Low-T and the Grim Reaper

Symptoms of low-testosterone such as a decreased sex drive, more belly fat and reduced vitality are alarming on their own... but several research studies are linking low testosterone levels with a higher risk of mortality as well.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that older men with low testosterone may die sooner than other men their age who have normal testosterone levels.

Researchers evaluated 794 men between 50 and 91 years old who were followed for an average of 11.6 years. Those with the lowest testosterone levels at the beginning of the study were 40% more likely to die over the course of the study than the men with higher T-levels.

Another study was carried out by researchers at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System and the University of Washington at Seattle. This study evaluated 858 males over the age of 40 who were grouped according to their testosterone levels and followed for an average period of 4.3 years.

Men in the low testosterone group had an 88% increased risk of death compared to the group who had normal testosterone levels... even after variables such as age and other illnesses were factored in.

Another study worth mentioning was published in the online journal, Heart. Researchers in this study evaluated 930 men, each diagnosed with coronary artery heart disease.

They were followed for 7 years, during which time the research team took tissue samples from the participants to evaluate both bioavailable testosterone as well as total testosterone.

A total of one in four of the men was found to have low testosterone levels... and 42 % of these men died, or one out of every 5 participants.

Conversely, among those with normal hormone levels, approximately 12% died, which was equivalent to one out of every eight men who participated in the study.

A similar study was led by Dr. Giovanni Corona of the University of Florence in Italy. In this study, researchers evaluated the testosterone levels of 1,687 men who were seeking treatment of erectile dysfunction. There was an average follow up period of 4.3 years.

During that time, 137 of the men had had a heart attack or other major heart problem. 15 of the men died. Dr. Giovanni’s team found that those who had lower levels of testosterone were the most likely to die of heart problems.

The research is a wake-up call for men over the age of 50. Other studies are confirming these findings that having low testosterone not only impacts your every day health, including your heart health, it may shorten your life as well.

On the other hand, having higher levels of testosterone can be protective to the heart, and can lower your risk of other health problems like obesity and blood sugar issues.

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Designed to turn on your body’s natural hormone production, T-Boost helps keep your heart healthy and the grim reaper at bay. As it’s been said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

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How to Reduce Cholesterol Naturally

Strong circulation depends on a number of factors including a healthy heart, strong vein walls, and ideal levels of both good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol.

When cholesterol levels are at their ideal balance, blood flows freely throughout veins and arteries carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain and other vital organs. If your cholesterol is high, lowering those levels is a critical part of improving your circulation as well as your overall health. Taking a more natural approach to lowering your cholesterol levels has a number of advantages. These include lowering the cost of medication, a decrease in unnecessary visits to the doctor’s office, and an increase in your overall health and well-being.

One of the best and easiest ways to start the process of reducing dangerously high levels of cholesterol is to get plenty of exercise.

Not surprisingly, regular physical activity has been shown to have an effect on the cholesterol levels in the body. Exercise, especially regular aerobic exercise can also be a great way to help burn calories, and maintain the body and weight that is right for you.

While researchers aren't exactly sure how exercise lowers cholesterol, they are beginning to have a clearer idea. What is known is that a healthy body weight and a healthy fat to muscle ratio for the body help to keep one’s cholesterol levels in a safe range.

What's more, when you're overweight, you tend to have a higher amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in your blood. This type of lipoprotein has been linked to heart disease.

If you are just starting a regular exercise regimen, it's important to start slowly. Be sure to check in with your doctor to evaluate your current cardiovascular health. You might require blood tests or a treadmill test to see how your heart reacts when you exercise.

Beyond the benefits of lowering your cholesterol, there are other positives that come with exercising regularly. These include keeping your bones strong, improving your mood and circulation, and reducing your risk of cancer, diabetes, stroke, and obesity.

Eat More Heart-Healthy Foods

A heart-healthy diet is another great way to help reduce cholesterol naturally. While it can be challenging to change years of accumulated eating habits, the effort is worth it.

To begin, choose healthier fats. Saturated fats, the kind found in red meat and dairy products, raise your total cholesterol and the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also known as the "bad" cholesterol. As an alternative, choose leaner cuts of meat, low-fat dairy products and monounsaturated fats, which are found in olive, peanut and canola oils.

The next thing is to eliminate trans fats, which are found in fried foods and commercial baked products like cookies, crackers and cakes. One way to tell if a food contains trans fat is if it contains partially hydrogenated oil. Even though these foods may taste good, they're not good for your heart.

In addition, put away refined flour products as well and choose whole grain foods. Various nutrients found in whole grains promote heart health. Look for whole-grain breads and whole-wheat pasta. Choose brown rice instead of white rice or try quinoa, a high fiber, protein rich whole grain.

Don't forget to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, which are rich in dietary fiber and help lower cholesterol. Include a mixture of colors and consider including things like vegetable casseroles, soups and stir-fried dishes on the menu.

Other foods to include are those rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, walnuts and almonds. Omega 3s have been shown to reduce the "bad" cholesterol and reduce inflammation in the body.

Lastly, take a supplement high in bioflavonoids like Oraescin for optimal heart health. Taking Oraescin gives your arteries, capillaries, veins and heart great circulatory support.

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Are You At Risk for Shingles?

If you had chickenpox as a child or a young teen, you may think you're done with it. But without realizing it, you could be at risk for getting the disease known as "shingles".

In simple terms, the virus that caused your chickenpox can remain dormant in your nervous system. When your immune system is healthy and strong, it usually keeps the virus at bay. Aging and stress factors, however, can weaken your immune defenses and reactivate the virus, resulting in shingles.

Unfortunately, many people are either completely unaware of the disease, know very little about it and/or aren't aware of the risk factors.

A recent national survey by the American Pain Foundation found that over half of the respondents were not sure of the risk factors for shingles. Many of the respondents did not know about the relationship between chickenpox and shingles either.

While anyone who has had chickenpox can potentially develop shingles, 50% of the cases are among people over the age of 60. Stephen Tyring M.D., professor of medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, noted that the risk of shingles increases with age.

"With each decade, a person's immunity weakens, so that by 60 years of age, the likelihood of shingles significantly increases," says Tyring. "In fact, one out of two people who live to the age of 85 will have had shingles." (1)

In addition, if you have a family history of shingles, you may be more susceptible to developing the disease. In a report published in the journal Archives of Dermatology, Tyring and his research team identified family history as one reason why some people might be more susceptible to shingles. (2)

According to Tyring, "Your risk is double that of someone who has had no relatives with the virus. The estimate, however, is most valid for first degree relatives such as a mother, father or sibling."

How to Minimize Shingles Pain

The onset of shingles isn't always noticeable. You may experience a tingling sensation, itchiness or varying degrees of burning and pain. During the initial days of symptoms, blisters will burst and a rash will form, usually on one side of the body or face. The rash will typically heal in two to four weeks. In some cases, there might be longer-term nerve pain which can persist for months or even years after the initial rash has healed. The older you get, the more at risk you are for long-term nerve pain, which can be quite severe.

Although there is no known cure for shingles, there are ways you can relieve the symptoms.

For the rash, keep your skin as dry and clean as possible, which helps reduce the risk of bacterial infection. You may want to wear loose-fitting clothes to minimize any rubbing against the skin from clothes that are too tight.

To help boost your immunity to the virus that causes shingles, consider taking up Tai Chi, which is a traditional Chinese form of exercise. A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that Tai Chi may help older adults avoid getting shingles.(3)

Depending on the severity of the pain, an all-natural solution like Isoprex may provide relief. Isoprex not only helps relieve pain, it works safely and gently to stop dangerous inflammation in its tracks as well... without the side-effects or worries of over-the-counter and prescription pain medications.

References
(1) http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/61233.php
(2) http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/108022.php
(3) http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/67304.php

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New Hope for Osteoarthritis Sufferers

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a painful and debilitating joint disease that affects 27 million Americans.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in two Americans will get some form of OA in their lifetime. In addition, it’s estimated that 1 out of every 2 will get symptomatic knee OA in their lifetime as well.

What’s more, it’s estimated that your risk of getting knee OA increases to 57% if you have had a past knee injury. In addition, your risk goes up to 66% if you suffer from obesity.

Medically speaking, OA is a joint disease that mostly affects the cartilage, which is the soft tissue that surrounds the bones in your joints. When you have OA, the cartilage breaks down and wears away, allowing the bones to rub directly against each other.

It’s this rubbing that causes you pain and causes the joint to swell, resulting in a loss of motion and mobility. Bone spurs may grow on the edges of the bones, and bits of bone or cartilage can break off and float around inside the joint space. As you might imagine, this can be quite painful.

The CDC goes on to report that many people fail to be proactive because they believe arthritis is something that happens as you age... and that you have to learn to live with the aches and pains.

The good news is that unless you have a family history of arthritis, such as one or both of your parents having OA, you don’t have to suffer needlessly. And perhaps most importantly, you can take steps to prevent OA from developing in the first place.

Could a Cure for Osteoarthritis Be On the Way?

A new study, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that researchers may be closing in on a way to eliminate the pain associated with OA.

The study was conducted at Rush University Medical Center in collaboration with researchers at Northwestern University, both in Illinois. What makes this particular study so important is that researchers focused on the “pain pathway” rather than the “cartilage break-down pathway”.

Using a surgical mouse model, the medical researchers were able to track the development of both pain behaviors and the molecular events taking place in the nerves. Then, they correlated the data over an extended period of time.

In the assessment of the data, they looked at changes in the nerve ganglia that carry pain signals toward the brain. They were able to identify the mechanism that is central to the development of OA pain.

To confirm their findings, the researchers blocked the mechanism in the mice at nine weeks after surgery. They found that this reversed the decrease in the movement-provoked pain behavior observed in the mice that didn’t have the mechanism blocked.

The belief is that the research could have major implications for future treatment of OA, especially for those in whom the condition has become extremely debilitating. However, it’s too early to tell if this research will lead to a permanent cure to OA.

With that said, and depending on the severity of your pain, an all-natural solution like Isoprex can provide immediate joint pain relief. It works safely and gently to stop dangerous pain-causing inflammation in its tracks... without any side-effects.

Keep a supply of Isoprex on hand for whenever the need is there.

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Sex and Middle Age... Are You Still Having Fun?

If you think turning 45 has to mean the end of having fun in the bedroom, you'll be happy to learn of a new survey conducted by Zogby International on sex after age 45.

Sex can still be fun when you hit your middle age, but it may take a little more work.

Nearly 3,000 people age 45 and older were interviewed nationwide about changes in their sex lives. Perhaps this may come as a surprise -- researchers found that Americans over 45 are often unaware of what happens to their own sexuality as they age.

"In this country with the kind of media saturation we have and where sex is certainly no longer a taboo, it is surprising that people are not more aware of the potential for changes in their sexuality as they age”, says Michelle Van Gilder, director of international marketing for Zogby.

That said, nearly three out of five survey participants consider themselves sexy and desirable, despite a cultural obsession with youth. The survey was conducted with sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer, best known as Dr. Ruth.

The numbers are revealing, as 73% of men and women said that after turning 45, they noticed changes in their sexual desire. Over two-thirds say they began experiencing differences in sexual functioning about the same time. About 50% say they were surprised by the changes in their sex lives and over a third were caught off guard by the changes.

Ignorance Is Not Bliss

According to Dr. Ruth, such ignorance is a hindrance to sexual bliss.

She went on to suggest that the need for sexual education is not limited to teens. Older men and women need information about what happens to their libido and bodies as they age.

"Somehow with all the talk, with all the television, the message is not going through as much as we need," Dr. Ruth says. "They believe they are always going to be 25, they believe the change of life doesn’t apply to them."

What's more, when properly educated and prepared for the changes in sexual functioning which occur over time, middle-aged folks "can learn to have sex in the morning, to not drink too much the day before, all kinds of things," she says.

Here are some of the interesting results from the survey...

-- 65% of men experienced noticeable loss of ability to have erections -- 45% of men took a drug for erectile dysfunction -- 34% of women reported that vaginal dryness lessened sexual satisfaction

On the positive side of things...

-- Survey participants said that less bed hopping meant less worrying about STDs -- 75% commented that they've discussed libido changes with their partner -- Over 50% of women say not worrying about birth control has had a positive effect on their sex lives

To help deal with unexpected changes in your libido, take a Resveratrol supplement every day. Resveratrol supports strong blood vessels by strengthening their walls. It also keeps damaged, stretched or stiff blood vessels from leaking. This all helps regulate blood flow and pressure, so that oxygen-carrying blood is delivered to your tissues and organs—including your penis.

That’s where Revatrol with its 100mg of erection-boosting Resveratrol comes in. It works to increase Nitric Oxide (NO) and the enzyme known as cGMP, which causes the tissues in the penis to relax so NO-rich blood can flow in and get you hard. Just one caplet a day gives your body the Resveratrol it needs to keep you ready for sex at a moment’s notice.

It’s the one supplement that won’t let you or your partner down.

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Are You At Risk of Getting Migraines?

If you've ever had a migraine headache, then you know how debilitating they can be. Migraine sufferers typically experience a diminished quality of life along with impaired physical, social and occupational functioning. The pain can be severe.

The statistics may startle you. Migraine afflicts an estimated 10% of the world's population. In the United States, The Institute of Medicine recently reported that nearly 40 million Americans suffer from migraines. (1)

At a recent meeting of the American Pain Society (APS), David Dodick, M.D. and professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, noted that migraines have a genetic and biological basis.

"Today we know that migraine is a largely inherited disorder characterized by physiological changes in the brain, and, if attacks occur with high frequency, structural alterations in the brain," Dodick said. (1)

So... are you at risk for getting migraine headaches? It may not be a twist of fate if you are experiencing them right now. There could be something else going on that is a contributing factor.

Some of the triggers can be managed, such as stress, lifestyle choices including smoking and drinking, and high blood pressure. But equally important are the factors you have no control over that can predispose you to the condition.

Having one of more of the predetermined risk factors for migraine headaches doesn't mean you will inevitably develop migraines. However, being aware of the risks will help you arm yourself with the knowledge that you need to prevent and treat migraines should they occur.

Migraine Risk Factors You Need to Know:

The risk factors you have little control over include the following:

Family history — If your parents had migraines, your risk may be increased by up to 75%. If possible, it can be helpful to talk to them about their experience, so you can set into place a plan for prevention. Your family history of migraines will also make the diagnostic process simpler.

Gender — If you are female, you are at greater risk to develop migraines. During childhood, boys and girls have the same chance of developing migraine headaches. However, once hormones take center stage, the risks to a female jump significantly. In fact, adult women are three times more likely than men to get migraines. (2)

Hormonal changes — If you are a woman who gets migraines, hormones may be the culprit. During the menstrual cycle each month, hormone fluctuations can cause migraines. Any stress that causes hormones to spike can cause a migraine to occur if a person is susceptible.

Ethnicity — North American Caucasians appear to have a higher risk of developing migraines than either African Americans or Asian Americans. Migraines are less common in Europe or South America and much less common in Africa or Asia. Studies haven't connected this with any conditions in the environment, food supply, or medical knowledge, only genetics.(3)

If you have one or more of these risk factors, talk to your doctor about possible preventative measures. Discuss all your options to keep migraines from becoming a part of your life. In fact, according to Dr. Dodick, "Some studies have shown that migraine attacks can be cut in half or more with preventive treatments."

In addition, keep a bottle of Isoprex on hand. Isoprex is an all natural pain relief formula that can help minimize headache pains... without the side effects or dangers of NSAIDs.

References
(1) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120517131659.htm
(2) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/migraine-headache/DS00120/DSECTION=risk-factors
(3) http://www.patientsmedical.com/healthaz/migraine/causes.aspx

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Five Ways to a Healthy Gut

1. Increase Fiber Intake

Dietary fiber plays an important role in the health of our digestive tract. Besides lowering cholesterol, fiber also feeds the healthy bacteria and helps them to flourish. The best sources of dietary fiber are actually whole grains such as whole wheat, brown rice, and whole oats, along with beans, peas, lentils, nuts, and seeds, then fruits and vegetables. Shockingly, most people get only half of the daily recommended 20 to 35 grams fiber. But be careful to increase your fiber intake gradually, otherwise you’ll most likely experience some unpleasant and painful gas and bloating. Be sure to get plenty of fluids at the same time you eat fiber-rich foods in order to soften the fiber during transit. A hearty bowl of oatmeal and a cup of tea should move things along nicely.

2. Load up on Whole Fruits and Vegetables

Eating a variety of whole fruits and vegetables as opposed to fruit or veggie juice is a great way to get more fiber. Fruits like pears, blueberries, raspberries and apples all contain a minimum of 4 grams of fiber per serving. Vegetables such as red bell peppers, leafy greens, broccoli and sweet potatoes also have a hefty dose of fiber. The pulp of the fruit and veggies are what help scrub your digestive tract and allows better absorption of nutrients and antioxidants.

3. Try Yogurt for Lactose Intolerance

Research suggests that many people who are not able to properly digest lactose, the type of sugar in milk, can tolerate yogurt with live active cultures. Yogurt is relatively high in lactose, but the bacterial cultures used to make it produce some lactase, the enzyme needed to digest the sugar. Great news for those who are lactose-intolerant and looking for good sources of calcium!

4. Read Labels for Hidden (Lactose-Containing) Ingredients

Milk and foods made from milk are the only natural sources of lactose. But many prepared foods, including bread and other baked goods, processed breakfast cereals, instant potatoes and soups, margarine, lunch meats, salad dressing, candy, protein bars and powdered meal-replacement supplements contain milk derivatives. So be sure to read labels carefully if you are lactose intolerant.

5. Good Bacteria for Your Gut?

Probiotics are “friendly” bacteria found in the gut that help us digest foods and fight harmful bacteria. They also include live, active cultures used to ferment foods, such as yogurt. To get the potential benefits offered by probiotics, mix a cut-up banana into a cup of low-fat vanilla yogurt—with a “Live & Active Cultures” seal on it—for a midday snack or turn it into breakfast and add some granola. Try different kinds of yogurt to see which one works best for you. Mix fresh or frozen berries, peaches and banana with yogurt and a couple teaspoons of ground flax seeds for a delicious breakfast on the go or snack. For optimal levels of the good stuff, look for a high quality probiotic supplement that contains several different strains of yeasts and bacteria.

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The Link Between High Blood Pressure and a Healthy Sex Life

High blood pressure is dangerous and affects many of your daily activities. One of the problems with high blood pressure is that if you have it, you may not feel it. As a result, the absence of symptoms makes it a silent killer, one that can be easy to ignore.

According to the Harvard Heart Letter, high blood pressure can also affect your sex life. It can alter circulation in your body and damage the inner lining of arteries causing them to lose their elasticity making them less able to handle the blood flow to the penis.

Ironically, if you’re taking blood pressure medicine, you have to be careful about taking drugs for erection problems. The combination of the two can lead to a significant and potentially life-threatening drop in blood pressure.

According to WebMD, some types of blood pressure drugs can actually cause erectile dysfunction. Because of this, some men find it difficult to stay on their medication. In fact, it’s estimated that 70% of men who experience side effects from taking high blood pressure medicine (such as problems with erections) stop taking it.

Getting an erection is a highly orchestrated dance between nerves, hormones, blood vessels and psychological factors. Some blood pressure medicines interfere with the production of testosterone, affecting this dance and reducing your sex drive.

Your ability to ejaculate can also be affected if you are taking high blood pressure drugs. When you have an orgasm, the bladder neck closes which allows the semen to flow out of through the penis. Some of the medicines can interfere with this mechanism and make it difficult to ejaculate.

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Resveratrol For Better Sex

The good news is that researchers at the UC Davis Med School found that Resveratrol reduces blood pressure. And the higher study participant’s LDL level, the greater drop they experienced. So what is it about resveratrol that makes it so special?

To begin, the skin and the seeds of red wine grapes are also the richest known source of oligomeric proanthocyanadins, or OPCs for short.

OPCs are powerful compounds that fight free radicals. They are crucial for supporting healthy circulation, and perform a variety of roles throughout the body that are essential to optimal health.

For example, OPCs act as gentle cardiovascular cleansing agents that keep your heart and arteries clean and healthy.They improve blood flow in your brain and body, and promote normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Essentially, resveratrol is a vasodilator—which means it opens up your arteries and capillaries to rush more blood and oxygen to your organs. Taking resveratrol gives your arteries, capillaries, veins and heart great circulatory support—without the headache or dizziness often associated with prescription drugs.

Resveratrol supports strong blood vessels by strengthen-ing their walls. It also keeps damaged, stretched or stiff blood vessels from leaking. This all helps regulate blood flow and pressure, so that oxygen- carrying blood is delivered to your tissues and organs—including your penis.

While you should always consult with your doctor about your high blood pressure concerns, an effective way to get your OPCs is by taking a resveratrol supplement such as Revatrol. Revatrol contains the highest amount of OPCs of any resveratrol supplement on the market – an astonishing 95%.

Important Stroke Information for Women

About 700,000 people suffer a stroke each year in the United States, with stroke being the third leading cause of deaths. Remarkably, studies show that up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.

