Sunday, February 26, 2012

20 Ways to Speed Up Your Metabolism

1. Keep Hydrated I'm sure the general population thinks dieticians sound like a broken record when it comes to the whole water thing, but it really is important. Drinking the recommended eight cups of water a day will help your body function at peak performance levels.

2. Keep Calcium Levels Up Current obesity research shows that a dip in calcium levels can trigger the same hormone that causes the body to hold onto fat to be released. Choose low-fat dairy, cheese, yogurt, salmon, tofu, and oatmeal.

3. Ditch the Drinks Happy hours and late night cocktails can do a number on your metabolism the next day. Research shows that the day after a night of drinking, there is a significant dip in your metabolic rate. Combine this with hangover cravings, and you've got a double disaster.

4. Eat Constantly Snacking does not have to be a bad thing. If your stomach is growling, it means that you need more fuel. Not providing your body with food is a surefire way to slow down its basic functions. Choose high-fiber, high-protein snacks like low-fat cheese, fiber crackers, fruits, veggies, or Greek yogurt. Starving your body will sabotage all of your dieting efforts.

5. Destress Yourself Stress raises the amount of cortisol in your body. Cortisol is a hormone that tells the body to hold onto fat in case of a stressful situation (think more natural disaster-level stress, not a bad day at work-level). Experiment with yoga or meditation as ways to lower stress levels and clear your mind.

6. Decrease Diet Soda Although it's low in calories and seems like an easy swap for high calorie beverages, diet soda may actually have adverse effects on your metabolism. Water and seltzer are better options, but if you must drink diet soda, limit your consumption to two cans (not Big Gulps!) per week.

7. Don't Forget Your ZZZ's Getting a least seven to eight hours of sleep every night is crucial to a healthy metabolism. Anything less can adversely affect your body's ability to burn calories. Surprisingly, excess sleep may do the same thing. It's best to keep a consistent bedtime and wake up close to the same time every morning

8. Soak Up the Sun Research shows that when a person spends long periods of time in a darkened, dull environment, it stimulates the same physiological functions in the body as gaining weight and sleep. The best daylight hours are between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., so make it a point to get up from your desk and take a brisk walk outside. Aside from soaking up rays, you'll rev up your heart rate and benefit from the fresh air.

9. Work Out in the Cold Doing any type of cardio exercise in the cold can increase the ability of brown fat in the body to work at maximum capacity. Newly published research indicates that brown fat helps efficiently burn the white fat in your body, which is the considered that "bad fat."

10. Drink Kombucha Tea This tea, which is made from the Kombucha black mushroom, has racked up accolades in almost every health area-claims range from easing arthritis to detoxifying the liver. The detoxifying nature of this beverage may help your body function at an optimal level, which means a healthy metabolism.

11. Increase Weight-Bearing Exercises One pound of muscle burns 35 to 50 calories, while one pound of fat burns a measly 5 to 10 calories. Increasing your muscle mass can increase your body's basal metabolic rate (BMR) by up to 40%. There's no need to hit the weights hard, either, simply using light weights at high repetition has been proven to tone muscle and burn fat.

12. Up Your Vitamin C Vitamin C and calcium are partners in crime when it comes to your metabolic rate. Calcium speeds up metabolism, while vitamin C helps the body absorb this mineral, creating an overall win-win situation.

13. Vitamin B is Key Getting in all over your vitamin B, which you can do by incorporating small amounts of nuts, seeds, lean chicken, beef, and fish into your diet, helps maintain a healthy metabolism. Legumes are also a great source of B vitamins; plus they're chock-full of fiber.

14. Drink Green Tea The polyphenols, specifically EGCG, in green tea have properties that rev up your metabolic rate. However, green tea takes dedication. You have to drink about 4 to 5 cups a day to see results.

15. Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup It's one of the most controversial issues in nutrition: Studies show that HFCS can make the body insulin-resistant. Also, when given the choice, the body stores fructose as fat before it does glucose.

16. Try Interval Training Aside from curing workout boredom, interval training allows you to burn more calories in less time. This is a great way for busy people with less time to get in a maximum workout.

17. Drink Oolong Tea Swap your second latte of the day with a fresh cup of oolong tea. Chinese medicine and celebrities alike tout the calorie boosting properties of this electrifying elixir.

18. Spicy Peppers Take your pick: Jalapenos, chili, cayenne, habanero, etc.. These fiery little guys contain capsaicin, which is why you get a burning sensation in your mouth when you eat them. This same effect is created internally, causing a calorie burn for about 30 minutes afterward.

19. Go Ginger The latest craze is to add ginger shots to juice, but if you're not into juicing, it also pairs nicely with veggies in a stir-fry. In addition to aiding digestion, it can speed up the body's digestion process by as much as twenty percent.

20. Eat Oily Fish Fish such as tuna and salmon contain oil that increases leptin, which is a hormone responsible for controlling appetite.

source: Yahoo

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Top 10 counterfeit goods

Last year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized 25,000 shipments of counterfeit goods that were making their way into the country. The total value of that loot: $178.9 million. Here are the top 10 fakes and how to spot them:

1) Electronics

Value of counterfeits seized: $39 million
Retail value: $101.2 million
Percentage of total seizures: 22%

Among the hottest items: smart phones, tablet computers and DVD or music players.

