Friday, October 31, 2008

Complications Arising from Depression

Depression can kill us. It starts out as a typical feeling of being “down”, not in the mood to do the usual things we used to like. Simply put, we are not in the mood for life. However, we all have ups and downs, don't we? There would always be those days when everything seems to be shrouded in gloominess. As such, we would just do well enough to get by through the day, knowing all too well that it would eventually come to an end. However, if that state of gloominess does not go away and we find ourselves getting sucked into the motions of sorrow, we should be wary. These are the depression alarm bells alerting us into action.

Facing the Facts

Although it is one of the most typical health conditions plaguing humanity in general, depression is something none of us should ever take lightly. It has nothing to do with a weak spirit or inferior personality. As simple as it may appear to us, snapping out of depression is never too easy. Depression as an illness is also called by these terms: major depression, major depressive disorder, and clinical depression. Formally, it is a psychological ailment that has serious effects on both our mind and body. Once we are diagnosed as medically depressed, we would be subjected to serious treatments. Among them is antidepressant use to alleviate our condition.

Normally, if we are feeling down, our friends or loved ones may advise us to simply change our way of thinking. It is a common misconception that depression is simply a state of mind, capable of being controlled anytime. However, since it is a certified ailment, it works the other way around. If we do not address depression, it controls us and we are helpless against it. As a chronic ailment, depression would necessitate a long-term treatment, as in the case of heart ailment and diabetes. Despite the fact that there are some individuals who experience only a singular episode of depression, most sufferers tend to have several episodes throughout their lives.
Complications Rising

Depression acts as a trigger, setting off other illnesses and negative conditions, most of which are life-threatening. At its peak, it can cause serious damage and pain.

If we do not seek medical help right away, it automatically plunges us into a vicious downward cycle of illness, dependency, and lastly, suicide. It is also liable to create a domino effect; affecting our personal lives, relationships, professions, health, and finances. These are the adverse effects and complications linked to depression:

At its worst, depression could prompt us to take our own life by committing suicide.
We can become addicted to alcohol or drugs or even both.
Our anxiety level shoots up dramatically.

We become more susceptible to suffering from cardiovascular conditions like heart disease.

We would encounter problems and conflicts in school and work due to it.

Relationship issues concerning our family, friends, and other loved ones are shaken by conflicts generated by this condition.

We would intentionally isolate ourselves from the rest of society.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Coping from Anxiety: Ways and Means

If you are suffering from bouts of anxiety attacks, you can seek professional help. While anxiety medications like buspar medication and counseling sessions can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and reduce the frequency of attacks, there are also ways on how people can manage their anxieties.

Recognizing Causes of Anxiety

The most logical thing to do in trying to treat anxiety – aside from seeking treatment, that is – is to find out what causes it. Worries, job pressures, and social demands can all snowball into one big pile of anxiety-inducing problems. Here are some tips on recognizing the causes of your anxiety:

Pay attention to the times you feel anxious.
Some studies show that certain times of the day and occasions can trigger anxiety. So the next time you start to feel anxious, take note of the time and place. Manage this anxiety trigger by making a list of what you have accomplished during the day. This way, you have a visual proof that you did your work and have been productive.

Take note of places you feel anxious in.
Places have a lot of effect on how you feel. Their influence can be so strong as to trigger an anxiety attack. For instance, places that evoke negative memories are likely to trigger anxiety episodes rather than those that remind you of happy events.

Reflect on events that make you feel anxious.
When you have time, reflect on situations and events that make you feel anxious. Driving, teaching, and a variety of other events can trigger anxiety attacks. You can manage events that trigger anxiety by taking a token with you that will remind you of good times.

Take time to listen to yourself.

While the anxiety feels real, people may not realize that it is unfounded. Identify the cause of your anxiety by talking to a tape recorder the next time you feel anxious. After recording and when you feel relaxed already, listen to yourself on tape. List all the worries the plague you then proceed to write the reasons they are not true to dispute them one by one. The next time you feel anxious, you can read the reasons you gave to dispel any excess anxiety.

Fighting Anxiety

The Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA) reports that a third of all health care expenses in the United States goes to the treatment of anxiety and anxiety-related disorders. If you are interested in seeking treatment, listed below are some tips you should not forget:

Seek professional help.

