During the last decades there has been a change towards mechanization and homogenization of farming, which uses pesticides, additives, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers and mass-production techniques. All this is clearly affecting mankind’s health, and new diseases are spreading rapidly amongst humans and animals (bird’s flu being the most recent one).
The World Health Organization produces reports to show how the use of chemicals and other products on food, coupled with the manufacturing processes involved, are actually a threat for our health.
If you have space for a few pots or even a small piece of land, it is a wise decision to grow your own organic vegetable garden. Today I’m presenting you with seven reasons for doing this: (more…)
Losing weight and maintaining the weight loss for an extended period of time requires some simple lifestyle adjustments. As long as you keep your adjustments within a sustainable reach, you should be able to lose weight and keep it off without much shock and interruption to your daily life.
Not surprisingly, losing weight does not have to require extended trips to the gym or engagement in some fad diet. Here are there steps to a healthier day that can help you slim down on weight without slimming down on your free time. (more…)
I seem to lost count on how many times I’ve read and heard of celebrity marriages failing almost left and right. Not that I care (and personally I don’t), it seems strange that we often see movie and TV stars as flawless people, living the fairytale life of riches and glamour. I suppose we all have to stop sticking our heads in the clouds and face reality.
There are many ways to lose your sense of self-esteem despite of how trivial it could get. But whatever happens, we should all try not to lose our own sense of self.
So what does it take to be a cut above the rest? Here are some of the things you can think and improve on that should be enough for a week. (more…)
The year was 1950, and The Magic 8-Ball had just arrived in stores. It looked like a toy, but it wasn’t. It was a future-telling device, powered by the unknown superpowers that lived inside its cheap plastic shell. Despite a bit of an attitude–”Don’t count on it,” “My reply is no”–it was a huge success. Americans, apparently, want to see their futures.
A few decades later, Congress passed the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act that, among other things, turned the 45,000 food products in the average supermarket into fortune-telling devices. Americans inexplicably yawned. I’m trying to change that. Why? The nutrition label can predict the future size of your pants and health care bills.
Unfortunately, these labels aren’t as clear and direct as the Magic 8-Ball. Consider the list of ingredients: The Food and Drug Administration has approved more than 3,000 additives, most of which you’ve never heard of. But the truth is, you don’t have to know them all. You just need to be able to parse out the bad stuff. Do that and you’ll have a pretty good idea how your future will shape up–whether you’ll end up overweight and unhealthy or turn out to be fit, happy, and energized. (more…)
Make the most of your breakfast.
It’s the most important meal of the day, so why do you either skip or skimp breakfast? After all, the benefits of eating breakfast can’t be ignored. But it’s not just eating breakfast that matters. It’s what you eat as well.
Why should you add breakfast to your already rushed morning routine? And what are the best and the worst food choices to jump start your day?
Research has shown that adults who eat a healthy breakfast on a daily basis are more likely to manage their weight; eat more vitamins and minerals; have lower cholesterol levels, which lowers the risk for heart disease; eat less fat and cholesterol; have better mental focus; and enjoy increased energy for daily tasks. (more…)
Waking up to what goes on during your sleep.
Sleep is essential for health and wellness, giving your body the ability to restore energy. Without sleep, you’re more likely to suffer from fatigue, memory loss, high blood pressure, depression, increased pain, weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and lasting illness.
So how much do you need? Depends on your age and whether you’re sleep deprived. An infant needs 16 to 18 hours of sleep each day. As a child grows, they progressively require less sleep. One- to three-year-olds need 12 to 14 hours, three- to six-year-olds need 10 to 12 hours, seven- to twelve-year-olds need 10 or 11 hours, teenagers need about 9, and most adults require 7 to 8 hours.
Since you’re dead to the world for at least one third of your life, you may wonder what goes on while you get shuteye. Wonder no more. (more…)
Discomfort in your lower back? You’re not the only one. Here’s what you can do to find relief and prevent future injury.
Second only to headaches as the most common neurological condition, lower back pain affects nearly everyone at some point in life. Low back pain is a leading cause of missed workdays and difficulty completing the daily activities of daily life.
The good news is that most low back pain goes away within several days. Short-term – a.k.a. acute – low back pain is usually attributed to some sort of trauma (sports injury, housework, heavy lifting, or car accident), a medical problem (osteoporosis, diabetes, pinched nerve, disc disease, or arthritis), or other condition (obesity, stress, smoking, poor posture, or scar tissue from a previous injury). The pain may be shooting or a dull ache and it may limit your range of motion.
