Monday, December 29, 2008

Top 10 Reasons to Turn Off Your TV

From Mark Stibich, Ph.D.,

Turning off your television will gain you, on average, about 4 hours per day. Imagine if you took that time to exercise, give your brain a workout and develop strong relationships. Not only would you be adding years to your life, you would become more interesting, energetic, and fun. So take the plunge and try not watching TV for a week. At first it will be strange and awkward, but stick with it and soon you will love all the extra time.

1. Television Eats Your Time

The average U.S. adult watches more than 4 hours of television a day. That's 25 percent of waking time spent every day. Imagine if you suddenly had 25 percent more time -- that's three extra months per year! You could get in all your exercise, cook your meals from scratch and still have time left over to write a novel.

Over a lifetime, an 80-year-old person would have watched 116,800 hours of television, compared to only 98,000 hours of work. As a nation, adults watch 880 million hours of television every day or 321 billion hours per year. Whew! Imagine what could get done if we all just stopped watching TV.

2. Television Makes You Stressed

With the average of four hours a day gone, it's no wonder everyone is feeling stressed out and overwhelmed. We put aside paying bills, finishing projects, making phone calls and cleaning our homes to watch TV. We feel overwhelmed because of all the things we should be doing (exercising, spending time with family, eating right) go undone.

And when we feel overwhelmed, tired, and exhausted we don't have energy to anything but -- you guessed it -- watch TV. It is a dreadful cycle. So take a break from TV for a week and see what happens to your life.

3. Television Makes You Overweight

Eating while distracted limits your ability to assess how much you have consumed. According to Eliot Blass at the University of Massachusetts , people eat between 31 and 74 percent more calories while watching TV.

This could add, on average, about 300 calories extra per TV meal. Now consider that at least 40 percent of families watch TV while eating dinner. It becomes clear that TV is a big part of the obesity epidemic in the U.S. and that TV, in fact, makes you gain weight.

4. Television Makes You Uninteresting

Many people have whole conversations that are recaps of TV programs, sporting events and sitcoms. When asked about their real lives, there is little or nothing to report and no stories to tell (except the TV shows they have watched).

Life is too interesting and wonderful to spend your time either watching TV or recapping television to your friends. Find something interesting to do: volunteer, read, paint -- anything but watch more TV.

5. Television Ruins Your Relationships

A television is turned on an average of 7 hours and 40 minutes per day in many U.S. households. With the TV on that much, there is little time for you and your significant other or children to spend time together, share experiences, and develop deeper relationships.

Sitting together and watching TV does not grow a relationship. Turn that TV off and find something to do together -- cooking, exercising, taking a walk, anything.

6. Television is Not Relaxation

TV is the opposite of exercise. If you are watching TV you are usually sitting, reclining or lying down. You are burning as few calories as possible. All that extra food you eat while watching TV does not get burned off. Your brain goes into a lull.

But you are not relaxing -- your mind is still receiving stimuli from the TV, you are processing information and reacting emotionally. Have you ever found yourself thinking about TV characters? Do you ever dream about TV shows? These are signs that the brain is working hard to process all the TV you have been watching.

7. Television Loses Opportunities

If you are sitting and watching TV, nothing new or exciting is going to happen to you. New opportunities and ideas come from being out in the world, talking to people, and reading interesting things.

Watching TV isolates you. Nothing is going to change in your world if you are watching TV. Turn off the TV, go out into the world, talk to people, and see what happens.

8. Television is Addictive

Television can become addictive. Signs of TV addiction include:

* using the TV to calm down

* not being able to control your viewing

* feeling angry or disappointed in how much TV you watched

* feeling on edge if kept from watching

* feeling a loss of control while watching

If the idea of giving up TV for a week is horrifying, you may be addicted to television. Luckily, TV addiction is a habit and not a physical addiction like smoking. You should be able to control it once you are aware of the problem and make a decision to change.

9. Television Makes You Buy Things

By age 65, the average American has seen 2 million commercials. Your knowledge of products and brands comes from these TV commercials. Your perception of what you need also comes from these commercials.

If you didn't know that your iPod could talk to your running shoes, you wouldn't feel like your current shoes are too low-tech. If you didn't know about vacuums that never lose suction, your current vacuum would seem fine. Our perception of need is determined by what we see. Need less by watching less TV.

10. Television Costs Money

A basic cable package costs $43 per month and many packages cost much more than that. That comes to at least $500 a year spent on TV. For that much money you could: buy a membership to every museum or zoo in your town, get a gym membership, buy a nice bicycle, invest it every year for 10 years at 10 percent interest and have more than $10,000.

Sources: TvTurnOff.org; US Census Bureau http://longevity.about.com/od/lifelongrelationships/tp/Turn_Off_TV.htm

Friday, December 19, 2008

The top five cancer-causing foods are:

1. Hot dogs

Because they are high in nitrates, the Cancer Prevention Coalition

advises that children eat no more than 12 hot dogs a month. If you
live without hot dogs, buy those made without sodium nitrate.

2. Processed meats and bacon

Also high in the same sodium nitrates found in hot dogs, bacon, and
processed meats raise the risk of heart disease. The saturated fat in

bacon also contributes to cancer.

3. Doughnuts

Doughnuts are cancer-causing double trouble. First, they are made with

white flour, sugar, and hydrogenated oils, then fried at high

temperatures. Doughnuts, says Adams , may be the worst food you can

possibly eat to raise your risk of cancer.

4. French fries

Like doughnuts, French fries are made with hydrogenated oils and then

fried at high temperatures. They also contain cancer- causing acryl

amides which occur during the frying process. They should be called

cancer fries, not French fries, said Adams .

5. Chips, crackers, and cookies

All are usually made with white flour and sugar. Even the ones whose

labels claim to be free of trans-fats generally contain small amounts


1. No Breakfast

People who do not take breakfast are going to have a lower blood sugar


This leads to an insufficient supply of nutrients to the brain causing

brain degeneration.

2. Overeating

It causes hardening of the brain arteries, leading to a decrease in

mental power.

3. Smoking

It causes multiple brain shrinkage and may lead to Alzheimer disease.

4. High Sugar consumption

Too much sugar will interrupt the absorption of proteins and nutrients

causing malnutrition and may interfere with brain development.

5. Air Pollution

The brain is the largest oxygen consumer in our body. Inhaling
air decreases the supply of oxygen to the brain, bringing about a

decrease in brain efficiency.

6. Sleep Deprivation

Sleep allows our brain to rest. Long term deprivation from sleep will

accelerate the death of brain cells.

7. Head covered while sleeping

Sleeping with the head covered increases the concentration of carbon

dioxide and decrease concentration of oxygen that may lead to brain

damaging effects.

8. Working your brain during illness

Working hard or studying with sickness may lead to a decrease in

effectiveness of the brain as well as damage the brain.

9. Lacking in stimulating thoughts

Thinking is the best way to train our brain, lacking in brain
thoughts may cause brain shrinkage.

10. Talking Rarely

Intellectual conversations will promote the efficiency of the brain

The main causes of liver damage are:

1. Sleeping too late and waking up too late are main cause.

2. Not urinating in the morning.

3. Too much eating..

4. Skipping breakfast.

5. Consuming too much medication.

6. Consuming too much preservatives, additives, food coloring,

and artificial sweetener.

7.. Consuming unhealthy cooking oil. As much as possible reduce
cooking oil use when frying, which includes even the best cooking oils like
olive oil. Do not consume fried foods when you are tired, except if the body
is very fit.

