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New Year, New You

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Fitness woman happy smiling

Everyone wants to be healthy and the start of a new year is always a good time to start fresh.  If you are looking for some ideas on how to get healthy in 2014, here are some suggestions.

 

Portion Control : The best way to start downsizing your body is by downsizing your plate, and the contents on your plate.  Studies show that if you use a smaller plate or bowl that it will promote weight loss because you are not overeating at any one meal. Be Active : One common bond between people that are healthy and trim is that they are all active and remain active throughout the year.  If you shoot to add at least 30 minutes of some sort of exercise into your day, each and every day, you will begin to notice significant changes over time.  Stick with it even on the days where you lack the energy because exercising always helps to boost your energy. Cut the Salt Out : According to studies, the average American eats close to twice the recommended daily allowance of sodium in their day.  Besides making your feel and look bloated, sodium also can significantly raise your blood pressure.  Processed meats contain some of the highest amounts of salt of any food so it is extremely important for you to read labels and be a conscious shopper when it comes to sodium.  People that cut the salt out of their diet have been shown to have a decreased risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure and better weight management. Increase Antioxidants : When your body processes food it releases free radicals,. as does cigarette smoking and radiation.  As time goes by, damage from free radicals can cause cancer, infection, heart disease and inflammation.  That's why you should increase your antioxidants.  You can defend your body from the harmful effects of free radicals by eating a diet rich in antioxidants.  Antioxidants can be found in pomegranates, chocolate and coffee. Quit Smoking : Although it nearly goes without saying, if you are a smoker you really should try to make a resolution to quit smoking.  The pros definitely outweigh the cons ten times over, so make 2014 the year that you put the “butt” out for good! Wear Sunscreen Year Round : According to the National Cancer Institute, most skin cancers do not begin to develop until after the age of 50, but sun damage starts at a much earlier age.  Sun exposure can also make wrinkles appear before their time.  You should resolve to wear sunscreen year round because you can still be exposed to the sun's harmful rays even in the winter.

Myths about the Common Cold

Written by Lisa Jillanza

winter immune boosters Sure we have all heard the common wives tales about the common cold, feed a cold and starve a fever, and so on and so forth.  But what tales are indeed true and which ones are myths?  Here we touch on a few of those true tales and debunk some others.

Chicken Soup:  So grandma always said that chicken soup is good to fight the common cold and she was half right, chicken soup has been shown to relieve inflammation. Wet hair: Going outside with wet hair will not cause the common cold, but that doesn't mean that you should do it either. Feed a cold, starve a fever:  This is the one that you often hear people recite when they are sick.  But being sick often kills your appetite and force feeding certainly won't help things.  What you should do instead is remain hydrated and get enough calories. Wearing a coat: Common colds and the flu are caused by viruses not by temperature. And while they do circulate more during the winter months, you are more likely to pick up a cold or the flu inside more so than outside so wearing a coat or not wearing a coat does not indicate whether or not you will catch a cold.  Studies show that you can actually prevent some colds by getting physical exercise outdoors during the winter months. Vicks Vapor Rub on Your Feet:  A widely spread email last year stated that you should put Vicks Vapor Rub on your kids feet and put socks on them to get rid of a nagging cough.  This myth was debunked and experts suggest that you should stick to using the vapor rub on your kid's chest and throat instead.

There's An App for That

Written by Lisa Jillanza

there's an app for that With the popularity of smart phones growing by the day, the health world has joined in on the hype by creating numerous apps that bring the keys to better health right to your phone.

Here are some of the best health apps available today.

 

Heart Disease Risk Calculator

If you are in need of a reality check and you are in possession of an iPhone, simply download the free Heart Disease Risk Calculator app to find out what your odds are of having a heart attack, stroke or heart failure within the next decade.  While the advice given within the app is not to be taken over the advice of a medical doctor, it will still help you to encourage healthy eating and living.

My Last Cigarette

If you made a New Year's Resolution to quit smoking and nearly four months later you still haven't quit, then perhaps you should download the My Last Cigarette app.  Only $1 for the iPhone, this app tells you how much money you are saving by not smoking and how much you have altered your life expectancy by quitting.  The app also provides motivational messages to keep you smoke-free, which most researchers believe help people to stay their course after quitting.

 

Instant Heart Rate

Using just your smart phone camera and the Instant Heart Rate free app for both iPhone and Android, doctors agree that this is one of the most accurate heart rate monitor apps.

 

Allergy Caddy

For those with food allergies, Allergy Caddy available for the iPhone for just $2 helps you to avoid certain foods at more than 30 different restaurant chains by consulting the public accessible data available through the app.

MelApp

 

Utilizing the extensive database at Johns Hopkins University coupled with pattern-recognition technology, MelApp, available for $2 on the iPhone, can access your melanoma risk by simply scanning your photos of lesions that are questionable.

ZocDoc

Available at no cost for the Android, Blackberry and iPhone, ZocDoc allows you to search for dentists and physicians in many major U.S. markets.  After reading the review and choosing a doctor, you can make an appointment without making any phone calls.

Medscape

This free app for all three major smart phones tracks any drug interactions and safety data for more than 8,000 drugs. Medscape also provides medical news and information on more than 4,000 diseases and conditions.

 

Spring is in The AirAnd So Are Allergens

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Now that the long, cold winter is behind us, spring is in the air, as are allergens, ragweed, pollen, and mold.  For those with seasonal allergies, spring can be quite a hard season to get through.

According to a study on www.health.com, the best action for fighting your spring allergies is to avoid the plants that make your coughing, sneezing, and watery eyes worse.