What's important is that you learn how to recognize and respond to the signs and symptoms of a stroke. Along with this, it's important that you learn how to manage your risk of getting a stroke as well.

To begin, women should consider drinking something other than soda pop. Researchers at Osaka University in Japan found that women who drink just one soft drink each day dramatically raised their risk of suffering a deadly stroke by 83%. (1)

The Japanese researchers tracked the eating habits of nearly 40,000 men and women between the ages of 40 and 59 for a period of 18 years. This included how many soft drinks they consumed. During the course of the study, almost 2,000 of the participants suffered a stroke.

When the study period ended, the soda consumption of those who had strokes was compared with those who didn't have a stroke. The results were startling.

In particular, researchers found that the women drinking soda every day were at a much higher risk of suffering what's called an "ischemic" stroke. This type of stroke occurs when a weakened blood vessel bursts and causes hemorrhaging inside the brain.

What's more, it didn't matter if the participants were drinking regular or diet sodas, as the risk was equally high. As the Japanese researchers noted, "Soft drink intake was positively associated with risk of ischemic stroke for women".

Raise that Glass of Wine in a Toast to Stroke Prevention

On the other side of the coin, another study has found that drinking a glass of wine every day may help reduce the risk of stroke in women.

Published in the journal Stroke, a decades-long study of 84,000 women found that women who had a glass of wine every day were at less risk to suffer a stroke than women who abstained from drinking.

Specifically, the women who drank about a half glass of wine per day were 17 percent less likely to have a stroke, while those who drink a full glass per day reduced their risk of stroke by 21 percent. (2)

Researchers noted that the risk of stroke did not lessen further when the women drank more than a glass of wine per day. The lead researcher on the study, Dr. Monik Jimenez, commented although drinking wine can help reduce the risk of stroke, moderation is always advised.

"Higher intake can lead to high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation which are both risk factors for stoke," said Dr. Jimenez. "Our findings really stress moderation for women who do drink."

Another study published in the same journal, Stroke, found that a diet that includes oranges and grapefruits may also reduce the risk of stroke in women.(3) The study, which followed 69,622 women for 14 years, found that the women who ate the most citrus fruit had a 19 percent lower risk of having an ischemic stroke than women who ate the least.

To help strengthen your body's defense against heart problems, take Revatrol daily. In addition to containing 100mg of Trans-Resveratrol, which is a potent form of Red Wine extract, Revatrol gives your body all the heart, artery, cholesterol and cellular benefits of 50 bottles of red wine.

References

(1) http://www.newsmaxhealth.com/headline_health/soda_women_stroke_risk/2012/10/24/482308.html

(2) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/09/study-stroke-risk-women-wine-alcohol-daily-beer_n_1335893.html

(3) http://todayhealth.today.com/_news/2012/02/22/10480733-oranges-grapefruits-lower-womens-stroke-risk?lite

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The Dark Side of Antibiotics

Antibiotics were hailed as “miracle drugs” when they first burst onto the scene in 1942 with the introduction of penicillin. Doctors were finally able to subdue life-threatening infections with a single magic bullet.

It was a blessing—or so we thought.

For a long time, the medical mainstream did its best to ignore the frightening fact that the microbes were fighting back. Today, antibiotic resistance is headline news. The rise of “super bugs” like MRSA, that can be deadly no matter what antibiotics we throw at them, is practically common knowledge.

In addition, there is another side effect of antibiotics that may ultimately prove more deadly than the rise of the "super bugs" and it's this -- antibiotics don’t discriminate.

Instead, they kill all bacteria in their path. Not just the pathogenic germs that cause illness but also the nonpathogenic “good” bacteria in your gut that are absolutely critical to health.

Today’s wide-spectrum antibiotics like the penicillins, tetracyclines, sulfonamides and aminoglycosides are the biological equivalent of a drive-by shooting. Everything takes a bullet, not just the targeted germs. The collateral damage to your intestinal ecology can be significant and long-lasting.

Even if you took antibiotics years ago, your digestive system could still be comprised. And when the good bacteria are wiped out, it opens the door for toxic fungi Candida and toxic bacteria Clostridia difficile to take over.

Bouts of diarrhea and damage to the colon can result... as well as problems like yeast infections, colds and other immune problems, skin problems, mood swings and more.

Overuse of Antibiotics Kills the Good Bacteria Essential for Your Digestive and Immune Health

To your detriment, doctors have ignored this kill-off for decades. In fact, up to 25% of people taking antibiotics experience the immediate side-effect of diarrhea.(1) But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Here are some additional facts that highlight the risk...

• People who take a lot of antibiotics have much higher incidences of colds and flu.(2) This happens because the kill-off of good bacteria leads to a significantly weaker immune system.

• Microflora kill-off by antibiotics is directly tied to the epidemic rise in Clostridium difficile infections that strike 3 million people and kill up to 20,000 victims every year.(3) Even a single course of antibiotics can leave you vulnerable.

• Large-scale studies reveal an alarming correlation between antibiotics intake and increased cancer risk due to the destruction of the microflora that are critical to immune health.

For decades, doctors have willfully ignored the damage done by antibiotics to the beneficial bacteria in the gut. In their eagerness to root out the bad guys, they’ve overlooked the fact that the good guys are being killed too.

In other words, they’ve been bombing the village to protect the people... but the village of your intestines is virtually destroyed in the process.

Until the medical establishment publicly acknowledges the threat that antibiotics pose and act accordingly, you're on your own. And that means taking steps to support your microflora with every healthy means available.

According to The World Health Organization, consuming probiotics on a daily basis helps strengthen the body’s natural defenses by providing friendly bacteria for the intestinal tract.(4)

The solution is to take a probiotic supplement like Prosentials. It is designed to help balance and protect your gut from the damaging effects of antibiotics.

(1) Ibid., Linder.

(2) Margolis, DJ. Antibiotics, acne, and upper respiratory tract infections. LDI Issue Brief. 2006 Feb;11(4):1-4.

(3) Parker-Pope, T. Stomach Bug Crystallizes an Antibiotic Threat. The New York Times. April 14, 2009.

(4) http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/14903449/ns/today-food/t/getting-enough-good-bacteria-your-belly/#.UJDPLIa07M0

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7 Foods for Healthy Aging and Longevity

Can you add years to your life by making smarter food choices? Yes! There are many variables involved in how long you live, but by following a healthy lifestyle, staying active and eating a nutrient-packed diet, you can help slow the aging process and perhaps even stave off age-related diseases, including osteoporosis, diabetes and heart disease.

Start right now by including more of these 7 antioxidant-rich foods in your diet. Here’s to your good health!

1. Olive Oil

Four decades ago, researchers concluded that the monounsaturated fats in olive oil were largely responsible for the low rates of heart disease and cancer on the Greek island of Crete. Now we know that olive oil also contains polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that may help prevent age-related diseases.

2. Yogurt

While the age-defying powers of yogurt never have been proven directly, yogurt is rich in calcium, which helps protect against osteoporosis and contains “good bacteria” that help maintain gut health and diminish the incidence of age-related intestinal illness.

3. Fish

Fish such as tuna, salmon and mackerel is an abundant source of omega-3 fats, which help prevent cholesterol buildup in arteries and protect against abnormal heart rhythms.

4. Chocolate

Cocoa is unusually rich in flavanols that help preserve the healthy function of blood vessels. Maintaining youthful blood vessels lowers risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and dementia. Enjoy a serving of dark chocolate containing 60% cacao or more each day.

5. Nuts

Nuts are rich sources of unsaturated fats, so they offer benefits similar to those associated with olive oil. They’re also concentrated sources of vitamins, minerals and other phytochemicals, including antioxidants.

6. Wine

Drinking alcohol in moderation protects against heart disease, diabetes and age-related memory loss. Any kind of alcoholic beverage seems to provide such benefits, but red wine has been the focus of much of the research. Red wine contains resveratrol, a compound that likely contributes to its benefits—and, according to animal studies, may activate genes that slow cellular aging.

7. Blueberries

In a landmark study published in 1999, researchers at Tufts University’s Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging fed rats blueberry extract for a period of time that in “rat lives” is equivalent to 10 human years. These rats outperformed other rats fed regular chow on tests of balance and coordination when they reached old age. Compounds in blueberries (and other berries) mitigate inflammation and oxidative damage, which are associated with age-related deficits in memory and motor function.

What Do Resveratrol and Tomatoes Have In Common?

Stroke-related news for both men and women that can potentially save your life...

Below are some noteworthy facts from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's website.(1)

• Stroke kills nearly 130,000 Americans each year.
• More than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke every year.
• About 87% of all strokes are ischemic, which result when blood supply to the brain is cut off.
• Stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability.

It's also important to know the risk factors. Topping the list are high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking. 49% of Americans have at least one of these three risk factors.

In addition, there are several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices that can put you at a higher risk for stroke including diabetes, obesity, poor diet, lack of physical activity and excessive alcohol use.

OK... now that you're armed with some facts, let's look at some recent research that may help you reduce your risk of getting a stroke.

"I'll Take Another Helping of Spaghetti, Please!"

Next time you're at an Italian restaurant, consider ordering the spaghetti. That's because a recent study published in the journal Neurology found that eating tomatoes, in particular cooked tomatoes, may help reduce your risk of stroke.

Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio tested the level of lycopene in the blood of more than 1,000 Finnish men aged 46 to 65, starting in 1991. The men were followed on average for more than a decade to record the number who had strokes.

The study found that those with the highest levels of lycopene in their blood were 55% less likely to have a stroke than their counterparts who had the lowest amounts.(2)

The author of the study, Jouni Karppi, suggests that lycopene helps protect the brain by soaking up free radicals that can damage cells. "A diet containing tomatoes... a few times a week would be good for our health" Karppi goes on to say.

While the research is not 100% conclusive, it's one more reason to eat more fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, as part of your regular diet.

Resveratrol May Help Shield the Brain From Stroke Damage

A study published in the journal Experimental Neurology reports how resveratrol may help shield the brain from stroke damage.

Researchers suggest that resveratrol increases levels of heme oxygenase, an enzyme already known to shield nerve cells in the brain from damage. When the stroke hits, the brain is ready to protect itself because of elevated enzyme levels.

Resveratrol appears to jump-start the protective enzymatic system that is present within the cells.

"Our study adds to evidence that resveratrol can potentially build brain resistance to ischemic stroke," says lead author Sylvain Doré, Ph.D., an associate professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.(3)

Taking a resveratrol supplement like Revatrol... as well as adding more tomatoes to your diet... are simple steps you can take to help reduce your risk of stroke and potentially limit the damage a stroke might cause.

Combined with the additional antioxidants Alpha Lipoic Acid, Acetyl-L-Carnitine and Quercetine, Revatrol is designed to give your body what it needs for optimal health.

References

(1) http://www.cdc.gov/stroke/facts.htm

(2) ttp://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/08/tomatoes-may-put-the-brakes-on-stroke/

(3) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100421133118.htm

Revatrol: A Unique 100mg Resveratrol, 95% OPCs, plus Key Antioxidants

How to lower blood pressure

High blood pressure is one of the most preventable conditions. But it plays a contributing role in more than 15% of deaths in the United States, according to a new Harvard study. Although it causes no symptoms, high blood pressure boosts the risks of leading killers such as heart attack and stroke, as well as aneurysms, cognitive decline, and kidney failure. 28% of Americans have high blood pressure and don't know it, according to the American Heart Association. If you haven't had yours checked in 2 years, see a doctor. While medication can lower blood pressure, it may cause side effects such as leg cramps, dizziness, and insomnia. Fortunately, most people can bring down their blood pressure naturally without medication. First get to a healthy weight. Then try these strategies to reduce the risk of heart disease.

1. Go for power walks

Hypertensive patients who went for fitness walks at a brisk pace lowered pressure by almost 8 mmhg over 6 mmhg. Exercise helps the heart use oxygen more efficiently, so it doesn't work as hard to pump blood. Get a vigorous cardio workout of at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. Try increasing speed or distance so you keep challenging your ticker.

2. Breathe deeply

Slow breathing and meditative practices such as qigong, yoga, and tai chi decrease stress hormones, which elevate renin, a kidney enzyme that raises blood pressure. Try 5 minutes in the morning and at night. Inhale deeply and expand your belly. Exhale and release all of your tension.

3. Pick potassium-rich produce

Loading up on potassium-rich fruits and vegetables is an important part of any blood pressure‚ lowering program, says Linda Van Horn, PhD, RD, professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medical. Aim for potassium levels of 2,000 to 4,000 mg a day, she says. Top sources of potassium-rich produce include sweet potatoes, tomatoes, orange juice, potatoes, bananas, kidney beans, peas, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and dried fruits such as prunes and raisins.

4. Read food labels for sodium

Certain groups of people—the elderly, African Americans, and those with a family history of high blood pressure—are more likely than others to have blood pressure that's particularly salt (or sodium) sensitive. But because there's no way to tell whether any one individual is sodium sensitive, everyone should lower his sodium intake, says Eva Obarzanek, PhD, a research nutritionist at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. How far? To 1,500 mg daily, about half the average American intake, she says. (Half a teaspoon of salt contains about 1,200 mg of sodium.) Cutting sodium means more than going easy on the saltshaker, which contributes just 15% of the sodium in the typical American diet. Watch for sodium in processed foods, Obarzanek warns. That’s where most of the sodium in your diet comes from, she says. Season foods with spices, herbs, lemon, and salt-free seasoning blends. Get more tips on how to lower your sodium intake.

5. Indulge in dark chocolate

Dark chocolate varieties contain flavanols that make blood vessels more elastic. In one study, 18% of patients who ate it every day saw blood pressure decrease. Have 1/2 ounce daily (make sure it contains at least 70% cocoa).

6. Drink alcohol--but not too much

According to a review of 15 studies, the less you drink, the lower your blood pressure will drop—to a point. A study of women at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, for example, found that light drinking (defined as one-quarter to one-half a drink per day for a woman) may actually reduce blood pressure more than no drinks per day. One "drink" is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of spirits. Other studies have also found that moderate drinking—up to one drink a day for a woman, two for a man—can lower risks of heart disease. "High levels of alcohol are clearly detrimental," says Obarzanek. "But moderate alcohol is protective of the heart. If you are going to drink, drink moderately."

8. Switch to decaf coffee

Scientists have long debated the effects of caffeine on blood pressure. Some studies have shown no effect, but one from Duke University Medical Center found that caffeine consumption of 500 mg—roughly three 8-ounce cups of coffee—increased blood pressure by 4 mmhg, and that effect lasted until bedtime. For reference, 8 ounces of drip coffee contain 100 to 125 mg; the same amount of tea, 50 mg; an equal quantity of cola, about 40 mg. Caffeine can raise blood pressure by tightening blood vessels and by magnifying the effects of stress, says Jim Lane, PhD, associate research professor at Duke and the lead author of the study. "When you're under stress, your heart starts pumping a lot more blood, boosting blood pressure," he says. "And caffeine exaggerates that effect." If you drink a lot of joe, pour more decaf to protect your ticker.

9. Take up tea

Lowering high blood pressure is as easy as one, two, tea: Study participants who sipped 3 cups of a hibiscus tea daily lowered systolic blood pressure by 7 points in 6 weeks on average, say researchers from Tufts University—results on par with many prescription medications. Those who received a placebo drink improved their reading by only 1 point. The phytochemicals in hibiscus are probably responsible for the large reduction in high blood pressure, say the study authors. Many herbal teas contain hibiscus; look for blends that list it near the top of the chart of ingredients—this often indicates a higher concentration per serving

10. Work (a little) less

Putting in more than 41 hours per week at the office raises your risk of hypertension by 15%, according to a University of California, Irvine, study of 24,205 California residents. Overtime makes it hard to exercise and eat healthy, says Haiou Yang, PhD, the lead researcher. It may be difficult to clock out super early in today’s tough economic times, but try to leave at a decent hour—so you can go to the gym or cook a healthy meal—as often as possible. Set an end-of-day message on your computer as a reminder to turn it off and go home. Follow these tips to make your weekends stress-free

11. Relax with music

Need to bring down your blood pressure a bit more than medication or lifestyle changes can do alone? The right tunes can help, according to researchers at the University of Florence in Italy. They asked 28 adults who were already taking hypertension pills to listen to soothing classical, Celtic, or Indian music for 30 minutes daily while breathing slowly. After a week, the listeners had lowered their average systolic reading by 3.2 points; a month later, readings were down 4.4 points.

12. Seek help for snoring

It's time to heed your partner's complaints and get that snoring checked out. Loud, incessant snores are one of the main symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). University of Alabama researchers found that many sleep apnea sufferers also had high levels of aldosterone, a hormone that can boost blood pressure. In fact, it's estimated that half of all people with sleep apnea have high blood pressure. If you have sleep apnea, you may experience many brief yet potentially life-threatening interruptions in your breathing while you sleep. In addition to loud snoring, excessive daytime tiredness and early morning headaches are also good clues. If you have high blood pressure, ask your doctor if OSA could be behind it; treating sleep apnea may lower aldosterone levels and improve BP. Take Care of Your Ticker! 20 favorite comfort foods made heart-healthy

13. Jump for soy

A study from Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association found for the first time that replacing some of the refined carbohydrates in your diet with foods high in soy or milk protein, such as low-fat dairy, can bring down systolic blood pressure if you have hypertension or prehypertension.

Top 10 Reasons To Have Sex Tonight

When you're in the mood, it's a sure bet that the last thing on your mind is boosting your immune system or maintaining a healthy weight. Yet good sex offers those health benefits and more.

That's a surprise to many people, says Joy Davidson, PhD, a New York psychologist and sex therapist. "Of course, sex is everywhere in the media," she says. "But the idea that we are vital, sexual creatures is still looked at in some cases with disgust or in other cases a bit of embarrassment. So to really take a look at how our sexuality adds to our life and enhances our life and our health, both physical and psychological, is eye-opening for many people."

Sex does a body good in a number of ways, according to Davidson and other experts. The benefits aren't just anecdotal or hearsay -- each of these 10 health benefits of sex is backed by scientific scrutiny.

Among the benefits of healthy loving in a relationship:

1. Sex Relieves Stress

A big health benefit of sex is lower blood pressure and overall stress reduction, according to researchers from Scotland who reported their findings in the journal Biological Psychology. They studied 24 women and 22 men who kept records of their sexual activity. Then the researchers subjected them to stressful situations -- such as speaking in public and doing verbal arithmetic -- and noted their blood pressure response to stress.

Those who had intercourse had better responses to stress than those who engaged in other sexual behaviors or abstained.

Another study published in the same journal found that frequent intercourse was associated with lower diastolic blood pressure in cohabiting participants. Yet other research found a link between partner hugs and lower blood pressure in women.

2. Sex Boosts Immunity

Good sexual health may mean better physical health. Having sex once or twice a week has been linked with higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A or IgA, which can protect you from getting colds and other infections. Scientists at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, PA, took samples of saliva, which contain IgA, from 112 college students who reported the frequency of sex they had.

Those in the "frequent" group -- once or twice a week -- had higher levels of IgA than those in the other three groups -- who reported being abstinent, having sex less than once a week, or having it very often, three or more times weekly.

3. Sex Burns Calories

Thirty minutes of sex burns 85 calories or more. It may not sound like much, but it adds up: 42 half-hour sessions will burn 3,570 calories, more than enough to lose a pound. Doubling up, you could drop that pound in 21 hour-long sessions.

"Sex is a great mode of exercise," says Patti Britton, PhD, a Los Angeles sexologist and president of the American Association of Sexuality Educators and Therapists. It takes work, from both a physical and psychological perspective, to do it well, she says.

4. Sex Improves Cardiovascular Health

While some older folks may worry that the efforts expended during sex could cause a stroke, that's not so, according to researchers from England. In a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, scientists found frequency of sex was not associated with stroke in the 914 men they followed for 20 years.

And the heart health benefits of sex don't end there. The researchers also found that having sex twice or more a week reduced the risk of fatal heart attack by half for the men, compared with those who had sex less than once a month.

5. Sex Boosts Self-Esteem

Boosting self-esteem was one of 237 reasons people have sex, collected by University of Texas researchers and published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.

That finding makes sense to Gina Ogden, PhD, a sex therapist and marriage and family therapist in Cambridge, Mass., although she finds that those who already have self-esteem say they sometimes have sex to feel even better. "One of the reasons people say they have sex is to feel good about themselves," she tells WebMD. "Great sex begins with self-esteem, and it raises it. If the sex is loving, connected, and what you want, it raises it."

6. Sex Improves Intimacy

Having sex and orgasms increases levels of the hormone oxytocin, the so-called love hormone, which helps us bond and build trust. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of North Carolina evaluated 59 premenopausal women before and after warm contact with their husbands and partners ending with hugs. Tey found that the more contact, the higher the oxytocin levels.

"Oxytocin allows us to feel the urge to nurture and to bond," Britton says.

Higher oxytocin has also been linked with a feeling of generosity. So if you're feeling suddenly more generous toward your partner than usual, credit the love hormone.

