301013 Getting enough water into your body? Try these tips.

Getting enough water into your body? Try these tips.

Water constitutes a major portion of your body, more than 2/3’s of your body’s weight is water. Our brains are made up of 95% water; our blood supply contains 82% water and our lungs 90%.

One of the first signs of mild dehydration is fatigue. At 10% dehydration, there is a noticeable decrease in your mental and physical abilities. Water needs to be there when it’s needed by the body to function efficiently. If your urine is light colored, similar to pale lemonade, you are just about right in how much water you are drinking. If, on the other hand your urine is dark, that is a sign you are not getting enough water. Some drugs cause the urine to be dark and are not a sign of dehydration.

Therefore, to be effective in all of your daily activities you must have enough water in your system and if you are not getting enough each day try a few of these tips.

• Start carrying your water around with you, in your car, on your bike/motorcycle, and on your walks or runs. Keep a water bottle with you most of the time. You don’t have to spend much money on one, just use a one liter empty juice container. If you do decide to get one then buy a stainless steel version. And keep it clean so mold doesn’t build up inside.
• Drink water with your meals rather than a high calorie drink.
• If your water doesn’t taste good get a filter, add some flavor to it with lemon, lime or orange slices. Some have found that cucumber or other fruit makes their water easier to drink.
• Instead of drinking sugar loaded junk drinks, such as pop, drink water.
• Finally, if you are a parent, be a role model for your children and drink water.

Whatever you decide to do about getting enough water into your body each day, keep it up for the long haul.

281013 Increased belly fat raises your risk for heart disease and cancer

Increased belly fat raises your risk for heart disease and cancer

A study of 3000 Americans, recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology on 10, July, concluded that those with excess belly fat had a greater risk of developing heart disease and cancer in comparison to those who had excess fat elsewhere on their body. These citizens, average age of fifty, were followed for seven years during the study.

During this time, ninety of them had some sort of a cardiovascular episode, one hundred and forty one were diagnosed with cancer, and there were seventy-one deaths out of the original 3000 participants. It is unknown what caused these deaths.

Belly fat, the fat surrounding the organs in the abdominal cavity, is associated with raising the risk of both heart disease and cancer. The researchers admitted that this study did not show a clear cause-and-effect but there are strong connections.

Belly fat is also often an issue found in those with the metabolic syndrome, which is a grouping of known risk factors for poor health such as unhealthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels and high blood pressure. Each of these puts one in jeopardy of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes and a strokes.

Changing the diet and getting more exercise each day can have significant influences on these health conditions.

Risk factors that you can control toward keeping your heart healthy

• High blood pressure
• High cholesterol
• High triglycerides
• Diabetes
• Smoking
• Being over weight
• Alcohol consumption
• Excess stress
• Physical inactivity

You can take steps to mitigate each one of these if you have the mind to do so. Some may have to use various forms of medical interventions to help control their high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and diabetes. But the remainder, smoking, being overweight, alcohol consumption, excess stress and physical inactivity are squarely within your ability to change.

251013 An introduction into strength and power training for all ages-part 2

An introduction into strength and power training for all ages-part 2

If you’ve never lifted weights before or done any type of resistance training the biggest barrier to starting may be knowing where to begin. This may be your situation, if so all you need to start is a comfortable pair of shoes and clothing. Adding to this, a solidly built chair, a few dumbbells and if you’re able to skip rope, a skip rope. This is all you need to get started. There, that wasn’t so difficult was it?

Since the health benefits of strength training are founded on its ability to protect against the onslaught of frailty, while at the same time making everyday tasks easier and more manageable it is essential that you begin sooner rather than later. The longer you wait the more your muscle tissue, bone density, and strength dwindle. If you don’t do something about your strength and power abilities you will soon find it difficult to walk upstairs, get up from a chair, carry groceries, and fend for yourself as an independent person.

Not only will you find it difficult to do the aforementioned tasks but also lacking strength leads to falls and that can mean incapacitating fractures. This in turn further compromises your ability to lead an active life. Strength training has a wealth of research backing its ability to effectively slow down and possibly reverse these life altering events.

