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Living a healthier lifestyle doesn’t necessarily have to include dramatic diet changes, strenuous workout routines that leave you dreading the gym, or personal hygiene habits that make you roar at the idea of starting your day.
Creating a healthier lifestyle for yourself can be done with simple things too, and you can start small while still seeing significant, positive changes and results.
Let’s examine 5 Easy Steps To Healthier Living, and things you can start doing today, to be a healthier, happier you tomorrow.
1. Aiming for 10,000 steps a day – There’s no doubt you can start off small, and whether you decide to invest in a step-counter at the local sports store, Amazon, or simply use your mobile device this “simple” exercise routine and goal can be set and done by nearly anyone.
Doing so will dramatically improve your health, motivate you, and give you a clearer mind which is likely to improve your performance both at work, school, and even at home.
2. Improve your sleep and stay active – Believe it or not, just 15 minutes a day of sprinting, and 10 minutes of jogging or fast walking can help you lose or better manage your weight, gain muscle, and even improve sleep and stress feels.
3. Drink more water – Consuming more water on a daily basis will not only keep your muscles in tip-top performance, but also help curb (unnecessary) hunger, promote weight loss, and an overall happier, healthier you. Drinking more water will also give you the nutrients necessary for healthier, supple, and naturally glowing skin.
4. Be positive toward others – This one is relatively simple – do good things for others! That’s right, just volunteering at the local animal shelter or homeless shelter can improve your overall mood, confidence level, and even promote a more structured, consistent schedule for your everyday life – as well as add balance.
5. Napping and improving strength – A lot of people don’t realize it, but just taking a 20-minute nap a day can provide serious rest and recovery for your mind, body, muscles, and bones.
You’re never too young or too old to reap the benefits of a nap – just make sure you turn off all electronic devices and shut the lights off first to ensure a proper rest.
Honestly, there are hundreds if not thousands of ways to improve your everyday health. Getting rid of bad habits like eating too many sweets, consuming stimulants like coffee and cigarettes, and of course, excessive drinking are also great places to start – so what are you waiting for?
Start feeling better TODAY!
The whole world is talking about alternative health. It’s so big an issue that entire governments are ridding themselves of traditional medical solutions and embracing alternative health solutions that offer less dangerous side effects. The alternative health industry is a global one nowadays and it’s ironic that what we call alternative health today, was called standard medicine just 100 years or more ago. Now those old methods are considered better than what science has dug up.
Just because something is considered alternative doesn’t give it credibility. Science still applies here as any alternative health solution you pick should be examined and qualified by professionals in medicine and science. Now there are some who’ll say that it’s impossible for people to trust the government and mainstream medicine to support alternative health solutions. There’s plenty of proof of that and that’s why the alternative health industry gets so much mileage out of the gate. Just one person shouting about how great some liquid or grass or nut or grain is and it spreads like wildfire. So fast that no one has time to examine it nor list any side effects.
With people being desperate for treatments and cures, the only way we can watchdog is to keep tabs on people who use these alternative treatments. We look at them to see how they fare along the way and whether they end up in trouble. Luckily there are many alternative treatment physicians who are top notch in their fields. They’ve led the charge to make the fields of alternative medicine safe for one and all.
It takes teamwork from the public and the professionals to nail down which alternative treatments actually work and are safe. The FDA (Federal Drug Administration) prohibits anyone stating that something is a cure. The reason is multifold. If anyone could claim they had a cure for just about anything, the unsuspecting public would be vulnerable to any con man that came along with any snake oil proposal they can find. Also, Big Pharma doesn’t want the competition and they lobby lawmakers with billions of dollars to make sure their products and procedures get approval whether they’re dangerous or not. Every other month people see stories about how this drug or that treatment approved by the FDA finally turned out to be bogus and dangerous. This is where the trust issues come into play.
Any alternative treatment you’re thinking of undertaking calls for lots of studies first. Coordination with your doctor and realize that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.
Don’t let commercials or loud friends and relatives sell you. Take their advice but follow it up with a disciplined study that is backed by the scientific fact not housewive’s gossip or barber shop lip service. Your health is more important and when it comes to stepping outside the box for health treatments is your responsibility.
Finally, just because it’s alternative doesn’t mean it’s good or bad, just alternative and that means knowing as much as you can before you apply. Better to be safe than sorry.
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In a study published June 2017 and published in BMJ Open, the health benefits of coffee are clearly shown and encouraging to those who have to have more than one cup of Joe per day.
