Endurance Training After Inflammation Aids Recovery

Recovering from any type of injury can take a lot of time, patience and painstaking steps. From research that was conducted in Sweden, it was found that individuals who suffer from some type of muscle inflammation injury do much better in their recovery when they implement endurance training.

Depending on the type of muscular ailment and how it presents itself, it could be the cause of an injury, infection or chronic disease. Either way, the inflammation that is experienced can be pretty terrible. Getting someone back in the saddle and towards a place where they can feel comfortable working out again is certainly ideal.

One of the researchers says of the predicament, “All the drugs people are using target one immune cell or group of immune cells, but there are no new drugs that target muscles that are dying. Yet, exercise takes care of the immune cells that are killing the muscles, and repairs the cell death of the muscle. The results weren’t surprising. The reason why exercise wasn’t considered before is that if people have muscles that are already inflamed or weak, they believe exercise would make the muscles worse. However, what is surprising is that question of why exercise is so effective. It’s because exercise takes care of the immune cells that are damaging the muscle while simultaneously targeting specific parts of dead or affected muscles.”

The Study

Exercise fundamentally alters the immune systems process as well as shifting the protein levels. The overall experiment took two groups for a period of 12 weeks. One group was deemed the exercise group while the other did not exercise. The muscle biopsies were taken both before and after for both groups. It was clear from how the participants were feeling that their levels of inflammation were decreasing.

Even though some may not see the correlation clearly, it makes sense that exercise would enliven and return the muscle back to its original form prior to its disruption by inflammation. Many inflammatory conditions do not exist in the same manner as traditional, external injuries that may cause inflammation.

Get Out There

Instead, these types of conditions can be better helped and healed in the presence of consistent exercise. What endurance training does is that it works the muscle at a point that it will then have to rest. Plus, the activation of the immune system variable is highly beneficial as most inflammation responses are triggered by the immune system not being able to ward off certain variables that make the inflammation begin in the first place. All in all it is almost indisputable the benefits that can be directly linked to physical activity.

While endurance training is ostensibly more specific than most types of exercise, the overarching theme is the same. If you are able and you won’t do more harm to your body, get out there and move. Work up a sweat. Do something that will activate your heart and refresh your mind. Your body will thank you for it in the form of improved health, dexterity, flexibility and so many other ways.

Skin Disease Awareness In The News

Indoor tanning even one time increases the risk for skin cancer greatly. For example, one study found the risk for melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, to be 74 percent greater among indoor tanners than non-tanners. Despite this, we know very little about skin cancer screening behavior among indoor tanners. Skin cancer screening can detect tumors when they are smaller, which is associated with better survival than later detection.

Previous research has shown that those who take part in indoor tanning are at a higher risk of developing melanoma and other skin cancers.  With that, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends those who take part in this activity be screened for skin cancer at regular intervals. Carolyn J. Heckman, Ph.D., a researcher in the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey explored if indoor tanners are getting themselves checked and taking other preventative measures as well. The research was recently published in the online edition of JAMA Dermatology.

Indoor Tanning And Skin Cancer

The team analyzed data from the National Health Interview Survey conducted with more than 30,000 U.S. adults. They looked at rates of skin cancer screening by a physician among people who had indoor tanned and those who had not. About 16.5 percent of the sample had indoor tanned, most of them more than a year ago. About 19.5 percent of non-indoor tanners had been screened for skin cancer, and a little more than 30 percent of indoor tanners had.

The team also explored which other sociodemographic, healthcare, as well as skin cancer risk and protective variables were associated with skin cancer screening and found many similar ones among the two groups – and some different ones. A key limitation is that data were collected at only one time-point, so they don’t know exactly when the screening occurred in relation to the indoor tanning.

The FDA recommends that indoor tanners be screened for skin cancer, but 70 percent of those who reported indoor tanning in this analysis have not done this. We need to develop ways to help providers and patients conduct this screening. For example, people with lower household incomes – less than $100,000 per year – were less likely to be screened, suggesting that making screening more accessible to this population might increase screening rates.

Men With Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer History Less Likely To Die Of Melanoma

Skin cancer survivors know firsthand that the disease is most treatable when detected early, so they’re more likely to be vigilant about skin exams. New research shows that such vigilance pays off. After studying more than 900 cases of melanoma reported through the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, researchers found that men with a history of nonmelanoma skin cancer were less likely to die of melanoma than those without an NMSC history. The research, led by Jiali Han, Ph.D., a professor and chair of epidemiology at the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health in Indianapolis, was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 

“Our results highlight the impact of early detection on skin cancer survival,” says board-certified dermatologist Steven T. Chen, MD, MPH, FAAD, an assistant professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School in Boston and a co-author of the JAAD study. “Because people who have been diagnosed with skin cancer are more likely to see a dermatologist for regular skin exams, any future skin cancers they may develop are more likely to be caught early, when they’re most treatable.”

“Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, killing one person every hour, so it’s great that NMSC survivors understand the importance of early detection,” says board-certified dermatologist Suzanne M. Olbricht, MD, FAAD, president of the American Academy of Dermatology. “However, regular skin self-exams are a habit that everyone, regardless of medical history, should adopt. While the five-year survival rate for people whose melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes is 99 percent, the five-year survival rates for regional and distant stage melanomas are only 63 percent and 20 percent, respectively. Men over 50 have an increased risk of developing melanoma, so we hope this PSA reminds them to keep a close eye on their skin, Furthermore, we encourage everyone, regardless of age, race or gender, to perform regular skin self-exams and see a board-certified dermatologist if they notice any new or suspicious spots, or any spots that are changing, itching or bleeding.”

Research Highlights Importance Of Melanoma Prevention, Early Detection

Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, can affect anyone. Everyone should take steps to reduce their risk and catch melanoma in its earliest stages, when it’s most treatable. Research presented by the American Academy of Dermatology emphasizes the importance of skin cancer prevention and detection. Researchers examined data collected from 118,085 individuals who received a free skin cancer screening. Approximately one-third of those surveyed indicated that they had recently observed a change in the size, shape or color of a mole – one of the major warning signs of melanoma.

“This result is encouraging, because it shows us that patients are keeping an eye out for suspicious spots on their skin, and that they know to see a board-certified dermatologist to evaluate those spots,” says board-certified dermatologist Hensin Tsao, MD, PhD, FAAD, a professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School. Melanoma is most treatable when detected early, so the AAD recommends performing regular skin self-exams to look for new or suspicious spots. The AAD also recommends seeing a board-certified dermatologist to evaluate anything changing, itching or bleeding on the skin. Because unprotected exposure to ultraviolet light is the most preventable skin cancer risk factor, the AAD advises everyone to stay out of indoor tanning beds and protect themselves from the sun’s harmful rays by seeking shade, wearing protective clothing and using a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Measuring Melanoma Risks

In compiling the survey data, researchers found that infrequent sunscreen use, high numbers of blistering childhood sunburns and chronic indoor tanning bed use were all associated with a recently changing mole. “These results indicate that although people know how to spot skin cancer, they aren’t taking action to prevent this disease from developing in the first place,” Dr. Tsao says. “While some individuals have a higher risk of developing melanoma than others, everyone increases their risk when they don’t protect their skin from harmful UV rays.”

The risk of developing melanoma is elevated among certain groups, including Caucasians, men over 50, people with a personal or family history of skin cancer, and those with many moles, atypical moles or large moles. Among the screening participants studied, however, the factors associated with a changing mole included not only a high mole count and a history of melanoma, but also being female and having skin of color. “While Caucasian men over 50 are at greatest risk for developing melanoma, skin cancer can affect anyone, so prevention and detection should be a priority for everyone,” Dr. Tsao says. “No matter your age, race or gender, it’s important to avoid harmful UV exposure from the sun and indoor tanning beds, and to perform regular skin self-exams so you can detect this disease early, when it’s most treatable. If you notice any new, unusual or changing spots on your skin, see a board-certified dermatologist. If you’re in any of the groups that are predisposed to melanoma, including those with many moles and those with a family history of skin cancer, talk to your dermatologist about how often you should receive a skin exam.”

How Much Sun Is Good For Our Health?

Spanish researchers have estimated the duration of solar radiation exposure required in order to obtain the recommended doses of vitamin D. While in spring and summer 10 to 20 minutes in the sun is enough, in the winter months almost two hours would be needed. For the vast majority of the population it is difficult to achieve the optimal values.

