Thursday, October 4, 2012

Love in later years.

My Mother and her fiancee
Today’s health and beauty buzz is on finding love at any age. We all have the desire to be loved and cherished. Love not only feels good, but is vitally important for good health and general well being.
 Studies have proven that happily married couples suffer less from cardio vascular disease,have fewer colds, heal faster,feel less anxious, feel less hostile and depressed, have lower blood pressure and generally live longer healthier lives. Couples who sat close, talked for 10 minutes and then shared a long hug were found to have lower blood pressure and increased blood levels of oxytocin.The power of frequent daily hugging was found to be intense. Having someone who loves you and is looking out for you, cuts down on stress levels because it provides security and courage to face problems. 

With my mother’s wedding scheduled for the end of the month, I have decided to write about finding love in the later years of life.
Within weeks of relocating to the USA, my stepfather aged 56 at the time, died suddenly and unexpectedly. My mother, who was working long hours trying to establish a new business in a foreign country came home late to a dark and quiet house to discover that he had died.
Whilst this happened many years ago now, she lived alone seeking socialization and companionship during her free time solely from her family, particularly me.
Last May, before I went to spend some time in South Africa, I decided that I was going to register her on a very well known dating site. I spent a couple of hours downloading photographs of her and working on her profile. Within minutes of registering, she had 3 date requests!  Whilst she was very apprehensive, background checks are conducted on everyone prior to being listed on the site. It is recommended that you meet during the day for lunch or coffee in a public place and that you drive yourself to the venue. No address or telephone numbers are exchanged until mutually agreed upon.
Her fiancée was her 2nd date which took place after I had already left on my trip. Upon my return 5 weeks later, they had moved in together. Who says the elderly move slowly? Certainly not where these two are concerned!
Six thousand singles from the US census were recently interviewed. The over 60ties were asked if they would make a long term commitment to someone who had everything that they were looking for, but they were not in love with? They were asked the same question with the second part being, but did not find them sexually exciting? The answers to both questions were an overwhelming “No”. The over 60ties were the least likely to compromise with romance and sex listed as being the most important criteria. There is the need to be madly in love as well as being sexually interested.
Most over 60ties are looking for companionship. Marriage is not the primary goal. Many are not looking to combine their finances and are understandably cautious about doing so. Younger people are looking to build a family together. Partner choices are made more from the prospective of having and raising children together.  The over 60ties have more freedom, allowing them to spend more time together to enjoy each other without the focus being solely on children as it is in so many marriages with young children. You can afford to be picky, although it is important to give the person a chance. During the singles study, one question asked was “did you ever meet somebody you did not think would be right at the time and then many years later fall madly in love with them? 35% answered “yes”.
Other important characteristics looked for were: - character, respect, trust, being a good confidant, having a sense of humor, not being stubborn, not watching too much T.V. and not talking too much!

Ways to meet other singles is to expand your social circle.

·        Join classes to meet people with similar interests. When people have similar interests, they often build a strong relationship.
·        Church groups and socials.
·        Singles travel groups and cruises. Make sure that your travel group is made up primarily of people of your own age.
·        Use a dating site.
·        Other senior groups.
If you have a parent like mine who refuses to help themselves, you might just have to give them more than just a friendly push!

I dedicate today's blog to my beautiful mother and her handsome husband to be. I wish them both all the happiness in the world. May they live a long, fulfilled and healthy life together filled with lots of love, laughter and joy.

Stay healthy, happy and safe.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.
This policy is subject to change at any time.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Importance of Sleep

Sleep is essential for health and well being but millions of people suffer from lack of sleep. Today's health and beauty buzz is on the importance of sleep.
The NSF survey concluded that over 40 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders. 75% of adults have sleep problems a few nights or more a week.

Sleep deprivation is responsible for many health issues. These are just a few of them.
  • Disease- Lack of sleep alters the immune function of the body. Keeping up with sleep may fight cancer.
  • Mood- Loss of sleep causes irritability, impatience, moodiness and lack of interest.
  • Heart- serious sleep deprivation has been linked to cardiovascular disease, hypertension and irregular heart beat.
  • Stress- lack of sleep increases stress hormone levels.
  • Metabolism and weight- sleep loss may cause weight gain by affecting the way the body metabolises carbohydrates and alters the hormones which control appetite.
  • Memory and concentration- Sleep aids the brain in storing information. In studies, people who slept after learning a task, did better on testing later.
  • Safety- Lack of sleep may cause nodding off during the day. Mistakes are easily made and can be fatal such as medical errors, car accidents, falling in the elderly and air traffic control mishaps.
How much sleep do we need? Sleep requirements vary from person to person.  According to NIH, most healthy adults need 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep to function at their best. Children need more. There is a difference between the amount of sleep you need to get by on and the amount you need for optimal functioning. Work out how much sleep you need by selecting a bed time and sticking to it every night. Sleep until you awaken naturally without any interference. It may take 2 weeks to establish your optimal sleep pattern.

