Friday, April 29, 2011

7 Ways to Sneak in Family Fitness

Family Fitness
We’ve all heard about the alarming rise in obesity in this country, but more widespread is the epidemic of couch-potatoitis that affects even those who aren’t overweight. Americans have become increasingly sedentary, spending their free time on things that involve no physical activity: video games, movies and TV, the Internet.

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recommends 30 minutes of moderate activity a day for adults and 60 for kids. But you don’t have to put your family members on a strict fitness regimen to boost their exercise quotient. Here are seven fun ways to get everyone up and moving.

Step it up.
Start a campaign to see which family member can take the most steps per day. The recommended number for adults is 10,000, but kids should do twice that amount. Buy everyone a pedometer (you can get them for under $10) and a small notepad to record where they walk and how many steps it took. Compare notes at dinner. You can hold contests or make a guessing game out of it: How many steps does it take to get from the kitchen to the laundry room and back?
Play games.
The next time you have a family game night, leave Monopoly on the shelf and grab Twister instead. Games don’t have to be sit-down affairs. Go for a round of Wii boxing or play a machine-dance game.
Be a citizen scientist.
Ever go out and record the colors of courting pigeons in your area? Or count the number of squirrels in your neighborhood? Through citizen science programs, your family members can become untrained “researchers” for a number of ongoing science studies, many of which involve outdoor activity. Visit the Science for Citizens website to see which programs are looking for volunteers.
Do the moonwalk.
Strolling around the neighborhood during the day is nothing special. Do it at night, and it’s an adventure. After dinner, grab a flashlight and hit the pavement for 30 minutes of walking, talking and stargazing. Be sure to return at least an hour before bedtime or nobody will be able to fall asleep!
Get handy.
Find a big project that everyone can participate in. Build a tree house, cut and haul firewood, paint a room, restore a piece of furniture. All that activity -- sawing, hammering, scraping, sanding -- is good exercise. Just don’t call it work.
Play tourist.
See your hometown or nearby city like a visitor would: Take a guided walking tour, visit the zoo, play in the park or go on a hike. Being a tourist always involves walking and physical activity, but it doesn’t have to include travel.

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Brain health tip - eat protein for your brain

Brain health Tip
Brain health is more important than ever these days, especially with the increase in dementia, Alzheimer's Disease and autism.

Every Sunday and Wednesday this month, KHQA will bring you tips on keeping your brain in tip top shape.

This KHQA Safe Family Health tip comes from Dr. Daniel Amen, a psychiatrist and best-selling author of several books on brain health.

He says eating protein is critical for optimal brain health. And a lack of adequate protein can lead to problems with your mood, energy and metabolism.

Dr. Amen says it's important to eat protein at breakfast, because it increases attention and focus, which you need for work and school.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pepsi Plans Additional Price Increases

PepsiCo Inc. said it plans more price increases on its products this summer, but not enough to offset rising commodity costs amid a still-fragile consumer recovery.

The renewed price push comes after PepsiCo reported North American sales volume of its snacks and beverages rose 2% in the first quarter from a year earlier, despite a continued downturn at its smaller Quaker foods unit.

"We're trying to thread the needle and see how much pricing we can take,'' Indra Nooyi, chairman and chief executive, told analysts in a conference call Thursday.

PepsiCo said its "price mix" for North American beverages rose about two percentage points in the first three months of 2011 – about half from higher sticker prices and the rest from a shifting mix of products, package sizes and retail channels.

But management acknowledged it won't be able to fully pass higher input costs such as plastic for bottles or corn for chips through to consumers in the U.S. and elsewhere. It estimates the company's global commodity costs will increase by $1.4 billion to $1.6 billion this year – or as much as 9% of its annual $18 billion commodity cost base.

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Keep active to keep your mind healthy

Healthy mind
Did you know that at least one in five adults in Northern Ireland may suffer from some form of mental health disorder in any year, and that one in four people in Northern Ireland are likely to experience depression?

These statistics prompted Sport Northern Ireland to launch Active People: Healthy Minds, a factsheet endorsed by the Public Health Agency (PHA), designed to promote the mental health benefits of being active.

Being physically active is a key element of living a longer, healthier and happier life. Staying active can help you keep your body and mind healthy and provide you with valuable opportunities for socialising with friends and meeting new people.

While regular participation in sport and physical activity help reduce your risk of physical diseases such as obesity, coronary heart disease and stroke, being active can also promote good mental health by:
• Improving your mood
• Enhancing your sense of well-being
• Reducing anxiety
• Combating negative emotions
• Improving self-esteem, body image and confidence and
• Protecting against depression

Sport Northern Ireland’s lottery funded initiative ‘Active Communities’ is designed to give people sporting and physical activity opportunities, with over 100 coaches and leaders working in communities, across a wide range of activities.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Nail health tips and treatments

Nail Health
Most of us are very perceptive when it comes to analyzing our faces, necks and hair. Those are the features that are most obvious as we primp and prod ourselves each morning before work, and as we cleanse, exfoliate and moisturize each night before bed. We know that if our skin is dry it means that we should look into eliminating products that contain sodium lauryl sulfate from our routine. We know that if our hair is brittle and thinning we may want to investigate a serum with lots of anecdotal evidence to back it, like Junko’s DIY hair oil. But do we really ever take a look at something as inconspicuous and disregarded as our nails? Sure, we might take the time to polish them, but the health of our nails remains elusive. And even if we do notice a ridge here or some yellowing there, we often don’t know what caused it or how to fix it.

Yellow nails can be caused by something as simple as wearing dark nail polish too often. The polish may actually stain the nail because of a reaction between the colorant and the nail itself. Sometimes, formaldehyde in nail polish may be the cause of yellow nails. Obvious solutions would include giving your nails a break from polish and sticking with formaldehyde-free brands. While there are nail whiteners on the market, a DIY concoction may also do the trick; try mixing hydrogen peroxide with baking soda, then allowing it to sit on nails for 4 minutes. Interestingly, psoriasis can cause yellow nails, so if you know that you have the condition skip the DIY stuff and head over to a dermatologist for treatment. Same goes for thickened yellow nails, which could indicate a fungus.

