311216 Fat-the good and bad of it

311216 Fat-the good and bad of it

Just what you wanted to know entering the New Year festivities. Sometimes guilt trips work…

A key component in assessing an individual’s health and physical fitness is knowing the body composition makeup. Obesity (excessive body fat relative to body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or more) and becoming overweight (Adults with BMI between 25-29.9 kg/m2 or with children being in and over the 95th percentile for their age and sex) is at epidemic proportions in the United States and the trend is gathering momentum.

Right now we are at the top of the fat list compared to the majority of the nations in the world-an unfortunate but sad fact.

Being obese brings serious health consequences and reduces life expectancy by increasing the risk of developing serious diseases such as coronary heart disease, hypertension, aka the silent killer, type 2 diabetes, obstructive pulmonary disease, osteoarthritis and even certain kinds of cancer.

Just as too much fat in the body can cause problems, so can too little. Our body needs fat to operate in a normal physiological fashion. For example, the essential lipids such as the phospholipids are vital to cell membrane formation. The non essential lipids such as triglycerides which are found in the adipose (fat) tissue protect the body by providing a layer of thermal insulation. Fat tissue assists in storing metabolic fuel in the form of free fatty acids.

These same lipids are also involved in the storage and transport of the fat soluble A, D, E, and K vitamins and in helping to maintain the functionality of the nervous system. The menstrual cycle in females and the reproductive systems in both male and female rely on these cells, as does the growth and maturation processes of the pubescence child.

Thus, too little body fat as seen in those with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, or someone with an exercise addiction or even certain diseases such as cystic fibrosis can lead to serious physiological health related consequences.

The best option is to be in the normal range for body fat, not over or under the recommendations if you desire to have good health.

Testing the body fat levels

The previous article briefly discussed the near crisis issue of being overweight and the staggering rise of obesity in our nation. Here we are going to look behind the scenes at the testing methods that determine fat or fit.

A classification of the level of body fat relies on the standard relative body fat percentages commonly used across the world. These classifications are in turn then broken up into age, sex, and activity body fat percentages at recommended levels. Across the scale women carry more body fat than males and younger people of both sexes carry less fat than older adults. This is due to the role women have in the reproduction of our species.

What are the body composition measures used for?

Body composition measures are useful in estimating a healthy body weight and figuring out a recommended nutritional plan. Both of these components are essential in designing an exercise program that will be beneficial to the trainee. Athletes who participate in weight bracket sports such as bodybuilding and wrestling need to know their ideal weight in order to be competitive. Pediatricians and other health care professionals make note of these measurements while monitoring the growth of children and to identify those who are at risk of being under or over weight.

The population of our country is getting older and the changes in body composition are important indicators of whether the person is remaining healthy or not. In each case, the assessment of body fat helps to determine the nutritional and exercise prescription intervention strategies that play a prominent role in charting a course of action to improve health and fitness levels.

Background on the measurement procedures

The body is made up of water, protein, minerals and fat substances. Most body fat identification procedures rely upon the two component model which divides the body into two sections: fat free and the fat tissue. The fat free is made up of all the chemicals and the tissues including water, muscle and the bones. The rest is fat. The testing methods separate the water, protein and minerals from the fat and then give a percentage of lean body mass to fat mass. Stay active and healthy in your life.

200913 Healthy ideas that may be worth considering for a healthier life-part two – Raisins

Healthy ideas that may be worth considering for a healthier life-part two – Raisins

Scientific research never ceases and constant investigations into what makes us healthy are no exception. Some of the recent research and subsequent reports result from observational studies. These observational studies were not designed to prove a cause and effect. Nonetheless, they still may point the way towards improving your health by decreasing your disease risk.

Some of these findings may already be common knowledge to you, whereas others may be a surprise. In any case, all of them may be worthwhile paying attention to in the future.

In the majority of the world’s advanced nations, many avoidable diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity could be prevented or at least decreased in number if their citizens would simply follow a healthier lifestyle. Getting 30 minutes of exercise per day and eating nutritious foods would go a long way towards easing the healthcare costs and improving the lives of uncounted millions of people.

The effects of eating raisins on your blood pressure

Take for example the simple and tasty raisin; in ¼ cup (41 g) of seedless uncooked raisins, there are 120 calories, 0 fat and 0 cholesterol from any source, and only 5 mg of sodium. Additionally, each ¼ cup contains 18 g of high quality carbohydrates, (10% of the daily requirement), 2 g dietary fiber (6% of the daily requirement), and 1 g of protein. The potential downside to these healthy numbers is the fact that in this small amount of raisins you will also find 24 g of sugar. These percentages are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Now that we know about the amount of raisins we are talking about, let us get back to what the researchers found in their clinical trial testing of the effects of eating raisins. They were looking at the effects on the blood pressure of those with prehypertension who ate a handful of raisins three times a day. This study, presented at an American College of Cardiology conference, showed that eating such a small amount of raisins each day “sharply reduced their blood pressure.”

The study compared snacking on cookies or crackers with raisins amongst forty-six participants, each with slightly elevated blood pressure. The individuals in the study had blood pressure levels between 120/80 up to 139/89 mmHg.

The results indicated that over the 12 weeks of the study those eating the raisins lowered their systolic (1) blood pressure , the top number, by as much as 10.2 mmHg. This would lead one to believe that in a number of cases, participants in the study would then have had normal blood pressure readings because the drop of 10.2 mmHg would have put them below the prehypertension numbers of 120/80 mmHg and 139/89 m.

The research group from the Louisville Metabolic and Atherosclerosis Research Center commented that raisins have a high potassium content approximately 212 mg in only 60 raisins. Potassium is noted for its ability to lower blood pressure.

Another contributing factor for raisins ability to lower blood pressure is the amount of dietary fiber, which in this case is one gram for 60 raisins along with their antioxidants. If you are concerned about the calorie content, consider this, 60 raisins or approximately an ounce contain about 85 calories.

(1) Systolic pressure is the force of blood in the arteries as the heart beats