8. Consuming raw (overly done) foods also add to the burden of liver.

Veggies should be eaten raw or cooked 3-5 parts. Fried veggies should be
finished in one sitting, do not store.

We should prevent this without necessarily spending more. We just have
to adopt a good daily lifestyle and eating habits. Maintaining good
eating habits and time condition are very important for our bodies to absorb
and get rid of unnecessary chemicals according to 'schedule.'


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Important Notice( Air out your car before turning on Aircon)

Open the windows after you enter your car

In brief, the above article says: According to research done by a U.C., the car dashboard, sofa, air freshener will emit Benzene, a cancer causing toxin (carcinogen) . In addition to causing cancer, it poisons your bones, causes anemia, and reduces white blood cells. Prolonged exposure will cause Leukemia, increasing the risk of cancer. May also cause miscarriage.

Acceptable Benezene level indoors is 50 mg per sq. ft. A car parked indoors with the windows closed will contain 400-800 mg of Benezene. If parked outdoors under the sun at a temperature above 60 degrees F, the Benezene level goes up to 2000-4000 mg, 40 times the acceptable level. The people inside the car will inevitably inhale an excess amount of the toxin.

It is recommended that you open the windows and door to give time for the interior to air out before you enter. Benzene is a toxin that affects your kidney and liver, and is difficult for your body to expel.

Don't ever skip breakfast...

Importance of having Breakfast

Breakfast can help prevent strokes, heart attack and sudden death. Advice on not to skip breakfast!

Healthy living

For those who always skip breakfast, you should stop that habit now! You've heard many times that "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day." Now, recent research confirms that one of the worst practices you can develop may be avoiding breakfast.


click to enlarge

Because the frequency of heart attack, sudden death, and stroke peaks between 6: 00a.m. and noon, with the highest incidence being
between 8: 00a.m. and 10:00a.m.What mechanism within the body could account for this significant jump in sudden death in the early
morning hours?

We may have an Answer.

Platelet, tiny elements in the blood that keep us from bleeding to Death if we get a cut, can clump together inside our arteries due to
cholesterol or laque buildup in the artery lining. It is in the morning hours that platelets become the most activated and tend to form these internal blood clots at the greatest frequency.

However, eating even a very light breakfast prevents the morning platelet activation that is associated with heart attacks and strokes. Studies performed at Memorial University in St.Johns, Newfoundland found that eating a light, very low-fat breakfast was critical in modifying the morning platelet activation. Subjects in the study consumed either low-fat or fat-free yogurt, orange juice, fruit, and a source of protein coming from yogurt or fat-free milk. So if you skip breakfast, it's important that you change this practice immediately in light of this research. Develop a simple plan to eat cereal, such as oatmeal or Bran Flakes, along with six ounces of grape juice or orange juice, and perhaps a piece of fruit. This simple plan will keep your platelets from sticking together, keep blood clots from forming, and perhaps head off a potential Heart Attack or stroke. So never ever skip breakfast

Trust after reading this… You will not skip BREAKFAST !!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Baby Carrots are not what you think they are?

'The following information is from a farmer who grows and packages carrots for IGA, METRO, LOBLAWS, etc.

The small cocktail (baby) carrots you buy in small plastic bags are made using the larger carrots which are put through a machine which cuts and shapes them into cocktail carrots.

What you may not know and should know is the following: once the carrots are
cut and shaped into cocktail carrots they are dipped in a solution of water and chlorine in order to preservethem (this is the same chlorine used in your pool) and since they do not have their skin or natural protective covering, they give them a higher dose of chlorine.

You will notice that once you keep these carrots in your refrigerator for a few days, a white covering will form on the carrots; this is the chlorine which resurfaces. At what cost do we put our health at risk to have esthetically pleasing and simple to serve vegetables which are unhealthy?

We do hope that this information can be passed on to as many people as possible in the hopes of informing them where these carrots come from and how they are processed. Chlorine is a very well known carcinogen.'

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Hypertension Health Check

Hypertension Health Check, please click here............................

6 Sex Mistakes Men Make

WebMD offers experts' sex tips for men who have sex with women.
By Martin F. Downs
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Hey guys, think you know everything there is to know about having sex with women? That erotic encyclopedia you carry around in your head may contain a lot of basic errors and omissions about women's sexuality -- errors that can lead to sex mistakes.

That's because -- after learning the facts of life -- most of us are left to figure out sex for ourselves. Guys tend to take a lot of cues from adult movies, and we all know how true-to-life those are. Experience may help, but many women can be shy when talking about what they like.

To help us with some sex tips, WebMD asked two acclaimed sex educators, Tristan Taormino and Lou Paget, to tell us what they think are the most common sex mistakes men make with women.

Taormino is a prolific author, lecturer, and video producer. Her latest project is the Expert Guide educational video series from Vivid Ed.

Paget is author of The Great Lover Playbook and other sex manuals, and she gives seminars nationwide. click next>>>>>>>>

Monday, October 27, 2008

Top Nutrition Trends for 2008

Survey: Americans Eating More Whole Grains, Vegetables, Fruits
By Miranda Hitti
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Oct. 26, 2008 -- Whole grains are hot, trans fat is not, and more Americans say they're doing all they can to eat right, according to a new survey from the American Dietetic Association (ADA).

In the survey, 783 U.S. adults dish on their diet and exercise habits. Among the findings:

  • Consumption of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits is up.
  • Trans fat, beef, pork, and dairy consumption is down.
  • More Americans have a good attitude toward diet and exercise and say they're doing their best to eat healthfully.

Here's a closer look at those findings.

Food Trends

Here are the top five foods or nutrients that survey participants say they've increased during the past five years:

  • Whole grains: 56% say they're eating more
  • Vegetables: Half of participants say they're eating more vegetables
  • Fruits: 48% say they're eating more fruit
  • Low-fat foods: 48% say they're eating more low-fat foods
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: 38% say they've boosted their consumption

The upward trend in consumption of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables is good news, notes ADA spokeswoman Jeannie Gazzaniga-Moloo, PhD, RD, who presented the survey results today in Chicago at the ADA's annual meeting.

"It was encouraging to see those findings," Gazzaniga-Moloo tells WebMD.

Here are the top five foods or nutrients that participants report reducing during the past five years.

  • Trans fat: 56% say they've cut back on foods containing trans fat
  • Beef: 41% say they're eating less beef
  • Pork: 33% report eating less pork
  • Dairy: 23% say they've cut back
  • Low-sugar foods: 20% say they've cut back

Gazzaniga-Moloo says people may be cutting back on beef, pork, and dairy because of cost and the hunt for lower-fat foods. But she points out that "there are lower-fat alternatives within those three foods -- beef, pork, and dairy -- [and that] they do provide an excellent source of certain nutrients," such as calcium, protein, and vitamin D in dairy products, and protein, iron, and B vitamins in pork and dairy.

More People Eating Better

More people are improving their attitude toward diet and exercise and taking action for a healthier diet, according to the survey.

The ADA splits participants into three groups -- "I'm already doing it," "Don't bother me," and "I know I should" -- based on how they answer various survey questions about diet and exercise habits.

Here's how the groups ranked this year and in the ADA's 2002 survey:

  • I'm already doing it: 43% (up from 38% in 2002)
  • I know I should: 38% (up from 30% in 2002)
  • Don't bother me: 19% (down from 32% in 2002)

The shift out of the "don't bother me" category and into the "I'm already doing it" category shows that "consumers are certainly becoming more aware of the importance of balanced and healthy eating, [and] regular physical activity," says Gazzaniga-Moloo.

