Author Archives: Jeff

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Yoga and Meditation Can Be a Boon to Seniors and Their Caregivers

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Yoga and Meditation Can Be a Boon to Seniors and Their Caregivers

By Harry Cline

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Yoga and meditation offer a number of important benefits to seniors and those in a caregiving role.  Bending and stretching are good for our minds and bodies at any age.  Our physical and mental wellness can be improved with some basic exercises, helping us to better flex and focus.    



Older, Wiser, And Stronger

Many people apply the phrase “use it or lose it” to aging bodies and minds, but it’s often done so tongue-in-cheek.  However, as Psychology Today points out, physical activity is especially important as we grow older, and it’s not just our bodies that benefit.  In fact, 70-year-olds who exercise an average of 200 minutes per week can maintain or even improve their brain function.  Their brains actually start growing, effectively reversing the aging process, when their sedentary peers are experiencing brain shrinkage.

Yoga and deep breathing exercises offer special benefits, helping to reduce stress hormones.  Participating in any form of yoga program can help improve flexibility, strength and balance, which is important to seniors since falling becomes a higher risk if those aspects wane with age. 

Pretzels, Floors And Handstands

Yoga can be intimidating to many seniors.  Creeping around on the floor, bending into impossible positions and throwing your legs over your head might sound like a great way to end up in the emergency room, or at least laid up in bed for a week.  It’s important to keep in mind you don’t need to participate in an extreme program to reap the benefits of yoga.  You don’t even need to go to a gym, since there are in-home exercises for seniors using technology such as YouTube exercise videos, fitness apps and Wii games. 

There are gentle yoga classes designed for people who are new to yoga and chair yoga is a smart option for those with limited mobility or who just want a set of exercises they can perform anywhere.  In addition to being able to participate in any location, many chair yoga poses are simple.  You just need a sturdy chair and comfortable clothing.  For gentle yoga, Sixty & Me suggests getting started with an instructor or watching some instructional videos.  Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing and keep a floor mat handy for a soft exercise surface.

Feeling, Sensing And Thinking

Practicing yoga involves meditation.  Meditation involves mindfulness, which is basically being in the moment and aware of the sensations you are experiences.  You can improve your sleep habits by focusing on what you are feeling and by doing deep breathing exercises.  Being more aware of messages from your body can help you better cope with pain and avoid overeating.  Meditation can improve your patience, focus and self-esteem.  Mayo Clinic explains meditation can help manage symptoms associated with many chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, cancer, heart disease and asthma. 

For those who are under a great deal of stress such as in the role of caregiver, mindfulness is a particularly useful stress relief tool.  To get started, contrary to what many believe, you don’t have to have silence.  Some people find it helpful to listen to environmental sounds or soft, soothing music.  Soaking in a bath can also be helpful, offering gentle sensation to contemplate.  Avoid being judgmental about what you are feeling and thinking, and allow yourself to sense and focus.  Awareness of your breathing and the associated sensations can help ease you into a mindful state, and it’s a technique you can use in any circumstances. 

Growing older doesn’t have to mean loss of ability.  With some simple techniques, you can enjoy the many perks of participating in yoga and meditation, enhancing your physical and mental wellness.  Improved health of the mind and body can mean better quality of life for seniors and their caregivers. 

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Caregivers, Don’t Neglect Your Own Needs

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Caregivers, Don’t Neglect Your Own Needs

Posted by: Harry Cline – 6/9/18

Caregivers, Don’t Neglect Your Own NeedsYou can’t take care of others if you aren’t in good condition yourself. That’s why your well-being  — both mental and physical — is so important for you and everyone else in your life, including the elderly that you look after. Your demanding schedule may not allow a lot of free time, but there are a few things you can pencil in to help you achieve a peaceful state of mind and body and be your best at work and at home.


A Good Workout

That alarm already goes off too early, and you’re not sure if you want to rob anymore precious sleep from your tired body. But you can, and you should. You already know that exercise burns calories and keeps you trim, but you may not be aware of the other benefits of a brief jog in the morning or a session of aerobics.

A good workout gives you an immediate mood boost thanks to the release of “happy chemicals” in your brain called dopamine, and there are long-term effects as well. Subjecting yourself to low-level physical stress by raising your pulse and breath rate on a regular basis will make other events in your life easier to handle, a sure way to relieve anxiety. And you can always do it in the evening if that suits you.


A Healthy Diet

And that brings us to what you’re putting in your body on a daily basis. Nutritious meals are imperative for staying on your feet at work, and you should be extra attentive to what you eat if you’re adding exercise to the mix. There are a number of diets on the market being sold as a panacea, but don’t believe the hype and stick to the basics.

One thing you definitely need is plenty of vegetables. You can’t live happily without them as they have a positive effect on your mental state as well the physical side of things. Although restaurants are a nice treat every now and again, you should try to avoid eating out when possible. When you eat out you can’t easily control what goes in the dish you’re ordering, and cooks go a bit heavy on the butter and salt.


A Little Meditation

As busy as your life is, it may seem a bit silly to settle down in the lotus position and think about nothing, but it’s worth it. “A vast literature of controlled studies has found that mindfulness meditation is related to improved mental health across a variety of disorders,” says Mindful, a website devoted to mental well-being and those disorders include anxiety and depression.

You’ll also get a better night’s rest, which means waking up more refreshed to tackle the day’s duties. While it may not put you down immediately, it does clear your head and shut off distractions so that you sleep deeply and don’t wake up in the middle of the night tossing and turning.


A Soothing Massage

A little indulgent, yes, but pleasure is a part of life, and this is a little treat that will do wonders for your well-being besides just helping you relax. There’s research behind the benefits of a good rub down, according to Science Daily. In the short term, you’ll experience less tightness in the muscles, better blood flow, along with reduced stress and anxiety.

The effects are cumulative, and just one session a month is sufficient for someone who isn’t suffering from any serious physical injuries and just needs to unwind. Sounds like quite a deal.


A Helping Hand

It may seem counterintuitive to ask for help as you’re normally the helper. However, taking a few chores out of the routine would give you an extra few hours to make some of those little life changes that you’ve been reading about. Hiring a house cleaner to come in once month would free up some space in the schedule, as would calling a dog walker to take your four-legged friend for a walk around the block.

Take a few deep breaths before you plunge into rearranging your lifestyle. Starting all at once is stressful in itself, so make one small change at a time. Perhaps today is the day to start eating more vegetables? A nice salad would be just perfect.



About the Author

Harry Cline is creator of and author of the upcoming book, The A-Z Home Care Handbook: Health Management How-Tos for Senior Caregivers. As a retired nursing home administrator, father of three, and caregiver to his ninety-year-old uncle, Harry knows how challenging and rewarding caregiving can be. He also understands that caregiving is often overwhelming for those just starting out. He created his website and is writing his new book to offer new caregivers everywhere help and support.

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The Fine Art Of Caring For Yourself As A New Caregiver

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The Fine Art Of Caring For Yourself As A New Caregiver

The Fine Art Of Caring For Yourself As A New Caregiver

Taking care of a sick person is hard work. It’s difficult enough for professionals. Studies show that people employed in the caring professions suffer high rates of burnout and compassion fatigue. They experience depression and develop higher rates of cardiovascular disease. But most caregiving is provided in large part, not by professionals, but by untrained family members.