White spots:
Formally known as leukonychia, those little white discolorations that you see from time to time on your nails are usually caused by trauma to the nail (like slamming your finger in a door, for example). But if you’re positive that you haven’t injured your nails and you see the spots reoccurring often enough, then a zinc deficiency may be to blame. Supplements will more than likely solve the problem. Another cause of the white markings could be eczema. If they bother you, definitely make an appointment with your dermatologist to discuss possible treatments.

Brittleness and peeling:
Nails are composed of layers of keratin. If you’re hands are always in hot water thanks to a plethora of dirty dishes or if you live in a very cold, dry climate, your nails may begin to peel. Something as simple as keeping your nails polished, even with just a clear coat, can keep them protected. To prevent peeling in the first place, wear gloves when possible and try applying a moisturizing hand serum each day (maybe something like Pharmacopia Hand Cream). Another cause of peeling can be a lack of linoleic acid, which can be found in plant and fish oils (consumed internally) or in a topical cream like Reviva. A simple trick for reviving brittle nails is taking a biotin supplement, which has been shown to strengthen nails and increase their plate thickness.

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5 Healthy Breakfast Choices

Kick-starting your morning with a healthy breakfast is imperative — it is, after all, the most important meal of the day. Does breakfast in less than 10 minutes sound familiar?

It’s far too easy to grab something on your way to work. I'm guessing this will usually be a bagel, croissant or other pastry, as that’s what I’m often tempted to pick up when I’m running late. But eating a healthy breakfast is essential for maintaining energy and attention levels, as well as for helping you avoid snacking, but there are variations you should focus on, depending on diet, fitness regime and your ultimate goals.

We’ve chosen some of the most common athletic challenges and checked out what healthy breakfast choices are at your disposal when training.

1. The muscle-builder's breakfast
OK, so you can go the protein shake route, but really? They’re unpleasant and, unless you’re a complete muscle nut, no fun. You want to be enjoying your breakfast as well as building those biceps. Picking the right breakfast will not only help with muscle building but will also fill you with energy for the day ahead — a perfect pick-me-up. We’re looking to kick-start your metabolism and get your body into an anabolic state by going for high protein, along with some complex carbs and healthy fats. An egg-white omelet with shredded chicken is a winner.

Add some finely sliced chili to get the blood flowing and then serve with some avocado diced on top for a healthy fat. With a squeeze of lime (top off with cilantro if you have some), you have mastered the healthy breakfast choice.

Read more:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Brushing Tips

Dental Health
The modified Bass technique (below) is among the most popular for adults. Parents should supervise their children's brushing until age 9 or 10. Here are a few general pointers about brushing.

Brush at least twice a day.
One of those times should be just before you go to bed. When you sleep, your mouth gets drier. This makes it easier for acids from bacteria to attack your teeth. Also try to brush in the morning, either before or after breakfast. After breakfast is better. That way, bits of food are removed. But if you eat in your car or at work, or skip breakfast, brush first thing in the morning. This will get rid of the plaque that built up overnight.

Brush no more than three times a day.
Brushing after lunch will give you a good midday cleaning. But brushing too often can damage your gums.

Brush lightly. Brushing too hard can damage your gums. It can cause them to recede (move away from the teeth). Plaque attaches to teeth like jam sticks to a spoon. It can't be totally removed by rinsing, but a light brushing will do the trick. Once plaque has hardened into calculus (tartar), brushing can't remove it. If you think you might brush too hard, hold your toothbrush the same way you hold a pen. This encourages a lighter stroke.

Brush for at least two minutes.
Set a timer if you have to, but don't skimp on brushing time. Two minutes is the minimum time you need to clean all of your teeth. Many people brush for the length of a song on the radio. That acts as a good reminder to brush each tooth thoroughly.

Have a standard routine for brushing.
Try to brush your teeth in the same order every day. This can help you cover every area of your mouth. If you do this routinely, it will become second nature. For example, you can brush the outer sides of your teeth from left to right across the top, then move to the inside and brush right to left. Then brush your chewing surfaces, too, from left to right. Repeat the pattern for your lower teeth.

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Toothless chemical law is toxic to the public's health

Toxic Chemicals
The American Academy of Pediatrics' recent statement urging the federal government to do more to protect pregnant women and children from toxic chemicals is getting lots of attention in the media. The more meaningful question is whether the safety push will get the attention it deserves from Uncle Sam.

The pediatric group's request is hardly outrageous. It asks that Congress make the archaic Toxic Substances Control Act live up to its original mission and protect Americans from potentially poisonous substances in our products.

As it stands now, the act is a joke. It hasn't been revised in any meaningful way since first passing congressional muster in 1976. Since then, tens of thousands of chemicals have been introduced into the environment through new products, and we know little to nothing about whether they are making us sick.

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The act is our best chance of finding out, and making the manufacturing industry accountable, but that would require adding some teeth to a law this is mostly gums.

Out of about 80,000 chemicals being used by a host of manufacturers, the law has led to regulation on just five chemicals or chemical classes during the past 35 years. Some argue that the Toxic Substances Control Act is such a weakling that it couldn't even be used to ban cancer-causing asbestos.

Under the act, manufacturers are not required to test whether chemicals are safe before putting them in the products we use. That's a scary proposition given the increasing number of studies raising concerns about the behavioral, developmental and other health risks that may be associated with some chemicals, such as the ubiquitous bisphenol-A, or BPA, and phthalates found in many plastics.

The federal government isn't ignorant of these concerns. In January 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that, because of the potential human health impacts of BPA, it would study ways to reduce exposure to the compound in food packaging. Two months later, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency added BPA to its list of "chemicals of concern" and announced a "BPA action plan" that included requiring manufacturers to provide test data to help determine the potential impacts of BPA.

HIV may be risk factor in heart failure

"Heavy alcohol consumption, which is more prevalent among HIV-infected people, is also an established risk factor for heart failure," the study authors write.

Adeel A. Butt from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and colleagues analyzed data from HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected veterans enrolled in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study Virtual Cohort, the journal Archives of Internal Medicine reports.

