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3 Ways Stress Harms Your Body

April 30th, 2009

Stress seems to come hand in hand with life. It seems as though no matter what you do to avoid it, it is inevitable that stress will enter your day at some point or another and it can have both positive and negative ramifications. For example it may take a little fire under your seat to make you study for an exam or finish an important work project. On the other hand, what stress can do to our bodies is amazing. The extent to which stress affects the body internally is largely still unknown but there are a few factors which researchers have discovered may accompany large levels of stress. Here three ways that stress can affect the body:

1. Heart Disease and Stroke. There is no doubt that stress can make us sick and can even kill us. A link has been shown between acute stress, heart disease, and stroke. The way in which we biologically react to stressful situations puts strain on the heart and even the circulatory system, increasing heart rate and restricting the arteries. Even though these affects may only be temporary, if you are stressed out again and again for long periods of time it can lead to heart attacks and stroke.

2. Weight Gain. Stress can cause weight gain in a few different ways. Women tend to eat more when they are stressed out and report feeling hungry more often than if they are relaxed. Stress also causes the body to release a hormone called cortisol which causes an increase in abdominal fat.

3. Headaches, colds and sicknesses. Stress takes many forms in your body and more times than not it manifests itself in the form of an ailment such as a headache, cold, or other sickness. Stress actually taxes the immune system, making is weak and not as good at fighting off the common cold.

To minimize the stress in your life try to take some time out for yourself every day. Exercise has also been proven to relieve stress so try some cardio exercise or yoga.

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Three Foods To Hydrate Skin

April 29th, 2009

We all get dry skin from time to time and it can be frustrating. Not only is it unattractive, but it can be hard to get rid of. Unfortunately, this dryness does not limit itself to only the winter months but exposure to the sun can also dry it out. Without having to buy expensive drug store creams which may or may not work, you can first try tweaking your diet to nourish your skin. Here are three foods that are great for healthy and hydrated skin:

1. Raw orange peppers and carrots. Due to the fact that the enzymes in foods are destroyed when cooking, raw fruits and veggies are essential for healthy skin.  Yellow and orange vegetables such as peppers and carrots are high in beta carotene which is an antioxidant that will make your skin glow.

2. Eggs. Eggs are a great source of protein and are also great for hydrating dull skin. They are high in sulfur which has been found to promote healthy skin just as garlic and onions do. Eggs shouldn’t be limited to just a breakfast food - they can be eaten for a low calorie and high protein snack or added to a salad for any meal. Try to stick to the organic eggs as they are much better for you.

3. Almonds. Really, any food containing a high amount of Vitamin E is great for warding off dry skin - almonds happen to be a great source. Almonds, eggs, leafy greens, and other foods rich in vitamin E heal the skin and can reduce the effects of acne. Other foods rich in this vitamin include vegetable oils, nuts, whole grains, leafy green vegetables, and fortified whole grain cereals.

Along with eating properly, make sure to exercise regularly to prevent dry skin. Sweating through exercise such as cardio or hot yoga will get rid of your dry patches and give you youthful skin.

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3 Bodybuilding Foods

April 29th, 2009

Most bodybuilders know the basics of foods to eat when training– eggs, tuna and eggs are the most common.  Although true that foods like this that are high in protein and therefor essential to build muscle, there are other foods that should also be gracing the plates of bodybuilders and athletes alike who are trying to achieve more muscle mass. Here are three other foods to try:

1.Legumes: Legumes may have somewhat of a reputation for being a staple of a low fat or vegetarian diet, but they are also a great option for bodybuilders. They contain a high amount of soluble fiber, which is important for keeping an athlete’s blood sugar and energy levels stable.  They are also relatively high in protein and are a good source of slow releasing complex carbohydrates. Foods that release these carbs slowly give the body energy over a longer time period, letting you work out both longer and harder.

2.Allium vegetables. Examples of these veggies include garlic, chives, onions, scallions, and leeks. Allium vegetables contain a ton of nutrients and are also high in flavanoids.  They also promote proper blood circulation and speed up the healing process of the body, making them a good choice for high performance athletes who need their muscles to repair as fast as possible.

3.Cruciferous Vegetables. These vegetables include watercress, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts, and cabbage. Although maybe not a high performing athlete’s first choice of food, this type of vegetable is very high in fibre, vitamin C and phytonutrients. For individuals who want to focus on losing body fat, these vegetables are ideal to fill up on while losing fat.

Eating these types of vegetables a minimum of three times a week combined with high protein foods will promote healthy muscle gain and will guarantee a lean body with minimal fat.

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3 Effective Outdoor Exercises

April 28th, 2009

Now that it is heating up outdoors, it is time to make the most of it. Working out outside does not have to limit you to the standard running, hiking, or bicycling. Even if you are a bodybuilder who relies on indoor equipment at the gym you can put together an intense workout to do outdoors that will provide a full body workout. Here are three of the top outdoor exercises:

1.Uphill sprints. These are more than your average run. Doing intervals of running alternated with uphill sprints will get you in tip top shape in no time at all. Not only is it a great cardio workout but it will build your leg muscles and strengthen your core. Start small b use this one is a killer, even for the physically fit. Pick a small to medium sized hill to start and once you are warmed up sprint to the top as fast as you can. Walk or jog down and repeat as many times as you can.

