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الأربعاء، 23 فبراير 2011

Start today with an apple a day! Minimizing your risk of cancer

Today 1 in 2 people develop cancer as compared to 1 in 10 in 1930. You can minimize your risk of cancer through taking personal accountability by preventing and changing unhealthy personal habits, and making more educated consumer choices.  Potential risk factors include your environment, smoking, unhealthy eating, alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, over-exposure to the sun, and genetics.  The following are some suggestions and a summary of guidelines to help educate you in making choices to help reduce your risk of cancer.
Exposure to harmful chemicals in food products can be limited by supporting organic farmers or growing your own garden using organic methods.  Try visiting the Dallas Farmer’s Market or the White Rock Lake Local Markets to find organic foods.   You could be exposed to methylmercury by consuming contaminated fish and marine products.  Thermal power stations are the most polluting source of mercury emissions.  You may be exposed to microbial contaminates by consuming contaminated drinking water or by recreational (swimming) water through the skin. Instead of drinking commercially bottled waters, drink reverse osmosis water.
Presently, of all cancers studied, the strongest connection can be made between diets high in fat and colon cancer.  Apples support a healthy colon because they contain soluble fiber called pectin. A medium-sized apple contains approximately 12 mg of vitamin C, but the antioxidant impact is the same as 1500 mg of vitamin C.  Apples also contain potassium, which helps to regulate water balance, helps neuromuscular function, and helps regulate blood pressure. Phytochemicals that are found in fruits and vegetables can reduce the formation of carcinogens, slow tumor growth, and protect your DNA.  Citrus fruits contain terpenes, caffeic acid, and ferulic acid, which aid in elimination and blocking of the effects of carcinogens.  Furthermore, the ferulic acid binds with nitrates and reduces the formation of cancer causing nitrosamines.  Indoles are one of the main cancer fighting chemicals found in cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower.  An antioxidant spice called turmeric helps dissolve bad fats, has antibacterial properties, and also protects the blood vessels. Turmeric contains an ingredient called curcumin that researchers say may help suppress and destroy the blood cancer multiple myeloma. A study done in Japan found that curcumin prevented cancer and stopped tumors from growing.  Avoid sugar (glucose) because tumor cells thrive on sugar. You can try using gymnema sylvestre, an Ayurvedic herb that helps to curb cravings for sugar.  Ayurvedic principles suggest falling asleep by 9-10 p.m. each night. Warm milk contains tryptophan and is the precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep and reduces the effects of stress. During sleep, vital hormones are produced that are important for the immune system, such as interleukin-2, which increases the production of cytokines and acts as a free radical fighter. Try drinking a glass of lemon and honey water each morning to help purify the system. Many carcinogens are fat soluble, therefore, losing weight can reduce or stop some cancers. Aerobic exercise burns fat.  Try moderately exercising every morning to nearly 50% of your capacity.
Although over-exposure to sun may contribute to skin cancer, 15-20 minutes of sunlight exposure a day is helpful for your body to make the vital vitamin D (which is actually a hormone), and can support your immune system and help prevent osteoporosis.
Cigarette smoking causes 90% of lung cancers.  Hypnosis and meditations are a couple techniques that have been shown to aid in quitting smoking.  A reduction in the consumption of alcohol can a reduce women’s risk for breast cancer. A research study found that women who consume two or more drinks per day have 40-100% higher blood levels of estrogen than women who don’t drink.
Be cautious of your work environment. Workers who make brake shoes may have exposure to asbestos, which is a naturally occurring mineral, and may have an increased risk for lung cancer. Another risk is exposure to benzene, a solvent for petrochemicals, and is believed to cause leukemia. Copper smelting workers are exposed to arsenic, which increases their risk for lung and skin cancers. Marie Curie is one of the scientists who discovered radium and she died from exposure to radiation. Avoid unnecessary use of X-rays, including dental X-rays. Exposure to radiation fallout can increase the risk of thyroid cancer in children, not only at the time of exposure but also later in life.
Finally, your attitude can also play a role in your rate of healing.  As reported in the New York Times, a study using first-term law students presented a correlation between optimism and high immune systems.
The same techniques suggested for cancer prevention apply to prevention of heart disease as well as other illnesses. Hopefully you can see that with a plan of action changes can be made in personal choices of food, lifestyle, environment, and chemical use that have an immediate and direct impact on your health to decrease your cancer risk. Furthermore, you can help influence future generations by getting involved with community action and voicing suggestions and concerns as a consumer and tax payer; becoming actively involved with the political agendas of local government programs and initiatives; and seeking alternative approaches from experts in the field of cancer and alternative medicine, which could include, among other alternative techniques: meditation or prayer, and healing herbs and essential oils.

الاثنين، 21 فبراير 2011

Teen Depression: Know the facts

Depression in teens is not defined by gender, social background, finance, race or personal achievements. It is a disease that does not discriminate. The most profound statistic about teenage depression is that left untreated, it is the leading cause of suicide.
It is estimated that 20% to 50% of teens who experience depression have a family member with depression or other mental disorders; however, depressed teenagers often do not display the same signs and symptoms generally seen in adults. Additionally, if a parent is suffering from depression, they may be less in tune to what their own child is going through.
Teenagers who are experience depression may not always realize or have the ability to verbalize what they are feeling so it is important for parents, teachers and friends to stay plugged in and watch for signs of depression or changes in behavior. It can often times be hard to distinguish between what is normal developmental/hormonal changes in a child and the signs of depression, but here are some things to watch for:
1. Depressed teens are likely to have fewer friends and take less interest in opportunities for education or work.
2. They are more likely to have relationship problems, both inside and outside the home, as well as struggle in school or in the work place.
3. They are more likely to engage in high risk (unprotected) sexual behavior, leading to an increase in pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

The latest statistics indicate that less than 33% of depressed teens will get help, yet 80% of those who get professional from a physician or therapist are successfully treated. Finances should never be a factor in seeking help for your child. Regardless of your income or insurance, there are agencies available to help your child get the help they need. In the Dallas area Metrocare Services is a nonprofit organization with several clinic locations that are dedicated to providing children and families with the assistance they need.
So many parents chalk a teen’s behavior up to “a phase” or tell themselves they will “outgrow it” but it is important to recognize certain signs which indicate it is time to contact a healthcare provider immediately:
1. Giving away cherished possessions.
2. Personality changes, which could include decreased or increased sleep or appetite.
3. Risk taking behaviors: Reckless driving, drugs, sex, and alcohol.
4. Suddenly becoming involved with a different group of friends.
5. Withdrawal and isolation.

Lastly, if you have seen concerning changes in your child, don’t be afraid of offending your child: As long as they live in your home, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO GO THROUGH THEIR THINGS! Check their computer history and see what websites they have been visiting. Go through their rooms and look for drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, etc. Read your child’s diary or journal. YOU CANNOT ASSUME YOUR CHILD WILL ALWAYS TELL YOU WHAT THEY ARE REALLY FEELING. Love your child enough to protect them from themselves
Children and teens are often impulsive and base their actions on emotion more than facts or logic. They lack the maturity to realize that what may seem like the greatest crisis of their life today, probably will not be as dramatic in a month. NEVER IGNORE A SUICIDE THREAT OR ATTEMPT BY YOUR CHILD. If you feel your child is at imminent risk of self-harm, take them to the nearest emergency room immediately.
Remember, depression is nothing to be embarrassed about. Depression is a disease and ignoring will not make it go away; as with any other disease, left untreated, it can prove fatal.

الأحد، 20 فبراير 2011

Loss of Libido & Erectile Dysfunction in Men

Guys, do you enjoy protein bars or use a weight gainer shake? If so, be sure to read the label to see if the products you use contain any soy ingredients. Soy has been linked to erectile dysfunction. The two natural drugs found in soy, genistein and daidzein, mimic estrogen so well that they have been known to cause a variety of alarming side effects in men:
  • Breast enlargement (gynecomastia)
  • Decreased facial and body hair growth
  • Decreased libido
  • Mood swings and frequent crying jags
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Lowered sperm count
For example, one recent study documented a case of gynecomastia in a 60-year-old man as a result of his soy consumption. Another study showed that juvenile rats exposed to daidzein showed impaired erectile function at maturity.
Men, if you've experienced one or any of these symptoms, soy could be the culprit. Remove it from your diet, but be sure to consult a trusted physician if your symptoms do not improve or get worse as this could be a sign of another serious condition.

