Wednesday, October 14, 2009

6 Tips for Foods and Beverages That Help You Feel Good

1. Seek out foods rich in vitamin B12 and folic acid (folate).

What’s special about chili made with kidney beans and lean beef? Or a light chicken Caesar salad made with skinless chicken breast and romaine lettuce? Or grilled salmon with a side of broccoli?

All these dishes feature one food that is rich in folic acid (folate) and another that is rich in vitamin B12. These two vitamins appear to help prevent disorders of the central nervous system, mood disorders, and dementias, says Edward Reynolds, MD, at the Institute of Epileptology, King’s College, London.

The link between higher food intakes of folate and a lower prevalence of depressive symptoms crosses cultures, too. A recent study confirmed this association in Japanese men.

Folic acid is usually found in beans and greens. Vitamin B12 is found in meats, fish, poultry, and dairy.

Other dishes that feature B-12 and folic acid-rich foods include:

  • A burrito or enchilada made with black beans plus beef, chicken, or pork
  • A spinach salad topped with crab or salmon
  • An egg white or egg substitute omelet filled with sauteed spinach and reduced-fat cheese

2. Enjoy fruits and vegetables in a big way.

Fruits and vegetables are packed with key nutrients and antioxidant phytochemicals, which directly contribute to your health and health-related quality of life.

In a one study, eating two more servings of fruits and vegetables a day was associated with an 11% higher likelihood of good functional health. People who ate the highest amount of fruits and vegetables felt better about their health.

3. Eat selenium-rich foods every day.

Selenium is a mineral that acts like an antioxidant in the body. What do antioxidants have to do with feeling better and minimizing bad moods? Research suggests that the presence of oxidative stress in the brain is associated with some cases of mild to moderate depression in the elderly population.

One study evaluated the depression scores of elderly people whose daily diet was either supplemented with 200 micrograms of selenium a day or a placebo. Although more research is needed to confirm the findings, the group taking selenium had higher amounts of selenium circulating in their blood and significant decreases in their depression symptoms.

Try to get at least the recommended daily allowance for selenium: 55 micrograms a day for men and women.

Whole grains are an excellent source of selenium. By eating several servings a day of whole grains such as oatmeal, whole-grain bread, and brown rice, you can easily get 70 micrograms of selenium. Other foods rich in selenium include:

  • Beans and legumes
  • Lean meat (lean pork or beef, skinless chicken or turkey)
  • Low-fat dairy foods
  • Nuts and seeds (especially Brazil nuts)
  • Seafood (oysters, clams, crab, sardines, and fish)

4. Eat fish several times a week.

Several recent studies have suggested that men and women have a lower risk of having symptoms of depression if they eat a lot of fish, particularly fatty fish like salmon, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3s from fish seem to have positive effects on clinically defined mood swings such as postpartum depression, says Jay Whelan, PhD, head of the department of nutrition at the University of Tennessee.

Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include:

  • Herring
  • Rainbow trout
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Tuna

5. Get a daily dose of vitamin D.

Does a little time in the sun seem to make you feel better? The sun’s rays allow our bodies to synthesize and regulate vitamin D.

Four recent studies showed an association between low serum levels of vitamin D and higher incidences of four mood disorders: PMS, seasonal affective disorder, nonspecified mood disorder, and major depressive disorder.

Researcher Pamela K. Murphy, PhD, at the Medical University of South Carolina says people can help manage their moods by getting at least 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D a day.

That’s significantly more than the RDA for vitamin D, which is 200 IU for adults under 50, 400 IU for ages 51 to 70, and 600 IU for people over 70.

Very few foods naturally contain vitamin D. So she recommends we get vitamin D from a variety of sources: short periods of sun exposure, vitamin D supplements, and foods.

Vitamin D can be found in:

  • Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel
  • Beef liver
  • Cheese
  • Egg yolks

But our primary source of dietary vitamin D is fortified foods, such as breakfast cereals, breads, juices, and milk.

6. Treat Yourself to 1 oz of Chocolate

“Small amounts of dark chocolate can be a physical upper,” says Becker at Johns Hopkins. “Dark chocolate has an effect on the levels of brain endorphins,” those feel-good chemicals that our bodies produce. Not only that, but dark chocolate also seems to have a heart-healthy anti-clogging effect in our blood vessels.

