Archive for January, 2014

Improving Brain Functioning through Healthy Eating

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You can’t deny the fact that as we age, our body ages right along with us. Research shows that you can increase your chances of maintaining a healthy brain if you add “smart” foods to your daily regimen.

Blueberries

Studies shows that blueberries help protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of age-related conditions like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Diets rich in blueberries also improved both the learning capacity and motor skills of aging rats, making them mentally equivalent to younger rats, as shown in some studies. Researchers also recommend adding at least 1 cup of blueberries a day in any form.

Wild salmon

Salmon, a deep-water fish is rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are essential for brain function. Wild salmon is recommended for its “cleanliness” and it is in plentiful supply. Anti-inflammatory substances are also found in omega-3s. Sardines and herring also provide the benefits of omega-3. A 4-ounce serving, two to three times a week is recommended.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are foods rich in vitamin E. Higher levels of vitamin E correspond with less cognitive decline as you get older. An additional ounce a day of walnuts, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, filberts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, sunflower needs, sesame seeds, flax seed and unhydrogenated nut butters such as peanut butter, almond butter, and tahini.

Avocados

In promoting brain health, avocados are almost as good as blueberries. Avocado is a fatty fruit, a monounsaturated fat that contributes to healthy blood flow. It also lowers blood pressure. Add ¼ to ½ of an avocado to one daily meal as a side dish because avocadoes are high in calories.

Whole grains

Whole grains like oatmeal, whole-grain breads, and brown rice can reduce the risk for heart disease. Whole grains release glucose slowly into bloodstream that keeps you mentally alert throughout the day.

Beans

Beans stabilize glucose levels. The brain is dependent on glucose for fuel and it can’t store the glucose as it relies on a steady stream of energy that beans can provide. Add ½ cup of lentils and black beans every day.

Pomegranate juice

This fruit offer potent antioxidant benefits that protect the brain from the damage of free radicals. Citrus fruits and colorful vegetables are on the list of the “brainy” foods because of their anti oxidant properties. Approximately 2 ounces is recommended daily diluted with spring water or seltzer.

Freshly brewed tea

Hot or iced, two to three cups a day of freshly brewed tea contains a modest amount of caffeine. It can boost brain power by enhancing memory, focus and mood. It also has potent antioxidants, which promotes healthy blood flow. Tea bags do count too.

Dark chocolate

This food has a powerful antioxidant properties, contains several natural stimulants that includes caffeine, which enhance focus and concentration and it stimulates the production of endorphins, which helps improve mood. To provide all the benefits you need, take one-half ounce to 1 ounce a day. You have to do this in moderation.

Healthy Foods that Keeps Hair Strong and Shiny

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Having healthy glowing skin and a swimsuit perfect figure are one of the top priorities when it comes to keeping ourselves looking young and healthy. But having a healthy body does not stop with this, equally important is how we keep our hair shining especially during those harsh summer days. If you feel that your hair is a bit dull or dry then you should start taking better care of them. Our hair plays an important role in our overall look just like our skin or figure. You don’t have to go to the hair salon just to keep it shining. Below are some must have foods to keep our hair looking shiny and fit.

Meat and Eggs

Meats and eggs play an important role in maintaining our hair’s health. These are rich sources of protein which is essential in hair growth and decreases hair fall. Those suffering from weak and brittle hair could also improve their hair condition by increasing their protein intake. The hair is also a good indicator of poor nutrition especially protein deficiency. Increasing our intake of eggs, chicken and dairy products can have a significant effect in addressing hair problems such as fall and breakage.

Green Vegetables

Here’s another good reason to eat green vegetables. The benefits of eating vegetables go beyond disease prevention. It is also essential for keeping our skin and hair shiny and healthy. You can never go wrong with eating green vegetables. It is rich in iron, calcium and Vitamins A and C. Green vegetables are vital for sebum production, cell growth and hair regeneration. It also keeps our hair glowing and shiny.

Whole grain foods

Whole grain foods are rich sources of Vitamin B1, B2 and B6, zinc and fiber. Whole grain foods include flour, rice, cereals and bread. This type of food is essential in providing nourishment vital for the scalp and follicles. If you’re having problems bringing back that shiny glow to your hair then including whole grains in your diet could improve its looks. Whole grain foods also promote healthy digestion. This means more nutrients for your skin and hair to keep them healthy.

Fish

Fish is an excellent source of Vitamins D and E and of course omega 3 acids. Many of today’s hair products contain omega-3 which has been proven to be effective in promoting hair growth and regeneration. It keeps the scalp healthy and makes hair shiny. A healthy scalp is important in maintaining hair quality. A diet that includes fish keeps the scalp clean and healthy.

