6 Reasons To Start Eating Asparagus Today

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Asparagus Image Design 1 - 6 Reasons To Start Eating Asparagus TodayWhen it comes to trying out new vegetables, there are certain ones that are better than others. Asparagus is one that’s often overlooked, but it’s one of the best for the whole body. It offers far more benefits than downsides, supporting every part of your body.

This should be reason enough, but I know you want details. After all, we always want to know the exact ways we benefit our bodies by choosing specific vegetables or ingredients in our meals.

It’s not always about health either. We want to know about the ease of adding the vegetables in and fun reasons to start eating something new. Here’s a look at six reasons you need to start eating asparagus today.

It’s Packed with Fibre to Keep You Regular

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If you’re struggling to pass stools, you’ll want to consider how foods affect your digestive system. Loose and hard stools both require fiber to make it better. While beans are often touted as the best option for keeping your bowel movements regular, asparagus is also at the top of the list.

There is plenty of fiber in the vegetable. In fact, this is what makes up most of the actual vegetable. Your digestive system will work effectively, helping you to absorb all necessary nutrients and push the waste through your system, but that’s not the only reason you need asparagus.

It’s also packed with asparagine, an amino acid that works as a diuretic. It works completely naturally in your body.

Not only are your stools regular, but your urination is more regular. Yes, it can make your urine smell stronger, but there is nothing unhealthy about this. It’s just the amino acid getting to work. By urinating more, you can get rid of excess salt in your body, keeping your organs free from harm. It won’t get rid of too many salts unless you only consume asparagus daily!

If you ever feel like you’re bloated from water retention or fluid retention, look at adding more asparagus into your meals for a few days. You’ll soon get rid of it, along with anything else causing problems for your digestive system.

A major benefit of getting rid of the excess water is to prevent urinary tract infections. Cranberry juice is often recommended, but this is full of natural sugars. Asparagus is better on the sugar level and still just as effective and helpful. You’ll be able to get rid of the toxins that are causing the infection.

It’s an Excellent Addition for Weight Loss

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Losing weight is hard. You’ll hear all the time about how you just need to eat fewer calories, and you’ll start burning the fat. That is far easier said than done, right?

What if you could eat ingredients that encourage more weight loss? Some of the reason people weigh more is due to water retention. Remember the first benefit: you’ll get rid of the fluid that is causing the skewy numbers on the scales. However, that’s not the only benefit.

Asparagus spears contain just three calories each. They’re filling and satisfying. When you’ve finished a meal with them, you won’t want to eat another bite. In fact, you may decide you can’t finish the food you’ve made; they’re that good! This satisfaction comes from the fiberthat’s the vegetable. It will break down slowly throughout the day, which helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer.

By consuming foods that are low in calories but filling, you will find it easier to create a calorie deficit. You won’t notice that you’re not eating as many calories as you used to, so you don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything. This helps you remain happy with your new diet, so you’re more likely to stick with it.

Asparagus isn’t just an excellent addition to your main meals. It makes an excellent snack option. You don’t have to feel guilty for snacking throughout the day considering how few calories you’re eating. You’ll get the same satisfaction as you would from a banana at a fraction of the cost in calories.

Many can’t deny the fact that asparagus tastes good, which means you’re more likely to add it to your meals. Of course, taste is subjective, but most people look forward to asparagus on their plate. When you like something, you’ll find it much easier to stick to your diet without feeling like you’re missing out.

You Don’t Need to Worry About Organic

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If you’re looking at organic and worried about the extra costs, you’ll be happy to hear that asparagus is naturally organic. That means you can buy it straight from anywhere in the grocery store without worrying about pesticides and other chemicals added to them. While some pesticides are used, asparagus doesn’t absorb the chemicals. They are part of the Clean 15 list of foods.

A major benefit comes from the time of year that asparagus grows. It’s a spring vegetable and grows extremely fast. There’s not enough time for pests to cause a problem for the crops.

This is extremely beneficial when you want to put your family’s health first without worrying about the cost. Organic is good, but the extra costs soon add up. You can find you’re making a choice between different types of fruits and vegetables instead of being able to enjoy everything you want. You don’t have to worry about this when it comes to asparagus.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to buy organic if you want to. There’s no guilt if you don’t, but if you prefer to support the organic farmers then certainly go ahead and buy. You will get rid of all the pesticides completely.

It Promotes a Healthy Gut

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Let’s look at some of the health benefits of asparagus. One of the benefits is for the levels of bacteria.

Not all bacteria are bad. There are some that are needed in the gut to help with the absorption rate of other nutrients.  Good bacteria will get rid of the bad stuff, improve the digestive system’s actions, and boost the immune system. You can get more good bacteria by eating probiotics, but what if you don’t eat dairy? Well, asparagus is your next option.

Asparagus has a carbohydrate called Inulin. This helps to promote and support the growth of good bacteria in the digestive system. It doesn’t quite create good bacteria from scratch, but it will help to promote the growth of whatever is there. The bad bacteria can’t overpower the good when you get enough Inulin in the body.

At the same time, the Inulin will help to encourage more activity from the good bacteria. It helps to push the good to take over the bad and improve the overall gut health. You’ll get far more active and feel better because of it. When your gut is healthy, the whole body feels better. Your immune system works more effectively, there is less inflammation, and your hormonal balance is better.

It’s Full of Nutrients for Overall Health

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It’s not just your gut that benefits. Sure, when your gut benefits, so do the rest of your health. However, asparagus will also offer the nutrients your whole-body needs. Asparagus is packed with vitamins like A, C, and K. It’s full of chromium and folate. You need to add all these to make sure every part of your body works as it should.

Chromium is an essential mineral that most people haven’t even heard of. It improves the insulin’s power, so glucose is removed from all cells within the body. Everyone can benefit from this, but it’s important for diabetics who struggle with insulin resistance and high blood sugar issues.

At the same time, the nervous system is supported by the extra folate. This mineral helps to boost the connections within the brain, support brain development in all. It is especially beneficial for apregnant woman, as it helps with the fetal brain development.

All the vitamins help to ensure the body’s immune system and overall health is protected. The skin looks healthier, the eyesight is supported, and even the liver is protected. Vitamin K helps to support natural clotting of the blood, while vitamins C and E support the immune system and make sure it fights against the viruses and diseases within the body. Vitamin A helps to avoid macular degeneration disease while supporting the growth and development of tissues within the body.

Then there is the glutathione, which is known as anti-cancer benefits. This agent helps to get rid of the carcinogens within the body, preventing them from damaging healthy cells and preventing cancerous cells forming. Meanwhile, the antioxidants also help to fight against free radicals, further offering anti-cancer benefits and preventing signs of aging. There is also research that suggests antioxidants can prevent dementia and other disorders and conditions.

It’s a Natural Aphrodisiac

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If you find your sex drive is slow or non-existent, you’ll likely consider the aphrodisiacs on the market. There are lots of ideas out there, but did you know asparagus is one of them? This is an ingredient that has been used for centuries around the world to help improve the sex drive.

More research in this area is required. That doesn’t mean asparagus isn’t that great for you, but that the area hasn’t been tested as much as others.

Some aphrodisiacs tend only to help males or females. Asparagus is one of those that help both genders. It’s especially beneficial for women, though. It can help to boost the libido during pregnancy and during menopause naturally. These are two times in life that the sex drive can slip because of the change to the hormones.

On top of this, asparagus has also been used in the past to increase the chances of getting pregnant. It’s unclear whether this is due to the balanced hormones, increased libido, or another reason. Again, research is needed to check the full benefits when it comes to this part of the benefits of asparagus.

Studies have shown that the vegetable can help to treat some of the symptoms of menopause, likely due to the hormonal link. The vegetable helps to boost the lubrication of the vagina, making it more comfortable before and during sex.

Adding Asparagus to Your Meals

This could be a reason within itself: asparagus is extremely easy to add to your diet. It’s one of the easiest vegetables to cook and prepare, without losing all the excellent nutrients.

One of the most common ways is through steaming the vegetable. You can then serve it as a bed for fish or chicken. It’s also commonly boiled or grilled. Try different seasonings to bring out a range of tastes and uses for the vegetable. If you want to keep the crunch to your asparagus, place it in a basket over water and allow it to steam that way. You won’t soak in as much water into the vegetable.

It is best to chop off the ends of asparagus. They tend to be chewy and difficult for the body to digest. However, you can eat the rest of the stalks and the tips if you’d like.

Most people can add asparagus to their diet without a problem. If you are on a very strict diet, you will want to discuss adding the vegetable with your doctor or dietician first. This will depend on the reason for your strict diet. You will also need to watch the amount that you eat in most of cases.