There are 2 main stages of sleep:
  1. Non Rem- There are 4 stages of non rem each being deeper than the previous.
  2. Rem- This is when you do your dreaming- Your eyes move back and forth and that is why this is called REM- rapid eye movement.
Non Rem
  • The first stage of non rem is transitioning to sleep. Eyes move slowly and muscles relax. You are easily wakened. It lasts about 5 minutes.
  • The second stage of non rem is light sleep and true sleep. Your eye movement stops, heart slows and temperature drops. This lasts 10 to 25 minutes.
  • The third and forth stage of non rem is deep sleep. Brain waves are extremely slow, blood is directed towards muscles to restore energy. You are difficult to wake and groggy and disoriented if awakened.
  • This is where dreaming occurs. Eyes move rapidly, breathing is increased, heart rate and blood pressure increase and muscles in the arms and legs are paralysed. This happens after about 70 to 90 minutes after falling asleep.
The stages of Rem and Non Rem form a complete cycle being repeated 4 to 6 times during the night. Each stage of sleep offers benefits with the 2 most important stages being-
  •  "Non Rem- Deep Sleep" - Non Rem deep sleep renews the body. This is when the body repairs itself and boosts the immune system. It plays a major role in maintaining health, growth and development.
  •  "Rem sleep"- Rem sleep renews the mind. It plays a vital part in learning and memory. It replenishes chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine (feel good hormones for mood) and neurotransmitters. Your brain consolidates and processes information you have learnt during the day during Rem Sleep.
Sleep Myths
  1. I adjust quickly to different sleep schedules- It can take more than a week to adjust from travelling across time zones and changing work shifts.
  2. Extra sleep at night can cure me of daytime fatigue- It is the quality of sleep along with the quantity that is important. If you don't feel rested when you wake, then the quality of your sleep is poor.
  3. I can make my sleep up on the week ends-This can affect your sleep/wake cycle so it is harder to go to sleep on Sunday night and harder to wake up on Monday morning.
  4. Getting one hour less per night won't affect me-Even a small amount of loss of sleep can affect your ability to think clearly, respond quickly and compromise your health.
Getting some help:
There are many reasons people have problems sleeping. Stress and anxiety being a major factor. Try to figure out what you need to do to get your stress under control. If you cannot stop worrying about things beyond your control, learn some techniques by consulting a professional.
Stress is an inevitable part of life. Juggling family, work, school and so on. If stress is affecting your sleep, learn to manage time effectively and concentrate on remaining calm and positive.