Every year, studies on the benefits of sunbathing in moderate doses are interspersed with those that confirm the risks of doing it excessively. Although ultraviolet solar radiation contributes to the development of sun erythema, cancer and aging of the skin, it also reduces blood pressure, synthesizes vitamin D and improves the treatment of several diseases. The Solar Radiation Research Group at the Polytechnic University of Valencia has analyzed the exposure time needed to obtain the recommended doses of vitamin D without damaging our health. The results have been published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

As María Antonia Serrano, a scientist at the UPV and main author of the study, explains: “In Spain, despite being a country with many hours of sunlight, several articles have reported a high percentage of vitamin D deficiency among various strata of the Spanish population.” Vitamin D deficiency is linked in adults to a higher risk of suffering from various diseases. Since very few foods contain this vitamin, its synthesis in the skin as a result of sun exposure is the main natural source that exists.

Serrano and her colleagues estimated the time needed to obtain the recommended doses – equivalent to a daily intake of 1,000 international units of vitamin D – in an area such as the city of Valencia, which receives a large dose of UV radiation throughout the year.

Burning In 30 Minutes

The study analyzed ultraviolet solar irradiance around midday for four months of the year – one in each season – from 2003 to 2010. With these figures the time taken to cause erythema – reddening of the skin caused by burns – was calculated. The facts show that in July, an individual with skin type III – the most common among the population of Spain – must not spend more than 29 minutes in the sun if they wish to avoid erythema. However, in January, the same individual can remain in the sun for 150 minutes.

The minimum exposure time to obtain the recommended daily dose of vitamin D was obtained the same way. The problem can appear in winter due to low levels of UV radiation and because people cover most of their bodies. It was found that around midday in January, with 10 percent of the body exposed, around 130 minutes are needed to obtain the recommended daily dose of vitamin D.

As this time is shorter than the time taken to get erythema, there is no risk of sunburn. By contrast, in April and July, with 25 percent of the body exposed, around 10 minutes is sufficient to acquire the vitamin. And in October, for example, 30 minutes would be enough. “These calculations were made for skin type III, but the figures would change for those who are lighter or darker in complexion,” Serrano points out. “It is also essential to bear in mind that we have considered the usual percentage of the body exposed for the season. If more skin is exposed, exposure time can be reduced.”

Similarly, the time obtained for erythema to occur was calculated for average days. “It should be taken with caution. On extreme days, permissible exposure times would be much shorter,” she stresses.

Maintaining Vitamin D In Winter

The results show that, although there is sufficient radiation in countries like Spain, it is difficult to attain recommended doses of vitamin D in winter – from November to February at a northern mid-latitude, since the exposure time required is excessive – 130 minutes. “Radiation received also depends on posture, body shape and clothing. It should also be remembered that not all areas of the body synthesize vitamin D with the same efficiency,” Serrano added. “An individual’s age also plays an important role in synthesizing vitamin D from UV radiation, because the older one gets the less able one is able to produce vitamin D. Middle-aged adults have 66 percent of the potential that children have to do this. These results can help to adopt the right measures to make up for any deficiency, such as informing the medical profession about the utility of increasing vitamin D intake in the diet or through supplements.”

What Is Meadowsweet?

There are several plants in the wild that grow languidly that we have likely been seeing for most of our lives. One of those plants could be the sweetly smelling meadowsweet. Traditionally, the plant was used to get rid of the unpleasant smells in old buildings and factories. With a scientific name like Filipendula ulmaria, it has also been known to be used in vinegar, mead and wines. Found in specific parts of Asia, North America and Europe it has been used as an ornament to a functional part of a garden. Luckily for us, it also has healing properties that make it a great element to incorporate into your life.

Provides Pain Relief

Because of the intrinsic anti-inflammatory elements within the plant, it has been used to treat mild aches and pains, arthritis and even headaches. The Native Americans would mash the root of the plant into a concoction and place it on the area of discomfort. It can even be used on gout or bouts of eczema. Due to the salicylate content, the amount of inflammation that you may be experiencing will dissipate in the presence of this amazing plant. The analgesic properties will help the discomfort.

Aids Digestion

If you are suffering with the way your stomach sometimes acts after you eat certain foods, you want to try this very impressive oil out. Meadowsweet is known to help tummy troubles that begin with digestion and can turn into stress-related issues like ulcers. Studies have shown that the components in meadowsweet help to promote the healthy flow of your digestive juices and can even be found to prevent and heal lesions within the stomach that can cause very serious issues.

Fever Breaker

Due to the analgesic properties that are found within the plant, using it is a great way to break a fever. If you are feeling feverish or under the weather – hot and cold flashes, chills and general lethargy – try rubbing some of the meadowsweet on the bottom of your feet. Your fever will then be drawn out from your feet and you should start to feel better in a couple of hours. If you are feeling specific aches and pains, you can also topically treat them with the powerful and impressive meadowsweet.

Respiratory Issues And Colds

When that seasonal sniffle comes around, there’s no need to inundate yourself with cold medicine and cough drops. Many of the over-the-counter medicines are often filled with additives and preservatives that you don’t want to ingest. Opt to go the natural route with plants like meadowsweet that can help with congestion, sore throats, coughing and even the wheezing that asthmatics suffer from. The natural anti-inflammatory properties of the plant help to clear the pathways for clearer, better breathing and also help to take stress and pressure off the lungs and throat. Having trouble breathing is not a very fun experience and this plant can help to make it a distant memory.

You can purchase meadowsweet online from several companies at amazon.com.

Antioxidant Foods Linked To Lower Diabetes Risk

As is known from many research studies and commonly held practices, antioxidants have amazing benefits that are great for the immune system and potentially even helpful in the prevention of cancer. Antioxidants have been lauded as a great way to thwart the onset of certain cardiovascular conditions because of their heart-healthy properties.

It appears that these more commonly known aspects of antioxidants’ benefits also include another harmful condition. The risk of developing type-2 diabetes seems to be rising as our society has an even greater access and consumption of foods that compromise blood sugar levels. This compromise causes the pancreas to be unable to properly excrete insulin which allows the body to properly process sugar. Unprocessed sugar can be devastating to the system.

Diabetes Risk

Research that was done in Europe found this correlation and noted that it was known that certain flavonoids, lycophenes, and vitamins were associated with mitigating risk of diabetes. This particular study took on specific isolated nutrients in a quest to find how these entities helped better influence a standard diet. Over 60,000 women were given comprehensive tests and asked questions regarding over 200 different food items.

The information that was garnered showed the total dietary antioxidant capacity. The risk of diabetes was shown to diminish when the antioxidant consumption was increased. Typical antioxidant items include blueberries, prunes, hazelnuts, walnuts, tea, dark chocolate, and strawberries.

According to study author Francesca Romana Mancini, “This link persists after taking into account all the other principal diabetes risk factors: smoking, education level, hypertension, high cholesterol levels, family history of diabetes and, above all, BMI, the most important factor.”

Restore Your Health

There is clearly something at play that acknowledges the way that specific foods, in isolation and heavy consumption, have an obvious relationship with this disease. The inclusion of these antioxidant foods has been shown to help lessen the risk factors in getting this terrible disease. It also helps that these foods are all generally very low in sugar and carbohydrates.

A diet that is heavy and high in carbs is not going to be properly processed within a body that is diabetic or even one that is pre-diabetic. The reason why so many people are diagnosed with adult onset diabetes is because our national diets are so poorly composed and contain high amounts of sugar and carbs. While there are still people that react fine to high complex carbs, carbs do end up turning into sugar, and when that happens, the body must work extra hard to be able to do what it is supposed to in order to decipher all of that sugar. Without the insulin from the pancreas, all other organs will be compromised and weaken.

The incorporation of exercise and a sound diet, which includes many antioxidant-rich foods, is a great way to not only prevent the occurrence of diabetes but also treat it as if you have been diagnosed. It is of paramount importance to take your health incredibly seriously as we only get one body. Refusing to do right by it and instead filling it with junk is no way to treat your health and life. Become consistently active, stay away from sugar and refined carbs, and start to do the work necessary to take back and restore your health.

The Egg Has Stunning Nutritional Value For Children

When the Brown School located in Washington, D.C. was researching child hunger in conjunction with the most nutritionally-dense foods that are available worldwide, they found the ever-present egg as the best answer. One of the reasons that eggs came out on top is because they significantly impact the growth of a young child – by almost 47 percent. These are astounding numbers that can potentially invoke some planning regarding how to get more chickens, and subsequently the eggs, to places in the world that need them.

Another reason why eggs are such a good choice for children in developing countries that don’t have a lot of access to food and supplies is because eggs are high on the satiety index, which means that they keep stomachs full for longer periods of time than some of their alternatives such as rich or beans. Eggs are also incredibly affordable and can be found virtually on any part of the globe.

“Eggs are also a good source of nutrients for growth and development in young children,” says Lora Iannotti, lead author on the study and an associate professor at Brown. “Eggs have the potential to contribute to reduced-growth stunting around the world. We were surprised by just how effective this intervention proved to be.”