The study entitled “Coffee, including caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, and the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma: a systematic review and does-response meta-analysis” shows that having several cups of coffee whether caffeinated or decaf does lead to significant drops in developing cancer.
The caffeinated coffee had higher results than the decaffeinated, but the bottom line is science has shown the beverage is far more important than previously realized. For decades the arguments regarding coffee’s benefits for health have been strongly debated. Study after study conflicted one another but this time, the data is on the table for everyone to take a bite out of.
The objective of the study was to determine: “To examine the association between coffee, including caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, with hepatocellular (HCC) and assess the influence of HCC etiology and preexisting liver disease.”.
With over 1,000 participants in the study, the researchers found that having just two cups of coffee per day brought about on average, a 35% reduction in the risk of HCC. It didn’t matter if the subjects had minimal or more serious liver disease, nor the amount of alcohol consumption, the decrease in developing cancer was the same.
The strengths of the study shows that not only is this study the first meta-analysis to do the calculations to find the relative risks of hepatocellular carcinoma for those who consumed 1 to 5 cups of coffee daily, but this data should allow for the designing of an intervention strategy that is coffee based in use in a clinical trial.
Furthermore, this study is a first-time meta-analysis to discover the influence of all the main HCC risk factors that are associated with HCC and coffee. The same is for the decaffeinated coffee consumption. The study found that there is a heterogeneity between the studies included in the meta-analysis.
The results of the study have startled the public and medical community. Since liver cancer is the 6th most regularly diagnosed cancer throughout the world, it behooves other researchers as well as the medical industry to follow up on this research and see how it can be applied to the problem of liver cancer. Whether coffee diminishes the chances of other forms of cancer isn’t listed, but many feel the benefits are the same.
The compounds found in coffee are known to have antioxidants, anti-fibrotic, anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties.
What does all this have to do for the average consumer who enjoys coffee but is worried that too much might cause harm? It’s on a case by case basis as to how much coffee a person can tolerate per day. The caffeine might be too much for some and they’ll have to switch to decaffeinated or supplement their caffeinated coffee with decaf for later in the afternoon and evening. In addition, living a healthy lifestyle should boost the success of coffee on the body.
So, enjoy that cup of Joe with full peace of mind that not only are you satisfying your taste buds, but you’re preventing cancer from taking root.
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There is a large body of articles and various forms of evidence which support the mental and physical benefits of getting massages. The vast majority of these focus on the benefits of receiving a massage, however, a new study suggests that for couples, massaging your partner can have a positive effect for the massager as well as the partner getting the massage. The study from Northumbria University in the UK studied couples over three weeks and found that both giving and receiving them led to reduced stress and increased feelings of wellbeing for both partners.
The popularity of massages continues to grow worldwide with almost one in five getting massages in 2016 in the United States. Of these, about half said it helped alleviate some sort of pain and improved wellness or helped with other issues. About a quarter said it reduced stress too. The majority of these respondents likely got their massages from professionals because that is the typical thing to do with almost 62% of massages getting done at spas, massage parlors, or a physical therapist’s office. This new finding offers perhaps a better way to get massages if both partners are willing. It can be financially beneficial compared to getting them from others and it may also improve intimacy. Learning to properly massage may be a good investment for couples interested in this sort of thing.
Further research should be conducted to verify the findings of this study, which looked at 38 people in 19 couples over 3 weeks. It will be interesting to see if this also extends to non-couples, or whether it is something about the relationship that might be driving the mutual benefits. This is plausible given that couples typically want their partner to be happy and feel good, so seeing them that way may, in turn, help them feel better and happier as well.
This study is the latest in a wide body of new studies which have looked at massages and their impacts in various scenarios from a scientific standpoint. Other studies have looked at things like recovering from athletic events, improvements in mental function, changes in blood flow, and injury recovery time after massages. Larger randomized controlled trials should be conducted in order to verify these results before prescribing them widely in medical practice, but the safety profile is good enough for most people that they can likely get massages (or now give them) and see if they notice a benefit in themselves. It is always optimal to talk to your doctor or physical therapist if you want to see whether massages can have a clinical impact on you if this is possible (although you probably do not need to schedule a special meeting for that unless you have some other condition that makes that a good idea). Massages are growing in popularity for a reason and the trend is likely to continue as research such as this one support the use and as a culture in general starts to better value wellbeing, relaxation, and meditation.
