Thursday, January 30, 2020

What Are Essential Oils

Essential oils are found in plants for very essential purposes! It helps with allelopathy, attracts pollinators, defends against insects, and protects against fungus and bacteria.

The process of extracting essential oils is by water or steam distillation, or even cold-pressing. Pure essential oils are those that are not obtained by chemical processes. Some oils are isolated by maceration. The plant material is softened in warm water, which releases the essential oil.  Several factors influence the quality of essential oils, such as; the weather, geographical location, and distillation.

Essential oils are widely used for aromatic and medicinal purposes. You will notice that when you open a bottle, the scent quickly fills the room, and the aroma is potent. These are due to chemical properties in the essential oil that allow it to move rapidly in the air. That is why essential oils are ideal for physical and emotional wellness.  

Essential for Your Health?
Inhaling the aromas can stimulate the limbic system; it involves our emotions, behaviors, smell, breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, and long-term memory. Have you ever associated a smell with a memory? This explains why certain smells can trigger memories.

There are several ways in which to apply essential oils to positively affect the mind and body.

Cosmetic Aromatherapy – Used for cleansing, moisturizing, drying, and toning on the skin, body, face, and air. It is also beneficial to use in a full-body or foot bath.
Massage Aromatherapy – Essential oils are combined with carrier oils to use for massage.

Medical Aromatherapy – Used to promote and treat clinically diagnosed medical ailments, and even for massage on patients during surgery.
Olfactory Aromatherapy – Inhaling essential oils can enhance emotional well-being, encouraging relaxation and calmness.

Psycho-aromatherapy – Since our brain links scents with memories, essential oils can help promote a pleasant memory by infusing it in the room of the patient.

Choosing the Correct Essential Oils
It is important to make sure that the essential oils you purchase are pure and medical grade. Many companies will claim this, but there are ways to determine its true nature. Here are three things to consider:

Purity – Oils that provide mild fragrance or flavors do not have therapeutic benefits like essential oils. Find retailers that specialize in selling essential oils.

Quality  – Look for essential oils that identify with their scientific or botanical name. It is also important to note the extraction process, plant origin, and expiration date. As much as possible, use oils that are organic (no pesticides or sprays)

Reputation – Companies should be transparent about their essential oil products, have done extensive testing on the product, and are able to answer questions relating to it. Another bonus is when companies are members of associations or other affiliations that have ethical standards.

Current Market Trends
In 2016, the global essential oils market size was valued at USD 6.63 billion (2). “It is expected to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of more than 11% during period 2017-202 (3)1.”

This is due to a growing demand for product line extensions, air fresheners with essential oils as the active ingredient, natural personal care products and cleaning products, spa and relaxation, and flavors in pharmaceutical ingredients. Growing consumer income and more knowledge on personal health are expected to contribute to the growth of this industry.

Essential Oil Safety
As with many things that we ingest in or apply to our bodies, moderation and correct application are key. It is also important to do a test patch before applying it in the desired area of the body. Essential oils are considered safe. It should not be ingested but can be used topically when diluted with a carrier oil, through steam inhalation, and in an essential oil diffuser. Essential oils are very concentrated, so a little goes a long way.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Where Does The Fat Go?

Myths About Fat Loss
There are misconceptions about fat loss among doctors, dietitians and even fitness professionals.  In this blog we are going to simplify how weight loss occurs in a molecular level. 
The following are common myths about fat metabolism:
- Fat turns into muscle
- Fat converts into energy
- Fat escape through your colon

What Is Fat?
The clinical term for body fat is adipose tissue. There are two different types in the human body. The white adipose tissue is primarily responsible for energy storage and releasing fatty acids when fuel is low. Your body contains mostly this type of fat. It is stored beneath the skin and surrounding organs. This is the kind of fat that most of us are trying to lose. 

Brown adipose tissue is considered good fat that helps regulate body temperature. It’s derived from muscle tissue and burns calories to keep you warm. Brown fat also contains more capillaries than white fat and shuttles valuable nutrients and oxygen throughout the body.