In one study from the Netherlands, Dutch men who ate 1/3 of a chocolate bar each day had lower levels of blood pressure and lower rates of heart disease. The chocolate also boosted their general sense of well-being.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Health Benefits of the Chinese Green Tea Diet

Dating back more than 4,000 years, Chinese green tea diet has been long revered as a tasty drink that can ward off diseases and improve one's well-being. There are only a few herbs that can surpass its impressive history.

Since its first recorded use during the time of Emperor Shen Nung, the link between Chinese green tea diet and good health has never been severed. Today, further studies are made to test the benefits of the remarkable health elixir.

Traditional Health Benefits of the Diet

According to tradition, this diet could cure anything from headaches, body aches, and pains to constipation and depression. Over the centuries, more health claims are made on account of the Chinese green tea diet.

It detoxifies the body. The presence of polyphenols, a naturally occurring antioxidant in this particular tea, is said to combat harmful free radicals and help keep the body free from diseases. In this regard, Chinese green tea helps maintain the overall well-being of the body. It fights against the anti-aging process because the antioxidants can boost immunity, preserve young-looking skin, and brighten the eyes.

Additional health benefits of the green tea is it increases the blood flow throughout the body. Because it contains a little caffeine, ingesting this drink stimulates the heart and allows the blood to flow more freely through the blood vessels. For the same reason that tea stimulates blood flow, it also stimulates mental clarity.

For many years, men of science remained skeptical about the health claims made by Chinese green tea diet enthusiasts because the health benefits are truly vast in number. Their doubt was changed to a more positive reception when subsequent researchers proved its disease-preventing attributes and confirmed most of the health claims.

The Heart

Study after study has shown that drinking green tea and eating polyphenol-rich foods reduces the risk of any heart complications. It helps strengthen the blood vessels that provide oxygen and valuable nutrients to the heart and brain. It has also been researched that men who use the diet have a 75 percent less possibility of having a stroke than those who don't use the diet.

The green tea diet helps lower total cholesterol levels and improve the ratio between LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. Study shows that men who drink nine or more cups of Chinese green tea daily have lower cholesterol levels than those who drink fewer than two cups. While nine cups may seem a lot, break it up through out the day and you'll realize it's not that difficult to drink that many cups. You could have one during and after each meal and during your breaks.

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The role of the 'Chinese diet' in promoting longevity has been investigated upon by many researchers. They found the premise of their study on observing Japanese women who are greater-than-average green tea drinkers; have lower mortality rates compared to others. This led the researchers to believe that the diet has "a protective factor against premature death."

The polyphenols found in the diet may be held accountable. With its high amount of polyphenols, it seems to have a stimulating effect on the immune system. A stronger immune system as a result of drinking the green tea helps reduce risks of obtaining many illnesses.

If these health benefits of doing the Chinese green tea diet don't motivate you to start drinking this miracle in a cup, chances are you'll never become motivated to loose weight. So start today and drink up. The health benefits go well beyond weight loss!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Natural Beauty Tips to Look Beautiful

'Beauty is skin deep', so goes the good old saying. But, that does not rob the charm of enhancing your looks. So, hey there, beauty conscious, there's just no harm in having some of the best beauty tips up your sleeves. For looking and feeling beautiful is a sign of health and happiness. And in an age where looking good spells confidence and success, it's vital that you have the best beauty tips handy.

Buttermilk/cream and yogurt make excellent skin cleansers. They are also excellent for giving a glowing, uniform color and skin tone. They have been used for wrinkle reduction and plumping/rejuvenating the skin. What also works great is eating salmon 2 times a week. Salmon is very high in omega-3 fatty acids and is great for your skin and nervous system (it is interesting to note that salmon and spinach are 2 of the best super foods).

A well-balanced healthy diet including fresh fruits and vegetables will help you to attain natural beauty. Drinking natural fruit juices will enhance natural energy of body. Fruit juices such as oranges, apple, carrots and cucumber juices are excellent beauty secrets that rejuvenate your skin, nails and hair. Drinking a lot of pure water, 8-10 glasses per day, is one of the best tips to enhance your natural beauty.

Regular exercise is the third natural beauty tip that everyone should know. Regular exercise pumps oxygen to our cells, which in conjunction with water, helps to rid our bodies of those nasty toxins. Exercise does not need to be hours in the gym a walk around the block on a consistent basis will do wonders for your skin and body.