السبت، 19 فبراير 2011


COLLOIDAL SILVER is an amazing natural alternative to antibiotics. There is no disease causing bacteria that can live in the presence of even minute traces of metallic silver. The best COLLOIDAL SILVER contains only natural ingredients that help the body fight infections just like synthetic antibiotics, but without their damaging side effects. Its natural deep golden color is characteristic of its high quality. The concentration of twenty parts of silver per million contained is a highly effective, safe formulation. Higher concentrations can actually be less effective as they may interfere with beneficial bacteria and cause skin discoloration, even when used internally. Every family desiring optimum natural health should have a bottle of Colloidal Silver in the medicine chest.
"Let me tell you that when our little kids had the chicken pox a few years ago, we sprayed them with Colloidal Silver from head to toe and the amazing thing was, that the kids did not itch any longer. The chicken pox ran their course, but when it was all over, there were no pock marks left. You bet we were very happy with those results." - C.M.
"My daughter had a sore throat and fever of 102º. I sprayed her throat with colloidal silver. Within 48 hours the sore throat and fever were completely gone. This was the first time she ever bounced back so quickly without taking antibiotics." - K.B.

Silver, in its colloidal form, has been proven to be useful against many different infections and is nontoxic in reasonable concentrations against all species of fungi, bacteria, protozoa, parasites and certain viruses.
Top grade COLLOIDAL SILVER is produced by a highly technical electrocolloidal method employing an electrical current. It has a pH of approximately 6.5 and is a natural deep golden color. At the time of manufacturing, it contains 20 ppm of superfine particles of 99.999% pure silver, 0.0001 microns in diameter, electro-magnetically charged and suspended in deionized water. It does not need to be refrigerated. The silver particles in top grade Colloidal Silver stay in suspension without the need of any chemical, protein, stabilizer, or artificial additive. Usually, an antibiotic kills a half dozen or so bacteria, but silver kills some 650. Resistant strains do not develop to silver like they do with antibiotics.

Silver was used as a proven germ fighter in the early 1900's. It was the mainstay of antibiotic treatment, and today's technology is even more superior. The medical journal Lancet reported phenomenal results from colloidal silver in 1914. Dr. Henry Crooks showed colloidal silver to be highly germicidal yet absolutely harmless and non-toxic to humans. Colloidal silver has been proven useful against all species of fungi, bacteria, protozoa, parasites and certain viruses, which are often killed within minutes. L. C. Ford, M.D. at the UCLA School of Medicine reported in 1988 that silver solutions were effective against Streptococcus, Pyogenes, Staphylococcus Aures, Neisseria Gonorrhea, Garnerella, Vaginalis, Salmonella Typhi and other enteric pathogens. He also found that it was fungicidal for Candida Albicans, Candida Globata and M. Furfur.
Science Digest reported in an article in 1978, entitled "Our Mightiest Germ Fighter" that "silver is emerging as a wonder of modern medicine." Usually, an antibiotic kills a half
dozen or so bacteria, but silver kills some 650. Resistant strains do not develop to silver like they do with antibiotics. Dr. Robert O. Becker, M.D. stated, "we have rediscovered the fact that silver kills bacteria, which had been known for centuries...when antibiotics were discovered, uses for silver as an antibiotic were discarded."

The term "colloid" refers to a substance that consists of ultra-fine particles. In a true colloid, these particles cannot be seen by the naked eye and are electrically charged. The particles are somewhat larger than molecules and are measured in microns. This activates the germicidal quality of the silver.
The "grind" method can be used, but the particles are too large and a protein, or other, stabilizer has to be included. However, stabilizers can interfere with effectiveness. Also, a chemical process can be used but the end product is usually too acid and not as effective.
The best COLLOIDAL SILVER is produced by the electrocolloidal process, which allows extremely fine silver particles to be suspended in solution by the tiny charge placed on them. This process replaces the need for any chemicals or stabilizers and the product can be called a true colloid. Then, the particles can remain in suspension almost indefinitely.

Superior COLLOIDAL SILVER is the ideal deep golden yellow color. Other products that are not true colloids will be another color, unless coloring is added. Color is a critical

indicator of colloidal silver quality.
Silver may be linked to the proper functioning of our immune system and that people with inadequate intakes may be more prone to infection. Top grade Colloidal Silver contains

99.999% pure colloidal silver particles 0.0001 microns in diameter with a concentration of 20 parts per million that have little effect on the friendly bacteria in our digestive tract. However, be aware of products with higher concentrations as they can attack friendly bacteria just like some antibiotics. This could upset your natural balance and lead to other complications. With colloidal silver, higher concentrations are not necessarily better. As a matter of fact, the opposite is usually true.
Not all Colloidal Silver is of equal quality. Some that I have purchased has actually had a sour smell and tasted terrible. It is important to be careful that you purchase from a reliable source when buying any nutritional products. The best rule is: DON'T TRUST LABELS! - KNOW THE MANUFACTURER

الخميس، 17 فبراير 2011

The Psychology of Horror Games

Horror video games are a bit of a problem. No doubt they're popular, but this is kind of the problem. "Fear is a noxious emotion," says Dr. Andrew Weaver, an assistant professor at Indiana University whose research focuses on media consumption and the effects of media violence.
"We generally don't want to experience it," he adds, "and the aftereffects of viewing particularly frightening media are not something that anyone wants." So why do people line up to cringe at horror movies and operate game controllers with hands tensed into claws by what they see (or don't see) onscreen? Psychologists have extensively studied the attraction of horror, though most of the research has focused on films and only recently included video games. But a lot of what researchers are finding can apply to games, allowing players to understand what scares them and letting game designers understand how to do it more effectively.

Scare Tactics

"What scares you?" is a personal question because we all have our own, private fears-bugs, heights, inappropriate anime cosplay, and so forth. But beyond the obvious fear of injury or death, other proven sources of fear exist.
Fear of extreme abnormality and disfigurement is at the source of both our fear of monsters and "body horror" that relies on the graphic disfigurement or destruction of familiar forms. We grow even more uneasy when we can recognize a distorted or supernatural form for what it used to be. The Dead Space games epitomize this idea: Fellow humans are horribly mutilated to begin with, and you actually need to disfigure them further by lopping off their limbs. This category also encompasses things that act or move abnormally, like the jerky, scuttling movements of the little girl Alma in the F.E.A.R. franchise.
Fear of darkness and the unknown has its roots in biology-we're visual creatures, and our fear of darkness may be the result of natural selection. What's that rumbling in the dark? It could be a tiger with a chain saw, so you'd better run. Alan Wake, for example, focuses on darkness to the point of making the flashlight an actual weapon.
Research on "excitation transfer" shows that vague feelings of excitement or anticipation can transfer their emotional wallop when monsters or killers eventually barge on to the scene. This is why ambient noises and spooky soundtracks are so effective, though custom soundtracks do present challenges to game designers. According to John Williamson, the producer and lead designer on Konami's Saw II: Flesh and Blood video game, "We are required by Microsoft and Sony to allow the player to turn the music tracks off or replace it with the Backstreet Boys or other music of their choice. [Steven] Spielberg doesn't have to contend with that. Would Jaws be as scary if you were listening to 'I Want It That Way' instead of John Williams's haunting shark theme?"
Finally, it matters how much events onscreen are similar to things in real life. We're not going to tense up watching one pixel menace another pixel, but as visuals and sound improve, the potential for evoking fear increases. This concept also addresses how video games with realistic, identifiable settings and threats can be more frightening. "Older children and adults are much more likely to be frightened by things that could actually happen in the real world," says Glenn G. Sparks, a professor at Purdue University's Department of Communications.

Qualifications to look for in a cosmetic surgeon

A cosmetic surgeon should have the appropriate training and qualifications to carry out your procedure.
"Preferably, you need to find someone with a surgical qualification, who's registered in the UK, and ideally has a specialist qualification in plastic surgery," says Professor Simon Kay.
"But it's also OK if your surgeon has a specialist qualification in an area relevant to the procedure you're having, rather than in plastic surgery. For example, in ear, nose and throat surgery if you're having something done to your nose."
Whatever qualifications your surgeon has, you should always ask about their experience in doing the procedure you want.
Ask how many times they've performed it in the last year, how many times they've had to do revision surgery (additional surgery to repair or change something they've already done), and how many patients have made complaints.

