Diberdayakan oleh Blogger.

Staying Healthy With Natural Health Care

With the growing number of medical issues surrounding the current health care system, people are becoming increasingly frustrated with treatment results and the expense of maintaining personal health. Are you concerned about or wondering if it's possible to naturally treat health issues without killing yourself? A growing number of people are turning to alternative medicine and natural health care and doing so very successfully. Natural, everyday, common sense methods of preventing illness and maintaining optimal health do exist.

What does your body need to maintain proper health?

This is a question that continues to be asked, why, I don't know, because there are no hidden secrets about this. In fact I'm sure you probably already know the answer.

o Proper diet

It is known that many health problems (heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and others) are exasperated by improper and poor diets. We live in a fast paced world driven by extreme commercialism that bombards us with images of super sized hamburgers, fries and extra large sodas. Many of our foods come in boxes loaded with artificial ingredients and real, un-natural, man-made chemicals to help us exist in our fast paced life. The first thing we need to do in maintaining our health is to get back to a healthy natural food based diet.

o Moderate exercise

Sitting on the couch watching TV or driving the car to the mailbox is not moderate exercise. Walking, bicycling, swimming, tennis, hiking, gymnastics, dancing and weight training are forms of exercise that we need in our daily lives. Achieving 30 minutes of some form of cardiovascular activity several times a week has a huge payback in maintenance of health, appearance, and well being.

o Excess avoidance (drugs, alcohol, fast food, smoking)

There is no mistake that excessive use of drugs, alcohol, fast food and smoking have a detrimental effect on health. If you are using any of these substances in excess you can expect to live a much shorter and unhealthier life. Even if you use these substances in moderation you may experience a shorter and unhealthier life.

o Good genetics

Now here's something you cannot control. We've all heard of the guy that smoked 2 packs of cigarettes' a day until he was 92 then got stepped on by an elephant while dancing with his 38 year old girl friend. There are those that are fortunate to be born to parents and grandparents that took care of their health. Then there are those that are born to parents/grandparents that did not enjoy healthy lifestyles. And let's face it; Mother Nature can be quite cruel at times as well. No matter what the case, your life and health can be improved by proper diet, exercise, and excess avoidance.

Other methods and forms of natural health care

While the things mentioned above are fundamentals of natural health care, there are other methods and forms of natural treatment and care that complement healthy living. We know that even healthy people are going to become ill with common ailments and diseases from time to time. However there are things that can be done to minimize the effects and duration of the inevitable cold, flu, pain, rash, and other common ailments or diseases that are sure to come from time to time.

Herbs and vitamins

Many natural herbs and vitamins can be obtained from health stores that strengthen our natural immunity to health issues. If you are experiencing a particular health issue, a trip to the health store should be considered, there will be a supplement that can help you overcome your health issue.

Holistic Medicine

Holistic medicine focuses on how the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual elements of the body are interconnected to maintain wellness (holistic health). When one part of the body or mind is not working properly, it is believed to affect the whole person. Holistic approaches focus on the whole person rather than just on the illness or part of the body that is not healthy. There are many holistic practitioners available to help you with your health and well being.


Acupuncture is a treatment based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TM), a system of healing that dates back thousands of years. At the core of TM is the notion that a type of life force, or energy, known as qui (pronounced "cheek") flows through energy pathways (meridians) in the body. Each meridian corresponds to one organ, or group of organs, that governs particular bodily functions. Achieving the proper flow of qui is thought to create health and wellness. Many ailments and health problems are treated with acupuncture by inserting a set of tiny needles at points along the meridians.

For those that cannot tolerate the thought of needles poking their skin, there is a form of needless acupuncture available. Check out the resource box below to get more information.


Acupressure is often called acupuncture without the needles. Instead of needles, acupressure involves the application of manual pressure (usually with the fingertips) to specific points on the body. Acupressure is typically used for:

    Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy/ morning sickness
    Motion sickness
    Nausea after surgery
    Nausea due to chemotherapy
    Cancer-related fatigue
    Menstrual cramps
    Muscle tension and pain

Magnetic Health Care

Magnetics have been around for several hundred years and has found a place in natural health care. There are many products available using static magnetic fields that offer relief of pain and reduction or elimination of many health ailments. One of the most common type of magnetic health care products is the magnetic bracelet. There are other products that emit electromagnetic pulses that have greater potential of providing natural health care treatment than products offering a single static magnetic field.

Chiropractic Health care

Believe it or not Chiropractic health care is a form of natural alternative health care. Chiropractic health care is based upon the fact that all organ, tissue, and gland functions are controlled via nervous system input starting from signals in the brain cascading downward via the spinal cord and peripheral nerves. On some occasions, the spinal bones (vertebra) which protectively surround the spinal cord can misalignment or sublimate creating increased pressure upon the nerve roots that pass between the vertebrae. This increased pressure strangles or pinches the nerve roots, thus decreasing the impulses to the end organs. Prolonged pressure upon these nerves causes disease states to develop, whether it be muscular or internal. Spinal adjustments are high speed, low force procedures that restore the spinal bones into their correct alignment, thus relieving stress upon the spinal nerves. Once the stress has been relieved upon the nerves, the body can naturally be restored to 100% of its healing capacity.

There has been a real shift in the way people think about their health. Rising health care costs as well as inherent risks that come with medical treatments and pharmaceutical drugs is becoming a legitimate concern. You can take charge and responsibility of your own health care and live a long and healthy life. Of course there will be times when a doctor is needed for your health care, but with self administered natural health care those times can be minimized. To your health!

Woody Long acre is a writer and publisher of articles for the Internet. This article was written for Immune Sentry, LTD. Please visit for information about an amazing Natural Health Care Product.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Stress and Result

Conditions that cause stress or time always happen. This can not be avoided as a lifestyle in the modern world is fast paced.Do you know about the various effects of stress on our system? It can damage some systems. It even managed to weaken our bodies to the extent in which the immune system in despair.Instead of just reading information just like that, it is important for us to take a stand. Make a decision to do whatever we can to reduce the adverse effects of stress. Stress can kill, so do not let it kill you or your loved ones. Individuals suffering from stress always lose the energy needed for their daily life. If this happens, it can instill negative attitudes in their lives. Depression will occur and trigger a negative impact on individual lives.

Failure to deal with stress can also have an adverse effect on health. Normally the immune system to defend the body from disease. However, stress can weaken the immune system. If this happens, the person will be more prone to deadly diseases such as cancer and heart problems. At the same time, if he is dealing with health problems, it can make things worse.

General know heart disease is the number one cause of death in the world. Some of the symptoms or sign of heart disease associated with stress. The sudden increase in blood pressure and heart palpitations are continuing between the signs. Based on these facts, it is important for someone to do something if they find themselves unable to cope with stress. They have to solve the problem as soon as possible to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of stress can kill.

Easy Ways to Overcome Stress There are several steps that must be taken to avoid the adverse effects of stress. By adopting the following measures, the risk of adverse effects of stress can be reduced.