They suffer similar medical and emotional burdens, which develop into a wide range of acute and chronic health conditions. If you are taking care of a relative with a chronic illness, you are 63 percent more likely to die than someone your age who isn’t taking care of a loved one. What can you do to keep yourself from becoming one of these frightening statistics?  The key to maintaining your health is following good self-care practices, taking care of your own health, so that you can continue taking care of others.


Caring For Your Body

Caring For Your Body

Your body is a machine, and it needs fuel and regular maintenance to keep functioning correctly. You need to eat a healthy balanced diet so that you have the strength to meet the challenges of your life. It’s tempting to give in to the lure of a quick and easy drive-through meal, but over time, that will take its toll on you. Swap empty calories for nutritious, regular meals. Avoid caffeine and sugar; the energy spike they give you is quickly followed by a crash that leaves you feeling worse than when you started.

Get regular physical exercise. Aim for 30 minutes each day. You can break it up into 10-minute increments throughout the day, if you prefer. And try to get some of it outdoors. Studies show that exercise builds stronger bones and muscles and lifts your mood. Getting outdoors enhances the effect by adding vitamin D absorption from sunlight. There’s even good evidence that exercise in green, natural wooded settings improves t-cell function, helping to prevent infection and promote the healing process.

Your sleep is vital. Sleep deprivation can hamper performance as effectively as narcotics. You don’t want to make medical decisions or dispensing medication if you’re not in possession of your mental faculties. But beyond that, sleep deprivation can cause serious medical issues, such as diabetes, stroke and heart disease. It makes you more prone to depression and the development of mental illness. Make your sleep schedule a high priority in your life. Set aside enough time to get a full eight hours a night. Create a soothing bedtime ritual to help you relax, such as a warm bath, followed by meditation, prayer, or journaling before you go to sleep.


Caring For Your Spirit

Looking after a loved one with a chronic illness takes a tremendous emotional and physical toll. You need to keep your emotional energy reserves up, too. Consider taking up yoga. Its proven health benefits encompass the physical and the spiritual. Stretching and meditation are great stress relievers. Yoga elevates your mood, promoting a sense of well-being.  It can also improve your balance, range of motion and strength.

But there are other things you can do to help yourself recharge emotionally. Prayer can be a great comfort to people with a strong religious faith.  It can help you find purpose and meaning in your experiences and manage the stresses of caregiving. A supportive faith community can act as a social safety net, giving you an outlet for communicating about what you’re feeling. They can even pitch in and help you with the occasional day off.

Developing other interests will help you manage your stress level and unwind, too. Take up a new hobby, or re-involve yourself in an old one you’ve let slide. Go dancing, plant a garden or read a good book.  There’s a booming trend in adult coloring books right now as stress relievers. Find something you enjoy doing, and give yourself permission to take some down time to pursue it.

Self-care is the loving act of a responsible caregiver, ensuring sure you’re there to do the job, and that you have the physical and emotional resources necessary for the task. Your loved ones are counting on you.


Harry Cline is creator of and author of the upcoming book, The A-Z Home Care Handbook: Health Management How-Tos for Senior Caregivers. As a retired nursing home administrator, father of three, and caregiver to his ninety-year-old uncle, Harry knows how challenging and rewarding caregiving can be. He also understands that caregiving is often overwhelming for those just starting out. He created his website and is writing his new book to offer new caregivers everywhere help and support.


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Dieting, Sleep, and Weight Gain

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Dieting, Sleep, and Weight Gain

Source: Tuck – Advancing Better Sleep


Sleep Deprivation And Weight GainGood sleep helps control weight. Poor sleep leads to weight gain and vice versa. These are general statements, of course, and individual experience may vary, but if you are trying to diet and lose weight or you are trying to improve your sleep, it pays to keep these interactions in mind.

Obesity rates have risen in the US and worldwide in recent years as sleep times have (possibly) declined. It is important to not read too much into this. It is interesting, though, and there may be a little bit of cause-and-effect going on.


Sleep Deprivation And Weight Gain

Sleep loss and deprivation causes a host of problems from irritability to impaired cognition, the most notable of which is weight gain.

Sleep deprivation affects four primary hormones related to weight gain.

  • Ghrelin, nicknamed the hunger hormone, tells your brain when it’s hungry and it should eat.
  • Leptin, nicknamed the satiety hormone, tells your brain when it’s full.
  • Cortisol is a stress hormone that activates upon waking and conserves energy as fat reserves to use as fuel during your day.
  • Insulin is a peptide hormone that regulates your body’s ability to process food into energy.


Sleep deprivation increases your ghrelin production and reduces your leptin production, so your brain thinks it’s hungrier more often, and is less able to recognize when it’s full. Sleep deprivation also affects your body’s ability to properly metabolize carbohydrates. As a result, you’ll experience higher blood sugar levels, leading to increased insulin and cortisol production. As your insulin resistance grows, your body doesn’t process fat and sugars as well, instead storing more of it as fat, resulting in weight gain.



Sleep deprivation also reduces your self-control, making it difficult to stick to a diet or making one more prone to indulge in junk food. A 2008 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that sleep-deprived individuals were likelier to eat high-carb snacks and engage in more late-night snacking that individuals who received sufficient sleep.

Individuals who slept less than 5 hours per night were likelier to consume more calories, less water, and more carbohydrates overall, according to a 2013 study published in the journal Appetite.

Some researchers have even equated the cravings associated with sleep deprivation to be similar to those brought on by marijuana use.

Sleep-deprived individuals are more likely to snack later at night, eat bigger portions, and experience higher cravings for high-carbohydrate and fat-rich foods. Making matters worse is that sleep deprivation also reduces your energy and increases fatigue, so you’re less inclined to exercise and work off that extra weight gain.

What does all this mean? When your body doesn’t get enough sleep, you’re likelier to gain weight. It’s important to get enough quality uninterrupted sleep during the night (typically 7 to 7.5 hours for the average adult) to maintain a healthy weight.


Insomnia And Weight

Insomnia can be caused by both physical and emotional factors. Many individuals experience stressful or anxious thoughts as a result of their weight, whether they weigh a “normal” amount or not. These thoughts can lead to depression, which is a co-morbid condition with insomnia. People who are stressed, depressed, or anxious have a tougher time falling asleep at night.

Insomnia is also linked with eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia. Some individuals rely on diet pills and weight loss products that wreak havoc on the body and typically contain sleep-disrupting stimulants like caffeine or guarana. Furthermore, dieting individuals or those with an eating disorder are prone to ingesting higher amounts of caffeine than normal in an attempt to maintain their energy levels despite reduced caloric intake – this can energize the body and make it tougher to sleep at night.

Behavioral therapy can help individuals with insomnia as much of it is related to managing thought processes and behaviors. Insomnia stemming from a physical condition such as obesity or sleep apnea can be treated by addressing the physical condition first. Insomnia from an emotional condition can be alleviated by avoiding high caloric intake and snacking late at night, sticking to a strict bedtime and wake schedule, and incorporating relaxation techniques before bed. Melatonin has also been shown to be an effective sleep aid for insomnia.

Can insomnia cause you to lose weight? In most cases, insomnia causes sleep deprivation that in turn causes weight gain. In the instances where insomnia causes sleep loss, it is often correlated with increased levels of physical activity during the day that counteract the effects of the sleep deprivation.


Does Sleeping Late Cause Weight Gain?

Despite all this talk about the importance of getting sufficient sleep to prevent weight gain, it’s important not to confuse the relationship between sleep and weight gain. Sleeping too late, or oversleeping, does not result in sleep loss. In fact, it may do the reverse.

