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5 Ways TV Can Hurt Your Health

June 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Couch potatoes beware: Watching the tube for two to three hours a day or more is linked to higher risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and higher rates of early death from all causes, according to new research published today in theJournal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The culprit is the couch potato lifestyle that frequently accompanies excessive viewing, the researchers report. With the average American logging five hours a day in front of the tube, sitting is replacing exercise.
TV viewing is associated with unhealthy eating, setting the stage for weight gain, the study indicates. Packing on pounds, in turn, boosts risk for diabetes, heart attacks, and a shorter life. Studies also link excessive tube time to sleep deprivation (another heart health hazard) and even nearsightedness in kids. Don’t blame the TV – it can’t shove you onto the couch or serve up a fast food meal. If your main form of physical activity is pushing buttons on the remote, take a look at how these habits can impact your health:
1. Type 2 Diabetes. About 26 million Americans have diabetes, which quadruples risk for heart attack and stroke. The main risk factors for type 2 diabetes include being overweight, a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet (too many fried foods, too much processed meat and sugar-laden beverages), and family history. The JAMA study, which pooled results from earlier studies of 175,938 people, found that two hours of TV viewing daily ups risk by 20 percent.
Best prevention strategies: If you’re heavy, dropping even a few pounds can make a dramatic difference. In a study of people who already had pre-diabetes, those who shed 5 to 7 percent of their body weight (10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person) and exercised 150 minutes per week trimmed risk of progressing to full-blown diabetes by 58 percent. Exercise and weight loss also improve insulin resistance, the problem that leads to diabetes.  
2. Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). This includes heart attacks, high blood pressure, angina (chest pain due to reduced blood supply to the heart), stroke and heart failure. The JAMA study found a 15 percent increased risk for fatal or nonfatal CVD among those who watched TV two hours a day. A recent Australian study found that the more screen exposure kids get, the higher the risk that arteries in their eyes will narrow, which could mean CVD later in life.
Best prevention strategies: Avoid smoking, exercise at least 30 minutes for five or more days a week, have your cholesterol and blood pressure checked, and if they’re high, get them under control via diet, exercise and, if necessary, medication. Maintain a healthy weight and reduce stress (exercise helps with both).
3. All-Cause Mortality. The JAMA study found that watching two hours of TV daily boosted risk of death from all causes during the study period by 13 percent. Worse: the risks appeared to rise with TV viewing of more than three hours daily, due to the couch potato lifestyle linked to excessive screen time.
Best prevention strategies: The same healthy habits listed for fighting diabetes and CVD. 
4. Sleep Deprivation. We need between seven and eight hours of sleep daily but most adults don’t get that much. According to a National Sleep Foundation study watching the tube in bed or near bedtime is partly to blame. Skimping on slumber lifts risk for obesity, heart attacks, and car accidents. Multiple studies show that light at night, including light from the TV, boosts women’s risk of breast cancer.
Best prevention strategies: Turn off the TV at least one hour before bedtime, since the bright light from the screen stimulates the brain, making it harder to doze off. Develop good sleep hygiene. 
5. Nearsightedness in Kids. Myopia (nearsightedness) affects 1.6 billion people globally. By 2020, the number is expected to hit 2.5 billion. Rates are highest in countries where kids watch the most TV and play computer games instead of playing outdoors. In Tokyo and Hong Kong, 30 to 50 percent of kids are myopic, versus 20 percent in the US. Myopic kids spend an average of 4.3 fewer hours per week outside than kids with normal vision and logged about four more hours of TV time weekly, a 2009 study found.
Best prevention strategies: Spending two hours a day outdoors reduces kids’ risk of nearsightedness by encouraging them to focus on objects in the distance, which helps strengthen their eyesight. Outdoor play also helps kids maintain a healthy weight.

8 Foods That’ll Make You Look Younger

June 9, 2011 Leave a comment
By Nancy Kalish, 
Kicking nicotine and avoiding excessive sunlight will help, but the secret to healthy-looking skin is the food you eat. “The wrong choices cause inflammation down to the cellular level,” says dermatologist Nicholas Perricone, the author of Forever Young, a book about how eating right can keep you looking younger than your years. “And while you can’t see it, that inflammation leads directly to wrinkling, sagging, and premature aging.” Here is what to eat to prevent that from happening.
1. Wild Salmon
The pigment that makes the fish pink, astaxanthin, is a powerful foe of free radicals, rogue molecules that damage cell membranes and DNA and cause skin to age. A study found that eating one serving every five days can prevent actinic keratoses—ugly rough patches that are precancerous.