Specialist surgeons

A surgeon who has the letters 'FRCS (Plast)' after their name is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and has passed specialist exams in plastic surgery. They're trained to carry out all kinds of cosmetic surgery.
Other narrower specialist surgical areas that would be appropriate to specific areas of cosmetic surgery are:
  • FRCS (GenSurg): specialist fellowship in general surgery.
  • FRCS (OMFS): specialist fellowship in oral and maxillofacial surgery.
  • FRCS (Otol): specialist fellowship in otolaryngology (for ear, nose and throat surgery).
  • FRCS (ORL): specialist fellowship in otorhinolaryngology (head and neck/facial plastic surgery).

Eye and skin specialists

Ophthalmologists (eye specialists) and dermatologists (skin specialists) might also be involved in some cosmetic procedures. The qualifications to look for are:
  • FRCOphth: specialist fellowship in ophthalmology (for eye specialists).
  • MRCOphth: member of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (for eye specialists).
  • FRCP/MRCP: fellow/member of the Royal College of Physicians (for specialists in skin).

Questions to ask

The royal college of surgeons advises that if you are thinking about having cosmetic surgery, ask a surgeon the following questions:
  • How many years' experience do you have in the procedure I'm interested in? How many similar operations do you perform each week?
  • Do you think that what I want to achieve from surgery is realistic?
  • Could there be anything in my medical history that would affect the surgery?
  • What will happen during the operation and what anaesthetic will be used?
  • How long will I stay in hospital?
  • Will there be any pain or any stitches and how long is the recovery time?
  • How long will the results last?
  • How much will it cost?
  • Who will be doing the operation?
  • What are the risks?

Preventing colds and flu

Many people believe vitamin C can cure the flu and echinacea can prevent colds. But is there scientific evidence to back this up?

Vitamin C

"Research has found no evidence that vitamin C prevents colds," says Dr Hasmukh Joshi, vice-chair of the royal college of GPs.
In 2007, the authors of a review of 30 trials involving 11,000 people concluded that, “regular ingestion of vitamin C has no effect on common cold incidence in the ordinary population”. A daily dose of vitamin C did slightly reduce the length and severity of colds.
When it comes to flu, one person in three believes that taking vitamin C can cure the flu virus. It can’t.
"Studies found that vitamin C offers a very, very limited benefit," says Dr Joshi. "I wouldn't recommend it."


The root, seeds and other parts of echinacea plants are used in herbal remedies that many people believe protect them against colds. There have been a number of studies into echinacea’s effect, but no firm conclusions.
A review of trials involving echinacea showed that, compared with people who didn’t take echinacea, those who did were about 30% less likely to get a cold. However, the studies had varying results and used different preparations of echinacea. It’s not known how these compare with the echinacea in shops.
This review also showed that echinacea did not reduce the length of a cold when taken on its own.
"There is a belief that echinacea aids the immune system, but a survey of studies in 2005 showed that it did not," says Dr Joshi. "I wouldn't recommend that it helps, but if people believe it, they can take it. There's no harm in it."


There is some evidence that taking zinc lozenges as soon as cold symptoms appear may reduce how long a cold lasts. However, some trials have found no difference in the duration of colds in people who took zinc compared with those who did not.
There has also been research into nasal sprays containing zinc. "Some people believe that the zinc lines the mucosa [the lining of the nose] and stops a cold virus attaching itself to the nose lining," says Dr Joshi. "Unfortunately, this has been found to be no more effective than a placebo."

Getting cold or wet

The only thing that can cause a cold or flu is a cold or flu virus. Getting cold and/or wet won’t give you a cold. However, if you are already carrying the virus in your nose, it might allow symptoms to develop.
A study at the common cold center in Cardiff found that people who chilled their feet in cold water for 20 minutes were twice as likely to develop a cold as those who didn't chill their feet.
The authors suggest that this is because some people carry cold viruses without having symptoms. Getting chilled causes blood vessels in the nose to constrict, affecting the defences in the nose and making it easier for the virus to replicate.
"Getting a cold from going out in the cold or after washing your hair is a myth," says Dr Joshi. "Colds are common. If the virus is already there and then you go out with wet hair and develop symptoms, it's common to think that is what caused it."

So what does work?

The flu vaccine can prevent you from catching flu. Apart from that, the best way to protect yourself from colds and flu is to have a healthy lifestyle.
"Eat a healthy diet, take regular exercise and drink plenty of warm drinks in the winter months," says Dr Joshi. "The important thing to remember is that most people are going to catch a cold in winter anyway, because there is no effective cure for cold viruses." 

Keep warm, keep well

Cold homes have a significant impact on people’s health. One of the best ways of keeping yourself well during winter is to stay warm.
Cold weather can lead to serious health problems such as heart attack, strokes, pneumonia and depression.
The chances of these problems are higher if you're vulnerable to cold-related illnesses because of one or more of the following:
  • you're over 60
  • you're on a low income (so can't afford heating)
  • you have a long-term health condition such as heart, lung or kidney disease
  • you are disabled
Every winter in the UK, 25,000-30,000 deaths are linked to the cold weather. Currently, approximately four million households in the UK are in fuel poverty. This is when a household spends more than 10% of its income to keep warm.
The government's advice on staying warm over the winter aims to reduce cold-related illness and deaths. Key tips include:
  • Keep your home warm. Your main living room should be between around 18-21C (64-70F) and the rest of the house at a minimum of 16C (61F). You can also use a hot-water bottle or electric blanket (but not both at the same time) to keep warm while you're in bed.
  • Wrap up warm, inside and out. Several thin layers of clothes are better than one thick layer. Don't forget to wear hats, gloves and scarves. If possible, stay inside during a cold period if you have heart or respiratory problems.
  • Keep active. Move around at least once an hour and don't sit down for long periods of time. Even light exercise will help keep you warm.
  • Look out for elderly friends and neighbours. Check they're safe and well through the winter. Make sure they're warm enough, especially at night, and have stocks of food and medicines so they don't need to go out during very cold weather.

الأربعاء، 16 فبراير 2011

10 health benefits of stopping smoking

Smoking’s bad for your health, but exactly how does quitting make life better?
The quitting timeline
  • After 20 minutes your blood pressure and pulse return to normal.
  • After 24 hours your lungs start to clear.
  • After two days your body is nicotine-free and your sense of taste and smell improve.
  • After three days you can breathe more easily, and your energy increases.
  • After two to 12 weeks, your circulation improves.
  • After three to nine months coughs, wheezing and breathing improves.
  • After one year your heart attack risk is  half that of a smoker.
  • After 10 years your lung cancer risk is half that of a smoker.
Better sex
Stopping smoking improves the body’s bloodflow, so improves sensitivity. Men who stop smoking may get better erections. Women may find that their orgasms improve and they become aroused more easily. It’s also been found that non-smokers are three times more appealing to the opposite sex than smokers (one of the advantages, perhaps, of smelling fresh).
Improved fertility
Non-smokers find it easier to get pregnant. Quitting smoking improves the lining of the womb and can make men’s sperm more potent. Becoming a non-smoker increases the possibility of conceiving through IVF and reduces the likelihood of having a miscarriage. Most importantly, it improves the chances of giving birth to a healthy baby.
Younger looking skin
Stopping smoking has been found to slow facial ageing and delay the appearance of wrinkles. The skin of a non-smoker gets more nutrients, including oxygen, and can reverse the sallow, lined complexion that smokers often have.
Whiter teeth
Giving up tobacco stops teeth becoming stained, and you'll have fresher breath. Ex-smokers are less likely than smokers to get gum disease and lose their teeth prematurely.
Better breathing
People breathe more easily and cough less when they give up smoking because their lung capacity improves by up to 10% within nine months. In your 20s and 30s, the effect of smoking on your lung capacity may not be noticeable until you go for a run, but lung capacity naturally diminishes with age. In later years, having maximum lung capacity can mean the difference between having an active, healthy old age and wheezing when going for a walk or climbing the stairs.
Longer life
Half of all long-term smokers die early from smoking-related diseases, including heart disease, lung cancer and chronic bronchitis. Men who quit smoking by 30 add 10 years to their life. People who kick the habit at 60 add three years to their life. In other words, it’s never too late to benefit from stopping. Quitting not only adds years to your life, but it also greatly improves the chance of a disease-free, mobile, happier old age.
Less stress
Scientific studies show that people's stress levels are lower after they stop smoking. Nicotine addiction makes smokers stressed from the ‘withdrawal’ between cigarettes. The pleasant feeling of satisfying that craving is only temporary and is not a real cure for stress. Also, the improved levels of oxygen in the body means that ex-smokers can concentrate better and have increased mental wellbeing.
Improved senses
Kicking the smoking habit gives your senses of smell and taste a boost. The body is recovering from being dulled by the hundreds of toxic chemicals found in cigarettes.
More energy
Within 2 to 12 weeks of stopping smoking, the circulation improves. This makes all physical activity, including walking and running, much easier. Quitting boosts the immune system, making it easier to fight off colds and flu. The increase in oxygen in the body makes ex-smokers less tired and less likely to have headaches.
Healthier loved ones
By stopping smoking you'll be protecting the health of your non-smoking friends and family.
Passive smoking increases a non-smoker's risk of lung cancer, heart disease and stroke. Second-hand smoke makes children twice at risk of chest illnesses, including pneumonia, croup (swollen airways in the lungs) and bronchitis, plus more ear infections, wheezing and asthma. They also have three times the risk of getting lung cancer in later life compared with children who live with non-smokers.
Quitting is good for their health as well as yours.

