Who doesn’t love waking up to a lovely breakfast before starting the daily grind? These pancakes will surely hit the spot and wake up your senses, supercharge you with much needed energy, and as an added bonus, they are really healthy and gluten-free! Each bite gives you fiber, antioxidants, and energy, all mixed into these fluffy and tasty breakfast treat….
Archives for June 2016
Recent studies tell exactly how to reduce risk for heart disease later on in life – just by trimming that belly fat!
So you’re not overweight, and you consider yourself pretty slim – except for your waistline, which apparently decided to stand out and be flabby. Sure, it’s just a small part, you say, but recent studies show that even if you’re not overweight, having a flabby midsection increases your chances of dying of heart disease later on in life. It’s called central obesity, and it is quite something to be wary of.
For those who are not familiar, central obesity is the term for having a waist-to-hip ratio of greater than 1.0 for men or greater than 0.9 for women. In order to know your waist-to-hip ratio, measure around your waist right above your belly button, and measure around your hips right around the widest part of your buttocks. Take the two measurement and divide the waist measurement by the hip measurement.
While previous research about heart disease relied mostly on our body measurements – waist size, fat ratio, BMI, and weight – these have not even been updated for years! Outdated health information were taken from repeated national health surveys which were recycled and barely updated.
A new study, whose results were published in Harvard University’s Annals of Internal Medicine last Dec. 15, 2015, explored the influences that linked central fat to early death. A follow-up was made with the more than 15,000 adult respondents of a previous national health survey done over a decade ago, to show updates on lifestyle and health conditions.
Results show that people with normal weight but have abdominal obesity or central fat, had higher risks of dying of heart disease as compared with people without central obesity, not considering if they are obese, overweight, or normal-weight.
This tells people with a huge belly just how to reduce risk for heart disease. They can definitely benefit from lifestyle changes, such as regular physical activities incorporated in their busy schedules, or by eating a healthy, plant-based diet.
Once every five years, the USDA publishes its world famous Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These are guides that nurture better eating patterns established on the up-to-date research and studies on nutrition. There was a recent update on the USDA Daily Nutrition Guidelines 2016, and there are four key areas that stand out from the past guidelines.
As there are a lot of nutrition information out there, these guidelines are the basis of many government food programs all over the world.
Below are the four key areas that you should take note of, for a healthier start this 2016.
Avoid added sugar at all costs
Definitely the main point from the newly released nutrition guidelines is to control the intake of excess sugar and carbohydrates. The guide suggests that everyone, as well as older adults, must limit their daily sugar intake at only 10 percent of their daily total caloric intake.
Sugar-sweetened drinks such as everyone’s favorite carbonated drinks, energy and sports drinks, as well as flavored tea and coffee, are the largest sources of abused sugar intake around the world. Of course, let’s not leave out those so-called comfort foods like candy, cookies, and pastries.
The sugar content of these commercial foods and drinks can unnoticeably accumulate very fast if you don’t keep track. A great example would be a 16-ounce glass of your favorite cola that you consume in one sitting already has 41 grams of sugar, but the American Heart Association says a person should have less than 36 grams of sugar per day.
Your risk of heart failure increases with drinking too much of those sugary drinks, according to recent studies. It was found in those studies that among the 42,000 men ages 45 to 79 who took the trials, the ones who drank more than two sugar-sweetened drinks per day were 23% at more risk of developing heart failure when judged with those who opted for natural beverages or plain water. Not even diet soda made the list for the healthier option.
Advice: Focus on moderation. There’s nothing bad about taking in sweets occasionally, but be sure to limit the amounts consumed daily. If possible, don’t have them every day. Try flavored water instead, or go black with coffee, and take tea as it is.
Keep your potassium and sodium levels healthy
While there is increased awareness in monitoring and cutting down sodium (salt) levels in the body to prevent acquiring high blood pressure, studies by the USDA show that up to 4% of older people take in enough potassium in their diet. Potassium is essential for the optimal function of our cells, and not enough amounts of potassium may lead to irregular heartbeat as well as recurring muscle weakness.
Advice: Ample amounts of this much needed nutrient can be obtained from fruits like bananas, plantains, cantaloupe, honeydew, and kiwi, as well as from vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, and tomatoes.
Eat a variety of foods
It is quite important to have a varied eating pattern. Mixing things up on a regular basis exposes you to an assortment of micronutrients. These are a broad selection of the much needed minerals like selenium, calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium, as well as the essential vitamins.
These micronutrients keep our bodies protected from various conditions like heart disease. They also enhance bone health, and maintain our body’s systems to run smoothly.
