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Be Leaner and Smoke-Free in 2006

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The two main health-improvement resolutions people make for the New Year are losing weight and stopping smoking. And for good reason!

The two main health-improvement resolutions people make for the New Year are losing weight and stopping smoking. And for good reason!

There is clear scientific evidence that being overweight and smoking are two of the most serious health risks we can face. The good news is it doesn't take long to reverse the negative effects associated with these risks. The American Journal of Cardiology (September 2005) reported that after people stopped smoking and reduced their weight, it only took three to six months for them to start experiencing significant long-term benefits.

A wide range of natural health products, in combination with exercise, dietary changes, and behaviour modification, can provide the support you need to make a leaner, fresher start.

Multiple Benefits

An encouraging article published in the Journal of American Dietetics Association (July 2005) stated that body weight and cigarette smoking were significantly lower in people who used nutritional supplements, especially vitamins A, C, and E, along with niacin (vitamin B3), folic acid, and iron. Taking a complete daily multiple vitamin and mineral formulation is the ideal foundation for providing these nutrients.

Be Calm With B Vitamins

In addition to the B vitamins in your multi, take two or three daily doses of a high-potency B-complex with each meal. They will nourish and support your nervous system while contributing to your overall sense of emotional and mental well-being.

Herbal Rescuers

Because cigarette smoking is so common, it's easy to forget how serious a drug addiction nicotine truly is. Several herbs can help reduce the nerve-wracking and often depressive symptoms of tobacco withdrawal. Consult a qualified herbalist to determine the best form and dosage to help you beat your habit.

Lobelia (Lobelia inflata) Ample research published in such distinguished journals as Biochemical Pharmacology, The Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, and the Journal of Neurochemistry identifies lobeline, an alkaloidal constituent of lobelia, as having antidepressant properties that support smoking cessation and amphetamine withdrawal.

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) Insomnia and nervousness are common nicotine-withdrawal symptoms. Lemon balm acts as a mild sedative and sleep aid, which contributes a calming, yet focused effect. A study published in the European Journal of Medical Research (September 2004) determined the effects of a lozenge containing lavender oil, extracts from hops, lemon balm, and oats on electrical brain activity. They found the herbal combination "induced a state of relaxation and regeneration" in the test subjects and would help them "better cope with psychological and emotional stress."

Passion flower (Passiflora incarnata) An active substance called BZF found in passion flower greatly reduces nicotine withdrawal, according to a study published in Addiction Biology (October 2002).

St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatu) A study conducted at the University of Messina in Italy concluded that not only does St. John's wort act as a natural antidepressant, it also helps reduce many unpleasant nicotine-withdrawal symptoms.

Losing It

If you have decided to lose your extra pounds along with your smoking habit, you'll need plenty of natural support. Here's a quick checklist of some of the natural weight-loss products to help you "lose it."

Complete weight loss programs. Several reputable natural product manufacturers have researched and formulated convenient weight-loss support programs, which include a
balanced meal-replacement formula with added fibre, metabolic support products, and appetite- and stress-control formulas.

Conjugated linoleic acid. (CLA) When taken in daily doses ranging from 1,800 to 4,200 mg, CLA has been found to assist in the loss of body fat.

Green tea. Drink several cups a day, or use concentrated supplement sources. Green tea extract is rich in the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and supports fat loss by increasing energy expenditure.

Bitter orange (Citrus aurantium). In a six-week study, bitter orange combined with caffeine and St. John's wort helped test subjects lose significantly more body weight and fat than the control group. Due to its stimulating properties, it is advisable for people with a history of heart disease or high blood pressure to consult a qualified health professional before using bitter orange.

5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). In three controlled trials 5-HTP helped reduce appetite and promote weight loss. Overweight women and obese people with diabetes who took 750 mg per day for two weeks lost an average of 4.6 pounds, compared with 0.2 pounds in the placebo group.

Chromium. As an essential trace mineral that helps to regulate glucose metabolism and insulin levels, chromium supplementation can be beneficial for combatting sugar cravings and stabilizing blood-sugar levels. Recommended dosages range from 200 to 1,000 mcg daily.

Natural Gums and Sucking Sticks

The oral gratification of chewing and sucking helps to calm the desire to smoke a cigarette and may help to suppress appetite. A wide variety of natural chewing gums are available at health food stores. Select gums made without sugar, artificial flavours, colours, or sweeteners.

Real licorice roots (the raw sticks, not licorice candy) and cinnamon sticks can substitute for the habitual need to have a cigarette between your lips. Unlike the harsh feeling, taste, and aftertaste left by cigarettes, licorice and cinnamon sticks leave you with a fresh taste and mouth sensation. Inhale deeply, as if you were inhaling on a cigarette. Exhale deeply, just as you would if you were smoking.

You will be amazed at the satisfying experience of deep, rhythmic breathing. Perhaps that is what you have been truly craving all along.

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