Stress Busters:
  • Deep breathing. Take deep slow breaths.
  • Take a warm bath.
  • Listen to soft music.
  • Muscle relaxation- tense and relax your muscles starting at your toes and continue up to your head.
  • Visualize a peaceful and restful place. Close your eyes and imagine you are there.
  • Don't stress about not being able to sleep. Make relaxation your goal. Relaxation will also help to rejuvenate your body although not a replacement for sleep.
Tips for quality sleep:
  • Aim for 7.5 hours of sleep a night.
  • Make sleep a priority.
  • Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day.
  • Take a day time power nap. It should be early afternoon and no longer than 30 minutes. Stop if you experience insomnia at night.
  • Don't nod off before bed time. If you find yourself napping in front of the TV, get up and do something so that you don't wake in the night unable to go back to sleep.
  • Eat early in the evening avoiding rich, fatty and spicy foods which are difficult to digest and may cause acid reflux.
  • Avoid alcohol- alcohol reduces the quality of sleep although it may allow you to fall asleep faster.
  • Cut down on caffeine.
  • Don't smoke-nicotine is a stimulant. Smokers may suffer withdrawal symptoms at night.
  • Exercise during the day.
  • Read a book keeping the lights dim, listen to music or an audio book.
  • Avoid screens of all kinds- TV, cell phone, computer and ipad. The light they emit is stimulating to the brain.
  • Keep your room dark and use low watt bulbs for lighting.
  • Keep the noise down or try masking it with a fan or earplugs.
  • Keep the room cool and ventilated. Hot or cold temperatures in bedrooms interfere with sleep.
  • Invest in a comfortable bed and pillows.
  • Drink a cup of warm 2% milk.
Sleep Aids:
There are many remedies marketed to the sleep deprived. Consult with your doctor prior to taking  any sleep aids. Many herbal remedies for sleep should be avoided as they may have an adverse reaction when taken with certain prescription drugs. Sleep aids should only be used for short periods of time as they may become addictive.  These are some of the more popular sleep aids none of which I have personally taken.
  1. SAMe- Primarily used as an antidepressant as well as found effective in treating joint pain. Also used for fibromyalgia and liver disease.- Should not be taken by people with bi polar disorder and those taking antidepressants.
  2. 5HTP- The primary use of 5HTP is for depression, but is also used for insomnia and anxiety.
  3. St John's wort is widely used for depression. There is evidence that St John's wort may interfere with the effectiveness of 50% of medications as well negatively interact with many including birth control, antidepressants, blood thinners and statins.
  4. Liquid Melatonin extract- 2 tsp added to chamomile tea taken 2 hours before bed. The release of melatonin is what triggers and regulates sleep. The body produces more melatonin in a dark room than a dimly lit one.
  5. Valerian Root Tea taken 2 hours before bed.
  6. Astragulus Root- 200 mgs-Take 60 minutes before bed.
  7. Wild Lettuce extract- Take 30mg before bed.
  8. Passion flower- taken in drop form or added to tea.
  9. Acupuncture or acupressure.
Sleep smoothie:            Drink 1 hour before bed- 220 calories.
1 TBS grape skin powder
1 Banana
1 cup of strawberries
1 cup of water or seltzer

Keep healthy, happy and safe.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.
This policy is subject to change at any time.

Monday, July 9, 2012


Antioxidants are vital for good health. Today's health and beauty buzz is on antioxidants obtained from food and supplements as well as topical antioxidants.

What are antioxidants? Antioxidants are molecules that protect our cells from damage by free radicals and prevent them from harming healthy tissue. Anti oxidants are nutrients (vitamins and minerals) as well as enzymes.

What are free radicals? Free radicals are organic molecules responsible for ageing, damage to tissue and some diseases. These molecules are unstable and so look to bond with other molecules, destroy their health and continue the damaging process. This is called "oxidative stress" and occurs when it is beyond the protective  capabilities of the antioxidants. Radicals also play a part in the role of white blood cells that destroy bacteria and pathogens in the body.

Antioxidant molecules are found in fresh foods and act as a protectorant by preventing the free radicals from causing excessive damage.
The best way to obtain antioxidants is from a balanced diet because the body can easily absorb them.

The 3 major antioxidant vitamins are:
  1. Beta carotene
  2. Vitamin C
  3. Vitamin E
Foods that are rich in antioxidants:

There are thousands of foods that are rich in antioxidants. The USDA created a scale called ORAC to measure antioxidant content of plant food. This is what they came up with:
Fruits: The top antioxidant fruits are:
Blueberries, cranberries, prunes, raisins, blackberries and strawberries.
Vegetables:Highest content in vegetables are:
Broccoli, spinach, kale, brussel sprouts, alfalfa sprouts and beets. Potatoes and artichokes are also a good source.
Beans: Red beans recently took the lead against blueberries.
Red beans, black beans and pinto beans. Small red beans and black beans should be dried to maintain antioxidant content.
Spices: Many spices are rich in antioxidants although not the first choice of many.
Ground cloves, cinnamon, oregano and turmeric are powerful antioxidants.

Most popular food sources:

Green vegetables:- These contain lutien, carotenoids and zeaxanthin (protect the eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration.)
                                             Found in:
Spinach, collard greens and kale.
Cruciferous vegetables: contain antioxidants and nutrients that fight cancer.
Found in:
Brocolli, brussel sprouts, turnips, cabbage and cauliflower.
Orange/Yellow fruits and vegetables: Rich in carotenoids to protect the immune system.
Found in:
Sweet potatoes, carrots, mangoes and apricots.
Red pigmented fruits: contain lycopene- a powerful antioxidant that helps fight cancer and heart disease.
Found in:
                                            Tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit and papaya.
Blue/Purple fruits and vegetables: contain phytochemicals that protect against carcinogens and heart disease. 
Found in:
Blueberries, purple grapes, red cabbage, beets and plums.
Other important antioxidants:
Found in:
Dark chocolate, red wine, green and white tea.