The objective was to determine whether HIV infection was independently associated with an increase risk of heart failure (HF), according to a Pittsburgh statement.

A total of 8,486 patients were included in the analysis, of whom 2,391 were HIV- infected and 6,095 were HIV-uninfected. During the median (midpoint) 7.3 years of follow-up, there were 286 new heart failure events and 1,096 deaths.

"Participants with HIV infection were more likely to have Hepatitis C virus co-infection and cocaine abuse or dependence and higher reported rate of current smoking, but were less likely to have hypertension or diabetes," the authors report.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Simple Ways to Keep Your Brain Sharp, Healthy

From a glance at the magazine stands, Americans appear obsessed with losing weight, cutting their cardiac risks and seeking to improve their odds against cancer. But where’s the focus on brain health?

The brain always has been mysterious and many people seem to believe little can be done to keep it sharp or to reduce its risk of injury and disease. Too many of us think it’s a matter of our genes or happenstance as to what occurs with memory loss, brain tumors, strokes and other disorders of the brain.

This may be true to some extent but the same might also be said of heart ills and many cancers. And while there may be familial predispositions, this doesn’t diminish the need to take steps to improve health and reduce risk.

Keith L. Black, M.D., chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and director of the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute, says Americans can do more to keep their minds sharp and brains healthy even as they age. His suggestions include: the simple and obvious (wear a helmet for sports); the simple and less obvious (eat certain foods to properly fuel the brain); and the simple and more obscure (could your cell phone use affect your risk of brain tumor?).

The theme is “simple” – these are changes most people can work into their everyday lives. Examples include:

Find a puzzle and solve it. The brain appears to respond to “exercise” – challenges that help keep it nimble. Whether games and puzzles help delay onset of dementia is the subject of debate and research. But people who keep busy with activities they enjoy – knitting, learning languages, reading – seem to have less memory impairment in later years. Hard scientific evidence may yet come; keeping your mind active through “play” and activity certainly won’t hurt in the meantime.

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Make sure hospital stay doesn’t leave you sicker

Going to the hospital isn’t supposed to make you sicker. But for an alarmingly high number of Americans, it does.

Medical errors occur during as many as one of every three hospital stays, and about 7 percent of those patients die or are permanently harmed as a result, according to a study published in the journal Health Affairs.

Health-care facilities bear the bulk of the responsibility for preventing hospital-acquired infections, medication mix-ups and other errors by adhering to evidence-based best practices.

The federal government has stepped up its efforts to prevent errors by refusing to reimburse hospitals for the extra costs associated with certain hospital-acquired conditions and by making public individual hospitals’ rates of these conditions. In addition, the Obama administration announced this month it is working with hospitals and private insurers on a new initiative that aims to cut preventable medical errors by 40 percent over the next three years.

There are also things patients can do to reduce their risk of being the victim a medical error. Here are a few tips from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, as well as local and national patient safety groups:

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Smoking ban could expand

Smokers could no longer light up legally in any part of the municipal park system under a proposal city officials are considering.

If enacted in full, the ban would cover all outdoor areas across a system that encompasses about 175 parks and other recreational facilities, including greenways and trails.

Cone Health Foundation recently asked the city parks and recreation commission to make the system “100 percent tobacco free” in line with findings by the Office of the Surgeon General and Centers for Disease Control on the dangers of secondhand smoke.

“We have more than 4,000 acres of beautiful public parks in Greensboro,” said Susan F. Shumaker, foundation president. “Our policies should protect the right to breathe safely and promote using these healthy parks.”

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Be a healthy bride on your wedding day

Planning and preparing for the perfect wedding can tax even the toughest bride-to-be, but it's important not to lose sight of physical and emotional well-being, experts say.

Instead of thinking about our health, “we're often fixated on either a number on a scale or how we're going to look in a dress,” said Ashley Koff, a registered dietitian from The CW reality show “Shedding for the Wedding.”

Koff recommends keeping the body well-fueled — eating roughly every three hours — instead of depriving yourself and becoming tired and cranky.

Cutting some calories is OK, but leave in some carbohydrates, some protein, some healthy fat and plenty of vegetables, Koff said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles. She'll appear this summer in Lifetime's “Love Handles,” a reality weight-loss show for couples.

Every eating occasion need not be a full meal, Koff said. In between, the bride-to-be might have a healthy smoothie or a bowl of puréed tomato soup or a small latte with a handful of nuts, she said.

Think about “what's available and how do I make the best quality choice and what does my body need?”

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Building Self Confidence

1.Full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing: We have every confidence in their ability to succeed.

2.Belief in oneself and one's powers or abilities; self-confidence; self-reliance; assurance: His lack of confidence defeated him.

3.Certitude; assurance: He described the situation with such confidence that the audience believed him completely.

How often do you second guess yourself or lack confidence. Do you easily put full trust in someone else; your mother, husband, teacher or doctor but find it difficult to trust yourself? I love the third definition from above "assurance" what a wonderfully strong characteristic, do you desire it? If you think that you lack confidence, and you probably do because most people do, then I offer a couple suggestions that will direct your attention to building a foundation of confidence in yourself.

Perhaps you are unsure if you lack confidence, if so ask yourself a couple of question to determine your confidence level and the areas where you are submissive and lack trust in yourself.

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End World Hunger: World Food Programme Launches Website

End Hunger
When you were a kid, did you ever sit down for a family meal that ended with a half-full plate and your mom saying, "Finish your broccoli, there's starving kids in Africa?" Maybe you rebelliously answered, "Why don't you send them my broccoli then?"
Believe it or not, now you can.

With the new website, launched by the United Nations World Food Programme, you can donate the price of your dinner to school programs around the world.

In 1961, the World Food Programme began providing food to communities during and after emergencies. Fifty years later, they aim to reach more than 90 million people with food assistance in more than 70 countries -- this year alone.