1. The Right Nutrition

Eating the right foods helps us to face the challenges of everyday life. Make sure you do not forget to eat at meal times so that you have enough energy to perform daily tasks. At the same time, a balanced diet will ensure your body gets the nutrients it needs. Therefore make sure you take food that contributes to your well-being. Take protein, B vitamins ( B and B ), folic acid and minerals.

2. Do not burden yourself

Sometimes one is too ambitious and self-sufficiency forget. Therefore important that we prevent ourselves from taking over tasks that can be implemented. Perform tasks piecemeal. Break down large tasks into several small tasks that can be completed in a shorter period. In this way, it will ease the burden of our body and mind.

3. relax

If you are always busy and do not get enough sleep, think of the good. Our bodies need a break after working for some time. Therefore do not let a week go by without rest and sleep soundly. Try to take leave after implementing a series of heavy-duty. Listening to classical music is good or take time to be alone and relax the mind will help us in the long run.

4. Interacting with Family and Friends

It is nice to be a powerful work. However, do not forget, as a human being we need the support of those around us. Make sure you take the time to do leisure activities together with family and friends. This will eliminate any qualms in the mind. At the same time it will help you build a positive outlook when you returned to work.

Stress can actually kill but it does not have to be so. Important for a person to have control over her life. Protect yourself and health by adopting measures that will help manage stress well.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Answering Health And Productivity

It's a commonly held belief that
healthy people are more productive.
Recent studies we've all heard of seem
to overwhelmingly support that belief.
Now, I'm no scientist, so I wouldn't
begin to question their findings, but,
doesn't it follow that productive people
are more healthy?  If so, we have
in our hands an amazingly simple method
to improve our own health, without
insurance, government assistance or any
other of the trappings thought of as
necessary for good health.  This
article will focus on the flip side of it enhances health.

Aging And Illness:  We used to
believe aging and illness were just our
bodies wearing out over time.  The
older we get, the higher the chances of
a fatal disease...right?  Of
course!  The extreme training
athletes undergo to push their bodies to
the limit does wear them out, but this
isn't the case for the rest of us.
For most people, aging and illness isn't
our bodies wearing out, but rusting out.
It's as if we left a pair of pliers out
in the weather.  Before long,
they'd be unable to function.  It's
the same for us!  Just breathing
creates a process in our bodies, called
oxidation (rusting).  Oxidation
sets us up for a number of illnesses,
cancer, being one of the better known
ones.  As the oxidation process
continues, our bodies become less
efficient at maintaining health, until
we can't function and are at risk for an
increasing number of diseases.  If
wearing ourselves out were a concern, no
doctor would recommend exercise for
health.  In fact, non-productivity
speeds up the oxidation just like a pair
of unused pliers.

Non-Productivity:  While there
are exceptions that can be found, it's
no accident that those who are less
productive in society (rich and poor,
alike) are the most unhealthy, often
morbidly obese and invariably unhappy.
I haven't seen any studies of
productivity and mental illness but
there is no reason to assume there
wouldn't be just as strong a
relationship as with physical illness.
We'll get into some of the physical
mechanisms involved in a moment, but
let's finish with the issue of
non-productivity.  Everyone knows,
if you don't use your muscles, they
become weaker.  If you tied your
arm up for a year or more, it's possible
you could never use it again.  The
same is true of mental abilities.
Don't exercise your mind and you'll be
gradually less able to use it.  In
fact, there's an old saying based on
this principle.  "If you don't use
it, you lose it."  It's so reliable
a principle, you can find it in the
Bible.  while this article isn't
about spiritual health, both science and
social wisdom agree with the Bible that productivity is required if
we wish to continue functioning.

Productivity And Body Chemistry:
Every body functions as a goal-striving,
achieving mechanism.  We were
designed to do stuff!  When we stop
doing stuff, we break down.  Early
studies discovered a group of chemicals
produced in our bodies whenever we
engaged in sexual
intercourse...endorphins.  They are
largely responsible for our drive to
reproduce.  These chemicals are
better than anything at the pharmacy or
on the street.  They reduce stress,
relax us, give us a euphoric feeling,
make us happy and reduce pain.  In
fact, next time she says, "I have a
headache." tell her that's why you were
offering sex.  There have been some
amazing discoveries, recently,
concerning these endorphins.  We
learned that physical exercise produces
them.  Then, we learned that any
kind of productive physical activity
produces them.  People don't sing
because they're happy...they're happy
because they sing.  In fact, we're
learning that mental exercise and
activity produces the same chemicals.
Just reading a book or listening to
music...doing something...produces
endorphins.  Over time, these
endorphins are very effective at
relieving many mental illnesses,
including anxiety and depression.
Just like our sex-drive, we were
designed to be productive, achieving
beings.  Our physical health and
our mental health depend on it.

Here it is...a shocking and simple
method to maintain our own mental and
physical productive.
Unless we're suffering a severe mental
or physical disability, we have control
over our physical and mental well-being.
Feeling down?  Listen to music,
whistle!  Feeling anxious?
Take a walk, mow the lawn!  Don't
feel like exercising?  Exercise and
you'll feel like it!  Start slowly
if you haven't exercised.  Try a 10
minute walk and gradually build up speed
and distance.  Eventually, we get
to a tipping point, where we feel happy
and fulfilled most of the time, and that
happiness, believe it or not, produces
endorphins.  If you've been
depressed, stressed or anxious, maybe
even being medicated for it, how would
it hurt for you to start an exercise
program or take classes, do volunteer
work or take up singing.  You want
to be healthy and happy?  Step up
your productivity!  That's what we
were designed for.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

The Increasing Surge of Health Care

While sitting back in her blue jeans and wearing a heavy workout sweater at the Legacy Emanuel Hospital's Emergency room, Angela Jones has her feet prompted up and crossed atop of a small table. When asked about health care issues and how they affect her, Angela explains that there is a portion of people who suffer from not having health care insurance. She makes it clear that some of those who suffer most are young people. Jones, who is a college student, declared her passion for the young because it falls under her own age group.

Says Jones, "The Oregon Health Plan should be open to more people who are under 21 years old. Private insurance shouldn't be so expensive for young people."

According to national surveys, the primary reason people are uninsured is the high cost of health insurance coverage. Notwithstanding, nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of the uninsured reported changing their way of life significantly in order to pay medical bills. Economists have discovered that increasing health care costs correlate to drops in health insurance coverage.

Jones believes that some of the greatest challenges that people face across this nation is obtaining affordable health care. "I would open an Oregon Health Plan to a variety of people who don't have insurance. It is hard to get health insurance."

Terri Heber, a registered nurse at a local hospital, claims that in order to improve America's health care system a key ingredient is to "make sure that everyone (has) access."

This would include cutting out on expenses that are not palpable to so called "health care needs". Heber says, "First, we spend a lot of money servicing people for illnesses that can be prevented. Some of the money spent can go to other things."