Researchers at Northwestern Medicine found that late sleepers consume more calories overall, typically later in the day, and don’t eat as well either – consuming less fruits and vegetables, and twice as much fast food and sodas than early risers. If late sleepers don’t take care to exercise, these additional calories can amount to as many as 2 pounds per month in weight gain for night owls. Plus, overeating at night energizes the body, which can cause these night owls to suffer from insomnia.

The Northwestern study also noted the importance of not only how many calories you consume, but also the timing of your meals in relation to your circadian clock. Your circadian rhythms regulate many of your bodily functions, including your metabolism, core body temperature, hormone production, organ function, and sleep-wake cycle.


Metabolic Syndrome

Lack of sleep increases your risk for metabolic syndrome. Fragmented sleep disrupts glucose levels and can lead to related disorders. Metabolic syndrome is marked by two or more of the following: hypertension, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and obesity, especially with excess weight in the belly. It is very common in middle-aged Americans.

Losing 30 minutes of sleep per day over a sustained period can increase your body’s insulin resistance. Due to hectic work schedules, many people accumulate sleep debt during the workweek and aim to makeup for it on the weekend. However, this pattern can result in long-term metabolic problems that lead to type 2 diabetes and obesity, one 2015 study found.

Here are some scary numbers that should convince you of the value of sleep. A study found individuals who receive 6 to 7 hours of sleep per night are twice as likely to have metabolic syndrome than individuals who receive 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Further long sleepers also have an increased risk of the syndrome.

An article published in the scientific Journal Sleep a few years ago went so far as to claim sleep problems could predict the onset of metabolic syndrome. Both loud snoring and difficulty falling asleep were correlated with later development of the syndrome. Further, for people without other risk factors, loud snoring (but not difficulty falling asleep) increases the risk of metabolic syndrome. The authors suggest that sleep fragmentation caused by snoring may lead to both weight gain and an immune system response with higher levels of stress markers in the body.

In general, sleep disturbances can increase oxidative stress which may contribute to weight gain. And of course, apnea, often precipitated by excessive body weight, causes fragmented sleep and stress on the body.


Improving Sleep Through Diet

Can losing weight help you get better sleep? Yes. One study of obese people found that weight loss surgery significantly reduced their sleep problems, reducing snoring from 82% to 14%, sleep apnea from 33% to 2%, daytime sleepiness from 39% to 4%, and poor sleep quality from 39% to 2%.

Sleeping more than 9 hours or less than 6 hours is linked with increased weight gain. Adjusting your sleep time to somewhere in the 7 to 7.5-hour range may help you shed some extra pounds.


Sleep Apnea

Affecting an estimated 18 million Americans, sleep apnea describes sleep-disordered breathing that causes the individual to stop breathing during sleep. In its mildest forms, it causes heavy snoring by the individual, and in extreme cases of obstructive sleep apnea, the person can gasp and choke to the point that they are repeatedly roused from sleep during the night. Sleep apnea is heavily associated with obesity, heart attacks, stroke, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Being overweight puts one at higher risk of sleep apnea, because the increased weight can put more pressure on the airways and make it more difficult to breathe during the night. Because many individuals with sleep apnea are also overweight, they may be less prone to exercise or eat well. Further, the daytime sleepiness resulting from their sleep apnea may make them even less inclined to change diet or exercise, since they experience lowered energy levels, poorer mood, and decreased self-control from accumulated sleep loss.

Treating sleep apnea with the use of a CPAP machine can lessen symptoms, leading an affected individual to get more quality, less-disrupted sleep during the night. Plus, better sleep alleviates the symptoms of sleep deprivation, making it easier for individuals to alter their diet and begin an exercise program.

Weight loss is often prescribed as a treatment for sleep apnea, based on studies showing that weight loss can reduce symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea.


Paleo And Low-Carb Diets

Individuals who adhere to a paleo or low-carb diet may find themselves suffering from insomnia. Typically, diet-related insomnia subsists after the first few nights, once your body has adjusted to the new regimen and/or reduced caloric intake. However, if it persists after the first few nights, you may need to incorporate more carbohydrate-rich foods into your diet to help your sleep cycle return to normal.

Carbohydrate-rich foods induces sleep onset by assisting tryptophan and serotonin production in your brain, which helps reduce anxiety and kicks off a melatonin release, causing you to fall asleep. Low-carb diets restrict the foods you eat that are tied to bigger releases of insulin. Insulin helps your body turn tryptophan into serotonin, and carbohydrate-rich foods induce insulin production more than those with fewer carbohydrates.

While in the long-term, low-carb diets help you lose weight and improve your blood sugar levels by stabilizing your energy, in the short-term the lack of carbohydrates feels like a shock to your system as your body strains to convert the tryptophan to serotonin, interrupting your sleep in the process. If you’re prone to eating sugary, carbohydrate-rich foods, a better approach is to ease into your low-carb diet rather than going cold turkey. This makes it easier for your body to adjust, which may make it easier for you to stick to your diet as well. Gradually trim the carbohydrates in your diet over a period of several days.

On the other hand, if you’re allowed a certain amount of carbohydrates in your diet plan, shift your carbohydrate-rich meals to later in the day, when they’re likelier to induce sleep.


More Tips For Trouble Sleeping While Dieting

Dieters are prone to drink more, whether they’re on a liquid diet or they’re just drinking more water to feel full. This can increase your nighttime bathroom trips and interfere with sleep, so be careful to watch your liquid intake later in the day to avoid this from happening.

Hunger makes it tougher to fall asleep. A small healthy snack before bedtime can help, especially if composed of one of these foods that help you sleep better.

A final recommendation for ensuring a longer, better night’s sleep includes watching your stimulant intake later in the day (caffeine, alcohol, etc).

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Six Skin-Detoxing Herbs That Can Heal Your Acne Naturally

Six Skin-Detoxing Herbs That Can Heal Your Acne Naturally

Posted by: Sania 3/29/2018

Six Skin-Detoxing Herbs That Can Heal Your Acne NaturallyWomen are prone to acne due to various reasons such as, skin allergies, hormonal problems and cosmetics. I’ve seen women go to great lengths to attain a flawless, glowing and acne-free skin. But the best way to go around solving this problem is by using natural herbs. These herbs can potentially detoxify your blood stream which ends into a skin mostly free of acne. Let’s start with our list of these magic ingredients!

1. Red Clover

This came off to me as a surprise because as I had never really heard of this name before. This herb supports cardiovascular health and also maintains blood flow, insists researcher Ellen Evan Evert Hopman. A wide majority of naturopathic doctors suggest this herb; it does taste a little bitter however the effects are magical. For a change, you should start mixing it with flavored tea. What works as a wonder is that it makes your bowels move and makes you urinate regularly. When people consume this herb orally, it has the effect of an alternative, which means it can help with stimulating our immunity system.

2. Chaste Tree Berry

This herb is known to have a balancing effect on our hormones, and we all know that more often than not, imbalanced hormones become an underlying cause of acne. It acts on the pituitary gland of the body and helps increase the progesterone and also leads to decreasing estrogen which keeps the skin acne-free. This dried fruit has the fragrance of pepper and it tastes somewhat like pepper as well. A research conducted in the Michigan University suggested that people who consume this herb tend to have reduced symptoms of PMS, do not suffer with tender breasts and cramps etc. However women who are pregnant should avoid this because hormonal changes can make them lose their pregnancy.