2. Sweet Potatoes




Beta-carotene, which makes these tubers orange, balances your skin’s pH, helps combat dryness, and promotes cell turnover, all resulting in smoother skin.

3. Tomatoes

The fruit’s red pigment, lycopene, is a potent antioxidant that shields skin from sun damage—like sunscreen, but from the inside out. To best absorb lycopene, eat tomatoes with olive oil.

4. Citrus Fruits




Vitamin C is essential to building collagen, a vital component of young-looking skin, which starts breaking down in your twenties. Citrus also contains bioflavonoids, which protect skin from UV rays and help prevent cell death.


5. Leafy Greens

Spinach, kale, and other greens contain lutein, which protects skin from sun-induced inflammation and wrinkles.


6. Stay Away From White Foods

Need another reason to avoid white bread, pasta, rice, and other refined grain products? They’re quickly broken down into the ultimate white food: sugar. Once in the bloodstream, sugar bonds with protein and creates advanced glycation end products (aptly abbreviated AGEs), which cause collagen to become inflamed and stiff, leading to wrinkles.

7. Why Food Is Always Better Than a Pill

“There are so many factors in food that haven’t been studied. It’s very likely that these unknowns work synergistically for a bigger benefit than what you can find in a supplement.” —Nicholas Perricone, dermatologist.


8. Red Wine and Beer

According to dermatologist Leslie Baumann, red wine contains skin-friendly grape-seed extract and resveratrol, two powerful antioxidants. Hops in beer, it turns out, may also offer antioxidant benefits.