Antioxidants are said to play a role in the prevention of:
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Alzheimer's
  • Cataracts
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
Damage from free radicals is impossible to avoid and the source of free radicals arise from inside the body as well as outside. The oxidants that develop inside the body are a result of normal aerobic respiration, metabolism and inflammation. 
The external sources are from the environment such as sunlight, pollution, X-rays, smoking and alcohol as well as poisons in cleaners and herbicides.

Supplementation of antioxidants
More than half the adults in the US are vitamin pill poppers. Vitamins should not be used to make up for an inadequate diet as they cannot replace proper nutrition.
Antioxidants are widely used and are the subject of extensive research. They should be used as an insurance policy if you don't get enough of a certain type. I have spoken to physicians who are huge advocates of supplements and some that have told me that they are a total waste of money and can often do more harm than good.
Consult with your own doctor.

Topical antioxidants:
Topical antioxidants are used to protect the skin against damage from the environment, inflammation and the ageing process. Free radical damage to the skin causes wrinkles, loss of tone, pigmentation and skin cancer. Topical formulations contain many different antioxidants. Their effect depends on how well they penetrate the skin. Many studies have revealed that antioxidants can be absorbed into the top most layer of skin where they neutralize free radicals.
Antioxidants should not be exposed to light. They should be packaged in dark bottles or preferably metal tubes to prevent the breakdown of active ingredients.
Antioxidants should be applied first to the skin before anything else.
Vitamin C- stimulates collagen formation.
Vitamin E- provides essential hydration to restore the skin barrier.
Idebenone, coffeeberry and phloretin and some of the most potent antioxidants to fight free radical damage.
Consult with your skin care professional on choosing the correct products and how they should be used to obtain optimum results.

Stay healthy, happy and safe.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.
This policy is subject to change at any time.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Summer Bugs, Bites & Stings

Mosquito's, ticks, snakes and spiders. Pesky insects are predicated to be plentiful this summer due to the unseasonably warm winter. Today's health and beauty buzz is on some of the creepy, crawly and flying pests that can make us ill.
                                               The Brown Recluse Spider: 
The beautiful home she stayed
in.                                                                                                                                 Her leg.
Vacationing in the Virgin Islands....What a glorious way to spend spring break unless of course, you are bitten by a brown recluse. My daughter had the misfortune to be bitten by one. Fortunately, (if you have to get bitten at all!) the spider bit her leg on the last night of her vacation in the Caribbean. It began to swell and become really painful on her flight back to college requiring treatment in the ER, including multiple drainages and 2 courses of antibiotics. The pain was extremely severe.
There are 20,000 species of spiders inhabiting America. Only 4 are known to be dangerous to humans. The brown recluse is one. The brown recluse is a small, yellowish/brown spider with a violin pattern on it's back. Most bites occur during the summer months. It's venom is extremely poisonous causing destruction of the tissue, leading to eventual death of the tissue in the skin surrounding the bite. Symptoms usually develop 2 to 8 hours after the bite.

                                         Symptoms include:

  • Severe pain and itching at the bite site.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Fever and muscle pain.
Seek immediate treatment at your doctors office or hospital ER. There is no anti venom for the Brown Recluse. Treatment includes a tetanus shot, antibiotics, pain medication and antihistamines. Follow up is required as specified by your doctor so that any dead tissue can be removed and any secondary infection treated.

Lymes Disease
Lymes disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by a tick. Ticks are part of the spider family and feed by sucking blood. Lymes disease became apparent in 1975 when a group of children from Lyme, Connecticut were incorrectly diagnosed with "rheumatoid arthritis". This lead researchers to identify the bacterial cause of the children's condition. In 1982, this became known as Lymes Disease. 
Lyme disease initially affects the skin, causing an expanding reddish rash similar to a target or bull's-eye. 
 Certain ticks found on deer, harbor the bacterium in their stomachs. The tick transmits the bacteria when it bites the skin. Lymes disease is prevalent in the North East US, but there have been reports in all 50 states.
In the early phase of Lymes disease(3 to 30 days after a tick bite) a rash develops at the site of the bite. The rash gradually expands and part of the rash may clear as it expands resulting in a  "bulls eye" appearance which is very distinctive. One in four people do not develop a rash. Symptoms are flu like such as muscle and joint aches, headache, swollen glands and fatigue.
Later stages of Lymes disease are very serious affecting the heart and nervous system. There is swelling, stiffness and pain in the joints and paralysis may occur.
Blood tests for lymes disease are generally helpful when the patient has symptoms associated with lymes disease. Should you suspect that you have been bitten by a tick carrying Lymes disease, go immediately to your doctor.  Lymes disease is treated with antibiotics.