You can enlist the help of a psychologist or counselor to help you deal with your anxiety. A professional can also prescribe anti-anxiety medications that can help relieve your symptoms and reduce the frequency of attacks.

Be diligent about your therapy sessions and medications.

A lot of people complain that therapy session or medications do not work for them. But, many of them forget to examine a critical aspect – their attitude towards these treatments. If you want to maximize the benefits of these forms of treatment, be diligent in attending therapy sessions and in taking your medications.

Take care of your physical health.

Your current psychological state may be riddled with anxiety attacks but that is no reason to allow your body to be unhealthy. Take time for exercise and regular physical activity. Building your diet around anxiety-fighting foods can help supplement your medications.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Care For More No-Calorie Sweeteners?

Are you aware about you healthy lifestyle diet? Are we having shortage of no-calorie sweeteners? These products have been in the market for years. In fact, The FDA has approved five artificial ones, namely:

Aspartame: Brand names include NutraSweet and Equal.
Sucralose: Brand name is Splenda.

Saccharin: Brand names include Sweet'N Low, Sweet Twin, and Necta Sweet.
Acesulfame-K: Brand names include Sunett and Sweet One.
Neotame: Approved for use as an ingredient in a wide variety of foods including baked goods, soft drinks, chewing gum, jams, and syrups.

But brace yourself for the arrival of a new player in the field of sweeteners. Under the brand name Truvia, this new sweetener is derived from stevia, a shrub common to South America but also grown in Asia. It's been used for centuries as a sweetener in South America and Japan.

While stevia may not be new in those countries, FDA has considered it an unsafe food additive and has instructed its agents to seize the plant and food containing stevia imported into the country. However, the FDA allowed stevia as a dietary supplement, despite its predictably confusing results for consumers.

Truvia, on the other hand, is not settling for a supplement status. It is a new stevia product developed by Cargill and Coca-Cola and is set to debut later this year as a tabletop sweetener and ingredient in certain Coca-Cola products.

According to Ann Tucker, Cargill's communications director, Truvia differs from existing artificial sweeteners because it’s natural, and it's supported by extensive safety studies funded by Cargill and Coca-Cola. Based on these studies, Truvia didn’t affect blood pressure in healthy people or blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. Further tests in rats show no effects on reproduction, fertility, or other health problems.

The FDA said it will review Truvia’s case to be considered “generally recognized as safe,” which would pave the way for it to become the first stevia product allowed as a food additive in the U.S.

David Schardt, senior nutritionist at the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), is cautiously optimistic due to safety issues.
“We’ve always told consumers you're not going to drop dead if you use it to sweeten your tea,” Schardt said. “But there is concern about using it as a food additive, putting it into a lot of products that are sold to millions of people.”
Providing competition is Pepsi which is planning to put its own highly purified, zero-calorie, all-natural stevia sweetener in various new products after it’s approved by the FDA.

Another company in Seattle called Zevia is already marketing Zevia, a carbonated dietary supplement containing stevia. Zevia is touted as “the world’s only all natural sugar-free alternative to diet soda.” But Zevia remains a dietary supplement.
Since there are many blends of stevia available as dietary supplement, a spokesman from Cargill Health and Nutrition said they cannot comment on all the variations and only know that “we consistently offer a safe, pure, and consistent product.”

Schardt said Truvia’s research may not apply to other stevia products, which is based on a particular pure extract, and that it doesn’t necessarily apply to something else that’s not quite the same. “So that’s an issue that I guess FDA is going to have to address,” conclude Schardt.

Many consumers believe that stevia as a natural product should have been in the country in a purified, not crude form, a long time ago. But politics and big business stopped it until they could find a way to take a portion of it and patent it. That is why they keep the lid on importing poor plain stevia.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Healthy Body Of Water

Healthy water is very important in our body. Nowadays, you’ll see a lot of people carrying bottled water everywhere they go. That is why water has become the second most popular drink next to soft drinks. But recently, a new report has found that the benefits of drinking water may have been oversold. It seems that the old suggestion to drink eight glasses a day was nothing more than a guideline, and not based on scientific evidence.

Although we may not need eight glasses of water a day, there are plenty of reasons to drink it. Whether plain or in the form of other fluids or foods, drinking water is essential to your health. We lose fluids continuously, from skin evaporation, breathing, urine, and stool. These losses must be replaced daily for good health.