Legumes

Some people suffer from brittle hair. This makes it hard to comb and prone to breakages. This is probably a sign that you are suffering from biotin deficiency. Legumes could quickly help this condition and increase your body’s supply of biotin. Legumes which include soy, lentils and beans contain large amounts of biotin for maintaining health strength. This is also rich in zinc and iron for hair strength and flexibility.

Avocados

Here’s one secret to having shiny, healthy hair. Avocados mixed with eggs make an excellent hair treatment potion. Including avocados in your regular diet ensures that you enjoy healthy shiny hair all the time.

Nuts

Nuts make excellent snacks. Cashews, almonds, walnuts are rich in zinc and selenium that prevents hair loss and breakage. This is great for people who might be suffering from thin and brittle hair. Keep your hair healthy by making nuts your favorite snack.

Image credit: freedigitalphotos.com

Energy Depleting Foods You Should Look Out For

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We often think of food as something that provides our body with much needed energy. But there are certain food types that instead of supplying our body with energy deplete our energy stores. The type of food we take has a direct effect on our energy levels. This is needed powering the body and performing our daily activities. Some food however, drains our energy leaving us tired and mentally drained. For a better idea on what types of food steal our energy, below is a list of energy-grabbing food.

High-sugar treats

Sugar is a good source of instant energy. Just take for example energy bars that provide us with a ready source of energy during workouts. But high-sugar treats or sweet candies could trick you into believing that you are getting energy. These cause our blood sugar to shoot up. The body in turn releases insulin to decrease sugar levels instantly. The result is a sudden drop of energy leaving us tired and exhausted.

Turkey

Eating a fairly large portion of turkey could be a good way of conditioning us for sleep. Of course having a full tummy works wonders in making us feel sleepy but there are deeper reasons why turkey could lull us to sleep. Turkey contains tryptophan an amino acid that helps relax the body. And more turkey means more tryptophan.

Fried Foods and Red Meat

Fatty foods make great barbeque and taste great when fried. However, this also means more work for our digestion. Red meat also takes a fair amount of time before they are finally broken down into its components. The body slows down as it concentrates on breaking these down. Eating fatty foods also soothes the nerves and makes us feel full and satiated. It calms the nerves and makes us less likely to perform activities.

Treated Water

Water is essential in our body’s normal functioning. It is great for quenching our thirst but does not contain energy. Water also takes up space in our stomach and drinking large amounts when we feel hungry limits the amount of food we can take.

Tap water for example undergoes a lot of treatment before it is considered safe for human consumption. Bottled water on the other hand is stored in shelves and isn’t exactly refreshing or revitalizing.

Microwave and Processed Food

Any process that disrupts food’s natural qualities can deprive it of its nutrients. Microwave food in particular disrupts the nutrients and energy content of food. Processed food prepared with chemicals isn’t an ideal source of energy either. We end up eating foods that actually deprive us of energy. Food and any living thing contain energy. When it is cooked or prepared with chemicals the energy source is depleted or altered.

Bread and Pasta

Bread contains carbohydrates and eating large amounts of it could leave you gasping for energy. The levels of carbohydrates can affect blood sugar levels. It can influence the amount of insulin in the body, the hormone responsible for breaking down blood sugar. The result is a sudden rush of energy followed by a period of fatigue.

Pasta is a rich source of starch that is stored in the body as sugar. Any increase in blood sugar automatically triggers insulin. This can cause your blood sugar levels to suddenly decrease, sapping your body of much needed energy.

Tea Time, Natural Ways to De-stress


The increasing number of people suffering from stress continues to be a growing concern for many health professionals. Some people might simply dismiss this as part of everyday life. After all, popping a pill is a simple solution to this common malady. But wouldn’t it be better if there was a more natural and safer solution to the problem?

Drinking tea for example is a simple and more natural way of relaxing your body and mind. This is not only an effective stress reliever but also helps reduce risks for other deadly diseases.

Ginseng is a popular traditional ingredient in many alternative treatments. It is known for its relaxing and mind clearing effects. A cup of ginseng tea helps calm the nerves and brings stress levels down. For people suffering from sleeping problems, drinking a cup of tea before bedtime also ensures that you get a good night’s sleep.

Ginseng has a bitter property. This is why it is often blended with other herbs to make it taste better. The herb is readily available in stores and supermarkets. Ginseng is mixed with other ingredients such as orange peel, Logan fruit, rose herbs, cinnamon and hibiscus flowers to make tea. Ginseng tea is not only served hot but could also be chilled for a more soothing effect.