WeFeedBack allows people to estimate the cost of their nightly dinner -- whether it's broccoli, sushi, or spaghetti and meatballs -- and donate the equivalent to school programs around the world for children in need. Putting a 50-cent serving of "broccoli" into the website's calculator, WeFeedBack lets you know that two children can eat for that price. That's bang for your buck.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Green Tea and Tai Chi Improve Bone Health and Decrease Inflammation

Bone Structure
A researcher at the Laura W. Bush Institute of Women's Health at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Dr. Chwan-Li Shen, counts herself among those who believe that green tea has health benefits that include improving bone strength. In her most recent research, Shen studied whether green tea and tai chi might have a synergistic effect on bone strength. The double-blind, placebo-controlled study involved 171 postmenopausal women who had weak bones but who did not yet have osteoporosis.

The study participants were divided into 4 groups and received one of the following: placebo and no tai chi, green tea polyphenols (500 mg/day) and no tai chi, placebo plus tai chi (3 times/week), or green tea polyphenols and tai chi. Results from the 6-month study revealed that green tea, at a level that was equal to about 4-6 cups of steeped green tea daily, and tai chi independently improved markers of bone health at 3 and 6 months, respectively. There was a similar effect found for muscle strength at 6 months. Mental and emotional health improved among tai chi participants as well

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Healthy Junk Food Choices

Junk Food It’s nearly impossible to resist junk food. For decades, food scientists have been engineering delicious snacks that are as addictive as any drug. Barbecue potato chips, cheese puffs, sugary cereal, and pretzels dusted with heavenly honey-mustard powder are the product of an intense scientific effort that has only been rivaled by the Manhattan Project. When facing such insurmountable odds, it’s easy to give up and gorge on the tasty morsels. Thankfully, the same food-science masterminds that have been working against you all these years have had a change of heart. They’re actually using their genius to create tasty low-fat, low-calorie snacks that won’t stick to your waistline like congealed tallow. These snacks can be eaten—in moderate quantities—without turning you into Paul Prudhomme. But you’ll still need to exercise some restraint, because no matter how low-fat junk food is, it’s still junk food. Whatever you do, don't overindulge. Read more:

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Exercise Is Medicine For The Brain, Too

Exercise - long known to promote heart and bone health, among other benefits - increases the growth of brain cells and improves brain function, according to research reviewed today at the American College of Sports Medicine's 15th-annual Health & Fitness Summit & Exposition.

Terry Eckmann, Ph.D., briefed attendees on recent findings, saying the protein known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is "like Miracle-Gro for the brain." BDNF, Eckmann explained, helps to grow new neurons in the hippocampus and helps the transmission of information across the synapses of neurons.

Fueling these enhanced brain processes, quite literally, are elevated levels of oxygen and glucose which the cardiovascular system - strengthened by exercise - can deliver to the brain. The brain uses about 20 percent of the body's oxygen and glucose.

Scientists have also found that repetitive gross motor movement strengthens the branching of dendrites, which conduct electrochemical stimulation among neurons. "Dendrites receive messages from surrounding brain neurons, and the more dendrites, the more information can be transmitted and stored," said Eckmann.

Recent studies show that students with higher fitness levels score higher on academic tests and show an improved ability to focus. Scientists have also documented the ability of exercise to help prevent dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

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How Little Sleep Can You Get Away With?

We all know that we don’t get enough sleep. But how much sleep do we really need? Until about 15 years ago, one common theory was that if you slept at least four or five hours a night, your cognitive performance remained intact; your body simply adapted to less sleep. But that idea was based on studies in which researchers sent sleepy subjects home during the day — where they may have sneaked in naps and downed coffee.

Enter David Dinges, the head of the Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory at the Hospital at University of Pennsylvania, who has the distinction of depriving more people of sleep than perhaps anyone in the world.

In what was the longest sleep-restriction study of its kind, Dinges and his lead author, Hans Van Dongen, assigned dozens of subjects to three different groups for their 2003 study: some slept four hours, others six hours and others, for the lucky control group, eight hours — for two weeks in the lab.

Every two hours during the day, the researchers tested the subjects’ ability to sustain attention with what’s known as the psychomotor vigilance task, or P.V.T., considered a gold standard of sleepiness measures. During the P.V.T., the men and women sat in front of computer screens for 10-minute periods, pressing the space bar as soon as they saw a flash of numbers at random intervals. Even a half-second response delay suggests a lapse into sleepiness, known as a microsleep.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

With diabetes, save a leg, save a life

Save Leg
Each year in the U.S. diabetes results in the amputation of about 65,700 legs or feet. About 85% of those began with a diabetic foot ulcer. And for Dr. David Schwegman, the mission to educate people about the issue is personal.

His father, a diabetic, had a foot ulcer that resulted in the amputation of his left leg, which contributed to his death, his son said.

"He became a statistic," Schwegman said. "He was one of the 50% of people that died within five years after having an amputation."

Diabetic foot ulcers, or DFUs, are usually located on the ball of the foot, the bottom of the big toe or sides of the feet. They can be a result of neuropathy, or nerve damage which leads to a loss of feeling.

Although prevention is key, simply not treating an ulcer can lead to infection, particularly in the bone, and eventual loss of a limb.

"If you have a DFU that leads to a major amputation, your risk of death in five years is greater is higher than that of breast cancer and prostate cancer combined," Schwegman said.

"This is a very, very serious health problem that has very serious risks if not dealt with properly and quickly," the doctor said. "In order to do that, we really need to get the word out to both the patients and the physicians."

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Use Your Phone as a Calorie Counter

These days it seems like you can do everything on your phone. Want to make sure your seafood isn’t too high in mercury? There’s an app for that. Want to do some yoga and have a Droid? There’s an app for that, too. Want to take SHAPE magazine with you everywhere you go (of course you do!)? Yep, again, an app for that! But a new iPhone app is making waves in the healthy eating world: a calorie counter that promises to calculate nutritionals just from a photo.

Just released earlier this week, Meal Snap works like this: First you take a photo of your meal with your cell phone. Then, if you want, you can add a descriptive caption. Next, the system somehow calculates the nutritional breakdown of what’s in your meal, sending you a message back with the facts on your food. The app also keeps track of your meals and calorie counts over time, can share your eats on social media sites like Facebook, and allows you to view estimated calories for each meal and for entire days. All of these tools, according to the manufacturer Daily Burn, help you to better manage your weight and help you hit your nutritional goals for the day.