Over the long haul, should the nations health care system undergo significant changes, the typical patient may not necessarily see the improvements firsthand. "I would love to say there will be a lot of changes. I am not a pessimist, but I don't think there will be any change," says Heber. Heber does allude to the fact that if more money were spent for people in the health care arena, she says that there is a possibility that the necessary changes would be more evident.

Whether health care is affordable or not is an issue that affects everyone. According to a recent study last year, health care spending in the United States reached $2.3 trillion, and is projected to reach $3 trillion by 2011. By 2016, it is projected to reach $4.2 trillion. Although it is estimated that nearly 47 million Americans are uninsured, the U.S. spends more on health care than any other nation.

The rising tide of health care stems from several factors that has an affect on us all. First, there is an intensity of services in the U.S. health care system that has undergone a dramatic change when you consider that people are living longer coupled with greater chronic illnesses.

Secondly, prescription drugs and technology have gone through significant changes. The fact that major drugs and technological advancement has been a contributing factor for the increase in health care spending. Some analysts suggest that the improvement of state-of-art technologies and drugs increase health care spending. This increase not only attributes to the high-tech inventions, but also because consumer demand for these products has gone through the roof, so to speak.

Thirdly, there is an aging of the population. Since the baby boomers have reached their middle years, there is a tremendous need to take care of them. This trend will continue as baby boomers will qualify for more Medicare in 2011.

Lastly, there is the factor of administrative costs. Some would argue that the private sector plays a critical role in the rise of health care costs and the economic increase they produce in overhead costs. At the same time, 7 percent of health care expenses are a result of administrative costs. This would include aspects of billing and marketing.

Terra Lincoln is a woman who was found waiting in the Emergency room at the Providence Portland Medical Center. When asked about the rising costs of health care, she said, "If you don't have medical coverage, it'll cost you too much money. If I leave the hospital right now and I need to buy two (types) of medicines, I couldn't afford it." Lincoln says that she is a member of the HP, but she believes that there are still issues that need to be addressed.

Terra recognizes that to reduce medical costs, she would have to start by getting regular checkups. "Sometimes people of color wait till they're in pain before they get a checkup," she said.

A national survey shows that the primary reason why people cannot afford health care is because of soaring costs of health care coverage. In a recent Wall-Street Journal-NBC survey it is reported that 50% of the American public claims that their highest and most significant economic concern is health care. Consequently, the rising cost of health care is the number one concern for Democratic voters.

Regarding the rising tide of health care, Kristin Vender bush, a native Wisconsin, and another patient in emergency at Providence says, "I worry a lot about what happens to the working poor. They don't have HP. If you can't advocate for yourself, you will not get the health care you need...on every level."

Harvard University researchers conducted a recent study that discovered that the out-of-pocket medical debt for an average consumer who filed bankruptcy was $12,000. This study noted that 68 percent of those who had filed for bankruptcy carried health insurance. Apparently, these bankruptcy's were results from medical expenses. It was also noted in this study that every 30 seconds someone files for bankruptcy after they have had some type of serious health problem.

In spite of all the social and economic bureaucracy in the health care arena, some changes were made in Washington on January 28, 2008. In his State of the Union address, President Bush made inquired Congress to eliminate the unfair bias of the tax code against people who do not get their health care from their employer. Millions would then have more options that were not previously available and health care would be more accessible for people who could not afford it.

Consequently, the President believes that the Federal government can make health care more affordable and available for those who need it most. Some sources suggest that the President not only wants health care to be available for people, but also for patients and their private physicians so that they will be free to make choices as well. One of the main purposes for the health care agenda is to insure that consumers will not only have the freedom to make choices, but to also enable those to make decisions that will best meet their health care needs.

Kerry Weensy, Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, oversees the State Children's Health Insurance Program, also known as CHIP. This is a critical program because it pays for the health care of more than six and a half million children who come from homes that cannot afford adequate health insurance. These homes exceed the pay scale for Medicaid programs, therefore are not able to participate.

During Chips' ten year span, states have used the program to assist families with low-income and uninsured children for their sense of well-being in the health care arena. The Bush Administration believes that states should do more of an effort to provide for the neediest children and enable them to get insurance immediately. The CHIP was originally intended to cover children who had family incomes ranging from $20,650. This amount would typically include a family of four. According to sources, all states throughout the U.S. have CHIP programs in place and just over six million children are served.

Children and Health Care

Washington's Perspective

What is driving health care costs?

The fact that the U.S. faces ever increasing health care woes, has left many to believe that the country's current crisis is on a lock-step path toward dissolvability.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Great Guide On How To Get The Right Health Insurance

Health insurance is a must-have in the event you have a serious medical emergency. You never know when disaster will strike in the form of illness, accident or injury. If you aren't prepared with a good health insurance plan, you could stand to lose everything. If you have a good health plan in place, you can rest easy that your expenses will be taken care of. You have a couple of choices when it comes to purchasing health insurance. You can go with an individual plan, or if your employer offers group insurance, you can save money by choosing that plan.

Before purchasing health insurance, make sure you know about everything that you will be required to pay yourself. Health insurance costs go beyond premiums, and also include your deductibles, co-pays and other out-of-pocket expenses. You want a plan that strikes a good balance between affordability and the coverage types you truly need.

Many people have questions concerning their insurance policy. You only need to call to get the answers you desire. Almost all insurance agencies offer a customer service hotline that you can call anytime to ask questions related to your policy. The customer service representatives can give you information that will save you time, money and frustration.

You may have a certain doctor you can't live without. In that case, you'll want to make sure your plan allows you to still use that doctor. You can ask you doctor if they are partnered with any specific insurance company to save you time.

If you're considering an HMO, check to see if your doctor is in the network. Having to switch doctors is frustrating and part of new health insurance that is a hassle. This can all be avoided if you simply check before you switch.

A good money-saving insurance tip you can use is to start an HSA - Health Savings Account. This is especially good if you do not visit a doctor all that often. The money you are not paying in premiums and insurance deductibles goes into this account to be used for future medical expenses.

Health insurance is usually cheaper through a group, which is the way that most employers provide reduced insurance rates. What do you do, though, if self-employed? The Freelancers Union is one such group that you could consider joining. These kinds of unions offer health insurance plans to their members at discounted rates, amongst other perks.

If you've just graduated from college and are looking to purchase health insurance for the first time, keep the following in mind. Many employers will provide health insurance for their employees that you can use. Or, if you're under twenty-six, you can remain on the insurance plan of your parents.

It does not matter which type of health insurance you have, everyone will save money if they choose to get generic drugs when filling a prescription. Studies confirm that no real drop-off in quality occurs when you go to a generic brand. Only in the few cases where there is no generic should you opt for the name brand.

Verify with your insurance provider that your medical records are filed with an accredited Medical Information Bureau. If they are, you can obtain a copy of these records for free one time per year.