While egg allergies are becoming more common in America, in other parts of the world this isn’t the case. Iannotti is careful to point out that during this study many caregivers were monitoring children closely and prepared for the sight of any type of allergic reaction, but in this case none occurred.

Unique Superfood

For years, the egg was talked about very unfairly and many thought they were bad for you. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. Eggs are often referred to as complete in nutritional circles.  An egg is one of the best foods you can put in your body. The egg is a unique superfood that is packed full of high levels of protein, good fats, vitamins and minerals. It is also full of rich antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants are integral to eye growth and the protection against conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

There were many people that would only eat the egg white for quite a bit of time but the yolk is actually the most nutritious part. Also, good fats are necessary for the overall betterment of health. Eggs also do not have carbohydrates, which means they will not negatively impact resting blood glucose levels.

Eggs really are the perfect food. They can also be cooked in a myriad of different ways and are easily added to other foods. Eggs can be incorporated into many different cultural cuisines and it always makes for an excellent meal.

Where there are eggs, chickens aren’t too far away. They bring even more protein to the conversation, which is essential for the overall betterment and healthy growth of children. Finding sustainable ways to feed those in need should be a top priority. Doing so in a way that can also be healthy is necessary to the fabric of our society.

The Benefits Of Eating Fruits And Vegetables

University of Otago researchers have discovered that raw fruit and vegetables may be better for your mental health than cooked, canned and processed fruit and vegetables. Dr. Tamlin Conner, Psychology Senior Lecturer and lead author, says public health campaigns have historically focused on aspects of quantity for the consumption of fruit and vegetables – such as five or more a day. However, the study, recently published in Frontiers in Psychology, found that for mental health in particular, it may also be important to consider the ways in which produce is prepared and consumed.

The top 10 raw foods related to better mental health are carrots, bananas, apples, dark leafy greens such as spinach, grapefruit, lettuce, citrus fruits, fresh berries, cucumber, and kiwifruit. “Our research has highlighted that the consumption of fruits and vegetables in their ‘unmodified’ state is more strongly associated with better mental health compared to cooked/canned/processed fruit and vegetables,” Conner says. This could be because the cooking and processing of fruit and vegetables has the potential to diminish nutrient levels. “This likely limits the delivery of nutrients that are essential for optimal emotional functioning,” she said.

For the study, more than 400 young adults from New Zealand and the United States aged 18 to 25 were surveyed. This age group was chosen as young adults typically have the lowest fruit and vegetable consumption of all age groups and are at high risk for mental health disorders. The group’s typical consumption of raw versus cooked and processed fruits and vegetables were assessed, alongside their negative and positive mental health, and lifestyle and demographic variables that could affect the association between fruit and vegetable intake and mental health – such as exercise, sleep, unhealthy diet, chronic health conditions, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and gender.

“Controlling for the covariates, raw fruit and vegetable consumption predicted lower levels of mental illness symptomology, such as depression, and improved levels of psychological wellbeing including positive mood, life satisfaction and flourishing,” Conner added. “These mental health benefits were significantly reduced for cooked, canned, and processed fruits and vegetables. This research is increasingly vital as lifestyle approaches such as dietary change may provide an accessible, safe, and adjuvant approach to improving mental health.”

Fruits And Vegetables May Prevent Premature Deaths

A fruit and vegetable intake above five-a-day shows major benefits in reducing the chance of heart attack, stroke, cancer and early death. This is the finding of research, led by scientists from Imperial College London, which analyzed 95 studies on fruit and vegetable intake. The team found that although even the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day reduced disease risk, the greatest benefit came from eating 800 grams a day – roughly equivalent to 10 portions – one portion of fruit or vegetables if defined as 80grams.

The study, which was a meta-analysis of all available research in populations worldwide, included up to two million people, and assessed up to 43,000 cases of heart disease, 47,000 cases of stroke, 81,000 cases of cardiovascular disease, 112,000 cancer cases and 94,000 deaths.

In the research, which is published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, the team estimate approximately 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide could be potentially prevented every year if people ate 10 portions, or 800 grams, of fruit and vegetables a day. The team also analyzed which types of fruit and vegetables provided the greatest protection against disease. “We wanted to investigate how much fruit and vegetables you need to eat to gain the maximum protection against disease, and premature death,” explained Dr. Dagfinn Aune, lead author of the research from the School of Public Health at Imperial. “Our results suggest that although five portions of fruit and vegetables is good, 10 a day is even better.”

The Benefits Of Higher Intakes

The results revealed that even a daily intake of 200 grams was associated with a 16 percent reduced risk of heart disease, an 18 percent reduced risk of stroke, and a 13 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. This amount, which is equivalent to two-and-a-half portions, was also associated with four percent reduced risk in cancer risk, and 15 percent reduction in the risk of premature death.

Further benefits were observed with higher intakes. Eating up to 800 grams of fruit and vegetables a day – or 10 portions – was associated with a 24 percent reduced risk of heart disease, a 33 percent reduced risk of stroke, a 28 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, a 13 percent reduced risk of total cancer, and a 31 percent reduction in dying prematurely. This risk was calculated in comparison to not eating any fruit and vegetables. The current United Kingdom guidelines are to eat at least five portions or 400 grams per day. However, fewer than one in three UK adults are thought to meet this target.

The team were not able to investigate intakes greater than 800 grams a day, as this was the high end of the range across studies. An 80 gram portion of fruit and vegetables equals approximately one small banana, apple, pear or large mandarin. Three heaped tablespoons of cooked vegetables such as spinach, peas, broccoli or cauliflower count as a portion.

Specific Fruits, Vegetables And Diseases

The researchers also examined the types of fruit and vegetables that may reduce the risk of specific diseases. They found the following fruits and vegetables may help prevent heart disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and early death: apples and pears, citrus fruits, salads and green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce and chicory, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. They also found the following may reduce cancer risk: green vegetables, such as spinach or green beans, yellow vegetables, such as peppers and carrots, and cruciferous vegetables.

Similar associations were observed for raw and cooked vegetables in relation to early death, however, additional studies are needed on specific types of fruits and vegetables and preparation methods. The team say the number of studies was more limited for these analyses, and the possibility that other specific fruits and vegetables may also reduce risk cannot be excluded.

Several potential mechanisms could explain why fruit and vegetables have such profound health benefits. “Fruit and vegetables have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and to boost the health of our blood vessels and immune system,” Aune said. “This may be due to the complex network of nutrients they hold. For instance they contain many antioxidants, which may reduce DNA damage, and lead to a reduction in cancer risk. Compounds called glucosinolates in cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, activate enzymes that may help prevent cancer. Furthermore, fruits and vegetables may also have a beneficial effect on the naturally-occurring bacteria in our gut.”

The vast array of beneficial compounds cannot be easily replicated in a pill. “Most likely it is the whole package of beneficial nutrients you obtain by eating fruits and vegetables that is crucial is health,” Aune continued. “This is why it is important to eat whole plant foods to get the benefit, instead of taking antioxidant or vitamin supplements, which have not been shown to reduce disease risk.”

In the analysis, the team took into account other factors, such as a person’s weight, smoking, physical activity levels, and overall diet, but still found that fruit and vegetables were beneficial. “We need further research into the effects of specific types of fruits and vegetables and preparation methods of fruit and vegetables,” Aune continued. “We also need more research on the relationship between fruit and vegetable intake with causes of death other than cancer and cardiovascular disease. However, it is clear from this work that a high intake of fruits and vegetables hold tremendous health benefits, and we should try to increase their intake in our diet.”

Fruits And Vegetables Lower Blood Pressure

Eating potassium-rich foods like sweet potatoes, avocados, spinach, beans, bananas and even coffee could be key to lowering blood pressure, according to Alicia McDonough, Ph.D., professor of cell and neurobiology at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. “Decreasing sodium intake is a well-established way to lower blood pressure,” McDonough says, “but evidence suggests that increasing dietary potassium may have an equally important effect on hypertension.”

McDonough explored the link between blood pressure and dietary sodium, potassium and the sodium-potassium ratio in a review article published in the American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism. The review looked at population, interventional and molecular mechanism studies that investigated the effects of dietary sodium and potassium on hypertension. She found several population studies demonstrating that higher dietary potassium – estimated from urinary excretion or dietary recall – was associated with lower blood pressure, regardless of sodium intake. Interventional studies with potassium supplementation also suggested that potassium provides a direct benefit.

McDonough reviewed recent studies in rodent models to illustrate the mechanisms for potassium benefit. These studies indicated that the body does a balancing act that uses sodium to maintain close control of potassium levels in the blood, which is critical to normal heart, nerve and muscle function. “When dietary potassium is high, kidneys excrete more salt and water, which increases potassium excretion,” McDonough says. “Eating a high potassium diet is like taking a diuretic.” Increasing dietary potassium will take a conscious effort, however. Our early ancestors ate primitive diets that were high in fruits, roots, vegetables, beans and grains – all higher in potassium – and very low in sodium. As a result, humans evolved to crave sodium but not potassium. Modern diets, however, have changed drastically since then: processed food companies add salt to satisfy our cravings, and processed foods are usually low in potassium.

