Monday, February 27, 2012

Taking care of Hands and Feet

Today's health and beauty buzz is on steps to a simple home Manicure and Pedicure.
  Going to the salon for manicures and pedicures on a regular   basis can become quite a costly affair. The basic manicure in my area costs around  $25-00. French polish is usually an additional $5-00 to $10-00 extra. Pedicures range anywhere from $30-00 to $60-00 depending on where you go.
There are many types of manicures and pedicures offered in top quality salons. Provided you go to a clean and sanitary establishment, it is certainly a relaxing experience and a great opportunity to treat yourself, family member or friend.

The advantages of the home manicure and pedicure:-
1. Keeps the cost down.
2. Cuts down on the possibility of infection or nail fungus
3. You can always get an appointment any time of the day or night!
4. Once you purchase the tools, you have them for many usages.
5. You can ensure that everything is hygienic and only used on "You".
6. You don't need to add in the extra cost of a tip.
7. Stagnant water remains in the jets of foot spas breeding bacteria. They are difficult to keep clean. Tests on the water in"client ready" spa tubs found bacteria that cause boils, skin infections, UTI's and even pneumonia. 75% of salons do not disinfect properly.

How to do a simple at home manicure:-
Firstly assemble everything that you are going to be using. You will need cotton balls, nail polish remover, nail scissors and clippers, cuticle clippers, emery board, orange stick, bowl of hot soapy water, 2 towels, cuticle remover, cuticle oil, rich emollient hand/ foot cream, base coat, top coat, colored varnish and quick dry. Make sure that all your nail equipment is clean and sterilized. Wipe it over with rubbing alcohol and store in a clean closed container.

1. Begin by removing all old nail polish. Thoroughly soak a cotton ball with remover and hold to nail for a few seconds to loosen polish. Wipe over nail until all polish is removed.
2. Shape nails to desired shape by using an emery board. Do not use metal files. They are damaging to the the nail. File nails in one direction only. Do not saw back and forth. The trend today is to generally have the nails squared at the tips. This tends to allow for less breakage. The edges may be slightly rounded if this is more desirable.
3. Soak nails in moderately hot soapy water for 10 mins.(squirt a little liquid hand soap into water). Remove hands from water and dry with a towel.
Pictures of  Sally Hansen Cuticle Remover Gel 1oz Tube4. Apply cuticle remover to the cuticles only, of both hands. I prefer the cuticle remover available in a tube with a nozzle at the end. Gently push back the cuticles using an orange stick. Do not use metal instruments if unskilled. Each time you do this, the condition of the cuticle will improve and become easier to maintain.
5. Rinse nails and with a towel, very gently rub the cuticle backwards towards the knuckles. Take sharp, clean cuticle clippers and gently clip any visible hang nails (pieces of loose skin) from the cuticles. Do not trim away too much of the cuticle itself. Be careful when trimming not to cut yourself. If you do, apply an antiseptic ointment. Dispose of the water bowl.
6. Apply cuticle oil to the nails and massage well into the cuticles. If you don't have cuticle oil, you can substitute with almond, coconut or any oil of choice. You can skip this step and apply a rich hand lotion to cuticles instead.
7.  Apply an emollient hand lotion and take a little time massaging it into palms, fingers, cuticles and the back of the hands. You can add a little more lotion to massage into arms and elbows if you wish.
9. Smooth edges of nails with the fine side of the emery board or a nail buffer block.
8. Wipe the nails over with a cotton ball soaked in acetone/nail polish remover. The varnish will not adhere to a greasy nail.
9. Apply one coat of base coat to nails of both hands. Let dry for a minute. Apply 2 coats of color allowing a few mins. to dry between coats. Apply top coat and allow to dry for 10 mins. (there are some base/top coat combo's available which may save on costs.)
10. Spray nails with 2 light coats of quick dry spray or paint on quick dry liquid.
11. Wait for at least an hour for polish to harden.

Take care of your hands by wearing gloves whilst gardening, painting, washing dishes and working with chemicals. Apply sunblock to the back of hands. Sunspots can be faded by using pigment creams, peeling of the hands and laser treatments. Keep skin firm and supple by using hand creams containing retinol.