The Tiger Mosquito
The tiger mosquito was introduced to N. America from Asia. It is believed that the species was brought in on used tires which the US imports from Asia for remanufacting. The tires are used for egg deposits and larvae development by the mosquito's.
The tiger mosquito carries a number of viral diseases including Yellow Fever, West Nile Virus and encephalitis. In 2001, tiger mosquito's tested positive for west Nile virus in Maryland.
The tiger mosquito is responsible for causing heartworm disease in dogs. Heart worm is difficult to treat but left untreated, will result in the death of the dog. There are preventative medications for heartworm in dogs which are given on a monthly basis.
 West Nile Virus is a deadly disease that affects both humans and horses. The Maryland Agricultural Department urges horse owners to vaccinate their horses against West Nile virus as well as against the 3 types of encephalitis carried by mosquito's.There have been 215 human West Nile virus cases reported in Maryland and 20 deaths. There is currently no vaccine against West Nile virus for human use.

      The Copperhead
Photo of coiled Northern Copperhead courtesy of John WhiteSnakes
Photo of coiled Timber Rattlesnake courtesy of Ed Thompson
Timber rattlesnake
There are 27 species of snakes in Maryland, but only 2 are venomous. The copperhead and the timber rattlesnake. Snakes are amongst the most feared and hated creatures but they serve as a  valuable contribution to the environment and should be left alone. Poison control reports 2 to 6 snake bites a year in Maryland from poisonous snakes. Contact your doctor or local ER immediately should you be bitten by a snake.
Steps to be taken if bitten by a poisonous snake according to the Red Cross:
  • Do wash the bite with soap and water.
  • Do immobilize the bitten area and keep it lower than the heart.
  • Do seek immediate medical help.
  • Do NOT use ice or any other type of cooling on the bite. Research has shown this to be harmful.
  • Do NOT use tourniquets. The cutting off of the blood flow may result in the loss of a limb.
  • Do NOT make any incisions to the wound. This has not proven useful and may cause further injury.
Have a happy and healthy bug free summer.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.
This policy is subject to change at any time.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tea for your health

Why is tea so hot? Tea was discovered in China. Legend has it , the Chinese Emperor, Shen Nong boiled his drinking water to sterilize it. One day some leaves fell into his water from a nearby bush. The Emperor drank the infused liquid and found it to be energizing. The bush was a tea bush. He ordered tea bushes to be planted in the palace gardens. Hence tea was created.

Today's health and beauty buzz on on the goodness of teas. There are more than 2000 different blends of tea. Teas have been used for their medicinal benefits for centuries to treat everything from headaches to depression.

Most of us have heard of the benefits of green tea. Below are some of the teas I have researched primarily for their aid in weight loss and wonderful anti oxidant properties. I have not personally consumed all of them or had any of them in large quantities. I love tea and easily drink 6 or more cups a day but I usually opt for black tea instead of the flavored or herbal variety.
Consult with your doctor before consuming herbal remedies including teas.

Green Tea
There is a compound in Green tea, a polyphenol called EGCG which is believed to be responsible for most of the health benefits of green tea.
The health benefits of green tea are:
  • Green tea is rich in antioxidants which help to neutralize dangerous free radicals and fight disease.
  • The catechins in green tea have recently been found to protect the eyes against glaucoma.
  • Drinking green tea with antibiotics was found to make the antibiotics much more effective in fighting resistant bugs.
  • A random study in Taiwan found that green tea could modulate the effect of smoking on lung cancer.
A large study in 2010 found that drinking green tea was of no use in preventing breast cancer.
Caffeine naturally occurs in green tea but the amount is less than in black tea and much less than in coffee.