Dietary Potassium Benefits

“If you eat a typical Western diet, your sodium intake is high and your potassium intake is low,” McDonough says. “This significantly increases your chances of developing high blood pressure. When dietary potassium is low, the balancing act uses sodium retention to hold onto the limited potassium, which is like eating a higher sodium diet.”

How much dietary potassium should we consume? A 2004 Institute of Medicine report recommends that adults consume at least 4.7 grams of potassium per day to lower blood pressure, blunt the effects of dietary sodium and reduce the risks of kidney stones and bone loss. Eating three-fourths of a cup of black beans, for example, will help you achieve almost 50 percent of your daily potassium goal. McDonough recommends developing public policies to increase intake of dietary potassium from plant-based sources. She also advocates adding potassium content to nutrition labels to help raise consumers’ awareness of economical sources of potassium.

Fresh Fruit For Lower Risk Of Diabetes

In a research article published in PLOS Medicine, Huaidong Du of the University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom and colleagues report that greater consumption of fresh fruit was associated with a lower incidence of diabetes, as well as reduced occurrence of complications in people with diabetes, in a Chinese population.

Although the health benefits of diets including fresh fruit and vegetables are well established, the sugar content of fruit has led to uncertainty about associated risks of diabetes and of vascular complications of the disease. Du and colleagues studied nearly 500,000 people participating in the China Kadoorie Biobank over about seven years of follow-up, documenting new cases of diabetes and recording the occurrence of vascular disease and death in people with pre-existing diabetes.

The researchers found that people who reported elevated consumption of fresh fruit had a lower associated risk of developing diabetes in comparison with other participants, which corresponds to an estimated 0.2% reduction in the absolute risk of diabetes over five years. In people with diabetes, higher consumption of fresh fruit was associated with a lower risk of mortality, corresponding to an absolute decrease in risk of 1.9% at five years, and with lower risks of microvascular and macrovascular complications.

Tips For Healthier Sleep Habits

Sleep issues creep up on people at different points of their lives. When I was in college, I couldn’t stay asleep in bed for more nights then I’d like to admit. The problem was so persistent that it drastically impacted my studies. Research shows that long-term sleep deprivation causes serious health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease. After seeking medical help, it was evident that poor sleeping habits was one of the contributing factors to my challenges getting quality sleep. As a result, I decided to put together a list of tips for healthier sleep habits.

Find Time To Relax

Scientists attribute stress to most of the sleeping disorders around the world. I usually relieve stress by reading a novel, taking a warm bath, or listening to soft music before going to bed. Moreover, I could write a to-do list before going to bed to free my mind of worrying about tomorrow’s list of things to do.

Develop A Sleep Routine

Having a regular sleeping and waking time contribute to healthy sleep. In the past, I could watch a movie till late in the night before going to bed. This was the primary cause of the sleeping problems. Nowadays, I sleep at 10 p.m. and wake up at 5 a.m. every day. I recommend finding a time that works best for you and stick to it.

Avoid Electronic Gadgets

Smartphones, TVs, computers and other electronic gadgets are known to interfere with sleep quality. They have bright screens and radio waves that make sleep very difficult. The blue light from these devices suppresses a sleep hormone known as melatonin. Therefore, it is best practice to stop using the electronic devices at least one hour before sleep. Nowadays, I get a peaceful sleep after adopting a routine of switching off technology gadgets by 9 p.m.

Make Your Bedroom Comfortable

Equip your bedroom with comfortable bedding and temperature control systems. Studies have shown that bedrooms with pale colors can contribute to better sleep. Additionally, pleasant smells such as geranium and lavender provide a soothing setting for sleep.

Don’t Stay Awake Watching The Clock

In the past, I had a habit of watching the clock regularly in the night. This causes a lot of anxiety that can hamper your sleep. The remedy is to focus on calm thoughts rather than turning around to look at the clock after every few minutes. When I need an alarm, I usually turn the clock around to prevent seeing the time.

Foods For Sleep

Studies show that healthy foods improve sleep significantly. Foods that are beneficial for healthy sleep include chicken, milk, pumpkin seeds and turkey. These foods contain chemicals known as serotonin and tryptophan. These chemicals stimulate the release of melatonin, which promotes sleep. Moreover, I am always keen on eating a well-balanced diet with lots of veggies and fruits.

Avoid Certain Foods

Poor sleep can creep up if you consume alcohol, spicy foods, and large meals a few hours before bedtime. Also, coffee late in the afternoon affects sleep. In this case, I usually take caffeinated drinks early in the day to avoid interfering with the night sleep. Also, I avoid sugary foods before going to bed. Sugars found in these foods lead to energy spikes that can hamper your sleep. Studies have shown that people who have problems sleeping tend to eat junk foods the day prior. This habit creates a cycle of bad diet and poor sleep, so you should avoid sugary foods at all cost.

Switch Off Lights

I have also found that darkness promotes good sleep. People sleep when it is dark and wake up in the morning when the sun rises. Alternatively, I use dimmer lights to reduce the light intensity in the bedroom. Therefore, you should also consider buying inexpensive lamps that come with a dimmer switch. Also, I recommend considering the use of heavy curtains if street lights penetrate your bedroom. I live near the street, so I invested in blackout blinds to prevent street lights from entering my bedroom.

Keeping Fit Helps With Sleep Quality

A great way to keep fit is by engaging in physical activities. Exercise boosts not only your sleep, but also your body health. I usually engage in a 30-minute workout daily, and the benefits are amazing. Some individuals find it hard to sleep if they engage in physical activity a few hours before bedtime. Overall, you will get better sleep if you exercise daily.

Spend The Right Time In Bed

To get a good sleep every night you should aim to get at least seven or eight hours of sleep consistently on a daily basis. However, the number of hours varies greatly depending on an individual. Everyone’s phenotype is different, but typically spending more than nine hours in bed can lead to a poor sleeping habit for the average person. I usually sleep for about seven hours and have found it helpful. People who take hours to fall asleep may go to bed later to avoid spending as much time in bed.

Focus On The Sleep Quality

Many people focus on the amount of time spent sleeping rather than the sleep quality they are receiving. Research shows that there are five stages of sleep, each with its significance. In short summary, there are iterative phases before reaching deep sleep. So even disruptions like getting up to go to the toilet in the middle of your sleep can make you fail to complete all stages. In this case, you should avoid taking too much liquid just before bedtime and regulating the timing of when you eat dinner. To help with sleep quality, it helps to have a nice pillow that can keep the heat down and comfort levels high. Check out our guide to Best Cooling Mattress Pad to see our mattress pad breakdowns or Best Pillow For Stomach Sleepers to see our pillow breakdowns.


Many people around the world have sleep-related problems. It leads to poor health and low productivity in the workplace. Most of the people fail to get healthy sleep because of the poor lifestyle habits. I had a sleeping problem in the past until I decided to change my sleep habits.





Exercise And Bone Health

There are several correlations between the health in different parts of your body. Some symptoms that you endure are felt and related to other parts you may not even think of. Many wouldn’t guess that there is a connection between bone health and weight loss and exercise. Weight loss is typically linked to things like heart health and cholesterol, but believe it or not, the bones are greatly impacted by the amount of weight you carry on your body at any given time.

The UNC School of Medicine in North Carolina conducted research regarding just how these two things are correlated. One of the ways that this shows itself is that when fat is burned, it allows for subtle bone building to take place. So when you are active, you are readily helping your body mass to become stronger and more tightly compacted. Another way that obesity and weight affect bones is that many of the conditions that the overweight are prone to – like diabetes, arthritis or inflammation – deeply affect the bones and bone health.

Dr. May Styner explains, “One of the main clinical implications of this research is that exercise is not just good, but amazing for bone health. In just a very short period of time, we saw that running was building bone significantly in mice. I see a lot of patients with poor bone health, and I always talk to them about what a dramatic effect exercise can have on bones, regardless of what the cause of their bone condition is.”

Preventing Osteoporosis

This research shows that being active and keeping yourself at a healthy weight has tremendous benefits outside of what some may typically think. Bone health and density are key to preventing painful breaks or other symptoms of osteoporosis that result from weak bones. There is a specific type of fat that is present in the marrow that is associated with low-density levels in the bones. The same way excess fat can be a hindrance to the body can be found within the fat cells that live in the marrow as well.

