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Showing posts from April, 2008

Green Tea Improves Bone Density - Prevents Osteoporosis

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Newer studies found that women between the ages of 70 and 85 who drink tea have greater hip bone density than those who do not consume tea. More density means heavier and stronger bones, less osteoporosis, and less risk of fractures from accidents.

Researchers believe that the antioxidants in tea may be responsible for the good news. Hip fractures occur frequently with even minor falls. Preventing osteoporosis is a constant challenge post menopause.

To get the best benefit of the antioxidants found in tea, you should consume green tea, as it has the highest level of flavinoids - the substance responsible for consuming free radicals (damaging substances in the body). But, not to worry if you don't like the taste of green tea: there are many choices and they're all good for you.

If you have health reasons to avoid caffeine, or just prefer to do so, decaffeinated teas are readily available as an alternative. It doesn't matter if you drink it hot or cold, but instant tea is …

Cost Effective Skin Care - Home Facial Massage

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My aesthetician taught me some valuable things about face care. She also gave me the most wonderful facial massage. I didn't want to have to get up and go home.

Each visit was about $50 a pop...well worth it, don't get me wrong. But I didn't go back every four to six weeks like I was told.

I found a professional solution that I could use at home. Plus I'd been reading even more about the benefits of facial massage and decided I had to have the Fyola Facial Massager. I did the math and realized it would pay for itself in a matter of about five months. I've spent a lot more than that for my facials already.

Massaging your face makes your skin more elastic. It brings blood and nutrients to the skin surface. Blood carries oxygen to the skin and literally revitalizes the cells. All of this in turn stimulates collagen and elastin keeping those wrinkles and furrows at bay and improving the ones you already have. It also keeps your skin firmer providing a more youthful …

Heart Health From Dark Chocolate and Plant Sterols

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A new study shows that you can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol by eating CocoaVia, a dark chocolate bar that also contains plant sterols.

According to a recent study, published in the April 2008 issue of the Journal of Nutrition, “There are two components of the chocolate bar; the first is that it contains plant sterol esters, which have been added, which have been demonstrated to reduce serum cholesterol. The second aspect is the cocoa flavanols, which are not added but are present in cocoa and the cocoa bean and preserved in the chocolate bar.

The flavanols are what have received the most interest in terms of vascular effects." The author of the study, Dr John Erdman (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, believes chocolate lovers may now be able to make healthier choices.

The best news is that the study participants did not experience any weight gain. The chocolate bar contains about 100 calories and 6 g of total fat. The group that ate the bar regularly exper…

How to lower stress by learning to slow down

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Life is undoubtedly full of mayhem. We have traffic jams, are forced to multi-task at work as well as at home, and often find it difficult to even get to sleep as a result.

Here are some tips you can use to teach yourself to de-stress naturally - it involves learning how to slow down. It's important to remember that stress is a major contributor to heart disease.

 Stress alters the body's ability to metabolize properly, reduces mental clarity, promotes hypertension, and may even lead to depression.

Stress, in essence, is a thief - it can rob you of happiness and health, two of your most valuable assets, yet we assume it is just a fact of life.

Recent studies have shown that slow activities, such a yoga, gardening and meditation can actually enhance mental clarity, help with sugar metabolism, and ease chronic pain. The only way to slow down is to make room. - Focus on what is important, and forget about unnecessary activities. If you find that there is nothing to eliminate, yo…

Pedometer Based Walking for Weight Loss

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Pedometer based walking programs are a sure fire way to help with weight loss. Every step you take increases your calorie expenditure. According to a study published in the January/February, 2008 issue of the Annals of Family Medicine, pedometer based walking programs can result in a modest amount of weight loss for sedentary adults.

Simply put, people who walk more are thinner than those who walk less. Researchers looked for studies in electronic databases,and contacted pedometer experts to find studies supporting the benefit of step monitors, without dietary interventions, to improve weight loss. They found nine studies, showing that those who used pedometers, lost 0.5kg/week, or one pound every ten weeks. Most people put on weight over a period of time, and it's alright to lose slowly. However, if you combine walking with dietary changes, you're sure to lose more.

You can perform your walks by either taking one long walk daily, or gradually increasing the duration …

Chinese Herbal Medicine – What do Studies Say?

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Western physicians have a difficult time prescribing herbal medications to their patients. It’s difficult to practice medicine across cultures. A recent review of Chinese herbal medicine provides insight into the difficulty proving that alternative medicines work, but finds that the use of Chinese herbs is effective.

Painful menstruation is a real problem, causing disruption in daily routines. It occurs in half of young women. In one study, only 53%-59% of women obtained pain relief with analgesics. Studies have been poor by research standards, but the evidence seems to show that Chinese herbal medication can help with dysmenorrhea, or painful menstruation.

Additional research regarding Chinese medicine is also positive. In one study, six Chinese herbal preparations were shown to lower blood sugar, and 15 worked well with Western medications for diabetic glucose control.