Pu erhTea
Pu erh is produced in the Yunnan mountains in China. Pu erh tea is aged and consumed years after it's production much like wine. Pu erh tea is often served in Chinese restaurants especially after a fatty meal.
The health benefits of pu erh tea are:
  • Pu erh tea is know for it's ability to lower cholesterol.
  • It is said to shrink fat cells.
  • Pu erh tea aids in digestion.
  • It contains polyphenols which attack free radicals thus protecting the body against various diseases such as cancer.
  • May aid in circulation.
  • May remove toxins from the body.
  • May help heal aches and pains.
White Tea
White tea has the least amount of caffeine content. There is no heat or oxidation used in it's preparation so it is also the least processed tea. White tea is made from immature leaves.
The health benefits of white tea are:
  • Researches found that white tea prompted fat to break down in fat cells and prevented the storage of fat. These tests were performed on human cells. It is still to be seen as to whether drinking the tea could fight obesity.
  • White tea has greater antioxidant activity than green and black teas. May hinder cancer causing changes to genetic material.
  • Topically applied, white tea may protect against UV rays. White tea is incorporated into some cosmetics.
  • May boost the bodies immune system.
Chickweed Tea
Chickweed is a plant commonly found all over the world. Chickweed is high in potassium, magnesium, calcium and vitamin C. It is an excellent source of minerals with many health benefits.
The health benefits of chickweed tea are:
  • Chickweed tea contains a diuretic. The body can eliminate contaminants through urination.
  • It reduces water retention, bloating and weight gain.
  • Chickweed tea may be beneficial for respiratory ailments caused by infections, asthma and allergies.
  • It contains anti inflammatory properties. If used in a bath, it is said to ease joint and arthritis pain, ease sore muscles and reduce swelling of torn ligaments.
  • It can aid in soothing skin irritation, eczema, rashes and burns.
  • It purifies the blood and reduces plaque in the vessels as well as aiding blood clotting.
Bilberry Tea
The bilberry is a small fruit found throughout the world. It is a wonderful source of antioxidants. It is high in vitamin C.
The health benefits of Bilberry Tea are:
  • Promotes better vision and protects against macular degeneration.
  • Boosts the immune system.
  • Aids in digestion and upset stomachs.
  • Protects against cancer and heart disease.
  • It has been linked to lowering blood sugar.
  • Relief from joint and arthritis pain has been reported.
Rooibos Tea
Rooibos tea has been a popular herbal tea in Southern Africa for generations.The plant is grown in a small area of the Western Cape in South Africa. Rooibos contains flavonoids which act as antioxidants. The flavonoids in rooibos tea are aspalathin and nothofagin. Rooibos tea is low in tannin and does not interfere with iron absorption. It is also caffeine free. The health benefits of Rooibos Tea are:
  • Rooibos tea can ease stomach cramps in adults and colic in infants.
  • High levels of anti oxidants to fight free radicals and prevent disease.
  • Boosts the immune system.
  • Has anti inflammatory and anti viral qualities.
  • Helps with relaxation, headaches, tension and insomnia.
  • It contains manganese, fluoride and calcium so aids in bone health and strengthens the teeth.
Using teas to aid weight loss:
  1. Drink 2 cups of Pu erh tea in the morning to shrink fat cells.
  2. Drink 2 cups of white tea to prevent fat storage at lunch time.
  3. Drink 1 cup of Chickweed tea for bloating mid afternoon.
  4. Drink 1 cup of bilberry tea in the evening to balance blood sugar and assist with cravings.
As an aid for relaxation, drink a cup of rooibos tea an hour before bed.

Keep healthy, happy and safe.
Consult with your doctor before taking any medication including herbal supplements and teas.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.
This policy is subject to change at any time.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Brain Fog

"Brain Fog" is not listed as a diagnosis or health condition in medical text books, but it is very real. Today's health and beauty buzz is on brain fog.
Brain fog is like a thick fog or cloudiness affecting your ability to think clearly. It is not the same as dementia. You just know that you are not functioning well, are forgetful,sometimes detached and have difficulty thinking and concentrating. Having a "senior moment?" You are not alone! Brain fog is fairly common and some people have had it for most of their lives. Sometimes it comes on slowly with age and over time.
Causes of brain fog
There are many causes of brain fog although the most common are nutrition deficiency and chemical imbalances.
Other causes include:-
  • Dehydration- Proper hydration is required at a cellular level.
  • Hypoglycemia- Hypoglycemia can starve the brain of fuel needed to function.
  • Candida (yeast) The yeast releases various toxins which cause brain fog.
  • Chronic fatigue- The brain requires lots of energy and fatigue from any source (especially stress) can cause mental confusion.
  • Infections and diseases drain energy and produce toxins which cause brain fog.
  • Nutritional imbalances are a common cause. The brain requires many nutrients including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential fatty acids. Vitamin B deficiency is known to cause confusion.
  • Electrolyte imbalance caused by excessive sweating and vomiting. 
  • Toxins- Many types of toxins result in brain fog. Common toxins include mold, mildew, fungi, chemicals and even insect bites.
  • Metal toxicity- Copper in particular. Causes of copper imbalances result from stress, fatigue, zinc deficiency, some birth control pills and IUD's. Some women experience brain fog with menstruation. Vegetarian diets are high in copper and low in zinc (balances copper) and may be lacking in other vital nutrients for brain health.
  • Hormones- Imbalances in the endocrine system cause a wide range of health issues including brain fog. Women have complained about menopause and brain fog for eternity.
  • Reduced oxygen to the brain- This may be caused by clogged arteries or shallow breathing.
  • Misaligned spine or pinched nerves can cause brain fog.
  • Medications- Prescription as well as over the counter medication. Many different drugs can cause brain fog. Taking multiple drugs may have unforeseen side effects.
  • Depression and anxiety is linked to brain fog. Exercise, sufficient sleep or medication may help.
Help for Brain Fog:
Here are a couple of things one can try after ruling out the above:-
  1. Oils- Try adding some coconut oil to your diet. Make sure you have enough Omega 3 fatty acids in your diet obtained from fatty fish such as salmon or through a supplement.
  2. Lay off the alcohol- As you age, intolerance to alcohol increases.
  3. Rule out any illness or disease.
  4. Vitamin B12 injections are highly thought of in the medical profession.
  5. Be active. Exercise aids in oxygenation.
  6. Get a good night's sleep. (Ways to aid sleep naturally will be covered in a later blog)
  7. Don't take on too much. Say no!
  8. Iron- Make sure you have sufficient iron in your diet. Iron is critical for memory function.
  9. Vitamin E has been found to decrease Alzheimer's by 67%.
  10. Have your thyroid checked.
Some other supplements which may help boost memory:
  1. Vinpocetine- Take 10mgs 3 times a day. Vinpocetine is thought to be the most important supplement for "brain fog".
  2. Green tea extract. Must be 98% with 50% catechins. Take 200mgs daily.
  3. Omega 3 fish oil or krill oil with high DHA/EPA. Take 2grams per day.
  4. Acetyl L Carnitine- Take 300 to 1000mg per day
  5. Huperzine A- Take 5 mg per day.
  6. Sage oil- 60 drops or pill form-33mgs for memory issues.
  7. Bacopa is said to enhance learning, reduce brain stress and improve memory-300mg per day.
  8. B complex supplement.
  9. Zinc is important for memory.
  10. Pumpkin seed oil.
  11. Blueberry concentrate- around $7-00 from health food stores.
  12. Use raw brown cane sugar in coffee/tea.
Gingko Biloba contrary to popular belief, is wonderful and increases circulation to lower body extremities, but is not useful as a brain supplement.

Challenge your brain!

*Remember to discuss all medications including over the counter drugs and supplements with your physician prior to use.* Many supplements interact adversely with prescription drugs. Do not self diagnose.

Stay healthy, happy and safe.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.
This policy is subject to change at any time.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Beautiful Mind

"The mind is a terrible thing to waste".  Today's health and beauty buzz is on the effect aging has on our brain.
 The brain is shrouded in mystery.  Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia and is the 6th leading cause of death in the USA. An estimated 5.4 million people have Alzheimer's. That is 1 American in 8 (65 years and older). More women than men have Alzheimer's disease. 

Risk factors for Alzheimer's are genetics and aging. Unfortunately two factors that we cannot control. Having parents or siblings with Alzheimer's increases your risk.
Dementia is cause by various disease's and conditions that result in damaged brain cells. Some researches say that people with fewer years of education seem to be at higher risk. 
Head injury and brain trauma are associated with increased risk of dementia. 
Smoking, alcohol and drug abuse can disrupt brain development.