If the water intake does not equal the body’s output, it may lead to dehydration. Fluid losses are common in warmer climates, during strenuous exercise, in high altitudes, and in older adults, whose sense of thirst may not be as sharp.
Since the body is composed of about 60% water, the functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. The brain triggers the body’s thirst mechanism when fluids are low.

It is common knowledge that dieters have been drinking lots of water as a weight loss strategy. This doesn’t mean that water has a special magical effect on weight loss, but substituting it for higher calorie beverages can certainly help.

Food appears larger when it has high water content. Its higher volume requires more chewing, and it is absorbed more slowly by the body, making you feel full. Water-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, oatmeal, and beans.
Cells that don’t maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes shrivel, which can result in muscle fatigue. When muscle cells don't have adequate fluids, they don't work as well and performance can suffer.

It is important to drink enough fluids when exercising. Based on the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines for fluid intake before and during physical activity, people should drink about 17 ounces of fluid two hours before exercise. During exercise, they recommend that people start drinking fluids early, and drink them at regular intervals to replace fluids lost by sweating.

The skin contains plenty of water, and functions as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss. But over -hydration will not erase wrinkles or fine lines.
Dehydration makes your skin look more dry and wrinkled, which can be improved with proper hydration. But once you are adequately hydrated, the kidneys take over and excrete excess fluids. To help “lock” moisture into your skin, use moisturizer. It creates a physical barrier to keep moisture in.

Body fluids transport waste products in and out of cells. The main toxin in the body is blood urea nitrogen, a water-soluble waste that is able to pass through the kidneys to be excreted in the urine.

Urine flows freely when you’re getting enough fluids. It is light in color and free of odor. When your body is not getting enough fluids, urine concentration, color, and odor increases because the kidneys trap extra fluid for bodily functions. Too little water consumption puts you at higher risk for kidney stones, especially in warm climates.

Adequate hydration also keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract and prevents constipation. Lack of fluid make colon pulls water from stools to maintain hydration, resulting in constipation. Combined with fiber, the fluid pumps up the fiber and acts like a broom to keep your bowel functioning properly.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Health Insurance: Tips on Getting Your Own

The rising cost of health insurance today has led many people – employed and unemployed – into the ranks of the uninsured. The high premiums coupled with big deductions are almost always enough to make people rethink their need for insurance. Employers and insurance providers alike are also limiting the benefits of their health care plans due to the high costs.

But when it comes to crunch time, health insurance is really something you can hold on to. It is like a safety net that is ready to catch you in case you fall seriously ill or suffer from a chronic disease. Despite the high costs, getting health insurance is still one of the best decisions you can make – more so, if you are self-employed and have to take care of yourself on your own.

1. Apply for subsidized health care. Government-funded insurance can help your health care spending, particularly for prescription drugs, go down since part of it is shouldered by the government.

2. Stay within network. If you have to go for diagnostic tests or buy medicines, go for those that are part of your policy’s in-network for discounts and reduced costs.

3. Compare health insurance plans. Before you commit to any insurance plan, take the time to shop around and compare health plans from different providers. Look for one that suits your health needs and budget for better usability.

4. Maximize your parents’ health insurance plan. If you just graduated from college or vocational school, you have some time before you are required to fund your own insurance coverage. Find out how long you can depend on your parents’ health insurance instead of wasting money on your own policy too soon.

5. Determine the amount of coverage you need. If you are young and healthy, you probably do not need to invest on a major health insurance plan. However, if you have any preexisting condition or health problem, a comprehensive insurance with an extensive formulary is probably best.

6. Get incorporated. If you are self-employed or own a small business, it is helpful to get your venture incorporated. This way, you can be eligible for tax deductible employer and employee costs like health insurance.

7. Find out which health insurance option is best for you. There are many kinds of health insurance. To get the most out of your plan, you must determine whether you need disability insurance, life insurance, or long term care insurance. Thoroughly understanding and knowing how to work the conditions presented in your policy can help you make the most of its benefits.

8. Avail of discount medical cards. A discount medical card allows you to gain access to the medications you need without the exclusions, limitations, and tedious paperwork typically associated with health insurance.

9. Get a discount dental plan. If you signed up for a minor health insurance plan, it may not cover all the healthcare services you might need. A discount dental plan is a viable option if you intend to supplement your individual coverage.