The basic home pedicure is fairly simple especially if your feet are in good shape to begin with. If giving yourself both a manicure and pedicure, begin with the pedicure.

1. Remove all previous polish.
2. Fill a plastic tub large enough to comfortably accommodate your feet, with moderately hot water.  Add a little antibacterial soap/solution or a specialty foot soak to the water. Epsom salts is a great foot soak. Place foot tub on a large towel. Soak feet for 10 minutes. 
3. Place a towel on your lap. Remove right foot from water and dry. The left foot remains in the water. Clip toe nails straight across to desired length. File to smooth rough edges using an emery board or nail buffer. Place right foot back into the water and repeat this step on left foot.  *Toe nails should always be cut/filed straight across to prevent the possibility of ingrown toe nails.
Double sided foot file
4. Dry the right foot. Apply cuticle remover to the cuticles. Gently push back cuticles towards knuckles using an orange stick. Return right foot to water and repeat this step on left foot.
5. Dry right foot, gently pushing back cuticles with the towel. Carefully clip away any hang nails and cuticle which covers the nail. Less is best! Cutting away too much cuticle may cause bleeding and pain.
Apply callus remover to the heel of the right foot and to any other cracked dry skin on the underside of foot. Leave callus remover on for a maximum of 3 minutes. Rinse foot thoroughly and dry. You are still working on the right foot.  Buff away the calloused area on the underside of the foot using a foot file to remove the dead skin. Place right foot on the towel to the side of the tub. Repeat this step on the left foot. * My preferred foot file is the double sided foot file or a pumice stone available at beauty supply and drug stores.
6. Massage a thick nourishing cream well into the feet and cuticles. Concentrate on heels and rough spots.
7. Clean off nails with polish remover and follow the painting directions for the manicure.

For those of us who are rough on our hands and find it difficult to keep our nails looking good, help is at hand. There are a number of artificial alternatives.

1. Acrylic:- This method is the strongest and longest lasting. Nails can be lengthened by adding nail tips to the end of the natural nail and then secured by using a powdered and liquid acrylic product which hardens in a few minutes. Alternatively the acrylic product can be applies to the natural nail without lengthening. This product is strong and allows your own nail to grow longer without breaking. Nails will need to be filled at the cuticle area as the natural nail grows. This is typically required every 2 to 3 weeks depending on the speed of growth. This method can look thick, chunky and unnatural if not well applied.
2. Wraps:- This method uses thin pieces of fiber, silk or linen cut to the desired shape and then glued to the nail. This adds additional strength to natural nails, but is one of the least durable methods. They are also one of the most natural looking.
3. Gel Nails:- This method uses a gel substance which is painted onto the nail in a series of thin coats. After each coat, the nails are placed under a UV light so that the gel can cure. It is one of the more natural methods leaving the nails shiny. It is not as durable as acrylic and as with the above methods, needs to be filled every 2 to 3 weeks.
New research has shown that UV nail dryers have been linked to skin cancer on the backs of the           hands, aging of the skin and pigmented age spots. Use an SPF 30 containing zinc oxide on the backs of your hands before placing them under the UV lamp.

Downside to artificial nails:-
1. Expense:- Full set of acrylic nails costs in the region of $45-00. The fills cost around $27-00.
2. After removal of artificial nails, the natural nail is left thin and will be prone to breakage until grown out.
3. The fumes from
3. Infection:- Most nail infections are fungal and effect toe nails rather than finger nails. The nails have patches of white and yellow and are thickened and deformed in severe cases. Nail fungus is easily spread and can be contracted from communal showers, bathroom floors and dirty instruments used in manicures and pedicures.  
Nail fungus can occur when moisture is trapped between the natural nail and the acrylic. The artificial nails need to be removed, nails need to be trimmed short and a prescription obtained from your doctor for an oral anti fungal medication. People with compromised immune systems such as aids and diabetes patients due to poor circulation are at higher risks for fungal infections. Topical products include tea tree oil amongst many others. Consult with your doctor to prevent an incorrect diagnosis.