Avoid winter weight gain

Winter weight gain isn’t just an urban myth. Research has shown that most of us could gain around a pound (half a kilo) during the winter months. That may not sound like much, but over the course of a decade, it can add up.
"There’s good evidence that people put on weight over the winter," says dietitian Sian Porter. "The more overweight you are, the more you tend to put on. And the most worrying aspect of this seasonal weight gain is that the pounds tend to stay on. People don’t seem to lose the extra weight."
The three main reasons that people put on weight in the winter are lack of physical activity, comfort eating and over-indulging at Christmas.
Cold weather and shorter days make it harder to exercise outdoors, so it’s easy not to do any exercise over winter. If you’re not outside as much, there’s more time and temptation to reach into the kitchen cupboard for high-calorie sweet snacks, such as biscuits and cakes.
Then of course there are the festivities that surround Christmas. "What used to be a couple of days of parties and over-eating now seems, for some, to be six weeks of over-doing it," says Porter.
So what’s the solution? Here are some simple ways to avoid winter weight gain.
1. Stock up your kitchen cupboards
Keep your store cupboard stocked with staples such as cans of tomatoes, spices, beans and pulses, dried wholewheat pasta, wholewheat cereals, noodles, couscous and dried fruit. Keep some extra bread in the freezer if there’s space. That way, you’ll be able to create a quick and nutritious evening meal, such as a lentil or vegetable soup or stew, at short notice. You’ll save money and avoid the temptation to order a high-calorie takeaway.
2. Move more
When the outside temperature drops, it’s easy to give up on outdoor exercise. In winter, we stop doing calorie-burning outdoor activities like short walks and gardening. But reducing the amount of physical activity you do is one of the biggest contributors to winter weight gain.
Cold weather and shorter days don't mean you have to abandon exercise completely. Instead, rearrange your schedule to fit in what you can. You don’t need formal exercise to burn calories.
A brisk walk can be revitalising after being indoors with the central heating on, and it’ll also help boost your circulation. Put on some warm clothes and jog around the neighbourhood or start a snowball fight with the kids. Most leisure centres have heated swimming pools and indoor tennis and badminton courts. If you’d rather stay at home, buy some dance or workout DVDs, and always walk up the stairs at work rather than using the lift. "These little things can make all the difference when it comes to avoiding that pound of weight gain over winter," says Porter.
3. Drink smart
It’s important to consume hot drinks throughout winter as it will help you keep warm. However, some hot beverages are high in calories. Milky, syrupy coffee shop drinks and hot chocolate with whipped cream can add a lot of calories to your diet. A Starbucks medium caffe mocha, for instance, contains more than 360 calories. Stick to regular coffee or tea, or ask for your drink to be "skinny" (made with skimmed milk). Also, limit your alcohol intake as much as possible.
4. Get your winter greens
Eating a wide variety of foods ensures you get a range of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. Don’t get stuck eating the same food every day.
Look out for root vegetables, such as swedes, parsnips and turnips, and winter veggies such as cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale and artichokes. They’re filling as well as nutritious so will help you to resist a second helping of trifle.

Healthy food swaps

Trying to eat more healthily can seem daunting. In fact, by changing just a few eating habits you make a big difference to your diet.
Making that change will mean you'll get more of the nutrients your body needs. It will help you to achieve your 5 A DAY portions of fruit and vegetables. And it could help you to shed excess pounds and achieve a healthy weight.
It's all about avoiding high calorie, low nutrient, unhealthy foods and swapping them for something healthier. You could try:
  • Swapping your fatty, sugary snacks for fruit and vegetables.
  • Reducing portion sizes.
  • Drinking plenty of water.
Remember, small changes add up.
This is the 'stop and swap' method for reducing your daily calorie intake and eating more healthily. It means stopping your usual snack or meal and replacing it with something just as tasty, but healthier and lower in calories. Below, we run through a typical stop and swap day.
Note: all calorie values given are approximate, and taken from the website of a leading supermarket.
8am: breakfast
It’s the start of the day, and you need something to fill you with energy.
STOP: croissant with jam and butter, orange juice and a cup of tea with milk and two sugars (416 calories).
SWAP: Begin the day with a slice of lemon in hot water and enjoy some homemade porridge with semi-skimmed milk and a little honey. The porridge will provide a much slower release of energy that will keep you going until lunch (378 calories).

9am: pre-work kickstart
You’re heading to the office when you decide to stop off for a quick coffee.
STOP: a whole milk latte (200 calories).
SWAP: swap this for a skimmed milk latte and you’ll still get your caffeine boost, but with nearly half the calories (122 calories).
11am: morning snack
You’re feeling peckish and want something to snack on.
STOP: a bag of crisps (289 calories).
SWAP: a handful of fruit or nuts, or plain popcorn instead (188 calories).
1pm: lunch
You’re heading out for lunch and you’re after something filling.
STOP: a mozzarella, tomato and pesto panini (487 calories).
SWAP: a jacket potato with cottage cheese and a salad. This will fill you up without giving you that mid-afternoon energy slump (403 calories).
3pm: mid-afternoon snack
A mid-afternoon tea break, and it’s time for something sweet.
STOP: a chocolate-chip cookie (168 calories).
SWAP: a piece of fruit. Bananas are good if you’re craving something sweet (116 calories).
6.30pm: a drink after work
It’s the end of the day and your workmates are all off to the pub.
STOP: a bottle of beer (160 calories).
SWAP: a glass of white wine has far fewer calories (97 calories), or stick to water for zero calories and a much healthier night out.
8pm: dinner
Tonight you planned to make something special.
STOP: roast beef, roast potatoes and yorkshire pudding (558 calories).
SWAP: Try a warming beef casserole with mash and vegetables. You’ll save calories and it’ll be just as satisfying (475 calories).
10pm: close to bedtime
It’s nearly bedtime and you fancy a late-night nibble.
STOP: chocolate digestive (83 calories).
SWAP: have two dried figs. They’re sweet enough to satisfy your sugar craving without the high saturated fat content (57 calories calories).
Total STOP calories: 2,361
Total SWAP calories: 1,836

Eight tips for healthy eating

Eating well is an important part of maintaining good health, and can help you feel your best. It can be simple too. Just follow these eight tips to get started.
The two keys to a healthy diet are:
  • Eat the right number of calories for how active you are, so that you balance the energy you consume with the energy you use. If you eat too much, you’ll put on weight. If you eat too little you’ll lose weight. The average man needs around 2,500 calories a day. The average woman needs 2,000 calories.
  • Eat a wide range of foods to ensure that you’re getting a balanced diet and that your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs.