7. Sex Reduces Pain

As the hormone oxytocin surges, endorphins increase, and pain declines. So if your headache, arthritis pain, or PMS symptoms seem to improve after sex, you can thank those higher oxytocin levels.

In a study published in the Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine, 48 volunteers who inhaled oxytocin vapor and then had their fingers pricked lowered their pain threshold by more than half.

8. Sex Reduces Prostate Cancer Risk

Frequent ejaculations, especially in 20-something men, may reduce the risk of prostate cancer later in life, Australian researchers reported in the British Journal of Urology International. When they followed men diagnosed with prostate cancer and those without, they found no association of prostate cancer with the number of sexual partners as the men reached their 30s, 40s, and 50s.

But they found men who had five or more ejaculations weekly while in their 20s reduced their risk of getting prostate cancer later by a third.

Another study, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that frequent ejaculations, 21 or more a month, were linked to lower prostate cancer risk in older men, as well, compared with less frequent ejaculations of four to seven monthly.

9. Sex Strengthens Pelvic Floor Muscles

For women, doing a few pelvic floor muscle exercises known as Kegels during sex offers a couple of benefits. You will enjoy more pleasure, and you'll also strengthen the area and help to minimize the risk of incontinence later in life.

To do a basic Kegel exercise, tighten the muscles of your pelvic floor, as if you're trying to stop the flow of urine. Count to three, then release.

10. Sex Helps You Sleep Better

The oxytocin released during orgasm also promotes sleep, according to research.

And getting enough sleep has been linked with a host of other good things, such as maintaining a healthy weight and blood pressure. Something to think about, especially if you've been wondering why your guy can be active one minute and snoring the next.

4 Essential Nutrients You May Not Be Getting Enough Of

Last year, the USDA released its Dietary Guidelines, as well as information on the so-called “shortfall nutrients” that Americans are not getting enough of. Here are four important nutrients you may not be getting enough of and how to get them through the foods you eat.

1. Fiber

Why You Need It: Fiber can help prevent type-2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, and heart disease. Research also suggests that consuming fiber-rich foods might boost weight loss by helping you to feel fuller after you eat. Fiber is also important to keep the digestive tract moving. But most of us eat only about half as much fiber as we should. Nutrition guidelines recommend that women eat 25 grams daily and men eat 38 grams daily; the average American consumes only about 14 grams.

How to Get It: Load up on plant-based foods—the less processed the better. (Consider this: a medium orange has 3 grams of fiber; a cup of OJ has zero.) Whole grains, such as oatmeal (3 grams per 1/2 cup), and beans (about 6 grams per 1/2 cup) are also great sources.

2. Calcium

Why You Need It: Calcium is important for keeping bones and teeth strong, but it also helps muscles contract, nerves transmit signals, blood clot and blood vessels contract and expand. Adults aged 19 to 50 need 1,000 mg per day; for women 51-plus (and men 70-plus), it’s 1,200 mg daily.

How to Get It: Dairy products are good choices (choose nonfat or low-fat to limit saturated fat), delivering between 300 mg (milk) to 490 mg (nonfat plain yogurt) per 1-cup serving. Some dark leafy greens also offer calcium that’s well absorbed by the body: for instance, kale and collard greens provide 94 mg and 266 mg per cup, respectively.

3. Potassium

Why You Need It: Potassium is critical for helping nerves transmit signals, muscles contract and cells maintain fluid balance inside and out. Newer scientific evidence demonstrates that potassium helps maintain normal blood pressure.

How to Get It: By eating a variety of fruits and vegetables—they’re full of this nutrient. But according to the Centers for Disease Control, only 32.5% of adults eat 2 or more servings of fruit per day and only 26.3% eat the recommended 3 or more servings of vegetables per day. Here are a few easy ways to increase intake of fruits and vegetables:

• Make fruit filled smoothies with fresh or frozen (not canned) mixed fruit, bananas, orange juice and pomegranate juice for an anti-oxidant boost

• Have a side salad with lunch and dinner.

• Use leftover veggies in a protein packed veggie frittata

• Have mixed fruit with a drizzle of chocolate sauce for an anti-oxidant packed dessert

4. Vitamin D

Why You Need It: Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient that’s important in bone building and has been linked with lower incidences of cancers and lower rates of immune-related conditions, such as type-1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis. The primary way we get vitamin D is by making it ourselves—UV rays from the sun help us to produce it. In the wintertime, in northern latitudes, many people start to run out of their internal vitamin D stores.

How to Get It: Soak up some sun (ultraviolet, or UV, rays cause skin cells to produce vitamin D). Eat vitamin-D-fortified foods, such as milk, soymilk and cereals. Vitamin D is also found naturally in a few foods: fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel and sardines, and in egg yolks.

If you live in the northern part of the United States, spend lots of time indoors and/or slather on the sunscreen anytime you’re outside, you may not be getting enough. Some studies suggest that as many as 7 out of 10 Americans are deficient in vitamin D. To be absolutely sure you’re covering your needs for this nutrient, consider a vitamin D supplement (for folks ages 1 to 70, the recommended amount is 600 IU).

Surprising Ways to Keep Your Brain and Memory Sharp

Memory enhancement has become a hot topic in modern society. A quick Internet search reveals long lists of specially designed memory-enhancing games created by psychiatrists and dozens of pills and supplements the manufacturers guarantee will improve memory. Experts on talk show after talk show recommend intellectual stimulation: difficult crossword puzzles, logic puzzles, or strategy games like chess.

However, while research shows that cerebral activities do have plenty of benefits to memory and cognition, many other studies reveal that a strong social life and a sense of fun give a person’s memory definite advantages. Here are two Fun ways to keep your brain sharp:

Be a Social Butterfly

Humans are and have always been social animals. Even the most curmudgeonly of us generally want someone to socialize with on occasion. It has long been accepted that a satisfying social life helps a person stay emotionally healthy, but new research is showing that social activity also benefits a person’s cognitive health. A recent study done by the Harvard School of Public Health discovered that the most socially active subjects had the slowest rates of memory decline, and that’s just one study among many suggesting the same conclusion.

Increasing social interaction is not as difficult as you might think. Try joining a club that relates to your interests or finding a volunteer association. Put more effort into visiting with friends or relatives. The Internet has made it a simple matter to reconnect with friends and find times to meet up. Even people who find making and keeping friends difficult can get plenty of cognitive value from having a pet, especially very social ones like dogs. If you don’t have a dog, go visit a nearby animal shelter or pet store; the simple joy of playing with a fury little puppy or kitten is underrated.

Laugh it up!

Having a good laugh not only benefits your heart, it’s god for the brain as well. A standard emotional response will cause neurons to fire in only a specific section of the brain, but laughter actually causes many areas throughout the brain to activate. Listening to jokes and trying to figure out punch lines uses areas of the brain important to creativity and learning, much like solving puzzles.

Try increasing laughter in your life by finding fun people to spend time with, whether adults or children. Children especially are always good for a laugh; their playful attitude towards life will lighten your heart as well. Learn to laugh at yourself and take yourself less seriously. Surround yourself with fun items, such as small toys, pictures of yourself and your friends having a good time, or amusing posters. Remember all those nights sitting in front of the TV laughing hysterically? Re-runs of your favorite funny TV shows like I Love Lucy, The Benny Hill Show, and Johnny Carson are all available on DVD. Seek out laughter whenever you can; most often the cheerful people will be more than happy to let you in on the joke.

Foods That Fight Off an Afternoon Slump

We’ve all experienced that tired feeling after an afternoon lunch. Being unable to focus, a decline in energy levels and wishing you could curl up under your desk with a blanket for a quick nap are just a few cozy thoughts that may be running rampant through your mind. However, important deadlines and group meetings are more vital to your busy day than the slow close of your eyelids.

To placate your sagging energy and raging food cravings, you may rely on the hallway vending machine. While the sodium-laden treats and refined sugars in the snacks may give you that added burst, you’re sure to fall back into a fit of slumber within the hour.

Fortunately, you no longer have to suffer through the afternoon snooze fest. The following four foods will help you stay focused and alert, so you can conquer the remainder of your workday.

Dark Chocolate

Chocolate is often viewed as a decadent treat better left untouched. However, this aromatic and delicious indulgence can help you fight afternoon fatigue. While it does contain miniscule amounts of caffeine, phenylethylamine is the primary power source behind the feel good compounds being released to the brain. Just the smell of this intoxicating snack is enough to make you stay alert.

Green Tea

Most individuals reach for a cup of Joe as an afternoon wake-up-call. However, the nutrients in green tea can pack quite the punch. The caffeine in the tea and amino acid theanine can work to improve a person’s creativity, reaction time and ability to multi-task. The theanine’s in green tea interact specifically with the neurotransmitters in the body’s brain, so you’re feeling alert and calm, instead of jittery and nervous.

Greek Yogurt

In addition to afternoon fatigue, the body has been known to signal certain cravings. To quell the dangerous urges of doughnuts and birthday cake calling your name from the break room, you may want to try reaching for a container of Greek yogurt. The protein in the yogurt curbs the cravings by controlling your blood sugar levels. Try to aim for at least 20 to 23 grams of protein per snack.

Almonds

Nuts were shunned in the past because they were high in fat. However, this recharging snack can keep you feeling fuller longer and aid in your weight-loss. The fat, protein and fiber in this delicious treat will easily control your blood sugar levels by keeping your body focused and energized. Almonds can also reduce your risk of heart attack by as much as 50 percent.

10 Tips for Better Digestive Health

There are a number of factors that affect your digestive system such as your lifestyle, stress, and the foods that you choose to eat. Getting the required amount of fiber, drinking plenty of water and exercising can all aid in developing better digestive health. Your body works by breaking down the foods you consume into nutrients and if you fail to be kind to your digestive health, you could run into complications later on.

The following are ten important tips that will help boost and maintain your digestive system.

1. Consume a diet high in fiber. According to the latest studies, a diet that is rich in fiber, whole-grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes, can make great strides in the way that you digest your foods. Fiber laden foods provide regularity by keeping things moving throughout your digestive system. This makes you less susceptible to constipation, bloating and fatigue. It can also aid in preventing digestive ailments such as hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. A smooth running digestive tract can also aid those who are trying to shed pounds by helping you to maintain a normal weight range.

2. Insoluble and soluble fiber. Both forms of fiber can aid in your digestive tract. Insoluble fiber is difficult to be digested by the human body and can add solidness to your stools. Forms of insoluble fiber can include vegetables, whole-grains and wheat bran. Soluble fiber attracts water in and discourages your stools from becoming watery. You can get soluble fiber from items such as legumes, seeds, oat bran and nuts.

3. Reduce your consumption of fatty foods. Fatty foods can slow down your digestive system and contribute to constipation. However, getting rid of all that fat is not necessary, as pairing high fibered foods with some that are fatty can bring digestive relief to many individuals.

4. Lean meats a good source of protein. Fatty cuts of meats can irritate your bowel and lead to gas and bloating. Lean protein is necessary to any diet and can be found in food source items such as skinless chicken breasts, pork loin, turkey breast and other lean cuts of meats.

5. The importance of probiotics. Probiotics are a necessary part of any healthy diet, and they can keep your digestive system on target with the amount of healthy bacteria. By combating foods that are not good for you, they can contribute to proper nutrient absorption, aid in breaking down lactose and give your immune system a boost. They may even aid those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. Probiotics can be found in healthy products such as kefir and low-fat yogurt.

[Printable Version of This Page] 10 Tips for Better Digestive Health July 8, 2014 By Dr. William S. Gruss, M.D.

[Image 1]There are a number of factors that affect your digestive system such as your lifestyle, stress, and the foods that you choose to eat. Getting the required amount of fiber, drinking plenty of water and exercising can all aid in developing better digestive health. Your body works by breaking down the foods you consume into nutrients and if you fail to be kind to your digestive health, you could run into complications later on.

The following are ten important tips that will help boost and maintain your digestive system.

1. Consume a diet high in fiber. According to the latest studies, a diet that is rich in fiber, whole-grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes, can make great strides in the way that you digest your foods. Fiber laden foods provide regularity by keeping things moving throughout your digestive system. This makes you less susceptible to constipation, bloating and fatigue. It can also aid in preventing digestive ailments such as hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. A smooth running digestive tract can also aid those who are trying to shed pounds by helping you to maintain a normal weight range.

2. Insoluble and soluble fiber. Both forms of fiber can aid in your digestive tract. Insoluble fiber is difficult to be digested by the human body and can add solidness to your stools. Forms of insoluble fiber can include vegetables, whole-grains and wheat bran. Soluble fiber attracts water in and discourages your stools from becoming watery. You can get soluble fiber from items such as legumes, seeds, oat bran and nuts.

3. Reduce your consumption of fatty foods. Fatty foods can slow down your digestive system and contribute to constipation. However, getting rid of all that fat is not necessary, as pairing high fibered foods with some that are fatty can bring digestive relief to many individuals.

4. Lean meats a good source of protein. Fatty cuts of meats can irritate your bowel and lead to gas and bloating. Lean protein is necessary to any diet and can be found in food source items such as skinless chicken breasts, pork loin, turkey breast and other lean cuts of meats.

5. The importance of probiotics. Probiotics are a necessary part of any healthy diet, and they can keep your digestive system on target with the amount of healthy bacteria. By combating foods that are not good for you, they can contribute to proper nutrient absorption, aid in breaking down lactose and give your immune system a boost. They may even aid those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. Probiotics can be found in healthy products such as kefir and low-fat yogurt.

Prosentials: Suffering with nasty digestive problems? This probiotic formula can make a difference. 6. Follow a healthy schedule. Following a regular eating schedule can keep your digestive system running right. Plan to eat around the same time every day and include a healthy balance of snacks and regular meals.

7. Drink plenty of water. Water is refreshing and can help the body stay hydrated. It can also contribute to a healthy digestive system by helping to dissolve fats and soluble fiber. This can contribute to keeping the body running regularly and alleviate bloat and discomfort.

8. Ditch the bad habits. Alcohol, smoking and excessive caffeine usage are all bad habits that can hinder your digestive system from running right. It can also lead to other health issues such as heartburn and stomach ulcers.

9. Regular exercise. Exercising on a regular basis can keep the foods that you eat moving throughout your digestive tract. It can also reduce your chances of experiencing constipation and help you maintain a normal weight.

10. Dealing with stress. Stress and anxiety can lead to a dysfunctional digestive system. Stress reducing activities such as yoga and meditation can be helpful and should be practiced regularly. The foods you eat and a well-maintained digestive tract can go hand-in-hand. By following the above ten tips, you’re sure to enjoy comfort and regularity.

12 Foods That Control Your Appetite

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When it comes to losing weight, portion control and curtailing the amount of food you eat is important in order to see the best results. However, it can come at the price of hunger pangs and falling off the diet bandwagon in just a matter of weeks.

Without raiding the refrigerator and eating additional calories, there are ways you can calm your ravenous stomach. As a matter of fact, there are specific foods that will send a signal to your brain that you’re done eating.

In order to tune out the tempting voice of the pint of ice cream that keeps calling out your name in the freezer, you’ll want to concentrate on the following satisfying and healthy foods.

Dairy Whey

Whey protein is one of the heartiest and most satisfying of milk products. Individuals who drank this important protein-enriched beverage were found to reduce their calorie intact dramatically then those who consumed a carb-loaded beverage.

Avocado

Avocados are just as filling and incorporating them into your lunch is easy to do. Whether you fill one half with diced broiled chicken breast and vegetables or top them on your favorite salad, you won’t be tempted to visit the nearest vending machine.

Legumes

Lentils, beans and chickpeas are nutrient and protein-rich foods that can pack a lot of B vitamins, iron and antioxidants. Because they are also high in fiber, they are great at appetite control. When consuming super foods such as these, a recent study found that individuals were found to be at least 30 percent more satisfied after the conclusion of the meal.

Apples

An apple one half hour before meal time can keep your cravings at bay. Consuming an apple shortly before you eat can leave you feeling full longer. The water and fiber in the apple helps prevent hunger pangs, so you eat less during meals.

Pickles

Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, pickles and kimchi are known as short-chain fatty acid (SCFAs) foods. In a recent study, researchers found that the correlation between the brain and stomach were often strengthened after consumption. In addition to relieving hunger pangs, the SCFAs were also known to host probiotics and aid in digestion. Probiotics have also been thought to aid in weight loss and reduce appetite.

Soup

A latest Penn State study concluded that broth-based soups are great at curbing your appetite when consumed right before the entrée. Since they take up a lot of space in your stomach, you can reduce your caloric intake by as much as 20 percent and with a lower number of calories.

Chili powder

The capsaicin responsible for giving chili’s their fired up kick can also rev up your metabolism. Research also pointed out that the same compounds when added to a meal can also keep your appetite from getting out of control. Simply adding ¼ tsp to your meal can increase your level of fullness and lessen the desire to snack later on in the evening.

Eggs

A healthy dose of eggs in the morning can help your body feel more satisfied and full. Researchers indicate that the power of not wanting to snack comes from the protein. A breakfast made up of 39 grams from eggs and sausage can help lessen the desire to snack in between breakfast and lunch. When consuming this high-protein breakfast, dieters were also found to consume a lower number of calories by the end of the day.

Dark chocolate

If you have a craving for something sweet and decadent, dark chocolate holds the key to your weight loss goals. Researchers found that in addition to protecting the heart, brain and lowering blood pressure, this delectable snack can prove more satisfying than its milk chocolate counterpart. As a matter of fact, participants in the study who consumed dark chocolate were shown to eat as much as 17 percent fewer amount of calories during meal time.

Oatmeal

While cold cereal can be good for you, a warm bowl of oatmeal can keep your tummy feeling fuller longer. Participants in a recent study were given either cereal or oatmeal to eat. The group who consumed oatmeal was found to be satisfied longer than those who didn’t. Since oatmeal is high in protein and fiber, this nutritious bowl of gooeyness can also aid in heart problem and hydration.

Nuts

While an essential nutrient to aid in your health and wellness, nuts are another feel good and filling food. Based on a study found in the British Journal, overweight women who paired orange juice, 3 tablespoons of peanut butter and Cream of Wheat had the capacity to feel fuller longer by as much as 12 hours. Nuts are a natural appetite suppressant because they are high in protein, fiber and unsaturated fat. This powerful food booster can regulate blood sugar and slow down digestion when mixed together with carbs such as brown rice and oatmeal.

Water

Running low on water can trick your body into thinking it’s ravenous. Because hunger symptoms are the same to feeling of dehydration, a reduction in cognitive development, crankiness and low energy can often ensue. The next time you get the afternoon munchies, reach for a tall glass of water instead. You’ll be amazed at how fast your hunger pangs dissipate.

The New Science Behind America’s Deadliest Diseases

[Image 2]These days there are all sorts of different body problems, diseases and sickness’ that people and scientists have a hard time figuring out exactly what is causing them; there are just so many different factors. But what some do not realize is that heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, stroke and cancer have a lot in common. All of these, for certain, have one thing in common; scientists have found a connection from each of these to a condition called chronic inflammation. Along with this, they are also studying how a diet that is high in fatty foods, as well as having an exuberance of body weight, can also increase the risk for fatal disorders.

Chronic Inflammation is nothing out of the norm but is rather a natural response for the body; naturally responding to injury and outside irritation. Often those irritations do not go away, and this happens because of poor diets, being overweight and smoking. All of these components can then negatively affect the immune system which then increases the risk for disease. If the inflammation becomes chronic it can cause damage to the heart, brain, increase the chance of stroke and bring on diabetes. The worst part is that chronic inflammation is also linked to the development of cancer. Chronic inflammation is most common due to its relation to cardiovascular disease. Inflammation is natural, for instance, when the body has a cut, scrape or wound, and then the immune system rushes to the rescue. However, too much inflammation causes serious damage.

Research is being done to fight chronic inflammation with drugs, but a number of scientists are researching how a change from an unhealthy, high in fat diet to a healthy diet can actually lower the risk; dietary fiber and even dairy may protect from inflammation. Eating healthy and watching your weight is a good way of lowering the risk of chronic inflammation. Consuming a diet high in complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, nuts, eggs, unsaturated fats and dairy in moderation is a great way to lower the risk of inflammation. Along with a healthy diet, exercise is a key component when battling inflammation. Obesity is one of the easiest ways to promote inflammation. Fat cells create molecules called cytokines, which then give the okay for inflammation to occur when there is an excess of fat cells in the body. Dr. Peter Libby, chief of the division of cardiovascular medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and a professor at Harvard Medical School says, “We’ve learned that abdominal fat tissue is a hotbed of inflammation that pours out all kinds of inflammatory molecules.” Losing excess body weight can dramatically decrease inflammation in a short period of time.

Cancer is caused by many different abnormalities but one for sure is inflammation. Inflammation can be dealt with by keeping off excess body fat and eating a healthy diet. By living a healthy lifestyle the chance of inflammation is lowered which then eliminates at least one factor towards cancer.