3. Echinacea

It is a very well known herb and it also fulfills the function of an alternative. It has been known to significantly reduce the symptoms of a particular bacterium that causes acne, because it inhibits its inflammatory actions. This herb can also help you fight off any disease because it boosts immunity significantly. This herb has a neutral taste and if you consume it orally, it will cause a slightly numbing effect. To control this, you can stir some in a cup of tea and have it.

4. Chlorella

Six Skin-Detoxing Herbs That Can Heal Your Acne NaturallyAnother amazing herb that you would love to add in your routine is chlorella. It’s basically a fresh-water algae that is single-stemmed. You would notice an increased use of this herb now in smoothies and even in many supplements. This herb happens to have all nine amino acids in it, along with many vitamins and mineral such as iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium etc. It really supports your overall health due to its anti-inflammatory properties. This might have adverse affects such as diarrhea however, in order to get over these side effects you must start slow. Take low dosage to begin with and slightly increase your consumption so that your system gets adjusted to it.

5. Red Sage

This is an incredible herb that helps the skin with healing lesions and pimples etc. This herb originally has a bitter taste so you should consider taking this in the form of capsules etc.

6. Dandelions

Six Skin-Detoxing Herbs That Can Heal Your Acne NaturallyDandelions are my favorite flowers and my favorite beauty tool as well. The flower, the stem and even the roots of this plant help regulate the health of your entire body. This flower has high amounts of antioxidants in it which help renew the skin cells. You can also have it as a detoxifying tea, and its aroma is amazing as well.

Author bio:

Sania is a student of accounts and finance. She enjoys shopping, trying out skincare remedies and blogging about anything that is related to beauty and self-care. Her love for pets, tea and traveling is eternal. She ritually posts at The Smart Women Blog.

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Food Additive Boosts Memory By 28%, Research Finds

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Food Additive Boosts Memory By 28%, Research Finds

Source: PsyBlog

Food Additive Boosts Memory By 28%, Research FindsMemory improved 28% over the 18 months of the study.

Curcumin — a key ingredient of Indian curries — boosts mood and memory, new research finds.

Curcumin is found in turmeric, which helps give curry its distinctive colour.

Scientists have wondered if curcumin could explain why older people in India — where curcumin is a dietary staple — have lower levels of Alzheimer’s.

Participants in the study were given a curcumin supplement and followed over 18 months.

The people in the study were all between 50 and 90 years old and all had mild memory problems.

They received either a placebo or 90mg of curcumin twice a day for 18 months.

The results showed that people taking curcumin saw significant improvements in memory (28% better) and attention.

They also felt small improvements in mood.

There were no changes in the placebo group.

Professor Gary Small, the study’s first author, said:

Exactly how curcumin exerts its effects is not certain, but it may be due to its ability to reduce brain inflammation, which has been linked to both Alzheimer’s disease and major depression.

Four people in the study suffered side effects of abdominal pain and nausea, although two were taking the placebo in any case.

Professor Small said:

These results suggest that taking this relatively safe form of curcumin could provide meaningful cognitive benefits over the years.”

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15 Health Benefits of Vitamin D

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15 Health Benefits of Vitamin D, According to Science (+15 Best Vitamin D Foods)

Source: Jen Reviews

Vitamin D, sometimes referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”, is a hormone-like, fat-soluble vitamin that your body produces when it is in direct contact with sunlight. Sunscreen however, important for protection from melanoma and rapid aging of the skin, blocks these rays. So while we do make it naturally, it is recommended to take supplements.

Vitamin D is vital to the intestinal absorption of many minerals and vitamins that we need to stay healthy and a lack of vitamin D can have dire consequences on our bones, immune system and heart health.

Approximately 10 percent of American adults are vitamin D deficient, however vitamin D deficiencies affect all ages at all stages of life. A vitamin D deficiency is characterized by the following symptoms;

  • Weak muscles
  • Bone pain
  • The inability to think clearly
  • Fatigue
  • A frequency of bone injuries such as breaks and fractures
  • Excess sweating
  • Soft bones

Every single cell in your body relies on vitamin D in order to function normally.


1. Vitamin D Fights Seasonal Depression

Seasonal Affective disorder (SAD or also known as winter blues) is when your mood and temperament is affected by the weather or the lack of sunlight during the winter months in colder countries (1). Colder and darker weather affects your mood as the production of serotonin (a neurotransmitter produced in the brain that maintains mood balance) is linked to the amount of sunlight you get. Symptoms of SAD include;

  • Weight gain
  • Feeling depressed
  • Feeling lethargic
  • Anxiety
  • Becoming quickly irritated
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • A decreased libido
  • An increased intake of food

A randomized medical trial has found a relationship between a lack of vitamin D and SAD (2). Brain tissues contain vitamin D receptors and when these receptors are activated they stimulate and increase the growth of nerves within your brain. This process is important to mental health and brain function .


2. Vitamin D Can Ensure A Healthy Pregnancy

An expectant mother with a vitamin D deficiency in her first trimester is at risk of having a baby with extremely low birth weight. A study funded by the University of Pittsburgh found that low levels of vitamin D in the early stages of pregnancy put a baby at risk of stunted growth while in utero (3).

Babies that are born smaller are ultimately born with a higher risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and hypertension later on in life as well as a high risk of mortality within the first month after birth.

Vitamin D is so important for pregnancies because of the vitamin D receptors present in gestational tissues (4). Vitamin D2 and 3 are the most important compounds for human development (5).

10 micrograms per day is recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers (6).


3. Vitamin D Supports Healthy Lung Function

Obstructive pulmonary disease (including emphysema and bronchitis, various diseases that have been grouped as they are all characterized by obstruction in the lungs resulting in poor airflow) and asthma are two chronic lung diseases that are worsened by a lack of vitamin D (7).

These diseases are chronic which means that they are permanent.

Studies show a link between a strengthened reaction by the immune system against infection of the airways caused by manufacturing of antimicrobial peptides and vitamin D, especially when combined with the use of an air purifier.

A flare up of any of these lung diseases are characterised by uncontrollable coughing, chest tightness, excess mucus buildup in the lungs and difficulty breathing. These flare ups could result in hospitalization, or in extreme cases, even death. Studies show the patients suffering from these conditions could decrease their instances of flare ups by nearly 40 percent by taking vitamin D supplements (8).

Vitamin D deficiencies have a physical effect on the shape of the lungs. A study found that vitamin D deficiencies can change the volume of the lungs and the lung development (9).


4. Vitamin D Aids Calcium Absorption

The most important nutrient needed for the correct absorption of calcium in the body is Vitamin D. Without vitamin D our bodies would struggle to absorb calcium at all. Calcium and vitamin D work hand in hand to stave off or reduce the effects of osteoporosis (10).

Calcium is also important for proper heart, muscle and nerve function as well as blood clotting.

As we age our bodies ability to create vitamin D from sunlight exposure and to properly absorb calcium begin to decrease. When our body does not have enough vitamin D it cannot produce a hormone called calcitriol which regulates calcium levels in the body. The body then takes calcium stored within the skeleton. This weakens the existing bones and prevents new bone formation (11).

A serious vitamin D deficiency is likely to result in the development of rickets in young children and can also be responsible for osteomalacia (when bones soften due to a lack of calcium or vitamin D) in adults. (12)


5. Vitamin D Supports The Brain And Nervous System

Vitamin D plays an important role in regulating the health of the brain and nervous system both during its development and throughout the rest of our lives.