Keep your skin clean and clear. Taking care of yourself is taking care of your skin on a daily basis. Cleaning the skin must be made daily using products that do not alter its natural balance or damage it. The skin is exposed to external aggression. By its peripheral position, the skin is unavoidably attacked by dust, pollution, which mingling to the sebum and sweat disrupt the balance of its surface. You need natural antioxidant cream to repair those damages.

One of the best skin care tips we can give you then is to go on an appropriate diet. And when we say appropriate diet, we mean a diet that is approved by doctors, dieticians and / or nutritionists. Not all diets are applicable to all body types, you know. An appropriate diet can help you lose or gain pounds (whatever your body needs,) and at the same time, give you that lustrous glow that only comes from being healthy from within.

Now many home made beauty tips have been introduced which really gives natural look without causing any damage to the skin where they can do on their own or with anyone help. The variety of tips are in use that which highlights your natural beauty in areas like hair care, blemish removal, skin care, make up, eye care and many others.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Top 10 tips for a healthy heart

Waist size = heart health

Abdominal fat and waist circumference are major risk factors for heart disease, experts say. In Africa, the average high-risk size is 80cm for women, and 94cm for men. Do you fall into this danger zone?

Take action:
Follow these steps to measure your waist circumference: take off your shirt and loosen your belt; position the tape mid-way between the top of your hip bone, and the bottom of your rib cage; when taking your measurement, you should be breathing normally in order for your abdomen to expand and contract; record the measurement.

Consult your doctor if your waist size is within the high-risk zone, and ask about the possible risk of developing heart problems.

There are many steps people can take to try to prevent heart disease. You can start by concentrating on key lifestyle areas such as eating, exercise, smoking and drinking, and considering other factors like family history, diabetes and stress. Here are 10 top tips for a healthy heart.

1. Stop smoking. Quitting smoking is the single most important thing a person can do to live longer. If you are a smoker, you are twice as likely to have a heart attack than a non-smoker. But from the moment you stop smoking, the risk of heart attack starts to reduce. With public smoking bans recently introduced, there has never been a better time to give up.

2. Cut down on salt. Too much salt can cause high blood pressure, which increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease. Avoid foods like crisps, salted nuts, canned and packet soups and sauces, baked beans and canned vegetables, pork pies, pizzas and ready meals. Many breakfast cereals and breads that appear healthy also contain high levels of salt, so keep your eye on these too.

3. Watch your diet. A healthy diet can help to reduce the risk of developing heart disease, and can also help increase the chances of survival after a heart attack. You should try to have a balanced diet, containing plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, oily fish, starchy foods such as wholegrain bread, pasta and rice. Avoid foods like biscuits, cakes, pastries and dairy products that are high in saturated fats and sugar.

4. Monitor your alcohol. Too much alcohol can damage the heart muscle, increase blood pressure and also lead to weight gain. Binge drinking will increase your risk of having a heart attack, so you should aim to limit your intake to one to two units a day.

5. Get active.The heart is a muscle and it needs exercise to keep fit so that it can pump blood efficiently round your body with each heart beat. You should aim for 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a day. If this seems too daunting, start off gently and build up gradually. Keeping fit not only benefits your physical health - it improves your mental health and wellbeing too.

6. Manage your weight. The number of people who are overweight in Britain is rising fast - already more than half of the adult population is overweight or obese. Carrying a lot of extra weight as fat can greatly affect your health and increases the risk of life-threatening conditions such as coronary heart disease and diabetes. If you are overweight or obese, start by making small, but healthy changes to what you eat, and try to become more active.

7. Get your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked by your GP. The higher your blood pressure, the shorter your life expectancy. People with high blood pressure run a higher risk of having a stroke or a heart attack. High levels of cholesterol in the blood - produced by the liver from saturated fats - can lead to fatty deposits in your coronary arteries that increase your risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and diseases that affect the circulation. You can help lower your cholesterol level by exercising and eating high-fibre foods such as porridge, beans, pulses, lentils, nuts, fruits and vegetables.

8. Learn to manage your stress levels. If you find things are getting on top of you, you may fail to eat properly, smoke and drink too much and this may increase your risk of a heart attack.