When comparing group and individual insurance plans, you may notice that group insurance might cost less monthly; however, there may be more options for an individual plan. Whatever option you choose, the most important thing is to have some form of health insurance in place. Being uninsured could cause severe financial hardship at a moment's notice. It's too easy to experience something unexpected that may leave you broke. Do the wise thing by researching all the options available for insurance today.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

13 Reasons People Become Clinically Depressed

Having 'clinical' depression can affect all aspects of a persons life, strangely enough during my days of dealing with depression waking up in the morning in itself was tiring, even after a good nights sleep. Our self esteem and self confidence takes a beating and that dark gloomy cloud that hangs over the heads of people that are going through depression, unfortunately can not be wished away or just float out of their lives somehow. First let's look at some reasons why people get themselves into a 'clinically' depressed state, and then look at what has worked for myself and others I work with to get back to feeling abundant again.

Reasons People Become Depressed:

Becoming Isolated - It's just natural for human beings to want to be around other people. If the option of meeting that significant other and starting a family is there we feel fulfilled, but if it's not an option, we at least want to feel the closeness that friends, co workers or certain social groups give us. The feeling of being isolated appears when we feel that we just don't belong, and this is a major reason people become depressed.

Medications - Let's remember that antidepressant medication and clinical depression in general is still very poorly understood. But if you are on some kind of antidepressant consider yourself one of the lucky ones if you don't experience side effects such as the one written on the back of my old prescription: "Florentine may cause some people to be agitated, irritable or display other abnormal behaviors. It may also cause some people to have suicidal thoughts and tendencies or to become more depressed."

Chronic Stress - If you are dealing with chronic stress and anxiety it may be contributing to disrupting normal patterns of behavior, which can then lead you down the road of depression.

Candida Overgrowth - Toxins that become released into the bloodstream due to the Candida fungus in the human body can cause a multitude of symptoms, this can then lead to health anxiety and depression. As I've experienced in my own struggles in the past as well as seeing what has worked for others, curing your intestinal Candida can also cure your depression.

Childhood Abuse Or Hurt - A child who has been surrounded by abuse is much more likely to experience clinical depression at a later age then one who has not. In fact, the numbers show that 59% of physically abused children will become depressed later on in life. PTSD, learning difficulties and generalized anxiety are also part of the assortment of mental difficulties someone could experience later on in their lives.

Substance Abuse - It's estimated that 80% of people who have a chemical dependency or a certain addiction, also experience a co-occurring mental health problem such as generalized anxiety disorder or depression. Making the most of this one life that you are given, and firstly admitting that you need help is the first step to success, no one can truly create lasting change but yourself.

Loss of a Loved One - Grief is a normal emotion to the news of losing a loved one that commonly leads to major depressive disorder. Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness are all part of the grieving process.

Change - Sometimes when we lose that familiar feeling in our lives and get hit with a new job, a new marriage, a divorce, moving somewhere new, retirement etc, life can quickly become dissatisfying or dull. A seemingly positive change that has been planned for some time can bring unexpected changes that can bring about depressive episodes.

Nothing To Live For And Feeling Lost - There's nothing worse than having a stale life, something that gives you that jolt when you wake up in the morning is key for each one of us. This can come in the form of a new hobby, becoming educated about something you're interested in, taking part in a new social group, or maybe even teaching people something that you may be an expert at.

Financial Problems - Your money flow is the result of your continuous thoughts, that lead to your continuous emotions, that lead to your continuous actions. But isn't this true about everything in life? Yes, financial problems can certainly lead to depression but can be reversed for most people by applying what they already know.

Physical Illness - There is no doubt that clinical depression is a painful condition and often times occurs in association with a severe physical illness. Not only can physical illnesses lead to depression - the opposite occurs as well, which makes recognizing and treating depression all the more urgent.

The Media - With the average American exposing themselves to the media for just over 5 and a half hours per day, it's no surprise that this kind of exposure leads many into a state of depression. With the different messages being transmitted through the media that continuously reinforce aggression and other forms of risky behavior, it's no surprise that the media inspires anxiety and fear. Add to this the fact that media exposure at night time can disrupt sleeping patterns as well, and we have quite an interference in the development of our emotional and cognitive development.

Fear - It's easy to get into a pattern of negative thinking that breeds fear in us all, but the biggest obstacle that stood in my way during my 6 year struggle with an anxiety disorder was the fear of failure, which led me to live a confined and fearful life. What I've come to understand is to try something and fail, is not failure. But to not try at all, that's failure. So if the fear of failure is adding to your depressive state than understand that regret weighs more heavily on your shoulders then failure ever will.

Now That We Know What Could Be Contributing To Feeling Depressed, What can We Do About It?

The emotions that you are feeling are nothing more then a feedback mechanism. Feeling the emotion of fear for example means that the solution will come by stepping out of your feared comfort zone in a slow and systematic way. Feeling the emotion of isolation from others means that it's time you changed your approach to the situation that is isolating you from others, if financial problems are getting you down, become an entrepreneur and sell your expertise! For everything that is adding to the feelings of depression, there is an answer for, all you need to do is find the specific thing that is the cause, and listen to what kind of feedback you are getting. I've learned that the worst thing you can do is play the victim (as easy as it is to do so when depression strikes), as mentioned we get one shot at life and when the end comes I want you to look at your past and truly feel like you gave it your all each and everyday!

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Disclaimer Policy

This blog is a personal blog written and edited by us. This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content. The owner(s) of this blog is not compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog owners. If we claim or appear to be experts on a certain topic or product or service area, we will only endorse products or services that we believe, based on our expertise, are worthy of such endorsement. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. This blog does contain content which might present a conflict of interest. This content may not always be identified.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Despite 'Healthier' Options, Fast Food Is Still High in Calories

A trip to your local drive-through may present you with more options than you would have had a decade ago. Salads, oatmeal, fruit smoothies – at a glance it’s easy to think that fast food restaurants have upgraded their typical fries and burger fare. However, a closer examination reveals that despite the explosion of ‘healthy’ options, fast food still will not do your waistline any favors.

Katherine W. Bauer of the Temple University Department of Public Health and Center for Obesity Research and Education led a study examining the calorie counts of offerings at eight popular fast food chains. The menu selections and average calorie counts of the last 14 years were tabulated and compared.

This study confirmed the ballooning of fast food menu choices. In 1997, the eight restaurants studied had a combined total of 679 menu items. By 2010 that number had leaped to 1036 items. Much of this increase is accounted for by ‘healthy’ options that include entree salads and sweetened teas.

With the number of healthy options increasing, one would expect that the average calorie count would decrease. However, this is not the case. Bauer’s study found that there was very little noticeable change in the median number of calories in entrees and drinks. The average calorie count in side dishes did decrease from 264 to 219, likely because of limits on size and the addition of more side salads.

Why No Change?

Although an increase in the number of salads and smoothies sounds like an improvement, choosing a salad over a Big Mac will not necessarily reduce your calorie count. The study cites two reasons for this. First, many fast food salads include rich dressings and calorie-dense toppings like cheese and bacon bits. Second, people may not stop at a salad. "You might order a lower-calorie entree, but then you get a drink, fries and a dessert," said Bauer. "Calories can add up very quickly."