While the site claims that “magic” is behind the calorie counts you get back, I’m guessing that there’s actually a team of people who work behind the scenes for the app, looking at user’s food photos and sending back their guesstimates. For just a $2.99 download, it’s not a huge investment for your healthy lifestyle by any means, but the makers do emphasize that the calorie counts are an “estimate.”

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Healthy family recipes with low glycemic index are best

Healthy food
Mums looking to get themselves or their household in shape should prepare healthy family recipes with a low glycemic index, according to one expert.

Nutrition consultant Dr Carina Norris explained that "the most sustaining foods are the ones which contain a mixture of protein, good fats, and fibre – all three elements are very filling. Glycemic index (GI) foods are the ones which contain that balance".

It is these kinds of healthy family recipes, she added, that cause a slower, more sustained increase in blood sugar levels and therefore keep energy up for longer.

Dr Norris went on to say that the psychological effect of choosing foods that take a while to eat can help families keep the weight off, as they are likely to make people feel fuller.

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Drinking over recommended limit 'raises cancer risk'

Drinking more than a pint of beer a day can substantially increase the risk of some cancers, research suggests.

The Europe-wide study of 363,988 people reported in the British Medical Journal found one in 10 of all cancers in men and one in 33 in women were caused by past or current alcohol intake.

More than 18% of alcohol-related cancers in men and about 4% in women were linked to excessive drinking.

The Department of Health said it was taking action to reduce drinking.

Cancer charities say people should limit their drinking to lower the risk.

The study calculated that in 2008 current and past drinking habits were responsible for about 13,000 cancer cases in the UK, out of a total of 304,000 cases.

Previous research has shown a link between alcohol consumption and cancers of the oesophagus, liver, bowel and female breast.

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Do Cellphones Cause Brain Cancer?

Brain Cancer
On Jan. 21, 1993, the television talk-show host Larry King featured an unexpected guest on his program. It was the evening after Inauguration Day in Washington, and the television audience tuned in expecting political commentary. But King turned, instead, to a young man from Florida, David Reynard, who had filed a tort claim against the cellphone manufacturer NEC and the carrier GTE Mobilnet, claiming that radiation from their phones caused or accelerated the growth of a brain tumor in his wife.
“The tumor was exactly in the pattern of the antenna,” Reynard told King. In 1989, Susan Elen Reynard, then 31, was told she had a malignant astrocytoma, a brain cancer that occurs in about 6,000 adults in America each year. To David Reynard, the shape and size of Susan’s tumor — a hazy line swerving from the left side of her midbrain to the hindbrain — uncannily resembled a malignant shadow of the phone (but tumors, like clouds, can assume the shapes of our imaginations). Suzy, as she was known, held her phone at precisely that angle against her left ear, her husband said. Reynard underwent surgery for her cancer but to little effect. She died in 1992, just short of her 34th birthday. David was convinced that high doses of radiation from the cellphone was the cause.

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Obesity Damages Our Brains as Well as Our Bodies

Obesity is not only bad for our bodies, but being overweight appears also to diminish our brain's ability to think, remember and reason, Science News reported.

Researchers from Kent State University in Ohio tested the cognitive functions of obese volunteers and compared them with healthy people. In general, the obese participants' scores were lower than their healthy counterparts. In some of the tests, including on memory exams, nearly 25 percent of the obese participants scored low enough to be considered learning disabled.

After the initial tests, two-thirds of the obese participants underwent weight loss surgery and lost, on average, 50 pounds in three months. In a second round of tests, the group that lost weight boosted their scores, including their memory test scores, significantly. This was not true for the group that did not lose weight.

This is not the first time scientists have made a connection between health and cognitive function.

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Lowering Cholesterol, Blood Pressure May Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk

Treating traditional risk factors for heart disease such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes may also prevent the progression of mild memory and cognitive problems into full-blown Alzheimer’s disease, a new study suggests.

Although dietary changes, cholesterol-lowering statins, and hypertension drugs such as beta-blockers are far from a surefire way to prevent Alzheimer’s, these and other treatments that promote healthy blood vessels may be a practical way for people to reduce their risk, the researchers say.

The study, which was conducted in China and published in the journal Neurology, “highlights the importance of midlife vascular risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease, which, unlike age and genetics, can be modified,” says Whitney Wharton, PhD, a research scientist at the University of Wisconsin’s Alzheimer’s Institute, in Madison, who was not involved in the research.

Researchers at Daping Hospital, in Chongqing, followed 638 men and women over the age of 55 for five years. All the study participants had problems with memory and mental function that were noticeable but not severe enough to interfere with their daily functioning. This condition, known as mild cognitive impairment, progresses to Alzheimer’s in roughly 10% to 15% of cases each year, according to the study.

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Nervous System Imbalance May Cause Fatigue in Breast Cancer Survivors

nervous system
The persistent fatigue and exhaustion plaguing some breast cancer survivors after successful treatment stems from a tug of war between the "fight-or-flight" and "resting" parts of the autonomic nervous system, with the former working overtime and the other unable to rein it in, a new study suggests.

Researchers from Ohio State University split 109 women who had completed breast cancer treatment up to two years earlier into two groups -- those who did and didn't report long-term fatigue -- and tested their blood for a baseline level of norepinephrine, a stress hormone. Participants were then asked to give a five-minute speech and do a series of verbal math problems, both tasks aimed at increasing their stress levels.

As expected, further blood tests showed that levels of norepinephrine -- associated with the "fight-or-flight" sympathetic nervous system -- rose in both groups after the stressful experience, researchers said. However, breast cancer survivors who experienced persistent fatigue had higher levels than those who weren't chronically tired.

The study, released online in advance of publication in an upcoming print issue of the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, was partially funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the American Cancer Society.

The findings are the most recent from a 30-year-long study about the effects of stress on the human body. The researchers used earlier data from a larger ongoing study looking at whether yoga can ward off continuing fatigue in breast cancer patients.

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Relax! The Zsa Zsa-baby thing won't happen

Crying baby
You probably saw the headlines Thursday about 94-year-old actress Zsa Zsa Gabor becoming a mother. Sounds like a miracle of modern science, right?