9. Check your family history . If a close relative is at risk of developing coronary heart disease from smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, lack of physical activity, obesity and diabetes, then you could be at risk too.

10. Make sure you can recognise the early signs of coronary heart disease . Tightness or discomfort in the chest, neck, arm or stomach which comes on when you exert yourself but goes away with rest may be the first sign of angina, which can lead to a heart attack if left untreated.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How do you know if you have stomach worms?

Natural Remedies To Get Rid of Intestinal Worms

Intestinal worms are a common problem in children, especially in tropical and sub-tropical climates during the rainy season. These worms are parasites of various kinds, such as threadworms, roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms and pinworms. They enter the system through contaminated food or water, cuts and wounds on the skin and mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of stomach worms are itching around the anal opening, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, bad breath, constipation, diarrhea, disturbed sleep, headache, fever, weight loss, restlessness and irritability, appearance of dark circles under the eyes and anemia. Lack of personal hygiene and faulty eating habits are the chief factors that lead to the entry and germination of worms into the digestive tract.

There are a few basic rules that must be followed to prevent this condition. Always wash your hands with an antibacterial soap solution before and after eating. Also, make sure that the utensils used for cooking food and for eating are properly washed. Ensure that the food you eat, especially non-vegetarian food, is well cooked.

Avoid walking barefoot on soil, as this often offers parasites the opportunity to enter the body through the bare skin. Besides these precautionary measures, you should also follow a few natural remedies at home to get rid of intestinal worms. Every morning, eat a tablespoon of finely grated coconut. Follow this up by drinking a solution of two tablespoons of castor oil mixed with a glass of lukewarm milk. You should follow this remedy for four weeks in order to completely cleanse your digestive tract. You should also chew a few cloves of raw garlic before or during every meal. The strong chemicals present in the pungent juice of garlic destroy intestinal worms and relieves the symptoms in a few weeks. You may also massage the soles of your feet with garlic oil before putting on shoes, as the oil seeps into the body through the skin and helps in getting rid of the infecting parasites. Every alternate day, eat a large cup of freshly grated carrot at breakfast, without combining it with any other food.

You could also drink a glass of carrot juice in order to cleanse your system naturally. For another remedy, extract the juice of a raw papaya and mix two spoonfuls of this juice with an equal amount of honey and consume this mixture. After this, drink an infusion of two teaspoons of castor oil mixed in a cup of lukewarm milk. This effectively purges the worms out of the body in a few days.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Egg, food full of properties

During years, the egg has been restricted and recommended to limit it’s consume. Nowadays, new researches has not only contradict these old believing, but have found that the egg has an excellent nutritional value and several antioxidant properties, anti-inflammatory, preventing cancer, microbe, immunological, and therapeutically matters.

Its yolk is rich in carotenoidal pigments, that have antioxidant properties and prevents cancer, it’s full of vitamin A, preventing heart diseases and reduce bad cholesterol. The lip proteins that eggs have, helps the growing process in children.

Eggs also have taurine that prevents formation of atherosclerotic plates, helping to prevent cardio diseases. Also helps in protecting retina. They also have several antibodies like IgY, that can treat human infections of E-coli, streptococcus, pseudomonas, estanfilococcus and virus. Is also reach in omega 3 that reduce hyper tension.

Also we must say that apart from being a complete meal, is very nice and delicious, which you can prepare it with salads, rice, meat, sandwiches or served by itself.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Strong Beautiful Hair

Hair is a symbol of our overall health and vitality. The body will use a variety of nutrients to maintain healthy skin and hair. The way our hair looks is so important to us that the saying "getting out of the wrong side of the bed," has been replaced by "having a bad hair day." And, no one needs to ask us what we mean by that, because everyone has experienced a bad hair day. However, our hair does more than frame our face. It conserves body heat, protects our scalp, and serves as a sensory device.