10. Stick to high co-pays if you rarely get sick. If you rarely visit a doctor, arrange to have higher co-pays in your insurance plans. It pays better to have higher co-pays in exchange for lower premium. Alternatively, if you have a chronic disease or is suffering from a preexisting condition that requires frequent doctor visit, a plan with lower co-pays and higher premiums will work better for you in the long run.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Healthy Lifestyle: Tips on Achieving Work-Life Balance

The demands of life and career can be tough especially if you are juggling more roles and responsibilities. With so many demands on your time — from overtime to family obligations — it can feel difficult to strike this balance. The stress and anxiety that accompany these demands can be damaging to your relationships, health, and career. Achieve work-life balance for better health by following these tips:

1. Evaluate your priorities.

You do not need to be present at every single family affair or overtime meetings. The first step to achieving a work-life balance is to evaluate your priorities and the things and goals that are important to you. By identifying your priorities, you can judge other activities if they can help you reach your goals or not.

2. Keep a record of your activities.

Record a list of work-related and non-work-related activities. Do this for a week then sit down and decide which of these activities are directly connected to your goals, are necessary, and satisfying to you. Cut or delegate activities you don't enjoy and don't have time for. If you don't have the authority to make certain decisions, you can talk to your supervisor or boss about it.

3. Take advantage of your options.

Sometimes, the desire to appear as the over-responsible adult can cloud your judgment and put an extra load in your arms. Instead of picking up the slack for everyone in the office every time, find out if your employer offers flex hours, a compressed workweek, job-sharing or telecommuting for your role. The flexibility offered by these options can help you alleviate some of the stress work and life can bring without resorting to taking anxiety discount drugs.

4. Learn to compartmentalize.

Sure, in-job competition has the tendency to consume you and this, can wreck havoc in your personal relationships. Learn to compartmentalize by leaving work and all things relating to work at the office and concentrate on your family and personal life once you get home. It'll also help if you'll instruct your colleagues and family members to contact you at home and at the office, respectively, on in cases of emergency.

5. Manage your time.

Time management is essential if you are striving for work-life balance. Organize household tasks efficiently to maximize your efficiency. Doing one or two loads of laundry every day, rather than saving it all for your day off and running errands in batches are good places to start. You can also put up a weekly family calendar of important dates and a daily list of to-dos will help you avoid deadline panic. If your employer offers a course in time management, sign up for it to learn better tricks and techniques at dividing your time between work and personal life.

Despite these tips, one of the best things you can do to achieve work-life balance easily is to keep yourself healthy and at your peak. When you are healthy, you can do your job and tasks easily at work – leaving you with plenty of opportunities to enjoy your life and attend to personal relationships.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Monos, Polys, and Omegas of Nutrition

We are all aware that saturated fats, found chiefly in meat and high-fat dairy products, are not good for health. These fats are responsible for increased cholesterol levels and gummed up arteries. On the other hand, unsaturated fats that mostly come from plants and fish are essential to good health.

The issue about good fat/bad fat has become more cumbersome than nutritionists once thought. Health effects of good fats not only improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels but also reduce inflammation, making fats as one of the new functional foods.

Researchers at Maastricht University in the Netherlands found that cutting back on carbohydrates and consuming more polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats decreases the level of harmful LDL cholesterol and increases protective HDL cholesterol.
Recently, a study conducted by the Optimal Macronutrient Intake Trial for Heart Health (OmniHeart) revealed that a diet rich in unsaturated fats also lowers blood pressure and reduces overall heart disease risk.

Researches sometimes yield confusing results. In the Maastricht University study, it slightly favored polyunsaturated fats for improving the ratio of HDL (good cholesterol) to total cholesterol. However, the Trinity College in Dublin studied people with diabetes, who have a high risk of heart disease, and found that monounsaturated fats may offer more protection.

So which is which? Monounsaturated fats or polyunsaturated fats? Come to think of it, both types of fats are present in edible oils. If both are beneficial to health, why bother counting the grams of each? Instead, people should focus on the amount of saturated fats found in edible oil that debating between the monos and polys.