Read Original Article Here

10 Food and Herb Fixes for Allergy Relief

June 8, 2011 Leave a comment

When talking about natural allergy relief, sometimes you hear more about the foods to avoid than about the ones you should be eating. For instance, about a third of people allergic to pollen deal with an added annoyance called oral allergy syndrome, meaning they experience generally mild symptoms of an itchy, tingly mouth, throat, or lips when they eat certain tree fruits or plants. Someone allergic to tree pollen may experience agitation from oral allergy syndrome when eating apples, cherries, plums, almonds, or walnuts. If ragweed causes you grief each hay fever season, you could also experience sensitivity to melons, bananas, chamomile tea, or echinacea in any form. And you may have heard the suggestion to give up milk and meat during hay fever season because the grass cows eat could stir up your allergies. The good news, though, is that there are lots of foods and herbs out there that can actually help bring you natural allergy relief.
Here are your secret tools for beating allergies, naturally:
1. Broccoli
This precious piece of produce serves two purposes in annihilating your allergy symptoms. It’s high in allergy-relieving vitamin C and it’s a member of the crucifer family, plants that have been shown to clear out blocked-up sinuses. Researchers have found about 500 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C a day can ease allergy symptoms, and just one cup of raw broccoli packs about 80 mg.
2. Citrus Fruits
To hit that 500-milligram vitamin C level from whole food sources, you can also turn to oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes. A large orange contains nearly 100 mg of C, while half of a large grapefruit contains about 60 mg.
3. Kale
Don’t just admire kale as a garnish. Eat it! This superfood packs a one-two punch against allergies; like broccoli, it’s a member of the crucifer family, but it’s also rich in the carotenoid department, pigments believed to aid in fighting allergy symptoms.
4. Collard Greens
Highjacked by hay fever? Put collard greens on the menu for the same reason as kale. Their phytochemical content, mainly, carotenoids, eases allergy issues. To increase the amount of carotenoids your body absorbs, eat the veggie with some sort of fat source. One idea? Lightly cook it in olive oil.
5. Stinging Nettle
You can’t discuss natural allergy remedies without hailing stinging nettle. It helps stifle inflammation that occurs when you’re experiencing allergy symptoms. Stinging nettle contains histamine, the chemical your body produces during anallergic reaction, so it helps you acquire tolerance. Look for 500-mg freeze-dried nettle capsules in your natural health store, and take three times a day. That’s the best form for allergy relief; it won’t sting because it’s freeze-dried. Long-term use of the herb is not recommended, since it can deplete your potassium stores.
6. Butterbur
Leaves and roots of the butterbur shrub contain compounds called petasines, which can block some reactions that spark allergies. Does this plant really work? Science says yes, though its use is not generally recommended for young children, people older than 65, or those with ragweed allergies. A large British meta-analysis of six studies looking at butterbur as an allergy reliever found five studies supported the claim. The roots of the perennial shrub generally contain high levels of pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which can damage the liver, so herbalists recommend looking for butterbur products that specify no pyrroli zidines, or ones that use a CO2 extracting process, which limits the amount of pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Swiss and German researchers found that butterbur was just as effective as the prescriptionantihistamine cetirizine (Zyrtec) after two weeks of treatment. It’s also been shown to relieve sneezing, itching, runny nose, stuffiness, and watery eyes in just five days.
7. Elderberries
Immune-strengthening elderberries are often hailed as a natural flu treatment, but the berries serve a purpose in natural allergy relief, too. Try elderberry wine, juice, or jam to tap the fruit’s beneficial flavonoids that reduce inflammation.
8. Onions and Garlic
Quercetin is another secret weapon that helps fight allergies by acting like an antihistamine. Onions and garlic are packed with quercetin, as are apples. (If you go with eating apples, just make sure they don’t stimulate oral allergy syndrome.).
9. Parsley
According to Michael Castleman, author of The New Healing Herbs (Rodale, 2009), parsley inhibits the secretion of allergy-inducing histamine. (Parsley is a diuretic, so talk to your doctor before taking supplements or eating large amounts of it.)
10. Anti-Allergy Soup!
There’s nothing like a warm bowl of soup when you’re feeling sick, and while this usually pertains to chicken soup for the flu, an expert on herbs developed this soup to naturally battle allergies. In The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods: Proven Natural Remedies to Treat and Prevent More Than 80 Common Health Concerns (Rodale, 2008), herb expert James Duke, PhD, recommends this allergy-fighting soup recipe:
  • Boil an onion (with skin) and a clove of garlic.
  • Add ½ cup chopped leaves and diced taproots of evening primrose.
  • After boiling for about 5 minutes, add a cup of nettle leaves and a cup of diced celery stalks, and boil gently for another 3 to 10 minutes.
  • Before eating, remove the onion skins and eat the soup it’s while still warm.
  • Season with wine vinegar, black pepper, hot pepper, turmeric, curry powder, or celery seed.
Categories: Lifestyle, Women Health

A Common Sense Guide to Healthier Eating

May 17, 2011 Leave a comment
Chances are that you can use a bit of a tune up when it comes to your
diet and nutrition. None of us are perfect eaters 100% of the time,
but it’s always a good idea to strive towards being as healthy as we can
be when it comes to food.
Many of us have lost sight of the fact that food is here to be fuel
for our body. It’s not a comfort device and it’s not meant to be a
source of pleasure per se, such as that pleasure that we feel when we
indulge in that double fudge cake or a tub of ice cream. It’s time for
most of us to re-establish a healthy relationship with our food to
improve our health and to help trim our tummies.
Watch what you Drink
Most of the beverages out there are absolutely unnecessary for us to
consume. Apart from water and low fat milk or soy milk, we really don’t
need to be drinking anything else. Alcoholic beverages are loaded with
sugars, coffees and teas are loaded in caffeine, and soda has both tons
of sugar and caffeine which are not good for our health.
Even fruit juices are so full of sugar that they can be more of a
detriment to our health than a benefit. Drink water and drink it
regularly to not only keep your body hydrated, but to also flush out the
toxins that may be causing weight gain and bloating, and to keep
yourself feeling full for longer so that you don’t reach for those
unhealthy snack foods.
Fruits and Vegetables are Important
Most of us just aren’t eating enough fresh fruits and vegetables
these days. While a daily multivitamin will help ensure that we are
obtaining the correct amount of nutrients we need, nothing tops eating
fresh fruits and vegetables.
If you have found yourself struggling to include these in your diet
before, make a point to have 1 or 2 servings of fruits and/or vegetables
with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Try to add them into a smoothie or
into any pasta dishes that you may be making, and make an effort to have
one snack a day have fruits or vegetables be the sole focus. The goal
is to get 5 to 10 servings each and every day for optimal health. The
best thing about fruits and vegetables is that they are great for weight
loss. They keep us feeling full for longer, and the sugars in the
fruits and vegetables will help allay any cravings for “bad” foods.
Make Wholegrain Substitutions
One of the easiest things you can do to improve your health is to
look at all of the “white” foods that you eat and make them “brown”.
This means that the white tortilla shells, the white rice, and the white
pasta you enjoy should all be tossed out and replaced with whole grain
alternatives. There seems to virtually be a whole grain substitute for
any “grain” or “bread” product out there these days, including dinner
rolls and French loafs, so always go for the “brown” product over the
“white”.