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Do you go weak in the knees when you spot someone snacking on a meal of ‘mashed avocados seasoned with bell peppers, tomatoes, and chopped onions’ better known as guacamole? If you do, then you’re in good luck as a fresh evaluation of scientific reports pinpoints that feasting on avocados may help in delaying and reducing the risks of ‘metabolic syndrome’. Metabolic syndrome is being touted as the ‘new silent killer’ and can be a major impediment to healthy living.
You’re said to be suffering from ‘metabolic syndrome’ if you’re hypertensive, have a large girth, and your triglyceride level is abnormally high. The peer review which was issued in ‘Phytotherapy Research’-a leading medical journal was carried out by Iranian scientists. These researchers meticulously sifted through 129 studies published earlier that evaluated the impacts of consuming avocado on various aspects related to metabolic syndrome.
A majority of the trials focused on the flesh of avocado the section of the fruit that we generally consume but quite a few were dedicated to its leaves, seeds, oil, and skin. The researchers came to a conclusion that eating avocados contributed hugely towards maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Biting into avocados on a regular basis helps contain bad or ‘LDL cholesterol’, and raise ‘HDL cholesterol’ level as well as regulate the proportion of phospholipids and triglycerides in the bloodstream.
The Iranian researchers also believed gorging on avocados led to numerous other health benefits. Avocados could go a long way in accelerating weight loss and help bring down high blood pressure as well as blood sugar levels. The antithrombotic, cardioprotective, and anti-atherosclerotic properties of the fruit were also observed in numerous trials.
Simply put, the researchers overwhelmingly agreed avocados were incredibly effective in dealing with metabolic syndrome in a comprehensive manner. Cynthia Sass RD, MPH who regularly posts nutrition articles to ‘Health’ journal opined that ‘this is just yet another study to show that avocados truly deserve superfood status’. She went on to express avocados were extremely instrumental in touching belly fat considered as the most unhealthy and harmful kind of fat.
Another important finding of the research hinted that individuals who included avocados in everyday diets were more prone to weight loss compared to those who didn’t. Avocados also abound in minerals, fibers, vitamins, and antioxidants besides being richly endowed with fats that were beneficial for the heart. Also, our bodies can assimilate nutrients from the fruit better than supplements and medications.
Avocado is a super delicious and juicy fruit that is best consumed raw. However, there are plenty other ways in which you can eat the fruit. Avocados are used for rustling up mouthwatering guacamoles as well as go as an ingredient in salads and omelets. Whisk a glass of smoothie or concoct a glass of Indonesian-styled milkshake or spread a paste of the fruit in toasts or tortilla chips. The fruit also serves as an excellent substitute for butter when baking cakes and biscuits. Eat an avocado a day for keeping ‘metabolic syndrome’ at bay.
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Ginger-the humble rhizome that is believed to have been first used in the Indian subcontinent millenniums ago-is extensively used for spicing up a range of food preparations. This herbaceous perennial spice also touted to have numerous health benefits, has long been used as a folk medicine. Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine are replete with different formulations of this rhizome that can help in dealing with various ailments.
And it is reassuring to hear that medical science is corroborating the curative properties of this herbal spice. You might be aware that ginger is extremely effective in tackling common cold and flu, promote digestion, and reduce muscle pain or soreness. But did you know that the spice is highly effective in dealing with motion sickness that results from voyaging on the sea, flying long hours, and driving for hours on mountainous or elevated routes?
Apart from seasickness or airsickness, the herb can be used for remedying bloating, headaches or pain caused due to PMS. Significantly enough, you can either use zests sliced from raw ginger or the powdery form for boosting your health. Surprisingly enough, you won’t have to consume large amounts of the spices for realizing the perks as imbibing simply 2gms (equivalent to a ¾ teaspoon in powdered form or 1 tablespoon in grated form) every day will suffice.
Following are 7 convincing reasons why you should start chewing or consuming this pungent-tasting herb or spice.
1. Ginger Can Help Alleviate Arthritic Pain
Dietitian Danielle Capalino who authored books such as ‘Flat Stomach’ and ‘Healthy Gut’ is strong of the opinion that ginger could go a long way in tackling inflammation and alleviating arthritic pain, especially in arthritis patients. She has found evidence for the above benefits as powerful anti-inflammatory agents called ‘gingerols’ found naturally in the herb can thwart the development of cytokines that are known to aggravate inflammation.
