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10 Proven Tips for Weight Loss – The Realistic Approach

More often than not these diets involve pretty much starving the body of calories while lazing on a sofa set  so as to force dramatic drops as quickly as possible. These approaches are neither safe nor effective, potentially impacting the overall health of the person and leading to a chance of weight regain that hovers somewhere around the 100% mark.

The real problem is that dieting never has and never will be easy to do correctly, which is something that must be understood and appreciated by all approaching weight loss long in advance of beginning their endeavour. With this in mind, the following is a brief rundown of ten common-sense tips for weight loss which are not only realistic, but also proven effective and comprehensively safe:

  1. Water– Drinking vast quantities of water while dieting offers a myriad of positives, which makes it all the more surprising that such is a habit that very few dieters practice to the necessary degree. Water is exceptionally good for the body, aids digestion and offers the best form of natural appetite control by giving a full feeling for longer. What could be more simple than drinking a glass of water before and after every meal to help boost the satisfaction enormously?
  2. Busy– Boredom can be nothing less than the Antichrist of the dieter, leading to increased and excessive eating simply as a way of passing the time. In short, those who are too busy to think about food and eating will naturally eat far less than those with nothing to do.
  3. Think – Consider each and every item eaten and assess firstly whether or not it is a good idea for the diet, along with if there is a possible healthier alternative. This may appear binding but becomes surprisingly easy over time.
  4. Time– Never expect to lose abundant weight healthily in a short period of time. This is one of the most detrimental habits of all, with so many giving no more than a few weeks and then quitting altogether as motivation is destroyed. Be realistic and allow as long as it takes.
  5. Supplies– Cram fridges, freezers and cupboards full of only the foods that are suitable for the eating plan chosen. Choose as many quick and easy healthy snack-esque foods as possible to avoid the perils of unhealthy fast foods when in a hurry. In short, if the poor choices are made unavailable, the healthy route becomes the only option.
  6. Plan– Eating on the fly is a sure fire way of slipping up, so plan as many meals as possible in advance. If possible, it is a good idea to know what will be eaten for dinner before breakfast is ever through.
  7. Frequency– Eating little and often rather that infrequently in large quantities is well known to be a far healthier approach, regardless of the fact that very few actually practice the method themselves. Tough to begin indeed but simple once picked up.
  8. Results – Many diets advise not to use scales and measuring devices so as to avoid problems with motivation, but the simple fact of the matter is that most people have to see results first hand to believe something is working. As such, balance is the key as hourly or daily weighing is never a good idea, though weekly or monthly could prove beneficial.
  9. Persistence– Beginning a diet or healthy eating regime is simple – staying on one for a long period of time is not. The body has to get used to a new intake and will undoubtedly throw up complications and even mood problems in the interim, but rest assured that all will eventually pass as the new approach becomes the norm.
  10. Exercise – The obvious and oft-maligned finale, exercise is essential not only to burn the calories, but maintain a health metabolism and stave off boredom which, as mentioned earlier, can see any diet come crashing down.

Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

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How To Prevent Jet Lag Naturally

Looking for a jet lag cure? Here are some of the best natural remedies you can use to prevent jet lag.

I travel overseas quite a bit and I know what it’s like to suffer from jet lag. The crazy sleeping schedules, hitting a brick wall in the middle of the day and feeling like you just can’t go on. I’ve experienced it a lot.

That’s why I started looking for jet lag cures. The best remedies for jet lag involve doing something to prevent it during the trip. Here are some natural remedies I use and one I’ve never used that I hear works great.

Fasting

Harvard Medical School researchers have found that there are two biological clocks in mice. One works according to light. The second works according to meal times. When you travel long distances in a plane the light clock gets all messed up, but when you’re quite hungry the meal time clock can override the light clock.

Fasting for 16 hours is enough to override your light clock. If you fast until the end of your trip and eat your first meal when you arrive at your destination at a normal meal time, your body will adjust to the new time much faster. Considering how bad airplane food is you won’t be missing much by fasting.

Drink Water

Dehydration makes jet lag worse. Planes are dry and I find that they don’t really give you enough to drink on the plane. Staying hydrated will help you feel better once you land. Drinking water will hydrate you much more effectively than drinking sodas or juice. Everytime that drink cart comes around get some water. Ask for more water between drink times. Your neighbor may not like you getting crawling over their lap for the toilet all the time, but you’ll feel much better when you land.