Check out this comparison:
• Olive oil – 73% monounsaturated fat, 11% polyunsaturated fat, and 14% saturated fat.
• Soybean oil – 24% mono, 61% poly, and 15% saturated fat.
• Canola oil – 62% monounsaturated, 32% polyunsaturated, and only 6% saturated fat.
Obviously, canola oil wins by having the lowest content of saturated fats among edible oils.

The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois found that substituting canola oil for other vegetable oils and canola oil-based margarine for other spreads could significantly lower saturated fat levels in the American diet.

In addition to that, canola oil is also a good source of omega-3 polyunsaturated fats, which may be especially crucial to good health.
Since studies of the Mediterranean diet suggest that olive oil, which has a very different fatty acid profile, also offers potent protection against heart disease, the issue is no longer about which oil is healthiest but a matter of encouraging people to use the ones they prefer.

And yet, it doesn’t end there. Did you know that polyunsaturated fats are even subdivided into omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids? The former are found in most plants while the latter are found predominantly in fish oils. Many researchers believe that the balance of these two fats may be the most critical measure of a healthy diet.

Today, modern western diet favors the omega-6s over omega-3s in a ratio of 9:1 up to a high of 40:1. While there is no standard for what the optimum balance should be, Floyd Chilton, PhD, director of the Bontanical Lipids Center at Wake Forest University said that there’s a good evidence that the diet of hunter-gatherers, and thus the diet our bodies evolved to eat, had a ratio of 2:1 omega-6s to omega-3s.
Omega-6s fatty acids regulate genes that spark inflammation increasingly being seen as the central process in heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and other chronic health problems.

Omega-3s, in contrast, tamp down inflammation and have been linked to many health benefits, including lowering triglyceride levels, guarding against dangerous irregular heart rhythms, and preventing plaque from breaking away from the lining of arteries.
Maybe achieving a balance of these omegas could help fight many of the chronic diseases that plague us nowadays.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Natural High of A Baby’s Smile - Healthy Lifestyle family fitness

"Smile though your heart is aching… smile even though it’s breaking… when there are clouds in the sky you’ll get by… if you smile through your fear and sorrow… smile and maybe tomorrow… you’ll see the sun come shining through for you…”

Can’t help but enjoy the trip down memory lane via this old song of Nat King Cole about the simplicity of life and how people often neglect the simpler things in life, getting too caught up in superficial things.

A smile is a facial expression that denotes pleasure, happiness, or amusement. Smile can decrease the pain and sorrow.And the magic of smile always succeeds in lifting up the spirits of the recipient. Talk about a girl smiling back at a persistent suitor, or a male celebrity smiling back at a starstruck fan. The recipient will definitely feel encouraged and appreciated. Had it been a frown instead of a smile, it will be a totally different picture and story altogether.

A recent study about the effect of smile focuses on the relationship between a mother and her child. Obviously, seeing the baby smile provides a natural high for the mom. But this study is beyond what is obvious. It proves that seeing the baby’s smile lights up the reward center in a mother’s brain. Understanding that reaction may help explain that special mother-child bond and determine why it sometimes goes wrong.

According to researcher Lane Strathearn, MBBS, FRACP, assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, the relationship between mothers and infants is critical for child development. “For whatever reason, in some cases, that relationship doesn’t develop normally. Neglect and abuse can result, with devastating effects on a child’s development,” added Strathearn.

The study involved 28 first-time mothers who viewed images of their own child and other infants while hooked up to a functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner.

This machine provided information on the activation of different regions of the brains as the women viewed the images of the babies smiling or portraying neutral or sad emotions.

The research team found that when the mothers saw happy images of their own baby, activation increased in areas of the brain associated with reward and the neurotransmitter dopamine compared with seeing images of other babies.

Strathearn emphasized that these are the same areas that have been activated in other experiments associated with drug addiction. “It may be that seeing your own baby’s smiling face is like a ‘natural high,’” he noted.
While the mothers’ brains responded much more strongly to their own infants than to others, researchers found that the strength of such “natural-high” reaction depended on the baby’s facial expression.

Strathearn also stressed that the strongest activation was with smiling faces and that they were expecting a different reaction with sad faces. However, they found little difference in the reaction of the mothers’ brains to their own baby’s crying face compared to that of an unknown child.