Now is the time to add asparagus to your diet. It’s one of the healthiest and cleanest vegetables on the market. Even if you don’t want to opt for organic, you can highly benefit from the addition of this vegetable into your diet. Don’t waste time reading anymore about the benefits. They’re certainly not all for your physical health, but also for your mental health.

12 Digestion Improving Tips You Can Implement Today

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Digestion Improving Tips Image Design 1 1024x562 - 12 Digestion Improving Tips You Can Implement TodayProblems with digestive systems are more common than you would think. Some of us only deal with the issues on an irregular basis, but there are others who have to put up with pain, discomfort, and constipation on a weekly or daily basis.

We owe it to ourselves to create a healthier lifestyle. It’s up to use to do the best for our digestive systems, and that means making some changes to the things we eat and drink.

The changes don’t even have to be that big. Small changes on a daily basis will help us boost our systems and not affect our mental health—too many changes in a short space of time tend to annoy us, as we start to focus on all the things that we can’t have!

This isn’t about a complete overhaul. It’s not about cutting out certain foods, but adding in others and making a conscious effort to cut down on the bad stuff—down not out! It’s time to fuel our bodies in the best way possible to improve our digestive systems.

By making the changes, you can reduce your chances of constipation, decrease the pain you feel due to Crohn’s disease or IBS, and make sure your whole body thanks you for the ingredients you eat.

Here are 12 digestive improving tips that you need to start implementing. And all are tips that you can follow right now.

Get More Fluid on a Daily Basis

Image 1 11 - 12 Digestion Improving Tips You Can Implement TodayLet’s start with something that isn’t usually the first on the list when it comes to digestive tips. I know you were expecting something to do with fruits and vegetables! Yes, we’ll get to them, but they’re definitely not the most important.

Hydration is the topic to start with. Most of us don’t get enough fluid throughout the day. The experts recommend eight glasses of water—or at least eight glasses of fluid—but can you honestly say that you definitely get that much? Think about it carefully. Yes, fluid will include juices, sodas, teas, coffees, and glasses of water.

The eight glasses are around 2 liters of fluid on a daily basis. Now can you tell me that you get enough?

Our bodies need water. Every organ needs it, and if we don’t get enough, then our organs will take it from the least necessary places. Our digestive systems aren’t fully supported because other organs need the water more.

But the water helps to push the food through the system. It helps to soften the waste to avoid constipation. Being fully hydrated can also help prevent inflammation, which causes pain within the digestive system.

If you live in a hot climate, make sure you drink even more water! You could need up to 6 liters a day, depending on where you live or the exercise you do.

Get More Active to Promote Active Bowels

This is one tip that you likely won’t hear much—and definitely not at the top of the list! Being active isn’t just beneficial for the muscles or to lose weight. It’s great for getting the whole body working, including your digestive system and bowels.

Your digestive system can actually work more effectively for the 24 hours after your exercise, especially when you do something that involves the muscle groups around your bowels and intestines. It’s time to get in more weight exercises or core strengthening options.

If you can’t get out and run, don’t worry about it! It’s about doing an activity that suits your capabilities. You can always build your way up to doing more physical and cardio exercises on a daily basis.

This really is something that you can start right now. Find just 10 minutes, to begin with to get your heart pumping and your body sweating. There are even desk exercises that you can do at work to make sure you get some exercise.

Build this up to 30-60 minutes a day. This doesn’t have to be in one sitting! Break it up into 10-minute intervals, and you will find it much easier to do it all.

Opt for High Water Content Foods

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As I said, most of us are dehydrated, and this isn’t going to be good for our digestive systems. Well, it’s time to make a few changes to the type of foods that you eat to get more water into your diet. Let’s start simple: add foods that have a high water content.

These foods include cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, and even melons (especially watermelons). You may even find that you’re craving these types of fruits and vegetables because you need the water content from them. Don’t be ashamed of admitting it to yourself and improving your lifestyle.

If you can’t find the actual foods, you can add water content to other vegetables and types of foods. Steam your broccoli and carrots and boil your potatoes in water. You’ll soon find that you’re adding more water to your diet without even thinking about it!

The high water content foods will also be good for the digestive system because of the nutrients within the foods. These foods tend to be high in fibre, and we’ll move onto that next.

Get High Fibre Fruits and Vegetables

Yes, fruits and vegetables are the best options for improving your digestive system. They are packed full of nutrients, including fibre.

Many fruits and vegetables have both soluble and insoluble fibre. Both are needed for the body to work in the way that it should. The soluble fibre helps to promote the workings of the digestive system. It helps to keep the intestines and bowels working effectively. The insoluble fibre doesn’t break down. Instead, it pushes the food through the intestines to avoid constipation. It can also solidify the tools to avoid the runs.

Fibre isn’t just great for the digestive system. It will also break down slowly to keep the whole body healthy and make people feel fuller for longer. You’ll eat less, so your digestive system doesn’t need to do as much work throughout the day!

Focus on Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Most of the issues with the digestive system involve inflammation. This is the body’s natural response to being ill. If the body feels like it is infected, it will release properties to cause some inflammation so that the antibodies can fight the infection.

The problem is our bodies tend to think some healthy foods are bad for us. Our bodies can even think certain types of foods are so harmful that allergic reactions occur. While you need to avoid foods that cause allergic reactions, you should also focus on foods that will help avoid the inflammatory reaction when it’s unnecessary.

Focus on foods that have anti-inflammatory properties. These include the likes of coconut oil, nuts, some fruits and vegetables, and even seeds. Most of them are extremely easy to add to the diet, and you can start right now. Snack on nuts instead of chocolate or use coconut oil in your cooking instead of vegetable oil. You’ll be surprised at the difference you’re making.

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Support the Digestive System With Whole Foods

Like fruits and vegetables, whole foods are better for your body because of the fibre. They are also lower in sugar and salt, which means your body is doing less work when you eat them. And since they’re full of fibre, you eat less, so your body doesn’t need to do as much work.

It’s not just about getting any type of whole foods, though. This isn’t about opting for the whole grain pasta or bread instead of the white options.

You need to reach for organic options even more. This can include your meat and veg, as well as other options. When you opt for organic, you get rid of the extra chemicals added to the foods. We have no idea what these chemicals do to us, but we do know that there are more health problems since adding them in than there were before we used them! There has to be a reason for that!

Support your digestive system by choosing the right types of foods when you’re in the grocery store.

Opt for Probiotics on a Daily Basis

You may have heard a lot about probiotics. They tend to be promoted on a daily basis, telling you how you can improve your health and digestive tract. Well, there is some truth to all the advertisement claims.

Our bodies are full of bacteria. The gut can have both good and bad bacteria. While we know that bad bacteria causes health problems, but good bacteria can help to strengthen the digestive system and even keep the bad bacteria at bay.

While good bacteria are created naturally, we can help our systems by feeding them the right ingredients. Opt for probiotics to give your body the best start. They will line the digestive tract, so that even if there is something bad it’s not going to do as much harm as it could!

Get the Right Ingredient Combination

Who would have thought that choosing to eat the right types of foods together would help with improving the digestive system? It turns out that not all food is made equally. Well, you knew that but did you know that combining the right ingredients could help to create a neutral platform?

Some foods are high in acid while others have a more alkaline base. If you eat them both separately, you’re changing the pH level within your body. This can cause heartburn, digestive problems, bowel issues, and so much more. While your body is more on the alkaline side, it is towards the lower end towards the neutral. So you want to help it stay there.

If you’re going to eat something acidic, combine it with something alkaline. Likewise, if you’re going to have an alkaline ingredient, try to combine it with an acid one. You’ll create a neutral pH between them.

One of the best examples of this is adding cheese to your fruit. The alkaline in the cheese helps to balance the acid in the fruit, so your teeth and digestive tract are protected.

Don’t Add Too Much to Your Meals

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We like to be adventurous. That often leads to being complex as possible with our dishes. We want to create something exciting and new, right?

Well, your complex dishes are causing problems for your digestive system. With the complex options, your digestive system is having to do far more work than it should need to. You end up having to wait longer for it all to digest fully, and some of it can get blocked or stuck on the way through.

Try to opt for simple meals as much as possible. This doesn’t mean the meals can’t be exciting, but you want to keep it all as easy as possible for your body.

This is something that you can change slowly. Work your way to cutting down on the amount of ingredients that you throw together at once. If possible, eat as many raw ingredients together as possible.

Magnesium Is a Power Nutrient for the Digestive System

If you have digestive issues, there are high chances that you don’t get enough magnesium on a daily basis. This is one of those minerals that the body doesn’t create on its own, so we tend to be deficient in it. In fact, most of us don’t get enough of it, even with a healthy diet!