The bad news is that while most bouts of lower back pain passes quickly, some episodes of back pain take much longer to heal and may lead to other serious conditions. Occasionally, the pain becomes chronic, lasting for more than three months. This pain slowly worsens and the cause may be unknown.
What can you do to relieve low back pain? And if you’re prone to back pain, what steps can you take to prevent future episodes?
Start with Self-Care
If you experience low back pain, you don’t have to head to the doctor right off the bat. Often, you can use a few common home remedies to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and restore range of motion. When three days of self-care doesn’t reduce the pain, seek medical attention. Now to the DIY care!
To reduce pain and inflammation, apply a cold compress to the area for 20 minutes several times a day for two to three days. Then apply heat (hot pad, warm bath) to relax muscles.
If pain interferes is debilitating, one to two days of bed rest may help. Bed rest for longer than this may be counterproductive and actually worsen pain. Resume light activity as soon as possible.
It may surprise you, but exercise may be the best remedy for low back pain. Exercise helps strengthen your back and abdominal muscles. Start slowly with stretching exercises and low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, or Yoga. If pain worsens or isn’t relieved, stop exercising.
Pain medications are helpful to relieve acute and chronic back pain. Try nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as naproxen, ibuprofen, or aspirin. You may also find topical pain-relieving sprays or creams helpful in reducing inflammation and increasing blood flow to the area.
Ounce of Prevention
If you’re prone to frequent back pain, here are some steps to lessen your chances of it reoccurring.
This may be a no-brainer, but the first step to reducing your risk for back pain is to avoid or change the activities that cause you pain. Whether it’s heavy lifting, bending over to tie your shoes, or reaching up into a high cabinet, find someone who can assist you with those pain-inducing tasks. If your back aches in the morning, try sleeping with a pillow under your knees if you sleep on your back, or between your knees if you prefer your side. If sitting for long periods flares your pain, place a small pillow behind your lower back against the chair.
To lessen your chances for low back pain, improve you posture. Sit and stand up straight. Also, regular exercise, including strength training to strengthen your back, core, and leg muscles. Exercise will also improve your posture.
On top of bad posture and a lack of exercise, stress can make your muscles tense and lead to low back pain. Unfortunately, this pain can lead to additional stress – a vicious cycle! In the event excessive stress is a part of your life, learn how to manage it with relaxation techniques.
Finally, if possible, wear low-heeled shoes instead of high heels, and quit smoking. The toxins from smoke lessen your pain tolerance, lead to osteoporosis, and decrease circulation, all of which contribute to low back pain. And keep a healthy weight, as carrying extra weight – especially around your waist – places a strain on your back.
New to the exercise world? Here’s how to get started.
You’ve made the decision to start an exercise program.Congratulations! You are one step closer to better health and a better body. Unfortunately, if you aren’t careful, your excitement will quickly fade and be long forgotten. So if you’re going to take the exercise plunge, take the steps necessary to stick with the program.
What can you do to get started on a program that will work for you today and in the long run? Keep reading for a handful of steps that will turn your exercise start-up into a lifestyle change that will last.
Step 1: Get the OK
Not everyone needs clearance from a doctor before starting an exercise program. If you’re in good physical health, nothing should hold you back. However, make an appointment with your doctor prior to exercising if you…
…have high blood pressure or heart problems.
…have been diagnosed with other medical conditions or illness.
…haven’t exercised in over a year.
…are older than 65 and aren’t physically active.
…experience dizziness, fainting spells, or chest pains.
…are pregnant or struggling with infertility.
…are recovering from an illness or recent injury. (more…)
The benefits and risks of exercising with diabetes.
There are many facets to living well with diabetes. One of the most important is regular exercise, as it helps control high blood glucose (sugar) levels.
Along with a eating a healthy diet and taking prescribed medications, regular exercise gives you the highest likelihood of thriving despite diabetes.
However, exercising with diabetes isn’t without its challenges. A diabetic’s body responds differently to exercise than a healthy body. With that in mind, what does a diabetic need to know about exercise? (more…)
While many studies have shown a link between exercise and better mood, it was not known “whether these positive effects endure when we’re faced with everyday stressors once we leave the gym,” said study researcher J. Carson Smith, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Maryland School of Public Health. (more…)