Friday, March 27, 2015

Healthy Diet And Fitness Tips For Women

Most women experience a lifetime of significant events; puberty which brings the onset of menstruation, single or multiple pregnancies, nursing of babies, and finally menopause. These events are associated with hormonal and other physical changes. In addition, there are chronic health conditions primarily associated with women like osteoporosis, hypothyroidism, polycystic ovarian syndrome, etc. Whether they are a result of normal life events or illnesses, these physical conditions need to be supported with appropriate diet and exercise changes. Educating and providing health and fitness tips to women helps the entire family.

A healthy diet for women takes into consideration both age and physical condition. Did you know that there is a need for more iron with the onset of menstruation? Eating a well balanced diet is not just for pregnant women; it is important both before pregnancy and after the baby is born. Folate deficiency (a B vitamin that is also known as folic acid) can cause birth defects in the baby. There is also the common concern related to weight gain with pregnancy. It is important to adopt diet tips for weight loss provided by qualified professionals like registered dietitians and doctors. Drastic attempts to lose weight after the delivery of the baby can be a serious health risk. Aging increases the risk for osteoporosis due to hormonal changes with menopause. A diet that is rich in calcium combined with weight training exercises can help strengthen bones. There is also a decrease in the metabolic rate (need fewer calories for daily living) with aging. Also, flexibility and other health concerns can interfere with daily physical activity. The best fitness tips offer recommendations for all ages and fitness levels.

From an early age, women seek physical perfection based on unrealistic standards set by society. History clearly shows that the standards for physical beauty vary across cultures and time. Body weight is not just related to fat content; it is also a representation of muscle, bone and organ weight. Some of us have an hourglass figure, some pear-shaped while others may have fewer curves. Body shape is mainly defined by the skeletal framework, muscle structure and location where we gain weight; all of these attributes are genetically predetermined. Simply focusing on body weight and shape can lead to serious eating disorders in even young school girls. Help redefine physical beauty standards; set a good example by following reliable health and fitness tips.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

UV Light Health Benefits

As recently as 100 years ago UV light was used for treating tuberculosis, long before the advent of antibiotics. We now know that UV rays offer many additional health benefits. Based on modern scientific studies, such benefits can include the following:

Promoting the production of nitric oxide (NO), which provides protection against damage by UV light; NO also promotes cardiovascular health for the small capillaries in skin, provides an antimicrobial effect, and inhibits certain types of cancer
Regulating melatonin production from the pineal gland for synchronizing daily biorhythms
Treating skin diseases (e.g., psoriasis, vitiligo, atopic dermatitis, scleroderma)
Protecting against melanoma
Treating Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Suppressing the symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS)
Elevating mood by stimulating the release of endorphins
Regulating body temperature
Enhancing the role of skin as a barrier to microbes and environmental toxins
In spite of these health benefits, UV light remains a concern for the harm that it can do to skin. Skin cancer and photoaging are at the top of the list. The key to benefiting from UV light, while simultaneously reducing or avoiding its harmful effects, depends on a little common sense. Follow these two strategies for enhancing the benefits while at the same time minimizing any potential harm.

1) Limit overexposure to UV rays.
2) Promote protective skin health with the regular use of antioxidant-rich natural skin care products.

Limiting Overexposure

If anything, the single best piece of advice for everyone is to limit overexposure that leads to sunburn. Sunburn is the skin's defensive response to too much UV light. The redness and pain of sunburn are the skin's emergency responses to damage. Sunburn accelerates all of the negative consequences of overexposure to UV light.

The difficulty in determining how much exposure is too much is that, by the time sunburn appears, it is too late. It is wiser to keep several factors in mind before getting to that point. Skin color may be the primary factor. Lighter, untanned skin is the most susceptible to burning. It takes longer to burn darker skin, regardless of whether it is darkened by Mother Nature or by tanning.

Overexposure occurs more quickly when the sun is more directly overhead. In North America peak sunlight occurs around midday in summer at lower latitudes (i.e., further south). Winter UV intensity is more common at higher elevations, especially in areas where snow can reflect UV light. Sunburn that accompanies winter sports is every bit as fast and as damaging as it is in the summer at the beach.

Also keep in mind that high doses of UV rays at indoor tanning salons also can lead to overexposure. Tanning devices too often cause reddening of the skin, which is still an indicator for skin damage and photoaging.

Promoting Protective Skin Health

FDA-approved ingredients for sun blocks have little to do with promoting skin health. Indeed, quite the opposite is true. Filtering out UV light with sun block diminishes its potential health benefits. It is much more sensible to get the right exposure to UV light, while at the same time using the best natural skincare products for enhancing these benefits.

Truly protective herbal skincare products promote health in many ways. One of the most versatile ingredients for enhancing skin health is green tea, due to its powerful antioxidant, EGCG. This antioxidant invigorates skin cells, protects against DNA damage, and inhibits enzymes that destroy collagen and elastin. Collagen and elastin are the main strengthening and flexibility components, respectively, in skin.