7 Nutrients That Help Increase Muscle Tone

When it comes to achieving an awe-inspiring body, calories aren’t the only factor to be taken into consideration. With a mixture of eating the right foods and exercising, you’ll be able to achieve your goal of slimming down and building strong muscles.

Your muscles actually break down and cause microtears in the tissues fibers every time you perform exercises such as curls and presses. When your body is at rest, it’s then able to strengthen and rebuild muscles. However, in order for it to repair properly, it needs the right amount of fuel to get the job done. Essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals can allow you to get the recommended daily dosage that will help you to look good and feel great.

Vitamin C

A little color added to your plate at every meal can help create better tone and definition in your arms. Fortunately, a healthy dose of vitamin C can be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables. The health of your blood vessels is dependent on your vitamin C consumption. This essential nutrient can also contribute to the way your muscles work and recover after a workout. After your body receives the necessary 75 mg. daily requirements, you’ll be able to store the material properly in order to build strong bones and muscles. You can find the recommended allotment by consuming a cup of strawberries, medium orange or half a red pepper.

Fish Oil

Omega-3 fatty acids are a crucial nutrient that will help decrease inflammation and help a body recover faster after a workout. Known to increase the flow of blood to the muscles and lessen the breakdown of muscle protein, consuming fish oil on a regular basis can even help prevent diabetes by improving an individual’s sensitivity to insulin.

The American Heart Association has guidelines in place that recommends consuming two servings of fish on a weekly basis. This could include anything from lake trout and herring to salmon and albacore tuna. If you can’t stomach the taste of fish or you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you can get your recommended 1,000 to 3,000 milligram supplement in chia seeds, walnuts, flax seeds or algae-based products.

Calcium

If you’re looking to maintain strong bones and healthy muscles, you’ll find calcium to be an essential nutrient. With every weight you lift, this important mineral gives your body the nutrients that it needs to contract and grow.

To get your allotted 1,200 mg. per day, you’ll want to try to consume foods such as green veggies, yogurt, cheese, milk and cottage cheese. You’ll also find fortified dairy-free products and supplements for those who are lactose intolerant. If you’re shooting for a pill, look for one with vitamin D. You should also select supplements that contain 500 to 600 mg. of calcium.

Magnesium

The deficiency of magnesium is a rare occurrence in the U.S. However, when it comes to not getting enough of this essential mineral, it is women who are actually lacking. Since your body needs this important nutrient in order to build muscles and ensure that you’re heart keeps ticking properly, you’ll want to get at least 310 to 320 mg. per day. In addition to regulating your heart, magnesium can also relive muscle soreness and cramps associated with PMS and weight lifting. Foods high in magnesium can include whole-grains, spinach, legumes and nuts. You can also soak it up by drawing yourself a relaxing Epsom salt bath.

B Vitamins

From B1, B2 and B3 to B6 and B12, this gang of supplements can pack a powerful punch. Essential in maintaining overall good health. Because of the way they metabolize protein, provide energy and help the body maintain optimum nerve health, you’ll find the vitamins to be especially important when you’re trying to tone muscles and gain strength.

Adequate amounts of vitamin B can be sought through a daily diet when you consume foods that include whole-grains, lean meats, eggs, nuts, legumes, fortified cereals and leafy greens. Unfortunately, B12 can only be found through animal sources. If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you’ll want to consider fortified food sources or taking a supplement to obtain the required 2.4 daily micrograms.

Vitamin D

It seems that everyone is singing the praises of this powerful sunshine vitamin today. From mood inducing powers and a strong immune system to muscle building properties, and the growth and development of your bones and teeth, you’ll find that vitamin D is an essential vitamin that you can’t do without.

While you can get adequate vitamin D through daily exposure to the sun, you have skin cancer to contend with. Mushrooms, eggs, fortified dairy products, oysters and cod liver oil can help you achieve your recommended 4,000 to 6,000 (IU) of vitamin D. You can also take a supplement. A simple blood test taken by your primary care physician can help you determine if you’re vitamin D deficient.

Vitamin E

Reaching for a handful of almonds after a workout can provide a wealth of nutrients that includes healthy fats, fiber, protein and vitamin E. This important antioxidant can be beneficial in your muscle recovery after you exercise. However, maintaining the right recommended dosage is important because anything over 300 mg. can cause weakness, nausea and stomach cramping

7 Times When Food is the Answer

While stuffing your face with food can bring momentary satiation, you’ll find it can fill you with remorse later on. However, noshing on fortifying foods can lead to greater satisfaction with every bite you take.

If You’re Going Through a Funk?: Reach for a Sweet Potato.

When you feel the urge to snack, try to resist the temptation to reach for unhealthy snacks such as candy or chips. A baked sweet potato is a nutritious alternative to junk food and a great source of carbohydrates. The surge of serotonin experienced when you consume an orange potato can boost your mood with this natural feel-good chemical. Because sweet potatoes are also loaded with fiber, the carbs will enter into your system gradually. This keeps your energy stabilized instead of crashing like you would experience after binging on peanut butter cups.

You Find it Difficult to Sleep?: Snack on Hummus

Hummus is a delicious and nutritious Middle Eastern snack that will help you sleep soundly. Chickpeas contain an important amino acid called tryptophan. This melatonin-like substance will naturally increase your sleep inducing hormones, making it easy to fall asleep at night.

Achy Muscles: Drink a Glass of Tart Cherry Juice

If you pushed yourself to extreme levels at the gym, and you want to ensure that you’re able to work out tomorrow, ditch your protein shake for a glass of tart cherry juice. The anti-inflammatory anti-oxidants in tart cherries can help an individual recover quicker after a workout. The anthocyanins can also reduce muscle soreness before and after you exercise.

Feeling Lethargic and Sluggish?: Try Adding a Glass of Coconut Water

Limited energy and feelings of tiredness indicate a lack of water consumption. Without this important nutrient, your muscles and brain won’t be able to function properly. Instead of turning to your typical cup of Java, you can switch to a glass of coconut water instead. This nutritious pick-me-up is chalk full of electrolytes, calcium, potassium and magnesium to keep your fluids flowing throughout your body.

Stomach Rebellion?: Make Time for Peppermint Tea

A heavy meal or unsettled tummy can leave you feeling bloated and doubled over in pain. However, drinking a cup of peppermint tea can relieve the discomfort and pain associated with stomach issues such as indigestion or IBS.

Pounding Migraine?: Consume Spinach

When a pounding headache or migraine appears, most people seek relief by popping a pill. However, spinach contains riboflavin, magnesium and other essential nutrients that can combat the pain and discomfort associated with a migraine. Most ERs and hospitals use a magnesium supplement to alleviate the pain, but greenery such as spinach is definitely worth a try.

Low Blood Sugar?: Get Out the Dried Apricots

If you’re looking to increase the levels of blood sugar in your system, you should consume something sweet. However, this shouldn’t send you scurrying for the nearest bowl of sugar. Apricots are a healthy and natural sweet source of sugar and a much better option for the body. Since they are also high in both fructose and glucose, dried apricots can also immediately spike your blood sugar levels. However, you don’t want to raise your blood sugar levels too high, so try to stick to three to five pieces.

10 Tips for Everlasting Energy

The following proven tips will help jump start your day and allow you to feel energized!

Get an Early Start

Individuals who get an early start by leaving the comforts of their bed by 7 a.m. will have a greater attention span throughout the day. An added bonus is that most of those early birds also experienced a happier and healthier outlook on life. Waking up early provides a person with the chance to sleep more sound at night as opposed to their night owl counterparts. Since society is on a nine-to-five schedule, early risers will find their internal alarm clocks to be more in sync.

You can engage a few tricks if getting out of bed early is not your thing. To snap yourself out of a night of slumber, you can try putting your alarm clock at the farthest part of your room. Your body will find it difficult to go back to bed once you’ve gotten up. You can also start your morning with a quick shower, brisk run or by drinking a refreshing glass of water.

Speed Up Your Metabolism with Sex

Getting frisky in the morning with sex can help release pent up tension. It can also speed up your metabolism and start your day off with an energized punch. Physical interaction in the early morning hours stimulates the body’s production of cortisol. For people who have obtained a good night’s sleep, higher levels of cortisol can contribute to their overall well-being and heightened energy levels. A great bout of sex can also increase a person’s endorphins. This will leave you with a skip in your step as you head off to work.

Replace Your Morning Cup of Java with Water

While a tall latte can sharpen your mental alertness, too much of a good thing can have the opposite effect. Drinking a cup of Joe can give you a much needed burst of energy. However, your body could experience quite the crash later in the day. Instead of becoming dependent on your morning java run, you can replace your mug of coffee with cold glasses of water. You can also be kind to the environment by ditching your plastic versions in favor of a stylish water bottle. Try to replenish your water a minimum of three to five times throughout the day.

If your body is still craving that cup of java to get you going, you can try to postpone your mug of coffee to later in the morning. Since most cortisol levels begin their decline between the hours of 9:00 and 11:30 a.m., the stimulant in coffee will be most effective.

Add a Meal to Your Day

The body requires food throughout the day and going for long periods of time in between can cause a reduction in energy. Low blood sugar caused by a lack of food can also make it difficult to focus. Replacing your morning and afternoon snack breaks with an extra meal can keep you fully functioning. They should also be spaced approximately four hours apart. Depending on your activity level, your meals should be between 400 and 600 calories.

To get the most out of your meals, try combining complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fat. Menus options could include mixed greens, grilled chicken and an oil and vinegar based salad dressing and whole-grain toast with peanut butter and sliced banana.

Get Down with a Healthy Dosage of Vitamin D

Individuals who fail to consume the required amount of vitamin D can experience bone and muscle weakness, chronic fatigue and mental impairment. While the recommended daily intake is 600 IUs, most women average their daily intake around 276 IUs. The vitamin D deficiencies are most common in the winter months when the exposure to the sun’s light is more limited.

Fatty fish, fortified orange juice and non-fat milk are excellent sources, but you may need an additional daily supplement, especially when the sun is at its most limited levels. If you’re struggling with fatigue, you can also have your physician test your levels during your annual check-up.

Make a Commitment to Exercise

If you’re looking to recharge your batteries, a good workout is just what the doctor ordered. Unfortunately, convincing your body that it’s in need of exercise can be a difficult process. Strong motivators such as reminding yourself of how good you’ll feel afterward can help jumpstart your workout.

To lessen the levels of fatigue and improve your performance during your workout sessions, try scheduling your activity the same time each day. While any exercise and movement is great for your health and wellness, people who exercised early in the morning had the most effective boosts of energy after its completion.

Shake Up Your Routine

Whether you’re changing your route into work or you want to try a different workout, exposing your body to new experiences can increase your feel-good hormones. While you don’t have to make drastic changes such as scouring mountain tops or changing careers, you can open your normal routine up to new experiences.

Get Moving

Simple things around your home such as your comfy bed, chair and car can be stealing your energy levels. People who sit for long periods of time may find themselves more physically and mentally drained. It also raises your chances for illnesses and diseases, even if you get sufficient exercise each day.

You can prevent being chained to your desk by scheduling five minute bursts that allow your heart rate to get pumping and elevated. A simple run up and down the stairs, walk around the office building or session of group office jumping jacks can pump your blood. In addition to helping you stay more alert and focused, the brief bursts of activity could also contribute to weight loss.

Add Some Melody and Base

Music that is upbeat can be more inspiring than a good workout. The body is hardwired to subliminally tailor the body’s rhythm to rival what we are exposed to. If you find yourself tired and nodding off, you can select a song on your headphones that gets you moving.

If you’re at the gym, try selecting something with 140 beats per minute to get your body pumped and energized. If your gym mates don’t mind, you can even sing or hum along to the tunes. Individuals who incorporated music into their exercise routine also found it to be easier to do.

Steer Clear of Negative “Nancy’s”

Whether it’s the co-worker who seeks drama or the gym buddy who wants constant advice on their latest conquests, you need to avoid people who try to bring you down with their own problems. Listening to someone else’s hardships takes time. It can also be exhaustive to be the problem-solver.

While you don’t want to cut these people out of your life completely, you need to set some boundaries. Give them 10 minutes of your time to tell a condensed version of their story. Be brief and to the point in your response and move on. This allows you to help them out and retain your positive mental outlook on life.

5 Super Food Alternatives

If you’re looking to change up your food habits, you’ll find the following options an exciting alternative.

While super foods such as blueberries, quinoa, and garlic generate a lot of nutritional buzz, you’ll find that they’re not the only items that can prevent disease and improve your health and wellness. There are a number of foods equally loaded with nutrition that a person overlooks in favor of the originals.

Super Food: Quinoa
What it Does: The best whole-grain for losing weight
The Sleeper: Oatmeal

When you’re looking for a super grain, you don’t want to overlook the nutritional capabilities of oats. While quinoa has a total of eight grams of protein versus the six in oats, it doesn’t contain a unique ingredient like its counterpart. Beta glucan is a particular fiber that raises the body’s appetite controlling hormone called PYY. Oats can keep you feeling fuller longer and comes in at only 166 calories. That makes it a more weight conscious selection over the 220 in quinoa.

Super Food: Garlic
What it Does: Fights cancer
The Sleeper: Onions

Both garlic and onions come from the same vegetable family and are chalk full of organosulfur compounds. Onions also contain cancer fighting agents that can stall the growth of tumors. However, purple onions are loaded with a powerful disease fighting hue called anthocyanins and are more nutritious than both white and yellow onions.

Super Food: Blueberries
What it Does: Combats cardiovascular disease by protecting the heart
The Sleeper: Bananas

Bananas contain essential minerals and nutrients that can help combat cardiovascular disease. While blueberries are rich in nutrients, you’ll find that bananas contain over three times the potassium and magnesium. This can help regulate blood pressure and keep the heart in good physical condition.

Super Food: Almonds
What it Does: Some say they are the healthiest of nuts
The Sleeper: Peanuts

Some say almonds are the favorite nut at present. However, peanuts are just as delicious and nutritious. Similar in fiber and calories, you’ll find the peanut to be above average when it comes to protein. Peanuts are also a winner in antioxidants, as they contain just as many as the average berry.

Super Food: Black beans
What it Does: An excellent source of protein for vegetarians
The Sleeper: Peas

Black beans and split peas are both a great source of protein, complex carbs and fiber. While black beans offer 45 percent of a day’s worth of iron, split peas are just as nutritious and come in around 32 percent.

11 Surprising Facts About Your Heart

Straight from the Heart

One of the hardest working muscles in the human body is your heart. The heart beating capabilities of this extraordinary muscle are powerful with it being able to beat approximately 3 billion times throughout an individual’s lifetime. With every beat of your heart, it can also pump out close to two ounces of blood. Over the average day, this can equate to a minimum of 2,500 gallons of the red stuff.

Sedentary Lifestyle Could Equate to Trouble

For health conscious individuals who want to stay heart healthy, you may want to reduce the amount of time in front of the T.V. You may also want to do a little more walking than driving. A study of nearly 30,000 individuals across 52 countries showed that the group of people who owned a T.V. and automobile had a greater risk of a heart attack by as much as 27 percent over individuals without. However, the studies also cautioned that it was the lack of exercise that caused the increase risk of a heart attack and not the actual machines.

The Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet

A slimmed down Mario Batali isn’t the only one who has benefited from the Mediterranean diet. Research suggests that individuals with heart disease who follow this particular eating regimen can prevent a second heart attack from occurring. Mediterranean eating consists of consuming fruits, vegetables, fish, high-fiber grain, beans, monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. Dieters are also asked to limit eating sweets and cheese.

Pollution is Just as Toxic for the Heart

Studies have shown the negative effects of pollution on a person’s lungs. Scientists are also finding the toxic air that you breathe can also be responsible for harming your heart. When the toxic air is inhaled, the harmful molecules can cause both your heart and lungs to become contaminated. Individuals who have been exposed to polluted air can also be at a higher risk for arrhythmias.

A Broken Heart

The despair and overwhelming feelings of depression and anger caused by grief can take a toll on a person. The sadness and shock of losing a loved one can also leave feelings of anguish and bring on a sudden heart attack. A recent study of more than 2,000 heart attack survivors indicated that the risk of a heart attack was greater after the death of a loved one than after any other time. As the grief subsided, so did the risk of a heart attack.

Your Heart as the Focal Point

When the Pledge of Allegiance is usually recited, you’ll notice that most individuals place their hands over the left side of their bodies. While the heart may feel like it’s favoring the left side, your heart is actually centered toward the middle of the chest. However, a heart defect called dextrocardia has the heart being placed on the opposite side.

A Cup of Java to Reduce Risks

Coffee with caffeine can cause the heart to beat faster. However, a surprising study found that individuals who drank coffee were less likely to be hospitalized or concerned about heart arrhythmia. While caffeine can often cause the heart to beat faster, studies have shown that consuming more than four cups of coffee daily were fund to lessen a person’s risk by as much as 18 percent. Individuals who drank between one to three cups per day found their risk to be at 7 percent. However, physicians are not likely to prescribe coffee as a way to protect the heart.

It’s the Size of an Apple

The heart is the size of an average apple and can weigh between seven and 15 ounces. This can equate to being a littler bigger than your fist.

It Never Stops Ticking

Your heart begins ticking approximately 22 days after you’ve been conceived. By the time it ends, the average heart can end up beating as much as 3.5 billion times according to research.

Men versus Women

Both male and female hearts experience the same rate of beat before conception. However, a male heart can beat approximately 70, while women can experience around 78 beats.

Does Sneezing Stop the Heart?

The age old saying says that sneezing can trigger the heart to stop. However, heart aficionados find that saying to be simply just a myth.

The 14 Best Things You Can Do for Your Body

Sleep

Hard working individuals can often be sleep deprived. Unfortunately, your sleep patterns can contribute to your health and wellness. The effort and time that you put into eating a healthy diet and exercising will be ineffective if you’re not getting the required seven to eight hours of sleep each night, especially if you try to play a game of catch up on the weekends. Researcher’s findings suggest that a lack of sleep can play havoc with the brain’s ability to flush out harmful toxins. It can also impair the way the brain functions properly.

Meditation

Thought to be a passing trend, meditation is a popular method of exercise that packs a serious health punch. While the om-ing party is optional, you’ll find that taking a minimum of 10 to 20 minutes to relax, focus and unwind on a regular basis can help improve a person’s mental capabilities and longevity. Studies have also shown that meditation can help individuals obtain a better night’s sleep, improve the body’s immune system, strengthen cardiovascular function and reduce stress. Because you’re disconnected from the problems associated with everyday life, you’ll find that you can retain a more positive and happy attitude through meditation.

Refresh with Warm Water and Lemon

It’s important to start your day off right with a nutritious breakfast, as it can set the tone for the remainder of your day. Try to select something rich in protein and fiber, as it will keep you satisfied and less prone to snacking. However, starting your day with a glass of warm water and lemon can help detoxify the body and stimulate your intestinal track. It can even give you that caffeine-free energy boost needed to get you through a busy day.

Floss Those Pearly Whites

In addition to brushing your teeth, you’ll find that regular flossing can improve your health and wellness. Gums that are ignored can get infected and cause bacteria to build up. It can then enter the body’s bloodstream and cause inflammation and infection. Try to floss after each meal or at least once a day to get rid of food and particles littering the mouth’s atmosphere.

Consume More Tea

Water aside, consuming green tea on a regular basis has a host of benefits that include boosting your metabolism, improve mental capabilities, lower blood pressure, reduce bad breath and strengthening the body’s immune system. Research also shows that the consumption of green tea can also provide anti-inflammatory agents to aid the body.

The Popularity of Probiotics

Probiotics have been the hottest topic in recent commercials and magazine articles. In order to maintain overall good health, the answer may lie within your digestive system. In order to keep your digestive system smooth and regular, you’ll want to consume a probiotic product every day. In addition to regularity, probiotics can also boost your mood and strengthen your immune system.

Warm-up Before Exercise

Individuals who started their routine with static stretching before exercising had reduced strength as opposed to people who followed a proper warm-up routine. The latest studies has shown that people who began their exercise regimen with a muscle warming routine that included high skips and lunges enhanced their performance and enjoyed an injury-free workout.

Stay Fit with HIIT

Studies from Liverpool John Moores University suggested that high intensity interval training (HIIT) can garner similar benefits that you would normally get from endurance training. However, you’ll spend about half the time or less at the gym to gain the same outcome. While any type of sweat-induced workout is crucial to your health and wellness, HIIT can improve your level of fitness and combat diseases that include diabetes, heart ailments and hypertension.

Steer Clear of BPAs

Bisphenol A is a chemical that is used in producing many of today’s common household items such as cans of food and water bottles. Over the years, the effects of BPA have commanded a bit of controversy. Based on the latest findings, being exposed to BPA can cause serious harm with issues such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and reproductive problems. However, the FDA has evidence to support both sides of the debate. You can steer clear of BPAs by purchasing products in glass bottles and avoiding recycle codes that state 3 or 7 on the bottom.