During the research study, two separate groups of mice were evaluated. The group that had greater access to the running wheel for a six-week period of time lost more fat cells in their marrow. This was found to not only help their body composition but also the density in their bones. Consistent exercise improved the thickness of the bones which increased necessary bone health.

One of the mysteries that still needs to be better understood is the correlation between building better bones and the burning of marrow fat.  There is a possibility that there is some type of delayed strengthening of bone that takes place when marrow fat is being burned but that has yet to be completely proven.

In order to surmise the correct findings, micro CT imaging is used to measure both the marrow fat and the bone density. There is even a sophisticated MRI machine that is employed for various types of observations of the bone and how it can change over the course of the experiment. One thing is for sure, bone health is not something that exists completely separate from many of the other common health concerns.

5 Key Steps To Keep Your Cholesterol In Check

Most of your body’s cholesterol is produced by your liver, but blood cholesterol levels can rise if you eat the wrong foods every day. Blood contains both high-density lipoprotein (HDL), referred to as “good cholesterol,” and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also called “bad cholesterol.” Too much bad cholesterol over time can lead to the build-up of fatty substances in arteries that can cause blockages as part of cardiovascular disease, and in the worst cases, heart attack or stroke.

Unfortunately, potentially dangerous high cholesterol levels do not always have symptoms. For this reason, everyone is urged to get their cholesterol levels checked – from young adulthood throughout their lifetime. A simple blood test can help save your life or allow you to make lifestyle changes to maintain healthy cholesterol levels to prevent a future cardiac event or heart disease.

Here are 5 steps to keep your cholesterol in check.

Know Your Cholesterol Numbers 

A simple blood test to check LDL and HDL cholesterol levels, as well as your triglycerides, is key. An ideal LDL cholesterol level is 100-129 mg/dL; an ideal HDL cholesterol level is 60 mg/dL and above; and an ideal level for triglycerides, below 150 mg/dL. An ideal “total cholesterol” level measuring your HDL, LDL, and triglycerides together is less than 180 mg/dL. A statin medication may be prescribed by your doctor to help lower your LDL cholesterol, which also may have additional health benefits.

Exercise Regularly 

Stay active and avoid a sedentary lifestyle to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. You should aim to walk briskly for at least 30 minutes a day, or perform aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes as part of your everyday routine. This can include exercising at the gym, brisk walking, bicycling, or swimming. The key to success is finding an exercise activity that you love and doing it daily.

Eat Healthy 

A heart-healthy diet low in bad LDL cholesterol and high in good HDL cholesterol is best. To reduce your bad cholesterol, include more colorful fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads and pastas, brown rice, nuts, and some fish, while reducing your intake of red meats, whole milk, eggs, fried foods, fast food, processed foods, trans fat, and saturated fats.

Maintain A Healthy Weight 

It is critical to maintain a healthy weight, or a normal body mass index (BMI), to remain heart healthy and keep cholesterol levels under control. BMI is a number calculated based on a person’s height and weight. A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9; more than 25 is considered overweight; and 30 or greater is considered obese.

Don’t Smoke 

Cigarette smoke narrows and damages the arteries of the body. Smoking can lead to extra buildup of cholesterol inside or lining the body’s arteries, so it is important to not smoke – or quit if you are a smoker.

Keeping Your Numbers In The Green

Good or bad, our cholesterol levels affect our daily lives. They affect our risk for certain conditions, and lifestyle changes can be required to keep them in control. “Good cholesterol recycles cholesterol and fat in the body,” says Alex Garton, MD, noninvasive cardiologist at PinnacleHealth CardioVascular Institute. “What we call bad cholesterol is deposited into the blood vessels, increasing the risk of vascular disease. HDL can help prevent this by ‘recycling’ excess amounts of bad cholesterol.”

“Total cholesterol” can be deceiving, so be sure you know the numbers for both your “bad” cholesterol and “good” cholesterol,” Garton continued. “But while knowing your numbers is important, cholesterol levels don’t always tell the whole story. Smoking cigarettes, having high blood pressure or having a family history of early heart disease can also increase a patient’s cholesterol-related risks,” says Dr. Garton. “These factors actually lower the LDL cholesterol number that signifies a patient is at risk for heart disease.”

Other factors that can lower the threshold at which LDL levels become a concern include diabetes, obesity and a family history of unhealthy cholesterol levels. The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association recently released new treatment guidelines for cholesterol levels. These guidelines outlined a new method for estimating a patient’s future risk of cardiovascular disease.

“Using the new method and population health statistics, more people would be recommended to take statins – cholesterol-lowering drugs – than before,” Dr. Garton says. “Under the new recommendations, candidates for statins include patients with a history of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, anyone with very high LDL levels, and anyone between the ages of 40 and 75 who lives with Type 2 diabetes.”

Statins are more effective at lowering cholesterol than the majority of other cholesterol-lowering drugs and can reduce a patient’s risk of premature death, heart attack, stroke and blood clots. You doctor may recommend that drug therapy be combined with a diet low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars that is also rich in fruits, vegetables, fiber-rich whole-grain foods, and fat-free and low-fat dairy.

The American Heart Association recommends all adults age 20 or older have their cholesterol, and other traditional risk factors, checked every four to six years. High cholesterol often shows no symptoms, so the best way to protect yourself is to be screened regularly.

What To Do About IDL Cholesterol?

Eating fatty fish increases the size and lipid composition of HDL particles in people with impaired glucose metabolism, according to a recent study from the University of Eastern Finland. These changes in the size and lipid composition of HDL particles make them beneficial for cardiovascular health. Published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, the study also found that camelina sativa oil decreases the number of harmful IDL particles.

The researchers studied the effects of camelina oil and fatty fish intake on the size and composition of cholesterol-carrying lipoproteins. The HDL lipoprotein is commonly known as “the good” cholesterol, although the health effects of HDL particles actually are dependent on their size and composition. Earlier research has shown that large HDL particles are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, whereas a small HDL particle size may increase the risk.

The IDL lipoprotein, on the other hand, is the precursor of LDL, which is also known as “the bad” cholesterol. Previous studies have shown that long-chain omega-3 fatty acids found in fish have a beneficial effect on lipoprotein size and composition. Camelina oil, on the other hand, is rich in alpha-linolenic acid, which is an essential omega-3 fatty acid whose associations with lipoproteins aren’t well understood yet.

The study involved 79 Finnish men and women aged between 40 and 72, and with impaired glucose metabolism. Study participants were randomly divided into four groups for a 12-week intervention: the camelina oil group, the fatty fish group, the lean fish group, and the control group. People in the lean and fatty fish groups were instructed to eat lean or fatty fish four times a week, and people in the camelina oil group were asked to use 30 milliliters of camelina sativa oil daily. Participants in the control group were allowed to eat fish once a week, and the use of camelina oil and other oils containing alpha-linolenic acid, such as rapeseed oil, was prohibited.

The researchers found that eating fatty fish increased the size and lipid composition of HDL particles, and that the use of camelina oil decreased the number of harmful IDL particles. Both of these changes can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Eating lean fish, however, was not associated with changes in the number, size or composition of lipoprotein particles.

Follow-Up Cholesterol Testing

If you have a heart attack or stroke, it’s important to get your “bad” cholesterol measured by your doctor on a follow up visit. Researchers have found that one step is significantly associated with a reduced risk of suffering another serious cardiovascular episode. Recent research, conducted by researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City, found that patients who don’t follow up with their doctor by getting an LDL cholesterol test following a heart attack or stroke are significantly more likely to have a recurrence.

Researchers found a significant and clinically meaningful difference in major adverse outcomes – including death, a heart attack, a stroke, and a vascular bypass or an angioplasty – based on whether or not a patient has a follow-up measurement of their LDL cholesterol. Researchers say the results of the study suggest LDL cholesterol levels should be regularly measured after an initial heart attack or stroke. LDL is the “bad” cholesterol, and main source that becomes part of the plaque that clogs arteries and makes heart attacks and strokes more likely.

“It’s clear that anyone with a previous heart problem caused by clogged arteries should be taking a cholesterol-lowering medication,” said Kirk U. Knowlton, MD, lead author of the study and director of cardiovascular research at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute.

The study of more than 60,000 patients with known heart disease, cerebrovascular disease or peripheral artery disease, including stroke and heart attack patients, showed the major adverse clinical event rate was lower in both patients who took cholesterol-lowering statins and those who didn’t if their LDL was measured. “The large difference is surprising,” Knowlton said. “The risk of dying after three years with no LDL follow-up is 21 percent versus 5.9 percent for patients who have an LDL follow-up.”