Eat Fruits? Read The Health Benefits They Have

May 11, 2011 Leave a comment
The best way to a healthy body is to include plenty of fruits in your
diet. Everyday consumption of these tasty fruits can prove to be
beneficial for our body in many ways. If you want to eat a healthy diet
which can help you lose weight, or gain more energy, then it is
advisable to start your day with high intake of fruits, whole grains and
vegetables. Eating fruits regularly will make you realize how fresh and
energetic you feel.
Fruits, just like vegetables, are a superb source of vitamins,
enzymes and minerals. They can easily be digested and have a cleaning
effect on the digestive tract and blood. They consist of less percentage
of fats and proteins, higher percentage of water and beneficial
alkaline properties.
Drinking lots of water is a general knowledge that everybody should
have. However, it is not always possible for a person to drink six to
eight glasses of water daily. But, most people are unaware of the fact
that fruits contain 80 percent of water. Therefore, to increase the
water intake you should add lots of fruits to your regular diet.
By eating plenty of fruits, digestive problems like diarrhea,
constipation and abdominal cramps, can be cured. Bowel movements can be
regularized by eating fruits that contain natural fiber while some
fruits also prove to be effective when it comes to reducing cholesterol
levels. Heart diseases and stroke can also be prevented by consuming
fruits every day.
It is said that a person who eats fruits everyday has a sharp memory
as compared to those who do not take much interest in eating fruits.
Various researches conducted in the field have proven that fruits can
actually sharpen your memory.
Along with fresh fruits, dry fruits like prunes, figs and raisins
also prove to be extremely beneficial. The best form of eating fruits is
when they are in their raw or ripe state. We should avoid cooking
fruits, as they tend to lose their carbohydrate, salt and nutrient
contents.
We should never forget the fact that on this planet fruits are the
most natural foods. In case of illness, a person should consume fruits
in the form of juices. Eating fruits should be mandatory for people who
are sick or on medication.
Hence, regular intake of fruits will help you maintain your health
and fitness. Fruits help you in prevention of diseases, improve your
memory and at the same time provide your body with the necessary amount
of water. So, start eating fruits by making it a part of your daily
diet. You will look fresh and feel healthy.
Categories: Lifestyle, Women Health