Each hair follicle is surrounded by sensory nerves that react whenever a hair shaft is touched. We have about 100,000 hair follicles on our scalp. Each has a hair root at its center, is nourished by the papilla (connective tissue containing capillaries and nerve fibers), and is associated with one or several sebaceous glands. These tiny glands secrete an oily substance called sebum which softens and protects the hair and scalp. Tiny muscles attached to the follicles tense, causing us to get goose bumps. The hair above the skin is called the shaft. Each hair shaft has a touch outside layer, the cuticle. This protects the inner sections of the hair, and has a lot to do with its looks and manageability. Many people think that hair care starts with shampooing. Not So! It starts with what you eat. In general, a healthy diet of fresh foods, whole grains, sufficient protein, and lots of water is needed. Hair contains all the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients the body needs for health, and is about 97 percent protein. Because of this, an inadequate diet will not only affect the way you feel, but also the condition of your hair as well. In fact, prematurely graying hair can be caused by a lack of the amino acid phenylalanine which translates enzymatically into melanin, the hair color pigment. There are no hair products that can be applied on the outside of the hair that will compensate for inadequate nutrition. Unlike skin, hair cannot repair itself - but you can get new, healthier hair to grow from the "inside out" We want our hair to look and feel its best at all times. So we use lotions, creams, sprays, and harsh chemicals (such as perms and dyes), just so our hair will look fuller, thicker, lustrous, shiny, with extra bounce and body. But we forget that all of these important features have to come from the "inside out." Healthy hair depends on a constant supply of blood, oxygen and nutrients to grow and maintain a healthy look and feel. Without any one of these important ingredients our hair will be negatively affected.

Three basic types of hair problem:

Type 1 - UNHEALTHY LOOKING HAIR: Symptoms of unhealthy hair are: dullness, dryness, hair breakage, brittleness, slowed or altered hair growth. Unhealthy hair feels dry, brittle and straw-like at the ends. It is dull, and may be flyaway with many split ends. It may also look bushy and frizzy. There are many reasons why ones hair can become unhealthy. The most common reason is poor nutrition. A diet high in sugar, salt, and animal fat are all bad for the hair because they create additional stress on the body, resulting in a greater need for nutrients, especially the B vitamins. Without essential oils from vitamins A, D, E, and fatty acids, the hair can become dry, dull, with split ends. Woman, especially are affected with unhealthy hair. Oral contraceptives and pregnancy can rob our hair of its nutrients along with the wind and sun. Blow drying, hair sprays, mousse, hot curling iron, coloring, and hair perms can also affect our hair.

Type 2
- THINNING and/or FALLING OUT HAIR: Hair loss is becoming increasingly common today, even among women. Every year, millions of dollars are spend on chemical creams and shampoos that promise to grow hair. People also undergo a variety of unnatural procedures, including hair transplants, in order to restore lost hair. However, as we will see, diet and lifestyle plays a primary role in the development of baldness. Baldness is a preventable condition, regardless of the prevalence of it in one's family. A primary reason why baldness tends to occur within families is because of similar dietary and lifestyle patterns that members of families share. One of the cause of hair thinning, falling out, and balding is unhealthy of hair follicles. The hair embedded in a "pocket" in the skin called the hair follicle. The follicle is in a constant need of nutrients, oxygen, and moisture to stay healthy and to stimulate new hair growth. Vitamin C, PABA, Biotin and amino acids L-cysteine and glutathion. These nutrients can assist in the prevention of peroxidation of oil formation on the scalp, which left unchecked, can clog hair follicles and cause hair loss.

Type 3
- WEAK and LIFELESS HAIR: A deficiency of protein in the hair can result in a temporary change of hair color and texture, resulting in brittle, thin, lusterless, kinky, easily tangled, weak and hair breakage below the surface of the skin. Hair is made of protein and proteins are used as the building blocks of strong hair. Protein deficiency can result from poor diet, aging, illness, drugs, hair coloring, bleaching, and hair perms. When the collagen protein deficiency is corrected, the hair will return to its normal strong, shiny, full-of-body and bouncy condition.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sinus Infections Signs and Symptoms

Signs, Symptoms and Remedies of Sinusitis

Sinusitis is a state of immense discomfort and is characterized by congestion in the head and facial regions. The affliction is primarily caused by the contamination of the nasal passages leading to a blockage in the opening of the sinuses. On account of the blockage of the openings of sinuses (called ostium), mucus and air gets accumulated in it, which in turn exerts immense pressure on walls of the cavity of the sinus. Mucus is a potent culture medium for the breeding and growth of bacteria. These bacteria must be cleared from the sinuses, which may otherwise lead to the development of abscesses.