Take Your Cholesterol Medications

The Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute study reviewed Intermountain Healthcare’s enterprise data warehouse, one of the nation’s largest depositories of clinical data, to identify all adults who came to one of Intermountain’s 22 hospitals for the first time with a heart attack or stroke. These included patients with coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, and peripheral arterial disease admitted between January 1, 1999, and December 31, 2013. Researchers looked at patients who survived and were followed for three years or more, or until their death. Patient demographics, history, prescribed medications, and whether LDL was measured was analyzed.

“We looked at a variety of parameters – which represents one real benefit Intermountain offers to medical researchers and providers nationwide,” Knowlton added. “They’ve been collecting data since the 1990s and it’s a phenomenal data set.”

The study compared 62,070 patients in the database who met the study criteria. The average age was 66 years old, with 65 percent of patients being male. Of those who met the criteria, 69.3 percent had coronary artery disease, 18.6 percent had cerebrovascular disease, and 12.1 percent had peripheral arterial disease when they came to the hospital with their first heart attack or stroke. Researchers found the risk of a patient having a secondary event or dying decreased in those who had a follow-up LDL test before a subsequent adverse outcome or before the end of their follow-up.

The study reinforces how important it is for patients to continually take their cholesterol medications. “Patients need to know that if they’ve had a cardiovascular event, continuing to take their medications will not only lower their LDL, but substantially lower their risk of having another event,” Knowlton said. “We need to emphasize to doctors how important it is to follow up therapy for patients with measurement of their LDL cholesterol. And patients need to talk to or ask their doctors about the test, especially if they’ve had a heart attack or stroke.”

Key Benefits Of Hazelnut Oil

Hazelnut is not just a flavor you enjoy in your coffee or frozen beverage. It’s a nut that actually has tremendous benefits that can be applied to many areas of your body. A very impressive nut that has copious amounts of healthy fats, proteins and vitamins, this is a nut that goes much further than being a great snack or a tasty flavor enhancer. There are many ways that hazelnut oil can be used to improve your health, skin and hair. Here are a few key ways that the oil can be used.

Fighting Aging Signs

If you’ve been paying attention to the exploration and dissection of many oils and their various advantages then you know just how crucial vitamin E oil is to the skin. It’s often even referred to as the skin vitamin because of how impactful it is. Well, this nut doesn’t disappoint on that front because an entire cup of hazelnuts is roughly 86% of the daily requirement of the vitamin. It packs a big punch and as such helps to prevent wrinkles and other signs of aging. If you are worried how your skin is beginning to appear, try adding a bit of hazelnut oil to your daily skin care products.

Oily Skin

Many people don’t understand why or how to properly use oils to help combat oily skin. They believe that oil should be kept away from skin that has the propensity to be naturally oily for fear that it will make it worse instead of improve it. Hazelnut oil is both incredibly hydrating and moisturizing while also helping to balance out the oils that naturally occur on the face. Oil isn’t going to make your skin more oily by default. In many cases, skin that suffers from an overproduction of oil is often lacking the proper moisture which is why excess oil is occurring.

Color-Treated Tresses

For those who regularly color their hair, it can be hard to find specific items that aren’t harsh and don’t strip the hair of its various coloring agents. Hazelnut oil is so soft and gentle that it won’t cause undue strain or damage to the color of your hair. In fact, its protein and fat content will help to protect the color and additionally condition it further. You can use a couple of drops in your shampoo regularly or use it in a deep conditioning mixture that you add to your hair once a week.

Heart Health

It’s not just beauty boosts that hazelnut oil provides. It can also do some important and necessary work within the body as well. Due to the unsaturated fat content within the nuts, consumption of this oil can help to boost healthy cholesterol levels while diminishing harmful cholesterol levels. Hazelnuts are also high in magnesium, which is a component that plays a major role in heart health. Magnesium helps to safeguard your heart from being overworked and overtaxed by ensuring it rest so that it isn’t under massive amounts of strain.

You can purchase hazelnut oil online from several companies at amazon.com.


Dentists See Increase In Dental Caries

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was so adamant about the effect of soda consumption  on the health of New Yorkers that he tried tirelessly but unsuccessfully to impose a soda tax in New York much to the dismay of many New Yorkers. Now he seems adamant to spend more of his own money having just  launched a $3 million television advertising blitz in the Chicago area  using his own personal money in support of the “Cook County sweetened beverage tax.”

His aim, the same as his aim in New York, is to reduce the effect of soda consumption on children and teens in working class backgrounds  particularly since it is a known fact that 40 percent of them will develop type-2 diabetes in their lifetime.  Now he is trying to do the same in Cooke County, Illinois. This looks like it might be more than possible as  Berkeley, California was the first community in the United States that passed a  targeted tax on soda in 2014.

As the summer comes to an end, sports drink manufacturers will be high-fiving after another record breaking years of sales for sugar-based sports drinks. However, many dentists are seeing the effects of dental caries mostly among young men and women under the age of 30 who are the prime target for consumption. PepisCo’s Gatorade brand has become the undisputed leader in these sugar-based sports drinks that are prevalent in the U.S. market. A  recent report by Euromonitor International shows that Gatorade captured a 77 percent market share of the $6.8 billion industry in 2014, according to the Wall Street Journal.

As the carbonated drink industry becomes more aware of people’s aversion to aspartame, they have been making significant inroads into the sports drink and fruit juice industry with  Coca-Cola acquiring a 30 percent stake in Suja Juice – a  manufacturer of California-based organic juices that uses HPP technology. Suja Juice generated $42 million in revenue in 2014.

Sugar-Based Beverages

However, dentists are quick to point out that these organic juices have sometimes just as high sugar content as sports drink and the effect can be seen in the dental chair increasingly. Between 1989 and 2008 the average consumption of sugar-based beverages increased by 60 percent in the age group six to 11. The percentage of children consuming them grew 79 percent to 91 percent during that time period. The production in the U.S. for sugar-based ‘soda pop’ is staggering. The beverage industry produces 10.4 billion gallons of soda pop each year. This is enough to serve every American a 12 ounce can every day for a whole year.

Dr. David Pinkhsaov spends a lot of his  time preaching common sense guidelines to children and their parents at his practice Right Family Dental P.C.  in the Bronx. He uses hard facts to break it down to children and parents where they see that soda consumption is a problem. “ I tell my patients how much sugar they are consuming when they drink sodas and most are very alarmed,” says Dr. Pinkhasov. “When you drink a can of soda you are consuming 150 calories, 90 percent of this being derived from high fructose corn syrup. Let’s forget about the obesity problem in New York for a minute, the damage that can happen to your teeth over time is huge. Once you consume one of these drinks the sugar entering your mouth combines with the bacteria present – this is when acids are created that attack your teeth. This period lasts for about 20 minutes with the end result after over consumption being that there is enamel erosion and your teeth and are then very vulnerable. “

His partner, Violeta Skevas, DDS, says she sees no change in the trend and points to recent industry figures such as the  2013 study which showed that  manufacturers of soft drinks spent a staggering $866 million dollars in advertising across all types of media. “This is a huge amount of money, but more worrying than this is the effect that this can have on our economy – we spend nearly $200 billion in the U.S. treating the obesity epidemic. It has a trickle down effect for all us – higher taxes, higher health insurance, everything. We see a lot of patients coming in with an emergency toothache or root canals and many have failed root canals, so there is really no option other than extraction or dental implants. In many of these patients we see that there is over consumption of sports and sugar-based drinks that patients use for hydration in the New York heat. In my opinion the overconsumption of sports drinks can contribute greatly to dental caries.”

The overconsumption of sugar-based drinks seems to be the same all over New York. Jim Sarji, DDS of Advanced Gentle Dentistry of Park Slope, says he sees patients, many of whom are very athletic but now realize that overconsumption of sugar-based sports drinks has had a debilitating effect on their teeth and are now looking to remedy it.  “For some people it is not unusual for them to drink one of these sports drinks a day, sometimes more on a hot day. This is a lot of sugar.”

The Vicious Circle

David Pinkhasov, DDS  says that  the effects of sugar consumption in the Bronx has undoubtedly led to the high incidence of type-2 diabetes which he bases on the medical evidence he has read and the effects of which he sees every day. “There is a large incidence of periodontal disease in the Bronx. This is largely due to the high incidence of type-2 diabetes. If you have type-2 diabetes then you are more prone to periodontal disease and if you have periodontal disease this can exacerbate your diabetes. It is a vicious circle.”

He is quick to point out a recent Epi Data Brief published by the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in 2015 which stated that 47 percent of adults ages 30 and older in New York City  have periodontitis (gum disease) and that 26 percent of these adults in the age range  20 to 64 have untreated caries (cavities) which can lead to tooth loss, pain, infection and trouble eating and speaking.