But there's still room for improvement. "What we would like to see is more of the 'I know I shoulds' moving into the 'I already am'" category, Gazzaniga-Moloo says.

Top Excuses for Not Eating Better

Why aren't people doing more to improve their diets? Here are the top five reasons from the survey:

  • 79% say they're satisfied with the way they eat.
  • 73% say they don't want to give up the foods they like.
  • 54% say it takes too much time to keep track of their diet.
  • 52% say they need more practical tips for healthy eating.
  • 41% say they don't know or understand diet and nutrition guidelines.

Mintel International conducted the survey, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3%.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Good Protein Chart

Protein can help you shed those unwanted pounds and keep your belly full. But it's important to eat the right amount and the right kind of protein to get the health benefits.

Fish & Seafood

Seafood is one of the best sources of protein because it's usually low in fat. Fish such as salmon is a little higher in fat but it is the heart-healthy kind: omega-3 fatty acids.

White-Meat Poultry

Stick to the white meat of poultry for excellent, lean protein. Dark meat is higher in fat. The skin is loaded with saturated fat, so remove skin before cooking.

Milk, Cheese Yogurt

Not only are dairy foods excellent sources of protein but they also contain valuable calcium. Choose skim or low fat dairy to keep bones and teeth strong, prevent osteoporosis and enhance weight loss.


Eggs are one of the least expensive forms of protein. The American Heart Association says normal healthy adults can safely enjoy an egg a day.


One-half cup of beans contains as much protein as 3 ounces of broiled steak. Plus, these nutritious nuggets are loaded with fiber to keep you feeling full for hours.

Pork Tenderloin

This great and versatile white meat is 31% leaner than 20 years ago.


Twenty five grams of soy protein daily can help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Combine soy protein foods like tofu with a healthy low fat diet.

Lean Beef

Lean beef has only one more gram of saturated fat than a skinless chicken breast. Lean beef is also an excellent source of zinc, iron and vitamin B12.

Protein on the Go

Grab a meal replacement drink, cereal bar or energy bar. Check the label to be sure the product contains at least 6 grams of protein, and is low in sugar and fat.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hey Chicken: Take It Off - Take It All Off!

Half the fat is in the chicken skin...so take it off!

Half of the fat and saturated fat in chicken breast and thigh is in the skin, which is why so many of us enjoy our chicken skinless. I personally find the skin, dare I say it, "yucky" particularly if it's soft and not completely crispy. I actually can't remember the last time I ate the skin on chicken.

Here's the thing though...do you remove the skin before or after you cook it?

If you cook your chicken with the skin on only to take it off at the dinner table, then that's where all the great-tasting marinade, BBQ sauce, or BBQ rubs and seasonings are going to be. Plus it makes sense that some of the fat in the skin is going to melt into the chicken meat as it cooks. So go ahead and take the skin off before you prepare the chicken for grilling. It will grill much the same way as it did before except this time all the seasoning and flavor won't come off with the skin.
  • 4 ounces of roasted chicken breast with skin contains 225 calories, 8.8 grams of fat and 2.5 grams of saturated fat

  • 4 ounces of roasted chicken breast WITHOUT skin contains 187 calories, 4 grams of fat and 1.2 grams of saturated fat

You save about 40 calories, 4.5 grams of fat and 1.3 grams of saturated fat per chicken breast just by cooking and eating it skinless.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Medicines to Help You Stop Smoking

When you quit smoking, you may feel strange at first. You may feel dull, tense, and not yourself. These are signs that your body is getting used to life without nicotine. It usually only lasts a few weeks.

Many people just can't handle how they feel after they quit. They start smoking again to feel better. Maybe this has happened to you. Most people slip up in the first week after quitting. This is when feelings of withdrawal are strongest.

There are medicines that can help with feelings of withdrawal:

  • Bupropion SR pills
  • Nicotine gum
  • Nicotine inhaler
  • Nicotine lozenge
  • Nicotine nasal spray
  • Nicotine patch

Using these medicines can double your chances of quitting for good. Ask your doctor for advice. But remember: Medicine alone can't do all the work. It can help with cravings and withdrawal, but quitting will still be hard at times.

Here is more information about the different medicines.

Nicotine Gum, Patch, Inhaler, Spray, and Lozenge (NRT)

Nicotine gum, patches, inhalers, sprays, and lozenges are called nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). That's because they take the place of nicotine from cigarettes. NRT can help with withdrawal and lessen your urge to smoke.

You need a prescription to buy the inhaler and nasal spray. But you can buy nicotine gum, nicotine patches, and nicotine lozenges on your own.

Other Medicines

Bupropion SR is a medicine that has no nicotine. You need a prescription to get these pills. They seem to help with withdrawal and lessen the urge to smoke.

Some people have side effects when using bupropion SR pills. The side effects include dry mouth and not being able to sleep.

This medicine isn't right for:

  • Pregnant women
  • People who have seizures
  • People with eating disorders
  • Heavy drinkers

Ask your doctor, dentist, or pharmacist if this medicine is right for you. Make sure to use it the right way if your doctor prescribes it.

Thinking About Using NRT?

  • Ask your doctor, dentist, or pharmacist if nicotine gum, the patch, or some other kind of NRT is right for you. These medicines can cause side effects in some people. Some people should not use NRT without a doctor's help. Pregnant women are a good example.
  • Be patient. Using NRT correctly can take some getting used to. Follow the instructions and give it some time.
  • Don't mix tobacco and NRT. Having one or two cigarettes while you use the gum, patch, nasal spray, inhaler, or lozenge is not dangerous, but your goal is to quit smoking for good. Use NRT only when you are ready to stop smoking. If you do slip up and smoke a cigarette or two, don't give up on NRT. Keep trying.
  • Start out using enough medicine. Use the full amount of NRT in the instructions. Don't skip or forget to use your NRT after you first stop smoking.
  • Slowly use less and less medicine. But don't stop completely until you're ready. You can set up a schedule with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Keep some of the medicine with you after you stop using it. This way you'll be ready for an emergency.
  • Wait a half hour after using the gum, lozenge, or inhaler before you eat or drink anything acidic. Acidic foods and drinks can keep nicotine gums and inhalers from working. Acidic foods and drinks include tomato sauce, tomatoes, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, coffee, soda, orange juice, and grapefruit juice.

Bottom line: Read the instructions that come with the medicine. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Sunday, June 29, 2008


If you live with a smoker, or are close friends with one: don't be a NAG about their smoking habit! (You can make noise about their smoking in the house or near you, because their second hand smoke hurts you – but don't nag them to quit. There's a BIG difference!)

Just three times a year you can ask your loved one – briefly – VERY briefly – to please quit smoking -- in VERY loving and warm tones. (Try surrounding your request with HONEST complements, keep it BRIEF, and they might be more open to hearing you.

But if you speak up more than three times per YEAR, then you're a yukky, obnoxious NAG. Ick! And your beloved smoker will be so ANGRY with you that they'll keep smoking just to spite you. You'll be defeating your very purpose.

I ask nonsmokers to honor their smoking loved ones, and treat them like adults.