If a medical report (issued in Arthritis & Rheumatology) or study is to be believed, extracts of the spice had the potential of assuaging osteoarthritis symptoms in the knees.
2. Reinforces Immunity
Perhaps there’s not a single person in this whole wide world who never was under the weather owing to common cold or had an attack of flu. And this rhizome is one of the best natural substances that have been used for tackling this upper respiratory tract infection for a long time. The sesquiterpenes in the herb are efficient in thwarting the thriving of rhinovirus (the virus responsible for causing the common cold). Throw 3-4 slices of ginger in your morning or evening tea if you want quick relief from nasal congestion. Loaded with antioxidants, ginger helps check pain and symptoms of fever.
3. Relieves Muscle Soreness
During your next trip to the gym, be sure to keep finely trimmed tests of the herb under your tongue. Studies and trials have increasingly evidenced that the spice which helped ease PMS pain and checked inflammation, could also soothe muscles that feel sore after a strenuous workout. According to a trial issued in the ‘Journal of Pain’, participants that imbibed two grams of the herb felt a noticeable alleviation in muscle soreness and pain resulting from strength building workouts just a day after vis-à-vis a placebo.
4. Sidelines and minimizes PMS Pain
Perhaps the most worthwhile health benefit that women and teenaged females can have from consuming the spice is relief from pain that predominates a menstrual cycle. As a matter of fact, it has been demonstrated that ginger is as effective as OTC medications in getting respite from PMS pain. In a study appearing in the ‘Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine’, it was reported that taking the herb was as good as swallowing an ibuprofen pill for dealing with the pain.
5. Thwarts Abdominal Bloating
Ginger not only reduces and checks nausea but also boosts digestion and prevents the abdomen from getting bloated or distended. The herb contains carminative agents that expedite the secretion of gastric juices for promoting digestion.
6. Hones Your Memory Skills
This wonder herb can be highly effective in bulwarking or cushion your brain from dementia and Alzheimer’s. The spice shields your brain from the sticky amyloid proteins that form a plaque thereby prolonging or putting off the disease progression.
7. Combating Migraines
Ginger plays a stellar role in thwarting the buildup of prostaglandin that is known to increase swelling of blood vessels giving you head-splitting migraines. Going by one study, the powdery form of the spice was equally efficient as sumatriptan for dealing with migraines.
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Stress is a natural reaction to situations which our mind perceives to be dangerous or that require a level of high alert. It is a protection mechanism that is necessary at times but sometimes gets overplayed in the modern world due to excessive stress alerts. This makes it necessary to ensure we get adequate stress relief to mitigate the effects of too much stress- namely cardiac or mental health issues. Amongst these include a higher risk for cardiovascular disease and heart attacks, substance abuse issues, anxiety, sadness or anger, or physical changes to the body including changes in sex drive, sleep, and even body composition with increased fat being linked to high levels of cortisol, a stress-related hormone. It is important to manage your life and your stress so that these risks are mitigated as best as possible because no one wants to deal with these comorbidities and conditions. Thankfully, there are many different forms of stress relief out there- everything from meditation to exercising to getting massages and it is really a matter of trying different things out to see what works best for you.
The latter, getting a massage, is especially growing in popularity right now. Many people seem to find that it just helps their worries seep away as they almost travel to another world for that half hour or hour session. Looking at the specific downstream effects of excessive stress, there are many case studies which suggest that massages can help alleviate those issues, making it a logical option at combatting stress given the fantastic safety profile. There have also been scientific studies which have shown associations with massages and reduced heart rates and blood pressure. Some studies have even shown increased endorphin levels after massages, which may be causing the positive feeling people get after receiving one. Massages are certainly on the upward trend right now, but they should not be your only form of stress management.
It should be noted that the best thing for stress is likely a combination of many things. It is important to eat right, exercise, and take care of your body in order for it to function properly and for stress to be minimized. Massages may be an add-on to those other activities as may meditation too. Stress relief has great potency in improving your life beyond just your health, though. It can help increase vitality and improve your state of mind.
If you think you are interested in trying out massages, the next question is where do you go to get a quality one? There are now many retail outlets at which you can get professional massage services including Massage Envy, which is one of the most popular chains. There are also many local masseuses who can offer custom services to their clients including home visits, etc. Just be sure to do your research on the massage service to make sure that they are a legitimate business with certified professionals. Once you find someone you like you can stick with them and continue to fight back the never-ending onslaught of stress!