Even if you are in your 70s, 80s, 90s and above, research has shown a dramatic increase in strength, power, agility, and mobility within 10 weeks of lifting weights 2 to 3 times a week. Now you have to admit that this is not a tremendous time commitment, especially considering the benefits to your health.

231013 An introduction into strength and power training for all ages

An introduction into strength and power training for all ages

It turns out there are effective actions you can do to positively alter your health. They can help improve your blood sugar and cholesterol levels, help improve your mood, make you stronger and more powerful, and at the same time make your bones stronger to help ward off fractures. These are not the only benefits these actions, not by a long shot.

They can potentially help you avoid disability, frailty and retain that precious independence we all want to have as we age.

Strength training can do all of this.

It is a well-known fact that strength training offers all of the benefits previously mentioned, in addition to many others such as are listed in the following section from the Harvard Medical School.

“Practically any regular exercise benefits your health. Strength training specifically helps in the following ways:

• Strengthens muscles
• Strengthens bones
• Prevents falls and fractures by improving balance and preserving power to correct missteps
• Helps to control blood sugar
• Relieves some of the load carried by the heart
• Improves cholesterol levels
• Improves the body’s ability to pluck oxygen and nutrients from the blood stream
• Boosts metabolism even while sleeping and thus helps keep weight within a healthy range
• Prevents or eases lower back pain
• Relieves arthritis pain and expands limited range of motion
• Raises confidence , brightens mood, and helps fight mild to moderate depression
• Wards off loss of independence by keeping muscles strong enough for routine tasks”

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) there is now a heightened awareness of the benefits of strength training. There is also the fact that only a small percentage of the American population have actually started a strength training program. This percentage is estimated at just slightly under 22% for men and 18% of the women in our nation who are strength training twice a week on a regular basis.

This percentage figure is far below the U.S. governments Healthy People 2010 goal of 30% of the adults in America who make strength training a part of their exercise program.

211013 Four more reasons to keep your sodium intake low

Four more reasons to keep your sodium intake low

Researchers are finding that excessive sodium intake not only causes problems with your blood pressure but also harms the bone, cardiovascular system, kidneys, and your stomach.

The effect that high sodium has on your bones is this; it increases the amount of calcium eliminated through the urine. This process leaches calcium from the bone and contributes to bone loss, which increases the risk of suffering a bone fracture over time.

A simple reduction of salt intake has a positive influence on calcium balance. Reducing this calcium loss may help moderate some of the bone loss related to age.

A high level of sodium can make the blood vessels of your body less flexible. This loss of flexibility may cause or even worsen atherosclerosis. This may happen independently from sodium’s effect on the individual’s blood pressure.

A recent study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, described how a single, 1500 mg, high sodium meal caused a negative effect on the blood vessels ability to dilate in healthy people within thirty minutes of eating. Even more importantly, a high sodium load can be the trigger to heart failure in those with an already impaired heart function.

Medical professionals know that high blood pressure is a major cause of kidney damage. However, those outside of the medical field are generally unaware that sodium directly weakens the kidneys ability to process fluids. Moreover, an increased amount of leached calcium in the urine caused by high sodium can be a contributing factor to an increased risk of kidney stones.

If all that is not enough to cause you to use less salt, consider what the Institute of Medicine (IOM) had to say about high sodium intake and stomach problems.

In the report, mentioned earlier, they found a link between higher sodium intake and an increased risk of gastric cancer. This link, between salty foods and the stomach lining, implied that is more likely that the bacterium H.pylori (1) (a direct cause of ulcers and stomach cancer) can affect the stomach tissues. Not only is this a possibility but it also increases the likelihood that the stomachs environment may be altering the structure of H.pylori. This alteration may increase its ability to survive and therefore do more damage to the stomach lining.

(1)H. pylori is a spiral-shaped bacterium found in the stomach, which (along with acid secretion) damages stomach and duodenal tissue, causing inflammation and peptic ulcers. Approximately 30 to 40 percent of the U.S. population is thought to have H. pylori, but fortunately, most people don’t develop ulcers. Even so, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, H. pylori is a leading cause of ulcers among those who develop them

181013 Helping your heart with small changes in your eating habits

Helping your heart with small changes in your eating habits

You can lower the fat, saturated fats, cholesterol, and calories in your diet with a few minor adjustments to your meal preparations.