Magnesium isn’t just necessary for the digestive system. It helps to control 300 reactions in our bodies, so it is powerful and cried out for on a daily basis. But it is powerful for the digestive system, and those who started taking supplements in a study found that they had fewer digestive issues on a daily basis than without it!

The great thing about magnesium is that you can get it easily. It’s in the majority of fruits and vegetables, as well as red wine (one glass a day is all you need) and some meats and legumes. You can also take supplements if you really struggle to get it in your diet.

Focus on Less Stress on a Daily Basis

I know that this is easier said than done for some of us. We constantly seem to have things to worry about. There are money issues, family problems, and life drama thrown at us at the same time.

And if you’re a naturally anxious person, stress can be even worse. It’s important to get this mental health issue treated so you can even think about improving your stress levels.

When you have a healthy mental state, your whole body will thank you. Stress is known as a silent killer. It causes muscle tension, raised blood pressure, poor sleep patterns, and affected bodily functions. Our digestive systems don’t get the help that they need to be able to get out the waste and promote the healthy benefits.

One of the ways that you can release the stress is by making a conscious habit of not worrying. Yes, I know that this is hard but trust me that it can really work. If you can’t do something about a situation, what’s the point in worrying about it? Why are you constantly thinking of the negative outcomes? There are positive ones that could happen.

If you can do something about a situation, then take some action. Make your life better and have a more peaceful setting. This includes getting help for any mental health problem that you currently have to focus on a healthier future. Your digestive system won’t be the only part of your life thanking you.

You’ll benefit in a way that helps you with the final tip to improve your digestive system.

Improve the Amount and Quality of Sleep that You Get

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Sleep is powerful. Doctors don’t quite know why we need to sleep; just that it’s a necessary part of the day. Your body will give in if it doesn’t get enough.

But it’s not about the quantity of sleep that you get. You also need to get the best quality of sleep. And yes, good sleep will help to improve your digestive system. It helps to support all your bodily functions because your organs and brain get time to recover from a long day.

One of the most common reasons for poor sleep is stress, so you definitely need to improve that. However, your sleeping position and mattress could also affect the quality of sleep. Your overall lifestyle can also affect the amount of sleep that you get.

Now’s the Time to Make Some Changes

If you want to improve your digestive system, you need to make some changes. All of these tips can be implemented today—yes, right now. Some of them will take time for your digestive system to benefit from, so there’s no time like the present to take the steps.

Improve your digestive system, and you will improve the rest of your life. You’ll make it easier for your body to absorb nutrients and you’ll have less pain on a daily basis. What are you waiting for?

8 Weight Loss Blood Tests that You Need to do Today!!

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Blood tests for weight loss program

You have restricted fat, sugar, oil, and rice from the diet; you have even pushed yourself to the extremes of exercise but still, you are gaining weight! You fail to see the reason behind unexplained weight gain. Well, you are still missing out an important aspect, your physiological health. In simpler terms, your blood may have the answer to it.

FREE Nutritionist Consultation by Truweight. Ask away all your diet doubts, get a complete body composition analysis done, along with getting a FREE weight loss book from Truweight. Click on the link and get started.

There are a lot more reasons for a resistant weight loss than just bad diet and lifestyle. Hormones and weight loss are one of the oldest associations you can find. Blood tests will help you determine your hormonal status accurately, indirectly helping the investigation on weight gain. Watch the video to know why blood tests or lab tests are important for weight loss.

So just to put it in short, these are the 8 important blood test for weight loss that you can get done

  1. Liver profile
  2. Lipid profile.
  3. Thyroid hormone tests.
  4. Diabetes or insulin profile test.
  5. Iron Deficiency tests.
  6. Vitamin D and B12 status tests.
  7. Sex hormone tests.
  8. Stress hormone tests.

We will go over these 8 tests and how these blood tests are important for weight loss.

List of Blood Tests for Weight Loss

  1. Complete Liver Profile
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List of blood tests for weight loss #1 Liver function tests

The blood tests that come under the liver profile or liver function tests are ALT, AST, and GGT. Why request for this blood tests is because the liver is one of the major organs in the body which takes care of detoxification. Detoxification is nothing but getting rid of the toxins, which also includes excess fat, from the body. An overworked liver or a dysfunctional one can mean a buildup of toxins in the blood, inflammation as seen in obesity, and a fat accumulation around the belly. All of us know how stubborn belly fat is to lose! So if you are looking at a long-term weight loss, pay attention to your liver health. That may hold a clue to your weighty issues!

  1. Lipid profile
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List of blood tests for weight loss #3: Lipid profile tests

The test which comes next in line is the lipid or the fat profile test. The blood test that comes under a lipid profile test is HDL cholesterol levels, LDL cholesterol levels, total cholesterol, and triglycerides. As you may know, high levels of LDL and total cholesterol sounds an alarm bell for your overall health; not just weight loss. Similarly, a low level of HDL or good cholesterol is definitely a good sign. Get this report to a nutritionist for a diet-related solution.

  1. Thyroid hormone test or thyroid blood test
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List of blood tests for weight loss #3: Thyroid hormone profile

A thyroid hormone blood test involves measuring T3, T4, and TSH levels. Do you know, the thyroid hormone works on every cell of the body controlling it. This also means our metabolism. A thyroid stimulating hormone high level can cause a reduction in your metabolic rate (the amount of energy always burnt for heart beating, thinking, breathing etc). Not good news if you’re looking for weight loss. Read more about how thyroid hormones affect your weight.

  1. Diabetes or insulin profile test.
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List of blood tests for weight loss #4: Diabetes screening tests

A fasting and postprandial blood glucose test, same for the insulin levels can be done. Insulin is known to be a fat building hormones. So excess levels are sure to guarantee accumulation of fat in the body. Not only does insulin result in fat storage, it also prevents the breakdown of fat as an energy source. Diabetes is a condition signified by an increase in circulating insulin levels, leading to insulin resistance. Hence it is common sense to get your blood sugar and insulin levels tested.

  1. Iron tests
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List of blood tests for weight loss #5 iron tests

The blood tests that you can request at serum iron, haemoglobin, ferritin, transferrin, total iron binding capacity. This will help you understand your iron status. Now, weight loss is dependent on the availability of many nutrients, iron being one of them. If you are iron deficient, then you may experience fatigue and tiredness. In this scenario, even your metabolism slows down. Exercise may also seem like a difficult task when deficient in iron. Your dietician can help you out with ways to prevent iron deficiency by altering your diet.

  1. Vitamin D and vitamin B12 tests
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List of blood tests for weight loss # 6 Vitamin D and Vit B12

Vitamins and weight loss? Let us tell you the results of a study. Researchers have found that our body has a switch to control the weight. The minute it reaches a set mark, it tries to maintain our body weight at that mark. The entire problem starts when this set mark increases which happen during winters. Winters are also when vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is not available. So when you are deficient in this vitamin, our body thinks it is winter and starts piling on fat! Similarly, B-complex vitamins are important for the digestion and utilisation of carbohydrates in the diet. In their absence, this process gets disrupted leading to fat deposition. Hence it is important to have a diet that is replete in these nutrients.

Additional tests:

  1. Sex hormone tests
sex hormone tests - 8 Weight Loss Blood Tests that You Need to do Today!!
List of blood tests for weight loss #7: Sex hormone tests

Women can struggle with weight if they have polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS. Women with PCOS have high levels of male hormones namely testosterone and insulin. These present as menstrual irregularities and weight gain among others. You can request for total and free testosterone test.  We present a detailed view of how PCOS affects weight.

  1. Stress hormone tests
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List of blood tests for weight loss #8: Stress hormone tests

Different hormones are released under stressful situations that lead to weight gain and obesity. It has been found that the body also releases a hormone called cortisol when it is under stress. This hormone not only leads to storage of body fat but also increases food cravings and encourages hunger pangs for fatty or sugary foods. You can request for a cortisol blood test.

So there you go, a complete list of blood tests that will help you understand your body well and help you make wise dietary decisions.

 

 

8 Benefits of Barley You Must Know Today

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Belonging to the grain family, Barley is one of the oldest cultivated grains consumed in the world. And throughout its history, it has never lost its importance. The reason is, there are numerous barley benefits that we cannot at all ignore. From containing the 8 essential amino acids to being one of the most low-calorie grains, barley benefits are never-ending. So, for a while let the current popular whole grains like Quinoa or Oats take a back seat and let’s discover the amazingly surprising uses of barley.

