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stop smoking A large number of people resolve to quit smoking all over the world on a daily basis. We have all heard over and over again how bad smoking is for us and how it contributes to a number of health problems and risks. And while quitting smoking is a great resolution, a new study featured on CNN.com states that quitting smoking can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Despite this new finding, experts caution that the benefits of quitting smoking -- including a lower risk of heart attack and lung cancer -- far outweigh the risk of developing diabetes, which can be treated with diet, exercise, and medication. However, the risk is something to keep in mind as you're trying to quit smoking.

The study states that oftentimes when people quit smoking they have a tendency to gain weight, thereby making them a candidate for acquiring diabetes. The study followed 11,000 individuals without diabetes, where 45 percent of these individuals were smokers. After the nine year study, 1,254 people in the study developed type 2 diabetes. diabetes

To combat this risk doctors suggest paying extra attention to weight control and making other lifestyle changes if you have decided to quit smoking and want to decrease your risk of weight gain and developing type 2 diabetes.

Weight control is key, to counteract the increased risk of diabetes, people who quit smoking are encouraged to implement a series of lifestyle changes in consultation with their physicians.

Dr. Richard D. Hurt, director of the Nicotine Dependence Center at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, recommends that people who quit smoking stick to small portions of low-fat, low-calorie foods. They should also get moving, he adds. "Even just moderate exercise -- like 30 minutes of brisk walking -- reduces the urges to smoke and reduces withdrawal symptoms," he says. "People are able to distract themselves, it makes them feel better, and it uses up some of the calories." Nicotine-replacement products may also be helpful since nicotine is largely responsible for the appetite-suppressing effect of cigarettes. Nicotine patches or gum deliver nicotine much more slowly than a cigarette, however, so to suppress appetite and prevent weight gain they may need to be administered in above-average doses, says Hurt, who was not involved in the new study.

If they are taken for at least three to six months, smoking cessation drugs such as bupropion, an atypical antidepressant sold as Zyban or Wellbutrin may also limit weight gain, Hurt says.

In addition to recommending lifestyle changes, it is suggested that physicians keep an eye on the blood glucose levels of patients who quit smoking, as elevated glucose levels can be a warning sign for type 2 diabetes.

Despite the study's findings, doctors are quick to emphasize that quitting smoking -- or better yet, never starting in the first place -- is far healthier than continuing to smoke, which can cause a host of deadly health problems ranging from heart disease to lung cancer.

“Type 2 diabetes is associated with smoking to begin with; this study found there's a 30 percent increased risk if you're a smoker compared to nonsmokers," he points out. "Stopping smoking increases that risk, but its way offset by the other health gains," explains Dr. Hurt.

 

Young female doctor checking an MR exposure In a report released by the International Union against Cancer (UICC), of the 12 million people who are diagnosed with cancer every year worldwide nearly 40 percent could prevent this life-threatening disease by changing their lifestyles and obtaining vaccines in order to protect themselves against infection.

According to MSNBC.com, cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide and the total number of cases globally is increasing, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The number of global cancer deaths is projected to rise by 45 percent from 2007 to 2030 from 7.9 million to 11.5 million deaths, driven partly by a growing and aging global population.

"If there was an announcement that somebody had discovered a cure for 40 percent of the world's cancers, there would quite justifiably be huge jubilation," UICC president David Hill told Reuters in a telephone interview. "But the fact is that we now have the knowledge to prevent 40 percent of cancers. The tragedy is we're not using it."

Cervical and liver cancer can both be prevented by obtaining vaccines, since these two cancers are caused by an infection. The UICC said it wanted to focus policymakers' attention on cancer-preventing vaccines — like ones made by GlaxoSmithKline and Merck & Co against the human papillomavirus (HPV) which causes cervical cancer, and others against hepatitis B, which causes liver disease and cancer.

The experts said the risk of developing cancer could potentially be reduced by up to 40 percent if full immunization and prevention measures were deployed and combined with simple lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, eating healthily, limiting alcohol intake and reducing sun exposure.

As found on about.com, here are eight lifestyle changes that could help prevent cancer:

cigarettePreventing Cancer Tip #1- Avoid Smoking and Exposure to Smoke Smoking is responsible for many types of cancer including lung cancer. One of the best ways to prevent cancer is to quit smoking or never even start. Smoking is the most significant cancer risk factor that we can reduce.

Prevent Cancer Tip #2- Practice Sun Safety Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer. In fact over one million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each year. However, it's also one of the most preventable types of cancer. Avoid UV ray exposure by wearing sunscreen, avoiding mid-day sun, wearing protective clothing and staying away from tanning beds.