Wrong. There are a bunch of significant problems with the whole scenario that make it, in the end, just another sensational Hollywood tale that won't actually happen.

First off, while Gabor's husband says he'll spend about $100,000 for the couple to have a child, it won't be biologically connected to the actress. In fact, while some women are today having children in their 40s and 50s, there exists no technology to make a child that is the biological offspring of a 94-year-old woman.

Prince Frederic von Anhalt told CNN he is finding an egg donor and a surrogate for the purposes of artificial insemination. Theoretically, that means his sperm would fertilize the donor's eggs and then one or two resulting embryos would be implanted into a surrogate. Current guidelines suggest that the combined age of two biological parents shouldn't be above 100; if 67-year-old von Anhalt is the father, the egg donor will have to be under 34. He could alternatively use an anonymous sperm donor.

But it's not as simple as that. Dr. Dan Shapiro of Reproductive Biologic Associates of Atlanta says von Anhalt and Gabor's public desire to have a child would not be considered a legitimate reason to go through with this procedure, given the circumstances. Gabor has suffered significant health problems

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“Smile Survey” shows oral health successes

OLYMPIA ¾ The tooth decay rate for Washington children in 2010 remains as high as it was in 2005, newly tabulated results from the 2010 “Smile Survey” show. Untreated decay is at an all-time low.

The rates for sealants, an important preventive measure to prevent tooth decay, have remained the same overall since 2005. A significant increase in sealants was noted among children from racial and ethnic minorities from 2005 to 2010.

The Smile Survey ( is conducted every five years to monitor children’s oral health. Dental disease can lead to pain, infection, growth and development problems, and poor school performance.

“This is a preventable problem that can affect a child’s entire life,” said Washington State Health Officer Dr. Maxine Hayes, a pediatrician. “The survey shows successes, and remaining needs.”

During the 2009-2010 academic year, low-income preschoolers from 48 Head Start-Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program sites, along with kindergarteners and third-graders from 53 public elementary schools, were surveyed. Results from about 7,500 children show Washington has had some success in children’s oral health – but some challenges remain:

· Children from low-income families were more likely to have more decay, rampant decay, and treatment needs than those from families with higher incomes. Following income, Hispanic ethnicity or being from a family that spoke a language other than English at home (especially Spanish) were the next strongest predictors for having more decay, rampant decay, and treatment needs.

· Rates of untreated decay are at their lowest ever for Head Start-ECEAP preschoolers and public school third-graders in 2010.

· Sealant rates didn’t change overall from 2005 to 2010, but rose significantly for children from racial and ethnic minority groups, especially those speaking Spanish at home.

· Compared to the national Healthy People 2020 Objectives, Washington still has statistically significantly higher rates of decay for preschoolers and third-graders. Washington successfully met national objectives for untreated decay and sealant rates.

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There are several ways to treat kidney stones

Kidney Stones
Kidney stone (also known as nephrolithiasis) is one of the most painful urologic diseases. It is the migration of stone that forms at the level of the kidney through the different structures of the urinary system (the uretere, urinary bladder and urethra).

Kidney stone disease was described by ancient civilizations (Mesopotamia, India, China, Persia, Greece and Rome). It was discovered in the pelvis of an Egyptian mummy (dated to 4800 BCE). Among the famous leaders that suffered from this disease were Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon III, Peter the Great, Louis XIV, George IV and former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Clinically, during the process of migration, the stone can cause severe pain that typically starts in the flank. As the stone progresses, the pain starts to localize to the groin and the genital area, causing blood in the urine, nausea and vomiting. In most cases, the stone continues its migration and is eliminated in the urine. Many stones are formed and passed without causing symptoms. In a small percentage of patients, the stone is big in size and will block the uretere causing blockage of the urine flow compromising the kidney’s function and increasing the risk of infection of the kidney


There are several types of kidney stones which are categorized by the type of crystal forming the stone. The most common stones contain calcium oxalate, which can be formed without any predefined risk factors. The calcium phosphate is mainly common for patients with genetic or acquired defect in excretion of acidic materials in the urine.

Struvite stones are exclusively present in patients with recurrent urinary tract infections. Cystine stones result from an inherited condition that causes an increase in the amount of cystine (an amino acid) in the urine. Uric acid stones form only in acidic urine and cannot typically be seen by X-ray imaging.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Potatoes (non-fried) are healthy for kids

A new research has suggested that consumption of white potatoes (non-fried) by children does not displace other vegetables from their meals.

Instead, it makes their diet rich in nutrients and leads to higher overall diet quality.

White potatoes are significantly higher in potassium, fiber and vitamin C.

Both potassium and fiber were identified as nutrients of concern in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, released February 2011.

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Healthy habits win dinner battles

IF you have ever been in a household with young children, you may have seen the battlefield.

Food flung missile-like lays strewn all over the floor, a defiant little soldier refuses to give in, while on the other side, the parents, sag in exhaustion.

But teaching children to eat, and eat well, need not be a battle, according to dietitians.

Food and Nutrition Australia dietitian Sharon Natoli said mealtime madness could be avoided if parents established healthy eating habits in their children early in life.

She suggested parents make and eat healthy meals with their children as one way of encouraging them to make healthy choices from a young age.

Her sentiments are echoed by Sunshine Coast dietitian Julie Norton, who is completing PhD studies in how parents influence their children’s eating habits.

Ms Norton said the best thing parents could do to get young children to eat, and eat healthily, was to lead by example.

“It’s not what we say as parents, it’s what we do. If you’re trying to get a child to eat breakfast, and you’re not eating breakfast yourself, you’ve got Buckley’s,” she said.

“But if you can sit down and eat the same food as the child, the child is more likely to eat it.

“A lot of parents say they haven’t got the time for themselves because they are so busy running around with their kids.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Can Schools Improve Kids Health by Banning Homemade Lunches?

Kids health
Some of my friends are circulating this Chicago Tribune article about a public school in Chicago banning homemade lunches. Chicago's solution for the school nutrition conundrum is not a trend, but it brings up a good opportunity to talk about the perpetual hot-potato topic of healthy foods at school.