Get started

These practical tips cover the basics of healthy eating, and can help you make healthier choices:
  1. Base your meals on starchy foods
    Starchy foods include potatoes, cereals, pasta, rice and bread. Choose wholegrain varieties when you can: they contain more fibre, and can make you feel full for longer. Starchy foods should make up around one third of the foods you eat.
    Most of us should eat more starchy foods: try to include at least one starchy food with each main meal. Some people think starchy foods are fattening, but gram for gram they contain fewer than half the calories of fat.
  2. Eat lots of fruit and veg
    It’s recommended that we eat at least five portions of different types of fruit and veg a day. It’s easier than it sounds. A glass of 100% unsweetened fruit juice can count as one portion, and vegetables cooked into dishes also count.
  3. Eat more fish
    Fish is a good source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals. Aim for at least two portions a week, including at least one portion of oily fish. Oily fish is high in omega-3 fats, which may help to prevent heart disease. You can choose from fresh, frozen and canned; but remember that canned and smoked fish can be high in salt. Oily fish include salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, fresh tuna, sardines and pilchards. Non-oily fish include haddock, plaice, coley, cod, tinned tuna, skate and hake. Anyone who regularly eats a lot of fish should try to choose as wide a variety as possible.
  4. Cut down on saturated fat and sugar
    We all need some fat in our diet. But it’s important to pay attention to the type of fat we’re eating. There are two main types of fat: saturated and unsaturated. Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases your risk of developing heart disease. Saturated fat is found in many foods, such as cakes, pies, biscuits, sausages, cream, butter, lard and hard cheese. Try to cut down, and choose foods that contain unsaturated rather than saturated fats, such as vegetable oils, oily fish and avocados.
    Most people in the UK eat too much sugar. Sugary foods and drinks are often high in calories, and could  contribute to weight gain. They can also cause tooth decay, especially if eaten between meals. Cut down on sugary fizzy drinks, cakes, biscuits and pastries, which contain added sugars: this is the kind of sugar we should be cutting down on rather than sugars that are found naturally in foods such as fruit and milk. Food labels can help: use them to check how much sugar foods contain. More than 15g of sugar per 100g means that the food is high in sugar.
  5. Eat less salt
    Even if you don’t add salt to your food, you may still be eating too much. About three-quarters of the salt we eat is already in the food we buy, such as breakfast cereals, soups, breads and sauces. Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke. Use food labels to help you cut down. More than 1.5g of salt per 100g means the food is high in salt. Adults and children over 11 should eat no more than 6g of salt a day. Younger children should have even less. 
  6. Get active and be a healthy weight
    Eating well plays an important part in maintaining a healthy weight, which is an important part of overall good health. Being overweight can led to health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes. Being underweight could also affect your health. If you're trying to lose weight, healthy food choices will help: aim to cut down on foods that are high in fat and sugar, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.  If you're worried about your weight, ask your GP or a dietitian for advice.
    Physical activity can help you to maintain a healthy weight. Being active doesn’t have to mean hours at the gym: you can find ways to fit more activity into your daily life. For example, try getting off the bus one stop early on the way home from work, and walking. 
  7. Drink plenty of water
    Try to drink about six to eight glasses of water (or other fluids) a day to prevent dehydration. When the weather is warm or when we get active, we may need more. But avoid soft and fizzy drinks that are high in added sugars. Remember: When thinking about alcohol, there is nothing wrong with the occasional drink, but drinking too much can cause serious health problems. Alcohol is also high in calories, so cutting down could help you to control your weight. 
  8. Don’t skip breakfast
    Some people skip breakfast because they think it will help them lose weight. In fact, research shows that eating breakfast can help people control their weight. A healthy breakfast is an important part of a balanced diet, and provides some of the vitamins and minerals we need for good health. Wholemeal cereal, with fruit sliced over the top is a tasty and nutritious breakfast.

الثلاثاء، 15 فبراير 2011

Benefits of cycling

Find out how regular cycling can help you lose weight, reduce stress and improve your health. Get tips on equipment, road safety and cycle routes.
Cycling is the third most popular recreational activity in the UK. An estimated 3.1 million people ride a bicycle each month.
As a form of exercise, cycling has broad appeal. Toddlers, pensioners, able-bodied or disabled people can all enjoy cycling if they have the right equipment. For cycling tips for beginners and how to stay motivated.
Cycling is one of the easiest ways to fit exercise into your daily routine because it's also a form of transport. That means it saves you money, gets you fit and contributes to a cleaner environment.
It's a low-impact type of exercise, so it's easier on your joints than running or other high-impact aerobic activities. But it still helps you get into shape.
For example, someone who weighs 80kg (12.6 stones) will burn more than 650 calories with an hour’s riding, and tone their legs and bottom. If you ride up hills or off-road, you'll also work your upper body.
The best way to build your cardiovascular fitness on the bike is to consistently ride twice during the week, then do a longer ride at the weekend. You'll soon feel the benefits.

Safety tips

  • Look behind you before you turn, overtake or stop.
  • Use arm signals before you turn right or left.
  • Obey traffic lights and road signs.
  • Don’t ride on the pavement unless there's a sign that says you can.
  • On busy or narrow roads don’t cycle next to another person.
  • When overtaking parked cars, watch out for car doors opening suddenly, and allow room to pass safely.
  • Don’t use headphones while cycling.
  • Never use a mobile phone while cycling.
Kit checklist
Wearing a cycling helmet will significantly reduce your risk of serious head injury in an accident. For a proper fit, the helmet should fit snugly and shouldn’t allow any sideways movement.
Before you ride, check that you have the right kit, and that your bike is in good working order.
Make sure your tyres are pumped up. Test your brakes before you get on the road.
Check that your saddle is at the correct riding position for your height. If your saddle is too low, it will make it more difficult for you to pedal and you’ll get tired more quickly.
To get the right height, adjust the saddle until you can stretch your leg out and place the ball of your foot on the ground. This means that when your pedal is at its lowest position, your leg should be slightly bent. If your leg is completely straight when your pedal is at the lowest position, your saddle is too high.
If you’re cycling after dark, it’s important that you can be seen by other road users. Wear reflective clothing and make sure the lights on the front and back of your bike are both working. Use your lights when visibility is low, such as in bad weather. 

My weight loss tips

Sam Boyd
Sam Boyd, a 38-year-old mum of two, decided to lose weight and get fit after her father-in-law died from cancer.
After years of making half-hearted trips to the gym to try to lose some weight, Sam was shocked into action.
Losing her father-in-law, not long after a close friend also died from cancer, made her aware of her own mortality. She decided to do something to improve her health.
For Sam, losing weight meant that she felt and looked healthier, happier and more self-confident. She could also take part in more family activities.
At 5ft (152cm) high and weighing 10.2 stone (65kg), Sam was overweight and at greater risk of developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes.
She began a healthy weight-loss diet and regular exercise in January 2008. The diet was designed to help Sam lose weight gradually by eating smaller portions at meal times and choosing foods that kept her feeling fuller for longer.
“I had become used to eating large portions,” says Sam, a business development manager from Hemel Hempstead. “The diet plan got me used to eating smaller portions.”
After five months, Sam was transformed. She had lost 2.5 stone (15kg) and 10 inches (25cm) from her waist.

Self-esteem boost

Sam Boyd before and after her weight-loss regime

Sam Boyd before and after her weight loss regime
Sam took up running to avoid putting on weight again. "My husband and daughter are keen runners so that gave me some motivation to take up running and train for a half marathon," she says.
She started out slowly, alternating running and walking over a 5km route. "At first, I'd do a minute of running and then walk for a minute," she says. "Gradually, I was walking less and running more until I could run the whole distance."
Within four months of starting, Sam was running three to four times a week. She entered several short distance runs (5k and 10k) before attempting the half marathon of 21km (13 miles).
“I feel so much better now and I’ve got loads more energy,” she says. Before she lost weight, she would have struggled to make it to the end of the road without running out of breath.
Sam says losing weight has really boosted her self-esteem. “I’ve dropped from a size 12/14 to a 6/8,” she says. “It’s a great feeling to be able to go into a clothes shop and pick up a size eight knowing it will fit.”

'Here to stay'

The new Sam is here to stay. She took the decision to get healthy and, with a bit of self-discipline, she has succeeded. “It’s about re-educating yourself,” she says. “The diet taught me about portion control and healthy eating. It has given me good habits, which are now part of my lifestyle.”
To stay motivated to exercise, Sam regularly takes part in running events, from 5k and charity runs, such as Cancer Research UK's Race for life, to half marathons, with her husband and daughter.
“I used to get out of breath walking up the stairs,” she says. “I never imagined myself doing a half marathon.”
Sam remembers the effort she put into getting back into shape. This memory is enough to prevent her from falling back into old habits. “I kept a diary during my weight-loss programme and I’ve got lots of photos of me before I lost the weight,” she says.
“They remind me of how I felt before and my initial motivation to turn things around. I think about how I looked and how unhealthy I felt, and I don’t want to go back to that.”