Implement a Proper Skincare Regimen

Since your skin is one of the biggest organs, you need to take proper care of it. This means that you should begin your day by liberally applying sunscreen after you’ve cleansed your skin. You should also carefully choose your skin care products and avoid chemicals and other harmful toxins. You can read labels carefully and avoid products that contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate. These items are harmful and could strip your skin and hair of special nutrients needed to retain moisture. They could also prove toxic when mixed with other skincare ingredients.

Limit UV Rays

Slathering your body in sunscreen is especially important in preventing sun damage. However, you can go a step further and protect your eyes with the right sunglasses. The UV protection that sunglasses provide can keep your eyes healthy and protect them from cataracts, sunburn and skin cancer. UV-400 and 99-100 percent do the best at providing the proper eye protection.

Go Green

Antioxidant-rich leafy green vegetables should be added to your menu at every meal. They are chalk full of nutrients and can help prevent cancer, control weight management and keep the body regular. You can also supplement with a green powder such as spirulina if you’re pressed for time. This greenish-blue form of algae is high in protein, B vitamins, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, beta-carotene and zinc.

Enjoy the Benefits of Fiber

Fiber is the main component to eating a healthy diet, and it comes in all shapes and sizes. In addition to keeping your body regular, fiber can aid in weight loss and contribute to your longevity. It has also been shown to moderate the body’s inflammation, reduce blood pressure, lower bad levels of cholesterol and reduce your risk of diabetes.

Make Love

While you may not have to be told to have more sex, you’ll find that research is in your favor about regular time spent underneath sheets. Regular sex has a variety of benefits that can enhance your sleep habits, make you feel and look more youthful, boost your immunity, improve your cardiovascular health and protect against cancers. Research has also shown that you can live longer too, so go ahead and get busy!

Can Staying Positive Extend Your Life?

The latest study in Lancet medical journal has strengthened the belief that a positive outlook can keep cancer at bay and give new hope to staying alive. Six dozen patients who were recovering from breast cancer were the basis for the study. The individuals who showed a fighting spirit and reacted to their situation positively had a better survival rate and reduced signs of residual cancer than the people who experienced feelings of despair and hopelessness. Additional studies seem to back this evidence up, allowing the optimal benefits to get admitted into the medical doctrine.

On the pessimistic side, multiple studies have also found the evidence to be lacking. Neither positive nor negative emotions were shown to impact the outcome and prognosis of those suffering from a serious illness. While there will always be new claims to the power of positivity, experts believe that the earlier results were based on the importance of a person’s living conditions, health, and their happiness.

While the data may be lacking, the powerful belief may be doing widespread damage. Patients battling cancer may try to act happy and upbeat when they’re actually feeling down and distraught, especially if their disease progresses. It could also keep them from getting treatment or solace during their time of need. Positive thinking could even complicate future research since it can be difficult to tell if a patient is suppressing their actual feelings or truly retaining a conquering spirit.

Why Women’s Immune Systems Are Stronger Than Men’s

The age old stereotype of women overreacting has been long touted. However, there could be a smidge of truth to it when you’re talking about their immune system.
A new study has found that the immune system in women is significantly stronger than a man’s when it comes to their reaction to the flu vaccine. Women of various age groups had a higher antibody production rate and a raise in the inflammatory cytokine count than their male counterparts.

Male Versus Female Immune System

The gender gap related to immune reactions has been commonly known. However, the mechanics behind the reasoning has remained a mystery among scientists. The latest study has shined new light on the findings identifying various genes regaled by testosterone. They may also deem them as a major component to the response mechanism. The greater the testosterone levels of the individual involved, you’ll find the immune reaction to the vaccine to be lower.

In general terms, the immune system response of a woman is stronger than those of a man. While this can mean good news because they’re less susceptible to viral, bacterial, fungal and other various types of infections than men, their immune systems are more suspect to overreact.

An over stimulated immune system can go after healthy tissue as seen in autoimmune illnesses that include lupus. It can also pose life threatening complications in post-infection issues where an abundance of immune cells have compromised the way the body functions normally.

It’s All in the Genes

The current study examined the way the immune system responded to seasonal vaccinations in both men and women between the ages of 20 to 89. Based on the blood tests, they were able to ascertain and isolate the genes at the center of fat metabolism. Regulated by testosterone, the researchers found that the male genes showing higher hormone levels had tested lower for the antibody response.

The latest findings centered on genes, the sex chromosome location and how the response to vaccinations is affected by the immune system. The current research has also paved the path for testosterones important role, the treatment of immunological overreactions, and the reasoning behind the raised rate of autoimmune diseases in women.

How Sleep Clears the Brain of Toxins

The latest studies have found that the brain gets rid of toxic materials through its cells after a good night’s rest. They also concluded that there is a biological purpose to sleeping and that waste disposal may be at the center of its restorative properties.

There could also be a significant connection for treating and comprehending certain diseases that include Alzheimer’s. The study also indicated the various functional states of the brain during the stages of sleeping and while awake.

The therapeutic nature of when you sleep is the outcome of activity clearance based on the neural movement that gathers during the waking up period.

Published in the journal of Science, the findings indicate the highest level of activity occurs during sleep, when the brain goes through its own method of cleansing. During the restful hours of slumber, the toxins that would typically build up and cause neurological complications such as Alzheimer’s disease instead clear away. It was also concluded the reduction of the size of the brain cells during sleep and how it allows waste to be effectively removed.

By pumping cerebral spinal fluid to the tissue of the brain and releasing the toxins into the liver and blood circulation system, you’ll realize the how the brain’s glymphatic waste disposal system runs.

It was also being speculated in regards to the compatibility between the cleaning process and brain functions that must be performed during wakefulness.

The brain has a certain amount of energy at its disposal, and it must make the selection between the two various states. Similar to a social gathering, you can either choose to entertain your guests or clean up after them. However, you can’t do both tasks at the same time.

5 Things Super Successful People Do Before 8 A.M.

Love it or hate it, morning time is inevitable, and taking advantage of the early bird hours before you head to work can hold the key to a healthy, happy and successful lifestyle. This common trait is found in some of the most influential early risers around the globe such as CEOs, government officials and world leaders who were known to get up before the crack of dawn. While most individuals think that they are at their best in the evening, a recent study concluded that people were more productive and energetic in the morning. The health benefits for morning revelers were also significant. The following are five productive activities successful individuals find to do before 8 a.m.

1. Exercise and Fitness

Exercising and keeping fit in the morning can pave the way for a successful and energized day ahead. Whether you work out at the gym, schedule a yoga session, bike ride, walk or run, a morning fitness routine can bring you a sense of accomplishment that carries over throughout your busy day. Tackling a mountain of paperwork is easier to do after starting your day with a couple of sets of push-ups. If the thought of a 5 a.m. wake-up call shocks your senses, try setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier and stretch or do a couple of reps of sit-ups. This can still prep you for your day ahead.

2. Implement a Plan

You can maximize your day’s potential by implementing a plan ahead of time. The morning is the ideal time to put things in motion and map out a schedule of your day’s events. In addition to it being peaceful and quiet, you’ll be more alert to schedule and prioritize the tasks that need to be dealt with. Make time for mental health breaks, especially after a grueling set of meetings. A walk around the block or brief meditation can be beneficial to managing your stress and relaxation. You should also set time aside to pack nutritious snacks for the following day.

3. Make Time for Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and rushing out the door with a cup of coffee and an empty stomach won’t keep you satisfied all morning. Instead of relying on the vending machines or food trucks, you need to fuel your body with healthy food, especially if you’ve just worked out. Breakfast can keep you satisfied and in top physical shape to take on the challenges at work. Sitting down to an early morning meal with the family can promote bonding and lift your spirits before you start your day.

4. Meditation and Visualization

So much importance is placed on a person’s physical health now-a-days. However, mental health is equally important and can alleviate stress and mental exhaustion. Positive visualization and meditation can be beneficial in the early morning hours, when it’s most quiet. Focusing on your goals and accomplishments can improve your outlook for the day ahead.

5. Schedule Your Least Favorite Task for Early in the Day

Everyone has at least one dreaded task on their schedule that looms over them throughout their day or week. After much procrastination and nagging, you may finally set your mind to accomplishing it. To save yourself stress and aggravation, you should schedule a time to deal with the unpleasantness early on. In addition to getting it out of the way in the begining part of the day, you’ll find that you have more energy and a sharper mind to contend with the annoyance in the early morning hours. This can then leave you in a more jovial mood to enjoy the rest of your work day.

The Secret to Staying Motivated

Stop focusing on losing weight! You’ll find the following five reasons more of a motivator to get moving.

Managing a hectic schedule can be a challenge and tasks with immediate payoffs can often fall to the wayside. Included in that checklist is exercise. Working out typically competes with other tasks that need to get done throughout your busy day. In order for it to make the top of the list, it has to offer something beneficial. A recent study focused on woman who kept track of instant results after exercising. Many found that they had more energy and felt an overall sense of happiness. They also worked out 34 percent more during the course of the year than individuals who made their appearance and weight-loss goals their primary focus. Since it can take months to see any actual physical changes, you’ll find that exercise can feel like just another obligation.

Focusing on the following five instant health benefits will help you retool your motivation and reap the benefits of exercise.

REWARD 1: Encourage Productivity and Brainpower

Skipping your workout to get ahead at work may feel like a wise decision, but you may reap more benefits out of a quick class at the gym. Research has indicated that 20 minutes of exercise can increase brain functioning and allow you to plan, coordinate and schedule. This ramped up focus can last up to an hour, so you need to plan your exercise when it can benefit you most during the day.

REWARD 2: Connect on a Healthy Level

Social communication can have a significant effect on your health and aid in preventing high blood pressure, mental illness, alcoholism, suicide and illnesses or diseases. Finding shared activities such as a Zumba class at the gym or running with a group can keep you on task and benefit your mind and spirit. People who make exercise a part of their daily lives were perceived as more outgoing, personable, kind and attractive to others than individuals who don’t work out.

REWARD 3: Healthy and Hydrated Skin

Facials can be a pricey affair. However, you’ll find that exercise and sweating to be an inexpensive way to score healthy looking skin. Getting your heart rate to rise will increase your blood flow and circulation to the skins surface. After the body uses some of the sweat droplets to cool its system, the rest will be absorbed back into the skin to give it a hydrated and healthy glow.

REWARD 4: Great Sex

A good workout can make your love making sessions more stimulating. A published study found that women who exercised 20 minutes before watching an erotic movie experienced increased genital arousal by as much as 150 percent. Working out stimulates the sympathetic nervous system and increases the blood flow and lubrication to the vaginal tissue. The rise in sexual arousal can last up to 30 minutes, so you may want to plan your workout at home.

REWARD 5: A Good Night’s Sleep

People who exercised moderately at least 30 minutes a day each week found that they were able to go to sleep faster each night. They also experienced less drowsiness during the daytime hours. A good workout can reduce stress and anxiety and aids individuals in getting a more peaceful rest each night. It doesn’t matter when you work out, as long as you get it in daily throughout the week.

How to lower blood pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is very common. According to a new study done by Harvard, high blood pressure helps contribute to 15 percent of the deaths in the United States. Additionally, the American Heart Association has stated that 28 percent of people in America have hypertension and do not even know it. You should see your doctor if you have not had your blood pressure checked within the last two years.

There are several medications that have been approved to treat hypertension. These medications are very effective, but they can cause side effects such as insomnia, leg cramps and dizziness. The good news is that the majority of people can lower their blood pressure without using any medication. The first step in lowering your blood pressure is to bring your weight down to a healthy number. After that, here are a few suggestions:

1.) Power Walk Hypertensive patients who walked briskly were able to lower their systolic blood pressure, or top number, by 8 mmhg. They were able to lower their diastolic blood pressure, or bottom number, by 6 mmhg. If you exercise regularly, your heart will not have to pump as hard. Attempt to work out vigorously for 30 minutes a day, most days out of the week. Once you have gotten used to working out for a while, try increasing the distance and speed.

2.) Breathe Deeply Meditative and breathing practices, such as yoga, tai chi and qigong help decrease stress hormones. These hormones help increase renin, which is an enzyme in the kidney that causes the blood pressure to increase. Try inhaling and exhaling deeply for five minutes in the morning and five minutes at night.

3.) Eat Potassium-Rich Produce Linda Van Horn, who is a professor of preventative medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medical, has stated that potassium-rich vegetables and fruits should be part of every blood pressure lowering regime. She recommends that everyone get between 2,000 mg and 4,000 mg of potassium per day. Dried fruits, orange juice, tomatoes, honeydew melon, bananas and potatoes are foods that are rich in potassium.

4.) Check The Sodium On The Food Labels African Americans, people with a family history of hypertension and the elderly are more likely to have high blood pressure because they may be more sodium sensitive. There is no way to tell whether a person is sodium sensitive, so everyone should watch their sodium intake. Eva Obarzanek, who is a researcher at the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, recommends that people reduce their sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day. Eating less processed foods and putting less salt on your food are two things that you can do to reduce your sodium intake.

5.) Have Some Dark Chocolate Have a ½ ounce serving of dark chocolate every day. There was a study done that showed that 18 percent of people who ate dark chocolate every day were able to lower their blood pressure.

6.) Consume Alcohol In Moderation You can lower your blood pressure by reducing the amount of alcohol that you drink. However, there was a study performed by Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital that showed that light drinkers may be able to lower their blood pressure more than people who do not drink at all. There have also been studies done to show that moderate alcohol consumption can reduce the risk of heart disease. Women should only consume one alcoholic drink per day, and men should consume two at the most. It is important to note that excessive alcohol consumption can be dangerous.

7.) Switch to Decaffeinated Coffee The debate about the effect that caffeine has on blood pressure has been going on for a long time. Some studies say that caffeine does not affect blood pressure, but there was a study done by Duke University Medical Center that showed that consuming 500 mg of caffeine per day can increase blood pressure by 4 mmhg. Jim Lane, who is a professor at Duke, states that caffeine can cause the blood vessels to tighten. That is why it is recommended to switch to decaffeinated coffee if you are a coffee drinker.

8.) Drink Some Tea There was a study done that showed the subjects who drank three cups of hibiscus tea every day were able to lower their systolic blood pressure by an average of seven points after six weeks. Hibiscus contains phytochemicals that can reduce blood pressure.

9.) Work Less If you work more than 41 hours a week, then you can increase your chances of developing high blood pressure by 15 percent according to a study that was done by the University of California, Irvine. Haiou Yang, who was the lead researcher in the study, stated that working overtime makes it harder for you to exercise and eat healthy. Even though it is hard, try to leave work at a decent time so that you can have time to cook a nutritious meal and go to the gym.

10.) Listen To Relaxing Music According to a study done at the University of Florence in Italy, listening to music can lower your blood pressure. The study involved 28 people who were taking high blood pressure medications. The subjects were asked to listen to Celtic, classical or Indian music for 30 minutes a day. The results of the study showed that the subjects were able to reduce their systolic blood pressure by an average of 3.4 points. After one month, the subjects were able to reduce their systolic blood pressure by 4.4 points.

11.) Get Help for Snoring Snoring is often a sign of obstructive sleep apnea. People who have sleep apnea have higher levels of aldosterone, which is a hormone that can raise blood pressure. In fact, approximately half of sleep apnea sufferers have high blood pressure. Daytime sleepiness and morning headaches are two other signs of sleep apnea. See your doctor so that you can get checked for obstructive sleep apnea.

12.) Get More Soy In Your Diet There was a study done by Circulation: Journal of The American Heart Association that showed that replacing refined carbohydrates with soy-based foods can lower your systolic blood pressure.

7 Foods That Fight Aging

1. Avocado

This green, pear shaped fruit contains monounsaturated fat, a compound found to protect cells from free radical damage. Eating avocados daily can improve mental clarity, skin texture and bone density. Boron is a mineral that is important to the absorption of calcium and can aid in preventing broken bones. Toxins are another component that contributes to the aging process. Fortunately, avocados have close to 14 grams of fiber and can help speed up the removal of the premature aging toxins. Avocados are delicious when served in their natural form and best eaten when ripe. You can incorporate this protein enriched fruit in soups by adding cucumber and fresh mint. Another great idea is to place it in a favorite wrap with baby greens and wild salmon or mix in slices of avocado with your favorite salad.

2. Turmeric

Turmeric is considered a must-have pantry staple. Known to contain important antioxidants that enhance the body, turmeric’s curcuminoid pigments can also protect brain and skin cells from free radical damage. It has also been shown to improve an individual’s focus, mental awareness and can reduce the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.

This warm, peppery spice can add depth to your favorite dish such as a coconut, almond milk and banana smoothie. After harvesting a bounty of vegetables this season, you can also sauté kale or spinach in coconut oil and turmeric.

3. Juice Your “Greens”

Give yourself a gold star if you’re a juicer. Juicing has a host of benefits, especially for those who mix their favorite greens into a healthy beverage. Because it breaks down the walls of the plant cells, you’ll find that the nutrients are absorbed quickly into your system, with little digestive effort. One eight-ounce beverage of your favorite “green” juice is equal to consuming two salads without the dressing.

You can take advantage of what each season has to offer with items such as cucumber, spearmint, fennel, kale, dandelion greens and spinach. Add apple, kiwi and lime into the mixture to prevent oxidation.

4. Arctic Char

If you’re looking for the nutrients of salmon without the harmful effects on the environment, arctic char is an excellent nutrient for you. Farmed in an eco-friendly, sustainable manner, it can contain similar amounts of omega-3 fatty acids as wild salmon. Anti-aging benefits can include reduction in wrinkles, brain clarity, improved eyesight and protection against sun damaged skin.

For optimum use, you can pan-sear the salmon and place on a bed of kale or watercress. Add a touch of citrus such as grapefruit sections or orange segments.

5. Hijiki

Hijiki should be included in your next sushi adventure. This pasta-like sea vegetable is loaded with iodine and works in tandem with the thyroid hormone to boost an individual’s metabolism level. Since it’s loaded with fiber, it can also aid in the detoxification of the liver and regulate hormone levels.

Hijki is an ideal texture for individuals who are on a gluten-restricted meal plan. Simply soak it in water, boil for approximately 10 minutes, and you have a dish that resembles pasta. It can also be added to a bowl of mixed greens and tossed with avocado, hemp seeds and tangy pumpkin seeds.

6. Hemp Seeds

No need to break out the Birkenstocks and tie-dye. The consumption of hemp seeds can be beneficial to your skins cells by promoting radiance and firmness. Hemp seeds are the only edible source of omega-6 fat which can contribute to the health and condition of your skins appearance. It’s also an excellent source of protein for those who adhere to a plant-based diet.

Heat and cooking can destroy the delicate oils in hemp seeds, so you’ll find them to be most beneficial when eaten raw. They can also be tossed in your favorite kale salad or protein-enriched mango smoothie.

7. Chlorophyll

No need to do penance for your food sins. Chlorophyll makes up the green pigment in plants and can be purchased in liquid form. Made from mulberry leaves or nettles, it can help countermand the effects of alcohol, coffee and non-organic foods.

Try making your own chlorophyll beverage by mixing chlorophyll with filtered water. You can also flavor to the drink by adding fresh mint or cucumber. A green tea smoothie mixed with chlorophyll is also nutritious and delicious.

10 Tips for Better Digestive Health

There are a number of factors that affect your digestive system such as your lifestyle, stress, and the foods that you choose to eat. Getting the required amount of fiber, drinking plenty of water and exercising can all aid in developing better digestive health. Your body works by breaking down the foods you consume into nutrients and if you fail to be kind to your digestive health, you could run into complications later on.

The following are ten important tips that will help boost and maintain your digestive system.

1. Consume a diet high in fiber. According to the latest studies, a diet that is rich in fiber, whole-grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes, can make great strides in the way that you digest your foods. Fiber laden foods provide regularity by keeping things moving throughout your digestive system. This makes you less susceptible to constipation, bloating and fatigue. It can also aid in preventing digestive ailments such as hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. A smooth running digestive tract can also aid those who are trying to shed pounds by helping you to maintain a normal weight range.

2. Insoluble and soluble fiber. Both forms of fiber can aid in your digestive tract. Insoluble fiber is difficult to be digested by the human body and can add solidness to your stools. Forms of insoluble fiber can include vegetables, whole-grains and wheat bran. Soluble fiber attracts water in and discourages your stools from becoming watery. You can get soluble fiber from items such as legumes, seeds, oat bran and nuts.

3. Reduce your consumption of fatty foods. Fatty foods can slow down your digestive system and contribute to constipation. However, getting rid of all that fat is not necessary, as pairing high fibered foods with some that are fatty can bring digestive relief to many individuals.

4. Lean meats a good source of protein. Fatty cuts of meats can irritate your bowel and lead to gas and bloating. Lean protein is necessary to any diet and can be found in food source items such as skinless chicken breasts, pork loin, turkey breast and other lean cuts of meats.

5. The importance of probiotics. Probiotics are a necessary part of any healthy diet, and they can keep your digestive system on target with the amount of healthy bacteria. By combating foods that are not good for you, they can contribute to proper nutrient absorption, aid in breaking down lactose and give your immune system a boost. They may even aid those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. Probiotics can be found in healthy products such as kefir and low-fat yogurt.