And if your loved ones are nagging you, don't fall into the old trap of hurting yourself by continuing to smoke out of your anger toward them. Instead, let them know how you feel.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Smoking and Teens: Time to Quit


It’s probably not news to you that smoking is bad for your body. It causes wrinkles and turns your teeth yellow, and puts you at risk for diseases. Here’s a newsflash for you ladies, though. Smoke hates you more than it hates guys!

  • It is harder for females to quit than it is for males.
  • Smoke can be more harmful to female lungs than male lungs.
  • The younger you start, the harder it is to quit!
  • This means that starting to smoke as a female teen is asking for trouble. So, quit smoking or don’t start for YOU…for your health and beauty, today and in the future.
  • Smoking ads may try to make smoking look cool, but you’re smarter than that. The tobacco companies are not looking out for you, so you have to look out for yourself. Don’t smoke. If you smoke, quit – either way you win by not giving them your money!

What smoking does to your body

Soon after you start, smoking causes yellow teeth and bad breath (gross!), as well as health problems such as shortness of breath, coughing, upset stomach, and dizziness. When you are older, you can get major health problems from smoking, like cancer and heart disease. Smoking will also make your skin wrinkle.

What quitting can do for your health

  • 12 hours after quitting, the dangerous carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
  • 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting, your heart and lungs begin to work better.
  • 1 to 9 months after quitting, coughing, fatigue, and shortness of breath start to go away.
  • 1 year after quitting, your risk of heart disease goes down.

Why do people smoke?

Stress. Smoking leads to more stress. Learn how to manage stress with tips from www.GirlsHealth.gov.

Habit. If you feel like you can’t stop smoking, ask a doctor or nurse for help

Boredom. Smoking to fill time? Find other things that you like to do instead, like jog, read, or shop.

Others smoke. Stay strong and tell your friends and family they should quit, too.

Can’t quit. Don’t think you’ll be able to quit? Start thinking positive – yes, you can!

Weight control. Quitting doesn’t add pounds, eating more does. Exercise and eat healthy to keep from gaining.

How to quit

Sick of spending money on cigarettes, smelling like an ashtray, and your friends hassling you about smoking? Then you are ready to quit!

1) Set a quit date and tell everybody when you are going to stop
2) Throw away all your cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays.
3) When you get the urge to smoke, do something else…take deep breaths or drink a glass of water.
4) Carry things with you to put in your mouth, such as gum or hard candy.
5) Stay busy by going to the movies, riding your bike, walking the dog, or hanging out with a friend.
6) Spend time in places where you are not allowed to smoke, such as the movies or the mall.
7) The first few days after quitting, don’t hang with smokers or in places you used to smoke.
8) Drink lots of water and fruit juice…stay away from drinks with caffeine, like soda, coffee or tea.

Be prepared! You may be crabby and feel on edge for a couple of weeks or longer, but then your body will
forget nicotine and you will feel better. Once you feel better, you may still want to smoke at times, but stay
strong…it’s easy to get hooked again and you don’t want to throw away all that hard work.

WebMD Public Information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Thursday, June 5, 2008


You can take steps to prevent high blood pressure by adopting a healthy lifestyle. These steps include maintaining a healthy weight; being physically active; following a healthy eating plan, that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and lowfat dairy foods; choosing and preparing foods with less salt and sodium; and, if you drink alcoholic beverages, drinking in moderation. In this section you will learn more about healthy lifestyle habits for preventing and controlling high blood pressure.

Healthy Eating
Research has shown that following a healthy eating plan can both reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure and lower an already elevated blood pressure.

For an overall eating plan, consider the DASH eating plan. "DASH" stands for "Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension," a clinical study that tested the effects of nutrients in food on blood pressure. Study results indicated that elevated blood pressures were reduced by an eating plan that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and lowfat dairy foods and is low in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol. The DASH eating plan includes whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts and has reduced amounts of fats, red meats, sweets, and sugared beverages.

A second clinical study, called "DASH-Sodium," looked at the effect of a reduced dietary sodium intake on blood pressure as people followed either the DASH eating plan or a typical American diet. Results showed that reducing dietary sodium lowered blood pressure for both the DASH eating plan and the typical American diet. The biggest blood pressure-lowering benefits were for those eating the DASH eating plan at the lowest sodium level (1,500 milligrams per day).

The DASH-Sodium study shows the importance of lowering sodium intake whatever your diet. But for a true winning combination, follow the DASH eating plan and lower your intake of salt and sodium.

Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Being overweight increases your risk of developing high blood pressure. In fact, blood pressure rises as body weight increases. Losing even 10 pounds can lower blood pressure — and it has the greatest effect for those who are overweight and already have hypertension.

Being overweight or obese are also risk factors for heart disease. They increase your chance for developing high blood cholesterol and diabetes — two more major risk factors for heart disease.

Physical Activity
Being physically active is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent or control high blood pressure. It also helps reduce your risk of heart disease. It doesn't take a lot of effort to become physically active.

Limit Alcohol Intake
Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure. It also can harm the liver, brain, and heart. Alcoholic drinks also contain calories, which matter if you are trying to lose weight. If you drink alcoholic beverages, have only a moderate amount — one drink a day for women; two drinks a day for men.
What counts as a drink?

12 ounces of beer (regular or light, 150 calories), or
5 ounces of wine (100 calories), or
1 one-half ounces of 80-proof whiskey (100 calories).

Quitting Smoking
Smoking injures blood vessel walls and speeds up the process of hardening of the arteries. This applies even to filtered cigarettes. So even though it does not cause high blood pressure, smoking is bad for anyone, especially those with high blood pressure. If you smoke, quit. If you don't smoke, don't start. Once you quit, your risk of having a heart attack is reduced after the first year. So you have a lot to gain by quitting.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Do You Really Need to Lose Weight?

7 questions that can help you decide.
By Dulce Zamora
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Charlotte E. Grayson Mathis, MD

So your favorite jeans have gotten a bit too close-fitting for comfort. Maybe you don't cut quite the figure in your bathing suit that you did a few years ago.

But do you really need to lose weight? Are you putting your health in danger -- or just carrying around a little harmless extra padding?

The standard answer is that you're overweight if your body mass index (BMI) is 25 or higher and obese if your BMI is 30 or higher. But some new research is confusing the weight-and-health issue a bit.

A study published in the April 20 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that people whose BMIs put them into the overweight category actually had a lower risk of death than people in the normal-weight group. (People who were considered obese still had an increased risk of death.)

"When we looked at the overweight group รข€¦ we found that that group was associated with fewer than the expected number of deaths," says study author David F. Williamson, PhD, senior epidemiologist at the Diabetes Division of the CDC. Does that mean that if you're overweight, but not obese, you should quit worrying about dropping the extra pounds? Experts who spoke to WebMD gave us some answers -- along with seven questions you should ask yourself.

