Health Tips

Health Tips - Issue 14

  1. This won't come as good news to bacon lovers. Researchers have found that as little as one ounce of bacon eaten on a daily basis can increase the risk of certain cancers, such as stomach cancer and cancer of the esophagus, by as much as 38 percent. Eating processed meats, sausage, hog dogs, ham, or salami regularly can pose similar risks. That's because such meats contain nitrates, nitrites, and other chemicals that can trigger changes in cellular DNA that can lead to the formation of cancer cells. And the risk is even greater if when these foods are grilled or fried at high temperatures, since such cooking methods create a class of carcinogens known as heterocyclic amines (HCAs). If you enjoy eating bacon or other processed meats, try to limit yourself to no more than one or two servings of such foods per week.

  2. Are you having trouble losing weight? If so, try eating two eggs for breakfast instead of carbohydrate-rich breakfast foods. According to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that eating two eggs for breakfast instead of carbs helps study participants lose 65 percent more weight, and also improved the participants' energy levels. One of the reasons for such improvements is the fact that eggs, while rich in protein, are low in calories, yet eating eggs leads to feelings of fullness faster than carbohydrate foods.

  3. Here's a quick way to balance out your body's organ systems and improve your mood and energy levels. Starting at the lobe of each ear, gently yet firmly squeeze your ears, working up incrementally all the way to their upper rim area. Then slowly reverse direction and continue back down to your ear lobes. According to the tenets of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the rim of the ear contains meridian points for all of your body's organ systems. Applying gentle, yet firm pressure along the rims of your ears has the effect of balancing these energy meridians, very similar to what occurs during an acupuncture treatment. Try performing this exercise 3 or 4 times a day and notice how you feel afterwards.

  4. If you are one of the millions of Americans who suffers from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) during the winter months, chances are you can dramatically improve your symptoms simply by supplementing with vitamin D. Often known as the "sunshine vitamin," vitamin D is significantly diminished during winter time unless people are able to enjoy being out in the sun on a daily basis. Scientists have found that supplementing daily with 2,000 to 3,000 IU of vitamin D3 (also known as cholacalciferol), the active, nontoxic form of vitamin D can significantly improve SAD symptoms in at little as three months' time. Note: Before taking vitamin D supplements, ask you Health Coach to conduct a blood test to see how much vitamin D is available in your body. Recent research shows that the majority of Americans are deficient in vitamin D, including people who live in warm, sunny climates.

  5. During winter months, it's easy for your skin, especially on your hands, to become rough and dry. Here's an effective skin moisturizer you can make at home. In a bowl, thoroughly mix equal parts of plain organic yogurt and either almond, olive, or sesame oil. Then apply this mixture onto dry skin areas, massaging it into the area for a few minutes. Then rinse with warm water. Doing this once or twice a day can keep your skin healthy and moisturized throughout the winter.

  6. If you are 50 or older, here's an easy way to help maintain your memory and cognitive function: Take a walk. According to a study published in the Journal of American Medicine (JAMA), adults aged 50 or older improved their memory scores by walking as little as two and a half hours per week.

  7. Here's another easy way to protect against memory loss: Eat more greens. That's according to a study conducted at the University of Illinois, who found that both foods may even help to protect against Alzheimer's disease. Green foods are rich with a chemical substance known as luteolin, which has been shown to protect against inflammation in the brain. In addition, luteolin also has been shown to inhibit a brain protein known as CD40, which has been linked to brain cell death and Alzheimer's. Two common green foods that are loaded with luteolin are celery and green peppers. To get the most benefit from them eat them raw and make sure they are organic.

  8. Here's a five-minute technique that can quickly improve the appearance of your skin and also enhance circulation. Once a day, starting at your ankles, brush upward on your legs, hips, and buttocks, using a dry, bristle brush. This simple exercise not only helps to remove dead, flaky skin cells and improve the skin's elimination of toxins, it also has a very invigorating effect on circulation, and improve lymphatic function, which is responsible for filtering out toxins from the body.

  9. As we age, our metabolism tends to become more sluggish, which can lead to unhealthy weight gain and lack of energy. To help boost your metabolism, try switching away from the standard three meals-a-day approach of breakfast, lunch and dinner to eating five smaller meals. Research shows that this eating smaller meals more frequently not only boosts metabolism, it also helps to stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels. The key, of course, is to make sure the meals you eat consist entirely of healthy foods.