2.Duck Walks: This walk is simple yet extremely effective and can be done anywhere outdoors. Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground and then start walking, staying in the same position. Walk forward at least ten steps and then go backwards until you are in the starting position again. Mix it up and try this exercise on different terrain – it will rev up the intensity if done in the sand.

3.Chin Ups. Chin ups don’t require a gym but only something that is strong enough to hold your weight set at a decent height. Parks and playgrounds often have bars that can be used for chin ups. Next time you plan a workout in the park try doing three sets of ten chin ups and feel your arms burn. Chin ups are one of the best ways to build your upper body strength and define the arm and back muscles.

Next time you are having a hard time getting to the gym try switching up your workout routine and get moving outside. Working out outdoors, especially at this time of year will energize you and let you get some fresh air.

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Healthy Weight Gain

April 24th, 2009

B use of society’s obsession with being thin it is easy to forget that many people have a problem of being underweight. A problem that many people may wish they had maybe, but in fact being underweight can be just as dangerous as being overweight. Being underweight can cause your organs to fail, trigger heart problem, and it also increases a persons’ risk of dying from all kinds of diseases including cancer. Being too skinny often causes bone fractures to happen easily and can also cause osteoporosis and hinder fertility. Here are three ways to gain weight in a healthy way:

1. Eat. Sure this one is a not brainer but you need to be careful of what you eat. Just b use a person is underweight does not mean that they can stuff their faces with junk food to no avail. Eating unhealthy food does just as much damage to a thin body as it does an overweight body. Instead, focus on eating healthy foods that are rich in protein and healthy fats such as Omega 3’s. This should include nuts, avocados, whole wheat breads, eggs, seeds, legumes, and fish.

2. Dietary Supplements. A high-quality multivitamin and mineral supplement is a good idea to make sure you are getting all of the vitamins and minerals you need. Depending on what you are taking, it may also help you gain weight. Protein supplements such as whey protein powder can help to put some weight on. Creatine is also an effective product which helps to gain weight and build lean muscle mass.

3. Resistance Training. Being too thin should not mean that you don’t have to exercise. A  healthy amount of exercise is an important part of being healthy and certain exercises will help you gain weight.  Resistance training exercises like weight lifting help to increase your muscle size and therefor bulk up and gain a bit of weight.

If you have a hard time gaining weight, you may want to speak with your doctor about different things that may work for you. Also make sure that your weight is not reflecting some type of medical problem that is undiagnosed. If you lose or gain a lot of weight in a short period of time it usually indicates that something is wrong.

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Ready For Your First 10K Run?

April 23rd, 2009

Ten kilometers is a popular racing distance - especially if you are relatively new to running. Unlike marathons, 10k runs don’t require quite so much training and the recovery time is very minimal, even if you aren’t in the best shape.

The first step in doing a 10 k is committing to it. Try to sign up for at least 6 to 8 weeks before to give yourself adequate time to train. If you aren’t a big runner, start out slowly. Test out your endurance by going for a run outdoors-preferably on the exact same route that you will be using on race day. See how far you can go before feeling tired, and gauge the amount of work you will have to do. If you can run about half way before getting tired you are in great shape! This will give you a starting point to gauge how hard you should work over the next weeks leading up to race day. Make a schedule and set goals for yourself. For example, tell yourself that you will run a half a mile more than you originally did the first time the week after. If you aim to run a little farther week after week you will slowly condition your body and get yourself into better shape without putting too much strain on your muscles. Try to run at least three to four times a week but don’t push yourself too hard. If you are planning on training by running on a treadmill keep in mind that it is much easier to run on this machine than it is to run outdoors. Running outdoors involves hills, different types of terrain, and also there is no belt under you propelling you forward. If you must train on a treadmill make sure to adjust the incline to at least a 3 or 4.

On race day make sure to drink lots of water before and after the race. Wear appropriate clothing to brave any kind of weather conditions, and also plan a day of recovery the day after - you will deserve it!

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3 Keys To Avoiding Memory Loss

April 22nd, 2009

Your memory is precious, and its something that you want to preserve. It is important to make healthy choices which can keep your mind young and keep your memory intact. Health practitioners suggest playing games that work your brain such as crosswords, and puzzles. While many know the basics when it comes to keeping their minds sharp, more research is showing that lifestyle choices may play an even bigger role than people realize when it comes to memory.  Here are three interesting and unlikely factors which impact our memory:

Eating fish. Although many people know that eating fish is good for your heart, it is interesting that it can also prevent memory loss and stroke in healthy, older adults. One study inspected brain scans of more than 2,300 people age 65 and older. It found that those who ate broiled or baked tuna and other fish high in omega-3 fatty acids a minimum of 3 time per week had a nearly 26% lower risk that the silent brain lesions would be linked to dementia and stroke.