Get fit your way

Ideas for office workers, new parents, retired people and children to build exercise and fitness into their day.
When it comes to getting active, every little helps. Being physically active for at least 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week, is easier than you think.
It can include anything from gardening to cycling for part of your journey to work, says fitness expert Nicki Waterman.
“You don’t have to do it all in one go,” says Waterman. “Shorter bursts of activity throughout the day add up to the total amount.”
For the activity to count towards your 30 minutes, it should make you feel warm and slightly out of breath.
Write your 30 minutes of activity in a diary. It will help you to stay focused, and motivate you throughout the week.
“A diary will help you to plan and manage your physical activity,” says Waterman. “This will get you into the habit of doing some sort of physical activity everyday. Keeping fit will become part of your routine.”
Here are Waterman’s top tips for building exercise into your lifestyle:
The office worker
  • Cycle or walk part, if not all, of your journey to work. Get off one bus or tube stop before your final destination.
  • Discuss project ideas with a colleague at work while taking a walk.
  • Stand while talking on the telephone.
  • Walk over to someone's desk at work rather than speaking to them by phone.
  • Take the stairs instead of the lift. Or get out of the lift a few floors early then use the stairs.
  • Go for a walk during your lunch break. Try to find different walks, and alternate between them during the week.
  • Use your lunch break to exercise. Your office may have a gym, or you may have access to a nearby swimming pool or squash courts.
The busy mum
  • Walk your children to and from school. This will also help your kids to develop a pattern of physical activity.
  • Exercise with your child. Take them to the swimming pool or play in the garden or park. 
  • Unappealing as it sounds, housework is a good workout, but it depends at what pace you do it. The most demanding activities include vacuuming, mopping, changing the bed linen, cleaning the windows, and scrubbing the bath and oven. “Put on some upbeat music,” says Waterman. “That’ll get you going and keep your pace up.”
New parents
  • New parents often don't have time for exercise. But there are ways of squeezing it in while looking after a baby.
  • If you’re going for a run, take the baby with you. There are baby wraps and baby backpacks. Jogging strollers have improved. There are also ways to take your baby with you when you're riding your bike.
  • Exercise during your lunch break at work. You can do a lot in half an hour. 
  • Your workplace may have a gym where you can sign up for lunchtime fitness classes. There may be a swimming pool or racket club nearby.
Previously active
  • Remind yourself why you were previously active, what your motivations were and what you got out of it.
  • Choose an activity you enjoy.
  • Don't start exercising with the same intensity, frequency and duration as before.
  • If you've been inactive for several years, start slowly and work your way up.
  • The health benefits of physical activity are lost within 100 days of stopping exercise. But your experience of exercise will help you get back into it quicker than someone who's never been active.
  • As you get older it's even more important to stay active. Exercise will help you to stay mobile and independent in your later years.
  • Be active around the house. Cooking, housework and walking while you're on the phone can help to keep you mobile.
  • Work in the garden or mow the grass. Pushing, bending, squatting, carrying, digging, pruning and picking things up will use different muscle groups, and improve your balance and co-ordination.
  • Go out for a short walk. Start with five to 10 minutes, then gradually do 30 minutes, increasing the pace from leisurely to brisk.
  • Consider community-based activities in your area.
  • Conservation groups can be a great way to get involved in improving your local environment and being active at the same time.
  • Children should aim for at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
  • Encourage children to take part in regular physical activity. This can include sports at school or in the community, such as rollerblading, running, swimming, football or rugby.
  • Make physical activity part of your child's routine.
  • Walk or cycle short distances, rather than driving.
  • Plan walks in the park.
  • Use stairs instead of escalators or lifts.
  • Get children to help you with the housework.
  • Try to be a good role model: if you're physically active, your child is more likely to follow your example

Exercising in winter

Winter's darker and shorter days can be a turn-off when it comes to exercising.

Don't be discouraged. There's no reason to hibernate and store away your fitness gear. Keep active through winter to boost your mood and keep in shape.
Exercise is an essential part of any healthy lifestyle, whatever the season. Adults should aim to do a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity at least five times a week.
Don't let cold weather put you off running.

More energy

Regular exercise will make you feel more energetic, which should make it a little easier to get out of your warm bed on cold, dark mornings.
Your body’s defences will also benefit. There is some limited research suggesting that moderate exercise can strengthen the immune system, thereby reducing the risk of coughs and colds. However, more research is needed in this area.
If the shorter days are affecting your mood, being active can improve your sense of well-being.
You may be tempted to eat more during the colder months. Exercising will help you manage your weight better and keep your body in shape.

Recommended activity levels

  • Adults: 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity at least five days a week.
  • Children: 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each day.
  • Targets can be achieved with 10-minute bursts of activity spread throughout the day.

Something you enjoy

Choose an activity that you enjoy. Now might be the time to try something new, such as salsa dancing, swimming, fitness classes or other indoor sports such as badminton or five-a-side football.
You don’t even have to stop doing outdoor activities. You could take a long walk at the weekend or go for a bike ride. Just wrap up warm and be careful if it’s wet or icy.
If being outside when it's windy, raining or snowing doesn’t appeal, rent a fitness video and try some exercising at home.

Warm up

If you’re starting a new exercise regime, don’t overdo it. Slowly build the amount of exercise you do. If can't manage 30 minutes in one go, break it up into 10-minute chunks.
Always warm-up for up to 10 minutes before you start. Walk at a brisk pace, or jog in order to warm your muscles.
Make sure you’re warm if you’re going outside. Wear several layers to keep the heat in. A lot of heat escapes through your head, so consider wearing a hat as well.

Stay safe

If you're exercising after dark, keep to well-lit areas and wear bright and reflective clothing. Ideally, exercise with a friend, but always tell someone where you’re going.
Avoid listening to music while running outdoors. Not hearing what’s going on around you can make you vulnerable.
If rain or ice is making exercise dangerous, do it another day. The weather might be better tomorrow, but an injury could take weeks to heal.

If you have a cold

Colds are more common in winter, but you don’t necessarily have to stop running if you’re feeling under the weather. According to Dr Keith Hopcroft, a GP from Basildon in Essex, use common sense and listen to your body.
“If your symptoms are not severe and you generally feel OK, then you can go running. If you feel absolutely rotten, then it’s best not to go.”
However, it’s important not to run if you have a fever. A fever is when your body’s temperature is 38C (100.4F) or above and is rarely a symptom of a cold. “If you run with a fever,” says Dr Hopcroft, “it’ll make you feel worse. In very rare cases, running with a fever can lead to the virus affecting your heart, which can be dangerous.”
If you have asthma, take extra care when running in winter as cold air can trigger symptoms. Dr Hopcroft recommends using your inhaler before you go running and taking it with you when you run.