Studies carried out on rodents observing the effect of vitamin D on the brain found that pregnant mice that were vitamin D deficient gave birth to babies with thinner and longer brains which had larger than usual ventricles. This unusual brain shape is caused by excess brain cells not dying off when they should. This process of getting rid of unnecessary brain cells is needed for important cell connections to develop within the brain (13).

Mice born to vitamin D deficient mothers also exhibited behaviours similar to behaviours seen in people with schizophrenia and autism.

Hypovitaminosis D is the decline of vitamin D in the system due to old age. Elderly with a lack of vitamin D in their systems are at a higher risk of developing dementia or having a stroke. As of now, five studies have reported a link between hypovitaminosis D and dementia.


6. Vitamin D Promotes Weight Loss

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin so it is stored within the fat cells in our bodies.

Vitamin D receptors tell the body whether it should store or burn the fat we consume. When you provide these receptors with more vitamin D it promotes the burning of fats over storing it (a). If receptors in your brain do not get enough vitamin D you tend to feel hungrier which can lead to excess snacking.

Research shows that most people battling obesity have much lower vitamin D levels in their blood (14). When a study put 38 overweight adults on a specialised 11 week eating plan it was found that participants who started the diet with higher levels of vitamin D in their blood were more successful in losing weight than participants with low starting levels of vitamin D.

The vitamin D levels in participants were also a precursor to the successful loss of belly or abdominal fat (abdominal fat most notable visceral abdominal fat is particularly harmful as it surrounds your organs and usually leads to health complications like type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and insulin resistance).

Being unable to lose weight could be a sign of a vitamin d deficiency.


7. Vitamin D Fights Disease

Vitamin D is actually a prohormone which means that the body is able to convert it into a hormone. When the body is depleted of vitamin D you are at risk of developing heart disease, muscle weakness and some cancers.

Colorectal (cancer of the colon), breast and prostate cancer and the mortality caused by them have been linked to low levels of vitamin D in the blood. Studies have found that an uptake of vitamin D can help protect the body from these cancers (15).

Vitamin D receptors are also found in the nuclei (the nucleus) of the body’s immune cells. Further evidence links a vitamin D deficiency to diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus (a disease where your immune system begins to attacks itself causing a rash on the face, severe fatigue and joint pain) and rheumatoid arthritis (16).

A study that hopes to explore the extent to which vitamin D is useful in protecting the body from cancer, diabetes, depression and hypertension is currently underway. The study will span five years and include 20 thousand participants (17).


8. Vitamin D For Healthy Infants And Toddlers

The development of rickets is the potential danger for babies and toddlers that are vitamin D deficient (18). Babies that are at highest risk of developing rickets are babies who have a darker skin tone, those born premature, who are being or have been breast fed and babies whose mothers have low levels of vitamin D.

Vitamin D is essential for normal body development and growth. When a baby is deficient it does not have the correct biological material to build healthy teeth and bones and will most likely have retarded bone growth. A few signs that your baby or young child has rickets are;

  • Weakened muscles
  • Projection of the breast bone
  • Pain and discomfort in the legs, pelvis and or spine
  • Thickened ankles and wrists
  • Abnormal leg shaped such as knocked knees or bowed legs
  • Slow growth (19)

If rickets is not addressed and treated it could lead to permanent skeletal damage, dental defects, seizures and a curved spine. Sunlight is not an option for increasing levels as prolonged direct contact with the sun holds too many risks for infants.

Babies who are breastfed are at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency as vitamin D is added to infant formula. The recommended dose is 8 to 10 micrograms of vitamin D daily for breastfed infants under the age of one (20).


9. Vitamin D Can Ease Various Skin Issues

Vitamin D receptors in the cells are directly linked to cell differentiation (when a cell becomes specialized to performing a certain function) and cell proliferation (a process which increases cell numbers). These receptors are also linked to healthy immune function, this is important because a weak immune system cannot fight cell damaging free radicals, and free radicals can cause major damage to skin cells (21).

Nearly 40000 of your cells die within a minute. The system of cell renewal is heavily dependant on vitamin D. This process occurs in cell called keratinocytes and they make up over 90 percents of all cells in the epidermis (the skin). When they receive the right amount of vitamin d these cells are able to differentiate and multiply. Because of this these cells provide a constant flow of younger cells to replenish the epidermis and create a layer of moisture trapping tissue.

The actual rate at which cell multiply and differentiate is prompt by vitamin D. When your body does not get enough, this process slows down and skin can become thin and damaged.

Eczema, excess sweating, wrinkles and acne are all signs of vitamin D deficient cells. Vitamin D also acts as an antiinflammatory within the skin and that can prevent or lessen the severity of acne (22).

Contact with sunlight is one way to get vitamin D but it can also be damaging to skin cells so it is advisable to limit your direct contact with sunlight to less than 30 minutes a day and to use sunscreen. Foods high in vitamin D and supplements are less harsh on the skin.


10. Vitamin D Prevents Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction or impotence is when a man is unable to achieve or maintain an erection for the purpose of intercourse. It can be a physiological problem or a physical one. ED has been found to have negative impacts on the self esteem of men suffering and their relationships as well as making it difficult for couples to conceive (23).

ED is a potential risk factor or precursor in developing high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

A study in America carried out on over 3000 men over the age of 20, all suffering from a vitamin D deficiency, found that 16 percent of them had ED (24). The same study stated that men lacking in vitamin D have a 32 percent higher risk of developing ED.

Men who have been diagnosed with ED are likely to also develop endothelial dysfunction (when the capacity of the inner blood vessel linings to control vascular relaxation and regulate immune function and blood clotting becomes compromised). Low vitamin D levels inhibit nitric oxide synthesis. Nitric oxide secretion is key to smooth muscle relaxation in the corpora cavernosa (the bulk of the erectile tissue) (25).


11. Vitamin D Improves Symptoms Of Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease of the respiratory system that can also have an impact on the brain, spine and kidneys. Although symptoms do not always occur they include;

  • Phlegm build up in the lungs
  • Sudden weight loss
  • A cough that has persisted for more than three weeks
  • Loss of appetite
  • Night sweats
  • A fever and or chills
  • Coughing up mucus and or blood
  • Persistent fatigue

TB can be active or dormant. Approximately 1 in 3 people worldwide have dormant TB while 1 in 10 will develop active TB. Drug or alcohol abuse, and having cancer, diabetes or HIV or AIDS can result in dormant TB becoming active as they weaken the immune system (26).

Vitamin D increases the increases the amount of proteins in your immune system that kill foreign and potentially harmful bacteria. Studies show that TB patients who have been given vitamin D doses had faster rates of recovery and experienced fewer TB symptoms.

A study in Pakistan determined that low vitamin D levels were partly responsible for the progression from dormant to active TB. Low vitamin D levels can be looked at as a sign of possible latent TB or a sign of the patient having been diagnosed with TB once before (27).

To treat TB with vitamin D it is recommended to take no more than 10,000 IU (international units) a day.


12. Vitamin D Influences Gene Expression

Vitamin D is involved in the process of gene expression, which is where certain functions of cells are turned off or turned on.

Gene expression is a process in which genes synthesize products (usually proteins that go on to become hormones, enzymes and receptors that carry out important functions) according to genetic instructions provided by our DNA.

An analysis carried out on 8 vitamin D deficient adults found positive changes to the actions of 291 different genes. These genes were directly involved in 160 pathways that are linked to infectious and autoimmune diseases, cancer, the way cells respond to stress, DNA regulation and heart function (28).