I’m old enough to remember frantically trying to bake cookies the night before a class party when my daughter was in grade school, only to feel like a failure when I screwed up the recipe—for no-bake cookies, no less—and had to swing by the grocery store to buy prepackaged treats. (Note to those who might be considering making my favorite no-bake cookies—do not use tub margarine because the cookies won’t set.)

Now, there are strict guidelines at most schools and daycares about what type of food can be brought to share with the class. In short, nothing homemade is permitted, because the teachers must be able to clearly discern the ingredients in case of allergies. Less guilt for me, the non-baker, but less fun and more processed food for all the kids’ birthday celebrations.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Easy Way To Relieve Back & Leg Pain

Back Pain
The Superion Interspinous Spacer (ISS) in an investigational medical tool designed to relieve chronic pain that’s caused by moderate lumbar spinal stenosis. Lumbar spinal stenosis is a condition that occurs when nerves in the lower back are compressed. This compression can put pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots and cause leg, back and groin pain. ISS is a minimally-invasive alternative to traditional spinal surgery. The Superion ISS alternative doesn’t require a large incision, and can therefore minimize the amount of bleeding and trauma to the body. (SOURCE:

TREATMENT OPTIONS: According to the Los Angeles Spine Institute, lumbar spinal stenosis is the cause of leg and back pain for nearly 1.2 million Americans. However, there are several treatment options available to relieve symptoms and improve a patient's activity level. Nonsurgical treatments are typically the first line of treatment options for patients who suffer mild to moderate symptoms. This often includes physical therapy, nerve block injections, and/or medicine. When nonsurgical treatments fail to provide relief, patients are traditionally offered a spinal decompression or fusion surgery. These procedures can require a large incision to remove bone and ligaments and can result in a lengthy recovery period.

SUPERION ISS TREATMENT & RECOVERY: The Superion ISS is implanted between the spinous processes through a half-inch skin incision. Once in place, the device can act as a support column to open the passageways that contain the spinal cord and nerve roots. This reduces the compression on the nerves and can therefore relieve pain. The recovery process is typically a short one. Patients may be able to return home the same day of the surgery or may be discharged from the hospital the following day. Physical therapy is usually recommended following the surgery. The type of rehabilitation program will vary from patient to patient. Since every patient's recovery process is different, the surgeon will have to determine how much post-surgical activity is appropriate on an individual basis.

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Nainital Women Turn to Herbal Medicine for Their Livelihood

Herbal Medicines
A self-help group in Uttarakhand has held a workshop to train women in preparing herbal medicines in Nainital to make them self-reliant.round 65 women from across the state participated in the workshop where they were given training in the preparation of basic herbal medicines.

Workshop instructor Supriya Negi, said that the training would be beneficial for women for both commercial and domestic purposes and will prove valuable in the absence of adequate health centers.

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Big wrists 'could be a warning of heart danger for your child'

Parents, please note, your child's wrists could indicate whether they have a risk of
developing heart disease when they grow up, say researchers.

A new study has found that bigger the wrist size, the higher the child's resistance to insulin, a factor which could push up the chances of heart problems in later life, British
newspaper the 'Daily Mail' reported.

For the study, the researchers at Sapienza University of Rome analysed 500 overweight and obese children.
They recorded the subjects' wrist size using MRI scans or a tape measure. Having a bigger bony area, as shown in a scan, accounted for a 20 per cent increase in insulin
resistance between children.

Simply checking the width of the wrist with a tape measure, including any excess fat, was almost as reliable a pointer, according to the Italian researchers.

They claim it will be a better predictor of future problems than how much extra body fat children are carrying.

Dr Marco Capizzi, the lead researcher, said the next step was to check for a link between wrist size and insulin resistance in children of healthy weight.

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Keep Your Heart Healthy For Those Who Live In It

Healthy Heart
With the recent spur in the number of heart patients, the maintenance of heart health has become a major issue for all the health experts across the world. Life is short and everyone wants to live it well. But, with so many diseases and infections ready to pounce on us, it is up to us how well we can take care of ourselves.

If medical groups are to be believed, keeping your cardiovascular health in shape is not as difficult as it sounds. All you need to do is to keep a watch on what you eat and exercise regularly.

Apart from maintaining the appropriate levels of good cholesterol, one must also control the intake of saturated fat that is present mainly in edibles like fatty meats, dairy products, biscuits, chocolate and cakes etc.

Although, the presence of cholesterol in body is very important for us, but the quantity more than requirement can cause life-threatening heart diseases.

Similarly, though fats are good as well but it is important to have less full-fat products and replace them with mono-saturated fats such as olive oil, nuts and avocado pears. The intake of less salt is also suggested in some cases.

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Is your child ruining your health?

You might think running around after children would leave you in good shape, but a new study suggests mothers and fathers of toddlers are unhealthier than their childless piers.

Women of young children are heavier and consume more calories, fatty foods and fizzy drinks than those who don’t have kids, according to research from the University of Minnesota.

‘This isn’t a study about blame, this is about identifying a very high-risk time period for parents,’ says co-author Dr Jerica Berge. Doctors should be aware of the risks and be able to offer solutions such as diet advice and parent-child activities, say the researchers.

It is understandable that with a houseful of young children, parents opt for quick and easy meal options, but the study shows mothers with young children eat about 368 more calories than women without. Fathers ate about the same as childless men but got about two hours less physical activity.

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Weight loss program teaches students healthy habits

Weight Loss
Sharayah Lewis, 17, pushed the pedals on the elliptical machine at a breakneck speed, chatting about her boyfriend and school and weight loss just a little bit faster.

She’s slashed her pop consumption to two to three cans per day. She’s cut portions and slowed down while eating.

“When you’re eating too fast, it makes you still think you’re hungry,” Lewis said, explaining a nutrition fact she learned a few weeks earlier. “I’ve cut back on the ranch too.”

She paused and took a long sip from her water bottle.

“And make sure you drink water when you do.”

After weeks of working out and watching what she ate, Lewis hadn’t lost weight. With only a few weeks left of the Take It Off program, Lewis wanted to make her effort count.