1. Barley Benefits the Gallbladder

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Barley can prevent Gallstone formation

Most of the gallstones are cholesterol deposits that are linked to more bile acid secretion. About 1 cup of barley contains 6 gms of dietary fibre. This insoluble dietary fibre helps the digestive system by reducing the bile acid secretion in the body and promoting the movement of food fast through the small intestine. The reduced bile acid secretion also lowers the level of triglycerides, which helps in fighting risks of gallstones formation. In a research by Nurse’s Health Study, women who consumed the most fibre overall were 6% less likely to undergo gallbladder removal. [1]

2. Barley benefits for the heart

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Barley benefits the Heart

Besides being a rich source of insoluble fibre, barley also contains soluble fibre that majorly helps in lowering cholesterol levels. Atherosclerosis is a type of heart disease that is very common and is often caused by plaques of cholesterol forming in the arteries. Beta-glucan is one primary soluble fibre found in barley and this helps in lowering cholesterol and hence keeping risks of cholesterol driven heart diseases at bay. [2]

3. Barley benefits in diabetes

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Barley helps in fighting diabetes

The soluble fibre present in barley is definitely beneficial for people with diabetes. Soluble fibre in barley controls blood sugar level by delaying the process of stomach emptying. This reduces the entry of glucose into the blood and also lowers the spike in blood sugar level post meals. [3] Also, a fibre rich diet is always advised for people with type 2 diabetes, where diet plays a major role in managing the disease. Barley has a low GI which makes it a good option for diabetic people.

4. Barley benefits the Immune system

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Barley improves the Immunity System

Like I already mentioned, barley contains a powerhouse of nutrients. It is known that deficiency of amino acids has the ability to impair the immune system. [4] The good news is, barley is filled with amino acids even the essential ones. Moreover, barley contains, Vitamin B, Iron, Copper, Magnesium, Copper, Zinc, Selenium. All these help in keeping our immune system intact. The Iron and copper specifically help in fighting fatigue and anaemia. To include barley to your diet, you can go for barley water. However, along with the above benefits of barley water, one must keep in mind that it contains gluten. Hence it should be avoided by gluten intolerant people.

Did you know?

Almost half of the amount of barley produced globally is used as animal food.

Barley is used in the manufacture of malt that is a major ingredient of alcoholic drinks like beer and whiskey.

Barley was once Europe’s most important crop, until the 16th century.

1.2 percent of Canada’s GDP accounts from beer from barley. [5]

Russia is the greatest producer of barley.

Barley is used as a soup thickener in the food industry.

5. Barley benefits during pregnancy

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Drinking Barley Water helps in pregnancy

Another use of barley water is that it can be a great health-boosting drink for pregnant women. Barley water helps in regulating digestion and preventing constipation during pregnancy due to its dietary fibre content. Moreover, one more benefit of barley water is that pregnant women can drink it to flush out body toxins and excess water, which causes pregnancy edema. This is characterized by swelling of foot and ankle during pregnancy. Another noteworthy benefit of barley water is that it helps increase breast milk production. Barley contains Tryptophan that increases prolactin levels, which contributes to increased milk production.[6] No wonder, barley is one of the top lactogenic foods.

6. Barley benefits against cancer

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Barley Benefits in fighting Cancer

Barley is a source of the plant nutrient known as lignan which gets transformed into mammalian lignans. These help in fighting certain cancers. Moreover, barley can help combating cancer in the following ways

Colon cancer

The fibre in barley increases the bulk activity and decreases the time of transit for the faecal matters. These activities protect the colon and reduce risks of colon cancer. [6]

Leukemia, prostate cancer 

Barleys contain alpha-tocopherol succinate, an antioxidant, that showed anti-leukaemia and anti-prostate cancer effects.

Hormonal cancers 

Enterolactone is a type of the mammalian lignan, mentioned above helps in protecting cells against hormonal cancers as well as breast cancers. [7]

7. Barley benefits for urinary tract infections

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Barley benefits for Urinary Tract Infections

One of the common uses of barley water is as a diuretic drink. It helps getting rid of toxins and infectious bacteria through urine. Thus benefits of barley water can help treat infections in the urinary tract. Besides this, drinking barley water can help cleansing kidneys too.

8. Barley benefits for weight loss

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Barley promotes weight loss

Out of many uses of barley, its benefits in weight loss makes it ideal for any healthy weight loss diet. The factors that make barley and ideal weight loss grain are

  • The fibre contents of barley make it a stomach-filling grain. Therefore, adding barley into your meals will make you feel full for a long time. Hence reduces the chances of snacking more.
  • Barley water promotes digestion as well as effective metabolism of body fats that help in weight loss.
  • As the nutrition chart says, barley is low in calories even compared to its whole grain counterparts, hence another way of promoting weight loss.

FAQs

Q. Why is barley water good for you?

A. 4 Benefits of Barley water are:

 a. Using barley water daily acts as a detoxifier for the intestines as well as the whole body.

b. Helps in preventing constipation.

c. Drinking as well as applying barley water on acne helps in treating it.

d. Drinking barley water instead of sweetened beverages can help in weight loss.

Q. Is barley better for you than rice?

A. Depending on the lower GI of barley and high fiber content than rice, barley is better than rice. However, having brown rice is still healthy and can definitely be consumed.

Q. How do you make barley water?

A. There are different uses of barley water. Here’s a simple and easy way to prepare it.

a) Wash the barley and soak it for 4-5 hours.

b)Strain it and take 1 cup of the soaked barley and add 3-4 cups of water to it.

c)Boil it in a pan and let the barley and water simmer for about an hour.

d) Let the barley be cooked until soft.

e) Let it cool down.

f) Take a mesh and strain it into a cup.

Q. What is the use of barley?

A. Uses of barley-

a) Can be used instead of rice.

b) Barley water can be taken as a health drink.

c) Barley can be used as a body detoxifier.

d) Barley can be used as a face pack with barley flour and lemon juice. It regulates the skin sebum production.

There are foods that are endowed with health benefits just like we found about barley. To know more about foods and their health factors, and  to use them for the benefits of our body, consult a Truweight Nutritionist today. Let your diet plan be guided by the experts. And one bonus offer, the first consultation is totally FREE. Avail it here today!

The Top 3 Things You Can Do Today To Create a Healthy Lifestyle (a Nutrition Coach Talks About What Works)

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Michelle Cloutier

I am crazy passionate about empowering and educating others to take responsibility of their health, as I have seen such incredible transformation and believe everyone has the ability to be healthy and happy. My focus is on the education of healthy eating of high quality living foods and products that nourish and supports our body’s ability to detoxify and heal. I incorporating digestive health, mind-body connection and lifestyle choices in order to enhance our overall quality of life. I am a Whole Food Nutrition & Lifestyle Educator, an Hippocrates Health Educator, and a Certified Raw Food Chef.

Resources for help today, during The Great American Smokeout, and any day you decide to quit smoking

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Today is The Great American Smokeout, a day when all smokers are encouraged to abstain from cigarettes for 24 hours.  Millions of Americans are participating, and it’s simple for you to participate, too.  All you have to do is not smoke during the 24 hours of the Smokeout.  This helps you understand that you can indeed quit smoking for a day—and help you learn that you’re not alone in your quest to stop smoking.  The Great American Smokeout may even help jump-start your efforts to permanently quit smoking—but even if it doesn’t, you’ll at least have experienced quitting for a day.

If you are interested in quitting smoking—whether for a day or permanently–below is a comprehensive list of resources that includes written information about tobacco cessation, online resources for help, smartphone apps, how to obtain individualized counseling, in-depth information about smoking cessation medications, and more.

Your employer
Your employer may be a great resource to help you quit smoking. Many employers offer tobacco cessation programs as part of the employee benefits package. One such program is Health Advocate’s Tobacco Cessation program. This 13-week program provides employees with unlimited one-on-one support from trained specialists. Check with your employer to find out if they offer Health Advocate’s Tobacco Cessation program or any other smoking cessation initiatives.  Also, ask your employer if they subsidize nicotine replacement therapies like nicotine gum or the nicotine patch (if they don’t, check online–you may be able to find coupons to use on these products).

Your doctor
Mention to your doctor that you’re interested in quitting smoking.  Your doctor can provide you with recommendations and resources that can help you quit.  (Don’t have a doctor?  An advocacy service like Health Advocate or Health Proponent can help you find one who’s in-network and local to you.)

Cancer.org
Click here for a ton of really cool resources, including a cigarette cost calculator (you may be shocked at how much money you’re spending on cigarettes over time), “desktop helpers” that can help you plan your quit day and deal with cravings, and more.