So, the primary cause of sinus infection is the accumulation of mucus in the sinus cavity, which serves as a breeding ground for bacteria, creating congestion in the sinus affected areas, which are primarily the head and face.

The major signs and symptoms of sinusitis are as follows:

• Sinusitis leads to cold and cough, which is persistent or long term.

• It causes immense weakness and fatigue.

• Sinusitis leads to a blockage in the respiratory tract and a clogged nose, which is troublesome.

• Sinusitis also leads to severe headache and facial pain and swelling.

• Other symptoms of sinusitis are fever, a runny nose, hoarse voice, lack of sensitivity in the olfactory lobes, swollen eye lids, and immense discomfort.

You can use the following home remedies to cure an infection of the sinuses:

• Aromatherapy can be used to treat infections of the sinus. Aromatherapy is an alternative therapy which involves the usage of various components derived from soft plant tissues like essential oil, distillate and herbal concentrates. You can use rosemary essential oil, eucalyptus essential oil and peppermint essential oils to cure sinusitis. The oils are antimicrobial in action and help to get rid of the bacteria causing sinusitis, thereby clearing the blockage in the nasal passage.

• You can also consume ginger tea to cure sinusitis. Ginger is antibacterial in action and as such, it cleanses your sinus cavities and relieves you of the symptoms of sinusitis.

• One of the best home remedies to relieve sinusitis is to inhale the steam of water with peppermint essential oil added to it to clear up your nasal tract, thereby relieving congestion caused by sinusitis.

• An intake of ripe grape juice is also an effective remedy to alleviate the symptoms of a sinus infection.

• You should consume green tea and plenty of hot soups to relieve the symptoms of sinusitis.

• Avoid eating ice cream when your sinuses are inflamed.

• Don’t forget to consult a doctor and follow the prescribed treatment.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Nail care myths and facts

When it comes to caring for the nails, many of the tips taken for granted over the years may in fact be myths that can damage the nails.

Speaking at the American Academy of Dermatology's Academy Meeting, Marta J. VanBeek, MD, MPH, FAAD, assistant professor, department of dermatology, University of Iowa College of Medicine in Iowa City, IA, discussed the myths and facts of healthy nails. "Healthy, strong nails are important not just for their looks but for performing the tasks of daily life, like picking up objects," Dr. VanBeek said. "Most of us don't realize the importance of our nails until we have a problem with them. Misconceptions about nail care abound and it's important to know the facts to keep nails in top shape."

Myth: To get stronger nails, use polishes that contain hardeners or apply ingredients like gelatin.

Fact: While using polishes that contain strengthening ingredients may help make nails less prone to splitting, they also increase nail stiffness, causing the nails to break more frequently under trauma, because they become hard and inflexible. While some people swear that immersing their nails in gelatin makes them stronger, there is no scientific evidence that applying gelatin has any benefit.

The best way to grow strong nails is to make sure that they are kept moisturized. Because nails take a lot of abuse in daily life and are repeatedly exposed to harsh detergents and chemicals that can dry them out, it's important to keep them moisturized. Most nail polish removers are alcohol based, so it is especially important to moisturize after removing nail polish.

"Moisturizers that contain petrolatum or mineral oil to protect against evaporation are particularly good," Dr. VanBeek noted. "No special products are necessary as most hand creams contain one of these ingredients."

Myth: It's important to push your cuticles back to keep them healthy and help your nails grow.

Fact: Most people are aware that cutting the cuticle is never a good idea and groom them by pushing them back. However, dermatologists recommend against this as well because it can create problems. "The cuticle is a barrier that protects the skin and the delicate nail matrix, or 'root' of the nail. Pushing back on the cuticle can injure it and expose the paronychium, or skin fold around the nail, to bacteria and result in infection," Dr. VanBeek said.

Myth: Nail salons are regularly inspected so I don't have to worry about safety.

Fact: Most nail salons take sanitation very seriously and follow strict cleanliness and disinfection guidelines, but consumers should not be afraid to ask how implements are cleaned.

"Look at the salon with cleanliness in mind and ask yourself these questions: Are the stations clean? Does the nail technician wash her hands between clients? Are there dirty implements lying around? If the salon does not appear clean, then move on," said Dr. VanBeek. "People who get frequent manicures and pedicures may want to purchase their own tools and implements to be used at the salon in order to protect against infection."