Your medication. One study shows that by taking cholesterol lowering drugs may be good for the mind. The reasoning is that this drug lowers insulin levels in the brain that are associated with dementia. Doctors do point out that you should not be taking drugs for any other reason than they are prescribed for, but it is interesting to note that certain medications affect our memory in numerous ways.

Smoking. Everyone knows that smoking is a terrible habit and it certainly doesn’t do anything good for your health. It has also been found that adults who smoke have a higher incidence of memory loss. Furthermore, individuals who quit after smoking for a long period of time also have problems with their memory and vocabulary recollection.

Although many forms of memory loss are inevitable, doing all that you can to keep your mind and body healthy may benefit you as you age.

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Link Between Health and Relationships

April 22nd, 2009

Do you notice that when you are in a healthy and happy relationship you feel great? The link between relationships and health is an interesting topic that has been a topic of discussion for some time. It may seem crazy to think that the relationship bonds that you have with other people – your family, friends, significant other, co-workers, and others can greatly impact your physical health but, in fact, it can.

Caroll Ryff been researching the connection between relationships and health for a number of years. One study involved over 10,317 people from birth over 36 years and collected data on social relationships combined with biological markers. These markers were measures of wear and tear on the body. Researchers mearsured the participant’s systolic blood pressure, urinary cortisol levels and epinephrine levels. What was found was that those individuals who were subjected to more negative experiences in regards to their relationships displayed more wear and tear in their body than those who had mostly positive relationship experiences. Other studies have also produced similar findings and added that healthy relationships lead to lower stress levels and a better sense of well being. The reasons for this correlation is thought to be a number of different factors. One is that having the support of a strong and healthy relationship can act as a buffer when it comes to stress. A person who feels alone and has no one to talk to often has a harder time coping with stress than someone who feels as though they have support. Individuals who have strong interpersonal relationships are also much less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety-both of which can take a physical and emotional toll on a person.

Along with keeping your physically and emotionally healthy, strong personal relationships with others has been found to prolong your life. Married couples in healthy relationships tend to live longer than single people do and those with strong social circles combined with a healthy intimate relationship live even longer.

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Low Impact Exercises

April 20th, 2009

Low impact exercise doesn’t have to be synonymous with an easy or gentle workout that has little effect. If you want to work hard, burn lots of calories but yet do it in a low impact way that does not put stress on your body, it is possible. Low impact exercises are ideal for seniors, those that have injuries, pregnant women, are a beginning exerciser, are extremely overweight, or have any other health concerns.

Not everyone can do high impact exercises, but it doesn’t mean that you have to be out of shape. In order to lose weight and reap the benefits of a cardiovascular workout, you must get your heart rate pumping.There are numerous low impact exercises that can do this although you may have to get a little creative and you may have to work harder to get your heart rate increased to where it needs to be in order to lose weight. One of the most effective low impact exercises is walking. In order to get your heart rate going you need to go above and beyond just walking. First of all, start by walking faster and walking longer distances. Using your arms also helps to increase the intensity - walking while holding weights is even better.  Another great low impact exercise that is a great toner for the butt and thighs is walking up the stairs. You can do it on a real staircase or use the step up machine at the gym - either way this low impact exercise is a good cardio workout without putting a lot of strain on your joints.  Lastly, swimming is another effective exercise to get you in shape while being very gentle on the body. Swimming targets most muscle areas and the intensity is equal to the amount of effort you put into it.  Many people who are very athletic use swimming as part of their training regime due to its gentle nature.

In order to make the most of your low impact workouts you need to be determined to put in the effort it takes to increase your heart rate. Work out for longer and harder and throw in some extra movements, weights, or resistance that will work you out without wearing your body out.

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Try Reiki For Positive Energy Flow

April 18th, 2009

Reiki is a form of spiritual healing dating back to 20th century Japan. Although it has been used for many years in Japan, Reiki practice has finally made its way into other societies and is now practiced worldwide.

The basic principle behind Reiki is simple. We are alive b use life force is flowing through us. Life force flows within the physical body though pathways called chakras, meridians and nadis. Our energy nourishes our organs, cells, and every part of our body and it is essential to maintain a healthy flow of energy to stay in good health. When this flow of life force or energy is disrupted, and is not flowing through the body properly it can result in diseases and ailments. Reiki heals by flowing through the affected parts of the energy field and charging them with positive energy. It is also said to increase the vibration level of the energy field in and around the physical body where the negative thoughts and feelings are attached. The idea behind this is that the negative energy will be broken up and fall away. Reiki is supposed to help get rid of tension at physical, mental and emotional levels. It also releases toxins and blockages in the body which lets your energy flow through your body, keeping you energized and healthy.

Reiki is a painless and effective way to revitalize yourself. It should be done by a qualified practitioner in a very comfortable and relaxing environment.

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