Nutrition and food choices can help prevent cancer

April 23, 2011 Leave a comment
Research shows that 60-70% of all cancers are
linked to our daily lifestyle choices such as diet, smoking and
exercise. What we decide to eat and our weight is statistically just as
important a risk factor as whether we smoke or not – both contribute to
an elevated risk rating of approximately 30% each, according to
findings by the American Institute for Cancer Research. Many people may
be surprised to hear that an unhealthy diet and being overweight are
significantly linked to cancer.
Statistics from the US show that many people are far from their ideal weight and are not eating a healthy, nutritious diet:
Only about 25% of American adults eat the recommended five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
In the last 20 years sugar consumption nearly tripled, rising from 12kg to 61kg per adult annually.
In the last two decades sugar consumption of dietary fat has
increased 20.4 % per capita. The annual amount consumed per person is
31kg.
Nearly two-thirds of American adults are overweight, including 30% who are obese.
NUTRITIONAL AND DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS
Ensure adequate levels of vitamin D with safe sun exposure.
Not only is vitamin D crucial for calcium mobilisation for bone
growth, the immune system and mental health, it is also an important
factor in inhibiting several types of cancer. Many of us have become
sun-shy and the pendulum has swung too far the other way and we try to
avoid the sun all together. This has lead to an epidemic of people
worldwide being chronically deficient in vitamin D.
A number of health organisations in the United Kingdom, including
Cancer Research UK, are urging people to spend more time in the sun
without sunscreen. We all need a certain level of UV light so we can
produce vitamin D, and greater sun exposure is required by dark-skinned
than light-skinned people to optimise vitamin D levels. At least 15
minutes twice a week of direct sunshine is required to promote vitamin
D production.
EAT THE RIGHT KIND OF FAT AND PROTEIN
The National Academy of Science (NAS) found clear evidence of the
link between saturated animal fat and cancer, particularly in breast
and colon cancers. Animal fat may also increase the risk of lung,
colorectal and prostate cancer. Most red meat and cheeses contain a
high percentage of saturated fat, up to 90%, and should be restricted
to a few servings a week.
There is evidence to show the vegetarian protein reduces cancer
risks, as well as other chronic, degenerative diseases. This may be due
in part to the fact that vegetarians tend to eat more legumes, and
coloured beans particularly – such as azuki beans, red kidney beans,
pinto and black beans – are extremely high in antioxidants and contain
fibre.
Studies have also shown that a vegetarian’s blood levels contain a
third less oestrogen than non-vegetarians. This may also help to
explain the clearer link seen by NAS between breast cancer and animal
protein, than any of the other cancers. It is therefore advisable for
us not to rely too heavily on animal protein to meet our all protein
requirements, but include a variety of combined vegetarian sources such
as nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains.
Fish is high in Omega-3 fats which are cancer-protective and is
anti-inflammatory (saturated animal fat is pro-inflammatory).
Inflammation is a known contributing factor in many chronic diseases
such as asthma and cardiovascular disease. Avoid large fish which tend
to have higher mercury levels and concentrate on eating fatty fish like
salmon, sardines, mackerel, light tuna and bass a few times a week.
COOKING METHODS
Smoking, salting and certain preserving methods have been linked
with cancer and are best avoided. Avoid grilling meat especially over
charcoal, because many of the chemical by-products are known
carcinogens. Also, the high heat of grilling has been linked with
stomach and colorectal cancer. Burnt or blackened food should be
avoided altogether.
Steam, poach or slow cook your foods, rather than frying or chargrilling.
Eat a rainbow of different coloured fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables supply a wide range of vitamins, minerals,
fibre, antioxidants and phytochemicals (chlorophyll, carotenes and
flavonoids). Research suggests that these components all offer
significant protection against developing many chronic degenerative
diseases, including cancer. Medical journal Cancers Causes and &
Control published a study stating, “Vegetables and fruit contain the
anticarcinogenic cocktail to which we are adapted. We abandon it at our
peril.”
Broccoli contains immune-stimulating and cancer-protective compounds
called indole-3-carbinole and sulforaphane. These compounds also aid
liver detoxification. The red-blue pigment in beetroot has shown to
have specific anticancer properties. Spinach has a high chlorophyll and
carotene content, providing specific documented anticancer properties.
Passionflower and tomatoes are great sources of lycopene, the
health-promoting red carotenoid. Mushrooms and basil contain
phytochemicals that have been researched for their anticancer
properties. Berries, pomegranates and mangoes have exceptionally high
levels of beneficial antioxidants, carotenes and flavonoids.
Many people find it easier to consume the recommended two to three
servings of fruit a day, than to eat their veggies. Eating a large raw
salad daily helps to ensure you get the recommended amount of
vegetables daily. Research suggests that by adding flavour-enhancing
herbs and spices to your food, you are adding an additional
cancer-protective element.
Where possible, buy organic and the fresher locally grown produce
for higher vitamin and mineral content. However, make sure you wash all
produce well to remove the chemicals. The European Union began
proceedings to ban 16 different vegetables and herbs from Thailand in
January, due to excessive levels of chemicals and contaminants.
LIMIT YOUR INTAKE OF SUGARS AND PROCESSED FOODS
Whole grain and unprocessed foods have a higher nutrient value.
Unprocessed rice is high in fibre and is up to 70% richer in vitamins
and minerals than white polished rice. Studies have shown low dietary
folate, vitamins B12, B6 and vitamin C raises the risk of some cancers. 
Fibre is specifically protective against colon and breast cancer. Fibre
helps to bind with excess hormones, preventing them from creating
unwanted tissue growth. Fibre also aids the detoxification process and
removes excessive bile acids which are linked to cancer.
Insulin-resistance has been linked with cancer, as well as diabetes
and cardiovascular disease, so eating low-glycemic foods such as whole
grains and legumes reduces the risk of cancer. Exercise also helps to
drive insulin levels down.
There is overwhelming evidence that a diet based on nutrient-rich
food helps to prevent chronic, degenerative diseases like cancer.
Maintaining a healthy weight through a combination of exercise and diet
is a powerful way to lower the risk of many types of cancer.
It is important to remember that it’s chronic dietary habits, not occasional indulgences that elevate the risk of cancer.
Categories: Lifestyle, Women Health