Prevent Cancer Tip #3- Eat Fruits and Veggies A diet rich in fruits and veggies greatly reduced your risk of developing cancer and many other conditions. Green, orange, and yellow fruits and veggies are best at preventing cancer. Dark fruits like blueberries as well as cruciferous veggies likes broccoli also have anti-cancer properties.

Prevent Cancer Tip #4- Limit Red Meat and Animal Fat A diet high in animal fat increases the risk for several types of cancer including colon cancer. A diet high in fat is also a major cause of obesity which is also a risk factor for many types of cancer.

Prevent Cancer Tip #5- Limit Alcohol Intake Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol regularly increases the risk factor for many types of cancer. Men who drink merely 2 alcoholic drinks per day and women who have 1 per day significantly increase their risk factors.

Prevent Cancer Tip #6- Exercise The American Cancer Society recommends exercising 30 minutes, at least 5 days a week for cancer prevention. By doing this you can reduce your risk for many types of cancer.

Prevent Cancer Tip #7- Practice Safe Sex Unsafe sex can result in the infection of the human papillomairus (HPV), a known cause for cervical cancer a risk factor for many other types of cancer. HIV/AIDS is also associated with some types of cancer.

Prevent Cancer Tip #8- Get Screened Regularly Cancer screening tests can be useful not only in detecting cancer, but also helping prevent it. Screening tests like the colonoscopy and Pap smear can detect abnormal cellular changes before they turn cancerous. Other cancer screening tests are available and may be useful for early detection, but not necessarily cancer prevention. Prostate cancer screening through digital rectal exams and PSA tests can help detect prostate cancer early. Mammograms and other imaging tools are also recommended to detect breast cancer in women. However, these tests need to be done regularly.

 

warming cup of soup With winter comes the onset of cold and flu season in addition to other events that can wreak havoc on our immune system. In order to boost our immune systems, we need to make some minor adjustments in our diet and lifestyle to help curb the impact the season has on our body. Try these small adjustments to keep yourself healthy this winter.

Adjustment 1: Get your Essential Fatty Acids

Because essential fatty acids are the key to building super hormones, make sure that you get enough of these fatty acids from nuts, seeds, fish, cold pressed oils and supplements.

According to MSNBC.com fatty fish including salmon, mackerel, herring and other fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which increase activity of phagocytes — cells that fight flu by eating up bacteria — according to a study by Britain's Institute of Human Nutrition and School of Medicine. They also contain selenium, which helps white blood cells produce cytokines, proteins that help clear viruses. Other research shows that omega-3s increase airflow and protect lungs from colds and respiratory infections. In fact, says Somer, DHA and EPA (the two main forms of omega-3s) benefit the immune system at the most basic level, enabling cell membranes to efficiently absorb nutrients and remove toxins.

proteinAdjustment 2: Eat Enough Protein

Protein is important for your optimal health no matter what season it is. Nutritionists also suggest .75 to 1.25 grams of protein per pound of your body weight depending upon your physical activity. But, because our body can only absorb 30 to 35 grams per meal, we need to spread our protein intake throughout the day. Be sure to eat some sort of protein in every meal and in every snack. Getting some of that protein through soy-based products is also recommended by many nutritionists.

Adjustment 3: Choose low GI carbohydrates

GI or glycemic index, is the measure of how fast blood sugar rises after eating. One good example is that white sugar has a glycemic index of 100, where peanuts have a glycemic index of 15. That means that peanuts raise the blood sugar levels at 15% of the rate of white sugar. Fast rising blood sugar means the pancreas produces and sometimes overproduces insulin. These spikes in insulin can weaken the immune system and interferes with the production of super hormones. By choosing low GI carbohydrates, combined with eating the appropriate levels of protein you can better control your insulin.

Adjustment 4: Nutritional supplements are not an option

Instead of boosting their immune system by eating the right foods, exercising and avoiding stress, too many people turn to herbal remedies to prevent colds and the flu. However, these people believe that using herbal remedies, like Echinacea, will stimulate their immune system and often utilize these remedies rather than eating the right foods. Echinacea can and will stimulate the immune system, but if you aren't feeding the immune system with the proper vitamins and nutrients, the effectiveness of the herbal remedy will not be as long-lasting as you expect.

Overall, the best way to adjust your immune system this winter is to avoid too much supplementation, get enough protein and essential fatty acids, and avoid those sugary carbohydrates to make your way through these next couple months illness-free.

 

snowshoeing Winter can seemingly be the longest season of the four. But if you find interesting ways to pass the time, like taking up snowshoeing, you will soon find that you will be wishing that winter could last a little bit longer.