Vitamin D downregulates and upregulates proteins manufactured by gene regulation (29).


13. Vitamin D Can Ease Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease where your immune system targets and damages the myelin sheath that protects your nerve fibers in your spinal cord and brain (the central nervous system) that causes a problem with the communication between the brain and body. MS could eventually cause permanent damage (30).

The symptoms of MS vary. The more damage done to the nerves, the more severe the signs are (loss of vision, feeling permanently fatigued, heavily impaired coordination and pain). At its severest, people with MS may lose the ability to walk.

MS has found to be more common in areas that are further away from the equator and thus get less sun year round (31). Research shows that babies born with lower levels of vitamin D in their blood are more likely to develop MS later on in life.

Patients suffering from MS report less attacks during Summer months which correlates with more exposure to direct sunlight which results in the body creating more vitamin D (32).Studies hoping to determine the effects of vitamin D on myelin repair and its role in neuroprotection are currently underway (33).


14. Vitamin D Improves Your Eyesight

People with low vitamin D levels are at risk of developing wet macular degeneration. Wet macular degeneration is a chronic disease of the eye and causes a person to develop a blind spot in their field of sight or blurred vision. It is caused by unusual growth of blood vessels within the eyes that secrete excess fluid or blood.

Vitamin D prevents angiogenesis, the process by which blood vessels form. It is also an anti inflammatory which also helps to prevent wet macular degeneration as the disease is worsened by inflammation in the eye (34).


15. Vitamin D Improves Metabolic Syndrome

Elevated blood pressure, excess amounts of body fat in the stomach area, atypical cholesterol levels and high sugar levels are all a part of metabolic syndrome. The dangers of metabolic syndrome are high risk of stroke and heart attacks.

Metabolic syndrome affects up to 25 percent of the adult population worldwide. It is caused by a vitamin D deficiency coupled with a diet high in saturated fats and carbohydrates (35).

Vitamin D spurs on manufacturing of defensins, molecules which maintain and restore the health of gut flora (microorganisms in the digestive tract). Healthy bacteria in your gut reduces the fat in the liver and regulates blood sugar.

Vitamin D also boosts the diversity of bacteria in your gut which reduces risk from harmful pathogens (36).


15 Best Vitamin D Foods

1. Egg Yolks

Egg yolks have a bad reputation for being high in cholesterol, and they are, but with High Density Lipoprotein cholesterol which is also known as the “good” cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is considered good because of it’s relationship with LDL cholesterol (low-density protein which is considered the “bad” cholesterol).

HDL searches for and finds LDL within the blood stream. It then takes the LDL to the liver where it is reprocessed. HDL is also constantly working to keep the endothelium (the inside of blood vessels) in good shape. When these inner walls become damaged a process called atherosclerosis begins and the artery walls start to thicken. This can have life threatening results such as strokes and heart attacks.

Eggs yolks are mucher higher in vitamins than egg whites.

Egg yolks contain the carotenoids zeaxanthin and lutein which together significantly lower the risk of macular degeneration (an age related incurable eye disease) and cataracts. These eye diseases are the result of damage caused by free radicals. The carotenoids are antioxidants which prevent and reverse the damage the free radicals cause.

Choline is an important macronutrient found in egg yolks that most people do not get enough of. Choline is important because it builds and strengthens cell membranes. Choline is also involved in several bodily functions such as brain, liver and muscle function.

Choline aids the development of DNA methylation and an American study found that women with diets that contained high levels of choline had a nearly 25 percent less chance of developing breast cancer.

2. Salmon

Salmon is an incredible source of protein. Protein is important as it aids the process of muscle healing caused by aging and physical activity.

Salmon is also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 is a healthy fat (natural polyunsaturated fat) that our body cannot make by itself. Omega-3 is a popular supplement (fish oil) and offers a range of health benefits including;

  • Regulating menstruation and thus improving fertility in women
  • Reducing or healing skin ailments such as acne, psoriasis and eczema
  • Combatting dry eye syndrome
  • Soothing anxiety symptoms
  • Strengthening brain growth and development
  • Keeping your heart rate normal
  • Regulating blood clotting
  • Reducing fatty liver
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Reversing insulin resistance
  • Countering inflammation
  • Fighting autoimmune diseases

3. Cheese

The calcium content of cheese is very high. Calcium is needed to keep bone and teeth health from deteriorating. Another benefit for teeth is that cheese has a very low lactose content. In high amounts lactose can cause damage to the teeth.

Cheese is high in vitamin B. Vitamin B is an important one for pregnant or lactating women, children and the elderly as it is a vital component in first the formation and then the strengthening of cartilage and bones.

If weight gain is recommended for health, cheese is a good food to include in your diet.

4. Shrimp

Astaxanthin is a carotenoid found in shrimp. Astaxanthin is an effective antioxidant that reduces damage done to the skin by exposure to direct sunlight and UVA. UVA is responsible for the development of sunspots, premature aging and wrinkles in the skin.

A zinc deficiency within the body has been found responsible for accelerated hair loss. Zinc (found in shrimp) creates and maintain new cells, including the very cells responsible for the health of skin and hair. Other symptoms of a zinc deficiency include;

  • Sudden weight loss
  • Development of white spots in the fingernails
  • Onset of depression
  • Dulling of taste and smell senses
  • Diarrhea
  • Unusual bone growth

Shrimp contains omega-3 fatty acids which has exhibited soothing effects of cramping and pain associated with menstruation.

5. Oysters

One serving of oysters contain almost 90 percent of the recommended daily requirement of iron. Iron is vital to the process of generation of red blood cells. The increase of oxygenated blood in the body provides the bodies organs with fuel to keep the functioning at optimal levels.

Getting enough iron is essential to combating anemia, a condition that can result in chronic fatigue, stomach problems, weakening of muscles and cognitive malfunction.

Oysters contain zinc which is a key component in wound healing and accelerated recovery from injury.

Oysters also contain vitamin E which increases the flexibility and strength of the membranes of various cells.

6. Soy Milk

The isoflavones in soy beans have been shown by studies to be beneficial to menopausal women in that it can balance the amount of oestrogen being lost through the process of menopause. The isoflavones are a kind of phytoestrogens, these are plant based (fruits and vegetables) and mimic oestrogen effects within the body.

Soymilk helps to defend the liver from stress caused by oxidation because of its hepatoprotective properties.

Soymilk has added calcium and unlike a diet high in animal protein, a diet high in soymilk protein reduces the likelihood of losing calcium via urinary excretion. These factors make soymilk a good tool for fighting brittle bones and bone break down.

7. Pork

Pork contains vitamin B1 or thiamine. Thiamine has a few important functions within the body including allowing electrolytes to flow into and out of muscle and nerve cells, metabolising carbohydrates and aiding bodily enzymatic processes.

The body does not produce thiamine and can only retain it for about 18 days, thus it is important to keep up a healthy intake. A few symptoms of a thiamine deficiency (knows as beriberi) include;

  • Developing depression
  • Nausea
  • Pains in the abdomen
  • Headaches
  • Irritability

Pork tenderloin is also leaner than chicken making it a healthier source of protein.

8. Tuna

Tuna has a very high omega-3 fatty acid content. Omega-6 (the unhealthy fatty acid) and cholesterol tends to build up in the blood vessels and arteries, increasing the risks of developing heart disease. Omega-3 strips away the Omega-6 fatty acids.

