The Lancet that studied nutrition among more than 135,000 people across 18 different countries — making it the largest-ever observational study of its kind. The researchers found that people who ate the least saturated fat — about the same amount currently recommended for heart patients — had the highest rates of heart disease and mortality. Meanwhile, people who consumed the most saturated fat had the lowest
Limiting intake of carbohydrates, rather than fats, is a surer way to decrease the risk of heart disease. An analysis of more than a dozen studies published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that patients on low-carb diets had healthier body weights and cardiovascular systems than those on conventional low-fat diets. I’m a cardiologist in Virginia and my own patients have seen the benefits of a low-carb, high-fat diet firsthand.
Consider Marj. At age 71, she lost more than 100 pounds in a year without medication, meal replacements or surgery — just by cutting out sugars and starches, and eating healthier food.
Denise had out-of-control diabetes. Her blood sugar was frequently over 250 — a level far above normal — despite being on insulin. Then she started a low-carb diet. After only a week, she was off insulin and had near normal blood-sugar levels.
When Jeff started working with me, he had severe lipid abnormalities. Four months later, his HDL cholesterol — commonly known as “good cholesterol” — had increased by 13 points. And his triglyceride level plummeted from 468 to 78 — well below the normal level of 150. All of this was without medication or exercise.
The mistaken belief that fats cause heart disease stems from weak, outdated research. Back in 1961, the American Heart Association published its first report recommending that people limit consumption of animal fats and dietary cholesterol. The report cited several studies that showed a correlation between high-fat diets and heart problems.
But that hypothesis had never been put to the test in a clinical trial. A controlled trial is the only way to prove a cause-effect relationship, rather than a mere correlation that could occur due to random chance or some other unknown variable.
As Dr. Phillip Handler, the former president of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences stated nearly 20 years later, “What right has the federal government to propose that the American people conduct a vast nutritional experiment, with themselves as subjects, on the strength of so little evidence?”
Eventually, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) started conducting clinical trials. However, these trials were deeply flawed. Additionally, when evidence contradicted the dominant medical narrative, researchers effectively buried it. One NIH study, which found little-to-no relationship between saturated fats and various health problems, was conducted between 1968 and 1973 but wasn’t published for another 16 years.
Despite the flimsy evidence against saturated fats, mainstream nutritionists still advise people to eat lots of carbohydrates and steer clear of fats. The AHA recommends restricting saturated fat consumption to 6 percent of total calories. Federal guidelines encourage people to eat fat-free or low-fat dairy and plenty of grains.
This advice is dooming hundreds of thousands of people to early death and disability. Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack. The disease costs Americans $200 billion annually in medical care and lost productivity.
For decades, our public health leaders have dispensed deadly dietary advice. That needs to change. Many doctors, myself included, have seen with our own eyes how low-carb diets help patients lose weight, reverse their diabetes and improve their cholesterol.
• Eric Thorn is a cardiologist affiliated with the Virginia Hospital Center.
What’s one of the best things you can do for your body? Get enough sleep. It’s that simple. Who in the world is hoping to get less sleep? All we hear are crickets. But sometimes it’s hard to turn your brain off at night to get to that precious REM cycle. We’ve gathered some tips to help you take advantage of those valuable Zzzs.