Strathearn believes that understanding how a mother responds uniquely to her own infant, when smiling or crying, may be the first step in understanding the neural basis of mother-infant attachment.
It's definitely true that a smile is a “natural high,” and as the song goes, we'll find that life is still worthwhile if we just...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Preventing Summer Woes - Healthy Skin

Taking care of your skin health is not easy, especially when you are person who wants to go out all the time. It’s summertime! And for many people, especially kids, it’s a holiday season to be spent outdoors and heading toward the local pool, a lake or the beach. Living seems all fun and easy until you realize the havoc all that fun in the sun has wrought on your body, most specially, the skin.

Summer makes you sweat more so that the skin becomes less supple. In addition, saltwater and chlorine can have a drying effect on the skin. Not to mention sunburns and bug bites which can also sabotage healthy skin.

But the good news is, summer also brings an abundance of tasty and nutritious foods, including berries which are loaded with antioxidants, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers which are a good source of vitamin C, and protein-filled grilled fish and burgers. You can simply choose the right ones to add to your daily diet to help prevent or alleviate the following common hot-weather woes.

Antioxidants, vitamin C, and protein can help a lot in healing weathered skin. Keep dryness at bay by drinking lots of water, “the forgotten nutrient.” The American Dietetic Association recommends that women drink 92 ounces (8-10 cups) of water in the summer and men 125 ounces to prevent dehydration. Since calcium can also be lost through sweating, it’s a good idea to replace it by eating low-fat dairy products like skim milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese.

Along with summer comes yeast infections. Sitting around in wet bathing suit provides a perfect environment for yeast overgrowth. Cut back on sugary foods to make conditions less hospitable for yeast to take hold in the first place. However, once you’ve got an infection, be sure to eat lots of yogurt, the kind that contains live, active cultures.

Overexposure to sun, saltwater, and chlorine may cause parched hair. So be sure to eat lots of foods rich in vitamin B-5 (found in yogurt and California avocadoes), vitamin B-8 (in liver and cooked eggs), folic acid (in fortified cereals and beans), calcium (in milk and yogurt), and zinc (in meat and fish). These nutrients can help reduce hair loss and replace dull hair with shiny hair. So, go ahead and toss some burgers or shrimp kabobs on the grill, or make a three-bean salad or other protein-rich meal because hair consists of protein fibers called keratin, in addition to maintaining healthy skin.

Be careful not to play too much of beach volleyball or other outdoor exercise. Overexertion and dehydration may cause muscles cramps. Lack of fluid in the system leads to an electrolyte imbalance and causes muscles to cramp up. Sodium, calcium, and potassium are the main electrolytes lost through sweating during exercise and physical activities.

You may replenish these electrolytes with a sports drink that contains them and drink a lot of water. Potassium-rich foods include bananas, raisins, potatoes, and spinach.
While age-related macular degeneration is the most common cause of vision loss and blindness in people over the age of 55, the sun can aggravate the condition. This occurs when the central part of the retina (macula) becomes damaged.

Since the retina is actually made up of vitamin A, foods rich in this vitamin, along with beta-carotene, zinc, and Vitamins C and E, are beneficial to the eyes. Good sources are dark green vegetables like kale, chard, and mustard greens, plus bell peppers, carrots, and blueberries. Eat eggs for their high dose of lutein, an important antioxidant that also helps prevent eye damage. - health provider

Monday, October 6, 2008

Beware of Home Remedies

While some do-it-yourself health lifestyle techniques work just fine,others can spell real trouble.

There’s nothing wrong with home remedies like cornstarch and water on a bee sting, but cleansing your colon from the comfort of your home is certainly one for the “do not try this at home” warnings. Neither is removing wax from your ear by holding a lit candle inches from your head.

Health is wealth and should be handled with care. Don't be fooled by every home remedy you hear about and seek professional help from your health care provider when necessary.

The ear produces a waxy film that acts as a natural lubricant. It waterproofs the ear and has an acidic pH that helps in preventing infections. Wax build-ups may cause itching and impaired hearing that is why some people resort to ear candling. This so called easy at-home solution involves taking a candle-shaped beeswax cone, placing it in the ear, lighting it, and after the wick burns down, removing the cone along with ear wax and other impurities.

Who said that lighting a flame inches from your ear is easy? It’s actually dangerous and may lead to burns in the ear canal and on the eardrum. I’d rather that you stop playing with fire, and just use a tissue around your finger to wipe away excess wax from the outer part of the ear. Using cotton buds is acceptable but stays at the outer part of the ear and do not go deeper to avoid puncturing the eardrum.