Another issue with fast food calorie counts lies not in the menu offerings but in the consumer’s desire to eat. A calorie-dense fast food meal may not be a problem every once in a while, but as a regular part of a person’s diet they can quickly lead to unwanted pounds. A recent study showed that 80% of adults had purchased fast food in the past month and 28% had reported fast food consumption in the past week.

Bauer explains that her study is not meant to discourage people from ever eating fast food. However, diners should take preparation method, portion size and condiments into consideration when making food choices.

Access to Information

Recent changes in US law will require all restaurants with more than 20 locations to display calorie counts on their menus. This leads to an interesting question: will greater access to nutritional information change consumer’s dining habits?

Bauer speculates that being forced to display caloric information may prompt restaurants to change their offerings even more. "Fast food restaurants may modify the calorie content of the foods they sell so consumers can see a smaller number on the menu board," she explains. "The key is for consumers to try to educate themselves about calories and be aware that just because a restaurant promotes healthful options, does not mean that overall the foods sold are lower calorie."

Steps to Take Now

Just because fast food menus are not getting much healthier yet does not mean you have to avoid the drive through completely. Instead, go in with as much knowledge as possible. If calorie counts are not plainly available on the menu board, ask for copies of the restaurant’s nutritional information. You can also find this information online.

Another common trap to avoid when eating fast food is consuming unnecessary calories. The average 20 ounce soda can have over 200 calories – calories that could be eliminated by switching to water. A slice of cheese can add 50 calories to a burger. A packet of salad dressing can have as many calories as the soda you just said no to, as well as a large portion of your daily fat allowance.

While fast food restaurants may not be reducing their calorie counts, being an educated consumer will allow you to make choices that will improve your health.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Why You May Want to Try a Gluten-Free Diet

Gluten may be one of the more difficult foods to avoid, as it is such a ubiquitous part of the Western diet. When you think that gluten is found in most bread, pasta, bagels, breakfast cereal and baked goods, it’s not surprising that finding foods that are gluten-free can be tricky. Most processed foods contain some level of gluten, and even beverages such as beer have it (from the fermented barley). Nevertheless, for an increasing number of people, going gluten-free may be worth the effort.

Gluten Intolerance on the Rise

Although the number of people who appear to be sensitive to gluten is increasing, it is not only the gluten-intolerant that are flocking to a gluten-free diet. Some people believe it makes them feel better, others believe it will help them lose weight, and some are convinced they are gluten-sensitive, even though diagnostic tests have shown otherwise. It is estimated that Americans will spend approximately $7 billion this year alone on gluten-free products, and only half of those people will have a true sensitivity to gluten.

Twenty years ago in the US, celiac disease was believed to be a relatively rare condition, as it affected only approximately 1 person in 2,500. Rates in Europe at that time were higher, at approximately 1 in every 300 people, a phenomenon that scientists could not explain. It is now believed that the lower rates in the US were due to an underdiagnosis of the problem.

However, not only has there has been a steep increase in the rate of celiac disease diagnosis (with estimates of it affecting approximately 1 in 130 Americans), due to increasing awareness of the condition, but it also appears that people have indeed become more gluten sensitive since the 1950s. Dr, Joseph Murray and fellow researchers from the Mayo Clinic compared blood samples of people from the 1950s with those of today and found that there has been a fourfold increase in cases of gluten sensitivity over the past 60 years.

What Is Celiac Disease?

Not to be confused with a wheat allergy, which is mostly found in children and is caused by an allergy to wheat protein, celiac disease is currently among the most prevalent chronic diseases that affect countries in the West, particularly those who are of European descent. The disease is due to a gluten allergy, which is a protein that can be found in certain grains, most commonly wheat, rye and barley. The allergic reaction damages small intestine’s lining, which keeps it from being able to absorb nutrients.

Whereas you may not have full-blown celiac disease (in which you have an autoimmune reaction to gluten and increased intestinal permeability), you may be gluten sensitive, a state in which your digestive system reacts badly to gluten, causing such unpleasant symptoms as diarrhea, bloating and abdominal pain. It may also cause symptoms that are seemingly unrelated, such as aching muscles and joints, headaches, depression, irritability and rashes.

Reasons to Try a Gluten-Free Diet

Interestingly, the majority of those following a gluten-free diet are not actually gluten-sensitive. Some people feel that cutting out gluten provides them with more energy and helps in losing weight. Researchers believe that the damage wheat products cause is due to the way the grain has changed over the past decades. Modern wheat has been bred to be shorter and sturdier than the variety grown during our grandparents’ day, but its gluten content has also increased. As so much of the gluten we get in our diet originates from processed foods high in refined flour, cutting these alone out of your diet can contribute to improved health and weight loss.

Untreated gluten intolerance can lead to more serious problems such as celiac disease, infertility, osteoporosis and cancer, so be sure to get checked if you think you may have it. If this is the case, you can ask your doctor to have a gluten tolerance test done. However, be sure to have the test done before beginning any gluten-free diet, as if you wait until after the diet has begun, the doctor will not be able to be certain of a diagnosis, as the antibodies indicating gluten sensitivity will no longer be in your bloodstream.

Following a gluten-free diet may take some advance planning, but it is easier than you may think. More and more products are coming out every day that are gluten-free, and many restaurants now feature gluten-free items on their menu. When cooking at home, try to eat the foods featured in the Mediterranean Diet, including vegetables, poultry and fish, lean meat, beans, nuts, fruit and olive oil. Foods such as potatoes, rice, corn and quinoa can also be eaten and form the basis of many tasty dishes.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

How to Get Rid of Congested Ears

Having congested ears is a surprisingly unpleasant experience and one that can make you feel somewhat 'detached' from the world around you as you struggle to hear what is going on and as it sounds like you're floating around underwater.
There are many causes of congested ears from trapped water, to ear infections, but regardless of the problem there are some methods you can use to help you speed up recovery. Here we will look at what some of those are.

Warm Compress

Holding a warm compress against your ears can help you to combat any potential pain associated with your congested ears, and at the same time this can also help you to break up any mucus or other blockages with the heat. For this you can use a hot water bottle, or alternatively you can make a 'rice sock'. This is simply a sock that is filled with rice and which you have heated up in the microwave. Hold it against your ear and lower jaw while watching TV or resting.


Using a little oil (such as vegetable oil) mixed with a little warm water if you wish can be a good way to help break up and lubricate the congestion. Use just a couple of tea spoons and drip them carefully into the ears. If you do this for a couple of days you should start to feel it dislodging.

Hair Dryer

Using a hair dryer is something you need to be careful with but it can be useful. Put it on the lowest setting and hold it a good distance away from your ear before turning it on and gently let it blow into your ear.