But many people aren't sure exactly what combination of allergens that are affecting them.  Here is a list of some of the most popular plants and their allergens.

  • Ragweed : It is common along riverbanks and in rural areas. Almost 75 percent of people with allergies are sensitive to ragweed.
  • Mountain cedar :This tree is commonly found in mountainous regions and, causes some of the most severe allergy symptoms around.
  • Ryegrass : This grass is common in dry lawns, meadows and pastures. This, along with other grasses, is often very problematic for allergy sufferers.
  • Maple : These trees are found along streams and in woods all through the eastern United States and Canada. The maple produces potent allergens.
  • Elm : Common in the wetlands, these trees will most likely aggravate your allergies.
  • Mulberry : This pretty tree can be very deceiving.  Found in woods and river valleys, it is often associated with contributing to hay fever.
  • Pecan : Although it makes many good desserts, the pollen from pecan : found in woods and orchards : is second only to ragweed as the most severe source of allergens.
  • Oak : It may have less potent pollen, but it produces very large quantities of it.  Avoid the woods just for this one.
  • Pigweed/Tumbleweed : This common weed is found in lawns and along roadsides, but beware that it will not do your sinuses any good.
  • Arizona cypress : Found specifically in warm climates and well-drained soil areas, this tree can contribute to pollen problems almost all year round, according to the study.
  • Mold : Allergies acting up in the spring could be because of mold levels rising with wetter, warmer air.  The study contributes various types of molds to producing significant allergy symptoms throughout the United States.

While this only touches on a few possible plants and their related allergens, every day researchers are finding more and more possible allergens that people are dealing with in their lives.

Always seek medical advice when dealing with the treatment of seasonal allergies.

Cancer Fighting Diets

Written by Lisa Jillanza

The causes of cancer still remains unknown, however, it is believed that certain factors can increase a person's risk of getting cancer. Majority of all cases of cancer are believed to be a direct result of a person's lifestyle. Those who maintain an unhealthy lifestyle such as those who smoke, eat less than healthy diets, drink or live a sedentary lifestyle increase their risk of getting cancer. Immediately stopping this unhealthy habits and living a healthier lifestyle could greatly decrease your risk of cancer.

A cancer fighting diet is one which is mainly composed of eating a lot of vegetables, whole grains and fruits. Cooking destroys a lot of the cancer fighting nutrients contained in these types of food. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables preserves these nutrients and insures that you get their full benefit.

5 Top Cancer Fighting Vegetables

Many vegetables have been found to contain great amounts of cancer fighting ingredients which help to keep the disease at bay. However, some vegetables are better in fighting cancer than others.

Cabbage

Cabbage is certainly making waves as one of the top cancer preventing vegetables. This green leafy vegetable contains indole-3-carbinol a naturally occurring anti-oxidant. Great amounts of these compounds are found in many green leafy vegetables especially in cabbage. Research has shown that indole-3-carbinol increases the effectiveness of chemotherapy in killing cancer cells.

This vegetable also contains a lot of other nutrients such as folic acid, potassium, vitamin C and fibers. Eating cabbage also decreases the risks of acquiring common cancers such as breast, prostate and colon cancers.

Garlic

This vegetable has long been used as an effective way of fighting heart disease. Recently, studies have shown its effectiveness in fighting cancer as well. The two main chemicals contained in garlic believed to be beneficial in fighting cancer are allicin and allyl surfur. These compounds have been found to have a significant effect in reducing the incidence of cancer in populations studied.

Garlic has been found to be effective in reducing the risk of prostate and stomach cancer.  Another study also showed that middle-aged women who took garlic reduced their risks of developing colon cancer. Allyl surfur which is contained in garlic greatly reduces the risk of cancer by mainly preventing the growth of cancer cells.

Ginger

Ginger has long been used as a popular way of spicing and adding flavor to our food. This vegetable has been found to contain natural compounds which are effective in fighting cancer. Gingerol a naturally occurring compound found in ginger reduces the growth of cancer cells in the body. Studies have shown that ginger reduces the risk of developing colon cancer.

Soy produce

A lot of studies have shown the effectiveness of Soy in reducing the risk of developing breast cancer. Soy contains isoflavone genistien which has shown cancer fighting abilities. This compound has shown promise in fighting breast, cancer and prostate cancers. Among the studies Soy has been most effective in fighting prostate cancer.

Umbeliferous Vegetables

A group of vegetables known to have excellent cancer fighting compounds are Umbeliferous vegetables. These groups of vegetables include carrots, celery and parsnips. Carrots are the most popular among the group as a type of vegetable known to contain cancer fighting compounds. Like all vegetables these contain phytonutrients which decrease the risk of developing cancer.

“We are what we eat”, this age old adage still holds true today. Living an active lifestyle and exercising daily is useless unless we also maintain a healthy diet. Maintaining a balanced diet complements our efforts of living a healthier and fuller lifestyle. Studies have shown that certain types of food increase or lower our chances of getting cancer. For those with a family history of cancer, eating a cancer fighting diet could be the best chance of avoiding the disease.

Final Thoughts

Fiber could be found in vegetables, whole grains and fruits. The fresher and less cooked they are the higher the fiber contained in food. Another great way of knowing fiber contained is that the more colorful the fruit or vegetable, the higher the fiber contained inside.

Eating fruits and vegetables increase fiber intake. Fruits and vegetables are mainly composed of fibers which are excellent in maintaining normal digestive functions. They increase the speed and facilitate the passage of stools through the digestive tract and help eliminates cancer causing agents before they can do harm.