Advice: Widen your exposure to micronutrients is by trying out foods from different cultures, cuisines, and cooking styles. Also, focusing on nutrient-dense foods, like whole fruits and vegetables, is a great idea. , To amp it up, keep your choices of natural produce interesting and varied, so that you are more inclined to take in more fruits and vegetables regularly.
Get more of the good fat
While the previous USDA Daily Nutrition Guidelines say that the daily intake of fat should only amount to no more than 30% of the daily caloric intake, the new set of guidelines focuses more on the type of fat each person consumes.
Saturated fat from processed and red meat should still be widely avoided, while intake of healthier kinds of fat such as monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, including omega-3s, should be increased. These healthy fat shields against heart disease. Studies also show that they can help improve cognitive function, just like how the top 10 brain supplements work.
Advice: Know your fats, and take the good ones. Great sources of healthy monounsaturated fats include nut butters and nuts like pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, and cashews; as well as olive, canola, and peanut oils. Polyunsaturated fats are good for the body too, and can be found in safflower, sunflower, and soybean oils. Omega-3s are heart-loving fats that are very plentiful in fatty fish, like wild salmon, tuna belly, and fresh sardines.
Modify Your Eating Habits
Changing your way of thinking about food is one of the best ways on developing better and healthier eating habits. Here are ways on how to gradually incorporate healthy eating habits into your daily routine, without making it feel like a chore to you.
- Give your attitude towards food a nice makeover, so you can get a healthier approach to dining. In example, if you are part of a relationship, engage yourself in preparing meals for you and your partner. Take part in the grocery shopping to have a pick on which healthy foods you want to cook, participate in the preparation and cooking of the meals, and take pride in your finished dish!
- If you’re living by yourself, have a friend come over to your house for dinner or organize a group potluck every week. This will certainly help you be more aware of your food intake, and as an added bonus it inspires you to eat more home-cooked meals, which cuts down on fast food and takeout that can be laden with salt, calories, and sugar.
- Not yet comfortable cooking your own meals? Enroll in a basic cooking course at your community center or college. Once you get to enjoy food preparation and cooking, you see healthy eating as a habit you look forward to.
Are you looking for the top 10 brain supplements minus the risk of taking pharmaceutical, man-made compounds and chemicals? With millions of nootropic products out there in the market, it can be quite confusing as to which is safe to take and which can harm your body. But what exactly are nootropics?
Nootropics are substances that increase and expand the brain’s mental performance such as attention, intelligence, memory, motivation, and concentration, while doing no harm. They are also called brain boosters and cognitive enhancers for their capability to create positive effects for intellectual performance.
Some of these improvements in the brain’s function include improved memory and speed of recall, better decision making, enhanced learning capacity, increased fluid intelligence, improved mental energy, and improved problem solving.
With all of these benefits, it’s not surprising that these brain supplements or enhancers have been really popular for the past year. Yet the meaning of nootropics has expanded with time and now includes any substance, artificial or natural in origin, which boosts brain function temporarily, not considering any risks or side effects that may occur.
Here’s a look at the top 10 brain supplements, in no particular order, available in the market that can help you temporarily reach your peak mental capacity safely, minus the undesirable risks and side effects.
Nootropics derived from herbs have been passed on from generation to generation and they have a huge body of research-based evidence to verify both their safety and efficacy.
Arctic root is a highly prized herb because it has adaptogenic properties. Adaptogens are substances that increase your capacity to manage both psychological and physiological stress.Arctic root boosts the levels of major neurotransmitters in the body, which are norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. This wonderful herb will help with decreased energy, stress, anxiety, brain fog and trouble concentrating
Ginseng is an essential and classic herb used extensively in China. Ginseng cultivated in Asia has been considered the “elixir of life” for generations since herbal medicine has been utilized in Asian countries. Yet in recent studies, American ginseng is surprisingly now deemed superior to Asian ginseng.American ginseng specifically stands out as a brain enricher, and research show how it speedily works to enhance memory and provide mind precision and acuity.
Another adaptogenic herb that has been around for generations and utilized in Ayurvedic medicine as an intellectual enhancer is the notable herb bacopa.Bacopa is specifically a great supplement for combating age-related mental degeneration. It’s a brilliant choice for people who want to reduce stress and at the same time enhance their focus, memory, and concentration.
It reduces the stress hormone cortisol and at the same time balances the major brain neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and GABA. Bacopa, however, takes two to three months to achieve full benefits.
Plant-based nootropics are among the top 10 brain supplements because these are extracted or synthesized from naturally occurring compounds.