Adjust Your Sleep Schedule

During your trip keep the same sleeping and wake schedule as your destination. If you’ll land in the evening, don’t sleep on the plane. If you land in the morning be sure to sleep during the flight.

The first day at your destination, you’ll likely be tired. Try your best not to nap. If you do nap don’t nap any longer than 30 minutes. Stay up until a reasonable time at night so that when you do sleep you’ll be able to sleep through the whole night. Trying your best to keep a sleeping schedule that matches your destination will help you overcome your jet lag more quickly.

Exercise

Once you arrive at your destination exercise in the mornings, preferably outside in the sun. Exercise will help get your body going for the day and increase your energy.

Sunlight

Exposure to sunlight also helps reset your body clock. Try to spend a lot of time outside in the sun on your first day at your destination.

Melatonin

Melatonin is a well known jet lag cure. This chemical is naturally produced by your brain to make you sleepy. Traveling over time zones throws your melatonin production out of whack. You can purchase melatonin in a pill form from most health food stores. I’ve never tried this jet lag cure, but I hear it works wonderfully. Once you get to your destination take melatonin for half the number of nights as time zones you crossed. If you crosed 4 time zones you’d take melatonin for 2 nights. You should take the lowest dose possible–1 mg or even less. The melatonin works in about 30 minutes to put you to sleep. Take the melatonin at night and stay awake all day and you should be able to get rid your jet leg in no time.

What to Avoid

Don’t drink alcohol on your flight. Alcoholic beverages dehydrate you even more and could make your jet lag worse.

Avoid caffeine and sugar. Both give you temporary energy followed by a crash. This doesn’t help your body’s clock to adjust one bit. Using these substances to give you energy when you’re tired will only prolong your jet lag.

Some people take sleep pills on flights to help avoid jet lag. This can be dangerous because sleeping pills cause your body to go into an unnatural state where you sleep with very little movement. Moving around while you sleep is very important on a flight because not moving your legs can cause deadly blood clots to form in them. Sleeping pills also dehydrate you.

Standing hydrated, keep a normal sleep schedule, and eating right are your best bet.

 

 

Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

For More Health Tips Like This Check Out Our Health Tips Page

Watermelon: A Natural Viagra

A cold slice of watermelon has long been a Fourth of July holiday staple. But according to recent studies, the juicy fruit may be better suited for Valentine’s Day. That’s because scientists say watermelon has ingredients that deliver Viagra-like effects to the body’s blood vessels and may even increase libido.

“The more we study watermelons, the more we realize just how amazing a fruit it is in providing natural enhancers to the human body,” said Dr. Bhimu Patil, director of Texas A&M’s Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center in College Station.

“We’ve always known that watermelon is good for you, but the list of its very important healthful benefits grows longer with each study.”

Beneficial ingredients in watermelon and other fruits and vegetables are known as phyto-nutrients, naturally occurring compounds that are bioactive, or able to react with the human body to trigger healthy reactions, Patil said.

In watermelons, these include lycopene, beta carotene and the rising star among its phyto-nutrients – citrulline – whose beneficial functions are now being unraveled. Among them is the ability to relax blood vessels, much like Viagra does.

Scientists know that when watermelon is consumed, citrulline is converted to arginine through certain enzymes. Arginine is an amino acid that works wonders on the heart and circulation system and maintains a good immune system, Patil said.

“The citrulline-arginine relationship helps heart health, the immune system and may prove to be very helpful for those who suffer from obesity and type 2 diabetes,” said Patil. “Arginine boosts nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels, the same basic effect that Viagra has, to treat erectile dysfunction and maybe even prevent it.”

While there are many psychological and physiological problems that can cause impotence, extra nitric oxide could help those who need increased blood flow, which would also help treat angina, high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems.

“Watermelon may not be as organ specific as Viagra,” Patil said, “but it’s a great way to relax blood vessels without any drug side-effects.”

The benefits of watermelon don’t end there, he said. Arginine also helps the urea cycle by removing ammonia and other toxic compounds from our bodies.