The Shellac Manicure:-                            

My Shellac Manicure
The shellac manicure is a new procedure promising long lasting, non chipping, glossy and smudge proof color. Shellac is similar to the gel nail application, but much more nail friendly. There is no damage done to the natural nail. The gel base coat is applied thinly to the nails like a nail polish. The hands are then placed under a UV light for 10 seconds. There are a number of very attractive, vibrant gel colors available to choose from. 2 coats of the color gel are applied to the nails curing for 2 minutes between coats and 2 minutes after the second coat. The UV top coat is applied and cured for a final 2 minutes. The nails are then wiped off with alcohol to remove any sticky residue. Cuticle oil and hand lotion can be immediately applied. You are ready to leave with no possibility of smudging your polish. The total time spent in the salon is around 30 minutes. The manicure should last round 2 weeks. The cost is $30-00 for a shellac manicure.
Removal of shellac is achieved by wrapping the nails in special wraps which have been saturated in acetone for 10 minutes.
The Shellac application is not as easy as it looks. The kits and lamps are sold in beauty supply stores under various trade names for home use. It takes a good amount of practise to achieve a professional finish.

Supplements which may aid in the treatment of brittle nails:-
Biotin-Results from a small study show that Biotin may help to increase thickness of brittle nails.
Silicon-currently marketed for improving hair, nails and skin. It is found in whole grains and some root vegetables.
Calcium, Cysteine, Iron, Zinc and Vitamin A are all considered safe when taken at the recommended doses.

*Do not take any medication including supplements without first consulting with your doctor.

Tip of the day:
Massage cream onto your hands and feet before bed.  Cover your feet with cotton socks and hands with moisturizing gloves to keep linen clean.. If you find the socks and gloves irritating, massage cream into hands and feet and remove excess with a piece of paper towel.

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, February 23, 2012

Stay at home vs the working mother

Today's health and beauty buzz  is on how being a stay at home mom or a working mom can impact our health.     There is a lot of criticism and judgement directed at the decision on whether to be a stay at home or a working mother.  Parenting is often referred to as the most difficult job that you will ever have. It is also the most important job that you will ever have. You are irreplacable to your child and you are making a personal investment which will long out live you. This is a personal descision and whichever way your friends and family push you, the choice must ultimately be yours. 

Whatever decision you make, all mothers should be acknowledged and respected.                     
There is a trade off for each. The cost of supporting a family is so high, often making it necessary for both partners to work. On the other hand, the stress which comes from both parents working, can often outweigh the benefits.
Recent results from a research institute found 71% of working mothers equated work with something done in order to pick up a pay check.

Advantages of the working mom:-

Many working mothers experience less depression and better health than stay at home mothers.
Financial independence and self sufficiency.
Men may feel less burdened by financial concerns when their wives are contributing although men whose wives earn higher incomes than them may become resentful at the high demands of the job. 
Many mothers say that working makes them happier, better mothers.
Working women tend to spend more quality time with their children.
Giving up a successful career may make it more difficult to later return to the work force.
If you are fortunate enough to have a parent or close family member to babysit whilst you are working, this can allow the child to develop a close bond with that person.


Working mothers say that they still find themselves responsible for most of the housework, cooking and childcare. So essentially they have 2 jobs.
Quality daycare is very expensive, so unless you are earning a reasonable income, it may not be financially viable. Low quality day care has been found to have a negative impact on children continuing into adolescence.
Day care centers are loathe to care for your sick child and this may result in a stressful last minute scramble to find alternative care.
Household safety becomes an issue when children are too old for daycare.
Many working mothers experience overwhelming feelings of guilt.
Although dual earning couples are not statistically more prone to divorce, studies have tracked an overall decline in marital satisfaction.

At the end of the day, most working woman feel emotionally and physically exhausted. Children eagerly await your arrival. All spare time is spent on giving your family the attention they need and deserve and trying to maintain some kind of semblance of order. There is little if any time left to actually take care of yourself.  