National Cancer Institute resources:
NCI Smoking Quitline at 1–877–44U–QUIT (1–877–448–7848) provides individualized counseling, printed information, and referrals to other sources.
View this NCI fact sheet, “Where To Get Help When You Decide To Quit Smoking”: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/tobacco/help-quitting

http://www.smokefree.gov/ is a Web site created by NCI’s Tobacco Control Research Branch; check out their Step-by-Step Quit Guide.
Get the Smokefree QuitGuide app for your smartphone: http://www.smokefree.gov/apps/

American Cancer Society
http://www.cancer.org/Healthy/StayAwayfromTobacco/GuidetoQuittingSmoking/index
Their website includes a guide to quitting smoking.
You can also call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345.

American Heart Association
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/QuitSmoking/Quit-Smoking_UCM_001085_SubHomePage.jsp
1-800-AHA-USA1

BecomeAnEX.org
http://www.becomeanex.org/
This website features a free, online plan to help you quit smoking.

American Lung Association
http://www.lungusa.org/
1-800-LUNG-USA

Other resources:
“Help for Smokers and Other Tobacco Users” is a free booklet created by the US Department of Health and Human Services packed with tips on how to quit:
http://www.ahrq.gov/consumer/tobacco/helpsmokers.htm

“FDA 101: Smoking Cessation Products” is an article put out by the Food and Drug Administration that discusses the variety of approved products, both over-the-counter and prescription, that can help you quit smoking.
http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm198176.htm

10 Ancient Rules We Should All Live by Today

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Any good framework for understanding human behavior should have applied potential. A good psychological theoretical framework should provide a road map to how we can improve such domains of the human condition as physical health, mental health, education, government, and so forth. I think that a good framework for understanding human behavior should provide some kind of personal roadmap. In other words, a good theoretical perspective in psychology should help us understand not only our broader social world, but also our personal world—and help us live a better life.

As I’ve written extensively, evolutionary psychology has the capacity to help us gain enormous insights into the human condition (Geher, 2014). Following are 10 ways that evolutionary psychology, which has emerged as the single most powerful explanatory framework in the behavioral sciences, can help guide our personal lives in positive ways:

1. Follow human universal moral codes.

Most humans are explicitly religious (Wilson, 2002). Amazingly, in spite of all the conspicuous differences among various religions, there are extraordinary universals among them. As David Sloan Wilson famously pointed out, all religions serve to encourage people to sacrifice their selfish interests for the good of the broader group. Along with this general tendency are universal moral codes—codes that not only exist across many religious groups, but also seem to typify human psychology regardless of whether someone is “religious” or not (Trivers, 1985). Across all human groups, inflicting costs on innocent others is frowned upon. So is taking more than one’s fair share of a resource, and contributing less than everyone else in a group. These facts, which characterize our “groupish” species across the globe, help us understand human evolved moral psychology. That knowledge can help us thrive in the many group contexts in which we find ourselves.  

2. Prioritize family.

A landslide of data on human social behavior shows that family matters. Humans, like many species, demonstrate kin-selected altruism—the tendency to show biased prosocial behavior toward genetically related kin (offspring, siblings, cousins, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.). Blood is very thick, and evolutionary psychology helps us understand why. Call your parents. Love your children. And stay in touch with your cousins. Your kin network is a unique, inescapable, and deeply important element of your life.

3. Focus on friendships.

When Trivers (1971) developed the idea of reciprocal altruism as a basic part of our evolved psychology, he nailed it. Humans live in stable social groups for long periods of time, and we recognize and remember individuals. Developing friends (independent of kin) is an essential part of our evolutionary heritage. Don’t blow it! People evolved to help non-kin—with expectations of being helped in return—and we evolved to have expectations of such relationships between reciprocating individuals last for a long time. So be a loyal friend, like the most successful of our ancestors surely were.  

4. Don’t forget to love.

Love takes on various forms across cultures and kinds of relationships. But, at the end of the day, it’s a human universal. Mating systems that resemble some form of monogamy are common across the globe. The universal emotional experience of love provides the psychological and (oxytocin-based) physiological glue that keeps couples together. It also allows them to work as collaborators in raising such altricial (i.e., needy) offspring as we find in our species (Fisher, 1993). Love is a wonderful thing, and clearly a basic part of our evolved heritage. Make sure that you have plenty of it in your life.

5. Expect a long social life.

In some species, such as beavers, an adult animal can go months without seeing a conspecific (a member of its same species). In other species, such as North American crows, animals see the same individuals day in and day out, across seasons and years. Humans are more like crows than beavers. In such species, animals form relationships. They come to rely on one another for help in such tasks as finding and sharing food. What’s good for one animal is often good for others in the group—regardless of kin lines, in many cases. Humans are perhaps the world’s leading prototype of a species that has a consistent social group across long periods of time. Let this fact help guide your interactions, and you’ll benefit accordingly.   

6. Expect a long physical life.

Some species show brief, fast-lived lives (such as drosophila, or fruit flies). Some have lives that are decades long. In species with short lives, evolutionarily optimal strategies are designed for such timeframes—a plan of developing quickly and reproducing frequently, for example, makes evolutionary sense. In long-lived species, such as humans, such fast-reproducing strategies are not evolutionarily optimal. In a slow-developing and slow-reproducing species such as ours—what biologists call a k-selected species—taking time to form healthy and trusting long-term relationships across the lifespan is evolutionarily essential.

7. Treat others like you live in a world of 150 people.

Under modern conditions, we are often surrounded by strangers we’ve never seen before and will likely never see again. (Think of being on a train in a foreign country.) Under ancestral conditions, that typified hominid evolution for thousands and thousands of generations, humans rarely encountered any individuals outside their own clan. These clans were stable groups including both kin and individuals with long-standing relationships with clan members, typically totaling about 150 individuals (Dunbar, 1992). If you were only going to see the same 150 people—and only them—for the next 40 or so years, how would you treat them? Kindly, of course!

8. Get out into nature.

For over 99 percent of our evolutionary history, there was no such thing as an office building, a car, a train, a house, or a computer. Our ancestors lived in nature. Always. They were exposed regularly to sunlight, vegetation, animals, and features of the natural landscape like rivers, trees, and mountains. Today we spend too much time inside and too little time out in nature. Such modern problems like Seasonal Affective Disorder likely relate to this classic evolutionary mismatch. So take a hike, run outside, take out a canoe, take the kids to the beach, or climb a mountain. You’re unlikely to regret doing any of these things.

9. Eat, exercise, and live naturally.

One of the great insights of modern evolutionary science relates directly to health: Our modern lifestyles mismatch ancestral conditions, which has led to dramatic health consequences both mental and physical. A lack of evolutionarily typical social environments, such as modern people living far from their extended kin, has consistent adverse mental health effects, like loneliness and isolation. Similarly, a lack of natural levels of exercise—our ancestors covered miles and miles a day for generations—leads to such adverse physical health outcomes as obesity and heart disease. And a lack of natural foods in one’s diet similarly leads to such adverse health outcomes as Type-II diabetes and premature death. Our minds and bodies were adapted to small-group living in the natural African savanna environment, eating only non-processed foods. To the extent that we can replicate significant aspects of this kind of environment, we are doing ourselves a favor. Otherwise, we risk living an unhealthy mismatched life, like a monkey in a cage at a zoo.

10. Cultivate life.

Evolution has nearly everything to do with life, and cultivating life matches much of what’s in our evolved minds. Parenting is a form of cultivating life that is easily understandable from an evolutionary perspective. Putting time and care into one’s offspring is, perhaps, our evolutionary goal sine qua non. But there are lots of other ways to cultivate life, all tapping into our evolved tendency to nurture. Such examples include working as a teacher or camp counselor, working in the “helping professions” such as social work, taking on foster children or foster pets, or working on community-based initiatives to improve the environment. (Or, as I do each summer, you can plant a vegetable garden, care for it, take out the weeds, fend off the critters, water it, and watch it grow.)

From an evolutionary perspective, each and every one of us is extremely fortunate to be here at all. The percentage of organisms that now exists is infinitesimal compared with the zillions of potential alternative organisms that never passed the screen of natural selection and, thus, never made it here. Your life is the product of eons of natural selection and lots of random luck. That is a beautiful thing. Make the most of it.

 

References

Dunbar, R. I. M. (1992). Neocortex size as a constraint on group size in primates. Journal of Human Evolution, 22(6), 469–493.

Fisher, H. (1993). Anatomy of Love – a Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray. New York: Ballantine Books.

Geher, G. (2014). Evolutionary Psychology 101. New York: Springer.

Trivers, R. L. (1971). The evolution of reciprocal altruism. Quarterly Review of Biology, 46, 35–57.

Trivers, R. (1985). Social evolution. Menlo Park, CA: Benjamin/Cummings.

Wilson, D. S. (2002). Darwin’s Cathedral: Evolution, Religion and the Nature of Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Do One Thing To Improve Your Health Today!