Vinpocetine is a comparatively fresh cognitive booster based on vincamine, which is naturally found in periwinkle. Its benefits include helping to overcome brain fog, heighten mental clarity, enhance memory, and defend the brain against aging.
Picamilon is the supplement made from a mix of niacin and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). It is marketed as a brain booster that can treat depression, migraines, and anxiety.
Your body produces citicoline from the natural compound choline present in foods like seafood, beef, and eggs, but the food sources are not capable to provide enough amount of what the brain needs.
Citicoline can drastically develop attention, concentration, focus and memory. In some countries, citicoline is prescribed for treating serious memory loss related to cardiovascular accidents or stroke and old age.
Citicoline works by increasing blood flow to the brain, neuroplasticity, and the capacity to grow new brain cells.
Phosphatidylserine is a naturally occurring chemical found in our brain’s cell membranes. It was found to reduce the deterioration of our brain cells due to stress, while at the same time support memory, concentration, and learning. This brain booster is particularly beneficial for ADHD.
One of the most popular herbal medicines in the world, ginkgo is used widely in various adaptations such as supplements, shampoos, oils, and more. It is commonly utilized to help with fatigue, anxiety, memory loss, poor concentration, mental confusion, and depression.
Ginkgo does its wonders by boosting blood circulation to the brain, stabilizing neurotransmitter levels, and shielding the brain from damage brought by free radicals.
It’s so powerful when used as an exceptional mental capacity enhancer that in some countries it cannot be purchased over the counter and a prescription is needed.
Curcumin is derived from the wonderful food flavor enhancer turmeric, a very significant spice in Ayurvedic medicine, which is widely known as India’s 5,000-year-old natural restoration practice.
Curcumin is an excellent antioxidant and all-around brain tonic that can improve memory and concentration by increasing blood flow to the brain. Liberal use of this spice in Indian cooking may be responsible for India’s very high intelligence rate.
Huperzine A is the extract taken from from the Chinese club moss. It works as a cognitive enhancer mainly by boosting acetylcholine levels in the brain and promoting new brain cell creation.
Some studies show that it increases memory retention and enhances learning in people in all stages of life — from young children to elderly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Ever since the birth of the first U.S. newborn Zika Virus case last May 31, 2016, people have been alarmed and worried about the possibility of contracting the disease. While it is communicable, the causes of the zika virus disease and it’s transmission has very low rates, and most likely than not, you won’t contract the virus at all.
So what are the causes of the Zika Virus Disease?
Zika virus disease is an emerging infectious disease caused a virus from the Flavivirus genus, Flaviviridae family. Zika virus is spread among people mainly through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, which is also the mosquito responsible for spreading dengue and other pacific mosquito-borne infections.
How is Zika Virus spread?
The mosquitoes that carry Zika are primarily daytime biters, but sometimes they also bite at night. When a mosquito bites a person already infected with Zika, it becomes infected. An infected mosquito can now infect other people that it bites.
Other ways Zika Virus is spread
- During sexual intercourse with a man infected with Zika virus.
- From a pregnant woman to her fetus who is infected during her pregnancy or around the time of birth.
- Through blood transfusion, but no confirmed cases have been reported through this mode of transmission.
Interesting facts about the Zika Virus
Symptoms are often mild
Most Zika cases don’t show the symptoms of the Zika virus and most probably won’t even know that they have contracted the virus. The most common symptoms are mild — red eyes, sore joints, rashes, and fever, and these usually just last less than a week. Very Few people die from the disease or are hospitalized from the virus. In extremely rare cases the virus has been connected to some brain and spinal cord infections like Guillain-Barre Syndrome, but disease researchers are still studying the link. The biggest problem is the birth defect that Zika virus causes when the mothers are infected during pregnancy.
Zika is spread less frequently than the common cold
Most cases of the Zika virus are started by mosquito bites. The only ways Zika can be spread from human to human are infection of the mother during pregnancy or through sexual contact with an infected man. It is also highly probable to contaminate others through blood transfusion, although with the screening process for blood products, it should not be a reason for worry.
An outbreak of Zika in a new area is not likely to happen
For an outbreak to take place in the United States and other western countries not originally infected with Zika virus, an Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquito would have to bite a Zika-infected person within the first week that person contracted the disease. Then it must survive long enough for the virus to multiply inside them before biting someone else. That cycle would have to be repeated many times, and according to the CDC, as the mosquitoes have a life span of only three weeks, this is not likely to happen anytime soon.
You become immune once you have the Zika Virus
Like other infectious diseases, once you contract the virus your body makes antibodies that make you immune to that same disease the next time you come across it. People who were previously infected with the Zika virus once are likely immune from getting infected again.