Ear Decongestant

You can buy over-the-counter medications that are designed specifically for treating congested ears and these include solutions specifically designed to break up and remove the congestion that can block your ears. Most over-the-counter ear drops will serve this role perfectly well.

Note: You may have come across the concept of 'Hopi candles' in your quest to treat your congested ears and in reading about it you might have found that it sounds generally logical and helpful. However, while the science may sound accurate, there is actually no evidence for Hopi candling being at all effective – and in fact it has been shown in many instances to actually make the problem worse as how wax can end up dripping into the ear despite the precautions put in place. Categorize this one under 'health scam' and don't go near it.

In a great number of cases congested ears will clear all by themselves. If they persist however you may wish to see a doctor who will be able to treat any underlying causes such as infection with antibiotics for instance.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

How Your Body Can Dictate Your Brain and Emotional State

The link between the body and the brain is a complicated two way street and one that many of us don't fully appreciate. Studies into the placebo effect and the existence of psychosomatic illnesses, demonstrate just how powerful the brain is at affecting the body in ways we aren't aware of, but what may surprise you is just how much your body can also impact on your brain. Your body can have an effect on your thinking, on emotional state and on your confidence. Understanding this correlation and knowing how to use it to your advantage, gives you a powerful tool that you can use to take control of your emotions, to gain confidence and to alter the way others perceive you as well. Read on to learn more...

Facial Feedback

One of the most telling illustrations of this process is 'facial feedback'. Facial feedback is a phenomenon, in which the facial expression we pull has been shown to impact on our mood. So while you might assume that you smile because you're happy, the reverse is also true; smilingmakes you happy. This then means that if you find yourself feeling depressed and upset, one of the best things you can do is to force yourself to smile. You won't feel much like it, but after a while you'll find your mood improves.


Looking at someone who is very upset and worked up, you will often notice that they get 'higher' in a number of ways. They'll stand taller, their voice will get more high pitched, and they will become more animated and tense. This of course doesn't look good and will tell other people that they are over excited and possibly not very confident. Furthermore though, it will also cause them to get even more worked up as they get themselves in a flap (that's pretty much how panic attacks happen).
If you find yourself getting tense and agitated then, something that can help is to try 'grounding' yourself. Breathe more deeply and in a more controlled manner, relax your shoulders, and try to slow everything down a little. This will make you look a lot more confident instantly, and as a result you will also feel more confident and relaxed. Control your body, and you can make yourself cool in a crisis.


Changing your posture is a method that we all know for improving confidence, but it's surprising just how effective it can be. If you are standing with your shoulders slumped, looking down and your arms practically dragging on the floor, then you won't make much of an impact on the people you speak to and you won't feel particularly good about yourself either.
Instead then, puff out your chest, stand taller and gently tense your muscles. Being taller than other people will instantly make you feel like you have an advantage, whereas the heroic pose will be beneficial due to associations that it carries for all of us. Then there's the fact that looking up can make us feel more positive, which in turn can impact on our confidence.


Many things have been shown to improve creativity and this includes altering your posture. According to research, a quick way to make yourself more creative and to come up with more good ideas, is to simply try lying down. Any 'supine position' (that means reclined) will apparently help you to be more creative, possibly because we're more creative when we are relaxed. Also helpful is to try and shut out external stimuli, so if you need to come up with a good idea fast, try lying back and closing your eyes for a few minutes (but don't go to sleep! =).

Energy and Mood

Of course your body ties in with your energy in all kinds of ways and this can have knock on effects on your mood, productivity and efficiency. If you are feeling down in the dumps and failing to motivate yourself then, one of the best things you can do is to exercise which will result in the release of 'happiness hormones' like endorphins and dopamine and which will get the blood circulating better around your body. If you want to exercise right now but don't have the motivation to head to the gym, try jumping up and down on the spot for a bit and swinging your arms. It will be the last thing you want to do, but as soon as you've done it you'll find you have more energy for a full workout. This is also a great way to psyche yourself up if you are about to go into an interview or give a talk.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Health Benefits of Chilli Peppers

Chilli peppers might not immediately strike you as being healthy when you first eat one. Indeed they’ll probably more than a small burning sensation in your mouth and stomach, and if you’re not a fan of ‘spicy food’ this might feel a little bit like ingesting poison at first.

However despite first impressions, the good news for curry lovers is that chilli peppers actually do have a number of useful health benefits. Here we will look at a few of them, and hopefully you’ll find that next time they go down a little smoother.

Heart Rate and Metabolism

Eating chilli peppers can feel like an ordeal, and it seems like our heart feels the same way – speeding up its beats per minute and raising our metabolism as a result. The good news is that this then can help to strengthenour heart over time (being a muscle, it benefits from being pushed mildly) and at the same time help to burn fat and deliver more nutrients around our body.

Blood Pressure

In the short term then, chilli peppers will raise your heart rate and so your blood pressure might increase. However over a longer period chilli will actually reduce your blood pressure thanks to the inclusion of vitamin A and C and riboflavinoids which all help to improve blood pressure.

Fights Inflammation

Chillies are high in a substance called capsaicin, which has many benefits including the ability to prevent inflammation.

Lowers Blood Sugar

Apparently chilli stimulates the release of insulin and is thus able to reduce blood sugar following a meal. The exact way that this works is not yet fully understood, but it may be of interest to diabetics who could benefit from using more in their cooking.

Muscle Relaxant

Several studies have suggested that chillies can be used as a muscle relaxant and help us to relax in the evening – and many of us will know from experience that chillies can leave us feeling very ‘chilled out’. Even more impressively, capsaicin can block a chemical known as ‘substance P’ which is connected to the perception of pain – so it may also be a useful anaesthetic.


Chilli contains antioxidants which combat free radicals in the body and so protect the cells from avoidable damage. At the same time though, chillies are particularly useful for combating prostate cancer again through the inclusion of the neuropeptide found in capsaicin, which has been shown to trigger the spontaneous death of prostate cancer cells and significantly slow the development of tumours.

At the same time chillies can potentially help to prevent stomach cancer – and several studies have shown a link between higher rates of chilli consumption and lower rates of stomach cancer. However the jury is still out as other studies have actually had opposite results...


We all know that our nose runs after eating chillies and hot food, and this is very useful if you happen to have a cold helping to dislodge and break up any congestion.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

The Things That Shape Who You Are – Surprising Factors That Influence Personality

What made you who you are today? It's a combination of genetics and upbringing right? (Anyone who said 'star sign' can leave right now…) And presumably that upbringing was mostly to do with the way your parents and teachers taught you to behave. And possibly a few key life events that helped you to form your opinions and personality…

Well yes, that's all true, but what you might be surprised about is just how many different things went into forming your personality, and just how sensitive your personality was to change when you were still developing. Read on to be amazed by some of the things that influenced your personality and made you into the person you are now.

Birth Order: Countless studies have demonstrated that birth order can impact on your personality. First born children are more likely to be bossy and responsible, while last-born children are more likely to be impulsive. One study has even shown that our choice of partner can be affected by birth order – and that we're more likely to date people born in the same 'position' as us.