Of course, combining green tea with other herbs that promote skin health care is the ideal strategy for keeping skin healthy as you take advantage of the benefits of UV light. A short list of examples of these other herbs includes angelica root, white peony, and ginseng.

The Advantages of a Breast Biopsy

At some point in your life, you may find a lump in your chest or abnormalities on your mammogram or ultrasound results. If the change seems suspicious, your doctor will want to perform a breast biopsy to test your breast tissue for cancer. While this may seem frightening, breast lumps are only cancerous in one out of five cases.

A breast biopsy is a very common procedure; almost one million are performed in the U.S. each year. Using a needle or surgery, a doctor will remove a small amount of tissue from the suspicious area. There are different methods of taking biopsies, such as with a vacuum, punch, excision (surgical), and wire-guided. You will be given local anesthesia to numb the area surrounding the lump.

The cells or tissue are studied under a microscope to see if they show signs of cancer. The pathology report may take one to two weeks to complete, and it is then sent to your doctor to provide a full picture of your situation.

If no malignant cells are found, the report will indicate that the lumps or abnormalities are benign, or non-cancerous. However, follow-up treatments may still be recommended by your health care professional because several non-cancerous conditions can cause these lumps to form. These include adenofibroma, fibrocystic disease, benign tumors of the milk ducts, and lumps of injured fat tissue. There are some questions you should ask your physician after receiving your breast biopsy results:

- Are the results final and definite?
- When should my next mammogram screening be scheduled?

If diseased cells are found, the report will detail more information to assist you in determining the next steps. More than likely, you will be referred to a cancer specialist who will order more lab tests, scans, and even surgery. Your pathology report is a tool for your medical team to determine the stage of your cancer and to design treatment options which best fit you. You could ask your physician some questions if your results show malignancy:

- Is the cancer growing slowly or quickly?
- Do I need more tests to learn the stage of the disease?
- Which type of breast cancer do I have? (Types can include ductal carcinoma, inflammatory breast cancer, lobular carcinoma, or Paget's disease.)
- What are my treatment options? (This may include lumpectomy, radiation, or chemotherapy.)
- When will I need to start treatment?
- Will my growths respond to hormone treatments?
- Will surgery work in clearing up my condition?

Complications from biopsies are rare and the benefits of having your potentially cancerous lump inspected far outweigh the risks from any procedure. Some possible side effects from this procedure include an altered appearance in the area (depending on the size of the tissue removed), bruising and/or swelling of the tissue, soreness at the injection site, and infection at the injection site. Ensure that you follow your doctor's after-procedure instructions to reduce your chances of infection.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Standard American Diet Tips

Ever wonder why so many people are fat and sick? One reason has to be our diet. The Standard American Diet if filled with foods that are incredibly detrimental to your health. And this fact should be obvious! Obesity rates have skyrocketed over the last several decades. Today, one in five American deaths is associated with obesity. Obesity-related illnesses include type 2 diabetes, hypertension, liver disease, cancer, heart disease, etc.

All these illnesses can be traced to a metabolic dysfunction. What does that mean? It means people are eating the wrong foods. Just a few generations ago, the food available was mostly fresh and locally grown. Today, the majority of food is highly processed and filled with harmful chemical additives. Just look at the typical food served at home, in school, and in restaurants. Let's face it. Most of the food we eat is not healthy.

So why blame the Standard American Diet? Simply put, all the current research on obesity shows that diet is a very key component. When people abandon their traditional cultural foods - foods that their cultures have been eating for thousands of years - in favor of modern processed foods (high in sugar, refined flour, and vegetable oils), these people get fatter and sicker. For example, heart disease among native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders used to be nonexistent but today is one of the leading causes of death. Of all the lifestyle changes they have seen, a poor diet (i.e., the standard American diet) is the leading influence for the prevalence of heart disease.

In the United States (and most Western countries), diet-related chronic diseases represent the single largest cause of death. These diseases are epidemic in contemporary Western populations (affecting 50% or more of the adult population), yet they are rare in less Westernized people.

Now, I'm not recommending that you abandon modern society and live a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Far from it. But if you want to lose weight and be healthier, avoiding the modern diet and eating more of a "caveman diet" or a Paleo diet would certainly be a step in the right direction.

Traditional culture studies are just one way of proving the dangers of the standard American diet. You can also look at correlations between factors of the modern diet and the rate of diseases. Of course, this begs the question. What is the standard American Diet?

While the Standard American Diet is not a food menu set in stone, it has certain characteristics that differentiate it from other diets. The foods tend to be high in sugar, salt, and vegetable oils and lower in healthy fats. As you might expect, the Standard American Diet is not good for your health. But this is only part of the story.

Click the link below to see 10 graphs showing why the standard American diet is bad for your health and waistline.