Symptoms must include the decline in memory along with at least one of the following:

  1. The ability to generate coherent speech or    understand spoken/written language.
  2. Ability to recognise or identify objects.
  3. Ability to execute motor activities.
  4. Ability to think abstractly, make sound judgements, plan and carry out complex tasks.
  5. The decline in cognitive abilities must be severe enough to interfere with every day life.
Some symptoms may be caused by
  • depression.
  • thyroid disease.
  • drug interactions.
  • alcoholism.
  • vitamin deficiencies
The above are treatable.

No treatment is currently available to stop or slow the deterioration of brain cells. The FDA has approved 5 drugs that temporarily slow the worsening of the symptoms for about 6 to 12 months They are effective in about half of the patients taking them. Currently there are 75 to 100 clinical trails in human volunteers aimed at stopping or slowing the progression. Researchers believe that treatments administered early are most effective. The brain is believed to change in individuals 10 years prior to symptoms such as memory loss. This is when the drugs will be given.

Professor David Rollo and group of researchers at McMaster may have found the "silver bullet" when it comes to slowing the aging of the brain. A complex nutritional supplement containing 30 ingredients. Mice ages 20 to 31 months (human equivalent of 70 to 80 years of age) displayed learning abilities equivalent to young mice. Those not given the supplement, showed no ability to learn new information.
The trial focused on the region of the brain associated with Alzheimer's. Other findings included that the brain increased in size up to 10%. Unlike stand alone vitamins, the combination of the ingredients is far more effective in maintaining brain function. Whether the results will translate to humans is still to be seen.

Brain Facts:
  • More than 60% of the brain is fat.
  • Every part of the brain has a function. "That we use 10% of the brain", is a fallacy.
  • Humans continue to make neurons throughout life in response to mental activity.
  • The brain represents 2% of body weight  but uses 20% of the body's energy production.
  • If you don't take care of your brain, you lose 85,000 brain cells a day. That is what causes ageing.
  • Even though we define 18 year olds as adults, their brains continue to develop until age 25. That is why vehicle insurance rates drop at age 25.
  • The brain is divided into left and right halves. The left side is often known as the detailed orientated, get to the point, speech and happiness center. The right side as being more fretful, creative and holistic processing center.
  • The brain never sleeps. It gathers and stores important information gathered from the day whilst you sleep. During sleep, it secretes a hormone that immobilizes the body so that you don't act on ideas that may come to us during sleep.  In sleepwalkers, it is believed that this hormone is secreted differently.
Experts suggest brain health can be positively influenced throughout life.
The 4 dimensions of brain health are:
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Physical Health
  • Mental Health
  • Social well-being 
The good things for your brain:
  • Fish oil-  Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil. EPA and DHA are the 2 long chain omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil. DHA makes up 97% of the omega 3s in the brain. Without enough DHA, your brain cannot function adequately. The benefits of fish oil obtained from fish(salmon and tuna) foods fortified with omega 3's  (eggs, milk, juice) as well as supplements have proven to lower incidence of Alzheimer disease related deaths.
  • Exercise- Physical activity for 30 minutes a day to encourage new brain cells to form.
  • Learn- Lifelong learning, reading, creating art and crafts, crosswords, learning a language, playing an instrument are forms of brain- stimulating activities. "Use it or lose it".
  • Socialize- Stay socially connected. This can include socializing at work, in clubs, with friends and family, volunteering and church groups. Experts say having a social network may help support brain health and intellectual stimulation.
It is never too late to take action to improve your brain health and sometimes all that is needed are a few lifestyle adjustments. Age is just a number.

Caring for someone with dementia is extremely difficult and like any other care giver, may have a negative effect on your own health. Caregivers experience high levels of emotional stress and depression and obesity is often the result.

Dr. Mary Newport decided to do her own research on Alzheimer's in an effort to help her husband who had been diagnosed with the early-onset of the disease. She learned that the ingredient in the drug trial which was showing so much promise was simply MCT oil derived from coconut oil or palm kernel oil and a 20 gram dose (about 4 teaspoons) was used to produce these results. She started her husband on coconut oil twice a day and after 37 days, saw remarkable changes in him. She claims that over the next year, the dementia continued to reverse itself.

Vitamin E is said to decrease Alzheimer's by 67%.

Memory enhancers and" Brain Fog" will be covered in a future blog topic.

*Remember to discuss any medication and vitamin supplementation with your doctor and do not self diagnose.

Stay healthy, happy and safe.
All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.
This policy is subject to change at any time.