6. Follow a healthy schedule. Following a regular eating schedule can keep your digestive system running right. Plan to eat around the same time every day and include a healthy balance of snacks and regular meals.

7. Drink plenty of water. Water is refreshing and can help the body stay hydrated. It can also contribute to a healthy digestive system by helping to dissolve fats and soluble fiber. This can contribute to keeping the body running regularly and alleviate bloat and discomfort.

8. Ditch the bad habits. Alcohol, smoking and excessive caffeine usage are all bad habits that can hinder your digestive system from running right. It can also lead to other health issues such as heartburn and stomach ulcers.

9. Regular exercise. Exercising on a regular basis can keep the foods that you eat moving throughout your digestive tract. It can also reduce your chances of experiencing constipation and help you maintain a normal weight.

10. Dealing with stress. Stress and anxiety can lead to a dysfunctional digestive system. Stress reducing activities such as yoga and meditation can be helpful and should be practiced regularly. The foods you eat and a well-maintained digestive tract can go hand-in-hand. By following the above ten tips, you’re sure to enjoy comfort and regularity.

14 Foods That Fight Inflammation

Inflammation is an integral part of the immune response and without it, it’s nearly impossible for the body to heal properly. However, when it’s out of control, such as in the case of those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, it can do significant damage to the human body. It’s also thought to play a significant role in afflictions such as obesity, cancer and heart disease.

Foods with excessive amounts of saturated fats and sugar can cause the immune system to be over active and lead many to feelings of fatigue, joint pain and blood vessel damage. Other foods may reduce inflammation and should be added to your daily meal plan.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel contain high levels of omeg-3 fatty acids and have been show to lessen the levels of inflammation. To gain the necessary benefits, you need to consume fish at least three times a week, and it should be baked, broiled or boiled. Individuals who consumed this necessary nutrient found their risk of heart disease to be reduced by as much as 20 percent.

Not everyone is a fan of fish and fish oil supplements can lessen the levels of inflammation. However, too much of a good thing can instigate inflammation, so you want to limit your consumption to the daily recommendations for your height and weight.

Consumption of Whole Grains

Whole grains have a greater amount of fiber than refined items such as white rice, bread and pasta and can help with inflammation. A main contributor of inflammation in the blood stream is C-reactive proteins.

Unfortunately, not all products labeled “whole grains” are healthy, and you have to do diligence when shopping. Choose foods that read whole grain as the primary ingredient and no sugars.

Eat Your Leafy Greens

Today’s research has shown that vitamin E can play an important role in guarding the body from pro-inflammatory properties known as cytokines. Cruciferous vegetables and dark leafy greens have been proven to retain higher levels of vitamins and minerals than their lighter counterparts. Veggies such as kale, broccoli, collard greens and spinach are full of iron, calcium and disease fighting properties.

Antioxidant Packed Nuts

Nuts are another inflammation-fighting food that is rich in calcium, vitamin E and fiber. Almonds and walnuts have a high level of omega-3 fatty acids and are chalk full of antioxidants to aid your body in keeping illnesses and diseases at bay. Whole-grains, nuts, fish and leafy green vegetables all play an important role in the Mediterranean diet. Folks following the diet have seen a reduction in inflammation in as short a span as six weeks.

Soy

Soy is beneficial to the human body, especially in adult women. Many studies have indicated that the estrogen compounds found in many of the soy products contribute to lowering inflammation and CRP. It has also been proven to lessen the negative effects of the heart and bone health when tested on mice.

However, overly processed soy products should be avoided, as they don’t have similar benefits, especially when loaded with preservatives. Tofu, soy milk and edamame are healthier options and should be consumed regularly.

Low-fat Dairy Products

Products high in calcium can be trigger foods for inflammatory diseases because some individuals have a sensitivity and intolerance to casein. However, for those who are able to tolerate low-fat calcium products, skim milk, cheese, cottage cheese and yogurt can be beneficial and lessen inflammation and irritability in the stomach.

Bell Peppers

The more color that is added to your diet, the better it is for you. Colorful choices can include peppers, tomatoes, leafy green vegetables and orange squash. In addition to their high levels of vitamins and antioxidants, they also produce lower levels of starch. Bell peppers can be found in an assortment of colors. Chili and cayenne peppers are a hotter variety and can aid as a property found in topical creams to lessen pain and inflammation.

However, physician’s advise that some peppers can irritate individuals who are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, so you need to listen to your body and find items that work well for you.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are another inflammatory fighting food because they contain lycopene. This has been proven to help individuals fight inflammation in problematic areas of the body such as the lungs. Cooked tomatoes are better than raw because they contain higher levels of lycopene. Tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and tomato juice are all beneficial and have important healing properties.

Beets

Nothing is more brilliant in color than the beet, and its fine color showcases the levels of antioxidant properties. In addition to protecting an individual from heart disease and cancer, it has also been shown to reduce inflammation.

Ginger and Turmeric

Common spices found in Asian and Indian fare have been proven to have anti-inflammatory benefits to an individual. Turmeric regulates the immune system and can aid in the body’s process of reducing inflammation. Its spice relative ginger has also numerous benefits and in addition to reducing inflammation, it can relieve symptoms of indigestion and stomach upset issues.

Garlic and Onions

Aromatic vegetables such as garlic and onions can make a pasta sauce divine. It’s also known for boosting an individual’s immune system. Research has shown that garlic has similar benefits to medical products such as ibuprofen and can shut down the roads that lead to inflammation. Onions have similar anti-inflammatory properties and important compounds.

Olive Oil

Plant based fats such as olive oil is an integral part of a healthy diet, and it’s good for reducing inflammation. The Mediterranean diet has a host of benefits that are mainly due to the use of olive oil. The primary compound found in olive oil has been found to have similar effects of painkillers when consumed.

Berries

Fruits are low in fat and calories. Because they are high in antioxidants, they can aid in fighting inflammation. The properties that give them their deep color can help individuals with arthritis, intestinal inflammation and cancer.

Tart Cherries

One of the best foods for reducing inflammation is tart cherries and research has shown this magnificent fruit can aid it by as much as 50 percent. It’s also been shown to help athletes up their performance levels and recover properly afterward.

A recommended serving is approximately 1 ½ cups of the actual fruit or drinking one cup of the tart cherry juice each day to enjoy significant benefits. Unfortunately sweet cherries were not proven to be the same, so you need to make sure that you’re consuming the tart variety to gain the most benefits.

3 New Fat-Busting Supplements for Speedy Weight Loss

When you thought there couldn’t be more to say about weight loss supplements, researchers come out with some new information. By combining plant-derived compounds and methods of experimenting to boost their effectiveness, three new supplements can be added to the weight loss list.

1. Resveratrol: Boost Your Metabolism

Resveratrol was once praised for its anti-aging powers by extending the lifespan of mice, but it has since lost some of its magic. Taken from the skin of grapes and red wine, the extract had shown potential in reducing health issues such as cardiovascular disease.

As researchers began to give up on resveratrol, they found that it had great potential to aid in weight loss. Based on a study published in the journal Cell Metabolism, men who consumed a daily dose of 150 mg experienced low blood sugar, reduced levels of blood pressure and a decrease in liver fat over a 30 day period. A study taken the previous year focused on mouse lemurs. With the use of resveratrol, the primates were able to control their body mass. Lemurs typically gain weight over the course of the winter, and they were shown to have less of an appetite and eat less when their food was supplemented with resveratrol. Because the temperature of their body and metabolic resting rates were affected, it was found to be a significant metabolism booster.

Recent published studies have proven the theory on resveratrol anti-aging effects by recognizing the pathway behind the energy production and prolonged lifespan. The company founded to test, study and market resveratrol was recently shut down. However, resveratrol is already showing up in a variety of weight loss supplements on the market.

2. White Kidney Bean Extract: Blocking Starch

White kidney bean extract rose in popularity thanks to Dr. Oz. Scientifically named Phaseolus vulgaris, it’s been praised as a fat blocker by slowing or preventing starch absorption.

Since 2007, the excitement over white kidney bean extract has been significant. Based on a study in the International Journal of Medical Science, individuals who took 445 mg per and were somewhat overweight, found that they were able to shed pounds, even while consuming a diet high in carbohydrates. The extract works by stopping alpha-amylase from breaking down the eaten carbs. Carbs that are normally broken down get absorbed in your body’s system and stored as fat.

Researchers followed 60 moderately overweight individuals for 30 days, while taking the white kidney bean extract. When taken 30 minutes before the consumption of a high carb diet, they noticed a decrease in the individual’s body measurements and BMI. A study in China found similar results, while over 90 percent noticed a weight loss over the course of two months.

3. DHEA: Regulate Hormones

DHEA is produced by the adrenals glands, and it’s found to be a natural steroid hormone. The many benefits include boosting energy levels and raising and maintaining the body’s muscle mass. As you age, you’ll notice a significant decrease in DHEA. Researchers wondered if supplementing the body with DHEA could have an effect on the way a body ages. Estrogen and testosterone play a significant role in the sexual hormones throughout the aging process and DHEA has been proven to boost the levels significantly.

While DHEA supplementation may come into play in aiding overweight men to lose weight, studies have been unable to replicate the same findings in younger individuals.

The Mayo Clinic summarizes the DHEA research by admitting that further research is needed on the subject before confirming any weight loss results. Other studies have recommended the energy boosting properties of DHEA as a cure of adrenal fatigue and lupus.

For those interested in learning the pros and cons of DHEA, you can check out the comprehensive analysis from the University of Maryland. Women should take 25 mg and men 50 mg. Because the DHEA supplement needs to be chemically synthesized, you won’t be able to enjoy the same results by consuming wild yams or soy.

Potential side effects could affect individuals who take a higher than recommended dosage and women may experience oily skin, acne and facial hair growth. Women under the age of 40 should still be producing enough DHEA naturally and should not take the supplement.

15 Ways to Get Better Sleep Every Night

Adults are supposed to get an average of seven to eight hours of sleep each night and anything less can leave you tired and out of sorts the next day. Since getting sufficient rest can contribute to a healthy and happy life, you’ll find the following tips to be helpful when getting ready for bed.

1. Catch Some Z’s

Thanks to the developer of YeloSpa’s, the public has taken power naps to a whole new level. David Edward’s educated the populace on the advantages of taking a 20 to 40 minute nap each day. Instead of digesting caffeinated products to stay awake, your body is more satiated when taking a 40 minute or less bit of shut eye. Without the caffeine coursing throughout your veins, you won’t be jittery and may even seem more focused and alert. However, anything more than 40 minutes will leave you feeling groggy.

2. Caffeine in Moderation

No need to stop your morning coffee ritual at Starbucks as long as you know when to quit. Julie Ruelle is a BluePrint Cleanse nutritionist and advises holding off on the afternoon and evening caffeine consumption. Beverages with moderate amounts of caffeine can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night and disrupt your normal sleep patterns. Water, fresh-squeezed juices and seltzer are better alternatives. For those that need an afternoon pick-me-up, a 3 p.m. cut-off may be more of a forgiving timeframe.

3. Get Up and Go

Exercise has been shown to be beneficial in every aspect of your life, including improving your sleep patterns. Josh Holland is a personal trainer to the stars and has helped shaped celebrities such as Madonna. He believes that a high intensity workout can aid the body in how it recovers. Since recovery and sleep go in tandem, you’ll sleep like a baby after a vigorous exercise regimen. For example, working out in the morning can be a great way to start the day and boost your mood. It’s also the ultimate stress reliever and can last until you’re ready to hit the sheets. However, working out three hours before going to bed has been shown to make it more difficult to get to sleep.

4. Add Melatonin to Your Diet

Produced by your brain to help aid your sleep and wake patterns, consuming melatonin can be beneficial when added to your daily diet. Found in a variety of foods such as meat, vegetables, fish, whole-grains and fruit, you’ll find the nutrients to be sleep inducing. For those on the go, you can also purchase it in supplement form.

5. Digest a 5-HTP

If you’re looking for a natural supplement that helps with stress and sleep related disorders, you may want to pop a 5-HTP. It’s been highly touted as causing your brain to produce chemicals that affects the way your body sleeps. However, the evidence in regards to the side effects and its actual effectiveness are still inconclusive at the present.

6. Pressure Points of Acupuncture

When it comes to getting to the root of your sleep issues, acupuncture can help cure your insomnia blues. There are certain patterns and culprits behind your sleeping woes and by focusing on the various pressure points, and the right combination of Chinese herbs, you can address sleep disorders, anxiety, stress and indigestion through acupuncture.

7. Watch What You Eat

The foods you consume and how you digest them can have an effect on the way you sleep. Some nutritionists suggest eating almonds or one tablespoon of almond butter approximately two hours before bedtime. Almonds are rich in magnesium, which is a nutrient that’s beneficial to a sound sleep. The protein also helps keep your blood sugar at a normal level. For those unable to fall asleep easily, you may find your problems related to a weak digestion. Try to avoid heavy meals later in the evening and foods such as broccoli, cabbage and those with a lot of zip.

8. Get Your Zen On

The best way to relax before bedtime is to clear your mind. Yoga and meditation can benefit individuals who are having difficulty sleeping because it teaches the mind and body to get rid of stress. You’ll find numerous benefits through each of the poses and breathing exercises. Practicing yoga can be as simple as lying down and breathing for 10 minutes. In addition to being a great stress reliever, yoga teaches an individual how to calm the mind.

9. Ditch the Electronics

Electronic gadgets such as cellphones, computers, laptops, notebooks and reading devices can hinder your ability to get to sleep. In addition the bright lights emanating from the electronic screens, you may be consumed with thoughts of checking emails, playing games and doing business before bedtime. Make it a habit to turn off all electronic devices at least one hour before you hit the sheets.

10. Strive for a Healthy Relationship

Nothing can cause a disrupted night sleep more than getting into an argument with a loved one. Your bedroom should be used for passionate sex and sleeping. Strong emotions such as arguing or sadness can affect your sleep patterns. Save your serious discussions for earlier in the day and never argue before going to bed.

11. Reading

If you’re tossing and turning and can’t seem to fall asleep, you may want to open an audiobook. This allows your brain to go from alert to drowsy as the soothing voice reads the story. Reading on your own is another great option and can induce sleep quite a bit faster than counting sheep.

12. End the Day with Tea

Tea has been used to overcome insomnia since the ancient times. Herbal teas are free of caffeine and can help you relax. The best options include chamomile, lemon balm, lavender and teas infused with valerian root.

13. Soak Away Your Worries

Taking a bath at the end of the day is a great way to relax and ease away your stress and worries. Essential oils geared toward relaxation can help you sleep and keep your skin hydrated.

14. The Power of Crystals

Crystals have other powers than just an adornment to your finger. Many have healing properties and can induce peace and tranquility. Amethyst and rose quartz are favorites at balancing your emotions and relaxation.

15. The Benefits of Binaural Beats

Binaural tones have been proven to aid in relaxation and assisting in getting a good night’s rest. As they activate specific areas in your brain, the waves are produced to help individuals achieve a restful slumber.

10 Ways to Burn Fat Faster

The following are some medically proven tips to help lose weight:

Up Your Green Tea Consumption

Green tea isn’t just for helping to fight cancer: In addition to the number of amazing cancer fighting properties found in green tea, it can also help individuals rev up their metabolism too. Those who consumed green tea extract a minimum of three times per day noticed an increase in their metabolism by as much as four percent. What this translates to is that you could burn an additional 60 calories per day, the equivalent of six pounds each year. Nutrition experts think the reasoning behind this is due the catechins in green tea, which raises the levels of norepinephrine.

Lift Some Weight

Looking for a way to burn calories quickly? Pump some iron. Exercise physiologists praise the benefits of weight training and find it can burn a pound of muscle nine times the calories of fat. People who lift weight will find their metabolic rate boosted more than a cardio workout. After a strength training workout, you’ll find an added caloric increase that can last up to two hours after your most recent squat according to a Medicine & Science published study. If you find yourself short on time, quick moves such as squats, push-ups, crunches, lunges, bench step-us, and pull-ups will give you optimum results.

Consume Enough Iron

Iron isn’t just for lifting; you need to consume it too. Individuals short on iron will notice a slower rate of metabolism since the body is limited on its oxygen cells. The RDA for adults is around 18 mg and can be found in most multivitamins. You can also get the proper daily allotment by consuming foods rich in iron such as chicken, lean red meat, soy nuts and fortified cereals. For those experiencing feelings of weakness or fatigue, your physician can perform a simple blood test for anemia during your next physical exam.

Stay Hydrated

A current German study found that those who consumed approximately two glasses of water within a specific time frame found their metabolic rate to skyrocket up to 30 percent. Per this research, increasing your water intake by close to 1.5 liters per day could burn an extra 17,000 calories per year. This could result in significant weight loss yearly of up to five pounds.

Have Your Thyroid Tested

Is your metabolism slow and sluggish? Individuals who suspect that they have a slow metabolism may be experiencing an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism. This condition can affect nearly 25 percent of women in America and most are unaware that they even have it. The thyroid gland has the means to control the body’s metabolism and one of the first indicators that something isn’t right could be ineffective weight loss. A simple blood test can be performed by your physician and a synthetic supplement for the thyroid will be prescribed if you test positive. In order for you to experience a normal metabolism and weight loss, you’ll need to take the thyroid supplement for the remainder of your life.

Skip the Alcohol

Looking for a way to keep your favorite foods from going to your belly, hips and thighs? Alcohol can slow your metabolism down by affecting the central nervous system. Those who wash their meal down with alcohol instead of a healthy glass of water found that less fat was burned and more remained in storage throughout the body.

Ramp Up Your Workouts

Boost your workout with interval training. Incorporating burst of high intensity movements throughout your workout is a great way to raise your metabolism. Researchers found that through the interval training moves, you could burn more fat than normal aerobic exercise. If an individual typically jogs at a 10 minute per mile pace, adding a 30 second burst or running uphill for one minute can raise the intensity and calorie burn of your workout significantly.

Increase Your Dairy Intake

According to a published study in the Obesity Research Journal, women who consumed low-fat dairy at least three to four times per day lost between 60 and 70 percent more fat than those with a lower dairy intake. Some of the beneficial products included non-fat yogurt, skim milk and low-fat cheese. Calcium can trigger your body to burn extra fat faster only when you consume the actual dairy products and not fortified food items such as orange juice with calcium. To reap the maximum benefits, you want to shoot for 1,200 mg per day.

Find a New Activity

If you’ve been doing the same moves, you need to find a new sporting activity. The body adapts to the same activity and causes it to burn fewer calories as it becomes used to the movements. To take your workouts to a new level and fire up that metabolism, you may want to consider something different such as rock climbing, cross training, jogging, swimming and biking. Most studies show that changing a workout every six weeks can improve your metabolic rate and give the body a wake-up call.

Catch of the Day

High levels of leptin have contributed to a lower metabolism and obesity and those who consume fish on a regular basis experience lower levels of the hormone. Eating three or more servings of salmon, tuna or another fatty type of fish each week can be beneficial in boosting your metabolic rate, so go fish!

7 Nutrients That Help Increase Muscle Tone

If you’re looking to achieve a lean, strong body, you’re going to want to make sure your diet includes the right mix of minerals and vitamins.

Many think that curbing your caloric intake is the only thing that leads to an amazing body. However, if you’re not consuming the right amount of nutrients, you’re not going to shed weight or tone and strengthen your muscles.

When you curl or bench press, the muscles break down and cause minuscule tears in the fibers. As you rest, the body uses that time to rebuild and strengthen, but it needs the proper nutrition in order to do so. The experts recommend the following seven vitamins and minerals to see a noticeable transformation in your body from head to toe.

1. Vitamin C

Loading your plate with color can lead to toned and well-defined arms. Vitamin C can be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables and is at the center of healthy blood vessels. It’s also a building block of collagen which is a necessary material needed to build strong bones and muscles.

In order to get the proper recommended nutritional requirement each day, take 75 mg. supplement or consume a cup of strawberries, medium orange or half of a red bell pepper.

2. Fish Oil

Omega-3 fatty acids are the right component for effective weight training and increasing the blood flow to support the muscles. It’s also a faster mode of recovery and can decrease inflammation in sore and tired muscles. The fatty acids found in omega-3 fish oil hold a variety of benefits such as toning muscles and preventing diabetes.

To get the proper nutrients, the American Heart Association recommends consuming two servings of fatty fish on a weekly basis. This includes items such as mackerel, herring, salmon, albacore tuna or sardines. For those that can’t tolerate fish, you may want to try taking a daily supplement consisting of 1,000 to 3,000 mg. of DHA and EPA. Vegetarians can also enjoy the benefits of omega-3 by consuming hemp seeds, walnuts, chia seeds and algae based vitamins.

3. Calcium

Calcium is an important nutrient that builds strong and healthy bones and muscles. It goes hand in hand with weight lifting and helps the muscles contract and develop.

In order to get the proper nutritional values, you need to consume at least 1,200 a day. This can be found in dairy products, leafy green vegetables, dairy-free milk or supplements. If you go the pill route, stick to 500 to 600 mg. and space them hours apart to avoid stomach upset. It should also contain vitamin D to help your body absorb the calcium quicker.