Fat is made up of individual cells called adipocytes (cells that contain fat). The human body contains billions of fat cells ranging in different sizes. White fat cells are filled with one large fat droplet surrounded by water, salts, and protein. The fat droplet is comprised mostly of triglycerides (glycerol and three fatty acids). High levels of triglycerides in the bloodstream have been shown to increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Brown fat cells contain multiple fat droplets and considerably more water, salt, and protein. These cells are also filled with lots of mitochondria responsible for the chemical energy that burns calories to produce heat in your body. 

What Does Fat Do?
Fat is made up of cells in your body that are used primarily for stored energy and protection.  The body uses this stored energy for working muscles as well as a host of other metabolic pathways and enzymatic breakdowns.

When you consume more calories than your body needs, it will store the rest within your fat cells or adipocytes. The storage form of energy is known as triglycerides, a type of fat or lipid collected within individual fat cells. Besides providing energy, stored fat also helps insulate the body and protect vital organs. 

During Fat Burning
Before explaining what happens during the fat burning process, it will help to understand where all the weight within the fat cell comes from. 
The average American breathes in about 1.5 pounds of oxygen daily. This is in addition to what you eat and drink every day. According to the latest government figures, the average person consumes approximately five to 7.8 pounds of food and beverages daily. What you eat and what you breathe needs to exit your body somehow if you want to lose weight. 

During the fat burning process, the body converts fat into usable energy causing the fat cell to shrink. This metabolic energy conversion also generates heat which helps to control body temperature. At the same time, oxygen is also converted into byproducts.

Many enzymes and biochemical steps are involved to completely break down a single triglyceride molecule.  Some of the fat is available for usable energy, but carbon dioxide (CO2) and water are also released from the fat cell during the process. In fact, a large percentage of carbon dioxide (CO2) is created and expelled from the body when you burn fat. 

Where Fat Goes
Most of us really don’t think about where fat goes when we lose it. We’re just happy the scale says it’s gone. You may be curious to know fat doesn’t magically disappear after going through the fat-burning process.

The research calculations show when fat is lost, 84 percent is exhaled as carbon dioxide. The remaining 16 percent is excreted as water.1 During the conversion of energy, carbon dioxide and water are byproducts or waste. They are excreted via urine, perspiration, and exhalation.

It has also been shown that the lungs as the primary organ used to remove fat from your body.

Ways to Improve Fat Loss
Since fat leaves the body by exhaling carbon dioxide, you may be wondering if breathing faster will help you lose weight. Unfortunately, this isn't an effective method. You will only cause hyperventilation, feel dizzy, and possibly faint. 

There are healthy ways to increase oxygen intake and improve weight loss. Working toward improving your metabolic rate would be a great start. This includes being more active in general and participating in regular exercise.
You can increase carbon dioxide (CO2) exhalation by performing physical activities that double the metabolic rate. For example, swapping out one hour of rest with exercise like jogging removes more CO2 from the body and improves your ability to lose fat.
Other basic suggestions to increase your metabolic rate and rid your body of CO2 include the following:

- Take the stairs instead of the elevator/escalator.
- Park your car far away and walk more.
- Engage in active playtime with your kids.
- Stand at your computer vs. sitting.
- Take walk and stretch breaks at work.
- Stay active over the weekend and avoid being a couch potato.

Your body is also at work removing CO2 while you sleep. In fact, you exhale approximately seven ounces of carbon dioxide which is 25 percent of the daily amount you need to get rid of. This means you are waking up starting your day ahead of the game.  
What is recommended for successful fat loss is to eat less and move more. This means reducing caloric intake to cause an energy deficit, but also exercising regularly. Exercise will naturally increase the rate of oxygen is used and help remove more carbon dioxide from your body. 

Monday, January 6, 2020

Strategies To Lose Fat, Not Muscle

Maintain your strength as you shed pounds with these proven strategies.

When you lose weight, those pounds can come from either fat or muscle. And you don’t want to lose muscle, especially as you get older.

Not only does muscle help you stay strong and independent, but it’s a leading indicator of overall health and longevity. In fact, research shows lean muscle mass is better at predicting overall health than body mass index (BMI), a score that uses both your height and weight to provide a rough estimate of whether you’re underweight, normal weight, or overweight.

Unfortunately, the state of our muscle is bleak. One out of every three adults ages 60 and older suffers from severe muscle loss, called sarcopenia, according to an Age and Aging review.
Loss of muscle mass is one of the biggest causes of age-related decline. Older adults who get or stay strong can continue to perform daily tasks and active hobbies with fewer limitations. They also have a much lower risk of injury from falls and other accidents.

What’s more, when we lose muscle, our metabolism slows, making it harder to lose or maintain a healthy weight, Juster says. Lean muscle mass is a primary factor in basal metabolic rate, or the number of calories your body burns per day simply by living.

The more muscle we hold on to, the better we will look and feel, and the easier it will be to lose fat. And those are the pounds you want to lose.

Here are four strategies to help you stay strong and retain—or even build—muscle as you drop pounds.

Fat Loss Rule #1: Cut Calories Gradually
To lose weight, you have to maintain a calorie deficit, meaning that you use more calories than you consume each day. However, cutting your calories too drastically can lead to muscle loss.
If you’re counting calories, aim to cut no more than 500 per day. That will keep you in the healthy, gradual range of losing one to two pounds per week.

You can achieve this deficit by cutting 500 calories from your regular meal plan, burning an extra 500 calories with exercise, or a combination of nutrition and fitness changes that lead to 500 calories total. The good news is cutting even 100 calories a day can help—and may be more manageable for some people.

Now sure how many calories you should be eating per day? It depends on how active you are.  Ask your personal trainer, doctor or registered dietitian for guidance, especially if you have a chronic condition.

Fat Loss Rule #2: Focus on Total-Body Strength
To lose fat and build muscle, the bulk of your exercise time should go to total-body strength workouts. Compound, multi-joint movements, such as squats, pushups, and rows, are especially beneficial. These exercises involve multiple large muscle groups, so they build strength—and increase your heart rate and burn calories with every rep.

For those who are newer to the weight room, I recommend two days of strength training each week. More experienced exercisers can do as many as three or four sessions per week.
These workouts don’t need to be long or grueling, she says. Start with 20- to 30-minute full-body workouts and build from there, focusing on improving your performance from week to week.
That might mean gradually increasing the weight you use,  performing more total reps during your workout, or simply executing the same workout with better form. When you focus on performance in the gym or working out at home, you will maintain or even build muscle as you lose fat.

Fat Loss Rule #3: Double Down on Protein
The protein you eat contains the essential amino acids needed for your muscles to grow back stronger after each workout.

According to the National Academy of Medicine, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of protein for adults in their 50s and older is 0.36 grams per pound of bodyweight (multiply your weight by 0.36). But it’s important to know that the RDA is the minimum amount you need to meet your basic nutritional requirements.

For optimal health, older adults may need almost double the RDA of protein, according to mounting research. One 2015 study found older adults improved their muscle health by consuming 0.68 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight (multiply your weight by 0.68).
For an adult who weighs 130 pounds, that’s about 88 grams of protein per day. For one who weighs 150 pounds, 102 grams. And for one who weighs 170 pounds, 115 grams.

If that seems like a lot, take it one meal at a time. Other research recommends adults consume between 25 and 35 grams of protein at every meal for both muscle health and weight loss.
If you’re not interested in counting your macronutrients try including one to two palm-sized servings of protein-rich foods like meat, fish, poultry, beans and legumes, or eggs with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

And as with figuring out exactly how many calories you need based on your health, your doctor or a registered dietitian can help you figure out how much protein per day is right for you.

Fat Loss Rule #4: Use Cardio for Recovery
For many people, the first step to losing weight is hopping on a treadmill or elliptical for hours of cardio, this is a big mistake, because with excessive cardio, we often lose our hard-earned muscle along with our extra fat.

Avoiding excessive aerobic exercise doesn’t mean cutting it completely—after all, it’s a vital part of a well-rounded exercise plan. But for weight loss, it may help to think of it as a method to help your body and muscles recover in between strength sessions.

Research in the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation shows low-intensity aerobic exercise is an effective way to promote muscle strength and recovery after challenging workouts.

On the days you don’t perform strength training, make a point to complete at least 30 minutes of gentle, low-intensity movement such as walking, cycling, or swimming. Choose a pace that allows you to carry on a conversation—without huffing and puffing.