Chamomile – this herb is a popular treatment for nausea and indigestion. It helps provide immediate relief that it is commonly used as a treatment for these maladies. Chamomile also has soothing effects that calms the nerves and reduces pent up stress. People who are hyperactive could use chamomile to calm their nerves and relax. It can also be used as a natural treatment for people suffering from insomnia.

Skullcap – has quite an interesting name for an herb that is known for its mind relaxing properties. Sipping this tea lowers your stress levels and helps you focus better mentally. Skullcap can also be an effective muscle relaxant, great for those long hours at the gym. High stress levels can leave people suffering with headaches and migraines. Skullcap tea eliminates these symptoms and alleviates moodiness. Its muscle relaxing properties can help women suffering from PMS or premenstrual syndrome. It reduces naturally reduces muscle cramps and pain during this difficult period.

Lavender – its smell alone could help relax a stressed out body. Combined with tea, it can help relax the mind and reduce stress levels. Lavender has the ability to relax the body after a grueling day at the office. It can help revive an exhausted body by rejuvenating and relaxing it.

Lavender could be used as a natural treatment for indigestion. It calms the muscles and decreases muscle spasms. Lavender can be blended with other herbs to reduce other symptoms such as irritability, sudden mood changes, nervous breakdowns, tensions, headaches, anxiety and migraines.

Mint – its cool taste and smell is enough to soothe even the most stressed body. Its aroma is so relaxing that even a sniff can relax your mind. Just like other teas, min tea is especially effective for treating stomach upset and indigestion. Mint flavored tea is one of the most popular blends. Its flavor easily mixes with other herbs and ingredients to make healthier and tastier blends.

Don’t Let Spider and Varicose Veins Ruin those Legs

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Wearing skirts and shorts is a wonderful way of showcasing those long sexy legs you’ve been working on at the gym. But varicose veins, those unsightly lines that seem to crawl out under your skin could dampen even the most stunning legs.

Spider and Varicose Veins

Spider veins appear because of poor blood circulation. This accumulates in the blood vessels and appears as bulges. Varicose veins usually appear on the thighs and legs but it is not limited to these areas. This condition can be seen in any area where blood accumulates and is near the skin. Although varicose and spider veins are results of blood accumulation, varicose are large while spider veins are smaller.

Common Causes

Spider and varicose veins can be seen in both men and women. However, women are highly at risk for this condition especially during pregnancy. The additional weight of a growing baby could place huge stress on the lower body. It is also commonly seen in older people. Genetics or a family of varicose and spider veins could also increase you risk for developing this condition.

  • Weight gain
  • Prolonged periods of standing
  • Pregnancy
  • Health conditions which lead to blood clotting
  • Vein disorders
  • Inflammation of the veins 

Spider and varicose veins are highly visible. This could be unsightly and could affect how you carry or choose your clothes. It can be depressing and could affect a woman’s confidence. Women may be forced to wear pants or thick stockings to hide these.

Some of the symptoms associated with spider and varicose veins include cramping, aches and swelling in the affected parts of the body. But the effects of unsightly veins go beyond its physical symptoms. People with spider veins also experience mental and emotional disorders as a result. It can lower your self-esteem and affect your personal relationships.

But varicose and spider veins are not inevitable. These could easily be avoided with a few tips. Below are simple ways to prevent varicose and spider veins from appearing.

  • Avoid standing for long periods. Take a break and rest those legs from time to time. Even a few minutes sitting down could go a long way in resting your veins and legs.
  • Wear high and low heels alternately. If your working attire requires high heels, make sure that you have low heels stored in your office.
  •  Ensure proper blood flow by not wearing tight stockings or pants for long periods. Wearing these could constrict the flow of blood and disrupt normal circulation.
  • Give your veins and legs a break by elevating them at night. If your job requires you to sit for long periods, crossing, standing or walking for a few minutes can help.
  • Wear compression hose to prevent varicose and spider veins from appearing.

But if you find yourself with these unsightly lines, help is available. Leg vein treatments may just be what your doctor or fashion consultant ordered.

Wearing compression stockings do not only prevent spider veins but are also effective in treating it. Medical interventions for varicose treatment are laser and endovenous treatments, sclerotherapy and surgery.

Sclerotherapy is a type of treatment that uses chemicals or medications. These are then injected to the area to lighten dark colored veins. However, multiple treatments are required. The procedure is done over a period of one to one and a half months. Some people may not respond similarly to treatment because it is limited to skin color. Surgical intervention for varicose and spider veins are used to cut the supply the flow of blood to these veins or improve blood flow in these areas.

So if you ever find yourself suffering from these conditions, remember that treatments are available. However, these are also preventable. And keeping in mind simple tips on how to avoid varicose veins could keep your legs looking young and healthy.