The program connects students at Kelly Walsh High School with a personal trainer, a registered dietitian, a counselor and a gym membership. Students voluntarily commit to the 10-week program with doctor approval. Those services would cost about $550 per week, but a grant and memberships donated by the Flex Complex fitness center allowed Kelly Walsh students to participate at no cost.

Kelly Walsh piloted the program in fall 2010 with great results: all participating students lost weight, one girl lost 4 percent body fat, school attendance increased. Eight students are participating this semester. One has lost at least 25 pounds, a requirement of her goal to join the Air Force.

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Friday, April 8, 2011

Healthy living secret of the century: Eat less

Healthy Living
A big barrier to better health (and based on current obesity statistics 66 percent of us have it) is we are carrying too much weight. The effects of that extra weight reverberate throughout our body. Fat is not some dormant blob of goo just hanging out. It is participatory hormonally (with all its domino effects), impacts the health of our joints, can restrict range of motion, and can contribute to depression (body image, neurochemicals, etc.). That fat doesn't just keep you out of your skinny jeans. It deteriorates your health and quality of your life.

Losing excess weight should be at the top of our health lists, not weird fitness-gadgets or insane workout regimens. The best way to do it is to, yes, eat less. Do not fear starvation mode. Do not fear wrong food this or right food that. Don't complicate it by overanalyzing six small meals or three big ones. Just eat less. We can have a lengthier discussion another time on how much less, but for now just strive for less than your current intake. Less!

Make dinner and eat half of it. Order a muffin, pull part of it off and chunk the rest. Latte? Pour some out. Get a handful of chips and put the bag back. Candy bar? Split if with a friend. That's it. Less!

No time to get healthy? I'm saving you time. You will spend less time chewing.

No money to get healthy? I'm saving you money. You will spend less money on food.

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Scientists find superbugs in Delhi drinking water

drinking water
A gene that makes bugs highly resistant to almost all known antibiotics has been found in bacteria in water supplies in New Delhi used by local people for drinking, washing and cooking, scientists said on Thursday.

The NDM 1 gene, which creates what some experts describe as "super superbugs", has spread to germs that cause cholera and dysentery, and is circulating freely in other bacteria in the Indian city capital of 14 million people, the researchers said.

"The inhabitants of New Delhi are continually being exposed to multidrug-resistant and NDM 1-positive bacteria", said Mark Toleman of Britain's Cardiff University School of Medicine, who published the findings in a study on Thursday.

A "substantial number" of them are consuming such bacteria on a daily basis, he told a briefing in London. "We believe we have discovered a very significant underlying source of NDM 1 in the capital city of India," he said.

NDM 1, or New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase 1, makes bacteria resistant to almost all antibiotics, including the most powerful class, called carbapenems.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How to correct imbalances

When we eat we rarely consider the effects of food on our bodies, thinking all foods are equally nutritious and none cause harm to our bodies. Little do we know that quantity and quality of what we consume can create a health balance, homeostasis, which maintains good health or an imbalance, which lays the foundation for disease. To a certain extent, we can control the outcome of our health by practicing awareness; making good food choices: and embracing hygienic lifestyle habits.

Our immune systems and the core of our bodies try to maintain an inner balance with a nutritious diet, moderate exercise and mental and emotional stability. Overeating in large quantities causes obesity, which in turn results in excesses, lethargy, immobility, inflammation, strained organs, low metabolism and disease. Under-eating, too, leads to undernourishment, which precipitates nutrient deficiencies, low energy and immunity, irritability, organ failures, depression and disease. Moreover, suboptimal quality and choices of foods invite myriads of inexplicable disorders and misery. How to maintain this delicate equilibrium and how you plan for it require attentiveness to the types of foods consumed.

The health state of the human body can be gauged by the pH balance of the blood. This scale has a range, starting from 0, which is extremely acid, to 14, which are very alkaline, making 7 neutral. This balance is seen in water, which is a neutral 7. Either end of the spectrum means a tipped balance, which results in physical, mental, or emotional disorder. However, the perfect pH level is a measure of 7.2 up to 7.4, which is more on the alkaline side and called a state of homeostasis. This desired median is a predictor of balanced health, energy and wellness, whereas both extremes lead to a selection of disorders and suffering.

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Drinking coffee with a high-fat meal 'can raise blood sugar to harmful levels'

Drinking coffee after a high-fat meal can raise your blood sugar to potentially harmful levels, a study has found.

Not only are blood sugar levels increased after a fatty meal, but the rise doubles if the meal is followed by caffeinated coffee, researchers discovered
The study used a specially prepared drink containing molecules of fat, known as lipids, enabling researchers to mimic what happens to the body when fat is ingested.

Healthy men drank about one gram of the fat beverage for every kilo of body weight. Six hours later they were given a sugar drink. Typically when sugar is ingested, the body produces insulin, which takes the sugar out of the blood and distributes it to muscles.

But the researchers, from the University of Guelph in Canada, found fat affected the body’s ability to do this. Blood sugar levels were 32 per cent higher than they were when the men had not ingested the fat cocktai

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Resistance exercise makes the elderly strong

Getting old does not mean giving up muscle strength, for the experts at the University of Michigan Health System have indicated that not only can adults fight the battle of strength and muscle loss that comes with age, but the Golden Years can also be a time to get stronger.

"Resistance exercise is a great way to increase lean muscle tissue and strength capacity so that people can function more readily in daily life," said Mark Peterson, a research fellow in the U-M Physical Activity and Exercise Intervention Research Laboratory, at the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Normally, adults who are sedentary beyond age 50 can expect muscle loss of up to 0.4 pounds a year.

"That only worsens as people's age. But even earlier in adulthood - the 30s, 40s and 50s - you can begin to see declines if you do not engage in any strengthening activities," said Peterson.

"Our analyses of current research show that the most important factor in somebody's function is their strength capacity. No matter what age an individual is, they can experience significant strength improvement with progressive resistance exercise even into the eighth and ninth decades of life," he added.

A review article by U-M researchers showed that after an average of 18-20 weeks of progressive resistance training, an adult can add 2.42 pounds of lean muscle to their body mass and increases their overall strength by 25-30 per cent.

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