Getting babies to sleep

Ask any new parent what they miss most and the answer is probably sleep. The methods below can get you and your baby sleeping peacefully.
It’s easy to get fixated on sleep, or the lack of it. But for the first couple of months of your baby’s life, it’s best to be relaxed about when and how much you sleep.
At first, your baby will need regular feeding, day and night, so sleep when your baby sleeps. Don’t worry about bedtime routines, washing and housework: these are early days. You need your sleep too, and if you’ve been awake at night, you need to catch up on sleep during the day. 
Learning about night and day
When your baby is a few weeks old, they'll be more alert and awake during the day. This is a good time to help them learn the difference between day and night. During the day, open the curtains to let in daylight, play games and don’t worry about everyday noises when they sleep.
At night, speak quietly, keep the lights dimmed and don’t play with them. Gradually, your baby will learn that nighttime is for sleeping. 
Bedtime routines
You may feel ready to think about a bedtime routine when your baby is around three months old. Even if naps and night feeds are still unpredictable, getting into a calming bedtime rhythm can be helpful for everyone. It is good one-to-one time with your baby. Here’s what to do:
  • Do the same thing every night. Knowing what is going to happen will make your baby feel relaxed and secure. 
  • Begin to calm down activity in the room about an hour before your baby’s bedtime. 
  • A bath is a good way to wind down after a busy day. Have a splash, sing a song and play with some bath toys. 
  • Dim the lights in the room where your baby sleeps to create a calmer atmosphere. 
  • Put pyjamas and a fresh nappy on your baby and read a bedtime story.
  • Put your baby into bed on their back and give them a cuddle and a kiss.
  • Sing a lullaby or use a wind-up musical mobile that you can turn on when you’ve put your baby to bed. 
  • Leave the room.
Leave while your baby is still awake
Leave the room when your baby is happy and relaxed, and they'll get used to drifting off to sleep all by themselves. This way, if the baby wakes in the middle of the night, they're more likely to get back to sleep by themselves, rather than crying until you settle them back to sleep.
This doesn’t mean that your baby needs to be in a room of their own. The Department of Health recommends that a baby should sleep in the same room as you for the first six months. 
No bedtime feasts
Leave a little time between your baby’s feed and bedtime. If you feed your baby to sleep, then feeding and going to sleep will be linked in your baby’s mind. When they wake in the night, they'll want a feed to help them go back to sleep.
Don’t rush in
If your baby murmurs in the night, leave them for a few minutes and see if they settle on their own.    
Be consistent
React to their cries in the same way each night. If you pick them up right away one night but leave them to cry for a few minutes the next, they won’t know what to expect.
Be flexible
All new babies change their patterns. Just when you think you have it sorted and you’ve all had a good night’s sleep, the next night you might be getting up every two hours. 
Once the routine has become settled, be prepared to change as your baby grows and enters different stages. Daytime naps, for example, may need to be cut down as your baby gets older. Growth spurts, teething, illnesses and colds can all affect how a baby sleeps

الأحد، 13 فبراير 2011

The "Sleep Mistake" Which Boosts Your Risk of Cancer

There's growing concern among experts that the proliferation of glowing gadgets like computers may fool your brain into thinking that it's still daytime after the sun has gone down. Exposure during the night can disturb sleep patterns and exacerbate insomnia.
Such concerns are not new -- Thomas Edison may have created these problems when he invented the light bulb. But the problem has grown worse thanks to the popularity of Apple's new slate computer, the iPad.
Many consumers use an iPad to read at night, and unlike paper books or e-book readers like the Amazon Kindle, which does not emit its own light, the iPad's screen shines light directly into your eyes from a relatively close distance.

How to Solve Nearly Any Illness - Without Drugs

Writing in Counterpunch, Martha Rosenberg lists the drugs which made 2010's Hall of Shame. Here are just a few of them:
Yaz and Yasmin
Soon after Bayer launched the pill Yaz, 18 year olds started coming down with blood clots, gall bladder disease, heart attacks and even strokes.
After cases of possible psychosis, reports of suicidal behaviors and actual suicides, the government banned pilots, air-traffic controllers and interstate truck and bus drivers from taking this antismoking drug.
Law enforcement officials say this sleep drug has increased traffic accidents from people who drive in a black out.
For every case of breast cancer prevented by Tamoxifen, there is a life-threatening case of blood clots, stroke or endometrial cancer caused by it.
Lipitor and Crestor
All statins can cause muscle breakdown. Crestor is so linked to the side effect, the FDA's David Graham named it one of the five most dangerous drugs at a Congressional hearing.
Gardasil and Cervarix Vaccines
The Gardasil HPV vaccine doesn't work for all viral strains, requires a booster and is linked to 56 girls' deaths as of September in the U.S. alone.
Singulair and Accolate, leukotriene receptor antagonists
These leukotriene receptor antagonists never looked safe. And Singulair, Merck's top selling drug, is now suspected of producing aggression, hostility, irritability, anxiety, hallucinations and night-terrors in kids.

Resist Giving This to Your Child - Even if Your Doctor Recommends it

Prescribing medications to children can cause problems; many of them have not had their effects on children researched. 
Even in ones that have, the consequences of using them over the course of a lifetime is usually unknown
there's an ongoing discussion about which is more dangerous: alternative medicine or prescription drugs?
A recent survey led found four deaths between 2001 and 2003 that were associated with use of alternative treatments in Australia.
However, deaths associated with use of dietary supplements or alternative medicine are extremely rare compared to the death toll from the medical errors and prescription drugs.
Yet despite the well-documented dangers of prescription drugs and a painful recession, drug companies still represent the nation's third most profitable business sector in the U.S.
How do they do that?
At least in part by cheating the government, misrepresenting science, and bribing doctors. Writing 15 ways the drug companies lie, break the law, or risk your health for profit.
Here are a few of them:

  1. Astroturf Patients

    They create fake patient advocacy groups to lobby for drug company interests. These front groups often push the FDA to approve an expensive drug that has acceptable, cheaper alternatives.
  2. Cheating the Government

    Drug companies are a top defrauder of the federal government. They've been hit with $14.8 billion in wrongdoing settlements in the last five years -- but that's still cheaper than going about things the legal way.
  3. Dangerous Trials

    Presiding over clinical trials can make a doctor thousands per patient -- and sometimes they compromise patient safety just to get at that money.
  4. Deceptive Trials

    Trials that only determine that a drug is "not worse" than another one can skew results. And some research deliberately skewed, with results decided upon before the trial is ever conducted.

The 6 Worst Brands of Bottled Water You Can Buy

The Environmental Working Group analyzed the company websites and product labels of over 170 varieties of bottled water to see if the companies disclosed information on where water came from, how the water was treated, and whether the results of tests to ensure purity were revealed.
The researchers also called the bottled water companies to see if they would willingly give information to consumers.
More than half of the bottled water products failed the transparency test. Almost 20 percent didn't say where their water comes from, and an additional 32 percent did not disclose any information on treatment or purity of water.

السبت، 12 فبراير 2011

"Miracle Nutrient" that Cured Man on the Brink of Death...

When a King Country dairy farmer came down with a serious case of swine flu, intensive care specialists said there was no hope. They were set to pull him off of life support, but his family refused to give up.
The family demanded that the doctors try high doses of Vitamin C. The hospital told them it wouldn't work, but the family insisted. They had to hire a lawyer to get their way -- but their actions saved the man's life.
Click the link below to see a news report of this amazing story.

What You Need to Know About Oral Vitamin C

The latest version of oral vitamin C supplementation is liposomal vitamin C,
Liposomal vitamin C bypasses many of the complications of traditional vitamin C or ascorbic acid, and, according to Dr. Levy, you can achieve far higher intracellular concentrations this way.
"I'm all in favor of people trying this," Hunninghake says. "I think it can be used as an adjunct to I.V. vitamin C. Most people are only going to do I.V. vitamin C once or twice a week. So by doing the liposomal vitamin C, they can easily do 6 grams of liposomal vitamin C orally without a bit of gastrointestinal distress."
From Hunninghake's perspective, liposomal vitamin C may still be somewhat unproven, but is nonetheless quite safe.
There are also other forms of vitamin C on the market, such as buffered forms of sodium ascorbate. One example would be Ester-C. These buffered forms are also effective and do not cause the gastrointestinal distress associated with conventional ascorbic acid.
So far, I have recommended avoiding Ester-C, as I believe it's an oxidized form of vitamin C, which could do more harm than good. Dr. Hunninghake disagrees with my assessment, stating he's never seen any evidence indicating that Ester-C might be an oxidized form of vitamin C.
Based on Dr. Hunninghake's expertise in this area, I may reconsider my stance on Ester-C, although I still believe liposomal vitamin C has benefits that cannot be matched by buffered forms of vitamin C.

Breaking News: Popular Cancer Drug Declared More Harmful Than Helpful

The FDA has said that the controversial drug Avastin should be phased out as a treatment for metastatic breast cancer. Recent studies show that its benefits are outweighed by dangerous side effects.
The announcement does not affect Avastin's status as a drug that can be prescribed for lung cancer, kidney cancer, colorectal cancer and brain cancer.
In 2008, the FDA granted Avastin accelerated approval for use to treat metastatic breast cancer. But studies have failed to show that patients getting Avastin lived longer than patients on standard chemotherapies.
Genentech, which makes Avastin, has a right to appeal the decision.
Folks, the best way of preventing breast cancer isn't a drug at all, and it's free! 
Sun exposure may be the single most effective means of reducing breast cancer, thanks to vitamin D, which forms in your body in reaction to sunlight.  In a recent study, data collected over a decade from more than 67,000 women showed that women in sunny climes with high vitamin D levels were at a significantly reduced risk of breast cancer!