A single can of tuna yields up to 80 percent of the recommended daily dose of protein. Having protein in your body is pivotal to muscle development and growth. Protein is also responsible for quickening the rate at which wounds on the body heals after an injury.

The anti-inflammatory properties of tuna helps to lower hypertension and keep your blood pressure regular.

Tuna is full of a range of B vitamins. B vitamins are linked to improving your overall organ function and boosting your metabolism.B vitamins are also known to increase the amount of energy your body produces daily.

Tuna is very high in iron. Iron increases the amount of red blood cells in your circulation system and the actual volume of blood.

The sodium and potassium levels in tuna helps when it comes to managing the balance of fluid in your body. When there is a fluid imbalance in your body stress is put onto the kidneys and they are not able to function properly.

Cooked tuna produces peptides which are important for protecting cell membranes including those in the brain.

9. Beef Liver

Beef liver is very high in many different minerals and vitamins. One of these vitamins is vitamin B12. B12 is crucial to DNA synthesis, the formation of red blood cells and healthy neurological functions.

A vitamin B12 deficiency has been linked to multiple neurological disorders like dementia in older patients. Other B12 deficiency induced disorders include neuropathy (a disease that affects the nervous system), myelopathy (a disease that affects the spinal cord), disturbances to usual behaviour and overall weakening cognitive activity.

To get the most minerals and vitamins out of beef liver, be sure to buy hormone free.

10. Sardines

Macular degeneration is a disease that affects the eyes. It is mostly prominent in the elderly. The more it progresses the higher the chance of permanent damage to the retina.

The fish oil in fatty fish increases the bodys immune cell count which builds up a stronger immune system.

Sardines are high in the mineral selenium. Selenium goes directly into the nucleus of DNA cells and repairs any damage present. If this damage is not fixed the cell could become cancerous. Selenium has shown signs of cancer prevention, most notably liver, prostate and lung cancer.

Studies have pointed to selenium having a direct affect on the activity of the thyroid and the continued production of thyroid hormones. Your thyroid affects your weight, temperature, sleep patterns, appetite and energy levels.

Selenium is present in sperm mitochondria and very high or very low levels can have a negative impact on sperm count.

Low levels of selenium are prevalent in those suffering from chronic asthma.

11. Fortified Cereals

Cereals are complex carbohydrates that are enriched with vitamins and minerals. Fortified cereals range from oats to rye to rice.

Cereals provide a uniquely high level of energy. As cereals are so high inexpensive and calorie rich, they make up nearly 30 percent of calorie intake in North America and this percentage only increases in poorer countries.

Cereals contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. High fiber has many health benefits, such as keeping blood sugars at healthy levels and preventing disorders of the colon and constipation. When you eat, glucose is secreted into the body. Fiber slows this process down. Cereals improve the process of peristalsis (when the muscles in the intestines contract in such a way as to assist the movement of food within the digestive tract) and also increases the bulk of stools which keeps your system clean.

It is best to avoid cereals if suffering from celiac disease.

12. Fish Roe

Fish roe are fish eggs also known as caviar. Fish roe is another high omega-3 fatty acid food. Omega-3 reduces inflammation that is associated with many autoimmune diseases.

Fish roe also contain vitamin B12, magnesium, calcium and iron. Including foods high in magnesium can;

  • Reduce anxiety and nervousness
  • Prevent migraines
  • Relieve muscles spasms and aches
  • Increase your energy
  • Aid digestion
  • Regulate sodium levels

13. Mushrooms

The potassium in mushrooms works as a vasodilator (something that widens the blood vessels which allows more blood to pass through) and relaxes tension within blood vessels. This results in lowered blood pressure.

Potassium is also responsible for better cognitive function because when blood vessels are relaxed and more oxygenated blood is flowing to the brain, higher levels of neural activity are stimulated.

Mushrooms contain copper which is a trace mineral. Copper increases the rate at which our bodies absorb iron which in key in avoiding developing anemia. Copper also regulates your heartbeat and ensures that the body grows at a normal rate.

Copper can reduce the signs of aging because it stimulates the production of collagen.

Mushrooms are a form of natural antibiotic that is very effective in protecting people with diabetes from developing infections in their arms and legs. They also support proper function of the pancreas, certain endocrine glands and the liver. They promote insulin formation and regulation.

14. Orange Juice

Just one serving of orange juice has over 200 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, or ascorbic acid. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects the immune system against free radicals making it stronger and less susceptible to infection. Another important function of this antioxidant is keeping DNA of cells that are healthy from mutating and becoming cancerous. Vitamin C and ts antioxidant properties are the first line of defense against colds, flus and more serious diseases.

Orange juice has a very high folate content. Folate is most notably responsible for the growth of young cells and creating DNA. Folate is also important for creating more red blood cells and for promoting blood flow to your extremities.

The antioxidant hesperidin, which is found in orange juice, impacts the function and activity of the smaller blood vessels. Hesperidin can lower high blood pressure and significantly decrease your chances of developing heart disease.

Orange juice contains fiber which regulates bowel movements and can lower cholesterol levels.

The citrates and citric acid in orange juice can prevent the development of kidney stones. Kidney stones are solid mineral deposits that develop in your kidneys. They can cause debilitating abdominal and or side and back pain as well as urine in the blood.

15. Infant Formula

Infant formula is becoming the world’s most popular fortified food. While breast feeding is preferable some mothers are unable to (low milk supply, baby not latching etc) and are thus unable to pass on antibodies and nutrition to their babies. Infant formula is enriched with the minerals and vitamins babies need to grow and thrive.

Certain types of infant formula even have an added probiotic called bifidobacterium lactis which reduces the effects of colic (a condition where seemingly healthy babies cry for three or more hours per day), decreases the chance of developing food allergies and reduces diarrhea.

Infant formula can also reduce allergies in babies.

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This Simple Realization Linked To 80% Depression Recovery

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This Simple Realization Linked To 80% Depression Recovery

Source: Psyblog

Six months later, 80% had recovered from depression, researchers found.

This Simple Realization Linked To 80% Depression RecoveryRumination — thinking about the causes and consequences of depressing events — is common in depression.

However, simply realizing that you don’t have to ruminate can be liberating, new research suggests.

When people learned to reduce how much they ruminated, 80% had recovered after six months (including 10 weeks of therapy).

Professor Roger Hagen, who led the research, said:

“Anxiety and depression give rise to difficult and painful negative thoughts.”

Many patients have thoughts of mistakes, past failures or other negative thoughts.

Metacognitive therapy addresses thinking processes.

One of the problems in depression is that people “think too much”, which MCT [metacognitive therapy] refers to as ‘depressive rumination’.

Rather than ruminating so much on negative thoughts, MCT helps patients to reduce negative thought processes and get them under control.”

Taking control of your thoughts is an important part of modern cognitive therapies.


Professor Hagen said:

Instead of reacting by repeatedly ruminating and thinking ‘how do I feel now?’ you can try to encounter your thoughts with what we call ‘detached mindfulness.’

You can see your thoughts as just thoughts, and not as a reflection of reality.

Most people think that when they think a thought, it must be true.

For example, if I think that I’m stupid, this means I must be stupid.

People strongly believe that their thoughts reflect reality.


Many patients who took part in the study were pleasantly surprised, said Professor Hagen:

The patients come in thinking they’re going to talk about all the problems they have and get to the bottom of it, but instead we try to find out how their mind and thinking processes work.

You can’t control what you think, but you can control how you respond to what you think.