  10. Do you have trouble falling asleep at night? If so, consider buying a lavender plant and placing it near your bedside. Lavender's fragrant scent has been shown to promote feelings of calm and relaxation, making sleep easier. (As an alternative, you can also place a drop of lavender oil on your pillow. Just be sure to use a high-grade oil, which you can find wherever aromatherapy products are sold.)

  11. Environmental toxins pose serious risks to your health because of their potential to disrupt healthy cell function, damage cellular DNA, and negatively impact your body's organ systems. Here are some simple steps you can take to minimize your exposure to such toxins:
    • Eat organic foods. This will significantly reduce your exposure to pesticides and other chemicals commonly used in the production of nonorganic foods.
    • Get in the habit of eating plenty of broccoli and drinking green tea. Doing so will help cleanse your liver and aid it in eliminating stored toxins in your body.
    • Don't eat farm-raised fish, which are laced with unhealthy chemicals. Also reduce your intake of wild-caught fish such as salmon and tuna, both of which typically have high concentrations of mercury and toxic compounds called PCBs. (Wild-caught salmon from Alaska is the exception to this rule.) To continue to get the health benefits that fish provides, consider sardines and other less toxic seafoods. To find out more, visit the Environmental Defense Fund's Seafood Selector.
    • Switch to natural, organic home cleaning products, including dishwasher and laundry detergents. For many people, commercial cleaning products in their home comprise the biggest exposure to harmful toxins and synthetic chemicals. Fortunately, today it is easy to find safe, natural alternatives to such products.
    • And finally, drink plenty of pure, filtered water throughout the day. Doing so will help your body flush toxins from your system.

  12. Researchers have found that it's possible to literally breathe away stress simply by inhaling soothing fragrances such as lavender, peppermint, or vanilla. That's because such fragrances contain chemicals that cause the brain to release stress-reducing hormones such as serotonin. Inhaling peppermint has the added benefit of increasing oxygen supply to the brain and body, resulting in feelings of greater energy, which can also counteract stress.

  13. Here's a simple and effective way to help you shed unwanted pounds. Begin lunch and dinner with a mixed. Not only will doing so help to ensure that you get your daily quota of fresh vegetables, it will also reduce your appetite for higher calorie foods during the same meals, making weight loss easier.

  14. To reduce daily stress buildup, try starting each day by giving someone you love a hug. Research has shown that this simple act can set the tone for a more positive outlook throughout the day and increase feelings of calm, even when exposed to potentially stressful situations. Hugs have also been shown to increase levels of immune boosting chemicals in the body, as well.

  15. To promote more restful sleep, trying snacking on a small handful of walnuts before you go to bed. That's because walnuts are a rich source of the amino acid tryptophan, which is a natural sleep-inducer because of the way it triggers the brain to release the sleep hormone serotonin.

  16. Contrary to what many people now believe, carbohydrates are not bad for you. In fact, complex carbohydrates, such as those found in grains, are essential for good health. (Simple carbohydrates should be avoided, however.) Still, it is true that for many people, eating healthy carbs can cause a spike in insulin levels, which can be dangerous over time. To avoid this problem, combine complex carbs with healthy fats, such as those found in nuts. This combination of healthy fats and carbs will slow the release of blood sugar, helping to keep insulin levels in check.

  17. Olive oil, a staple of the Mediterranean diet, is increasingly being shown by research to provide a variety of important health benefits. Here's a tasty way to boost those benefits. Add a handful of dry, clean sprigs of rosemary to a bottle of olive oil (6 to 8 sprigs for every 16 ounces of oil). The added rosemary will help protect olive oil from oxidation, thus helping to keep it stronger for longer periods of time.

  18. Regularly monitoring your blood pressure level is an important step you can take to monitor your overall health. However, a variety of factors can interfere with accurate blood pressure readings. One of the most common is known as "white coat syndrome," which refers to the natural anxiety many people experience when seeing their Health Coach. As a result of this anxiety, blood pressure levels can temporarily rise, sometimes dramatically. Therefore, when seeing you Health Coach, wait until your consultation has progressed a bit and you are feeling more comfortable before having your blood pressure read. Other factors can interfere with blood pressure readings are talking, which raises blood pressure levels automatically, eating an hour or less before your reading is taken, and having a full bladder. For all of these reasons, many Health Coach today now advise their patients to take their blood pressure readings at home when they are relaxed and comfortable. This can easily be done today, due to the availability of high-quality blood pressure monitors at most drugstores. For best results, take your readings multiple times each day and keep a record of them that you can discuss with your Health Coach during your next consultation. Caution: If you find that your blood pressure readings are consistently high over a period of a few days, see your Health Coach immediately.

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