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I’m a huge fan of The Monday Campaigns, a non-profit initiative from health advocates at Johns Hopkins, Columbia, and Syracuse Universities that promotes Meatless Monday, Healthy Monday, Move It Monday, The Kids Cook Monday, Quit & Stay Quit Monday, Caregiver Monday (a.k.a. “Me Time Monday”), and Woman Up/Man Up Monday. According to the initiative, Monday is the day that “All health breaks loose.” The Monday Campaigns reach out to schools, hospitals, camps, and media worldwide, in what has become a global movement to provide preventive health information to consumers when they are most ready to listen. 

Why Monday?

On the calendar, Sunday is the beginning of the new week, but Monday is the day when people are most likely to want to get their acts together and embrace the idea of a fresh new start. That makes it a good day for spreading “get healthy” and “stay healthy” messages. A study published in the July 2014 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that Google searches relating to health peaked on Mondays and Tuesdays, with the volume of searches decreasing as the week went on, until they began to pick up again on Sunday.

Let’s Do It!

While The Monday Campaigns is first and foremost a marketing effort, the focus is on sending public health messages about diet, exercise, preventing sexually transmitted diseases, and smoking cessation. That’s an agenda I can support. Rather than wait until the first of each year to catch the tide of New Year’s resolutions, The Monday Campaigns and their partners send out supportive messages ever week.

My goal is to post a new blog every Monday and, at the same time, renew my own personal commitment to keeping myself healthy, living long enough to see my grandchildren, and trying to inspire others to do the same. What about you? You can wake up every Monday morning with a renewed determination to take responsibility for your health by eating more fruits and vegetables, avoiding processed foods, quitting smoking, cutting back on alcohol, or committing to anything else that will help prevent disease and ultimately improve your quality of life. Even better, start looking for inspiration and planning your personal campaign on Sunday evening—and keep it up until Saturday!

For more inspiration and ideas about how you can improve your health on Mondays, or any other day, check out http://www.mondaycampaigns.org.

Pillars of Tomorrow’s Medicine Today

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Introduction:

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This concludes my autobiographical three part series concerning tomorrow’s medicine today in which I share thoughts based on my experiences in hopes this will help others to ask the right questions and get better answers. In these three October Blogs, I’m also addressing why medicine remains the fastest growing failing business in the world today! 

Patient Compliance and Rational Health Choices:

My practice and professional association with physicians made me aware of problems motivating patients to take better care of themselves and “follow doctor’s orders,” in their own behalf beginning with New Year’s Resolutions. In the context of crisis medicine (i.e., sickness-care) patients are inclined to take care of themselves. In the context of prevention (i.e., wellness- care) patients are inclined to cheat and ignore issues of weight reduction, diet, alcohol abuse, exercise, smoking, food addictions, stress, etc. It’s not uncommon for patients in preventive medicine programs to throw caution and enlightened self-interest to the wind with la belle indifference.

My interest in personal motivation, self-reliance, and rational health choices focuses on making healthy choices and the struggle to be mindful of the risks involved. Do you suppose there is a co-dependency between society and the patient? This might be true if society caused anxiety or depression, but it is more likely true with individuals professing a strong sense of entitlement. However the problem may not be one of commission, but one of omission on society’s part; depending on how much of a libertarian you are, how much you believe in the virtue of self-reliance and the vice of entitlement, or how much you believe in helping fallible human beings overcome personal problems.

Individuals and society share a stake in controlling insurance and medical costs. Medical inflation hurts everyone, reduces productivity and ultimately degrades our standard of living. Meanwhile, opportunistic drug pricing, rather than value pricing, results in bankruptcies that can destroy marriages and families.

__________

I will avoid “pathologizing” irrational health choices by looking beyond Psychology and Positive Psychology to Moral Psychology and Moral Education which I view as the ultimate Preventive Psychology to complement Preventive Medicine.

The Moral Psychology I have in mind is Axiological Psychology and not the Moral Psychology of a hundred years ago. It is founded on a science of values. It is a psychology that encourages and supports rational health choices. It views such behavior as a scientific virtue and the failure to make such choices a scientific vice; but not a virtue or vice in any religious sense.

The revival of concepts such as virtue, vice, good, and evil works for me because I ground them in the new science of values; making possible the development of moral education to complement the learning of our ABCs and 123s. It also allows the development of societal or cultural carrots and sticks to reward rational health choices and discourage irrational health choices. By rational I mean pro-self, pro-social behavior and vice versa.

Do I have concept approval?  Do you think that day will come? Do you think societal sponsorship of elementary moral education can morph into our metaphorical  “Third Person” (i.e. a  societal proxy) in the doctor-patient relationship…without denunciating shouts of “Orwellian,” “Skinnerian,” or “Brave New World?(1)

I think we can all agree that it is desirable for patients to become more mindful (i.e., as distinguished from mindless) of the importance of rational health choices, but is elementary moral education, sponsored and required by society, a good way to achieve this; or is it too Orwellian, Skinnerian, and Brave New World? Do you think promoting Moral Science (i.e., modern Axiological Science) and moral education might even help us avoid the very Orwellian future that some see in our discussion of concepts like virtue, vice, good, and evil… and coming our way anyway?

Theoretical Medicine:

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Medicine is complex. It needs a more robust theoretical medicine discipline to guide it, guide inovation, and the safe use of statistics which tend to blind doctors to the individuality and uniqueness (i.e., psychological and biochemical individuality) of patients. I want to see the serious promotion of Theoretical Medicine for the same reasons physics benefits from Theoretical Physics, and I was among the first to push for the development of this disicpline which has since caught on in some circles, and is becoming more fashionable these days! . 

“I don’t examine. I’m into Theoretical Medicine”

Preventive Psychology:

As noted, I regard moral education as preventive psychology. But, you might ask “whose morality?” Catholic, Protestant, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, etc.?” None of them! I’m referring to basic moral reasoning based on the science of values and valuations that “run our lives;” for we are prisoner’s of our values! (This science derives from the convergence of philosopher Hartman’s Theory of Value and psychologist Pomeroy’s empirical validation of this theory, supported by many years of successful business applications). 

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This convergence of philosophy and psychology, along with their foremost applications of valuementrics and axiological psychology, gives humankind something it never had before; namely the seeds of moral education, preventive psychology, values appreciation, values clarification, and values measurement. It identifies what my friend Wayne Carpenter calls the Feeler, Doer, and Thinker dimensions of moral reasoning which vary in sensitivity, balance, order of influence, and plasticity; all of which can be measured, modified, and improved as needed. These are Carpenter’s more intuitive translations of Hartman’s Intrinsic, Extrinsic, and Systemic Dimensions of value, “value-vision,” “seeing with values,” and “moral reasoning” my research and clincial practice have embraced and successfully tested. This more rigorous approach to values and valuations promises to help us with moral education in years to come; understanding that this is preventive psychology and the first line of defense against “moral insanity” and “clinical insanity;” where “insanity” implies significant anti-self, anti-social behavior as opposed to pro-self, pro-social behavior.    

Conclusions:

I’ve offered an autobiographical discussion of medicine touching on several topics. My purpose is to address important unfinished business in the professions of medicine and psychology.

Let’s not allow the historic success of drugs treating infectious diseases to blind us to the failure of drugs to prevent and heal age-related, chronic, degenerative diseases. Geriatric medicine requires integrated medicine of the sort recent advances in molecular biology, genomic mapping, immunotherapy and stem cell therapy make possible.

My metaphoricalThird Person or Voice,” (i.e., as a societal proxy) in the Doctor-Patient Relationship represents the necessarily greater involvement of society in motivating citizens to make healthy choices. I believe society has this role to play in motivating fallible human beings to overcome procrastination and make rational health choices benefiting themselves and society. It’s consistent with Ben Franklin’s “ounce of prevention.” Besides, isn’t “moralizing” better than “pathologizing?

In the end, society must come up with carrots and sticks to reward virtue and discourage vice where making healthy choices is concerned.This will require the surrender of some freedoms in the name of the greatest good for the greatest number; not unlike what’s happening right now in our fight against terrorism…whether we like it or not.

My call for “Tomorrow’s Medicine Today” is a way to draw attention to the importance of biochemical individuality and the goal of individualizing or tailoring medicine to address this reality rather than the statistical abstraction of the average person who doesn’t exist. References to the average person appear in medical literature. It is the “average person” that the pharmaceutical-industrial complex, enabled by the FDA, refers to when vouching for the safety and efficacy of drugs. We know how a drug will respond when poured into a test tube; but we don’t know how it will respond when poured into your body or mine because we’re not average. This is the weakness of statistics behind even controlled, double blind studies.. 