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Give Yourself the Gift of Time: Unsubscribe

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Give Yourself the Gift of Time: Unsubscribe

Source: The Download (AARP)

Originally Posted on 12/04/2014

by Steve Mencher

Do you return to work from holidays and vacations to find dozens or hundreds of emails? I do, but I’m doing something about it: I’m unsubscribing from any email I don’t actually want or need.

 I figure once I’m done, I’ll have about 10 minutes a day back — about an hour a week for self-improvement or daydreaming.

A few years ago, I was ready to give up on email altogether. Spammers made it nearly impossible to find the messages that you actually wanted to read. But now, filters on most accounts catch more than 90 percent of the actual junk. The other stuff is my own fault if I don’t winnow it down.

My new rule: For sources that regularly send messages I don’t read, I’m hunting for the “Unsubscribe” link and clicking it. Here are some categories I’m ditching.

  • Events — music, theater, movies — where I bought tickets once or twice, needed to give my email address to get confirmation, and stayed on a list.
  • Stores that delivered a product to me and I volunteered my email address as security or gave my email address for a discount.
  • Companies that sold me a product that asked me to register an email address for “updates” (always sales pitches).
  • Daily news of one sort or another, especially about people connected to me on social media.
  • Services that seemed cool at the time — like a daily story and photo.
  • Head-scratchers — Why do I get news and updates about television in India?

To Unsubscribe Or Not?

In the old days, it was a little dicey to “unsubscribe” from an email list, especially if it came from a group you didn’t know. You were rightly suspicious that confirming your identity would simply keep the communication going.

But it’s mostly different these days. Nearly all the mail I want to ditch is from someone I know and has a fairly obvious “unsubscribe” text link, usually at the bottom. Some confirm that you’re unsubscribed immediately. Some of those links are branded “SafeUnsubscribe,” which you can generally have confidence in.

Other Sites Put You Through Various Inconveniences

  • making you confirm your email address.
  • asking if you’re sure you want to unsubscribe.
  • giving you a number of confusing options so that you stay on some of their lists.

But mostly, it’s pretty easy. I’m already planning what I’m going to do with my extra hour each week. What about you?

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Which High-Protein Diet Lowers Risk of Death?

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Which High-Protein Diet Lowers Risk of Death?

Source: Everyday Health


Which High-Protein Diet Lowers Risk of Death?

A number of years ago, a colleague of mine tried a high-protein diet for weight loss because he’d met someone special in another state on an online dating site — only he’d posted pictures of himself when he was 30 to 40 pounds lighter.

Unfortunately, a regular meal schedule is a luxury few doctors get. Most physicians eat on the run when there’s an opening in their schedule, which often leads to weight gain from poor food choices.

My colleague’s interstate romance grew through correspondences, and he agreed to travel to the woman’s hometown for a meeting. The only trouble was that he wanted to lose weight quickly.

Like many others, he started a high-protein, low carbohydrate diet; his consisted almost entirely of animal proteins, along with a few strawberries. More than 80 percent of his diet came from animal proteins.

I’m happy to report that he lost the desired weight, and the online romance ended in marriage.


Should You Try a High-Protein Diet?

Many people use high-protein diets such as Weight Watchers or the South Beach Diet, among others, to quickly lose weight. And once they reach a certain weight goal, many will transition to a more balanced diet.

But some people stay on a diet long term to maintain their weight loss. And weight loss through diet certainly has significant benefits, including lowering your risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, and sleep apnea.

Numerous high-protein diets are available: When I searched for new books on the topic, the online bookstore yielded more than 100 options.

Most people I ask about a high-protein diet think of eating more meat and eggs. But protein is abundant in many other food sources.

Animal products high in protein include most forms of meat, eggs, seafood, dairy, cheeses, and whey protein.

Plant products high in protein include beans and legumes, such as lentils, chickpeas, soybeans, and black-eyed peas — also known as pulses. Other plants that contain protein include some vegetables (broccoli and spinach, for example), most nuts (like almonds, cashews, pistachios, and many nut butters), and seeds like chia, sunflower, poppy, quinoa, and many more.


Why Food Sources Matter in a High-Protein Diet

Given these facts about protein, here are two questions you may want to ask yourself before you embark on a high-protein diet:

  • Is the high-protein diet a healthy long-term option?
  • Should you switch from animal-based proteins to plant-based proteins in your diet?

A study published in October 2016 in JAMA Internal Medicine shed some light on these questions as they related to long-term risk of death from heart disease and cancer.

The study included 131,342 participants, of whom 85,013 were women; the average age was 49. These people were evaluated every two years with regard to their lifestyle and diet, and they were followed for more than 20 years.

Researchers compared people in groups based on the percent of protein in their daily diets:

  • Animal protein (less than 10 percent, 12 to 15 percent, or greater than 18 percent)
  • Plant protein (less than 3 percent, 4 to 5 percent, or more than 6 percent)

The study participants were not assigned to a particular diet, but instead reported on what they chose to eat. This study’s findings reflected broad dietary patterns and various protein sources:

  • For each 10 percent increase of dietary animal protein, participants had an 8 percent increase in risk for heart disease-related death.
  • For each 3 percent increase in dietary plant protein, participants had a 12 percent decrease in heart disease-related death.

The people who reported high levels of animal protein consumption and were most at risk for death from heart disease were also overweight, more sedentary, consumed alcohol, or smoked.


The Health Advantages of Plant-Based Proteins

If plant proteins are healthier, what happens when you substitute plant protein for animal protein in your diet?

Researchers found that for every 3 percent substitution of plant proteins in place of animal protein, there was a 34 percent reduction in mortality (risk of death) from heart disease. These benefits were seen in both active and inactive people. The best animal protein source to swap for a healthier plant protein source, according to this study, was processed red meat.

And for every 3 percent substitution of plant protein in place of animal protein, cancer-related death in study participants dropped by 17 percent. In this analysis, the best animal protein sources to swap for plant proteins were, again, processed red meat products — but also eggs.


High-Protein Diets Preserve Muscle Mass

A second, smaller study published in October 2016 in Cell Reports highlights the need to consider transitioning to a well-rounded diet once you’ve achieved your desired weight loss goal.

A healthy diet is primarily derived from fruits, nuts, vegetables, and very few processed foods. In this study of postmenopausal women who had developed prediabetes, researchers looked at the influence of a high-protein diet on glucose (sugar) levels.

Approximately 60 women with prediabetes participated and were assigned to a low-calorie, rapid weight loss diet or a high-protein weight loss diet. Both diets resulted in a loss of 8 to 10 percent of body weight.

But women who followed a high-protein diet preserved much more lean muscle mass. Essentially, most of their weight loss was loss of fatty tissue. One caveat: Their high-protein diet did very little to improve their muscles’ natural sugar intake, so some of the prediabetes condition persisted.

Small Diet Changes, Big Health Benefits

If you get your protein from animal sources like meat, eggs, and dairy, the first study is great news. When you make small changes to your diet and swap out some of the animal products for plant protein, you may get a tremendous benefit in lowering your risk of death from heart disease and cancer. These health dividends were observed when people substituted plants for animal products in just 3 percent of the diet. Few other things you can do will pay off so well.

If you keep a diary of your daily diet over a week, you should be able to find a few animal protein sources to eliminate; in particular, it’s helpful to substitute plant-based proteins for processed red meats.

You may not be considering a diet change to prepare for the love of your life like my colleague, but when you look at the evidence, it seems most of us could use more plant protein in our diets.