4. Magnesium

When it comes to magnesium, most women find themselves lacking. This is an important nutrient that keeps your muscles strong, and your heart beating steady. It’s also great for muscle recovery, cramps and can alleviate PMS symptoms.

The daily recommendation is anywhere between 310 to 320 mg. For individuals that lift weights more than three days a week, you can increase your intake to 400 mg. Magnesium can also be found in foods such as whole grains, legumes, spinach and kale or using Epsom salt in your bath water.

5. B Vitamins

If you’re looking to gain muscle and strength, B vitamins play an important role and include B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin) and B12 (cobalamin). Each of the essential vitamins are essential to maintaining proper health from energy boosting and metabolism to breaking down fat and carbs and maintaining a health nervous system.

B vitamins can be found by consuming a basic diet of whole grains, lean meats, eggs, nuts, leafy green vegetables, legumes and fortified cereals. Since B12 can only be found in animal sources, vegetarians and vegans may want to eat fortified foods and beverages or try taking a supplement that consists of 2.4 (mcg) on a daily basis.

6. Vitamin D

It seems that everyone is touting the benefits of the “sunshine” nutrient. Some of its magical powers include mood lifting properties, strong immune system and muscle tone. In order for your muscles to contract, grow and function, your body needs sufficient vitamin D. It’s also important for bone development and strength.

Most people get adequate vitamin D through their exposure to the sun, but you could be at risk for skin cancer. Instead of risking overexposure to the sun, you could take 4,000 to 6,000 (IU) of D3 every day. Your primary physician can also draw blood to measure your levels to ensure you’re getting an adequate amount.

7. Vitamin E

The next time you reach for a snack, grab a handful of almonds. They not only are a good source of vitamin E, they provide your body with protein, healthy fats and fiber necessary after a good workout. This amazing antioxidant also helps cells to recover and develop quicker after the stress of exercise.

Doses that exceed 300 mg. daily could lead to stomach pain, nausea, weakness or even death, so keep an eye on your intake. Try to stick with the recommended daily allotment of 15 mg. and consume nuts or seeds instead of a supplement.

Three Super Foods to Boost that Libido

There’s no great mystery involved that by eating a healthy diet you’ll be in top shape. You may even find yourself performing at peak levels……in bed! With the following three super foods added to your daily diet, you may experience your heart pumping faster, blood racing to all the right extremities and an extra helping of yum.

Scallops
Scallops are chalk full of zinc. Zinc is necessary in both men and women to retain a healthy sex drive, fertility, potency and good sexual health that can be enjoyed into your golden years. The mineral is necessary for sperm production and low amounts have been blamed for a decrease in testosterone levels and a reduction in semen production.

Almonds
Almonds have a host of benefits such as zinc, vitamin E and selenium. All of these trace minerals benefit your sexual health and can contribute to a healthy reproductive system.

Cherries
Cherries go beyond average and are considered a “super food” packed with antioxidants and melatonin necessary for promoting good sleep cycles. They are also rich in beta carotene and vitamins C, E, magnesium, iron, potassium and folate. Cherries have powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce soreness and pain related to a great workout at the gym or in bed.

To achieve optimum performance and a side of zing:

Stay Physical: Staying in shape and keeping active can increase testosterone levels in men and increase self-confidence for everyone.

Little changes mean BIG results: Simple changes such as reducing stress, getting adequate sleep and eating a healthy diet loaded with zinc can reap big results.

The Key is Stamina: If both parties are physically fit and feel attractive, you’re sure to feel confident, exude sex appeal and perform better in between the sheets. Stamina is everything, so get eating!

Six Quick Skin Fixes

Simple Ways to Take Care of Your Dry Skin During The Winter

The winter is more than half over, but if you are like us, then you may have noticed that your skin is dryer during this time. Cold temperatures, hot showers and dry indoor heat are some of the many the things that can cause our skin to become dry during the winter.

Jessica Krant is an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and a board-certified dermatologist. She has stated that the humidity is lower when the weather is colder. Dry air removes moisture from our skin more quickly than normal. Our skin also dries out when we go inside to seek warmth. We just cannot win. We take a steamy, hot shower to get moisture, but we do not realize that the water from the shower takes water out of our skin by osmosis. Additionally, the water and heat strip natural moisturizing oils from our skin. When the shower is over, the last little bit of dampness evaporates. This causes our skin to dry out even more.

You may be wondering, “What can I do to prevent this problem?” Below are some tips from experts:

1. Use Cream Instead of Lotion

Dr. Krant has stated that people should choose a moisturizer that protects the dermis and locks in moisture. She recommends using a fragrance-free, thick cream instead of lotion. She also recommends putting it on after you take your shower.

Bobby Buka, a dermatologist who practices in New York City also recommends that people use a thick moisturizer. Dr. Buka prefers non-petroleum-based moisturizers. Ceramides are natural moisturizers that can be found in several emollients today.

2. Do Not Wear Perfume

Perfume irritates your skin, and the alcohol in it can interfere with your skin’s ability to retain moisture. That is why Buka recommends that people avoid using fragrances.

3. Reduce Your Shower Time

You might not like the idea of showering in cooler water or reducing your shower time, but your skin will benefit in the long run. Dr. Krant says that lengthy, hot showers can remove natural oils from your skin. Dr. Buka adds that you should not shower more than once a day.

4. Increase Your Water Intake

Dr. Krant advises that people drink plenty of water throughout the day. This will help replace the water that you are losing.

5. Wear Your Food

Patricia Fitzgerald, a physician and wellness editor for HuffPost Healthy living, has stated that coconut oil, olive oil and avocado oil are great for your skin when they are applied topically. She has recommended these food-grade oils to many of her patients.

6.) Get Some Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Dr. Fitzgerald recommends that people take fish oil supplements or another supplement that contains omega 3 fatty acids. Eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, is one of the omega 3 fatty acids components. According to Discovery Health, EPA helps regulate oil production in the skin.

4 Ways Poor Oral Hygiene Can Make You Sick

We all know the benefits of good oral hygiene. Regular brushing and flossing prevents tartar buildup, gingivitis, and periodontal disease with its painful, bleeding gums; it’s in all the toothpaste commercials. However, even people who brush regularly may still have bacteria hiding in their mouths, and these bacteria could lead to complications far beyond the teeth and mouth. Recent studies have shown that poor oral hygiene can cause illness in other parts of the body.

Blood Sugar

People who have diabetes are more prone to infections than non-diabetics, and this includes periodontal disease. Some studies indicate that periodontal disease and diabetes actually make each other worse; gum disease may make it more difficult for the body to regulate blood sugar. These studies also show that treating periodontal disease can help to relieve diabetes symptoms.

Cardiac Health

Periodontal disease sufferers are nearly two times more likely to be diagnosed with coronary artery disease as are people with good gum health. Research has yet to determine a cause for this tendency, but some scientists believe it has to do with the higher count of oral bacteria. Bacteria can enter the bloodstream through the bleeding gums. Once there, they attach to the fatty plaques building up in the arteries, leading to inflammation and an increased risk of blood clots.

Lung Health

The Journal of Periodontology reports that gum disease can increase the chance of respiratory infections like bronchitis, pneumonia, and even chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Oral bacteria can easily be inhaled and inflame the airways and lungs.

Memory and Dementia

Poor oral health may increase a person’s chance of memory deterioration. A study of 118 nuns aged between 75 and 98 discovered that the women who had fewer teeth were more likely to have some form of dementia. Researchers theorize that oral bacteria can spread to the brain either through the bloodstream or by way of the cranial nerves which run through the jaw. Oral bacteria may contribute to the development of the neural plaques linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

How can you improve your oral hygiene and lower your health risks?

Keeping your mouth clean is the key. “Your teeth and gums should not bleed, be painful, or feel rough or sharp to your tongue,” explains registered dental hygienist Pam Atherton. “Your breath should be fresh for at least a couple of hours after brushing in the morning.” Here are some dentist-recommended techniques which can help improve oral health.

1. Don’t use too hard of a toothbrush. Brushes with hard and medium bristles can damage the teeth by scraping away the enamel over time and by hurting the tender gums. “Gum tissue can’t make a callous,” Atherton points out. The loss of enamel and gum tissue eventually exposes the root below the tooth and leads to sensitivity, pain, and possible bone loss in the jaw. Dentists and hygienists recommend toothbrushes with soft or extra soft bristles.

2. Floss before brushing. Dr. Marjorie Jeffcoat, DMD, a professor of periodontology at the University of Philadelphia School of Dental Medicine, explains that brushing after flossing helps to brush away any of the particles removed by flossing. For people who have difficulties using plain floss, Atherton recommends floss holders or floss picks.

3. Use proper brushing technique. Teeth should be brushed for a full two minutes, according to Atherton. “Make sure you brush your tongue and cheeks as well as the chewing surfaces to improve the removal of harmful bacteria in the crevices,” she says. Children can try brushing for the length of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” or “The Alphabet Song” twice through at normal speed for each half of their mouths. Toothbrushes should be replaced every three months.

4. Rinse with a mouthwash. People who rinse twice a day cut their risk of gum disease by 60 percent, according to Jeffcoat. The best mouthwash to use is one which has microbial protection against plaque, and the rinsing should last for about 30 seconds.

5 Ways Sex Leads to Better Overall Health

Most standard guides to improving your health will tell you the basics; eat more fruits and vegetables, exercise, drink plenty of water. They’re not quite as likely to tell you to have an active sex life. A recent survey taken by Healthy Women, a nonprofit organization, indicates that a majority of women have sex more because they feel obligated to do it than because they enjoy it. Unfortunately, these women are depriving themselves of the many health benefits sex provides even above and beyond the good feelings of the moment. Here are five examples out of the many health advantages sex can give.

Sex is a good workout. “You can burn anywhere from 85 to 250 calories every time you have sex,” explained Dr. Naomi Greenblatt, medical director of The Rocking Chair, a women’s wellness center in New Jersey. Different positions lead the participants to work different muscle groups. Sex has also been shown to have a cardiovascular benefit; a research study in Ireland discovered that men with active sex lives are 50 percent less likely to die of a cardiac event than their less active counterparts.

Sex can decrease stress levels. Dr. Greenblatt pointed out that sex causes the body to release endorphins, the hormones responsible for feelings of contentment and well-being. A 2002 study done at the State University of New York at Albany showed that women who have regular sex display fewer signs of depression than women who do not; furthermore, women who have regular unprotected sex showed fewer indications of depression than women who have regular protected sex. This study is consistent with other research indicating that sex is a mood-booster on its own and that the compounds in semen may also have mood lifting capabilities.

Sex can help with pain relief. According to Dr. Greenblatt, people on the verge of orgasm have five times more oxytocin in their bodies than they would ordinarily have. Oxytocin is known to relieve many sorts of pain, from arthritis to menstrual cramping.

Sex can boost your immune system. “People who have sex also tend to have higher levels of immunoglobulin A,” explains Dr. Greenblatt. Immunoglobulin A is an antibody produced by the body to protect the mucus membranes from infection by germs.

Sex can help maintain a youthful appearance. Scottish researchers designed a study which consisted of a panel of viewers looking at various women through a one-way mirror and attempting to guess the women’s ages. The women who were judged to be seven to 12 years younger than their true age turned out to be the ones who had sex most often, as many as four times per week. Dr. Greenblatt says sex can also elevate the body’s production of estrogen and vitamin D, which help keep skin and hair healthy.

Researchers do point out that the strong correlations between frequent sex and well-being do not necessarily mean that sex is the cause of good health. It may instead mean that people with better health are more interested in sexual activity. Even so, no evidence shows that sex is bad for the general population, so most people have nothing to lose by increasing the frequency of their sexual activity

Smarter Snacking

It is possible to enjoy snacks without ruining your diet or gaining weight. If you follow these tips, then you will be able to choose healthy, low-fat snacks.

Cupcakes, cookies and potato chips are some of the things that may come to mind when you think about snacks. That is one of the reasons that people try to avoid snacks completely. However, healthy, low-fat snacks can make a nice addition to any diet plan. Healthy snacks can keep you feeling full, which can prevent you from overeating during mealtime. Jennifer E. Seyler, RD, president of the Chicago Nutrition Association, has the following to say about healthy snacking, “From a dietitian’s perspective, all foods within moderation can fit in a healthy meal plan.” “The key is the serving size of each food, with the realization that the foundation of the plan is based in variety.”

Top tips to Try for Healthy Snacking

*Exercise portion control.* Some people think that it is okay to eat healthy foods in abundance. However, Seyler warns people that 1,000 calories is still 1,000 calories, regardless of whether the calories come from fruit or chips. She also cautions people that eating that many calories in a short amount of time can lead to weight gain.*

* Make wiser food choices.* Seyler says that making healthy snack choices is one of the things that people can do to avoid overindulging on food. Low-fat cheese sticks, vegetables with a small amount of ranch dressing and fruits are examples of healthy snack choices. Vegetables and fruits are rich in fiber, and they also contain water, which can help keep you feeling full longer. As a result of this, you will naturally consume fewer calories. Low-fat cheese snacks are an excellent snack choice because they have adequate amounts of fat, carbohydrates and protein, which are the three macronutrients.

* Start planning ahead.* It is very easy to say that you will eat vegetables and fruits. However, if you are not prepared when hunger hits, then you can very easily get into trouble. Sue Decotiis, who is a physician in New York, urges you to plan ahead of time. You should bring your lunch to work and have two snacks in your car. Decotis also urges that you eat a healthy snack before you to go the party. You will be less likely to spend all of your time at the hors d’oeuvres tray if you eat something before you attend an event.

*Intelligent eat low-fat snacks*- You are bound to see a lot of low-calorie and low-fat options if you take the time to peruse the snack aisles. Seyler says that low-fat, low-calorie snack options can be great options if you consume the recommended serving size. She also reiterates that the key to snacking healthy is to exercise portion control. There are 100-calorie packs available now, but many people consume more than one pack. That really defeats the whole purpose of choosing a 100 calorie pack.

* Find good replacements.*- It is very hard for some us to give up ice cream, chips and cookies because those are some of our favorite foods. That is why Decotiis recommends that you satisfy your cravings with healthy replacements. Below are some of the healthy replacements that she recommends:

*Sweet potato chips* *Walnuts or almonds* *Protein bars *Low-fat yogurt *Yogurt dip

You will be prepared for a snack attack if you have a couple of healthy choices available.

Surprising ways to keep your brain and memory sharp

Memory enhancement has become a hot topic in modern society. A quick Internet search reveals long lists of specially designed memory-enhancing games created by psychiatrists and dozens of pills and supplements the manufacturers guarantee will improve memory. Experts on talk show after talk show recommend intellectual stimulation: difficult crossword puzzles, logic puzzles, or strategy games like chess.

However, while research shows that cerebral activities do have plenty of benefits to memory and cognition, many other studies reveal that a strong social life and a sense of fun give a person’s memory definite advantages.

Humans are and have always been social animals. Even the most curmudgeonly of us generally want someone to socialize with on occasion. It has long been accepted that a satisfying social life helps a person stay emotionally healthy, but new research is showing that social activity also benefits a person’s cognitive health. A recent study done by the Harvard School of Public Health discovered that the most socially active subjects had the slowest rates of memory decline, and that’s just one study among many suggesting the same conclusion.

Increasing social interaction is not as difficult as you might think. Try joining a club that relates to your interests or finding a volunteer association. The Internet has made it a simple matter to reconnect with friends and find times to meet up. Even people who find making and keeping friends difficult can get plenty of cognitive value from having a pet, especially very social ones like dogs.

Having a good laugh conveys benefits to the memory as well. A standard emotional response will cause neurons to fire in only a specific section of the brain, but laughter actually causes many areas throughout the brain to activate. Listening to jokes and trying to figure out punch lines uses areas of the brain important to creativity and learning, much like solving puzzles.

Try increasing laughter in your life by finding fun people to spend time with, whether adults or children. Their playful attitude towards life will lighten your heart as well. Learn to laugh at yourself and take yourself less seriously. Surround yourself with fun items, such as small toys, pictures of yourself and your friends having a good time, or amusing posters. Seek out laughter whenever you can; most often the cheerful people will be more than happy to let you in on the joke.

Six Tips for People Who Hate to Exercise

If you hate exercise, then following these tips will help you get the most out of your workout.

Set Small Goals

If you set the bar too high, then you will probably end up getting frustrated. Start with small goals. For example, you can set a goal to exercise 15 or 16 days out of the month. You will feel really good about yourself if you set a goal to exercise for 15 days out of the month but end up exercising for 20.

Keep A Record of Your Workouts

Every day, write down whether you have or have not been active. You can also keep an online log. When are working out, keep a journal of what weight you used and how many reps you could do. If you have trouble staying on track, then you should get your friends or online workout buddies to hold you accountable.

Be Mindful of Willpower Drains

Listening to a speaker or making decisions can drain the willpower that you need to exercise. That is why you should schedule exercise during the times when your willpower is at its peak. Morning workouts are a great way to start the day. You will feel stronger and be in a better mood throughout the day.

Put More Emphasis on Initiative

Starting an exercise program is hard, and you may get frustrated at first. However, once you have been working out for awhile, it will become easier for you to find a couple of minutes to exercise every day. Who knows, you may even begin to enjoy it!

Forget About Failures

Do not deal on failures. You should view them as the obstacles that you must overcome in order to reach your goal. Failure is not an option.

Adapt Your Workout So That It Fits Your Lifestyle

If you are a parent, then you may want to consider coaching your child's team or going for bike rides with your family. You can go for a run with your dog if you love animals. Best friends or coworkers are great workout partners and motivators.

5 foods with brain benefits you may not know about

We've all heard that fish is brain food, especially the kind that is rich with omega-3s. Blueberries and spinach also have notable brain-boosting abilities. However, these aren't the only foods which can help keep your brain strong and free of disease.

Red Wine

Certain compounds found in grape seeds may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. A 2011 study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that in mice, these compounds helped prevent the formation of proteins linked to the development of Alzheimer’s. Those same grape seed compounds are found in red wine, so wine may help protect the brain when consumed in moderation.

Coffee

Fully caffeinated coffee may also help protect against Alzheimer’s. A study done at the University of South Florida fed caffeine to mice specifically bred to develop Alzheimer’s disease as they aged; some mice received caffeinated coffee, some received decaf, and others were given plain caffeine. The mice who received regular coffee showed higher levels of a hormone called granulocyte colony stimulating factor, which reduces Alzheimer’s symptoms by increasing neuron production and connection. For humans, the useful dose would translate to about four cups of coffee spread throughout the day.

Citrus Fruit

While the vitamin C in citrus may or may not be useful in preventing colds, it seems that citrus fruit may help to prevent strokes. Flavones, found in oranges and grapefruit, seem to act as anti-inflammatories and improve the function of blood vessels. A 2012 study in Stroke reported that people who ate two or more servings of citrus each day over a period of 14 years had a 10% lower risk of stroke than people who ate less. Be wary of choosing juice instead of whole fruit; many juices contain added sugar.

Onions

Onions are full of antioxidants which may help prevent brain damage if a person has a stroke; the antioxidants can work to block the formation of oxygen compounds which damage the barrier between blood and brain. A study published in Nutrition reported feeding some mice an onion supplement. When researchers induced stroke in all the mice, the control group showed significantly higher brain damage than did the onion-fed group.

Eggs

Eggs are rich in choline, a nutrient which is required to produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter which is linked to brain health and memory. A 2011 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at nearly 1400 adults and found that those who consumed the most choline performed best on memory tests. The subjects with high choline intake were also less likely to have signs of potential dementia such as blood vessel disease in the brain.

Seven Foods That Help You Lose Weight

Many people are under the misconception that food is their enemy. However, you should not get sucked into that idea. In fact, if you eat the right foods, then you will be able to reach your weight loss goals much faster than you would if you were to just cut calories. Below are seven foods that nutritionists recommend that you eat if you are trying to lose weight:

Oats

You may be thinking to yourself, "Oats are a carb, aren't they?" The answer to that question is yes and no. Oats are a type of whole grain, and they help keep you full longer. Oats are also rich in soluble fiber, which means that they can lower blood pressure and blood fat. Oats are slowly digested by the body, so they will not cause your blood sugar to rise. Rolled oats and steel-cut oats both contain about five grams of fiber per serving. A serving of instant oatmeal has about three or four grams of fiber.

Eggs

Eggs have received a lot of negative attention over the years because they contain a large amount of cholesterol. However, nutritionists have stated that the cholesterol in eggs is different from the cholesterol in humans. Studies have shown that people who eat an egg in the morning along with their breakfast lose more weight than people who eat a carb-filled breakfast.

Skim Milk

Skim milk is filled with Vitamin D, calcium and low-fat protein. There have been numerous studies published in the Journal of Obesity that have shown that the combination of those nutrients can help build lean muscle and promote weight loss.