Dr. Steven Cisternas  of Richmond Hill Dental Design Studio and Bay Dental sees a similar situation at his Staten Island practice. “The over-consumption of these drinks can be seen daily when I step out of my office and walk down the street. Everybody is drinking sports drinks, especially the younger generation and especially in the heat.” He offers some advice for those unwilling to give up sports drinks to reduce the harmful effects: “Always use a straw to minimize contact with your teeth, limit your consumption to below 12 ounces a day, never consume before going to bed, and always drink water after consumption only brushing one hour afterwards due to the fact that your enamel will be temporarily weakened.”

Dr. Arkadiy Takhalov of Dr. T’s Pediatrics has a completely different philosophy. “We start educating parents when they first come into their office with their newborns. We point out the amount of sugar in these drinks and that even apple juice has a huge amount of sugar for a young child. This can damage the first set of teeth and the second set of teeth. Milk is a better option and is more nutritious. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns that children drinking a lot of juice, even just an eight-ounce sugar sweetened drink can increase a child’s odds that they will become obese by 60 percent. Education of young mothers is the key.”

Study: Oral Health Problem Looms For Aging Population

Urgent attention needs to be paid to frail older New Zealanders’ oral health, a University of Otago study has highlighted. In a world first, Otago researchers surveyed the oral health of 987 people living in aged residential care and found those with dementia, and older men in general, have dirtier and more decayed teeth. Otago Head of Department of Oral Sciences and lead author, Professor Murray Thomson, describes poor oral health as one of the “geriatric giants” with the situation a “major clinical and public health problem which is going to get worse.”

Older people have higher rates of cognitive and physical impairments that can adversely affect their oral self-care and complicate the provision of oral care, he says. “Neither the aged care sector nor the dental profession, in most countries, is prepared. Not only do we have more and more older people every year, but more and more people are entering old age with their own teeth, rather than full dentures, as was the situation just a couple of decades ago. “In some ways, dentistry has been a victim of its success – we have long emphasized the idea of ‘teeth for life’ without much thought to what happens towards the end of life. We also now know that half of those in old age will end up in residential aged care, and that more and more of those will have some form of dementia.”

Professor Thomson believed that “slow progress” was being made in the area. “It’s a very complex situation involving a lot of players – the aged care sector, the Ministry of Health, the dental profession, and the public. An encouraging sign is the inclusion of oral health in New Zealand’s Healthy Ageing Strategy. That’s a starting point, but there is a lot of work to be done,” he says.

Greater Rates Of Tooth Decay

Of those examined in the study – representative of the more than 14,000 New Zealanders living in aged care – recently published in the journal Gerodontology, about half had severely impaired cognitive function, and more than a third required fillings or extractions. Those with severely impaired cognitive function had greater numbers of teeth with decay. They also had higher oral debris scores, reflecting poorer daily oral hygiene care.

Professor Thomson says greater rates of tooth decay can result in dental and facial infections, poorer quality of life, malnutrition and difficulties in communication. The researchers also found that even the most cognitively impaired participants were able to be examined fairly easily, meaning that regular, routine removal of oral debris by carers should not be difficult. “The issue that we currently face is that much of that debris removal is not being done, and this, along with frequent exposure to sugary, over-processed meals and snacks, and poor salivary function, is enabling plaque and dental caries to flourish in aged residential care populations.”

For those wanting to improve or maintain their oral health, Professor Thomson has some simple advice: brush twice daily; clean carefully between the teeth at least two to three times per week; avoid having sweet drinks or snacks between meals – and that includes sugar in tea or coffee – it takes only a couple of days to get used to not having it; and avoid smoking. “For people who have poor oral health in middle age, it is not going to be any better in old age, and an honest, open conversation with a dentist about the options, which may include complete extraction, may be a very good idea.”

Key Benefits Of Tamamira Oil

It can sometimes be confusing when researching oils and the various ways they can be used – if the oil itself comes from a very well-known entity but called a very different name. This is the case with tamamira oil which actually comes from the arugula plant that many people are familiar with. The oil is a seed oil and is extracted from the seeds of the plant. Due to its high level of drought resistance, the oil can be found and is especially popular in locations like Northern India, West Asia and Pakistan. This oil has many different uses, one as a traditional ingredient used in pickling. It is incredibly acrid and for this reason serves very specific purposes.

Skin Soother

If you tend to suffer from certain types of inflammation on your skin, whether from acne, skin irritation, eczema or psoriasis, using this as a skin oil can help. The chronic inflammation and discomfort that goes along with these types of ailments can be incredibly disconcerting. The amount of indole-3-carbinol and other components will help to mitigate the inflammation that you regularly deal with. Try diluting a bit of the oil in a jojoba or a coconut oil and apply it to the inflamed parts of your skin a couple of times a day.

Bone Health

Not only are the anti-inflammatory components of this oil great for the skin, they are also great for the bones. If you have a broken or strained bone, applying this oil topically will help to speed up the healing process. This can be tricky if you are wearing a cast but can be applied before or after it is taken off. The amount of vitamin K that is present in the oil is essential for bone health. This is also a good option for those who have osteoporosis or arthritis, as the bones are so often forgotten about as we are usually concerned with other things.

Hair Loss

If you are suffering from any type of hair loss, beyond the normal stray strands that everyone loses, you may want to ensure you get some taramira oil and start using it regularly. It has been shown to positively affect those who are dealing with balding and hair loss. Any type of hair loss can be downright devastating. Luckily, there are many different types of ways to prevent and even correct some of those occurrences. Add a couple of drops of taramira oil to your shampoo and after a couple weeks of consistent use you’ll start to notice that you’re losing less hair. You may also notice that your hair is growing in thicker than before. This works great for hair thinning.

You can purchase tamamira oil online from several companies at amazon.com.

Avoid Sunscreen Mistakes With These Tips

With summer quickly approaching, sunscreen is a valuable tool for skin cancer prevention – but only if it’s used correctly.  When applying sunscreen, many people make mistakes that could compromise their protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, which may increase their risk of skin cancer.

Some of those mistakes are highlighted in research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Researchers observed 2,187 people using sunscreen over the course of 93 hours. Only one-third – 33 percent – of people applied sunscreen to all exposed skin, and just 38 percent were wearing sun-protective clothing, hats or sunglasses. Additionally, use of the free sunscreen dispensers decreased significantly on cloudy days.

“These results highlight some of the ways people use sunscreen incorrectly,” says study author and board-certified dermatologist Ingrid Polcari, MD, FAAD, an assistant professor in the department of dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis. “To get the best possible sun protection, it’s important to wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts and pants, and to apply sunscreen to all exposed skin, not just your face and arms. Everyone should apply sunscreen every time they go outside. Even on cloudy days, up to 80 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays can reach your skin.”

“Research has shown that women are more likely than men to use sunscreen, but it’s vital that men use it too,” says board-certified dermatologist Darrell S. Rigel, MD, FAAD, a clinical professor in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at New York University. “Men over 50 have a higher risk than the general population of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, and UV exposure is the most preventable skin cancer risk factor, so it’s important for men of all ages to protect themselves from the sun’s harmful rays by seeking shade, wearing protective clothing and applying sunscreen.”

Tips For Choosing A Sunscreen

Choose a sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher. While no sunscreen can filter out all of the sun’s UVB rays, SPF 30 sunscreens block 97 percent of the sun’s UVB rays. Look for the words “broad spectrum.” This means the sunscreen will protect against both UVA rays – which cause premature skin aging – and UVB rays – which cause sunburn. Both types of UV rays can lead to skin cancer.

Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going outside. Most sunscreen takes time to be absorbed for it to work. Reapply sunscreen every few hours and especially after swimming and toweling off. It wears off, even if the label says “waterproof.”

UVA light penetrates glass, so apply sunscreen before a car ride, even if you’re going garage to garage. For children between six months and two years, use a sunscreen that works as a physical blocker. Check the label. Older children can use the same sunscreen that adults use.

Regardless of sunscreen use, the best protection is to avoid the sun as much as possible by wearing wide-brimmed hats, sun-protective clothing, and staying in the shade whenever possible, he says.

Look for the words “water resistant.” No sunscreen is completely waterproof, but water-resistant sunscreens can provide protection for wet or sweaty skin for 40 or 80 minutes, as indicated on the label. All sunscreens should be reapplied every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.

For sensitive skin, choose a sunscreen with the active ingredients zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Those with sensitive skin also should avoid sunscreens that contain fragrance, oils and para-aminobenzoic acid, also known as PABA. “The best type of sunscreen is one you’ll use,” Dr. Rigel says, “so find one you like and apply it to all exposed skin before heading outside.”

Spread On The Sunscreen

No matter what the color of your skin, UT Southwestern cancer experts recommend wearing sunscreen. “Anyone and everyone who is going to be outside for any period of time should be wearing sunscreen to protect against skin cancer,” adds Dr. Rajiv Nijhawan, a dermatologist with the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center. “While skin cancer is less common in people of color, when it is found, it is often diagnosed at later stages and can be more serious.”