Age: Your age can affect your personality too in ways you might not expect. While the larger overarching aspects of our personality are likely to remain relatively stable throughout our lifetime, other traits tend to change in a largely predictable fashion as we age. Our emotional stability and sense of responsibility tend to be at an all-time high when we are in our 40s-60s, while our eagerness for novel experiences tends to drop as we get older.

Life Events: A life event such as the loss of a loved one or even a change in career can often have profound impacts on our psychology and even result in our personalities changing. Going through a serious trauma for instance can often make people more adverse to risks and more anxious, and can even result in personality disorders and other psychological conditions. OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) for instance is common following the loss of a loved one.

Date of Birth: Earlier I made a little dig at horoscopes (apologies for anyone offended), but actually there is some scientific evidence for our date of birth affecting our eventual adult personality. This has nothing to do with ruling planets however – instead it's a result of social factors such as your age going into school. Children born in September for instance are statistically more likely to be high-achievers as they will go through school being more developed and mature than their classmates. This will give them the cognitive and physical advantage for many activities, in result giving them a boost in self-esteem and a good head start.

Likewise date of birth can affect many other experiences we have throughout our lives – such as the time we learn to drive as compared with our peers, and even the activities we enjoy on our birthdays.

Intelligence: Intelligence is not considered a personality trait, but is linked closely with personality. Generally highly intelligent individuals are considered more likely to adjust well to their environments and to excel academically while being less likely to get mixed up in the wrong crowds.

On the other hand though, high IQs can lead to some less desirable traits. Those with high IQs for instance are more likely to experience certain types of depression (such as 'existential depression') and are more likely to be high in impulsivity and risk-taking behaviour. Those with particularly high IQs might also feel 'odd' compared to their peers and lonely when growing up.

Nervous System: We all know that biology plays a part in our personality development, but that doesn't just refer to brain chemistry and composition. At the same time, our nervous system and our hormones can also play a role in defining who we are and things such as your metabolism and heart-rate can directly make us more anxious or more calm among other things.

Diet: Among the things that cause us to behave the way we do are of course our hormones. If you produce a lot of testosterone then you are more likely to be an angry and determined character, while you'll probably be a lot more happy-go-lucky if you produce a lot of dopamine and serotonin (happiness hormones). In turn these hormones are caused by a number of things, but one of the

Appearance: It should come as no surprise that appearance can shape personality. The old theory that we're more likely to rely on our looks if we're very attractive at the expense of developing other traits is one that does hold water in the research – and of course lots of positive attention is going to help with your overall confidence.

Name: Even your name can change your personality as you grow up – so perhaps a rose by any other name would not smell so sweet? This is due to a number of different factors, but principally it alters the way that others see us and the way that we see ourselves even. Names have many connotations, based on the media, on history and even on the sounds of the letters. Some theorists believe that all of us have a type of 'synaesthesia' that causes us to associate certain sounds with particular colours, feelings and shapes and that this could have provided the basis for language development. Someone with a 'harsh' sounding name for instance might be perceived as a harsher and sterner character, and by being treated as such they might grow to become that person. If only Hitler had been called 'Cuddles'… Parents, take note!

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

The Straight Truth About Keratin and Other Hair Smoothing Treatments

Eight months after Oregon's Occupational Safety and Health Division (known as Oregon OSHA) released an alarming report about the levels of formaldehyde found in several salon hair-smoothing treatments, these frizz-fighting services are still widely available—and in demand. As the humidity starts to climb, here's what you should know before having any treatment that claims to leave your hair silky for months.

Fact: Formaldehyde is toxic.
The chemical can cause immediate, short-term irritation of the eyes, skin, and upper respiratory tract. The longer-term risks of exposure are more troubling: The Environmental Protection Agency and federal OSHA classify formaldehyde as a suspected human carcinogen because of its links to nasal cancer and leukemia; the International Agency for Research on Cancer considers it a known human carcinogen. "I would not recommend use of any product containing formaldehyde," says Martyn Smith, PhD, a toxicologist at the University of California at Berkeley. "All products containing it should be banned." 

Fact: Hair treatments are unregulated.
The Cosmetic Ingredient Review, a panel of scientists that recommends safety standards in cosmetics, advises that beauty products should contain no more than 0.2 percent formaldehyde (most nail polish manufacturers have removed formaldehyde from their formulas)—and that those products should not be aerosolized (as hair-smoothing treatments are). But since no health agency regulates ingredients in cosmetics, the onus is on manufacturers to introduce safe products, and sometimes they don't: When Oregon OSHA tested more than 100 samples of various salon hair-smoothing products (after receiving stylists' reports of breathing problems, nosebleeds, and eye irritation), they found some of the highest levels of formaldehyde—almost 12 percent—in a Brazilian Blowout formula that was labeled "formaldehyde-free." Numerous other products had formaldehyde concentrations of anywhere from 1 to 7 percent. The FDA says it's in the process of investigating Brazilian Blowout "and similar products." 

Fact: It's unlikely these treatments could live up to their claims without formaldehyde.
Many companies say their product eradicates frizz (for up to five months) with only keratin, amino acids, or "proprietary conditioners." But none of these ingredients alone can keep hair frizz-free through multiple shampoos. That's why formulas also include ingredients (like methylene glycol or formalin) that become formaldehyde gas when heated or dried. After the hair is thoroughly saturated with one of these solutions, it's dried and flatironed; the process releases the formaldehyde, which bonds the conditioners to the hair so it remains smooth for months. Over time, the bonds dissolve and the hair's natural texture gradually returns. Several new salon services have launched this year that claim to be (really, truly!) formaldehyde-free; if this is the case, it's unclear how they will keep hair smooth for as long as they claim (at least six weeks, and up to four months). 

Buyer Beware: Some at-home 30-day hair-smoothing kits (like Liquid Keratin and Organix Brazilian Keratin Therapy) use biformyl, also known as ethandial and glyoxal, to bond conditioners to the hair. This aldehyde is not classified as a carcinogen, but it has significant toxicological concerns, including skin, eye, and respiratory tract irritation.

The bottom line: The only way to guarantee that you're not getting a hair-smoothing treatment that could expose you to unacceptable levels of formaldehyde not get the treatment.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

5 Mistakes Coffee Drinkers Make

1. Not Realizing That Coffee's Power Over Women Waxes and Wanes

What you do: You get the same-size brew every day of the month. 

How it affects you: Hormonal fluctuations can slow down caffeine metabolism, explains James D. Lane, PhD, a professor of medical psychology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, and a longtime caffeine researcher. This is why women who are pregnant (most docs agree that a cup a day is fine during pregnancy) or taking estrogen-containing contraceptives may feel like a little caffeine goes an extra-long way. Lane's studies have also shown that the process is slightly slower during the times of the menstrual cycle when estrogen is highest. 