Apple

If you want to lose weight, then you should definitely consider eating one or two apples per day. Apples are an excellent source of fiber, which can help keep you feeling full. Apples are also filled with antioxidants that help prevent a condition called the metabolic syndrome. The metabolic syndrome is the combination of high cholesterol, pre-diabetes and high blood pressure. This condition is strongly correlated with excess fat around the midsection. Additionally, apples contain pectin. Pectin helps reduce the amount of fat that gets absorbed by the cells.

Red Meat

Are you surprised to see red meat on this list? Many people think that red meat is unhealthy, but a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that red meat can actually help promote weight loss. Red meat is rich in protein, which helps you maintain muscle mass. However, it is important to note that you will also have to exercise to build muscle.

Cinnamon

A study done by the USDA has shown that cinnamon can help metabolize sugar. You can lower your blood sugar level and cut your cholesterol by up to 25 percent by eating 1/4 to 2 teaspoons per day. You should add some cinnamon to your cereal, smoothies or coffee.

Almonds And Almond Butter

Nuts and nut butters are two other foods that you may not expect to see on this list. Even though almonds are very high in calories, they can still help lower your triglyceride and cholesterol levels. In fact, there was one study that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that showed that eating almonds can be just as effective as statins. You should spread some almond butter on your morning toast because that will give you a nice boost of protein.

Lengthy sitting doubles risk of diabetes

A British meta-analysis published in the November 2012 issue of the journal Diabetologia shows strong indications that extended time spent sitting greatly increases a person’s risk of diabetes, severe heart issues, and death. Previous studies have found a link between extended television watching and poor health, but this is the first study to specifically research the connection between any extended sedentary behavior and health.

The analysts searched previous studies for terms involving health outcomes and sedentary lifestyles. They looked at data involving 794,577 participants across 18 different studies. The data was adjusted to account for differences in measurement frequency and study length and then sorted with a random effects model.

Dr. Emma G. Wilmot of the University of Leicester, one of the study’s authors, says the research showed a particularly strong link between a sedentary lifestyle and diabetes. Analysis of the data showed that people with the highest levels of sedentary activity included in the study had twice the risk of developing diabetes than did the people with the lowest levels of sedentary behavior. People in the highly sedentary group also had 2.5 times the chance of suffering a cardiovascular event, a 90% higher chance of suffering a death related to cardiovascular problems, and a 49% greater chance of death from any cause.

Deeper analysis of the data indicated that the predictive effects were significant for diabetes, but far less so for the other health issues, which suggests that the diabetes results will be the most likely to be reproduced in future studies.

The results of the research, Wilmot says, may cause some changes in the way we think about fitness. “We've traditionally been focused on making sure we meet the physical activity guidelines of 30 minutes per day, but with that approach we've overlooked what we do with the other 23 and a half hours in the day,” she explained. “If you sit for the rest of the day, that is going to have an impact on health, and that's essentially what our meta-analysis shows.”

The health dangers of extended periods of sitting were first noted in the 1950s. Researchers realized that London bus drivers, who spend most of their day in the driver’s seat, had twice the risk of suffering a heart attack as did bus conductors, who move around inside the bus frequently. Unfortunately, the implications of this finding was more or less overlooked until recent researchers started looking for connections between lifestyle and the growing number of people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

Wilmot and her colleagues estimate that on average, an adult is engaged in sedentary activities for 50% to 60% of each day. Modern lifestyles contribute to an increase in time spent sitting down. In a typical day, an adult might drive to work, sit at the office computer for hours on end, drive home, and spend the evening watching television or playing video games. "People don't realize that doing just small amounts of activity—it doesn't even need to be a proper walk—are important," she says. "If you are having a chat with a friend at your desk or the phone rings, stand up and chat. Just these small changes could make a big difference."

Sitting seems to have a negative effect on our body’s ability to metabolize glucose. Earlier studies have shown that people who sit immediately after eating have glucose levels 24% higher than do people who walk slowly after they eat. “When we sit, our muscles are not used, and we quickly become more insulin resistant," explained Wilmot. She also pointed out that people who have a genetic predisposition to diabetes may wish to be even more careful about prolonged sitting. Wilmot and her colleagues are not entirely certain of the exact mechanism by which extended sitting affects glucose metabolism.

Wilmot and her colleagues are currently undertaking a study of 200 young adults at risk for diabetes in hopes of increasing their evidence.

Journalists from around the world have been calling to ask Wilmot about the results of the study, indicating that these concerns are universal.

Future diabetes prevention programs might wish to use this evidence to start promoting less sedentary lifestyles along with traditional exercise and diet, Wilmot said. The possibilities include standing desks, treadmill desks, and alarms which can alert someone if they’ve been sitting for 40 minutes straight.

Wilmot was quick to add that physical activity is still very important to health and that people should not rush to give up their exercise programs if they start spending larger portions of the day standing. “There's a wealth of data showing that physical activity is important, but if people are spending a large percentage of their time sitting, they need to start thinking about how they can reduce this," said Wilmot.

The New Science Behind America’s Deadliest Diseases

[Image 2]These days there are all sorts of different body problems, diseases and sickness’ that people and scientists have a hard time figuring out exactly what is causing them; there are just so many different factors. But what some do not realize is that heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, stroke and cancer have a lot in common. All of these, for certain, have one thing in common; scientists have found a connection from each of these to a condition called chronic inflammation. Along with this, they are also studying how a diet that is high in fatty foods, as well as having an exuberance of body weight, can also increase the risk for fatal disorders.

Chronic Inflammation is nothing out of the norm but is rather a natural response for the body; naturally responding to injury and outside irritation. Often those irritations do not go away, and this happens because of poor diets, being overweight and smoking. All of these components can then negatively affect the immune system which then increases the risk for disease. If the inflammation becomes chronic it can cause damage to the heart, brain, increase the chance of stroke and bring on diabetes. The worst part is that chronic inflammation is also linked to the development of cancer. Chronic inflammation is most common due to its relation to cardiovascular disease. Inflammation is natural, for instance, when the body has a cut, scrape or wound, and then the immune system rushes to the rescue. However, too much inflammation causes serious damage.

Research is being done to fight chronic inflammation with drugs, but a number of scientists are researching how a change from an unhealthy, high in fat diet to a healthy diet can actually lower the risk; dietary fiber and even dairy may protect from inflammation. Eating healthy and watching your weight is a good way of lowering the risk of chronic inflammation. Consuming a diet high in complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, nuts, eggs, unsaturated fats and dairy in moderation is a great way to lower the risk of inflammation. Along with a healthy diet, exercise is a key component when battling inflammation. Obesity is one of the easiest ways to promote inflammation. Fat cells create molecules called cytokines, which then give the okay for inflammation to occur when there is an excess of fat cells in the body. Dr. Peter Libby, chief of the division of cardiovascular medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and a professor at Harvard Medical School says, “We’ve learned that abdominal fat tissue is a hotbed of inflammation that pours out all kinds of inflammatory molecules.” Losing excess body weight can dramatically decrease inflammation in a short period of time.

Cancer is caused by many different abnormalities but one for sure is inflammation. Inflammation can be dealt with by keeping off excess body fat and eating a healthy diet. By living a healthy lifestyle the chance of inflammation is lowered which then eliminates at least one factor towards cancer.

Sugar Can Make You Dumb, US Scientists Warn

Washington- There was a study published Tuesday that suggests eating too much sugar can reduce your brain power. The study was performed at the University of Los Angeles California and involved two groups of rats. Both of the rats were fed high-fructose corn syrup for six weeks. One of the groups were supplemented with omega 3 fatty acids, while the other group did not get a supplement.

Before the study was carried out, the rats were enrolled in a training course in a difficult maze. After the experiment was completed, the rats were put back into the maze. Fernando Gomez-Pilla, who is a professor of medicine at the University of Los Angeles California, stated that the rats who were not given any omega 3 fatty acids were slower. He also found that their brains showed a decrease in synaptic activity. This means that the rats’ brain cells had trouble sending signals, which made it more difficult for the rats to think clearly and recall information.

Dr. Gomez-Pilla also found that the rats that were not given an omega 3 fatty acid supplement were starting to become insulin resistant. Insulin is the hormone that is responsible for regulating blood sugar. Dr. Gomez-Pilla believes that insulin may also play an important role in the brain. It seems that this hormone may disrupt learning and memory.

Dr. Gomez-Pilla also stated that high-fructose corn syrup damages the brain and the body. High-fructose corn syrup is an additive found in processed foods, baby food, sodas, condiments and apple sauce. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has found that the average person in America consumes over 40 pounds or 18 kilograms of high-fructose corn syrup every year.

However, it is important to note that the effects of high-fructose corn syrup on the brain have not yet been studied. Researchers do believe that the findings of the study suggest that the metabolic syndrome can also have a negative effect on the mind.

Dr. Gomez- Pilla concluded by saying that everything that you consume will have a direct effect on your mind and the way that you think. If you eat a lot of foods that contain high-fructose corn syrup, you could be altering your brain’s ability to process information. You can minimize this damage by adding an omega 3 fatty acid supplement to your diet. More information about the results of this study can be found in the Journal of Physiology.

Resveratrol May Protect Eye Sight

A recent study published in the American Journal of Pathology has found that the compound found in red wine known as resveratrol can stop out-of-control blood vessel growth in the eye. It’s a finding researchers say could have implications for preserving vision in some common blinding eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.

Conducting experiments in mouse retinas, researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that resveratrol can inhibit angiogenesis, which is the formation of new blood vessels. When the mice were given resveratrol, they found that the abnormal blood vessels in their eyes began to disappear.

Researchers say because resveratrol is given orally, patients may prefer it to many current treatments for retinal disease, which involve eye injections. The compound also is easily absorbed in the body.

“This could potentially be a preventive therapy in high-risk patients,” said the study’s lead investigator, Rajendra Apte, M.D., Ph.D.

Resveratrol is one of the active, non-alcholic ingredients in red wine. It comes from the pulp of grapes used to make wine and has some of the highest levels of antioxidants found in nature.

Among its believed health benefits are increasing heart health, fighting cancer and delaying the aging process.

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION SAYS DRUG-RESISTANT TB SPREADING FAST

[Image 2]Drug-resistant TB is spreading across the world much faster than medical experts had feared, warned the World Health Organization on February 26, 2008. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S. says the U.S. is likely to fall far short of its goal to eliminate TB as a public health problem.

ACTION: Take a vitamin D3 supplement daily. There is some good evidence that vitamin D3 raises your immunity to TB. One study gave healthy adults who had been exposed to TB a single, large oral dose of TB or a placebo. After six weeks, the researchers found that the vitamin D supplement significantly enhanced immunity to TB compared to placebo.

World Health Organization. New survey finds highest rates of drug-resistant TB to date. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2008/pr05/en/index.html

Bornman L, et al. Vitamin D receptor polymorphisms and susceptibility to tuberculosis in West Africa: a case-control and family study J Infect Dis. 2004 Nov 1;190(9):1631-41.

Martineau AR , et al A single dose of vitamin D enhances immunity to mycobacteria. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. July 15, 2007.

Bill Gates funds British scientists in unorthodox health research

[Image 2]This story was posted by the Times of London. We think it is so interesting we highly recommend reading it…

There is a magnet that can detect malaria at the flick of a switch, a flu-resistant chicken, an “antiviral” tomato and a vaccine enhanced with the use of a laser. The ideas are so bold that, as the scientists behind them admit, they can often struggle for funding.

Today, though, more than 80 projects at the far edge of innovation in global health research will share millions of pounds of grants to support unorthodox thinking — and the outside chance of a world-changing discovery.

Among the recipients, announced today by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as part of their Grand Challenges initiative, are three British scientific teams pursuing novel approaches to prevent and treat infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and pneumonia, as well as viruses such as HIV.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk

At least 46 million Americans drinking water tainted with trace amounts of pharmaceuticals

According to tests prompted by Associated Press the number of people drinking water that’s been contaminated with trace amounts of drugs increased by 41 million people from AP’s last story on the situation this past March. The news service has been reporting there’s a potentially dangerous presence of pharmaceuticals in the nation’s reservoirs.

The AP stories on the tainted drinking water prompted both federal and local legislative hearings, which yielded by partisan calls for mandatory testing and disclosure. The substantial interest the AP stories generated also led officials in at least 27 additional metropolitan areas to analyze their drinking water. More than half, 17 cases of water proving positive for contamination from pharmaceuticals well known points of origin like Reno, Nev., Savannah, Ga., Colorado Springs, Colo., and Huntsville, Ala. Results are for still pending for three of the metropolitan location.

The increase in the number of known to be exposed to drug-contaminated drinking water supplies has grown dramatically simply because testing has finally to increase. Experts widely believe the actual number of Americans drinking tainted water to be much higher than 46 million.

[Read more...]

Before you spend $2 on a bottled water again…Think Again!

I don’t know about you but as far as I’m concerned the persistent reports by researchers about the low quality standards followed by bottled water companies really gets under my skin. In a day and age where a small bottle of water can cost as much as $2 out of a vending machine or convenience store you would think the water would be at least be pure. Apparently this isn’t the case.

According to study released this week by an environmental advocacy group water tested leading brands of bottled water turned up a variety of contaminants often found in ordinary tap water.

These findings of course make a mockery of the advertising claims by bottled water companies and challenge the popular impression that bottled water is purer than tap water, the researchers say. While, all the brands tested in this study met federal health standards for drinking water, two brands did violate a California state standard, according to the study.

A bottled water industry group International Bottled Water Association of course immediately branded the findings “alarmist.” According to the associations President Joe Doss said the study is based on the faulty premise that a contaminant is a health concern “even if it does not exceed the established regulatory limit or no standard has been set.”

Lousy argument as far as most people paying up to $2 a bottle would retort. Especially when you look closely at the results of the lab tests on 10 brands of bottled water detected 38 chemicals including bacteria, caffeine, the pain reliever acetaminophen, fertilizer, solvents, plastic-making chemicals and the radioactive element strontium. Though some probably came from tap water that some companies use for their bottled water, other contaminants probably leached from plastic bottles, according to the researchers who prepared this latest study.

“In some cases, it appears bottled water is no less polluted than tap water and, at 1,900 times the cost, consumers should expect better,” said Jane Houlihan, an environmental engineer who co-authored the study.

The Washington-based Environmental Working Group, an organization founded by scientists that advocates stricter regulation conducted the study over 2 years. The study concludes the contaminants in bottled water purchased in nine states and Washington, D.C.

Of the 10 brands tested by Researchers, eight did not have contaminants high enough to warrant further testing. But two brands did, so more tests were done and those revealed chlorine byproducts above California’s standard. The researchers identified those two brands as Sam’s Choice sold by Wal-Mart and Acadia of Giant Food supermarkets.

In the Wal-Mart and Giant Food bottled water, the highest concentration of chlorine byproducts, known as trihalomethanes, was over 35 parts per billion. California’s limit is 10 parts per billion or less, and the industry’s International Bottled Water Association makes 10 its voluntary guideline. The federal limit is 80.

Wal-Mart insists its own studies did not turn up illegal levels of contaminants. Giant Food officials released a statement asserting that Acadia meets all regulatory standards. Acadia is sold in the mid-Atlantic states, so it isn’t held to California’s standard. In most places, bottled water must meet roughly the same federal standards as tap water.

The researchers also said the Wal-Mart brand was five times California’s limit for one particular chlorine byproduct, bromodichloromethane. The environmental group wants Wal-Mart to label its bottles in California with a warning because the chlorine-based contaminants have been linked with cancer. It has filed a notice of intent to sue.

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Shannon Frederick said the company was “puzzled” by the findings because testing by suppliers and another lab had detected no “reportable amounts” of such contaminants. She said Wal-Mart would investigate further but defended the quality of its bottled water.

The researchers recommend that people worried about water contaminants drink tap water with a carbon filter.

Brain Washing Becoming a Scary Reality: Scientists Erase Specific Memories in Mice Now Testing Humans

All of a sudden the old book the Manchurian Candidate doesn’t seem so far fetched. Phillip K. Dick’s the famous Sci-Fi author of many mind control stories would be in his glory. This is because the stuff of science fiction is slowely becoming Science fact.

Scientists now report it might one day be possible to erase undesirable memories from the brain, selectively and safely.

Using a complex genetic approach, U.S. and Chinese researchers believe they have done just that in mice, but the feat is far from being tested on humans.

Study co-author Joe Z. Tsien, co-director of the Brain & Behavior Discovery Institute at the Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, says the “work reveals a molecular mechanism of how [memory deletion] can be done quickly and without doing damage to brain cells.”

The finding is published in the Oct. 23 issue of Neuron.

Humans plagued by painful memories have long wished for a way to eject them from the brain. The concept was the premise of the popular 2004 film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, in which two former lovers pay a “memory-erasure” service to expunge the unhappy affair from their minds.

The subject of selective memory deletion was also covered in the film version of Philip K Dicks’ famous SciFi thriller PayCheck which starred Ben Affleck, who played the principal character Michael Jennings a reverse engineer who routinely has his recent memories erased after working on sensitive high-tech projects.

To explore the possibility of safely carving away bits of memory, the study authors first focused on the activity of a common protein found only in the brain, called CaMKII.

In both mice and people, this enzyme is often referred to as the “memory molecule” because of its key role in facilitating brain cell communication — especially people’s ability to learn and retain information.

To hone in on the specific workings of CaMKII, Tsien and his team first developed a “chemical-genetic method” that enabled them to instantly turn the protein “on” or “off” among mice intentionally bred to overproduce the molecule.

After exposing the mice to emotionally powerful stimulations, such as a mild shock to their paws, the scientists then observed how well or poorly the animals subsequently recalled the particular trauma as their brain’s expression of CaMKII was manipulated up and down.

When the brain was made to overproduce CaMKII at the exact moment the mouse was prodded to retrieve the traumatic memory, the memory wasn’t just blocked, it appeared to be fully erased.

This occurred without impacting the animal’s ability to recall any other memories, the scientists say.

A similar observation was made in experiments involving the mice’s recognition of specific objects. In those cases, overexpression of CaMKII appeared to eliminate all memory of toys with which the mice had previously been exposed.

According to Tsien, the animal study illustrates how the targeted erasure of specific memories might be genetically triggered in a controlled and harmless manner.

The authors stressed that their work is in its infancy, but they believe it opens up the theoretical possibility of therapeutic applications for humans down the road. Memory erasure might help relieve trauma among people plagued by fearful memories, such as those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), for example.

“While memories are great teachers and obviously crucial for survival and adaptation, selectively removing incapacitating memories, such as traumatic war memories or an unwanted fear, could help many people live better lives,” Tsien said.

However, Dr. Joe Verghese, an associate professor of neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, cautioned that the animal work described in the study remains preliminary.

“I think the idea of selectively targeting memory processes is very interesting,” he said, “because it not only opens up a whole area of possible intervention but also reveals something about the neurobiology that goes into creating memory in the brain.”

“But memory in a human is much more complex than a memory in a mouse,” Verghese added. “So, this experimental model, while it brings to mind all sorts of possible applications, is many steps removed from any human application.

Great Britan Health Care: ‘Cruel and neglectful’ care of one million NHS patients exposed

[Image 2]

In the last six years, the Patients Association claims hundreds of thousands have suffered from poor standards of nursing, often with ‘neglectful, demeaning, painful and sometimes downright cruel’ treatment.

Click here to read

World Health Organization Says Swine Flu Deaths Reach 2,837

[Swine Flu] The World Health Organization says at least 625 people have been reported dead from swine flu in the last week.

The swine flu virus has caused at least 2,837 deaths since it emerged in Mexico and the United States earlier this year and developed into a full-blown global epidemic. Most of the deaths are in the Western Hemisphere.

WHO said Friday that laboratory-confirmed cases of the disease have now reached 254,206.

Spokesman Gregory Hartl says the figure far understates the actual number of cases because countries are no longer required to report each infection as the caseload is so high.

He says the number of deaths is growing proportionately to the increase in number of infected people.

[Cell] Meanwhile, scientific advisers to the White House warned the Swine flu may hospitalize as many as 1.8 million patients in the U.S. this year, filling intensive care units to capacity and causing “severe disruptions” during a fall resurgence,

Swine flu, also known as H1N1, may infect as much as half of the population and kill 30,000 to 90,000 people, double the deaths caused by the typical seasonal flu, according to the planning scenario issued yesterday by the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology. Intensive care units in hospitals, some of which use 80 percent of their space in normal operation, may need every bed for flu cases, the report said.

The virus has sickened more than 1 million people in the U.S., and infections may increase this month as pupils return to school, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. If swine flu patients fill too many beds, hospitals may be forced to put off elective surgeries such as heart bypass or hernia operations, said James Bentley with the American Hospital Association.

[Injection] “If you have 1.8 million hospital admissions across six months, that’s a whole lot different than if you have it across six weeks,” said Bentley, a senior vice-president of the Washington-based association, which represents 5,000 hospitals.

The scenario projections were “developed from models put together for planning purposes only,” said Tom Skinner, a spokesman for the CDC, at a briefing in Atlanta today. “At the end of the day, we simply don’t know what this upcoming flu season is going to look like. It could be severe, it could be mild, we just don’t know.”

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