Experts say that snowshoeing is an excellent way to get out of the gym and cross train. Besides being a great workout, it also helps your body prepare for other physical activities. One hour of snowshoeing can burn from 400 to 1000 calories depending upon your pace, the terrain and your gear.

According to MSNBC.com not only is snowshoeing good exercise and a lot cheaper than hitting the slopes, it's also an activity that the whole family can enjoy together. While snowshoeing with your family it's easy to involve the kids by listening for different birds, looking for animal tracks or stopping for rest and a snack.

So, what do you need to get started?

First you need the best snowshoes to fit your needs. Snowshoes come in three different varieties: aerobic/running (small, light and not intended for backcountry use), recreational (larger, used for gentle to moderate walks up to five miles), and mountaineering (largest, used for serious hill climbing and back country off-trail use). Another general rule of thumb when choosing snowshoes is you should have one square inch of shoe per pound of body weight.

Trekking poles are not necessary for most people who would like to get started snowshoeing, but they can be beneficial and helpful to keep your balance.

Boots, specifically waterproof boots, are very important pieces of gear to get started snowshoeing. Hiking boots work in most cases, unless you plan on running in your snowshoes, then you would probably benefit from a more lightweight running or walking shoe.

Lastly, you may need to purchase some new outdoor clothing before you hit the trails. Because snow is constantly being thrust upwards from the shoes, your bottom may get wetter than the rest of your body. Wearing a pair of waterproof pants will keep your legs dry and you comfortable.

Make sure that you dress in layers, too, and dress accordingly to the weather. You can always take off layers if you get too hot.

 

Tired woman are sleeping Let's face it, in today's rush-rush world we are always trying to cram as much as possible into our 24-hour day. Sadly, many people are turning to energy drinks and pills to help get them through their long days, when in actuality there are plenty of natural energy boosters that you could rely on to help you stay energized.

Just try these simple strategies to make sure that you wake up feeling refreshed, stay motivated throughout the day and be able to wind down and get a relaxed night of sleep.

Consistent wake-up time- Many people would think that sleeping in would actually give them all-day energy, but it is more harmful than it is helpful. Instead, opt for the same wake-up time everyday and get yourself into some light, whether you get your sunlight by actually going outdoors or just by opening up the blinds.

Reduce your carbs and add in more protein- While carbohydrates will give you that quick burst of energy, eating too many carbohydrates will actually drain you. Opt for getting a healthy mix of carbs and protein to feel more energetic throughout the day.

Make sure you're getting your share of iron and magnesium- According to ABC News rather than walking into a health-food store to get a boost, look for food that gives you energy and the vitamins, minerals and chemicals that work together to give you the energy you need. Magnesium and iron will help to re-energize. Iron food sources include Total cereal, lentils, oatmeal, tofu, beef, whole wheat spaghetti and beet greens. Magnesium is another powerhouse mineral used in more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Magnesium food sources include artichokes, halibut, black beans, almonds and spinach.

Skip your morning cup of joe- Instead of downing your coffee first thing in the morning opt for having an afternoon cup of coffee when tiredness typically sets in. This caffeine burst at an appropriate time will also help to keep your energy flowing throughout your afternoon.

Avoid grazing and eat your meals at consistent times- Believe it or not, your body runs on the food schedule that YOU set. When you skip meals your body suffers by going into shut down mode, like it does when it is time to sleep. Keep your meals consistent and at consistent times to avoid the daily drain. Grazing should be avoided, too, as it leads to overeating and over hunger.

Relieve stress through meditation- Because it may be hard to carve out set times to simply relax and meditate, try to do it when you have a few free minutes throughout your day. Even simply three minutes of mediation can reduce stress hormones that create body tension and constricted blood vessels. Find a quiet spot, practice your breathing techniques and take a few minutes to rejuvenate through relaxation.

Power walk instead of power nap- While it may seem like a short little cat nap will help you through that afternoon slump, a short little power walk will be more beneficial. Get out for a brisk walk if you are able to and your body will thank you for it. If you can't get outdoors, sit by a window and bask in the daylight for some quick light energy. exercise treadmillExercise to music- Exercise may be the most obvious way to increase your energy levels throughout the day, yet many people still avoid it. If you are having trouble getting the motivation to work out, try listening to music before exercising. Studies show that people who listen to music prior to and while working out, feel like they have exerted themselves less than those who don't listen to music while working out.

Wind down before bed- It's important to take the time to wind down before catching those zzz's. According to MSNBC.com artificial light from computer and television screens tell the brain that it's not time to wind down. Therefore, it's a good idea to shut off the TV and to not use phone or computers at least an hour before bed. To help wind down before bed you also may want to dim the lights, take a warm shower, write in a journal or read a book.