December 14, 2014

Strength And Aging

Charlie Chaplin and quote What do you want a meaning for? Life is a desire, not a meaning.Aging is more than living a long time.

Your body experiences many changes.

Some changes are not so bad.

Others down right suck.

We may have to follow the path to old age.

But, we are not required to go without a fight.

Biomarkers of Strength As We Age

By Rich Carroll

Strength training is not just the youthful person's exercise. Unless we do something about it by the time we reach our 70s strength and muscle tone will have declined as much as 25% from our 30s. That increases to 50% by the time we reach our 90s, again if we do not anything about it. As we age, we might think that since we can not increase muscle mass to a great degree, then what is the purpose.

The thing is there are plenty of reasons why we should keep our strength up as we age. More muscle mass provides a higher resting metabolic rate. This enables us to keep the pounds off. This is because after strength exercise we can continue burning calories as much as three days later. This is not the case with traditional cardio.

Other benefits are increasing our range of motion, the ability to do tasks and the prevention of osteoporosis. Strength training is a true key to healthy aging.

Here are a few of the markers that tell us how our strength is:

1. Bone density.

Most research supports the fact that resistance training will increase bone density. There are some studies that contradict this, but this might be relevant to the lack of minerals that go into a good diet. As we age, broken hips and other issues can crop up from brittle bones. A DEXA scan, which is like an x-ray will give us a common measurement of bone density for bones in the spine and hip.

2. Cardio-respiratory.

Cardio-respiratory fitness comes with proper circuit training programs combining resistance training and cardio . You get a lot more bang for your buck when you use these programs, as you can get much more from them in a shorter period of time. Plus they make exercise a lot more interesting.

3. Blood pressure.

Lifting weights can both raise or lower your blood pressure. There has been a lot written that strength training can be damaging to blood pressure levels. But, the proper way of weight training can lead to lower blood pressure and improved cardiovascular health. A person having high blood pressure issues must be mindful and track it during workouts. Before beginning a exercise program they should have a doctor's permission.

4. Blood glucose level.

Scientific studies show strength training improved blood sugar levels as well as diabetes drugs. Strength training with diabetics has about the same effect that as aerobic exercise. The best way to control diabetic conditions seems to be combining strength training and aerobics.

5. Body composition.

Strength training can reverse the changes in body composition as people age. In particular, when it relates to lean muscle mass and stronger bones. Aging body composition is a pathway for many diseases and contributes to age-related disabilities. Nonetheless, lean muscle allows us to remain more vibrant in our later years.

Where you carry your weight has much to do with your overall health. It is a marker for issues having to do with the kidneys and liver. Find out more about how to put on safe weight through diet and exercise on our website

Rich Carroll is a writer and avid health advocate now living in Chicago.

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December 5, 2014

Does Sugar Make You Fat?

sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon sticksSugar, oh it tastes so sweet, but do we really need it? Besides, is that spare tire around your waist, your neck jawlines and upper arm flab caused by eating too much sugar? Research in recent years has shown that your sugar intake can have a definite effect on your body weight, over time. So how much is too much and exactly how does sugar make you fat?

Let us take that second question first. Sugar, as well as high fructose corn syrup, is made up of glucose and fructose. You need glucose to live. Your body produces it naturally, and it is used to give your cells energy. However, fructose is unnatural, and your body does not produce it. Of all the cells in your body, only your liver cells can process fructose.

When you eat a lot of sugar, the majority of fructose is metabolized by your liver. It is processed and turned into fat, which is in pushed out into your blood. Fructose also changes the way you react to a hormone called leptin. Every time you eat, some of your food is stored in your fat cells. Leptin levels are increased, your brain notices this higher leptin level, it senses that you have enough fat stored and tells you to stop eating.

However, fructose disguises your true leptin levels. Your brain does not realize you have enough fat, so you eat sweeter, sugary things because your mind believes you need to produce fat to put away for a rainy day. Therefore, fructose is the real culprit in sugar here, making you fat a couple of different ways.

Some recent research out of New Zealand shows that even small increases or decreases in your sugar intake can dramatically affect how much fat and extra weight you gain.

In a study, which lasted a few weeks to 6 months, test subjects who ate less sugar lost an average of 1.8 pounds. In addition, in as few as 8 weeks, those subjects that increased their sugar intake by even a small amount saw a weight gain of 1.7 pounds on average.

That is just one of many studies, which show the real world results of eating sugar that take place because of the natural process we just discussed. What is the bottom line? Eat less sugar and you gain less fat. So, how much sugar is too much? Men should limit themselves to 150 calories per day, women to 100 sugar calories.

Healthy fats like olive oil are needed in your body, but the unnatural fructose in sugar produces the type of fat nobody wants or needs.

Sugar: The Bitter Truth

Watch "The Skinny on Obesity" with Dr. Lustig:
Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, explores the damage caused by sugary foods. He argues that fructose (too much) and fiber (not enough) appear to be cornerstones of the obesity epidemic through their effects on insulin. Series: UCSF Mini Medical School for the Public [7/2009] [Health and Medicine] [Show ID: 16717]

Take care and be well.

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November 28, 2014

Holistic And Alternative Medicine

Hippocrates Father of Modern Medicine

Why More And More People Turn To Holistic And Alternative Medicine For Health Care

What we think of today as “alternative” or “complementary” medicine used to be all the medicine there was. Doctors were not educated at universities, instead, they apprenticed with an established doctor. They learned how to make diagnosis and prepare medications in the form of ointments, syrups, teas and poultices. These .

Western medical science only developed as rationalism and empiricism began to be the norm for explaining phenomena. In fact, what used to be regarded as the medical arts was not regarded as “science” until after a more scientific cause for disease and infection was established by scientists like Louis Pasteur. From then on, medicine has only regarded practices and treatments that are based upon scientific facts and scientific research and reasoning.

Today, medical education is regulated and standardized. Admission into the medical profession is only through a standardized examination and only after undergoing training and internship. The discovery, formulation and testing of drugs, therapies and treatments are also highly regulated by law and by government agencies.

As medical science improved and medical technology developed, the traditional medicine practiced by healers became regarded as superstition or magic or faith healing. Those who practiced these old and traditional medical healing arts were discouraged even as their practices were called “witchcraft” or “sorcery.”

Today, there is a resurgence of these old medical arts of healing. To be sure, the alternative and complementary medicine of today have their roots in traditional healing arts, but they are different in that they have a scientific base.

The question is, why is there a resurgence in popularity of alternative or complementary medicine?

Increasingly, science is able to name diseases for which medical science has no cure or treatment just yet. For example, there is no effective vaccination against cancer. There is a vaccine against the human papilloma virus.

Medical science has proven that cervical cancer is widely caused by an infection of the human papilloma virus. In the same way, there is also a virus against Hepatitis B. It has been proved that the virus that causes Hepatitis B infection will also lead to the development of liver cancer. But there is no vaccine that will effectively keep a person from contracting these kinds of cancer.

In fact, no one knows for sure what causes cancer, how cancer is contracted or how it grows and develop rapidly. The best weapon in the fight against cancer seems to be early detection. The earlier that cancer is detected, the earlier the cancer can be excised through surgery or, the earlier that chemotherapy and radiation can quickly eliminate the growing and developing cancer cells.

Despite these advances in treatment of cancer, more and more people are contracting cancer. The number of people living with cancer and those surviving cancer is growing. As cancer can be detected earlier and treatments are effective in eliminating growing cancer cells, more and more people have been diagnosed with cancer and receive treatments for it. Even so, there is no guarantee that the cancer will not recur or that it will not spread to other parts of the body.

Groups of people are living with cancer as there is no known cure for their type of cancer and all that medication can do is mitigate the symptoms. Groups of people survive cancer and want to regain a sense of well-being and a feeling of wellness despite their cancer diagnosis.

It is the concerns of these groups that have spurred on the resurgence of complementary and alternative medicine.

Alternative medicine has not yet been accepted by all. There are some doctors who agree that plants and other natural food sources have medicinal properties, but, they still will not agree that alternative medicine can heal sickness.

Alternative medicine has no claims that it can heal sickness.

What is claims is that it can provide a general feeling of wellbeing. It can help people with terminal illnesses or chronic conditions find relief from symptoms such that they can live functional and productive lives despite those illnesses and chronic conditions.

Also, some treatments for diseases, such as, cancer destroy healthy cells alongside cancer cells. Some effects of chemotherapy drugs are permanent nerve damage and this results in chronic pain, weakness and fatigue in a lot of patients. For this reason, there is a growing number of cancer patients who may agree to surgery to remove cancers or tumors, but they refuse
radiotherapy or chemotherapy and opt for alternative medicine instead.

They make drastic changes in their lifestyles: they lose weight, they shift from a meat-based diet to a plant-based diet. They stop drinking alcohol and and smoking tobacco. They stop running themselves ragged and get enough sleep, rest and exercise.

Along with these lifestyle changes, they have taken to alternative medical practices, such as acupuncture, aromatherapy and homeopathy. These therapies will not cure their cancer, but, they will make them feel more whole.

It makes them feel better. It alleviates some symptoms while at the same time, making their bodies strong enough to be able to heal itself and to fight disease naturally.

Final Thoughts

Perhaps it is too unrealistic to claim that disappointment with Western medicine has prompted people to turn to alternative medicine. It is unrealistic to claim as well that alternative medicine can ever totally replace Western medical science.

But, more and more people are feeling better with alternative medical practices. And when Western medicine has no cure or treatment for them, people will turn to alternative medicine to make them feel a little better while waiting for a cure.

My advice, see your doctor.

Take care and be well.

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Healthy Eating For #Baby Boomers

An elderly woman washing produceAs people age, their bodies require extra care and attention to ensure that health and vitality are maintained. The number of calories one needs begins to decline, making it important that every calorie consumed is filled with the necessary nutrients aging bodies require.

Many boomers notice that as they slow down, they need more rest and specific foods to feel energized. The diet one keeps as they age can make a big difference when it comes to longevity and energy, making it imperative that the right foods are included in one’s everyday lifestyle.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of choices to consider, and senior boomers may not know where to begin when building their new healthy diet.

Starting Out: Foods to Avoid

Empty calories are dangerous as people age because they literally deny the body the vitamins and nutrients it needs to stay healthy.

Though these food may have been part of one’s diet in the past, they should be avoided as they get older.

Deep Fried Food:

As people age they may notice dietary changes that prevent them from eating certain foods. The digestive system begins to slow down, requiring easy to digest foods that won’t cause a lot of strain on the stomach.

Fried food contains lots of fat, carbohydrates, and cholesterol, making it a difficult food to digest. Those with higher metabolisms can get away with consuming this food every now and again, but elderly bodies should avoid it completely.

Processed Foods:

Processed foods are those that have undergone procedures that strip them of their nutritional value in favor of additives such as artificial colors and flavors. Due to the low nutritional value of these foods, they are known as being filled with empty calories that seniors really cannot afford. Consuming these foods can also cause digestive problems over time.


Loaded with sugar and filled with empty calories, sweets are not the best choices for seniors. These can be anything from candies and sodas to pastries and ice cream. While these foods are okay in moderation, they should certainly not be a part of the everyday diet. Eating too much sugar can increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease in older adults.

Undercooked Meats:

While this may seem like a food people at any age should avoid, it is especially dangerous for seniors to consume undercooked foods. Due to their compromised immune systems and aging digestive systems, undercooked foods can cause serious damage that can lead to hospitalization or worse. Make sure that all meats, fish, and eggs are properly cooked before consumption.

The Best Foods For Seniors

Whole foods that have retained their natural nutritional values are the best for seniors. These foods are rich in necessary nutrients and vitamins that older adults need to stay health and feeling great.

Not only will these foods provide energy and nutrition to the aging body, but they can also promote longevity when paired with other healthy practices like proper exercise, getting enough sleep, and practicing self-care. Seniors should add the following to their everyday diet:


Fruits contain good sugars as well as vitamins and nutrients the body needs to carry out standard functions. Citrus fruits like grapefruit, oranges, and limes are high in Vitamin C, while dark fruits like berries, pomegranates, and cherries are high in antioxidants.

These fruits are excellent for slowing the aging process by eliminating toxins in the body. Bananas, plums, and prunes are fruits high in potassium, which helps keep ones strong and cells functioning correctly.


High in folic acid, which is an essential B vitamin known for combating anemia and poor nerve function, vegetables are a necessary staple for any diet.

Leafy green veggies like kale, spinach, and arugula are a delicious and nutritious way to add folate to one’s diet.


While unpasteurized dairy products should be avoided, seniors need dairy items such as milk, cheese, and yogurt to get their necessary amount of calcium.

This nutrient is most important for building and maintaining strong bones, but it also plays many other major roles in the body. Avoid brittle bones and the risk of fractures by adding calcium to the everyday diet.

Grains and Beans:

These foods are high in fiber which is highly important for seniors. As the digestive system slows down, irregularity can become a problem for many seniors.

By consuming fiber rich foods like beans, whole grains, and some fruits and veggies, seniors can keep themselves regular and maintain a healthy colon.

How The Right Diet Encourages Longevity

Just as children require certain nutrition and care options, the elderly do as well. Seniors are in a time of their lives where they are winding down physically and mentally. While this is natural, it doesn't have to be final.

The right foods and lifestyle practices can actually slow the aging process into a gradual progression, offering seniors years of energy and vitality so they can do what they want with their time.

When the right nutrients and vitamins are regularly fed to the body, all the systems function well, vital organs maintain health and vitality, and the body can keep going strong for years to come.

Take care and be well.

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November 22, 2014

Flaxseed: Diminutive Dietary Dynamo

Flax, flaxseed and flaxseed oil1Flaxseed is truly a nutritional goldmine that can benefit you in many different ways. Despite its diminutive size, this potent plant based foodstuff is chock-full with essential vitamins, antioxidants, fiber and nutrients that help prevent diabetes, stroke, cancer and heart disease.

Moreover, consuming flaxseed can boost metabolism, and promote weight loss due to its very high fiber content. because fiber slows sugar absorption.

History Of Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds have been used since ancient times. Many historians suggest, these seeds were cultivated in 3,000 BC by the Babylonians. 

They were also used by ancient civilizations as food and medicine to treat a wide variety of conditions and disorders despite the fact that back in those there were not any explanations to back up its effectiveness. 

As a matter of fact, ancient civilizations believed that these seeds were so strong that even the great Charlemagne passed a law that required all his subjects to consume them.

While today we do not have tyrannical leaders who can order us to eat them (thankfully), science does exist to explain their health benefits, and the medical community has research to support what King Charlemagne had assumed.

Flaxseeds In Modern Times

The demand for flaxseed continues to grow each year as a result of the numerous health benefits offered by this tiny nutritional powerhouse. From oatmeal to frozen waffles and crackers, and oil, the flaxseed is found in many types of foods and has a variety of uses in recipes and healthy cooking.

According to the Flax Council, over 200 new products made from flaxseeds were launched in 2010 in Canada and the United States alone.

The Health Benefits Of Consuming Flaxseed

The beneficial and therapeutic properties of flaxseed have yet to be completely understood by scientists and medical experts. A lot of them have claimed that they lack concrete evidence to support the seed’s health benefits. Still, there has been an influx of research studies suggesting that flaxseed is indeed the wonder food and a nutritional powerhouse that many have thought it to be, especially when it comes to supporting .

Most plant foods have some phytonutrients called lignans, which are, fiber-related polyphenols that act like phytoestrogens, and provide valuable antioxidant and fiber mimicking benefits. Recent research has ranked flaxseeds as the #1 source of lignans.

In fact, flaxseeds have 7 times more lignans than the runner ups, which are, sunflower seeds, 475 times as many as cashews and a whopping 3,200 times as many as peanuts.

How Flaxseeds Serve The Human Body

Cancer prevention

Consuming flaxseeds can help prevent breast, colon and prostate cancers, according to medical experts. Basically, it helps prevent the development of cancerous cells because flaxseeds contain high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids that disrupt the malignant cells from sticking to healthy body cells. 

Furthermore, flaxseeds have lignans with antiangiogenic properties, which, impede tumors from creating additional blood vessels.

Reduces the risks of cardiovascular diseases.

Consuming plants with omega-3 fatty acids can aid your through a variety of mechanisms, including regulating the heartbeat and preventing inflammatory actions. Also, recent studies have confirmed that eating flaxseeds can lower blood pressure. These health perks may be caused by both the amino acid groups, as well as, the omega-3 fatty acids found in these seeds.

Skin tissue protection.

Researchers from University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine revealed that a healthy diet that includes linseeds can protect the skin tissue from getting impaired by radiation. These researchers have concluded that dietary linseeds, already known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, can work both as a protector and a mitigator to counter radiation pneumonopathy.

Aids in the prevention of diabetes.

Preliminary research has also suggested that daily consumption of flaxseed’s lignans may modestly improve blood sugar levels. In addition, daily flaxseed intake encourages glycemic control in females with pre-diabetes, as well as, in obese men. 

Flaxseed is a whole grain.

Whole grains provide whole nutrition from the grain without stripping any vital nutrients away as is the case with processed grains. Flaxseeds have a very high amount of fiber, which, has numerous health benefits. It facilitates digestive health. Softens stool and maintains bowel health. It also lowers cholesterol, controls blood sugars and is essential for healthy weight management.

Flaxseed Nutrition Facts

Amount per 50 grams (about 10 tablespoons)
· Calories: 534
· Total Fat: 42 grams ( 8 grams of monounsaturated fat, 29 grams of polyunsaturated fat, and 3.7 grams of saturated fat)
· Cholesterol: 0 grams
· Sodium: 30 milligrams
· Potassium: 813 milligrams
· Total Carbohydrates: 29 grams ( 1.6 grams of sugar and 27 grams of dietary fiber)
· Vitamin A: 0%
· Vitamin C: 1%
· Calcium: 25%
· Iron: 31%
· Vitamin D: 0%
· Vitamin B-6:25 %
· Vitamin B-12: 0 %
· Magnesium: 98%

Flaxseeds are considered very low on the Glycemic Index and so are ideal for those worried about or diagnosed with diabetes.

How To Eat And Use These Seeds

It is best that you buy these seeds as a whole, and grind them fresh to add to various recipes and meals.

  • Sprinkle them onto cold or hot cereal.
  • Add the ground seeds to homemade bread, cookie and muffin recipes.
  • Add ground linseeds to pump up your breakfast shake’s nutritional volume.
  • Sprinkle on steamed vegetables, to give them a nuttier flavor and an added boost of fiber, potassium and magnesium.
  • Flaxseed supplements can be purchased and are used for cardiovascular health and other benefits.
  • Organic dietary flaxseed oil can also be purchased for use in meals, and recipes.
This is a good alternative for vegetarians and vegans to get their daily intake of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. It can be used in salad dressing, sauces, with yogurt, in protein shakes and smoothies. It also works great as an alternative to butter on potatoes, toast and other starches.

Storing Flaxseed

The best place to store these seeds is in the freezer. Basically, the freezer extends shelf life for up to a year and retains nutritional properties.

A Final Word

With its numerous health benefits, it is no surprise many consider flaxseed a super food. But, always take note that there is no instant solution or magic pill to improving your overall health. What really matters most is making consistent healthy dietary choices.

Take care and be well.

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