The same thing with the common cold – recovery times were faster with the use of Chinese medications. In f…

Increased Thyroid Hormone and Weight Gain

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According to a new study, small increases in thyroid stimulating hormone can lead to weight gain. The news comes as the result of a large, community-based study, reported in the March 24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Thyroid function is measureable by testing TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) levels in the bloodstream. When thyroid hormone levels are out of balance, high or low, we know it can lead to weight gain or weight loss respectively.

"Our findings raise the possibility that modest increases in serum TSH concentrations within the reference range may be associated with weight gain", according to Caroline S. Fox, MD, MPH, from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Framingham Heart Study in Framingham, Massachusetts, and colleagues.

Further studies are needed to define how much these modest increases are a contribution to weight gain and obesity. In this particular study, very modest increases in TSH concentrations resulted in weight gain i…

Block Wrinkles Through Diet and Skin Care

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We all want smaller waistlines. If that isn't enough to curb your sweet tooth, consider the following facts about how sugar ravages your skin:

Experts now believe that eating sugar can make your skin dull and wrinkled, appropriately referred to as the AGE's process - a natural series of events where sugar attaches to proteins; forming harmful molecules called Advanced Glycation End products. The process worsens as we eat more sugar, causing a cascade of events.

Collagen and Elastin are the targets of these harmful molecules and the process starts at age thirty five. Collagen is the most prevalent body protein; it's present in all of our cells. When collagen is damaged, it becomes dry and brittle - thus wrinkles and sagging skin.

Type III collagen is the most prevalent in our bodies. The Glycation process turns Type III collagen into Type I, and Type I collagen is more fragile.

It's never too late to build new collagen. Look for skin care products that contain Retinol …

Three Part Program for Weight Loss

A combination of natural health products, exercise, and lifestyle changes may be the key to successful weight loss. Studies have shown that there is no single solution for weight loss success. Even when you shed those pounds, it's important to stay there. Too many people drop the weight, only to return to previous habits, starting all over again. Weight fluccuations also have adverse health effects. You really want to keep the weight off forever, and you need a complete program to sustain.

Avatrim is weight loss supplement powered by the same ingredients found in green tea - it is safe, and ephedrine free. It is designed to boost the metbolism so you don't reach that dreaded weight loss "pleateau". Safety and effectiveness are my primary concerns.

Avatrim incorporates a three step program that includes everything recommended by medical weight loss experts to help you get to goal and stay there.

If you are considering a weight loss supplement, speak with yo…

Sleep Deprived Infants at Risk for Obesity

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Infants who sleep less than twelve hours a day may be at risk for pre-school obesity, according to a study published in the April issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. The study was prompted in hopes of targeting ”prevention interventions to help avoid lifetime complications of excess weight”, according to study authors Elsie M. Taveras, MD, MPH, from Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care in Boston, Massachusetts, and colleagues

The study included a three year analysis of 915 mothers-infant pairs, assessing measurements of length, weight and skin fold thickness immediately after birth, at 6 months and again at age 3.

The conclusion was that children who slept less than 12 hours a day, and who watched more than 2 hours of television were twice as likely to be overweight by age 3. This is the first study to examine the effects of short sleep duration in very young children.

Short sleep duration is known to contribute to adult obesity, in resp…

Alzheimer’s Risk Increased in Men who Develop Mid-Life Diabetes

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Mid-life changes, for most everyone, include increased weight, bigger waistlines and the onset of various health problems. A new study shows that men who develop mid-life diabetes have an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease later in life, as well as dementia and other cognitive declines.

Insulin resistance is a contributing factor to poor health. Smoking, lack of exercise and poor dietary habits lead to improper glucose metabolism, creating a vicious cycle of worsening health, and inability to lose weight. Excess glucose in the bloodstream leads to pre-diabetes and diabetes.

Scientists have been studying Alzheimer’s disease for decades, in hopes of finding clues to its origins. The results of a new study, “suggest a link between insulin problems and the origins of Alzheimer's disease”, per study author Elina Rönnemaa, MD, from Uppsala University, in Sweden. According to past studies, there is a strong link between diabetes and cognitive impairment, but the risk for the devel…

Fruit Juice May Increase Women’s Risk for Diabetes

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We all know we are supposed to eat fruits and green leafy vegetables as part of a healthy diet. Fruit and vegetable consumption prevents heart disease, and fights obesity and high blood pressure. A newer study shows that the risk for developing diabetes also decreases when we eat extra servings of fruits and vegetables – but if you are a woman, fruit juice may contribute to the development of type2 diabetes mellitus (DM).

According to the authors, Lydia A. Bazzano, MD, PhD, from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana, and colleagues, “"Consumption of green leafy vegetables and fruit was associated with a lower hazard of DM, whereas consumption of fruit juices may be associated with an increased hazard among women." The goal was to study the impact of all fruits and vegetables, specific groups of fruits and vegetables, and fruit juices on the development of Type 2 diabetes. Past studies are limited and the results have be…

Qigong (Chi Gung) Exercise Shown to Reduce Neck Pain

According to a study performed by Birgitta Lansinger, MS, PT, from the Göteborg University, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology/Physiotherapy in Sweden, and colleagues, Qigong exercises can provide relief of chronic neck pain.