Citrulline, the precursor to arginine, is found in higher concentrations in the rind of watermelons than the flesh. As the rind is not commonly eaten, two of Patil’s fellow scientists, drs. Steve King and Hae Jeen Bang, are working to breed new varieties with higher concentrations in the flesh.

In addition to the research by Texas A&M, watermelon’s phyto-nutrients are being studied by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service in Lane, Oklahoma.

As an added bonus, these studies have also shown that deep red varieties of watermelon have displaced the tomato as the lycopene king, Patil said. Almost 92 percent of watermelon is water, but the remaining 8 percent is loaded with lycopene, an anti-oxidant that protects the human heart, prostate and skin health.

“Lycopene, which is also found in red grapefruit, was historically thought to exist only in tomatoes,” he said. “But now we know that it’s found in higher concentrations in red watermelon varieties.”

Lycopene, however, is fat-soluble, meaning that it needs certain fats in the blood for better absorption by the body, Patil said.

“Previous tests have shown that lycopene is much better absorbed from tomatoes when mixed in a salad with oily vegetables like avocado or spinach,” Patil said. “That would also apply to the lycopene from watermelon, but I realize mixing watermelon with spinach or avocadoes is a very hard sell.”

No studies have been conducted to determine the timing of the consumption of oily vegetables to improve lycopene absorption, he said.

“One final bit of advice for those Fourth of July watermelons you buy,” Patil said. “They store much better uncut if you leave them at room temperature. Lycopene levels can be maintained even as it sits on your kitchen floor. But once you cut it, refrigerate. And enjoy. It is suggested that you would have to eat 1560g of water melon as a starting dose to see “performance increases”

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Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and board-certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

For More Health Tips Like This Check Out Our Health Tips Page

Six Healthy Eating Tips to Prevent Bingeing

Knowing exactly how much (and what kind) of food your body needs to stay healthy and maintain your weight—or lose if need be—is not an exact science. Far from it, as anyone who has ever noshed until they were uncomfortably full knows all too well. These six tips will teach you how to spot hunger and eat to stay satisfied, so you can control calories and shed pounds without “dieting.”

1. Use the hunger scale
Do you really know what hunger feels like? Before eating, use our hunger scale below to help figure out your true food needs:

Starving: An uncomfortable, empty feeling that may be accompanied by light-headedness or the jitters caused by low blood sugar levels from lack of food. Binge risk: high.

Hungry: Your next meal is on your mind. If you don’t eat within the hour, you enter dangerous “starving” territory.

Moderately hungry: Your stomach may be growling, and you’re planning how you’ll put an end to that nagging feeling. This is optimal eating time.

Satisfied: You’re satiated—not full, but not hungry, either. You’re relaxed and comfortable and can wait to nosh.

Full: If you’re still eating, it’s more out of momentum than actual hunger. Your belly feels slightly bloated, and the food does not taste as good as it did in the first few bites.

Stuffed: You feel uncomfortable and might even have mild heartburn from your stomach acids creeping back up into your esophagus.

2. Refuel every 4 hours
Moderate to full-fledged hunger (our ideal window for eating) is most likely to hit 4 to 5 hours after a balanced meal. Waiting too long to eat can send you on an emergency hunt for energy—and the willpower to make healthful choices plummets.

To slim down: If you’re feeling hungry between meals, a 150-calorie snack should help hold you over. Munch on whole foods such as fruit and unsalted nuts—they tend to contain more fiber and water, so you fill up on fewer calories.

3. Eat breakfast without fail
A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition tracked the diets of nearly 900 adults and found that when people ate more healthy fats and carbohydrates in the morning, they stayed satisfied and ate less over the course of the day than those who ate their bigger meals later on.

To slim down: If you’re feeling full-blown hunger before noon, there’s a chance you’re not eating enough in the morning. Shoot for a minimum of 250 calories and make it a habit, with these three strategies.

  • Prepare breakfast before bed (cut fruit and portion out some yogurt).
  • Stash single-serving boxes of whole grain cereal or packets of oatmeal and almond or soy milk at work to eat when you arrive.
  • Eat a late breakfast if you can’t stomach an early one.

4. Build low-cal, high-volume meals
Solid foods that have a high fluid content can help you suppress hunger. “When we eat foods with a high water content like fruits and vegetables, versus low water–content foods like crackers and pretzels, we get bigger portions for less calories,” says Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan and a professor of nutritional sciences at Pennsylvania State University.

