Archive for February, 2013

Coconut Water: Why this drink is more FAB than FAD!


You have seen people drinking it on the subway, in the elevator, at the gym and maybe even in those posh cafés and grills, but what’s the big deal about coconut water?

Well, that’s easy, coconut water is incredibly healthy and one of the best drinks to hydrate the body.  And besides aiding in digestion and helping to remove harmful toxins from your body, coconuts have anti-viral, anti-microbial, AND anti-fungal properties that can help cure disease!

Coconut water is low in carbohydrates, low in sugars and is 99 % fat free.  Many nutritionists are calling coconut water the “sports energy drink” of today’s day and age because it is naturally good for you and full of the vitamins we need to ward off fatigue.

When compared to sports drinks, coconut water:

  • Contains more potassium, about 294 mg.
  • Has less sodium, at about 25 mg.
  • Has 5 mg of natural sugars.
  • Is very high in chloride at 118 mg.

(Data based on a 100 ml size coconut water drink.)

Because coconut water contains organic compounds possessing healthy growth promoting properties, drinking it has been known to help the following:

  • Raise your metabolism.
  • Boost your immune system.
  • Promote weight loss.
  • Keep the body cool and at the proper temperature.
  • Carry nutrients and oxygen to cells.
  • Naturally replenish your body’s fluids after exercising.
  • Detoxify and fight viruses.
  • Boost poor circulation.
  • Control diabetes.
  • Cleanse your digestive tract.
  • Treat kidney and urethral stones.
  • Balance your pH and reduce your risk of cancer.
  • Aid your body in fighting viruses that cause the flu, herpes and AIDS.
  • Orally hydrate your body; it is an all natural isotonic beverage.

Still not sold on the amazingness of coconut water? How about these little known facts…

  • Coconut water is much healthier than orange juice because it has much fewer calories.
  • Coconut water is more nutritious than whole milk because it has less fat and no cholesterol.
  • Coconut water is better than processed baby milk because it contains lauric acid, which is present in mother’s milk.
  • Coconut water is a universal donor and is identical to human blood plasma.
  • Coconut water is naturally sterile.
  • Coconut water is a naturally isotonic beverage; the same level that we have in our blood.
  • Coconut water has saved lives in Third World Countries through Coconut IV.

Fitness for the Elderly: Why Exercise is Important as We Age

elderly exercise 2
Health experts are constantly conducting research in order to learn more about the benefits of exercise for the elderly. Studies have shown that sedentary adults are more likely to suffer from heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, certain cancers, and joint and muscle disorders.

To help ward off these conditions and to deal with the everyday wear and tear that aging has on our bodies, experts suggest that individuals over the age of 50 should consult their physician and a personal trainer to come up with a fitness plan that works for them.

According to MSNBC, Joe Scott, a NATA member who is outpatient orthopedic team leader for South Coast Hospitals Group in New Bedford, MA says, “If we continue to exercise, especially strength training, we decrease the loss of bone density. Just by working on strength training, you’re working your muscles to keep strong.”

Elderly adults who do choose to maintain an exercise regimen experience the same benefits as their younger counterparts including weight control, the ability to manage daily stress and improved self-confidence. In addition, experts say regular exercise can lower blood pressure, increase strength and stamina, enhance flexibility, improve balance and coordination in senior citizens, curb depression, reduce the risk of premature death and minimizes the development of brittle bones. A 1994 Tufts University study showed that even at age 98, exercise and strength training can significantly reverse a loss of strength.

Many people think that beyond a certain age, you become too weak to strength train or benefit from it. But research shows the complete opposite. Without adequate muscle exercise, most adults lose 20 to 40 percent of the muscle they had as young adults. With too much muscle loss people have difficulties performing daily activities that allow them to live independently.

Experts say that even small gains in muscle – too small to see – can make significant differences in how seniors live. Strength training can affect whether an older person can get out of a chair without help. It can also influence their sense of balance, risk of falls and fractures, and the ability to climb stairs or carry groceries. Strength training can even make bones stronger and weight control easier.elderly exercise

One recent study of seniors showed that after six months of strength training, strength in a variety of muscle groups increased 31 percent for the duration of the two-year study. Other studies show benefits for the frail elderly living in nursing homes. People who had formerly needed walkers to get around could use a cane instead.