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A new study by a group at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) shows that massages can help increase blood flow and reduce muscle soreness after exercising. The study, printed in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, also showed improvements in people who had not exercised in terms of blood flow. These two findings continue to support a hypothesis on the value of massages for people of all activity levels and vascular health.
Advocates of massages have long touted the circulate and muscle benefits of getting massages. Many professional athletes buy into these claims and get regular massages, especially after big games or events. At the same time, no major randomized controlled trial has been conducted due to the high costs associated with that type of gold-standard study. Instead, we have a growing body of cheaper and smaller studies including this one by UIC. Over time, it is possible the evidence level builds up to really support more interventional massages as part of routine care.
This new study helps validate that potential message by using patient-centric outcomes. Study participants were asked to do leg presses until they felt sore. One cohort received massages after this, while the other cohort did not. Soreness was rated on a scale of 1 to 10 both right after the exercise and after 24 hours. The massage cohort reported no continuing soreness even 90 minutes after the massage, whereas the other group still had soreness 24 hours after the exercise. Brachial artery flow mediated dilation (FMD) was also measured in the upper arm at 90 minutes after exercise as well as 1, 2, and 3 days afterward. FMD improved for both groups over time, as expected, but the exercise-only group lagged in return to normalcy, suggesting that there is a physiological mechanism behind the results and not only a placebo effect. The FMD results also suggest a systemic effect since the readings were from the arm and the exercise was in the legs.
While more robust and larger randomized clinical trials will be needed to further quantify the effects of massage, the early data certainly suggest that there is a benefit. And either way, we know there are not any major safety issues with getting massages for most people, so that makes it an okay thing to try for those who may believe it could help so long as the cost justifies the potential upside. Specific studies on cost effectiveness may be able to further delineate this latter point and could eventually increase access to massages if insurance companies and other payers start to see the value in them and are willing to pay for them. Provider referrals would likely be required in these cases, so the medical body of evidence also needs to grow, but as of now, there is not much holding that back other than the issues of cost when it comes to running large studies to confirm physiological and medical effects. It will be interesting to see how the impact of a massage on blood circulation develops over time.
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The Olympics have now ended and another global event of fanfare and record-breaking is now in the books. While the games may have ended, one thing is still on everyone’s mind: what is cupping? The 2016 Summer Olympics made the practice famous as viewers and fans noted large circular discolorations on many of their favorite athletes’ bodies. Cupping took the Olympics by storm this year, particularly in swimming, but the practice is actually much older than these Olympics.
Cupping because in 300 AD in a book by a Taoist herbalist describing a number of “prescriptions for emergencies”. It referred to the use of bamboo jars as suction devices that are placed on the skin (today’s athletes likely used small glass cups instead). A practitioner can create the suction from the cups by lighting rubbing alcohol under the cup on fire and place it against the skin (the fire burns the alcohol but the change in temperature allows for a suction effect). This does not burn the skin, but just creates the suction effect.
Once the suction takes effect, the cup can be moved across the skin. This causes the muscle layer to slightly come up as the cup moves and creates upward pressure on the skin (as opposed to a massage which does the opposite). It often leads to a relaxing sensation, which is why so many athletes like it. The cups can be left on the skin for ten minutes or so once the suction starts as the patient relaxes.
The idea is that the movement of the muscle and the relaxation leads to increased blood flow and potentially better healing or function- similar ideas as those in support of massages. Some users like to combine cupping with other methods including massaging. For those especially inclined to eastern medicine, acupuncture is another popular option. Both acupuncture and cupping follow the lines of the meridians on the body as it strives to open certain ‘channels’ within the body.
While cupping was tremendously popular in the 2016 games, it continues to have its skeptics as do many forms of ancient healing. Medical professionals note the lack of scientific evidence on the effectiveness of cupping and attribute any benefit to perception or placebo. Athletes questioned on the matter did not seem to care, given the relatively low cost of the procedure and the impact the procedure had on their minds, which is a big part of competitive sports. Placebo effects may not be “real” against a comparator, but they are still real in terms of physiological impact- there is no doubt about that. If the swimmers actually felt it helped and experienced the placebo effect, then in turn their performance was enhanced as a result as well and one may argue that it was worth it. Nonetheless, more literature on the topic will likely emerge after the practice took the nation by storm this season. It will be interesting to see how the tactic of cupping holds up with time and in the face of new evidence.
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