Some of these suggestions may take a while to get used to but once there, your heart will love you longer for taking care of it. Of course, it still needs exercise because no amount of exercise will overcome a poor diet.

Try a few of these substitutions and see what happens with your tests the next time you see your doctor.

• Instead of using barbecue sauce, salt, or soy sauce try herbs, lemon, or other spices on your food or when you prepare it.
• Mix 1 cup of fat free or low fat milk plus one tablespoon of liquid vegetable oil to replace 1 cup of whole milk.
• When making hamburgers or anything with hamburger in it use ground turkey or lean beef. If you insist on using hamburger start adding more ground turkey or lean beef to the mix rather than all hamburger.
• Substitute 1 cup of evaporated skim milk or ½ cup of low fat yogurt and ½ plain low fat unsalted cup of cottage cheese for 1 cup of heavy cream.
• Use fat free sour cream in place of sour cream.
• Blend 4 tablespoons of soft margarine with 1 cup dry unsalted cottage cheese and little fat free milk if the consistency isn’t what you consider your cream cheese should be like.
• Mix 1 tablespoon of soft margarine and ¾ tablespoon of vegetable oil as a substitute for 1 tablespoon of butter.
• For one egg, use two egg whites or a commercial brand of cholesterol free egg substitute.
• During your baking, if you need 1 cup of oil use ½ cup of applesauce and ¼ cup of oil.

Each of these substitutes will help you make healthier recipes for your heart.

161013 Healthy snacks that won’t bust the fat and calorie bank

Healthy snacks that won’t bust the fat and calorie bank

If you can’t go for more than thirty seconds without having something to snack on you are probably putting on weight every month. Snacks are not all that bad if you do it in a reasonable manner and by that I mean eating healthy ones.

Instead of eating regular potato chips or taco chips try the reduced sodium ones or get the baked instead of fried versions with the low sodium. Eat a few lightly salted pretzels or non-salted pretzels or air popped popcorn.

If you buy your snacks at Costco or other large warehouse store separate the contents into smaller one size portions so you control how much you eat at one sitting.

If you bake, use unsaturated oil or soft margarines, non-trans fat contents of course, and egg substitutes or egg whites and fat free milk. Angel food cakes are better for you than the traditional sugar, fat loaded, but great tasting cakes of your youth.

When it comes to cookies or crackers develop the taste for the fat free or low fat ones. It may take a while to do so but give it a whirl and see if you can make it happen over the course of several bags of boxes. Some of the better choices in this area are graham crackers, rice cakes, some of the fruit bars, and ginger snaps if you like the taste of these. Another option is molasses cookies, which in my case I haven’t had since my grandma used to bake them a long time ago.

Ice cream is the down fall of many a good diet intentions. Sherbet, frozen yogurt in the fat free or low fat styles and fruit juice bars all make good tasting substitutes for regular ice cream. Puddings are fine as long as you stick to the ones made with fat free milk.

141013 Columbus Day in the United States

Columbus Day in the United States

If Columbus had been in the U.S. Navy and his navigational skills were as poor as his was he would have been in deep trouble. For example, Columbus (1) sort of discovered America, but not really because he didn’t come close to our large landmass.

Yes, let’s ignore the fact that millions of humans already inhabited this land later to be called the Americas, having discovered it millennia before. And let’s ignore that whole Leif Ericson voyage to Greenland and modern-day Canada around 1000 C.M.E. If Columbus discovered America, he himself didn’t know. Until his death he claimed to have landed in Asia, even though most navigators knew he didn’t

What Columbus “discovered” was the Bahamas archipelago and then the island later named Hispaniola, now split into Haiti and the Dominican Republic. On his subsequent voyages he went farther south, to Central and South America. He never got close to what is now called the United States.