* What is your lifestyle? Regular physical activity and healthy eating are important, no matter what your weight or your BMI.
* What is your family history? If a close relative has a history of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, or other weight-related ailment, it's crucial to be mindful of your weight.
* What is your weight history? People who have consistently gained weight over the years need be careful. Experts say your BMI should not increase dramatically, even as you age. Even moderate weight gain in adulthood can increase your risk of diabetes.
* How is your weight distributed? Weight gained above the hips -- the so-called "apple" shape -- can be problematic. In both men and women, bigger abdomens can signal trouble.
* What is your waist size? The National Institutes of Health has determined that a waist circumference of over 40 inches in men and over 35 inches in women signifies a health risk, particularly in people with BMIs of 25-34.9 (the overweight category). Clothing size is not a good indicator of weight or health, since sizes vary with different manufacturers. But you can use your own clothing -- maybe a favorite pair of pants -- as a personal gauge of your weight.
* What is your health profile? If your cholesterol and blood pressure levels are high and your BMI falls into the overweight or obese category, it's important to lose weight. If your BMI is in the high end of healthy or in the low overweight range, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor about whether weight loss is right for you.
* How do you feel? Seriously consider weight loss if you are overweight and have joint problems, shortness of breath, or other health troubles that limit your day-to-day living.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The 10 Nutrition Rules of Weight Loss

WebMD Feature from "Runner's World" Magazine

By Nancy Clark

Nutritionist Nancy Clark shares ten tips every runner should know if they want to lose some weight.

1. To lose 10 pounds of body fat a year, you need to eat 100 calories less per day. Cutting too many calories from your daily intake will sap your energy level and increase your hunger, making you more susceptible to splurging on high-calorie foods.

2. Don't skip breakfast. Eat within two hours of waking.

3. In fact, eat more breakfast than you think you should. Trade in some of your dinner calories for more calories at breakfast.

4. Don't allow yourself to get hungry. Eat at least every four hours, and split a meal in half to make sure you properly fuel up pre- and postrun. For example, eat part of your breakfast before your morning run (a banana) and the rest of your breakfast afterward (a bagel with peanut butter).

5. Eat at least three kinds of food each meal from these four categories: breads, cereals, and grains; fruits and vegetables; low-fat dairy and soy; and lean meats, fish, and nuts. Breads, cereals, and grains should be the foundation of each meal, with protein as an accompaniment.

6. Shoot for a gradual loss of body fat. You're more likely to put the weight back on (and more) if you drop weight too quickly.

7. Liquid calories add up fast and can lead to weight gain. Minimize the amount of sodas, juices, store-bought smoothies, sports drinks, coffee drinks, and alcohol you consume.

8. Eat closer to the earth, enjoying fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Minimize the amount of processed foods you eat; they tend to offer less fiber and are less satiating.

9. If you can't resist fast food, ask for nutritional information before you make your choices (or check in advance via restaurant Web sites). Avoid any menu items with the words "fried," "crispy," and "special sauce," which are guaranteed to be high calorie.

10. Remember that the calories in the energy bars, sports drinks, and gels you consume during a run add up, even though you're running. Consume them only as needed.

Originally published on March 1, 2008

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Stop Smoking - Positive Useful Tips

1. Built up a strong belief in you blended with stronger will power to quit smoking. Consider giving up smoking as one of the very difficult things you have done in your life. It’s all up to you.
2. Develop your plan and take a decision right away for doing things accordingly.
3. Make short note why you want to stop smoking live longer far better, for your family, some money, smell better to find a mate easily etc. you know very well what is bad about smoking and what you will achieve when you stop smoking. Put the same on a paper and read it daily once.
4. Seek an all out stop smoking support from your family and friends for your decision to stop smoking. Tell them in the very near future you may become irritable, even irrational as a cause of quitting smoking habit.
5. Get on with a set date to stop smoking and also decide on what day you intend to say a final good-bye to cigarette. You may hold a small ceremony when you smoke your last cigarette. It’s up to your liking.
6. Speak to your doctor about quitting. A wholehearted support from a physician would work out as proven way to better off your shames to quit.
7. An exercise program on daily basis is going to help you relive of stress, and recover from years of damage from cigarettes, may be you can start walking ones or twice per day. You may also consider about some rigorous activities 3 to 4 times per week. Consult your physician prior to begin any exercise program. (Stop Smoking Exercises)
8. Practice some deep breathing every day 3 to 5 minutes breath in through the nose slowly hold breath for a few seconds, exhale slowly through your mouth.
9. Begin to imagine your way as a non-smoker. Close your eyes imagine yourself turning down offers of cigarettes, offered by someone, throwing all of your packs of cigarette away, winning a gold medal for doing so. A powerful imagination really works.
10. Cut back on cigarettes keep it with a gradual speed. This situation would call for a clear cut plan as to ‘how many cigarettes ‘ you will smoke everyday reducing the number following each day; you buy only one pack at a time, changing brands means you don’t enjoy smoking as much pall on cigarettes to someone else when feel like to smoke you have to ask for each time.

1. Mostly smokers feel if to give up smoking take firm decision once for all, just to stop smoking suddenly, no point trying to go slow and steady. You are the best judge quitting cold turkey or by gradual quitting.
2. Make a genuine attempt to find out another smoker who is also trying to stop smoking help each other disusing some positive thought just because quitting becomes different.
3. You have ‘clean sheet’ now after quitting smoking your area non smoker. You can now think of celebrating the milestone of your journey step by step. After a period of two weeks see a movie, visit a funny restaurant a month after. Covering a time span of three months move out for you after six months. A year after have a party for yourself, invite your family friends to your birthday party, celebrate your new beginning of life.
4. To drink lot of water. Drinking of more would help flushing out nicotine and chemical out of your body.
5. Avoid triggers, learn to plan alternative means and way to deal with the trigger like you feel smoking when in stress, in the end of a meal, arrival at the work, entering a bar etc.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Need Help? Try These Quit Smoking Tips

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), more people than those who quit heroin combined than those that quit smoking. Megastar Ozzy Osbourne, who has been addicted to just about every drug in the world, stated once that of all his addictions, smoking was the most difficult to quit. Nicotine is an incredibly difficult drug to stop using, and ASAM cites it as having a very high relapse rate. Does this mean that you shouldn’t even try to stop smoking? Absolutely not! Many people have successfully stopped smoking and have never relapsed. With knowledge, willpower, and some good quit smoking tips, you can soon call yourself an ex-smoker.

Because of nicotine’s intense level of addiction, it’s hard to “go it alone.” See your physician for medical help to stop smoking. By reading and trying quit smoking tips, your chances for success will be very good. You won’t know if any quit smoking tips work unless you try them. The road will seem endless until you start walking.

Quit Smoking Tips That Work

First, change your routine. Smokers generally have a subconscious routine that is built around smoking. For example, when you drive to work and smoke two cigarettes on the way, take another route to work. If you enjoy an after dinner smoke, try getting up from the table immediately and wash the dishes. These quit smoking tips are a form of behavior modification. Smoking was a learned behavior for you; what is learned can be un-learned and replaced by other behavior.

Second, if you have a “slip” and smoke, don’t believe that you just can’t do it. An important quit smoking tip is to let yourself be less than perfect. All is not lost. It’s not important how many times you fall down; what is important is how many times you get up. Keep getting up, no matter what.

Third, smoking is linked to times of stress and anger. An import quit smoking tip is to take a stress or anger management class. You can find mental health centers that excel in these classes at little or no cost. Learning how to cope with stress and anger without smoking is an essential skill.

Finally, if you like to smoke at social occasions, an excellent quit smoking tip is to explain to your friends that you no longer smoke, and ask them not to offer you cigarettes no matter how much you tell them about why you need to smoke right now. Your real friends will stay true to your request for help.

For more quit smoking tips, there are many on-line sources of help. Yes, you can stop!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Why You Stay Fat

By Kimberly Flynn

“People often fall into the trap of hitting the treadmill for 30 minutes every time they work out,” says Rachel Cosgrove, owner of Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, Calif. “It works at first, but then your body starts to adjust to the routine, and you burn fewer calories.” To keep seeing results, change one workout factor like intensity or duration every trip to the gym, then completely switch your activity every three to four weeks.

If you can watch TV during your workout, you’re not working hard enough. Instead of relaxing while you run, try interval training. After a five- to six-minute warm-up on a cardio machine, work as hard as you can for one minute, then reduce the intensity for two minutes. Alternate back and forth for five rounds, making sure to increase the number of intervals you do each workout.

When your arms take your body weight off your legs, you burn fewer calories. “If you have to hold on or lean, go slower,” says Cosgrove. (Supporting yourself without assistance gives you a better core workout as well.)

Setting the treadmill on an incline increases the activity of your glutes and hamstrings so you make them even stronger and burn more calories. Depending on your fitness level, set the incline at between 6% and 10%.

You don’t need to sip sports drinks all afternoon, then eat an energy bar at the gym, and then follow that up with a post-workout shake. Instead, limit yourself to about 300 calories—the same number you burn in an average 30-minute workout. Any more and you’re not going to get thinner.

Originally published on February 1, 2008

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Best and Worst Fast-Food Breakfasts

Eating on the run? Here's how to choose healthier breakfast foods.
By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic-Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Market figures show that more and more people are buying breakfast from fast-food chains and places like Starbucks. It makes sense; after all, many people are already at one of those places buying coffee. Others just don't think they have enough time in the morning to get a bite at home, so they grab it on the go. But are any of these early morning offerings even remotely healthy?
In Search of a Better Breakfast

Finding a healthier fast-food breakfast means looking for items with some fiber and protein (which makes them more satisfying), but not too much saturated fat or total fat. Fiber is important for baked offerings, too -- even when these items are relatively low in fat, they can be high in sugar and white flour.

A look at the nutrition information some popular fast-food chains provide on their web sites shows that few of their breakfast items fit the bill. Some offer one or two items that are reasonably low in fat and saturated fat and contain some protein, but they're usually lacking in fiber. Others have not even one main-dish breakfast item that's low enough in fat and saturated fat to be considered healthy.

At Carl's Jr., for example, there was only one main-dish item with less than 20 grams of fat per serving (the French Toast Dips, with 18 grams of fat). It has some protein, 9 grams, but is lacking in the fiber department (1 gram). However, that's far better than the worst choice on their breakfast menu: the Carl’s Jr. Loaded Breakfast Burrito, with 820 calories and 51 grams of fat.
Best and Worst Fast Food Breakfasts

No matter which fast food chain you visit, high fat and high-calorie breakfast choices abound. But there are some better choices out there. Here are some of the best and worst-case scenarios at several major chains:

McDonald's BEST Breakfast Choices:

* Egg McMuffin: 300 calories, 12 grams fat, 5 grams saturated fat, 260 mg cholesterol, 820 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.
* Hotcakes (without syrup and margarine): 350 calories, 9 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 590 mg sodium, 3 g fiber.

McDonald's WORST Choices:

* Deluxe Breakfast with regular size biscuit, without syrup & margarine: 1070 calories, 55 grams fat, 18 g saturated fat, 575 milligrams cholesterol, 2090 mg sodium, 6 g fiber.
* Deluxe Breakfast with large size biscuit, without syrup & margarine: 1140 calories, 59 g fat, 20 g saturated fat, 575 mg cholesterol, 2250 mg sodium, 7 g fiber.
* Big Breakfast (large size biscuit): 790 calories, 51 g fat, 18 g saturated fat, 555 mg cholesterol, 1,660 mg sodium, 4 g fiber.

Burger King's BEST Breakfast Choices:

* Ham Omelet Sandwich: 290 calories, 13 g fat 4.5 g saturated fat, 85 mg cholesterol, 870 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.
* French Toast Sticks, 3 piece: 240 calories, 13 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 4 g protein, 0 mg cholesterol, 260 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.

Burger King's WORST Choices:

* Double Croissan’Wich with sausage, egg, & cheese: 680 calories, 51 grams of fat, 18 grams of saturated fat, and 220 mg cholesterol, 1,590 mg sodium.
* Enormous Omelet Sandwich: 730 calories, 45 grams of fat, 16 grams of saturated fat, and 330 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,940 mg sodium.

Jack in the Box BEST Breakfast Choices:

* Breakfast Jack: 290 calories, 12 g fat, 4.5 g saturated fat, 220 mg cholesterol, 760 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.
* Bacon Breakfast Jack: 300 calories, 14 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 215 mg cholesterol, 730 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.

Jack in the Box WORST Choices:

* Extreme Sausage Sandwich: 670 calories, 48 g of fat, 17 g saturated fat, 290 mg cholesterol, 1,300 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.
* Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuit: 740 calories, 55 g fat, 17 g saturated fat, 280 mg cholesterol, 1,430 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.
* Sirloin Steak & Egg Burrito with Fire Roasted Tomato Salsa: 790 calories, 48 g fat, 15 g saturated fat, 450 mg cholesterol, 1,440 mg sodium, 6 g fiber.

Carl's Jr. BEST Breakfast Choices:

* French Toast Dips (5 pieces, no syrup): 430 calories, 18 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 530 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.

Carl's Jr. WORST Choices:

* Loaded Breakfast Burrito: 820 calories, 51 g fat, 16 g saturated fat, 595 mg cholesterol, 1,530 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.
* Breakfast Burger: 830 calories, 47 g fat, 15 g saturated fat, 275 mg cholesterol, 1,580 mg sodium, 3 g fiber.

Dunkin’ Donuts BEST Breakfast Choices:

* Blueberry Bagel: 330 calories, 2.5 g fat, .5 g saturated fat, 10 g protein, 0 mg cholesterol, 600 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.
* Wheat Bagel:, 330 calories, 4 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 12 g protein, 0 mg cholesterol, 610 mg sodium, 4 g fiber.
* Reduced Fat Blueberry Muffin: 400 calories, 5 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 8 g protein, 60 mg cholesterol, 490 mg sodium, 3 g fiber.
* Honey Bran Raisin Muffin: 480 calories, 15 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 8 g protein, 60 mg cholesterol, 480 mg sodium, 5 g fiber.

Dunkin’ Donuts WORST Choices

* Triple Chocolate Muffin: 660 calories, 33 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 460 mg sodium, 4 g fiber.
* Peanut Butter Cup Cookie: 590 calories, 29 g fat, 13 g saturated fat, 50 mg cholesterol, 530 mg sodium, 3 g fiber.

Subway BEST Breakfast Choices:

* Cheese Breakfast Sandwich on 6” bread: 410 calories, 18g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 190 mg cholesterol, 1,010 mg sodium, 5 g fiber.

Subway WORST Choices:

* Chipotle Steak & Cheese Breakfast Sandwich on 6” bread: 600 calories, 32 g fat, 11 g saturated fat, 220 mg cholesterol, 1,470 mg sodium, 6 g fiber.

Eating on the run? Here's how to choose healthier breakfast foods.
A Starbucks on Every Corner

And what about the Starbucks Coffee cafes you'll find on nearly every corner in cities across America?

The specific items that are available vary by region, as many Starbucks markets buy fresh bakery products from local suppliers. But -- at least in the California area -- there are a number of nutritionally reasonable offerings among the lineup of muffins, scones, loaf cakes, coffee cakes, croissants, and bagels. The trick is finding lower-fat items that also boast some fiber, so look for foods made with whole grains when available.