It’s also important to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen. “The SPF grading system only covers UVB light, but UVA light also causes skin cancer, including melanoma,” says Dr. Nijhawan, Assistant Professor of Dermatology. The words “broad spectrum” indicate that protection is provided for both UVB and UVA light.

Is Cyanobacteria The Future Of Sunscreen?

Sunscreens and moisturizers derived from biological sources such as cyanobacteria could represent a safer alternative to current, synthetically produced cosmetics, research published recently in the European Journal of Phycology suggests.

Using organic matter to develop sunscreens could lessen the risk of adverse side effects, such as contact sensitivity and estrogen mimicking, and help prevent potentially harmful chemicals from entering the environment, say lead author Peyman Derikvand of the University of Isfahan, Iran, and colleagues from Swansea and London.

The use of biological compounds has many potential advantages for the cosmetics industry, one of which is the organism’s ability to self-renew and reproduce, ensuring that supplies are sustainable. This is especially true for photosynthetic organisms that require only light energy, carbon dioxide and basic nutrients.

Natural Alternatives

One group of such organisms, cyanobacteria, could have great potential as a source of cosmetic products for sunscreens and moisturizers because some of its species live in extremely arid habitats and thus produce compounds that give them the ability to cope with both high UV radiation and extreme desiccation. These compounds include mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs) and scytonemin, which provide strong screening protection from longwave and shortwave UV radiation respectively. Such natural photoprotectants could be good candidates as alternatives to synthetic UV filters.

In addition, extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) derived from cyanobacteria appear to be much more effective at retaining moisture than EPS from conventional moisture-preserving materials, such as urea, glycerin and propylene glycol, currently used in cosmetics.

Cyanobacteria have higher photosynthetic and growth rates than more complex plants, simple nutritional requirements, and the ability to grow under closed cultivation systems that do not compete with agriculture. However, economic and sustainable production of these bio-compounds at the large scales required by the cosmetic industry is a key challenge.

“As we move into an era where we are turning to nature to replace synthetic chemicals, industry is being driven to look to natural product alternatives,” says author Carole Llewellyn, Associate Professor in Applied Aquatic Bioscience. “Cyanobacteria, tiny photosynthetic microbes, offer new potential. One suite of compounds are synthesized to protect against damaging ultraviolet and intense sunlight. These compounds offer many advantages over current synthetically derived sunscreens.”

“On-going research into the intensive cultivation of photosynthetic microorganisms in photobioreactors is bringing new understanding in terms of design, operation and scale-up, and will steadily improve both the economics and feasibility of industrial production of cyanobacteria,” says Llewellyn.

Technical improvements coupled to market demand should see the increasing application of cyanobacterial metabolites in the cosmetics sector, the authors conclude.

What About The New DNA Sunscreen?

Researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York have developed a coating made out of DNA that gets better at protecting skin from ultraviolet light the more you expose it to the sun, and it also keeps your skin hydrated.

“Ultraviolet (UV) light can actually damage DNA, and that’s not good for the skin,” says Guy German, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Binghamton University. “We thought, let’s flip it. What happens instead if we actually used DNA as a sacrificial layer? So instead of damaging DNA within the skin, we damage a layer on top of the skin.”

German and a team of researchers developed thin and optically-transparent crystalline DNA films and irradiated them with UV light. They found that the more they exposed the film to UV light, the better the film got at absorbing it. “If you translate that, it means to me that if you use this as a topical cream or sunscreen, the longer that you stay out on the beach, the better it gets at being a sunscreen,” German said.

Slowing Water Evaporation

As an added bonus, the DNA coatings are also hygroscopic, meaning that skin coated with the DNA films can store and hold water much more than uncoated skin. When applied to human skin, they are capable of slowing water evaporation and keeping the tissue hydrated for extended periods of time.

German intends to see next if these materials might be good as a wound covering for hostile environments where you want to be able to see the wound healing without removing the dressing, you want to protect the wound from the sun, and you want to keep the wound in a moist environment that is known to promote faster wound healing rates.

“Not only do we think this might have applications for sunscreen and moisturizers directly, but if it’s optically transparent and prevents tissue damage from the sun and it’s good at keeping the skin hydrated, we think this might be potentially exploitable as a wound covering for extreme environments,” he said.

Could Seaweed Hold Key To Environmentally-Friendly Sunscreen?

A compound found in seaweed could protect human skin from the damaging impact of the sun without causing harm to marine ecosystems. The use of sunscreens is advocated to prevent sun damage, but most formulations contain synthetic UV radiation filters that can make their way in to water systems. Many of these are not ecocompatible and may harm fragile marine life including coral, fish and microorganisms.

Scientists at King’s College London extracted a mycosporine-like amino acid (MAA), known as palythine, from seaweed to test its ability to protect against UV radiation in human skin cells. MAAs are natural compounds produced in organisms that live in sunlight-rich, shallow-water environments.

Using human skin cells in a lab, researchers showed that even at very low concentrations MAA could effectively absorb harmful rays from the sun and protect the cells against UVR-induced damage. They also showed that palythine is a powerful antioxidant that could offer skin protection against oxidative stress, linked to cellular damage and photoaging.

The paper – published in the British Journal of Dermatology – represents a breakthrough that could help move towards the development of an ecocompatible, non-toxic, natural sunscreen that protects human skin without negative environmental effects. Further research is required in order to prove that the compound has the same properties outside of the lab environment. The European Chemicals Agency and The Environmental Effects Assessment Panel (EEAP), part of the United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP), have expressed concern about the eco-toxic effects of eight out of the 16 commonly used sunscreen filters in Europe.

Marine-Derived Sunscreens

“MAAs, in addition to their environmental benefits, appear to be multifunctional photoprotective compounds,” says lead author Dr. Karl Lawrence from St John’s Institute of Dermatology at King’s. “They work through the direct absorption of UVR photons, much like the synthetic filters. They also act as potent antioxidants, which is an important property as exposure to solar radiation induces high levels of oxidative stress and this is something not seen in synthetic filters.”

“There are significant concerns that conventional sun protection products are having a negative impact on the environment,” added Professor Antony Young, senior author of the paper and member of the EEAP. “Our data show that, with further research and development, marine-derived sunscreens may be a possible solution that could have a significant positive impact on the health of our marine habitats and wildlife, whilst still providing the essential sun protection that human skin requires to guard against damage that causes diseases such as skin cancer.”

Burning Bone Fat: Another Reason To Hit The Gym

It’s been long argued and endlessly proven that exercise and staying active is one of the most imperative choices we can make for ourselves and our physical health. New research is showing that the specific act of running actually helps to burn fat that can accumulate in your bone marrow.

Bone health is exceedingly important and one of the ways to ensure your bones are getting the proper care and nutrients is to be mindful of overall body fat composition. The more fat in the bone marrow, the more susceptible you may be to certain bone health red flags. Researchers in North Carolina took to the lab, using obese mice as their model to see exactly what running would do to the fat in bone marrow.

“One of the main clinical implications of this research is that exercise is not just good, but amazing for bone health,” says Maya Styner, MD and lead author of the study. “In just a very short period of time, we saw that running was building bone significantly in mice. I see a lot of patients with poor bone health, and I always talk to them about what a dramatic effect exercise can have on bones, regardless of what the cause of their bone condition is. With obesity, it seems that you get even more bone formation from exercise. Our studies of bone biomechanics show that the quality and the strength of the bone is significantly increased with exercise and even more so in the obese exercisers.”

While many people think of bone as this sturdy entity that doesn’t really have much dynamic power, there is actually quite a lot of activity that goes on intrinsically in the marrow. It helps to coordinate the cartilage and the bone while also working through cycling immune cells, blood cells and various other cells in the body. For eons, the fact that marrow produces fat has been largely puzzling to so many medical professionals. After much research, in recent years a number of studies have shown that the greater the fat composition around and in the bone marrow the more susceptible to fractures and breaks that bone is.

There is a huge correlation between marrow fat and low bone density, which means a bone is way more prone to breaks. Wherever the presence of fat looms, its undeniable that the introduction of exercise is helpful to the burning of fat.

The Study

Two different groups of mice were used. One group was fed a lean diet while the other was fed a high-fat diet. This was done from birth to four months old. Half of the mice in each group were given the running wheel while all of their progress and milestones were closely logged. After a six-week time period, the evidence was clear. There was a significant reduction in the amount of fat cells, and the size of fat cells, on the mice given the running wheel.

The obese mice obviously started out with a greater amount of fat cells and they were still able to lose a significant amount by running on the wheel fairly often. All in all, the conclusion was as Styner stated above: Exercise is essential in burning fat within bone marrow and this is ultimately good for the health of bones.