As found on MSNBC.com, the National Institute on Aging recommends strength training of all major muscle groups: arms, shoulders, chest, abdomen, back, hips and legs, as well as exercise to enhance grip strength. The NIA has even developed a free exercise guidebook to help seniors train safely. It includes 12 strength-training exercises, equipment options, safety cautions (especially for those who have had hip replacements) and resources for additional free information. View it at www.nia.nih.gov/exercisebook .

Seniors often identify access to appropriate equipment as a barrier to strength training. While free weights or Nautilus-type equipment at fitness centers are one option, elastic bands or resistance tubing, which are sold at sporting good stores and discount chains, are effective at keeping seniors strong. Even cans of food or water bottles filled with beans or sand can work.

The American Institute for Cancer Research emphasizes regular exercise, ideally an hour a day, as a vital part of a lifestyle to lower cancer risk and promote good health and a healthy weight. Aerobic exercise like walking, biking and swimming can be the mainstay of your activity. But we all need to include exercise that maintains our flexibility, balance and strength. And that doesn’t change as we age.

It’s All in the Feet


As odd as it may seem, your feet may be the window to your overall body health. Here are some things to look for regarding your feet that will give you clues that there may be other important body issues to look into.

No hair on your feet or toes

If your feet or toes are lacking hair, it can be a sign of having poor circulation because of vascular disease.  If you notice that your feet and toes do not have any hair on them, you will want to consult your doctor to find out ways to improve your circulation thereby reducing your risk of acquiring vascular disease.

A wound that won’t heal on your foot

Wounds on your feet that just won’t heal could be an indication of diabetes.  Over time, elevated blood glucose levels can lead to serious nerve damage in your feet and because of this damage you may not feel when you have a sore or a wound on your foot.  If your wound continues to go unhealed there could be major problems, including amputation.  If you notice a wound that won’t heal on your feet be sure to contact your doctor to discuss your wound.  If you are currently living with or being treated for diabetes, be sure to check your feet often and mark any changes.

Cold feet

While most women are known for their “cold feet” there may be something even more serious going on if you constantly have cold feet.  For women, having cold feet is a sign of an under functioning thyroid, the gland that regulates temperature and metabolism.  Poor circulation is another explanation of cold feet in both women and men.  If you experience cold feet that simply don’t warm up with warm socks or slippers, talk it over with your doctor to have your thyroid checked and explore your options, which may include thyroid medications.

Thick, yellow toenails

Toenails are not supposed to be thick and/or yellow.  Thick, yellow nails are most often an indication of a fungal infection living beneath your toenails.  People that have other medical conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and other immune deficiencies are more likely to get a fungal infection than those that do not have these conditions.  To treat thick, yellow toenails, you will need to consult a podiatrist.  While there are plenty of over-the-counter treatments for thick, yellow toenails, by the time your nails are already discolored and thick it is too late for any over-the-counter creams or medicines to work. You must discuss your options with a professional.

An enlarged big toe

Gout is the condition when the big toe suddenly swells up to an uncomfortable size. Gout is actually a form of arthritis due to the buildup of uric acid. This condition typically shows up in your big toe because it affects the part of your body with the lowest temperature, which is often the big toe.  It can also occur in your knees, elbows, Achilles tendon and the instep of your foot.  If you discover that your big toe has swollen to an abnormally large size, contact a foot care specialist, who with diet recommendations and medication, can help to cure this condition.

Heart Awareness Month: Obesity and Your Heart Disease Risk


It’s a well-known fact that being overweight increases your chance of being at risk of a number of chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.  But research shows that even a small amount of weight loss can lessen your risk of falling victim to these deadly diseases.

Research also shows that, unfortunately, eating just 100 more calories a day than you should, can cause your body weight to be in the obese category and not just the overweight category.

To determine whether or not you are overweight or obese, use a BMI Calculator.  A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight; a BMI between 30 and 39.9 is considered obese.  If your BMI is greater than 25 and you are older than 30 years old, you should strongly consider losing weight to reduce your risk of heart disease and other life-threatening conditions.