Arriving at a moral calculus and moral incentives to encourage and improve patient compliance in preventive medicine programs will take time and public education. It may take decades depending on circumstances, but the cost of health care makes this an urgent matter in the long run. Today’s evolving science of values and valuations (i.e., axiological science) gives us a foundation for progress in this area of medicine. It will allow us to more precisely distinguish between basic moral reasoning and applied moral reasoning; which is the difference between cognitive processing dedicated to value, ethical, and moral considerations and the explicit religious, ethical, and philosophical content we’re all familiar with. (The distinction is one of basic value science vs. applied value science…where morals are normative values). 

Civilization and its Discontents is the title of Sigmund Freud’s last book, and he wasn’t all that successful in diagnosing what ails both. It appears both (i.e., collective and individual) lack rules to live by of the kind provided by a scientific study of values supporting moral reasoning and moral education….enriching the wisdom of the ages!

The concept of society playing a more direct role in motivating patients to take better care of themselves will be tested in years to come given the exploding cost of health care whether we like it or not. This will give libertarians something to fight over and humanists something to celebrate.

(1) Note:Orwellian” refers to George Orwell’s anti-utopian novel Nineteen Eight-Four in which he satirizes the tyranny of “Big Brother.”Skinnerian” refers to B. F. Skinner’s radical behaviorism unfolding in the pages of Walden Two. Brave New World refers to Aldous Huxley’s negative utopia.

. © Dr. Leon Pomeroy, Ph.D.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/beyond-good-and-evil

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The Doctor Patient Relationship Needs Help 

Who or What is the Third Voice in the Doctor Patient Relationship? 

 

Tomorrow’s Healing Today

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Introduction

I just returned from the Republic of Indonesia, an archipelago nation spanning 17,000 islands between China and Australia. It has long been the “Water Road” paralleling the “Silk Road” connecting East and West. The capital is Jakarta, and it is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. It was established in the 4th century. During the 350 years of Dutch colonial rule of these “Spice Islands,” the city was known as Batavia. Following the Japanese occupation of World War II and overthrow of the Dutch in 1945, Batavia became Jakarta. In recent years the city has grown more rapidly than Beijing, Bangkok, Singapore, or Kuala Lumpur. My travels to Indonesia have allowed me the opportunity to meet with that nation’s psychologists, physicians, lawyers, businessmen, academics, expatriates, historians, and a collector of gold and wooden artifacts.

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I had previously lectured at the University of Indonesia at Jakarta when gathering data for my cross-cultural study of student values (i.e., studying valuational styles or how students organize and exercise values resulting in a General Capacity to Value). This time I was invited to lecture at Bali’s Faculty of Medicine, and there I discussed my interest in values and healing. Returning to Jakarta, I met with a physician friend, and Ph.D. historian, Dr. Rushdy Hoesein, to discuss the history of Indonesian medicine. I also met with my niece, Dr. Karina F. Moegni to discuss her involvement with biological medicine and her experience treating patients with stem cells.

__________

I. Biology-Based Medicine 

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Dr. Karina F. Moegni, is a physician and surgeon engaged in the practice of biological medicine using stem cells taken from the patient own body. Biological medicine has interested me since I worked with physicians, dentists, veterinarians, and scientists organizing the International Academy of Preventive Medicine (IAPM). I came to appreciate the importance of biological medicine as distinguished from pharmacological medicine, and the moral dimension of healing and medicine as it relates to the virtue of rational health choices. She has successfully treated her mother and husband which says a lot concerning her confidence in the safety and efficacy of stem cells. Before leaving Indonesia, I had the opportunity to observe her treating a diabetic patient at her Jakarta clinic.

Stem cell therapy is a version of biological medicine. It remains controversial in the U.S; however Dr. Moegni has successfully treated patients with adult stem cells extracted from the patient’s adipose or fat tissue. She also plans to treat cancer patients with NK therapy or natural killer cells. Both stem cells and natural killer cells are harvested from the patient’s own tissues: adipose and blood respectively. With the encouragement of the Indonesian government, and support of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical company, she has established a Foundation to support her practice. Investors are prepared to fund the construction of an Adipose Mobile Processing Laboratory and Fixed Bone Marrow Processing Laboratory needed for the preparation of the stem cells. When we spoke earlier this month my niece was completing requirements for the Ph.D. degree in her field of interest. On January 17, 2015 she will conduct a seminar dealing with the neurological and geriatric applications of stem cell therapy. Tomorrow’s biological medicine is taken seriously in Indonesia.

The American Experience

In the U.S. the pharmaceutical-industrial-complex isn’t rushing to invest in biological medicine or stem cell research on the scale that’s needed. Their business model is focused more on the manufacturing of drugs with lucrative patents. Biological medicine involves procedures and practices that are more difficult to monetize or patent on a scale as profitable as drugs. Neither our government nor academic centers are funding stem cells research on a scale that is needed to address the chronic, degenerative diseases of an aging population.

This approach to healing is undeveloped in the U.S. in spite of recent success treating diabetes and in spite of physicians reporting good outcomes while others denounce stem cell therapy as “dramatically premature, unsafe, and not effective.” In some cases they do so without any clinical experience of their own. Their views are contradicted by other doctors who plan to independently evaluate the clinical effectiveness of autologous stem cell therapy (i.e., where the donor and recipient are the same person). FDA guidelines view stem cell therapy as falling in a grey, unregulated area of medicine because the cells are “minimally manipulated,” “not combined with drugs or genetic material,” and because the patient receives his or her own cells which are processed and then re-injected into their bodies. Dr. Moegni treats patients with autologous stem cells and employs procedures used in countries like Germany, Switzerland, Australia, and South Korea.

II. Values-Based Psychology

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Moving from a consideration of medical healing to psychological healing, I had an opportunity to speak with the faculty and students at Bali’s School of Medicine concerning my work in the field of values research. Several years earlier I had studied the valuational styles of Indonesian students in relation to those of Japan, Russia, Mexico, and the U.S. It was an opportunity to share these “cross cultural” or “cross-national” data and introduced axiological psychology as one of the dimensions of tomorrow’s healing today. I spoke of how this new system of psychology is based on a new system of science (i.e., axiological science or the science of values), and how this new science enables the development of a values-based cognitive psychology (i.e., a valuecentric psychology without which there can be no science of psychology or positive psychology). It’s worth noting that this new science of values, and its foremost application of axiological psychology, provides the foundation for culture-free moral education which is tomorrow’s preventive psychology today. 

I raised eyebrows when I suggested that moral education is preventive psychology, and when I suggested “moral insanity” is an important cause of the “clinical insanity” diagnosed and treated by psychologists. There are always questions concerning “whose morality,” and questions concerning moral relativity and the existence of moral absolutes. I didn’t go into such questions at the time, but I’ve discussed them in previous blogs because they concern and define the world “Beyond Good and Evil.”

Values-based cognitive psychology or axiological psychology is another approach to healing that interests me and one I’ve been involved with for many years. I had previously collaborated with a professor at the University of Indonesia, and now had the opportunity to share those data with faculty and students at Bali’s Faculty of Medicine. The following is an attempt to summarize parts of my presentation. 

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Axiological psychology is made possible by advances in the scientific study of values (i.e., habitual evaluative habits that come “alive” within us with use) supporting and enabling belief systems, attitudes and thought-styles. This is important because we’re also habitual self-evaluators which gives rise to issues of self-esteem. Historically, the clinical and scientific study of values has been ignored by psychology and the social sciences because they had been no science of structural values and dynamic valuations until the convergence of philosophical and psychological thought culminating in the publication of The New Science of Axiological Psychology (Rodopi Press, 2005). 

The provenance of axiological science and psychology involves the integration of not one, but two, instances of converging psychological and philosophical thought in the field of cognitive psychology: 1. The Ellis-Epictetus Synthesis giving rise to Ellis’ Super ABC Paradigm which my Bali audience was familiar with. They were well aware of my mentor’s contribution to psychology. 2. The Pomeroy-Hartman Syntheses exploring the the structure of “B” in Ellis’ Super ABC Paradigm. These instances of converging psychological and philosophical thought have given rise to today’s values-based, cognitive psychology I call axiological psychology. It’s a new approach to the study of psychology and therefore all human activities including peace making and conflict resolution. 