The study involved two groups - one group received exercise, the other Qigong therapy. All had been experiencing long-term neck pain. Excluded from the study were those with chronic tension-type headache, migraine, traumatic neck injury, neurologic findings, rheumatic diseases, fibromyalgia or severe physical diseases, as well as those undergoing treatment with antidepressive and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Research was conducted between 2001 and 2004. The group exercised over a period of three months, for twelve treatments. Both groups showed improvement, making Qigong exercise equally as effective as exercise for the treatment of chronic neck pain. Improvement was greater than 50% in both groups. The results were evident for six to twelve months following …

Stress linked to later heart disease

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Stress is linked to later heart disease. Today's traumas may provide poor cardiovascular health months or even years from now. Health assessments performed online, post 911 attacks, revealed that anxiety and related symptoms are likely to increase the future development of hypertension and heart disease threefold.

Previous studies have supported the link between stress and the development of disease. The role of inflammation is well defined as it related to diabetes, heart disease, the formation of atherosclerosis, and perhaps depression. Stress releases hormones in the body that promote the release of cortisol. Prolonged exposure to cortisol disrupts immunity, leads to sleep loss, heart disease, and increases the risk of obesity. It also leads to digestive problems.

Studies find that Americans are more dissatisfied than ever with their levels of happiness, in spite of increases in income.

The message is clear that we must find ways to eliminate stress if we are to maintain…

HEPA Filters DO Improve Health

HEPA filters are now shown to help with disease treatment and prevention. According to a recent study, HEPA filters may significantly lower the biomarkers that lead to vascular disease. Vascular disease is the result of inflammation in the lining of the blood vessels (endothelium). We develop inflammatory changes as a part of aging, from exposure to indoor and outdoor pollutants, as the result of existing disease such as diabetes, and from consuming inflammatory foods. It is no secret that our air quality has dwindled. Indoor pollutants are rampant as the result of "non-green" construction and the use of treated materials.

Our life span has increased as the result of medication use and scientific research, but it is mandatory that we do more for ourselves. Many people live with chronic pain and chronic disease conditions that negatively influence every aspect of life. As a nurse, I am certain we can all do more to enjoy a more healthful existence.

In a recent study, en…

Study Links Diet to Depression, Disease and Aging – All That?

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Last year, Psychosomatic Medicine published a study linking high intake of Omega 6 fatty acids to an array of health problems. According to the study, diets that are high in Omega 6 fats produce proinflammatory cytokines - substances that affect immunity and attack cells, wreaking overall havoc with our health, and even affecting mental balance. Sadly, some of the most commonly consumed foods that promote this sort of inflammation may be in your cupboard - they are common and constitute a major portion of the average American diet.

The authors explain: “prior studies have shown that both depression and stress can enhance the production of proinflammatory cytokines. These cytokines — including interleukin 6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) — influence the onset and course of many conditions associated with aging, including cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and arthritis.” Not a pretty picture is it, when you consider how many of us consume corn oil, baked goods, and c…

Study - Stress Management Lowers Systolic Blood Pressure in Elders - Good News if You Hate Taking Medication.

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A new study shows that a group of elders who enrolled in a stress management program for eight weeks showed improvement in systolic blood pressure. The results increased the likelihood that the group could stop their medications without the recurrence of hypertension – good news for anyone who is resistant to taking medication for financial or personal reasons.

It is a challenge for physicians to find ways to treat systolic hypertension while maintaining adequate diastolic blood pressure. Inducing relaxation techniques has shown benefit for treatment of essential hypertension, but studies to isolate the effects of stress management for the treatment of systolic hypertension have been lacking. Systolic hypertension is common among elders. According to Jeffery A. Dusek, PhD, from the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues: "Although stress management training, in particular eliciting the relaxation response […

Can't Stop Your Legs? Understanding Restless Leg Syndrome May Help.

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Restless leg syndrome (RLS) produces an uncomfortable state of affairs. It is accompanied by an urge to move that cannot be satisfied. It happens when you try to rest. Once you move, the symptoms get better. Some people experience annoying sensations, such as tugging in the legs, or a feeling that something is crawling over their skin. Restless leg syndrome is worse in the early evening and at night, making it impossible to relax. The diagnosis is made based on symptoms and family history of the syndrome.

Scientists have been studying the phenomenon in an effort to pinpoint the cause and treatment, but to date, insights are limited.

Here are some facts about RLS according to experts that might help with symptom management:

Restless Leg Syndrome seems to run in families. Scientists have found a gene variant that is common in 65% of the population - the variant is 80% higher in those with RLS.

Lower iron is associated with RLS. Those who possess the gene variant that causes RLS ty…