Get a Quiet Night’s Sleep by Eliminating Snoring

Does your snoring prevent you from sleeping at night? Do you wake up tired and restless? If you answered yes to these questions, you may have a sleep disorder, which is preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep. Do not worry, you are not alone. It is estimated that 40 percent of men and 30 percent of women snore while sleeping.

Find out why you are Snoring

The most important thing for you to realize is that there is help available and there are tips that can help you sleep better. The first step that you should take is to try to find a reason for your snoring. You should monitor your snoring to see what your sleep patterns are. Try to note things like, do you sleep on your back, do you sleep with your mouth open or shut, and do you seem to stop breathing while you are snoring. These are important answers to know.

You can make an appointment with your doctor and take along the answers to the above questions. He will be able to completely examination you and rule out any health problem besides your sleep disorder. Your doctor may be able to pinpoint the cause for your snoring. More importantly, he may be able to help you find a treatment plan the will work for you.

Tips to Alleviate Snoring


There are some things you can do at home that may be able to keep your from snoring or reduce your amount of snoring. You should also try to avoid certain foods close to bedtime like dairy products, soymilk, caffeine and alcohol. You should also refrain from taking sleeping pills or antihistamines right before bedtime.

If you sleep on your back, some people have suggested putting a tennis ball down the back of your shirt while you sleep. The idea is that you when you roll over, it will be uncomfortable forcing you will roll back over on your stomach. Some studies have suggested that doing throat exercises and singing throughout the day can reduce your snoring at night.

If these tips are not working for you, there are several medical treatments that are available for you to try. There is the CPAP machine, where you put a mask on while you sleep and it helps you breathe better. There are also several types of nasal strips that you wear while you are sleeping to also help you breathe better during the night. Surgery is another option that many people with sleep disorders try when other options are not working.

Benefits of a Good Night’s sleep

The number one benefit of getting a good night’s sleep is that it will make you more productive during the day. Studies show that there is a direct link between sleep and a person’s productivity throughout the day.  Without a good night’s sleep, a person has less energy and they are not as alert and focused. These are the three key ingredients to productivity and without them a person’s performance may be at their best level.

The benefits and necessity of sleep was obvious even to Shakespeare 400 years ago and has been recognized by human cultures throughout time. The U.S department of Health and Human services today recommends that most adults get from 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. A more typical amount however, is 6.5 hours, which is plenty enough to function but you should realize that higher amounts of sleep are correlated with

  • decreased chance of sickness
  • healthier weight
  • lighter mood
  • healthy skin
  • not having bags under your eyes

All of these are essential to looking your best, but the healing power of sleep is not limited to your complexion. Sleep is also associated with:

  • clarity of thought, better grades, and higher quality work
  • lower risk of blood pressure and diabetes
  • lower risk of injury “drowsy driving” is responsible for thousands of deaths every year

The amount of sleep recommended varies across age groups; kids need even more than 7-8 hours. The Government endorsed values, backed up by research conducted by the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, are: 9 hours for teens, 10 to 12 hours for school aged and preschool children, and for the koala-like newborns, around 16 to 18 hours of sleep every day. For these youngsters, sleep is safest when it is done on their backs- if you let them sleep on their bellies that will increase the occurrence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

There are other benefits that you will receive once you start having a good night’s sleep. Since you will not be tired anymore, any depression or anxiety problems may diminish. Your mood will lift and your attitude is likely to become more positive.

Spending your nights not able to sleep and your days being tired can be a stressful way to live and over time it will wear you out. But once you begin getting a good night’s sleep, you will be amazed at the difference it will make in your life.

Simple tips on How to Avoid Dry and Itchy Skin during winter


Anybody can suffer dry and itchy skin any time of the year but these skin conditions occur more frequently during the winter season. But there’s no reason to get concerned over it anymore. We can’t control the weather but there are simple things we could do to keep our skin healthy and protected from cold weather conditions.

In this article we will try to explain why our skin is more prone to drying during the cold winter season and how we can prevent it. Below are a few effective tips on how to treat dry skin and how you could keep your skin healthy the rest of the year.