THIS Asthma Solution Costs No Money…

Asthmatic children with low blood vitamin D levels may have a greater risk of suffering severe asthma attacks.
A study followed more than 1,000 children with asthma for four years, and found those with vitamin-D insufficiency at the outset were more likely to have an asthma attack that required a trip to the hospital.

Why Butter is Better ?

  • Vitamins ...

    Butter is a rich source of easily absorbed vitamin A, needed for a wide range of functions, from maintaining good vision to keeping the endocrine system in top shape.
    Butter also contains all the other fat-soluble vitamins (D, E and K2), which are often lacking in the modern industrial diet.
  • Minerals ...

    Butter is rich in important trace minerals, including manganese, chromium, zinc, copper and selenium (a powerful antioxidant). Butter provides more selenium per gram than wheat germ or herring. Butter is also an excellent source of iodine.
  • Fatty Acids ...

    Butter provides appreciable amounts of short- and medium-chain fatty acids, which support immune function, boost metabolism and have anti-microbial properties; that is, they fight against pathogenic microorganisms in the intestinal tract.
    Butter also provides the perfect balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats. Arachidonic acid in butter is important for brain function, skin health and prostaglandin balance.
  • Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) ...

    When butter comes from cows eating green grass, it contains high levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a compound that gives excellent protection against cancer and also helps your body build muscle rather than store fat.
  • Glycospingolipids ...

    These are a special category of fatty acids that protect against gastrointestinal infections, especially in the very young and the elderly. Children given reduced-fat milks have higher rates of diarrhea than those who drink whole milk.
  • Cholesterol ...

    Despite all of the misinformation you may have heard, cholesterol is needed to maintain intestinal health and for brain and nervous system development in the young.
  • Wulzen Factor ...

    A hormone-like substance that prevents arthritis and joint stiffness, ensuring that calcium in your body is put into your bones rather than your joints and other tissues. The Wulzen factor is present only in raw butter and cream; it is destroyed by pasteurization.

Foods to AVOID to Keep Your Mind Sharp

Meanwhile, besides incorporating ketone therapy (coconut oil), as either a preventative step or as a treatment, there are other steps you can take to help minimize your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease decades from now.
For instance, it's important to know what foods to avoid, in order to protect the health of your brain.
These four foods in particular can be pinpointed as enemies of optimal brain health:
  1. Sugars, especially fructose -- Excessive sugar and grain consumption are the driving factors behind insulin resistance, and the strategies that protect your brain are very similar to those for avoiding diabetes.

    There is simply no question that insulin resistance is one of the most pervasive influences on brain damage, as it contributes massively to inflammation, which will prematurely degenerate your brain.
    Ideally, you’ll want to restrict your total fructose consumption to below 25 grams a day. This includes refraining from eating too many fruits, if you normally eat a lot of them. If you consume more than 25 grams a day of fructose you can damage your cells by creating insulin and leptin resistance and raising your uric acid levels.
    Berries tend to be lower in fructose, and wild blueberries, for example, are also high in anthocyanin and antioxidants, and are well known for being beneficial against Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases.
  2. Grains – Even whole, organic grains will convert to sugar in your body and spike your insulin levels.

The Surprising Link Between Depression and Alzheimer's - Could Super-Simple Remedy Treat Both?

Depressed people are twice as likely to develop certain forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease.
A new study found that 22 percent of participants who had depression at the beginning of the study ended up developing dementia, compared to about 17 percent of those who were not depressed.
Further, some patients in a separate study got relief from depression by taking omega-3 fats. The ones who improved -- about half the group -- were those who didn't also have a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder.
Depressed people who also had anxiety disorders didn't get any clear benefit from taking the supplements compared to placebo.

Probiotics Protect Top Athletes

Probiotic supplements have been shown to reduce the number and length of infections suffered by long-distance runners.

Strenuous training can affect the immune system and make athletes vulnerable to coughs and colds, but a study has shown that taking probiotics more than halves the days that runners show symptoms. The study focused on 20 top-level endurance runners during their intensive winter training program. All 20 received two month-long courses of pills -- one containing the bacterium Lactobacillus fermentum, and the other containing no active ingredients.
There were a total of 72 days in which people taking the "dummy" pills complained of cough or cold symptoms, compared to only 30 days on the course of probiotics.

25 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Your Body and Health

1. Rinsing your nose with salt water can help keep you healthy and ward off allergy symptoms.
2. Dogs can smell cancer and low blood sugar. A study showed that it is possible to train dogs to identify, based on breath samples, which patients had lung and breast cancer. For diabetics, the dogs can smell ketones in urine and on the breath when blood sugars are high. Dogs can pick up on other smells that humans can’t when glucose levels drop.
3. Researchers found that people who pass through an entryway near the kitchen tend to eat 15 percent more than those who use the front door.
4. You're more likely to have a heart attack on a Monday, or up to three days after you've been diagnosed with the flu or a respiratory tract infection.
5. You can't get a tan from your computer screen. The Computer Tan Web site was created as a hoax to raise awareness about skin cancer.
6. Obese people spend approximately $485 more on clothing, $828 on extra plane seats, and $36 more on gas each year than their thinner counterparts. An overweight driver burns about 18 additional gallons of gas a year.
7. Smokers are four times as likely to report feeling unrested after a night's sleep than nonsmokers. Smokers often experience withdrawal symptoms at night, thus causing periods of restlessness and waking.
8. Eating fruits and vegetables may help your body make its own aspirin. Benzoic acid, a natural substance in fruits and vegetables, causes people to produce their own salicylic acid, the key component that gives aspirin its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.
9. A 20-minute nap can improve your overall alertness, boost your mood, and increase productivity. In addition, your heart may reap benefits from napping -- a six-year study found that that men who took naps at least three times a week had a 37 percent lower risk of heart-related death.
10. Your kitchen sink is dirtier than your bathroom. There are typically more than 500,000 bacteria per square inch in its drain, and the faucet, basin, and sponge are crawling with germs as well.
11. Four out of five doctors in the UK don't work out enough. Heavy workloads, lack of time and poor motivation contributed to the lack of exercise.
12. Baking soda can whiten teeth, garlic can help treat athlete's foot, and honey can soothe a hangover.
13. Using a food diary can double your weight-loss efforts. Your food diary makes you accountable to yourself and provides you with clues on where the extra calories are sneaking in.
14. Regular exercise can lower a woman's cancer risk -- but only if she's getting enough sleep. The National Cancer Institute followed nearly 6,000 women for almost 10 years. Women in the top half of physical activity levels showed an approximate 20 percent reduction in cancer risk, but sleeping less than seven hours per night resulted in a decreased benefit.
15. Watching yourself run in a mirror can make a treadmill workout go by faster and feel easier.
16. Third-hand smoke -- the particles that cling to smokers' hair and clothing and linger in a room long after they've left -- is a cancer risk to young children and pets.
17. Walking against the wind, in the water, or while wearing a backpack burns about 50 more calories per hour than walking with no resistance. People who wear pedometers also tend to burn more calories and lose more weight.
18. Trained sexologists can infer a woman's orgasm history by observing the way she walks. In other news, men find women who wear red sexier than those who wear "cool" colors such as blue and green.
19. Foreign accent syndrome and exploding head syndrome are real (but very rare) medical conditions. A person with exploding head syndrome experiences a loud, indecipherable noise that seems to originate from inside their head. 
20. Vitamins don't seem to help older women guard against cancer or heart disease.
21. Some men experience pain, headaches, or sneezing as a result of ejaculation. The increased activity in the nervous system during orgasm may be the culprit.
22. Germ-killing wipes can spread bacteria from one spot to another if you reuse them.
23. Oatmeal, citrus fruits, and honey can boost your sex drive and improve fertility. Oats produce a chemical that releases testosterone into the blood supply, vitamin C improves sperm count and motility, and vitamin B from honey helps your body use estrogen, a key factor in blood flow and arousal. 
24. Twenty-nine percent of Americans say they have skipped filling a prescription due to the cost, and 23 percent use pill splitting as a way to save money.
25. Facebook may be good for your health; studies show that staying in touch with family and friends can ward off memory loss and help you live longer.