To slim down: Eat fewer calories by eating more food. Try the following healthy ways to fill up.

  • Start dinner with a salad, or make it into your meal (be sure to include protein such as sea food or beans).
  • Choose fresh fruit over dried.
  • Boost the volume of a low-cal frozen dinner by adding extra veggies such as steamed broccoli or freshly chopped tomatoes and bagged baby spinach.

5. Munch fiber all day long
Because the body processes a fiber-rich meal more slowly, it may help you stay satisfied long after eating. Fiber-packed foods are also higher in volume, which means they can fill you up so you eat fewer calories.
To slim down: Aim to get at least 25 g fiber a day with these tips.

  • Include produce such as apples and carrots—naturally high in fiber—in each meal and snack.
  • Try replacing some or all of your regular bread, pasta, and rice with whole grain versions.

6. Include healthy protein at each meal
When researchers at Purdue University asked 46 dieting women to eat either 30% or 18% of their calories from protein, the high-protein eaters felt more satisfied and less hungry. Plus, over the course of 12 weeks, the women preserved more lean body mass, which includes calorie-burning muscle.

To slim down: Boost your protein intake with these ideas.

  • Have a serving of lean protein such as egg whites, chunk light tuna, or baked fish at each meal. A serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand—not including your fingers.
  • Incorporate beans into your meals. Black beans, chickpeas, and edamame (whole soybeans) are low in fat, high in fiber, and packed with protein.

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Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and board-certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter 

For More Health Tips Like This Check Out Our Health Tips Page

The Health Benefits of Bentonite Clay

Bentonite clay has been used for healing purposes since before recorded history. It is made from a mixture of volcanic ash and sea mud. It draws toxic material out of the body if taken internally, and it reduces pain and infection in open wounds. Clay molecules carry negative ions in its minerals, which attract positive ions located in impurities found in the intestinal tract. In a process called adsorption, the clay draws the impurities

What Bentonite Does

Bentonite stimulates unhealthy organs and body tissues, helping these tissues regain function. There are highly active ingredients in bentonite clay which binds to itself like a magnet and holds on to them until the body can eliminate both. restore cells and hasten healing and normal body function. Bentonite acts like a magnet, pulling itself toward and attracting toxins in the intestinal tract when it is consumed. It has been used to help with food allergies, intestinal mucous issues, colitis and intestinal viruses and can inhibit parasite reproduction. Bentonite Clay has been used to draw out poisons from insect and animal bites and to draw infection out of open wounds. It has even been used to draw out toxins from radiation treatments. According to the Journal of Physical Chemistry, 16 studies have shown the electromagnetic or electrochemical properties of bentonite clay and its ability to bind with electricity found in cells. The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University found that “healing clay” was effective against MRSA infections. The Mayo Clinic defines MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, as “a strain of staph that’s resistant to the broad-spectrum antibiotics commonly used to treat it.” MRSA is potentially fatal. 
  • Bentonite clay posseses a negative charge, and most poisons in your body have positives. Once you consume bentonite clay, it attaches itself to harmful toxins, bacteria and impurities. As with the food you eat, it can take a couple of days for your body to process and discard the waste. Bentonite clay will not be absorbed by your body and will come out as if it were the waste your body couldn’t break down. As the material is making its way through your body, it is constantly attaching itself to these toxins and taking them with it when it is deposited in the toilet.

The Clay Cure

  • In “The Clay Cure: Natural Healing From The Earth,” author Ran Knishinsky offers a lot of information on bentonite and other forms of healing clay. Knishinsky discusses how to choose the right kind of clay, the science involved and the many uses for this dietary supplement. The book describes when and how to take clay as a powder, a liquid gel or in capsules. Knishinsky details health benefits of bentonite, such as treating digestive ailments, benefiting circulation, helping with menstrual problems and aiding the liver and prostate.

There are specific people who should refrain from the use of this substance. Women who are pregnant and senior citizens shouldn’t consume bentonite clay or products that contain the material. You should also avoid taking bentonite clay within two hours of consumption of any medicine, including supplements.

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Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and board-certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter 

For More Health Tips Like This Check Out Our Health Tips Page