Another nonsense home remedy is using whiskey for teething babies. It’s not unusual for parents to try anything to stop their child from non-stop hours of crying and wailing but alcohol should not be a part of the remedy at anytime.
Aside from the fact that whiskey has no real numbing effect on the gums of teething kids, they should not be consuming alcohol as well. Instead, try to chill a teething toy in the freezer and give it to your baby. It will have a cooling effect on the gum which will both soothe and numb it. A child old enough to have ice pop can be given a sugarless one but definitely with adult supervision.

For adults, whiskey won’t help a toothache or tenderness in the gum. Only dentists or pain relief drugs can take away the pain caused by a cavity deep in the tooth or a gum infection.

So-called home remedies for minor burns like toothpaste may provide a slight cooling effect. However, these are not sterile and may increase risk of infection.

Over-the-counter antibiotic burn ointment is still best for mild to moderate first-degree burns and second-degree burns limited to an area no larger than 3 inches in diameter. Gently apply it to the burned skin, and keep it covered for cleanliness. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help alleviate pain.

Some people say that since colons are filled with toxic waste matter, the solution is to flush them out with herbs, special diets, or laxatives. While colon is a waste receptacle, its function is to let fecal material pass out of the body, naturally.
However, if you try to cleanse your colon from the comforts of your home, it may disrupt your body's electrolyte balance, which can cause dehydration and salt depletion. It can even lead to malnutrition, anemia, and heart failure.
It is better to increase your fiber intake by eating more fruits and vegetable, or by adding a daily supplement to your diet.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Red Wine: More Reasons To Cheer

Drinking red wine does not completely negate poor healthy lifestyle choices.

Here’s another reason to celebrate with wine and be merry! There’s this natural compound called resveratrol which is found in certain red wines and may trick the body into thinking it’s getting fewer calories than it actually is.

What’s more, you don’t need to overindulge to reap the reward. You see, like vegetables, fresh fruits are good for our health. Not only do they taste great, but they are filled with important vitamins and minerals. Numerous stories have been told about the healing power of grapes where red wine comes from.

Grapes are loaded with phytonutrients such as resveratrol, quercetin, anthocyanin and catechin. Resveratrol, found primarily in the skin of grapes, has been found in preliminary studies to fight breast, liver and colon cancers. Resveratrol is also believed to play a role in the reduction of heart disease and has been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory properties.

According to a research published in the June 3 issue of the online, open-access journal Public Library of Science One (PLoS One), the study suggests that drinking red wine may offer many of the same benefits as a reduced-calorie diet.

Experts found that low doses of resveratrol slowed the aging process in middle-aged mice and improved their overall heart health. Specifically, the findings revealed in the resveratrol-fed mice mimicked those often seen with caloric restriction: the practice of cutting 20%-30% of calories out of one’s typical diet in an effort to improve health and prolong life. Numerous studies have linked caloric restriction to a longer, healthier life.

Furthermore, it was discovered that resveratrol is active in much lower doses than previously thought. Until now, researchers believed that high doses of resveratrol, which is impossible to obtain by drinking wine, were necessary to ward off the unhealthy consequences of eating a high-fat, high-calorie diet.

Richard Weindruch, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of medicine and a researcher at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital said that this brings down the dose of resveratrol toward the consumption reality mode.
The experts believe that their findings provide strong evidence that resveratrol can improve one’s quality of life and call the idea of low-dose resveratrol supplementation, in the form of wine or perhaps one day a pill, which is “a robust intervention in the retardation of cardiac aging.”

While drinking one or two glasses of red wine each day can protect against cardiovascular disease in certain people, more than that can result in negative effects that outweigh the positive ones. For example, drinking too much alcohol can raise the levels of triglycerides in some people.

Overall, drinking red wine does not completely negate poor lifestyle choices. The calorie-restricted mice had lower rates of cancer. There was no comparable reduction in the incidence of tumors in the resveratrol-supplemented mice.
It is always important to remember that attaining and maintaining a normal weight, eating a sensible diet, and engaging in regular exercise are essential components for living a long and healthy life. And don’t forget that moderation is always the key to a better life.
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