What to try: Try a smaller size cup during the late luteal phase of your cycle (or when you usually experience PMS) to see if it makes any difference in how you feel and how you sleep. 

2. Using It to Replace Cigarettes

What you do: After finally giving up smoking, your French press becomes your new best friend. 

How it affects you: Lane says that smoking is one of the few things that can slightly blunt a caffeine buzz. He explains that the chemical by-products of tobacco kick the liver into high gear, which spurs it to metabolize caffeine faster. Because of that, research has shown that smokers have a higher caffeine tolerance and need three to four times more than non-smokers to get the same perk-up effects. 

What to try: When smokers decide to quit, it's important they realize that the same amount of coffee they usually drink could make them feel agitated, irritable and extra-jittery—not a welcome state at any time, but especially when trying to stick to a tough resolution. 

3. Drinking It Too the Morning

What you do: You follow the medical recommendations to finish your mug before 11 a.m. 

How it affects you: New research shows that some people have a gene that causes them to metabolize caffeine quickly, while others can take two or three times as long, says Lane. This means that if you're one of those people who are genetically predisposed to be very sensitive to caffeine, the 8-ounce cup you drink in the morning might not be completely out of your system until after your bedtime. 

What to try: There isn't an accessible genetic test to find out which kind of coffee metabolizer you are. But if you're doing everything else the sleep docs tell you to do and you're still finding it hard to nod off, make sure you don't have any caffeine for at least 12 hours before you go to bed. (You can track your caffeine consumption using an app like Caffeine Zone 2 Lite) 

What to do if you drank too much coffee

4. Trying to Sweat It Out

What you do: You have one refill too many, so you go for a run to get the caffeine out of your system. (Or you try to soak it up with starchy food. Or you drink tons of water in an attempt to, well, flush it out.) 

How it affects you: Caffeine molecules circulate through your bloodstream and are eventually broken down by the liver into an inactive form that's then excreted through the kidneys. Experts say there isn't anything you can do to speed up the process once it's already begun. 

What to try: Caffeine exaggerates your response to stress, says Lane. This means that regulating your emotions will make you much less likely to have a full-blown caffeine-induced freakout. When you start to feel agitated, Lane suggests going into a quiet room (or putting on noise-blocking headphones) and doing the things that you would typically do to de-stress: meditate, perform a few sun salutations, practice deep breathing. 

5. Thinking Espresso Is for Die-Hards Only

What you do: You shy away from espresso because you think the extra caffeine will make you feel wired. 

How it affects you: Espresso packs a concentrated punch of caffeine—but that's why it's served in tiny cups. So a standard shot of espresso actually has significantly less caffeine than an 8-ounce cup of regular Starbucks brew (75 mg vs. 180 mg). Studies show that the sweet spot of caffeine is between 100 mg and around 400 mg—more than that, and you will find yourself climbing the walls. 

What to try: An espresso can be a convenient alternative to an easy-to-spill mug for days when you need a fast fix. 

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

6 Easy Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure

Pop quiz: What's your blood pressure? If you don't know, you could be among the 78 million American adults who have hypertension. That's not a group you want to belong to: High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for stroke and a major contributor to heart disease. I urge every woman to start tracking her BP now—and that includes young adults; a study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that 19 percent of people ages 24 to 32 had dangerously elevated blood pressure levels. (See the box at right for what's ideal and what's not.) The good news: You can control high BP. Overwhelming research has demonstrated that easy, natural methods for lowering blood pressure really work, and that even small reductions can significantly lower your cardiovascular risk. 

Start by incorporating these six habits into your daily life

Get a Grip

The American Heart Association recently reported that simple hand grip exercises may help lower BP by as much as 10 percent. It doesn't take much time to see results: Gripping and releasing a small rubber ball 2 minutes at a time, for up to 15 minutes, three days a week for eight to 12 weeks, can lead to improvements. According to a separate report, the benefits to blood pressure may be greater than those seen with resistance training. Although researchers don't fully understand why this action has such favorable effects, they believe the repetitive motion may improve blood vessel elasticity.

Find Time for Fido

Nothing beats relaxing with my black Lab, Rosie. And the blood-pressure-reducing power of pets has been frequently documented: One study of more than 5,000 people revealed that pet owners had significantly lower systolic blood pressure than the petless, even when owners and nonowners had an almost identical body mass index. The presence of pets may help even when you're in a stressful situation: A study in Psychosomatic Medicine found that when people were asked to complete challenging math problems, those with a pet by their side had smaller spikes in blood pressure—and performed better.

Beet It

A glass of beet juice a day could keep the heart doctor away. A 2013 study showed that drinking eight ounces of beet juice could lower a person's systolic blood pressure by an average of 10.5 points within 24 hours—only a few points lower than the reduction found with some blood pressure meds. Beets contain high levels of nitrate, which the body converts to nitric oxide. In turn, nitric oxide helps improve blood flow.

Pack in Potassium

Countering the effects of salt in your diet, this mineral helps flush sodium out of your system and, as a result, relaxes the walls of your blood vessels. A surprising source of potassium: raisins. A small 2012 study revealed that snacking on a handful of the dried fruit three times a day for 12 weeks lowered pre-hypertensive participants' systolic blood pressure by an average of 4.8 percent.

Breathe Deeply

When people who weren't taking medication for their hypertension practiced deep breathing (six breaths in 30 seconds), they reduced their systolic blood pressure by an average of 9 points for a short period of time, according to a study in Hypertension Research. But scientists think long-term reductions may be possible if you practice it regularly for weeks or months. (Controlled breathing may engage the calming parasympathetic nervous system, which can reduce your heart rate and nudge your blood pressure down.) Start by placing one hand on your belly and inhaling deeply, breathing in until you see your lower belly rise. Then breathe out slowly. Repeat until 30 seconds is up.

Lace Up Your Walking Shoes

Getting your heart pumping is a proven way to lower BP, but new research shows that you don't have to go all out to achieve benefits. A 2013 study compared more than 48,000 people in the National Runners' and National Walkers' health studies, and found that walking 30 to 60 minutes a day led to a 19 percent reduction in hypertension risk—roughly the same result among people who ran 15 to 30 minutes.

DIY Blood Pressure Screening: Read It Right!

These days anyone can measure her BP with a blood pressure cuff and a smartphone. And if going to the doctor seems to make your heart rate jump, you may get more accurate numbers on your own; in one study, women's systolic blood pressure was, on average, 13.5 points higher at the doctor's office. To get the most reliable numbers every time, keep these three rules in mind. 

For precise readings, once a month at the same time of the day, measure your blood pressure three times in a row and take the average of those numbers. (Shoot for the time when you're most relaxed.) Fluctuations in BP throughout the day are normal, and consistency will help ensure accuracy. 

Don't drink coffee before taking a reading. Studies show that caffeine can temporarily boost your numbers by 3 to 15 points. 

Wait 30 minutes after exercising to give your BP a chance to stabilize. During vigorous exercise, systolic blood pressure can shoot up as high as 220 mm Hg.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS