What Causes Heart Attacks and Tips to Avoid Them

Heart Monitor Graphic

Heart disease is one of the nation’s deadliest killers taking the lives of almost one million Americans each year. Each of us has a different susceptibility to cardiovascular disease, your fitness level and what you eat plays a major role.

Approximately 64 million Americans have cardiovascular disease, and here is the shocker; as many as 40 percent of those who suffer a heart attack have no symptoms.

A heart attack is known as a myocardial infarction. This occurs when the heart muscle is damaged or does not receive enough oxygen. Many cardiac related problems occur due to blockages in arteries that carry purified blood away from the heart to different parts of the body. Another cause is the formation of blood clots.

It can be quite difficult to differentiate between a heart attack and heartburn. The common signs of a heart attack are a tightness, pain, or discomfort in the chest. Sweating, nausea, and vomiting that are accompanied by intense pressure in the chest. A radiating and intense pain in the chest that extends from the chest to the left arm. A shortness of breath for more than a few minutes.  If you have any of the above you must consult the doctor or go to the emergency rooms.

A heart attack may occur due to heart disease but not always, and although it is the leading cause of death it can be prevented for the most part. Women usually have fewer heart attacks than men but after menopause women catch up to men in the number of heart attacks experienced.

So, what are the factors that lead to heart disease?

The most commonly recognized risk factors are:

  • Stress
  • Smoking
  • High levels of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol)
  • Low levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol)
  • High Blood-pressure
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Destructive form of amino acid called homocysteine
  • Heredity

The heart is the most crucial organ to sustain life and to keep it ticking efficiently, our priority should be to prevent its deterioration. The simplest Mantra for prevention of heart disease is; eat well, exercise and adopt a healthy lifestyle. This has been said countless times before and the simple truth is that those who do follow through with the advice enjoy a much healthier and longer life.

Symptoms of a Heart Attack
The American Heart Association lists them as:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, fullness or squeezing and excruciating pain in the chest.
  • Pain spreading to shoulder, neck, and arms. Specifically left sided neck and arm pain.
  • Light headedness, fainting.
  • Shortness of breath with little exertion.
  • Profuse sweating.

The first hour is very critical, so do not waste time thinking it is gas or indigestion, act immediately and call 911 DO NOT waste time calling your doctor, they’ll ask you to call 911 anyway.

If you even think you are having a heart attack you must call for a cardiac care ambulance, and chew an aspirin. If you are allergic to aspirin do not take one. At the hospital care will include rapid thrombolysis, cardiac catheterization, and angioplasty. They will also administer intravenously clot busting medications.

NOTE: These symptoms may or may not indicate a heart attack. In any case medical help should be sought immediately because some heart attacks are the “silent type”.

Heart disease can be easily prevented it’s just a matter of implementing a healthier lifestyle.

10 Ways to Avoid a Heart Attack

  • Quit smoking
  • Quit processed foods
  • Control high blood pressure
  • Control diabetes
  • Exercise
  • Control weight
  • Practicing calming techniques ie. Meditation
  • Learn breathing exercises
  • Schedule regular doctor visits
  • Switch to a healthy plant focused diet

NOTE: Always check with your physician first before changing or implementing any sort of a diet or exercise program especially if you’re taking prescription or over the counter medicines.

Heart diseases and death from it can be prevented by maintaining your health. Find a balance in life between work and other activities, abandon the couch for the outdoors, don’t watch sports on television play sports instead and you can hope to live a long and fulfilled life.

Prevention could lead a whole nation towards good health and well being.

 

 

 

Identifying & Acknowledging Depression

Depressed Woman BW

Approximately 10% of the American population suffers from depression.

Depression is an illness that affects day to day life and destroys families. It is a disorder that controls the mind and its functions, causing loss of appetite, sleeplessness, mood swings, and a deep sense of despair.

The symptoms of depression are varied, the severity changes with time, and according to experts, depression can be; an inherited disorder, caused by life threatening illnesses, or even stress induced. Other causes are certain diseases, medicines, drugs, alcohol, or mental illnesses.

Women are seen to experience depression more than men and this is attributed to hormonal swings, menstrual cycle changes, pregnancy, miscarriage, pre-menopause, and post-menopause.

Common symptoms of depression are:

  1. An unshakeable sadness, anxiety, or emptiness.
  2. Overwhelming hopelessness accompanied by pessimistic feelings.
  3. Extreme guilt, feelings of helplessness, and no sense of self-worth.
  4. Loss of energy, a slowing down of metabolism, and activity levels. Being plagued by constant fatigue.
  5. A sense of helplessness along with an increasing inability to focus and indecisiveness.
  6. Loss of sound sleep and development of extreme insomnia.
  7. Inexplicable weight loss or weight gain, triggered by loss of appetite or eating binges.
  8. Brooding and/or suicidal inclinations.
  9. Irritability, short temper, as well as restlessness.
  10. Physical afflictions like headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain for no particular reason.

If you experience any of the above along with a marked change in behavior do consult your doctor. Physicians can administer a thorough examination to rule out physical causes for depression, as well as any underlying medical problems. Then if required he will recommend that you consult a psychiatrist or psychologist.

Depression is an illness and needs to be acknowledged as such. It is not a reason to be ashamed. The reason so many people fail to seek help for their depression is that they are ashamed or have anxiety about acknowledging the issue. Unfortunately, this is one of the symptoms and feelings associated with depression that makes the illness difficult to accept.

If you are constantly feeling particularly low, friends with good intentions might tell you to “snap out of it”, or even get irritated by your mood. Your depression will feed off this negativity and you may start to wonder why you can’t simply “snap out of it”. Then you may start to feel that there’s something wrong with you, because it should be so easy and it’s “not right” that you feel so bad all the time.

Well, it’s not right, and there is something wrong with, a medical condition called Depression, and you deserve treatment, the same as any other illness. If you had a cold for six months would you ignore it and hope it would pass? No, you would dose yourself up with anything you could find and maybe see a doctor to find out if there’s an underlying reason for it to last so long.

Depression can feel like sadness that lasts far too long. Everyone is sad at some point in their lives, but depression is much more than that. It is a feeling that you can’t bring yourself up from the bottom and in the end, you may give up trying. You need to find external help to treat the problem in the same way as you would if you had a long-lasting cold, there may be an underlying physical cause for your depression.

If your doctor cannot help you they may refer you for counseling. Do not be embarrassed to go for counseling but, do make sure you are comfortable with your counselor. If you are not comfortable with your counselor, try another one, as simple as that. Counseling should not be discounted because you do not feel comfortable with your first choice of practitioner. In everyday life, you will naturally find that you get along with some people and clash with others. You cannot afford to have a personality clash with your counselor.

On the other hand, you must be sure that it is a personality clash and not that you simply disagree with what they are saying, because they might say a lot that you disagree with. A general rule is to go with your instincts, if you like the person and seem to get along well in the first couple of sessions then stick with it because they might just have touched on the root cause of your problem.

In some cases, acknowledging depression may be difficult because you have lived with it so long that you can no longer recognize what is caused by your depression and what is not. If you have grown up with depression it is possible not to realize that you are actually depressed because you have no concept of how being mentally healthy feels.

You may feel angry all the time or you may feel like going to the middle of an empty field and simply screaming. You may feel anxious, have trouble sleeping or even sleep too much. You may think that your family would be better off without you (and actually believe that to be true), and may have considered running away or suicide. You may worry about death all the time (yours or someone else) and not let yourself be happy just in case something bad happens.

If you are feeling any or all of this, then you need to consider talking to someone. Even if it is just a friend or family member to start with, they may be able to advise you and encourage you to seek professional help.

Take control of the matters in your life, once you have acknowledged that you have depression please remember that it is a medical condition and can be cured. You do not have to feel this way for ever, talk to someone, seek and accept help and you will find that there is a different way of seeing life.

If your depression escalates or you are suicidal seek help from your family physician, health care provider, or visit the emergency room immediately. You must reach out, call a local health department, a community mental health center, or hospital or clinic.  Someone will extend a helping hand and talk you through the crisis. You are not alone.

Detox Diets: What’s up with that?

Woman Green Smoothie

A detox diet may sound very reassuring, for it is a fact that toxins are bad for human health.

Many detox diets encourage you to eat foods that are natural and organic which, involve lots of veggies, plant based foods, and water. We can all agree this stuff is good for the body, but… Are detox diets safe?

The answer depends… Detox diets, like many fad diets have side effects that can be harmful. Always consult a licensed professional and physician before trying new diets, cleanses and aggressive changes in tour routines.

There can be numerous claims made about the effects of detox diets on a person. It can prevent, and cure diseases, give you extra energy, improve mental focus, etc. and in most cases, anyone who switches to a low-fat, high fiber diet will probably feel much better and more healthy.

No matter what good things detox diet proponents say, it is ultimately up to you to decide whether to try it or not. Often, the detox diet plans are not scientifically tested and there is no substantial scientific evidence that these diets get rid of body toxins in a faster and more optimized way, or if they can make you more healthy and energetic.

Awareness is one key factor to be able to stay away from illnesses and diseases. With today’s medical costs soaring high, it is quite expensive to get sick. And for this reason, many people now are looking for ways to stay healthy. But the more important consideration is whether they are ready to make certain changes in their lives or not.

Staying healthy means that you should eat the right kinds of food at the right amount, avoiding harmful vices like smoking and excessive alcohol drinking, and most importantly, changing your life to the fullest. If you think you can keep up with all of these things, then you’re sure to live a healthy and illness-free lifestyle.

Your body is susceptible to many illnesses and diseases probably because of the things (like food and certain beverages) that you take in. Even the environment that you live in can affect the level of toxins inside the body. When the toxins are too much for the body’s natural detox process, the toxins build up. This build up can have certain harmful effects to the body, which might cause a person to get sick.

There are toxicity symptoms, which you might be able to observe if you already have an excessive toxin build up, and once you begin a detox diet, these symptoms will usually get worse. But, after a short period of time, they will eventually pass. It is a good sign because the toxins inside your body may be getting flushed out in big quantities.

To avoid harm, you need to understand what these cleanses and diets are all about, let’s start with the basic intro to the glossary, “the detox lingo”.

Toxins are poisons or chemicals that have harmful side effects on your body, they may come from water, beverages, food, chemicals used for growing or preparing food, and even from the air that we breathe. These toxins are processed in kidneys and liver, eliminating it in the forms of urine, feces, and sweat.

Most people, who support detox diets, claim that dehydration and/or emotional stress is the leading cause why toxins do not leave the body properly during natural waste elimination processes. It is believed, these toxins are just hanging around the digestive system, gastrointestinal systems, lymph, skin, and hair. Many Dietitians claim that these toxins are promoters of negative daily conditions such as headaches, tiredness, acne, and nausea.

Emotional well-being and mental health can play a significant role in physical health and must also be optimized to encourage a complete and effective detox.

Understanding that basic idea behind a detox diet is about temporarily “giving up” the foods that are known to contain toxins. It is a means of purifying and purging your body from all “bad stuff”.

Detox diets may vary, however, most of them claim to display fast results, as you need to give up foods within a few days and then, gradually introduce particular foods in your diet. Many plans also encourage the use of herbal supplements during the purification procedure.

Typical detox diets begin with one, two, or more days of a complete liquid diet, followed by a simple, low inflammatory diet for four to five days. An example would be, brown rice, steamed vegetables, and fruits that are all organic. After one week of eating these foods, you will then gradually introduce other specified foods, usually the common exceptions are; wheat, red meat, eggs, sugar, and heavily processed foods.

It is common for detox diets to advise the chewing up of foods thoroughly, drinking a very small amount of water while eating, and relaxing directly before and after eating. Many also claim you should add multiple glasses of lemon water to your day.

Many detox diets also encourage, “Colonic Irrigation”, or “enemas” to clean up your colon. The enema washes out your colon and rectum using water and sometimes other ingredients that are believed to aid in the purging process like coffee.

Preparing for a Basic Cleanse

Setting up a cleansing or detox program is not an easy task. You SHOULD undergo various procedures that include a health history evaluation, physical examinations, biochemistry tests, mineral level tests, dietary analysis and other related specific tests to diagnose your entire health status. These tests are helpful in determining the appropriate natural procedure that you should take to clean up your body.

Analyzing your present health status, disease, and symptoms as a result of your lifestyle, familial or inherent patterns, and diets can help in creating a body detox plan that is best suited for you. Remember, any healing procedure needs a plan that must be followed accordingly to achieve positive results.

1) Proper Diet
People who are lacking energy and nutrients need a diet, which is high in protein and nutrients for improving their health. Mineral deficiencies, fatigue, and low functions of organs should have a much supportive diet. However, in this particular circumstance, short cleaning of the body for three days can help in eliminating old debris. It also prepares your body for building healthier blocks.

If you feel congested with travel, stresses, and different foods, drink juices or eat lightly for a few days. It can display a huge difference. You could also eat low protein foods, high-rich-carbohydrate foods, and vegetarian foods for a couple of years. Mild detox can consist of vegetable meals, which add proteins in your body. Fresh fish with a lot of vegetables can also energize you.

2) Natural Herbs
There are different body organs, which are prone to the high development of toxins. One of them is your colon, keep in mind that large intestines can accommodate a lot of toxicity, which can result in sluggish functionality; detox programs are created to solve this problem. Fiber supplements are often incorporated for cleansing and toning colons, they include herbal laxatives like psyllium seed husk, used alone or combined with agents such as betonite clay, acidophilus culture, and Aloe Vera powder. Enemas using herbs, diluted coffee, or water can be used for cleaning your liver, another important organ of your body.

3) Regular Exercise
Exercise stimulates sweating, thus it eliminates toxic waste through your skin. It improves general metabolism and aids in your overall detoxification. Aerobic exercise done regularly can maintain your body’s natural defense to stay non-toxic because you are prevented from bad habits. However, exercising can also increase toxic productions in your body so it should be accompanied with antioxidants, adequate fluids, mineral and vitamins replenishment as well as other related detox principles.

4) Personal Hygiene
Hygiene is very essential in cleaning your skin from accumulated toxins. Sweats and saunas are most often used in purifying your body via more enhanced skin elimination. Dry brushing your skin using the right skin brush is often suggested before bathing.

5) Massage Therapy
Massage therapy is very useful in supporting detox programs. Massage stimulates body functions in the elimination and promotion of a more relaxed feeling, clearing you from worries, tensions, and mental stresses.

6) Rest & Relaxation
This is important in the rejuvenation process as it helps your body in rebalancing your attitude and mind, which sometimes interferes in natural homeostasis. Practicing yoga is a powerful exercise related to breathing regulation and awareness helping you to obtain a more balanced and active aura.

Choose the right procedure you need to incorporate to cleanse your body from toxins in the proper way. It may change your life for the better.

Silly Rabbit: Processed Foods are for Profit

Profit Slot Machine

People talk a lot about the effect our eating habits have on our general health, what we do not discuss often enough is the effect advertising has on our eating habits.

Until the advent of television, people simply ate what was available locally, after television, the surging demand for specific products meant that the grocery store had to find those products and have them delivered to their locations. This is the supermarket stocking model that we know today.

All day long, adults and children are bombarded with Internet, television, radio, newspaper, and billboard advertising that will affect what they choose to eat, when they choose to eat, and how they choose to eat. Good eating habits are difficult to learn, difficult to source, and even harder to instill in our children.

The effects of advertising on our eating habits are such big business, that companies spend billions of dollars on advertising every year and if you are one of the lucky companies to hit upon a “trendy” product, you will become quite a bit richer at the end of the year. This is a concept many people don’t seem to understand, the companies aren’t advertising because they’re concerned with your health; they’re doing it because they’re concerned with making a profit.

Consider the Super Bowl, companies spend billions of dollars for the opportunity to advertise a 30-second spot, do you know what they stand to gain? Increased sales for an entire year, because the vast majority of America watches the Super bowl and they see the commercials. It’s a huge game of hit or miss, but if you hit, you’re a major winner.

Who cares and who suffers?

The consumers who are not educated with the knowledge of the real facts that affect their health are the real losers in the advertising game. Most of the time, it is our young audience that pays the highest price, for they are the least knowledgeable, this is a huge contributor to the obesity issues that faces our nation today.

Education can help.

The ABC’s of Eating would be a great title for an education course that addresses all of the food groups; the benefits and detriments of those groups and how to ascertain what our individual needs are from each category.

That doesn’t seem like such a difficult concept, but do you see any class being taught that addresses those issues? No, and more than likely you won’t, because our society doesn’t feel like it is an issue that should be addressed by our education system?!?

Education about eating is a need that has developed over the last 50 years, and has now reached epidemic portions. Advertisements about our eating choices are driven by the need to make a profit and the commercials our children are watching have nothing to do with their real nutritional needs, or the foods that are actually good for them to consume.

Here is where the educational process should bridge the gap, just as our education system teaches our children how to count, read, and write, they should teach them about their eating habits. We educate our children because knowledge is power and it provides them with the power they need to make good decisions, acquire jobs, create new products and processes, and to live out their lives as they see fit. Shouldn’t they also have a basic knowledge of how to utilize the food resources around them?

Teaching and educating about the basics of the food groups, how they work with your body, the metabolic process of digesting those foods, how the body uses and stores energy, and how to keep all those processes working at optimal levels is as important as understanding the algebraic theorems and how they apply to our ability to perform mathematically.

Determining just where in the education realm that such a class would fit is another matter, as members of the educational system will probably tell you that it simply isn’t a matter of concern for the school system, that it is an issue best addressed at home. But how can it be addressed at home, if the person at home has no knowledge to impart? We don’t just acquire the knowledge needed for intelligent food consumption with the birth of our children.

The basic food groups and what foods fall into each category is a topic lightly addressed during the health classes taught at our middle schools. But what about the metabolic process of digesting those foods, the interaction of the food, the nutrients, and our energy needs? Knowing how to differentiate between what foods will provide both energy, nutrients, and good taste is a learned knowledge.

Would people continue to eat foods that will kill them if we addressed the consumption of Burger King in the same way we do smoking?

5 Quick Tips on How To Look Younger

Young Women Selfie

The first thing you should do to look younger is to be optimistic and acknowledge that there are good things in store for you, and you deserve good things, it’s all about setting your mind to get to your end. You must value the thought that almost all good things in life are brought into fruition with the right attitude and positive thinking.

So now, are you set to defy aging and look young? If you are, then these age-defying tips will surely help you look youthful easily.

1) Sleep
No matter what you do, whether you have a demanding schedule or just being lazy in your cozy home, make sure you are getting enough sleep and a good one at that.
Your eyes are the first tell if you have had enough sleep, a pair of sparkling eyes will definitely make you look younger.

Studies show that those who sleep 6-8 hours live longer and healthier. Too much slumber is not good for you, and in fact, sleeping for five hours is often better than sleeping three hours more than that.

To have a good sleep, take some natural soporifics, these are substances that can induce sleeping. Milk is a very good example. Sex and a little aerobic may also help you sleep well.

2) Short Hair
Keep you hair short, long hair puts in more years to your appearance, actually making you look more tired and worn-down. Trying a shorter cut can improve your youthful look, tell your hairdresser to give you side swept bangs to expose your beautiful face. Adding layers can also make our hair look lively and shinier and a little highlight may also make a youthful pop. Darker hair coloring (dark brown or black) does not only make you younger, but also coats up those grey hair.

3) Live Clean
Live in a clean environment. People who live older like the centenarians have some surrounding things in common: little stress, unpolluted air, good water, and unspoiled nature. Planting more trees in your area and planting more plants in your garden can help you provide cleaner air. More plants in the area mean more oxygen to breathe. Remember that what we breathe is the exact thing they exhale, and vice versa.

4) Less Makeup
Do not put a lot of makeup. Yes, makeup can make you look pretty, but the amount, composition, and its style will make or break you. Keeping makeup light won’t make you look like a villain, so use more pastel colors and those with lighter tones instead of the dark antagonistic-like colors. Also try lipsticks with brown shades, these can make you look more natural and a lot of years younger

5) Teeth Matter
Take care of your teeth. Ever notice there are a lot of old people who only have false teeth? This is because as we age, our body absorbs and stores less calcium (which also explains why old women are prone to osteoporosis).

So avoid losing your teeth permanently. Brushing every after meal is the most basic yet the most helpful habit for a good-looking set of teeth. Use teeth whitening products that can make you teeth white and shiny. Coffee and tea can stain your teeth instantly so a brush after is really helpful.

Going to the dentist at least twice a year is very important and never forget to drink lots of water.

A Quick Look at “The Couch Potato Workout”

Unfit Man Illustration

There’s good news for people who want to watch their weight without giving up watching TV. Now there’s a new workout for couch potatoes and people who think they’re too busy to find time to stay fit.

With time at a premium, many Americans are turning to creative forms of exercise.

In a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive for the North American Spine Society, three out of four people said they used the stairs rather than the elevator at work, 58% said they started parking their cars far away in parking lots and almost half reported walking while on the phone.

At the same time, however, 46% of people described themselves as couch potatoes, a major contributing factor to being overweight. Many adults say they have procrastinated working out in order to do other activities, such as watching television, sleeping in, doing household chores or working.

Approximately three in four adults say they would exercise more if they could fit it into their daily routines, however, and a majority of adults say they would exercise more often if they could do it at home. Among non-couch potatoes, 80% would like to get more exercise, but say they don’t have the time.

Meanwhile, more than 4 million Americans suffer disc problems. One out of four Americans over 30 will have recurring back pain, and one in 14 will seek medical care for back or neck pain this year, totaling almost 14 million visits per year.

Back pain is the second most common reason that people visit a physician. Back and neck pain result in more lost workdays than any other condition. Due to absenteeism, medical and other related expenses, the cost of back injuries exceeds $80 billion each year in the United States. Exercise is one way to avoid back problems.

That’s why it’s important to find time to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. In addition to things such as climbing stairs and parking farther away, there are a number of fun ways to make your daily tasks opportunities to exercise:

1) Feet Alphabet
This exercise can be done anywhere you are sitting, except while driving, of course. It should not be hard to find a place. Simply write the alphabet in the air with each of your feet and ankles. You can do the letters in capitals or small letters and, for that matter, in any language you would like. Doing this two or three times on each ankle will begin to strengthen the ankle and maintain or improve motion.

2) Doing the Dishes Neck Circles
This exercise is easily done while doing the always fun task of washing the dishes. As you are standing there at the sink, slowly rotate your neck in a clockwise position, trying to extend the tip of your head out as far as possible. After three or four rotations, repeat the exercise in a counter-clockwise position. Remember, these rotations should be done slowly and in a pain-free range of motion. Besides increasing the flexibility of the neck, these exercises can pass the time of doing dishes.

3) Overhead Laundry Toss
Put the laundry basket directly in front of you and have the washer or dryer directly behind you. Grab a piece or two of dirty clothes, reach over your head slowly and drop the laundry into the washer. Again, start with dry clothes, then progress to wet clothes from the washer into the dryer.

4) Remote Wrist Lifts
This can be done on any Sunday afternoon watching multiple football games. Simply take the remote control (use the biggest one you have from the pile of remotes) and, while sitting watching your favorite team or movie and with your arm pointing toward the TV, aim the remote at the ceiling, moving your wrist only. Hold it there for 10 seconds, and then aim it at the floor, again only moving the wrist. Repeat this three to four times during every commercial. Be careful not to accidentally change the channel when doing this exercise or it may irritate people who are watching TV with you.

These are just some ideas from “The Couch Potato Workout: 101 Exercises You Can Do At Home!” by Joel M. Press, M.D., president of the North American Spine Society and medical director of the Spine and Sports Institute at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. “The Couch Potato Workout” describes numerous practical and functional exercises people can do to build strength, balance and flexibility as part of their normal daily routine.

Manage Day-to-Day Stress

Stressed Out Dude

With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we often find ourselves yearning for a quieter, simpler way to live. If your life has come to resemble an endless race to the finish line, try to bring a greater sense of calm and simplicity back into everyday.

Stress always goes hand in hand with health. Depending on the person, the impact of stress in the body can range from minor sweaty palms to life threatening help implications that can even lead to death.

Letting stress build can slowly deteriorate health and can cause major health risks and this is why Managing stress and health are important ways to avoid health risks in the future.

In order to manage stress and health better, you first must be able to identify it:

Physical and Behavioral Signs of Stress
Stressors are sometimes external, sometimes internal, and sometimes both. External stressors involve situations in the workplace, death or illness in the family, etc. usually variables that you are unable to control, yet most of the stress that people experience is self-generated or internal. People often create their own stress, the good news is that the person has the choice or doing nothing or something about it.

Stress can affect major body systems. When a person feels stressed, there is an increase in heart rate, an elevation in blood pressure, and the continuous pressure in the heart can make a person susceptible to cardiac arrest and other heart-related problems.

The digestive system is also affected; some people can experience diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, dryness of the mouth and the throat. Stress can also cause sleeping disturbances, nausea, and in serious cases tightness of the chest, neck, jaw and the back muscles.

Changes in behavioral patterns are also noticeable when a person experiencing stress, like, aggressive behaviors and hostility towards others, and even towards inanimate objects, paranoia and edginess, diet and irregular eating habits, etc.

Some people who are unable to handle stress in a healthy way often resort to alcohol, drug, and substance abuse, and it is now becoming very common to withdraw from society and indulge electronic compulsive behaviors like pornography addiction, video game addiction, social media addiction, etc.

Long Term Implications
Exposure to stress in the long term can surely deteriorate a person’s wellbeing. During stress the body produces hormones that enable the body to cope with the current situation. Short-term effects of adrenaline, noradrenaline, and corticosteroids include tense muscles, queasiness and an in increase in breathing and heart rates, while the long-term implications of these hormones include allergic reactions, digestive disorder, heart disease, fatigue headaches and migraines.

When the body continuously releases these hormones, sleeping patterns can be affected that can sometimes lead to insomnia, impotence and premature ejaculation can occur in men while erratic menstrual cycles occur in women. In severe cases, stress, in the long run, can cause eczema, ulcerative colitis, mouth and peptic ulcers and recurring muscular aches and pains.

There are so many reasons to handle your stress in a healthy way.

Living Healthy
How a person identifies stress is very important to overall health. When stress becomes too much to handle, damage to a person’s physical and mental well-being may be irreversible. Living a healthy life can help a person cope with stress much more easily.

Exercise is very important in stress and health management, along with a healthy diet, exercise is the most effective way to lower stress levels. It improves sugar metabolism through efficient use of insulin and exercise also aids in putting a stop in the nasty cycles of stress-eating, indulgence to alcohol, cigarettes and drugs.

You may also consider talking to a naturopath and exploring herbs, and anti-stress supplements. Taking vitamins and avoiding alcohol are successful methods in improving health and helping a person cope with stress.

Here are some quick tips to help you get started in managing the day-to-day stressors:

1) Less is More
It is amazing how much “stuff” we can accumulate in our homes because we think they’ll contribute to our lives. It’s true that we gain enjoyment from material possessions, but the more we accumulate the more burdened we often feel. Eventually we find ourselves living under a constant cloud of confusion, scattered thoughts and stress.

Begin immediately clearing out the material possessions you no longer need, and/or want, donate them to a local charitable organization and this will help accomplish two things: first, you’ll feel lighter and less cramped in your home; and second you’ll feel good about giving these items to people who can actually use them.

2) Scale Back Commitments
An active life is good for you, but not if it leaves you feeling stressed and fatigued! Most of us take on much more than necessary as far as obligations and even recreational activities are concerned.

Take a few minutes to think about the things you do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Do you really need to do all of them? Have you taken on responsibilities that really aren’t yours? Are you spending time on activities you no longer enjoy? Make a list of at least a few activities or obligations that you can eliminate, and then go ahead and do so, even if you have to cut them down gradually.

3) Enjoy the Silence
A deceptively simple way to live a life of simplicity and ease is to shut out the mental and actual “noise” of your busy life on a regular basis. Sitting in silence for just a few minutes can drastically reduce your stress levels and leave you feeling calm, centered and happy.

If you live near a park or natural setting, you can even boost the effectiveness of this activity by spending time in nature. While not completely silent, natural settings have soothing sounds like running water, singing birds and wind sighing through trees, which automatically trigger feelings of peace and wellbeing.

When it comes right down to it, living a simpler life is about learning how to slow down and connect more deeply with your inner self. Whether you do that by simplifying your surroundings, calming your schedule or enjoying a quiet respite each day, the result is the same, a happier and more peaceful you!

Avocado 101

Avocados

Avocados. They’re not just for guacamole anymore.

Avocados are also known as Alligator Pears and originated in southern Mexico. Delicious avocados add great taste, lively color and a creamy texture to ordinary dishes, making them extraordinary. From salads, to sandwiches, to pizzas, avocados add that little something special to your recipes.

Avocados are in season towards the end of summer, during the off-season they can be exorbitantly priced sad-looking specimens, and they may be disappointing to eat. At the end of summer the price starts dropping, many grocery stores release bargain bags of ten and this is when you know that the season is back in full swing. The fruits will ripen to perfection in a few days, once ripe, the creamy, mellow flesh is best eaten cut in half with olive oil and salt, a dash of vinaigrette dressing, or simply just spread on bread.

Avocados are a rich source of Vitamin E, contain a good amount of Vitamins B6 and C, potassium, and are high in monounsaturated fats, which help lower cholesterol. (Avocados supply 60% more potassium then bananas.)

Avocados go well in sandwiches, turning an otherwise dull filling into something luscious. Another great way of using ripe avocados in season is as a dip like guacamole, mash them with a squeeze of lime, salt and pepper and perhaps a diced chili, provide some chips to scoop with and it’ll be gone in no time.

Avocados are also great for breakfast, Avocado toast is pretty trendy right now, just add a poached egg on top and you have a hip brunch item.

Knowing how to properly select, handle and store your avocados will ensure that they add the perfect compliment to your meal every time.

Selecting Avocados
When choosing your avocados, look for avocados that are dark green to black, green Avocados are not yet ripe as they will turn dark as they ripen. Gently squeeze the fruit; a ripe fruit will yield to gentle pressure. If you are buying avocados for future use, purchase firm fruit.

Avoid fruit with severe external blemishes and fruits that feel extremely soft when squeezed lightly.

Ripening
To ripen a fresh green avocado faster, place the fruit in a paper bag with an apple or banana for two to three days at room temperature (apples and bananas accelerate the process by giving off ethylene gas, a ripening agent).

Storing
Ripe avocados can be stored on the counter top, in a refrigerator, or even in a freezer for later use.

Never Too Young to Enjoy Avocados
The avocado is one of the few green things that many children will reliably eat. Just like adults, most children can benefit from getting at least five servings of colorful fruits and vegetables every day; many children, however, fall short. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association reported that 23 to 33 percent of infants and toddlers studied did not even get a single serving of fruit in a day.

Most children are lacking more than half of their daily intake of fruits and vegetables, keeping your kitchen stocked with a wide variety of produce, including avocados, are one way to get children to increase their daily consumption of fruit.

Incorporating avocados into your children’s diet is a great way to give them a healthy start. The delicious fruit is not only great tasting, but easy to prepare. A single serving of avocado (about 1/5 of a medium avocado or about two tablespoons mashed) is 55 calories and contributes essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that solid foods may be introduced to infants between four and six months of age; and for the first year foods be mashed or pureed. For a quick snack, just mash an avocado with a spoon and feed it directly to babies.

When you are introducing avocados to older children you can offer it with other foods, but remember, children often refuse to eat new foods, persistence with fruits and vegetables will pay off with a healthy diet for your child.

If you or your child experience any allergic reactions or discomfort from avocados, immediately discontinue use and seek medical attention.

Great For Skin Care
Avocados are rich in fiber, foliate (folic acid), vitamin B6, iron, copper and magnesium. Other than applying avocado on your skin, consuming it in salad form can also be beneficial for your skin. Avocados contain vitamins like A, D, and E, which have penetrating qualities to improve your skin. Avocado oil is also very useful for skin care; the oil is useful to remove any sun damage or age spots. It also softens the skin and provides a moisturizing effect and can do wonders on damaged, undernourished and dehydrated skin.

Puffed Eyes
Cut avocado into slices and place it under each eye and relax with it for next 20 minutes. The changes would be remarkable.

Eye Cream
Make an eye cream by mixing 5 drops of almond oil in 3 ripe slices of avocado. Blend this mixture and dab it around your eyes. Keep it for five minutes then rinse.

Facial Mask
This facial mask is useful for dry skin. Mash half avocado and apply it leisurely on your face. Keep it for 15 minutes and then rinse it off with warm water.

Make a paste of Ω ripe avocado mixed with 1 tsp. vegetable oil. Apply this paste on a washed and clean face. Leave it for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse it with warm water. This masque is very good for dry skin.

Smooth and Beautiful Hands
Make a paste by mixing 1/4 peeled & smashed avocado, 1 egg white, 2 tbsp. oatmeal and 1 tsp. lemon juice. Apply this paste on your hand and leave it for 20 minutes. Rinse it with warm water and pat it dry. You would be thrilled by the results by using it regularly.

Facial Scrub
You would need 2 tbsp. flax seeds, 1/2 mashed banana and 1/2 avocado peel. Use a small bowl to mix flax seeds and banana. Scoop the banana and flax seed by using avocado peel. Massage this scoop on your face in circular motion, slowly and gently. Rinse it with warm water.

Avocados are wonderful, magical fruits that have a plethora of uses and are great for human health. Make sure to try them for yourself.

Brain Maintenance

Brain Scan Gears

Our brain controls so many functions of our body besides being the powerhouse of information; our brain is needed for motor control, visual processing, auditory processing, sensation, and learning.

Brain malfunction can be well understood if related to the current technology that is used in computer. The hard disk contains all the vital information of the computer and without it; the computer is as good as useless. If the hard disk crashes it is tough to recover it back and in most cases it cannot be recovered. Similarly if Amnesia or Alzheimer disease affects our brain it first destroys our brain cells and affects our memory. Loss of memory renders us useless, as we tend to forget all the skills that we have learnt over the period of time including language.

One good telltale of our real age is our mental capacity. We expect that as we become grandmas and grandpas, our intellectual performance can never be the same as our prime years. But why does this happen? And what can we do to avoid thinking like we are old-aged already?

The Process of Aging
Our neurons are non-regenerative. That means they do not divide to reproduce more of its kind. Once they die, they cannot be replaced with another one. As we age, these brain cells of ours start to reduce in size and in number. This reduces our ability to call to mind some things that we have learned, including those in school, and even those details when we were younger.

A neurotransmitter called acetylcholine also declines as we age. This neurotransmitter is directly involved in memory and conveying of messages from a cell to another one, because of the stresses that we have, the hippocampus, our memory bank, also diminish in function.

As we get old also, we develop plaques and tangles that accumulate between and within neurons, respectively. Plaques are proteins that mount up in between neurons while tangles are fibers that grow within the brain cells. Too much of these two are thought to kill nerve cells, like in Alzheimer’s Disease, an age-related disease.

In addition to this, substances are created as a result of our lifestyle and environmental pollution. These substances called free radicals can damage our DNA and impede the production of energy, which can cause early cell death.

Stay Sharp
Try to challenge the memory often by engaging in memory games and other mentally challenging activities to ensure adequate supply of blood and oxygen to the brain. Taking care of heart and keeping the cholesterol and blood pressure in check helps in clearing the arteries of any block to allow good flow of blood. Hormones, especially estrogen level should be kept in check as it affects our brain and leads to various diseases in longer run.

To delay the signs of aging with regards to our mental capability, we should make a number of things a habit.

As they say, stress is inevitable in everyday life because we need it to overcome large and small obstacles. But, of course, stress has a lot more negative effects than good ones, so to put it simply, try to avoid too much stress. According to some studies, stress does not only make you look older, it also accelerates the degeneration of your brain.

Those who are easily stressed have higher risks to cognitive impairment than those who are not, you should examine your routines and determine the best ways in which you can cope with the obstacles of the day, and here are 2 quick tips:

1) Praying is excellent for coping with stress.
2) Planning ahead can greatly reduce stress.

To stay sharp, one must also have adequate sleep. A new research out of a Massachusetts General Hospital shows that adequate sleep can help you think well. Adequate sleep helps the brain collect different bits of information and have correct interpretation of them. On the contrary, if you sleep less than the required number, you would most likely have a bad performance and mood problems.

Another thing we should regularly do to preserve our brain functions is to meditate. Doing it actually improves attention, learning, and memory. Regular meditation can also help you slow down the shrinking of our gray matter. For younger people, the thought of this is quite ridiculous because meditating is just for elders, but a new study has shown that people who meditate earlier in life have better attention in their succeeding years.

Brain Food
One can’t end a roster of anti-aging recommendations without mentioning eating right. All the medications used to regain the memory back are used for brain nourishment. This can only be achieved thru universal nourishment of body and brain. In order to have them work both in tandem with each other we must feed our body properly at the same time keeps it active by participating in physical and mental activities such as jogging and memory games.

It is true when the say that an apple a day keep s the doctor away. Apples are rich in flavonoids that help protect the brain cells from free radicals. These fruits also contain a good number of antioxidants that do not only make your skin look young; they also raise the levels of the neurotransmitter called acetylcholine that diminishes as we age.

Children in their early stages of life should specifically be taken care of, proper nutrition can ensure their physical as well as mental well being. Right from the stage of pregnancy, future mothers are administered the right dosage of multivitamins and folic acid to help the brain of fetus grow. In cases where folic acid and dietary supplements are not taken low or no mental growth is observed.

Children may become choosy and demand to eat what they like as this may contain “junk food”, this can lead to various deficiencies affecting growth. This has given rise to so many brain health supplements, but many still say the best and most trusted supplement is still Cod liver oil, it is rich in Omega 3 fat that helps in better growth of brain.

Research proves that children who have been given cod liver oil on a regular basis display good memory and active body.

We must not forget that the core brainpower has been derived from the nutrition given at early age, yet it will not last lifetime. We need to supplement it on a regular basis.

There are many over the counter supplements available that are fortified with zinc, magnesium, folic acid and other essential nutrients for brain. But taking these supplements alone will not work wonders; it must be accompanied by a proper diet and exercise.

You are What You Eat

Girl Orange

You have certainly heard this expression many times, “You are what you eat.” Have you ever really thought about what it means? And do you think about it when you’re making food choices?

In some ways, we do become what we eat, literally. Have you ever seen an example of your blood plasma after eating a fast food hamburger? What was previously a clear liquid becomes cloudy with the fat and cholesterol that is absorbed from eating high-fat fast food.

In turn, we also become what we do not eat. When we switch from eating meat to a vegetarian-based diet, we become less fat, less prone to many types of cancers, and cholesterol can improve. When people are leaner and eating fewer animal products, many other health and fitness issues and illnesses are greatly reduced, like Type II diabetes, high Blood pressure, etc. When you’re healthier, you have fewer health issues and therefore are taking fewer medications. Medications can be extremely hard on the body, especially the stomach, kidneys, and liver. You can also save money, even if you have a prescription drug benefit plan in your health plan, you’re still saving money with fewer co-payments on medications.

If you have a family history of high cholesterol or high blood pressure, then it is particularly incumbent on you to revise your eating habits. Moving towards a more vegetarian diet has been shown statistically to reduce the incidence of so many of the diseases of industrialized countries. Vegetarians are statistically healthier than omnivores; they are typically leaner and live longer.

Isn’t it time to think about what you want to be and to eat accordingly? Do you want to be sluggish and fat? Do you want the risk that goes with eating animal products, with their high fat content? Or do you want to look like and be what vegetarians are?

Leaner and fitter with a longer anticipated lifespan. It is never too late to change what you’re doing and increase your chances for a longer, fitter life.

Vegetarian Meal Variety
Probably one of the most perplexing thoughts a person has when they transition to vegetarianism is keeping their diet filled with a variety of fun, diverse, and nutrient-dense foods. It can sometimes feel like you’re cutting many options out since you’re no longer consuming meat, and it may seem you’re losing even more options if you’ve also decided to cut dairy and eggs from your diet as well. With a little creativity, planning, and forethought, you might be surprised how much variety you can achieve with your new vegetarian diet, perhaps this will spark some creativity and your meals will have even more variety than your meat-eating days.

There are some simple substitutions you can experiment with and use as substitutions in your favorite meat recipes. Tempeh, which is cultured soybeans with a chewy texture; tofu (freezing and then thawing gives tofu a meaty texture; the tofu will turn slightly off white in color); and wheat gluten or seitan (made from wheat and has the texture of meat; available in health food or Oriental stores) are all great items to start with.

Milk and other dairy products can also be easily replaced with vegetarian-friendly items. Try soymilk, soy margarine, and soy yogurts, which can be found in health food or Oriental food stores. You can also make nut milks by blending nuts with water and straining, or rice milks by blending cooked rice with water.

A good way to introduce beans to the diet is to use them instead of meat in favorite dishes, like casseroles and chili. Because of their many health benefits, beans should be eaten often. Some great examples are chickpeas, split peas, haricot, lentils (red, green or brown), and kidney beans.

Many nuts and seeds are available both in and out of the shell, whole, halved, sliced, chopped, raw, or roasted. Cashews, peanuts, walnuts, almonds are some easy-to-find favorites. Sunflower and sesame seeds are excellent choices for spicing up salads and other vegetable dishes.

And don’t worry that you’ll have to give up your favorite Mexican, Italian, or other favorite dishes now that you’re vegetarian. Many of them can still be enjoyed and only require slight variations. Some popular and easily convertible dishes include: pasta with tomato sauce, bean burritos, tacos, tostadas, pizza, baked potatoes, vegetable soups, whole grain bread and muffins, sandwiches, macaroni, stir-fry, all types of salad, veggie burgers with French fries, beans and rice, bagels, breakfast cereals, pancakes, and waffles just to name a few.

The freezer sections of most big grocery stores carry an assortment of vegetarian convenience foods such as veggie bacon, burgers, and breakfast sausages.

So get in the kitchen and let your creativity lead the way! You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised just how much more variety your diet will have as a result.

Your heart and your healthier body will thank you.