2) Shoes

Value of counterfeits seized: $25.3 million
Retail value: $97 million
Percentage of total seizures: 14%

Counterfeit shoes used to consist mostly of Nike knock-offs and other athletic footwear, but these days the fakes are going high-end. Counterfeiters are now selling luxury brands like Christian Louboutin and Jimmy Choo, which retail for upwards of $600. And of course, there are those ever-popular Ugg boots that cost $200 a pop for the real deal.

3) Drugs

Value of counterfeits seized: $16.9 million
Retail value: $25.2 million
Percentage of total seizures: 9%

Counterfeit drugs, from prescription pills to over-the-counter medications, can potentially be very dangerous. Most likely, those meds were not manufactured according to the FDA's standards and do not contain the proper amount of active ingredients, if any at all.

For example, one of the most popular counterfeits, Viagra, which is used to treat erectile dysfunction, could contain brick powder, flour and gypsum wall, according to John Clark, chief security officer of Pfizer which makes the drug. And chances are they were also not stored in sanitary conditions and could be contaminated -- in other words, you could end up worse off than you started.

4) CDs and DVDs

Value of counterfeits seized: $15.6 million
Retail value: $35 million
Percentage of total seizures: 9%

As a result of internet piracy, movies, music, exercise videos, business software and educational material have become increasingly easy to rip off, costing the U.S.-based motion picture and recording industry colossal sums.

5) Clothing

Value of counterfeits seized: $14.8 million
Retail value: $126.3 million
Percentage of total seizures: 8%

Most fakes are manufactured in China and can very closely resemble the real brands also made there. But with a little sleuthing, it's clear that the knock-offs are not the same. Cost-cutting counterfeits will use cheaper substitutes on the fabric and zippers, which will likely wear out or break quickly. To spot a fake, check for details like the brand name on the buttons and lesser-quality stitching around the pockets and hems.

6) Perfume

Value of counterfeits seized: $9.5 million
Retail value: $51 million
Percentage of total seizures: 5%

Fake perfumes can literally stink. Counterfeiters spend more time copying the packaging than the scent, which spells trouble for those who buy a phony fragrance.

7) Watches

Value of counterfeits seized: $8.4 million
Retail value: $112.7 million
Percentage of total seizures: 5%

Watches are the classic counterfeit -- and they are also among the trickiest for even connoisseurs to spot.

Lesser materials and cheap inner workings used to be obvious in a watch that feels lighter and doesn't work as well as the real thing, but "modern technology allows counterfeiters to reproduce watches at a level of detail that's frightening," noted Michael Friedman, watch expert and horological director of Antiquorum auction house.

One of the best ways to make sure a timepiece is legitimate is to examine the box and certificate to see if the serial numbers on the accompanying material match up.

8) Cigarettes

Value of counterfeits seized: $8.2 million
Retail value: $10.9 million
Percentage of total seizures: 5%

Steep taxes on tobacco products, coupled with high demand, have made cigarettes a lucrative business for counterfeiters.

Knocked off Marlboro or Camels may be a bargain but they often contain potentially harmful chemical compositions. Not only that, but they are downright dangerous, too. "A genuine cigarette has a controlled burn so if you set it down it will self-extinguish, a fake cigarette will not do that."

9) Computer hardware

Value of counterfeits seized: $7.8 million
Retail value: $22.6 million
Percentage of total seizures: 4%

Despite the complicated inner workings, everything from desktop and laptop computers to modems and circuit boards are counterfeited surprisingly well in China along side the real thing.

10) Toys and games

Value of counterfeits seized: $7.6 million
Retail value: $26.9 million
Percentage of total seizures: 4%

Kids and counterfeits don't seem like a likely match but there are also a slew of knocked-off children's toys, dolls and video games making their way into this country.

In recent years, customs has cracked down on imitations of Nintendo's Game Boy, Thomas the Tank Engine and even Lego's.

Knocking off toys is not child's play. Not only could the toys be potentially hazardous due to a lack of quality control, but the trade of counterfeit trademarked goods threaten legitimate American business, cost jobs and undermines the U.S. economy. Those profits have also been found to fund criminal activity and organized crime, according to Customs and Border Protection.

Source: CNN Money

Sunday, February 5, 2012

6 Mini Meals or 3 Squares?

I just read the article "Which Will Help Me Slim Down—6 Mini Meals or 3 Squares?" by Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D.

Experts say it's best to eat mini meals every few hours. Eating frequently may help curb appetite and stabilize blood sugar-preventing the dips that leave you feeling hungry-which makes slimming down more doable.

But recent research, published in the journal Obesity, suggests that grazing on multiple mini meals won't promote weight loss any more than sticking to three squares. When overweight or obese dieters spread a very-low-calorie diet over six meals, their appetite and hunger were no different than when they ate the same diet in three daily meals.

She stated that how much you eat is more important than how often you eat. If eating more often causes you to overeat-say multiple meals turn into all-day grazing-try eating fewer meals. But if you're a three-meal-a-day person who gorges each time you sit down because you're so famished, adding in a snack or two, even three, might help.

Whatever you choose, including fiber-fruits, vegetables and whole grains-and lean protein in your meals and snacks is essential when you're dieting, as both nutrients provide staying power to keep you feeling full until you eat next.