Why does our skin dry during cold days?

Lesser humidity in the air and strong chilly winds during winter strike our delicate skin leaving it dry and itchy. This chips away at our skins natural protective layer exposing it to the elements. The skin is stripped of its oil or lipid layers making it dry and itchy. Little skin moisture is also transferred to the air aggravating dry skin conditions.

Use lukewarm water when taking a bath or washing your face

Avoid using cold water or even hot water when taking a bath or washing your face. Hot water only strips your skin’s moisture and only makes it drier. For those who can’t stand lukewarm baths during winter, make your baths a bit shorter to avoid exposing your skin to extreme temperatures.

This should be kept in mind even when merely washing your hands or feet. If your skin turns red then this is an indication that the water is too hot. It could only make the condition even worse.

Exfoliate regularly

Sometimes, no amount of preparation could adequately protect our skin from harsh winter conditions. Exfoliating regularly removes dead skin and helps rejuvenates tired skin. This prevents itching caused by dead, dry skin. This should be done at least twice a week since skin is more likely to suffer during the winter.

Natural ways of exfoliating includes using sugar or salts. These could be used to scrub dead skin off without the use of chemical based commercial products that could only irritate sensitive skin. The benefits of moisturizers are enhanced when skin is exfoliated regularly. You could also use coconut oils as a natural moisturizer to add that extra layer of protection and keep moisture trapped in the skin.

Moisturize

Moisturizers preserve and protect oils and moisture to keep the skin healthy. It’s like an extra skin layer that keeps cold air at bay. Be sure to moisturize after taking a bath or washing your hands. Because there is less humidity in the air, skin moisture is easily lost in the air.

Get a Humidifier

You can’t do much about the weather outside but there are few things you could do inside your homes to protect your skin. Humidifiers help maintain the level of moisture in the air. Low humidity makes it easier for moisture to escape the skin. You could use a humidifier or close doors and windows to prevent warm air from escaping.

Low moisture conditions are not only found in cold climate conditions but also in extremely hot desert conditions. If you feel that your home is too cold and there is not enough moisture then getting a humidifier prevents skin from further drying.

Proper hand and feet care

The best way to prevent dry and itchy skin is proper skin care. Use moisturizers at the first signs of dryness to prevent further skin damage. The feet are often one of the most neglected areas and many fail to notice this because they are hidden from the sight of other people. Using the same amount of attention to hidden skin areas like the feet helps maintain overall skin health. Simply moisturizing the feet and hands after washing could go a long way in preventing the occurrence of dry and itchy skin.

Avoid using strong and chemical based soaps

More emphasis should be placed in maintaining your skin’s health than simply cleaning your skin by using strong soaps. Opt for soaps that are gentler and contain a good amount of moisturizers. There are also a lot of natural based soaps that don’t contain harmful chemicals that only strip your skin of nutrients and moisture.

Diet Soda Drinkers Prone to Depression Diagnosis

While many people enjoy the taste of a diet soda now and again, new studies have shown that people that drink diet sodas or fruit drinks on a regular basis are more likely to be diagnosed with depression.

The study, which took place over more than a decade of time, looked at more than 263,900 U.S. adults who answered questions about the beverages that they drank.  Ten years later, these same people were questioned whether or not they had been diagnosed with depression.

Men and women who regularly drank four or more cans of any type of soda were 30 percent more likely to have been diagnosed with depression than those who did not drink soda at all.  Diet soda drinkers had a higher risk of depression – a 31 percent risk versus a 22 percent risk of regular soda drinkers.

If a diet soda drinkers, drank more than four cans of diet soda a day the percentages of depression skyrocketed to 51 percent.

In contrast, people who drank four or more cups of coffee a day were 10 percent less likely to be diagnosed with depression than non-coffee drinkers.

While a family history of depression and stressful life events are some of the biggest predictors of depression, the study focused primarily on frequent beverage consumption of sweetened drinks.

More research will continue to be done on diet and fruity drinks, but in the mean time anyone diagnosed with depression should always continue to follow their doctor’s orders and prescriptions.