"We provide options to all our customers," explains Alan Hilowitz, a spokesman for Starbucks. "We have indulgent items, and each Starbucks also carries some healthier items."

Here are some of the healthier items you might find at your local Starbucks (keeping in mind that bakery items vary regionally):

* Low Fat Bran Muffins: 360 calories, 4.5 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 40 g cholesterol, 290 mg sodium, 7 g fiber
* Reduced Fat Cranberry Apple Muffin: 310 calories, 9 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 60 mg cholesterol, 460 mg sodium, 5 g fiber.
* Low-Fat Oat Fruit Scone: 310 calories, 2.5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 9 g protein, 30 mg cholesterol, 280 mg sodium, 3 g fiber
* Spinach Roasted Tomato, Feta & Egg Wrap: 240 calories, 10g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 140 mg cholesterol, 730 mg sodium, 7 g fiber.
* Reduced Fat Blueberry Coffee Cake: 320 calories, 6 g fat, 4.5 g saturated fat, 4 g protein, 10 mg cholesterol, 390 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.
* Reduced-Fat Cherry Lemon Coffee Cake with Oatmeal-Pecan Streusel: 370 calories, 9 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 7 g protein, 50 mg cholesterol, 540 mg sodium, 3 g fiber.
* Reduced Fat Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake: 290 calories, 4 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 4 g protein, <5 mg cholesterol, 330 mg sodium, <1 g fiber.

Is Skipping Breakfast Better?

Is it better to skip breakfast or grab a bite at a fast food restaurant? If fast food is your only option, go ahead and go for some of the healthier choices on the menu. It’s definitely better to eat breakfast than to go without.

Results from a recent University of Minnesota study that noted breakfast habits and weight changes in 2,200 teens over a 5-year period, indicated that regular breakfast eaters tended to have the lowest body mass indexes (BMIs). As the frequency of breakfast skipping went up, so did the body mass indexes of these teens.
The Bottom Line

The truth is that fast food is here, and it isn't going away. An analysis of the Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals by researchers from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center found that 37% of the adults and 42% of the children surveyed reported eating fast food at least once over two survey days.

Should fast food take all the blame for our obesity crisis? No. Should we all try to make healthier choices when we find ourselves in a fast food restaurant? Absolutely, experts say.

"Fast food likely contributes to over consumption, and a sedentary lifestyle reduces energy expenditure," notes University of Minnesota nutrition researcher David Jacobs Jr. Yet, he notes, the causes of the obesity epidemic are many, and our susceptibility to weight gain varies from person to person.

The bottom line: When you find yourself at a fast-food or quick-serve chain before 11 a.m., choose a better breakfast option, keep your portions reasonable, and keep (or start!) exercising.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Watch Your Sleep, Watch Your Weight

Can Too Much or Too Little Sleep Lead to Unhealthy Weight Gain?
By Kelley Colihan

April 1, 2008 -- Ah, sweet sleep. We seem to get too little. Now researchers are finding that too much or too little sleep could lead to unhealthy weight gain.

Researchers at Laval University in Quebec looked at 276 people for six years who were part of a larger Canadian study.
Sleep duration was determined from a questionnaire and the participants were classified into three groups: short sleepers slept five to six hours a night, the average got seven to eight hours, and the long sleepers put in nine to 10 hours of sleep every night.

Some of the findings:

* Over six years, short sleepers were 35% more likely to gain 11 pounds than average-duration sleepers.
* Over the same time period, long sleepers were 25% more likely to gain 11 pounds than average-duration sleepers.
* Short sleepers gained 58% more around their waists and 124% more body fat than the average sleeper.

Sleep Sweet Spot?

Researchers also think there might be an "optimal sleeping time" to stay healthy.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that adults sleep between seven and eight hours a night.

Study researcher Jean-Philippe Chaput of Laval University says in a news release the findings provide "evidence that both short and long sleeping times predict an increased risk of future body weight and fat gain in adults."

Chaput adds that "these results emphasize the need to add sleep duration to the list of environmental factors that are prevalent in our society that contribute to weight gain and obesity."
A Nation Deprived?

Study authors say people in the United States are losing sleep, with Americans sleeping one and a half to two hours less a night than we did 40 years ago.

Previous studies have shown similar findings linking a lack of sleep to creeping obesity. Researchers say this new study adds to a growing body of evidence showing a sleep connection to weight gain involving fluctuating hormone levels.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, nearly a third of adults say they sleep less than six hours a night.
Dreams of Good Sleep

Here are some tips for getting good sleep from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine:

* Follow a consistent bedtime routine.
* Establish a relaxing setting at bedtime.
* Get a full night's sleep every night.
* Avoid caffeine or any other stimulants before bedtime.
* Be worry-free at bedtime.
* Don't go to bed hungry, or too full.
* Avoid rigorous exercise within six hours of your bedtime.
* Make your bedroom quiet, dark, and a little cool.
* Get up at the same time every morning.

The study is published in the April 1 issue of the journal Sleep.
View Article Sources Sources


Chaput, J-P. Sleep, April 1, 2008; vol 31: pp 517-523.

News release, American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
© 2008 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Cholesterol Testing Not Enough for Some

Test for Protein Called ApoB Better Measure of Heart Attack, Stroke Risk
By Salynn Boyles
WebMD Medical News
Reviewed by Elizabeth Klodas, MD

March 27, 2008 -- People at high risk for heart attacks and strokes may need even more aggressive cholesterol control than is currently recommended, experts now say.

In a joint statement released Thursday by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC), the experts concluded that measuring LDL, or bad, cholesterol may no longer be the best measure of heart health in these patients.

The panel found that once LDL cholesterol is lowered to recommended levels in high-risk patients, testing for the protein ApoB may more accurately identify those still at risk for cardiovascular events.

If ApoB levels are high, patients may need more aggressive lifestyle interventions or larger doses of lipid-lowering statin drugs, even if LDL cholesterol levels are within normal range, the panel concluded.

"LDL measurement is still very important," ADA Vice President of Clinical Affairs Sue Kirkman, MD, tells WebMD. "But for high-risk people who are on statin therapy it may not be enough to get LDL down below 100 or even 70."
LDL and ApoB

Achieving an LDL of below 100 milligrams/deciliter is now widely recommended for patients with two or more risk factors for heart disease and for those with diabetes but no other major heart disease risk factors.

Guidelines call for a target LDL at or below 70 for patients with established heart disease or diabetes with additional risk factors for heart disease.

These risk factors include high blood pressure, tobacco use, and family history of heart disease.

While aggressive cholesterol treatment has contributed to reductions in heart attacks and strokes, these events are still common among high-risk patients who reach the target goals, Kirkman says. This could occur if other cholesterol particles that contribute to risk are still elevated.

ApoB is a molecule that is present in all the cholesterol particles that significantly contribute to the development of atherosclerosis (also known as plaque or hardening of the arteries). The hope is that measuring ApoB will help patients and their doctors better gauge actual risk because ApoB will be a more accurate measure of the total number of all artery-clogging particles (not just LDL). There is growing evidence that ApoB levels are a better indicator of heart risk than total cholesterol or LDL.

For this reason, the joint panel recommends a target ApoB level of less than 90 for high-risk patients without established heart disease and less than 80 for the highest-risk patients with heart disease or with diabetes and other cardiovascular risk factors.
Statins and Lifestyle

The report could lead to more aggressive treatment of high-risk patients with lipid-lowering statins, but the panel concluded that more research is needed to confirm the benefits of this approach.