So why does the United States celebrate the guy who thought he found a nifty new route to Asia and the lands described by Marco Polo? This is because the early United States was fighting with England, not Spain. John Cabot (a.k.a. Giovanni Caboto, another Italian) “discovered” Newfoundland in England’s name around 1497 and paved the way for England’s colonization of most of North America. So the American colonialists instead turned to Columbus as their hero, not England’s Cabot. Hence we have the capital, Washington, D.C. — that’s District of Columbia, not District of Cabot.

(1) http://www.livescience.com/16468-christopher-columbus-myths-flat-earth-discovered-americas.html

If you want to read more then check out this site http://www.livescience.com

111013 Sticking to an exercise program

Sticking to an exercise program

There are those who exercise because they like it and those who exercise because someone told them they had to. Which one are you? If the latter, then perhaps you could benefit from a few tips on staying with it on your own.

Before doing any outside of normal activity see your doctor if any of these conditions exist in your background:

• If you are a man over 40 or a woman over 50
• If you have heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, asthma or are obese.
• Are at a high risk for heart disease, particularly so if you have a family history of the disease or stroke of if you have any other health risks that should be considered and subsequently evaluated by a medical professional.

Getting moving

1. Activity counts, no matter what it may consist of it is still movement and movement is what activity is all about. Choose something you like to do and stick with it. It can be as simple as walking around your property or neighborhood.
2. Get a mechanical motivator like a pedometer to track how many steps you took at the end of the day. Go for at least 10,000 steps each day and you will soon notice the health benefits of doing so.
3. Start a logbook. Once written down you begin a history of your activity and soon will be reluctant to miss a session.
4. Hook up with a friend and exercise together. Both of you will make gains in your health.
5. If you don’t have time to get a full session in then split it up into more manageable times. The current wisdom is ten minutes is about the shortest time that makes positive changes in your body and ultimately your health.
6. Use the stairs at work or in the stores. Get that body moving. Don’t get lazy by taking the easy way out on the mechanical devices to get somewhere.
7. Eat your noon meal on the go, get out in the fresh air by walking or doing something that gets your heart rate up.

Your body was built to move and not just sit on its butt.

091013 Early detection of disease – screenings for men

Early detection of disease – screenings for men

The earlier a disease is detected, the better off you may be. If you begin treatment soon after finding the problem the treatment is more effective in the early stages and the greater, the likelihood is that you will avoid any complications from the disease.

There are many opinions from various medical organizations recommending different health screenings at different frequencies in your life to consider. Your personal health history, as well as that of your close relatives, will have an influence on your decision to have these tests.

Don’t waste your money on useless tests; consult with your doctor to find out the ones that may benefit you the most. The following recommendations are generally those providing the greatest information for continued monitoring of your health.

Blood pressure readings measure the force of the blood against the walls of the arteries. The Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of high blood pressure advises getting this done at least every two years for anyone past the age of eighteen.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation counsels getting a bone mineral density test (BMT) at least one time for men over seventy years of age. A BMT is an Osteoporosis test that screens for brittle, weak bones leading causes of fractures in the elderly and those with osteoporosis.

Colon cancer screening tests for colon cancer or precancerous polyps. The American Cancer Society recommends the following schedule for these tests:

• At age fifty men should have tests for polyps and cancer with a flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years
• Colonoscopy every ten years
• Double contrast barium enema every five years or CT a colonography which is a virtual colonoscopy, every five years.
• Tests with the principle goal of finding cancer include:
o a yearly fecal occult blood test or a
o yearly fecal immunochemical test
• Diabetes screening tests. These check if you have high blood sugar. According to the American Diabetes Association these should be done every three years once you are past forty five years of age.
• The American Optometric Association advises regular eye exams along these lines:
o Ages 18-60 every two years
o Beyond age 61 every year
• Determining the fasting lipoprotein profile every five years, beginning at age twenty plus is the goal of the National Cholesterol Education Program Expert Panel. This checks the cholesterol levels in your body, which is one measure of your hearts health.
• The American Cancer Society recommends prostate screening for possible signs of prostate cancer starting at age 50. However, before jumping into the tests discuss the benefits and potential false readings with your doctor. For certain, African American’s and men with a family history of prostate cancer should be getting tested on a regular basis at an earlier date in their lives.

None of these tests are painful and there is no excuse not to be getting them on a regular basis.