Simple Ways to Clear Acne

April 5, 2011 Leave a comment
What’s Acne?

Acne is a term that’s used to describe whiteheads, blackheads,
and pimples. (You may well recognize slang terms like spots, or zits).
Most teenagers get the type of acne called acne vulgaris, which can
show up on the face, neck, shoulders, back, and chest. Skin pores contain oil glands which naturally lubricate your skin and hair. But sometimes if a pore gets clogged beneath the skin with excess oil and bacteria, the dreaded acne is caused…

Whiteheads happen when a pore gets clogged, closes, and then
bulges out. If a pore gets clogged but stays open, the top may darken
and you’ve got a blackhead. A pimple happens when dead skin and
bacteria work their way under live skin. This leads to a small
infection that makes your skin look red. Get glowing!

What Causes Acne?

Although everyone is different, acne is usually caused by the
build up of oil and dead skin in a pore. This build up of oil and dead
skin is caused because of:
  • Natural hormones. These are particularly active in your teens.
  • Plugged skin. Lots of skin cells can close the oil glands or pores, creating blackheads or whiteheads, (as mentioned earlier).
  • Bacteria. Bacteria can easily infect oil glands and pores and grow very quickly.
  • Family background. If you have acne, your kids are more likely to have it too.
How To Reduce An Acne Problem

  • You shouldn’t squeeze, pick, scratch, or rub your skin as it makes the problem worse, and it might even cause scarring.
  • Regularly shampoo your hair, and try to keep it off your face if possible – especially at night.
  • Keep a food diary to work out if you are one of the few people whose acne gets worse if they eat certain things.
  • Exercise regularly to get the old blood flowing, and make sure you get a wash as soon after as possible.
  • Avoid unnecessarily touching your face.
  • If possible, try to minimize your stress levels.
  • Avoid getting sunburned.
  • Change your wash cloth every day, as bacteria can grow on damp cloth.
  • Wash your face twice a day with a gentle soap like Dove or Lever 2000.
  • Always rinse really well with lots of water.
  • Only wear makeup on special occasions, and then make sure you remove it completely.
  • Granular facial scrub can make acne worse by aggravating the skin.
Medication For Extreme Cases

Oral antibiotics

Oral antibiotics have a high success rate, and can be safely used
for up to a year. It can take up to six months to fully take effect,
but there should be a noticeable difference within six weeks. Oral
Antibiotics include erythromycin, minocycline and tetracycline
Antibacterial cream

Benzoyl peroxide kills the bacteria which causes inflammation. It
is available over the counter in 2.5%, 5% and 10% creams and lotions.
It is available in gels in the same percentages but only by
prescription. Clinically, there’s not much difference between the
effectiveness of the various strengths and types used.
NOTE: Unfortunately, there can be some side effects of
the use of Benzyol peroxide, including hypersensitivity, irritation,
and contact dermatitis (although these are very rare). Remember to
always keep Benzoyl peroxide away from clothing as it has a bleaching
effect. 
Spot The Problem: Acne

By Joanne Elliott  
Categories: Beauty, Lifestyle, Women Health