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Value science (i.e., axiological science) makes axiological psychology possible, and it is a long overdue second system of science that compliments historic natural science arising out of the world of the ancient Greeks, the European Renaissance and the Age of Reason. Humankind has endured and barely survived the asymmetric evolution of natural science without moral science, and this has given us a half-smart civilization and pre-scientific psychology. The same unfinished business applies to all the social sciences, including the “dismal science” of economics (giving us the Great Depression of 1929 and today’s Great Recession of 2008), and civilization itself. Without understanding this tragic flaw in the character of civilziation and its discontents, Sigmund Freud struggled with it in his book titled “Civilization and Its Discontents.” C. P. Snow struggled to understand it in his book titled “The Two Cultures.” With axiological science we achieve for the first time a scientific understanding and recognition of values in a world of facts that Freud and Snow, and the great minds of history, never grasped or at most merely dreamed about.  

My contribution to the development of axiological science, and its foremost applications of HVP-Valuemetrics and Axiological Psychology, was inspired by psychologist Albert Ellis and philosopher Robert S. Hartman (Photos below). My interest in values research was advanced when I discovered philosopher Hartman’s theory of value and its derivative value profiling methodology (i.e., HVP-Valuemetrics). This inspired me to prove or disprove Hartman’s contributions and the results are technically summarized in the pages of “The New Science of Axiological Psychology.” Not so long ago when visiting Berlin, Germany, I met with an entrepreneur by the name of Dr. Ulrich Christoph Vogel at the Ibis Hotel near the Alexander Platz in what was once communist East Berlin. He surprised me by putting a copy of this book on the table before me and declaring it to be the “Bible” for those interested in the science of values, and engaged in the entrepreneurial marketing of this new science. These days, I know my book is being read because I continue to receive royalty checks ten years after its publication. The challenge I now face is making the content of this book available to a general audience without extensive scientific and statistical training. I need to translate the clinical and statitical findings into a “language” everyone can understand. From time to time I aim blogs in that direction.

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The Super ABC Paradigm:

In Bali that afternoon, I reminded my audience that axiological psychology is also an expansion of Albert Ellis’ Super ABC Paradigm, which I sometimes refer to as “The Guide.” I noted how axiological psychology “unpacks” the cognitive “structure and processing” at “B” (i.e., consisting of beliefs, self-talk, thought-styles, values) in Ellis’ Super ABC Paradigm. Having studied Ellis, my audience in that far away land, understood me. 

For those unfamiliar with Ellis’ therapeutic paradigm, “A” stands for “activating events” (e.g., someone insults you), “B” for “belief systems” (e.g., what you tell yourself about it), and “C” for “consequent emotions and behavior” (e.g., your anger, anxiety or other upset). It’s important to understand that “A” doesn’t cause “C,” and apply this to one’s life. It is “B” that causes “C. ” However, the “maps” at “B” are not “C.” This is to say, the world doesn’t upset us, it is what we “tell ourselves” about the world that upsets us. We upset ourselves!. (You’d be surprised how many don’t know this and even confuse B-maps (i.e., thinking) with C-territories (i.e., reality). Photo above: psychologist Albert Ellis, Ph.D. 

 

The General Capacity to Value (GCV)

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More specifically, lurking behind beliefs and thoughts styles at “B” are three interacting dimensions of the General Capacity to Value (GCV) known as the Intrinsic (I), Extrinsic (E), and Systemic (S) “lenses” or “dimensions” of valuation. I refer to them more intuitively as the Feeler (F), Doer (D), and Thinker (T) “lenses” or “dimensions” of valuation or “seeing with values;” remembering we are prisoners of our values and valuations. 

These axiological dimensions (i.e., structural values and functional valuations) vary as to sensitivity, balance, priority, and plasticity, and they are constantly interacting in ways determined by nature and nurture. This axiological dynamism shapes and determines valuational styles giving rise to the attitudes, beliefs, self-talk, and inner-dialogues at “B.Photo above: philosopher Robert S. Hartman, Ph.D. 

Albert Ellis and I were both influenced by Alfred Korzybski’s General Semantics and how language its grammatical structure influence behavior. While Ellis focused on thought styles behind problems in living, I came to focus on how values enable and sustain thought styles (i.e., valuational styles). In time, I began research aimed at establishing the clinical and empirical validity of philosopher Hartman’s theoretical contributions. This was my way of injecting clinically relevant science and evidence based concepts into the field of clinical psychology I had always regarded as too philosophical. 

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Historical Background  

At the time of my internship with Ellis, I confronted the problem best defined by Professor Milton Rokeach who had written:  “…the concept of value is at once the most important, least studied, and least understood concept in the field of psychology.” I also had to deal with the ambivalence of Abraham Maslow who had written the concept of value might be “obsolete” because it lacked a precise, operational definition; not to mention the failure of the best minds to define the meaning of “good” without using examples of good. Nor was I encouraged by the academic research of Allport, Rokeach, and Kohlberg which had little clinical relevance for me Photo is that of Alfred Korzybski.

I approached cognitive processing dedicated to values and valuations from the perspective of a clinician and not academic. During those early years, I suppose I lost hope of ever finding a clinically relevant, scientific approach to values, and I call those years my “professional wilderness years.” They lasted for seven years or until the day I met a Mexican friend of Hartman giving his test of values to participants of a Cape Cod Seminar. The friend was Salvador Roquet, MD. The test was HVP-Valuemetrics. I learned the test was derived a priori (i.e., without benefit of empirical tests or measures) directly from Robert Hartman’s theory of value. It was constructed by Hartman collaborating with a Mexican psychologist. Its purely a priori origins troubled and intrigued me as I proceeded to validate it and then use it (i.e., the HVP) as an “empirical handle to Hartman’s theory.” This resulted in a direct validation of the HVP and indirect validation of the theory behind it.

You can imagine my surprise at meeting Dr. Roquet using and interpreting Hartman’s test of values. I was forced to reconsider this philosopher’s definition of “good,” which is the the foundation of his theory of value, and its foremost application of value profiling with HVP-Valuemetrics. Using The Hartman Value Profile (HVP) in my private practice, I discovered its clinical usefulness and how it served as a “merciful handle” to Hartman’s theory of value. I took it seriously when few in my profession did and none had attempted systematic and transparent validation studies. Seven years after my mentor Ellis had introduced me to this philosopher, I began to test his theory of value using the best tests and measures of my chosen profession. I shared this experience with my Bali audience, how it inspired my research spanning some twenty-five years, and spoke of how I had set out to prove or disprove Hartman’s theory on my own; as time and funding from my Manhattan private practice allowed.

Conclusion:

Value science has important applications and implications for all the social sciences because of the universality of values and the fact that we are ultimately prisoners of our values and habitual self-evaluators. Our inherited and acquired General Capacity to Value (GCV) shapes, modulates, influences all pro-self, pro-social, anti-self, and anti-social behaviors. It remains forever unfinished business in our individual and collective lives in keeping with the existentialist doctrine of lives as constructions and our responsible pursuit of meaning. 

I did not go into all these details that afternoon on the island of Bali as the Monsoon Season beckoned. I do blog about my work exploring the world “Beyond Good and Evil,” and oppose philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844 – 1900) discovery of Social Darwinism or Survival of the Fittest as ruling the affairs of humankind.  

I can think of nothing more important than for low tech moral science to catch up with high tech natural science. This is important for our individual and collective search for meaning and survival. Closing the gap promises to play a role in the development of tomorrow’s moral education needed to complement today’s learning of ABCs and 123s. It will also give us a preventive psychology needed to complement preventive medicine; for biological medicine (e.g., stem cell thrapies) raises many questions of morality, not the least of which concerns genetic counseling and engineering.

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It was a pleasure to once again share my research with an Indonesian audience just as I have done with students and faculties in Japan, Russia, Mexico, and the U.S. As to healing in general, I look forward to the development of biological medicine and axiological psychology in years to come. These approaches provide a glimpse into the future; revealing approaches I never dreamed possible in my college days. Given the universality of values, we face a future where natural science will be restrained by value science, and this is a good thing. Humankind has struggled forever without a science of values and morals in a world dominated by material science or natural science born of the European Renaissance and Age of Reason which failed to give us a science of values. Remember your history: natural philosophies evolved into natural sciences (e.g., alchemy became chemistry and astrology became astronomy) while moral philosophy tragically remained moral philosophy. With advances in today’s value science (i.e., recall that morals are normative values) this has changed.  

© Dr. Leon Pomeroy, Ph.D.

Note: Following my return from Indonesia, I received disturbing news that AirAsia Flight QZ8501 was reported missing between Surabaya and Singapore. As one who often travels in this region, my thoughts and prayers go out to all anxiously awaiting news following the disappearance of this plane with its 162 passengers. Sadly, climate warming is producing “rogue weather conditions” on land, on sea and in the air, disrupting lives and travel as never before. Departing at the beginning of the Monsoon Season, my return flight encountered more turbulence than usual, and was diverted from the route usually taken by Korean Airlines. 

 

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 Remembering  AirAsia Flight     QZ8501