The group also called for public health initiatives aimed at promoting lifestyle changes that reduce cardiovascular risk.

Kirkman says patients and their doctors often focus on drug treatments, forgetting that lifestyle changes can also have a big impact on risk.

"It is important to remember that lifestyle is a big part of this," Kirkman says. "Getting patients to improve their diets, stop smoking, and exercise are all critical. It isn't all about drugs."

Monday, March 24, 2008

Healthy Habit No. 13: Plan

There is, perhaps, no better word in the English language to better illustrate how you can incorporate healthy habits into your everyday life.

"A little planning goes a long way," says Johnson. "Eating healthy never happens by accident."

For the most part, neither do good fitness, skin protection, healthy teeth, weight loss, and social ties. Many of these habits take effort that need to be scheduled into busy lives.

To eat healthy, for example, it would help to set aside time to draft a menu, make a grocery list, go to the store, prepare meals, and pack breakfast and lunch.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Healthy Habit No. 12: Take a Daily Walk

We already mentioned the merits of exercise in habit No. 5. Now, here's a tip on how to incorporate physical activity into your daily life: WALK.

We're not talking about taking the time out of your busy schedule to work out -- that's important, too -- but infusing life- and limb-saving movement into your waking hours.

"Just move. Pace during phone calls, while you're brushing your teeth, while watching your son's soccer game," says Bryant, noting that every 20 steps a person takes is 1 calorie burned.

An eight-year study of 13,000 people also showed that people who walked 30 minutes daily had a significantly reduced chance of premature death compared with those who rarely exercised, reports the American Council on Exercise.

And there are plenty of opportunities to move those legs:

* Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
* Walk to the store.
* Window shop at the mall.
* Leave your desk and visit your co-worker instead of sending him an email.
* Walk and talk with friends instead of meeting for a meal.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Healthy Habit No. 11: Drink Tea

"Decaffeinated tea is better," says Fleming, noting that the caffeinated variety can be dehydrating, and sugary drinks can lead to weight gain.

There is some evidence that tea may help in improving memory, and preventing cavities, cancer, and heart disease. Fleming says, though, that the overall research is still inconclusive.

"There may well be some beneficial effects of tea, particularly the potential antioxidant effect, but we don't have great data on that right now that is that specific."

However, there's no doubt that a cool iced tea can be a refreshing treat during hot days. Try flavoring your tea with juices, fruits, cinnamon sticks, ginger, and other condiments.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Healthy Habit No. 10: Drink Water and Eat Dairy

Water and milk are essential fluids for good health, but they can also help with shedding pounds.
The body needs water to keep properly hydrated and individuals vary widely in how much water they need. Joints need it to stay in motion, and vital organs such as the heart, brain, kidney, and liver need it to work properly.

If you don't get enough water, the body goes into emergency mode, and clings to every single water molecule it can find, reports the University of Minnesota Water Resources Center. The stored molecules appear as extra weight. The weight is only released once the body gets enough water.

The calcium in dairy, on the other hand, is known to be important for strong bones and teeth. Studies have also shown it can help prevent high blood pressure, kidney stones, heart disease, and colon cancer.

In the weight loss arena, three 8-ounce glasses of low-fat or fat-free milk appear to encourage body fat loss while maintaining muscle mass, according to the ADA. The dairy consumption must be part of a balanced reduced-calorie meal plan.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Healthy Habit No. 9: Snack the Healthy Way

The ADA recommends five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day as part of a healthy diet. These plant foods can do many things to boost good health, including:

* Reduce the risk of some cancers
* Beat the signs of aging
* Improve memory
* Promote heart health
* Enhance the immune system

One way to incorporate fruits and veggies into your diet is to have them as snacks. "If you can do one thing [to improve your health], concentrate on getting fruits and veggies," says Johnson. "They are low in calories and high in nutrients."

She says baby carrots and cut-up produce make tasty, convenient munchies. Other healthful snacks include low-fat yogurt and nuts (in moderation).

The best time to snack is when you are hungry between meals, says Johnson. But beware: Cravings could easily be mistaken for hunger cues, especially for people who are dieting.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Healthy Habit No. 8: Protect Your Skin

Our skin starts to age as soon as we are born and, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), the best way to protect it and look younger is to stay out of the sun.

The sun has harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays that can cause wrinkles, dryness, and age spots. Overexposure can cause sunburn, skin texture changes, dilated blood vessels, and skin cancers.

Avoiding the sun, however, is not always ideal or practical. To reduce the risk of skin damage, the AAD offers the following tips:

* Always wear sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.
* Don a hat with a brim and wear other protective clothing.
* Don't deliberately sunbathe.
* Try to avoid sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Healthy Habit No. 7: Take Up a Hobby

Look up the word "hobby" in the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, and you will find the definition as "a pursuit outside one's regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation."

Since they are relaxing activities, hobbies are usually enjoyable. Some people find joy in craftwork, bird watching, sports, going to flea markets, walking in the park, or playing cards.

The joy may help people live healthier and recover better from illness. For one thing, taking part in hobbies can burn calories, more so than just sitting in front of the TV.

In a study of people who had undergone surgery, Jenkins found that people who were involved in hobbies before their operation had better recovery six months later, compared with people who did not have hobbies.

The participants with hobbies tended to have more drive and interest in things and other people, says Jenkins. "It was a more active orientation to life."

Friday, January 25, 2008

Healthy Habit No. 6: Practice Good Dental Hygiene

Flossing your teeth every day could add 6.4 years to your life, according to Michael Roizen, MD, author of RealAge. In his book, Roizen lists flossing as one of the most important daily activities -- along with exercise and quitting smoking -- that could extend life span.

Roizen's calculation may raise some eyebrows, but the idea that oral health is connected to overall health isn't far-fetched.

The mouth, after all, is an integral part of the body. "Teeth have a blood supply, and that blood supply comes from the heart," says Richard Price, DMD, consumer advisor for the American Dental Association (ADA).

Researchers suspect that the bacteria that produce dental plaque enter the bloodstream. They say these bacteria are somehow associated with the inflammation that occurs with plaque that blocks blood vessels and causes heart disease.

Other researchers have found links between oral bacteria and stroke, diabetes, and the birth of preterm babies and those that have low birth weight.

In addition to preventing disease, flossing and brushing can help keep your pearly whites intact for more than just cosmetic reasons. Teeth help you chew food, speak properly, and smile -- which, according to Price, can help you keep your dignity.

Healthy Habit No. 5: Exercise for Better Health

We already know that physical activity has a bounty of benefits, which makes it so puzzling why so many people just don't do it. According to the CDC, more than 60% of Americans do not get regular exercise.

In case you needed an incentive, here is a review of the advantages of exercise, per the National Cancer Institute:

* Helps control weight
* Maintains healthy bones, muscles, and joints
* Reduces risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes
* Promotes psychological well-being
* Reduces risk of death from heart disease
* Reduces risk of premature death

Studies have also shown a link between exercise and a reduced risk of certain cancers.

Besides its long-term effects, moving your body has immediate benefits, says Cedric Bryant, chief exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise. The short-term results of exercise include helping people to think and move better, manage stress, improve mood, and get an energy boost.

The excuses that people often give to not exercise are the precise reasons to exercise, says Bryant. People who say they are too tired or don't have time to workout don't realize that exercise gives people more energy and allows them to be more productive with the rest of their time.