In addition to making sure that the implements used are sterilized properly, check that any foot baths that are used for pedicures are thoroughly disinfected before using them. If they are improperly cleaned, they can harbor bacteria and fungus which can lead to serious infections.

Myth: Artificial nails are the best solution for problem nails.

Fact: Covering up nail problems will not make them go away and may even make them worse. While artificial nails are not always a bad thing, they are not recommended for people who are prone to fungal infections or have brittle nails because they can actually make the condition worse.

"Artificial nails can trap moisture, providing an excellent environment for bacteria and fungus to grow," Dr. VanBeek said. "People with brittle nails should minimize the amount of trauma associated with removing or changing artificial nails. Chemicals used to dissolve the bond between artificial nails and the nail plate can dry out the nail and damage the nail if used too frequently. For people with healthy nails, artificial nails can be fine as long as they are not worn continuously."

Because the substances used in artificial nails can cause an allergic reaction in some people, Dr. VanBeek recommends that people know what products are used so that they can inform their dermatologist if they develop a rash or other reaction.

Myth: Always wearing dark nail polish can discolor your nails.

Fact: This is not a myth; it's true. For some people who use darker shades of nail polish on their fingers and toes, removing the color may reveal yellowed, discolored nails.

"Darker-colored polish, like blue, brown, burgundy and black, can temporarily stain the nail plate. The staining will resolve over several weeks if the same color of polish is not reapplied," said Dr. VanBeek. "The staining is neither bad nor harmful for your nails."

To prevent this from happening to unblemished nails, apply an extra layer of base coat first before using the nail color.

Myth: Fungal infections of the nail can be effectively treated with topical products.

Fact: Despite the wealth of over-the-counter products available that claim to treat fungal nail infections, the only way to cure an infection is to see a dermatologist.

"Over-the-counter topical medications don't penetrate the nail and therefore, aren't as effective as oral prescription medications," Dr. VanBeek said. "A dermatologist can prescribe the proper medication to eradicate the infection in most cases."

One of the best ways to deal with fungal nail infections is to prevent them from happening. Since nail fungus thrives in warm, damp environments, Dr. VanBeek recommends keeping feet clean and dry, refrain from sharing towels, and wear sandals in public shower areas.

Myth: Nail problems can be cleared up quickly.

Fact: Because nails grow slowly--about 0.1 mm a day--replacing the damaged or diseased nail may take many months. It's important to follow the instructions for the medications or treatment carefully to ensure that the new nail growth is healthy.

"When it comes to nails, there is no real quick fix so you have to be patient," said Dr. VanBeek. "Having beautiful nails is less a matter of luck and more a matter of caring for them correctly."

Friday, October 2, 2009

Healthy eating tips for the busy person

The world is getting busier every single day. People from all walks of life tend to compromise everything in order to meet their daily goals and this includes diet. A lot of people, especially those working in the office, would rather have a takeout order from fast food chains than cook a healthy food at home. If you happen to be in this kind of situation, here are some healthy eating tips that can help you provide the right amount of nutrition to your body in order to keep up with your busy life.

Carbohydrates are the main source of energy that our body needs. If you are the active type of person, you need to get all the carbohydrates that you can get to sustain your body from a busy day. Our body releases fuels each time we walk, run or simply doing something actively. Thus, it is important to keep this fuel in an optimum level. Carbohydrate rich foods include beans, whole grains, potatoes and among others.

Active people also need a lot of protein. It is important most especially if you do strenuous activities. Protein can help repair tissue and muscle damage caused by your active lifestyle. You can get a good amount of protein from fish products.

Vegetables and fruits are staple requirements in maintaining a fit and healthy body. You should at least take one serving of each every meal. This can help detoxify your cells giving you a youthful and healthy glow. It makes your skin healthy and smooth by providing oxygen to your skin cells.

Lastly, drink eight glasses of water everyday. Water can help you have strong endurance by providing and replacing the electrolytes that you release each time you sweat and pee. Electrolytes, especially potassium gives you loads of energy allowing you to stay active and fully alive.

When you include all these in your diet, you can achieve optimum physical fitness despite having a busy life.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Dietary patterns and disease risk profiles in men

Nutritious dietary patterns promote the health of the public by contributing to optimal nutritional status and reducing many of the risk factors associated with adult morbidity and mortality, including heart disease, hypertension, certain cancers, obesity, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Population-based nutrition recommendations emphasize dietary patterns that offer a wide variety of nutrient dense foods, limit empty calories, and encourage the consumption of protective dietary factors that lower chronic disease risk.

Many detailed evaluations of the associations between the dietary patterns of women and a variety of health outcomes has been conducted but in this report, the dietary patterns of Framingham Offspring-Spouse cohort men, are studied with regard to their dietary patterns and chronic disease risk over eight years of follow-up.

Baseline 145-item food frequency questionnaires from 1,666 Framingham Offspring-Spouse cohort men were used to identify comprehensive dietary patterns. Independent three day food records at baseline and eight years later provided estimates of subjects' nutrient intake by dietary pattern. Chronic disease risk factor status was compared at baseline and follow-up across all male dietary patterns.

Five distinct and comprehensive dietary patterns of the men were identified: transition to heart healthy (consumed more fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole grains), higher starch, average male (higher in unsweetened beverages, lower in leaner protein foods), lower variety and empty calories.

Men in the transition to heart healthy group had lower total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, rates of overweight and smoking than most other groups, but their mean glucose levels and diabetes rates were somewhat higher. During 16 years of follow-up, only smoking rates improved in all male dietary pattern subgroups; treatment rates for blood pressure and lipids were considerable higher and diabetes rates more than doubled.

With the five dietary patterns being identified, none of them could be considered ideal from a nutritional or heath risk perspective. However, the unique and non-overlapping nature of the male dietary patterns observed in Framingham suggests that each male subgroup might benefit from nutrition intervention strategies that address its unique dietary pattern and related chronic disease risk profile.

Important Eye Health Care Tips

Today's hectic work schedule and unhealthy lifestyle has a detrimental effect on our body. Especially, our eyes which are the first ones to suffer. They become tired, puffy and sore by the close of the day. However, you can always prevent this stressful impact on the eyes by the means of learning and using a few simple yet healthy tips.

Some of such eye health care tips are:

• Once a year you should get your eyes checked by the ophthalmologist. Often people delay their visit to the doctor thinking that it has not yet been an year since their last visit to the doctor. However this can enhance the vision problems. Wearing glasses and contact lenses which are not suited for your developing visual problem increases the problem of uncorrected vision and causes severe headaches and vision problems. Therefore, if your glasses or contact lenses do not feel right or comfortable anymore, it is advisable to consult the doctor as soon as possible.

• You should always wear sunglasses in summer to protect your eyes. People wearing high quality contact lenses may think that they do not require sunglasses but little do they realize that contact lenses just protect the eye. And in reality the whole eyes need protection from the harmful UV rays of the sun. The harmful UV rays can cause serious damage to the eyes. Which is why, you should wear effective sunglasses to protect your eyes from damage. Though people have this popular belief that dark sunglasses offer more protection as compared to the light ones which might be true to some extent, in reality both dark and light sunglasses offer adequate eye protection. While purchasing sunglasses you should ask if it can block 98% of the UV radiation.

In fact the little known fact is that you require sunglasses even on cloudy days.Surprised?Well,not everybody realizes that clouds are form of mere water which are transparent and hence though they might provide shade but they do not block the UV rays in anyway.

Eat food which is nutritional and healthy to your eyes. Researches have shown that there is no food which is detrimental to the eyes. In fact, most of the foods that we consume do not have any impact on our eyes. Therefore if you are expecting that the healthy diet can restore lost eyesight, then you are wrong. However, a healthy diet will definitely slow down any kind of disease and also prevent further ones from afflicting. The right vitamins and minerals can do the trick.Vitamins, especially of the antioxidant group can prevent age related disorders like development of cataracts or macular degeneration.

Though the effects of most of the vitamins have not been determined yet, Vitamins C, A and E, folic acid, selenium and zinc are known to be effective and essential for the eyes. One thing you can be sure of that whatever is healthy for the body will be healthy for the eyes. Therefore instead of going through they thousand pages book written eye care in the market, it is advisable that you simply add carrots and grapes to your lunch box.

Healthy break is important for your eyes. Working all day on the computer reduces blinking of the eyes by 25% and hence causes eye dryness. Hence, one should take breaks while working on the biggest invention of the 20th century.