Advantages of the stay at home mom:-

Peace of mind. You know that your child is being stimulated, loved and nurtured.
You will be there to see all of your child's "firsts".
Stress levels are reduced by allowing you the time to balance children and keep the home running smoothly.
Joy and contentment. Nothing equals the deep love that you have for your child.
Husbands are often happier knowing their children are being well cared for and they are less likely to be coming home to disarray and tension.
New friendships are made through mothers groups for both mother and child. I have many happy memories from my times spent socialising with other mothers I met at prenatal groups.


Loosing the social aspect of being in the work force. Many mothers find this very difficult.
Lack of mental stimulation and boredom.
38% of stay at home mothers were found to be obese.
Caring for small children 7 days a week is extremely demanding.
There is little financial freedom.
Many stay at home mothers feel that they are frowned upon and feel guilty about not making financial contributions to the household.

Debbie- You will always have
 a special place in my heart.
I was fortunate enough to be able to choose to stay home with my children. I have always felt very strongly about this. We were blessed by having a wonderful live in housekeeper. This allowed me to be able to work from my home based salon during the morning whilst she took care of my baby girl and my little boy attended preschool. I could then spend my afternoons with my children. This was definately the best of both worlds. Unfortunately when we immigrated to the US, that was no longer an affordable option.
I feel it is equally important to be home when teenage children return from school. Most days they will pass you by with a grunt, but they know that you are there and available to hear about their day and concerns.Teens spending long hours alone are more likely to drink, take drugs and get into trouble. It is particularly important during the long summer break.

The stay at home dad:- 

Whist women have always been the primary caregivers,there were approximately 154,000 fathers who stayed home last year whilst their wives went off to work.
Often father's take a back seat in parenting and feel like
outsiders. Dad's parent differently from mom's and kids benefit from both. Mothers calm, soothe and nurture and dad's tend to interact through shared activities and
experiences.  The rough housing with dad that most kids love, aids in brain development, promotes courage, risk taking and confidence. Physical contact is important too.
Fathers have tremendous power over their daughters.
He is the most important man in her young life and is looked upon as provider and protector. Daughters watch how their father treats their mother, taking what they see into their own marriages. Dad's can impact academic and career success greatly.
Adolescence is a rough time for fathers with many dad's feeling uncomfortable with their daughter's developing sexuality. Rules and boundaries need to change at this stage. Ignore moodiness, antagonism and surliness. I was amused by a comment my doctor recently made.  He said that teenage girls were not human and he didn't intend talking to his until she turned 25!

Little boys idiolize their dads. The relationship needs to be worked on in the early years by showing plenty of affection, love and kindness. The bond you develop will set the course for a lifetime. Men who clashed with their own fathers, will often clash with their sons. Over time the relationship changes and boys rebel. It is vital, particularly during adolesence that fathers put forth a good example.

Whatever your choice may be, before you know it
your children will be heading out the door to college,
getting married and moving away from home.
Enjoy them now. Time rushes by too quickly.

I dedicate today's blog to my friend, 2nd mother to my children and
and an important part of my family for over 22 years.
Debbie Mkize born 27th July 1964
                          died 29th October 2011

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.     

Friday, February 17, 2012

Life Saving Tests

Today’s health and beauty buzz is on the tests we should have in order to prevent or treat potentially deadly illnesses. 
February is American Heart Month and it is also the month when I go to my own doctors. There has been a decline in the general health of Americans since the recession began.
Depending on age, it is recommended that both women and men have an annual physical exam performed by their primary care physician. Your doctor will advise you as to the frequency of your check ups.
·        During the exam, your weight will probably be recorded. Being overweight is the precursor to a number of diseases.
·        Blood pressure taken- Untreated high blood pressure affects your heart, brain and kidneys.
·        Blood work may include: –
1.      Lipid profile. Cholesterol- High LDL or low HDL places you at risk for heart attack and stroke.
2.      Blood sugar-This is a fasting blood test. Diabetes causes heart disease, blindness and kidney failure. People who are obese, have high cholesterol or family history of diabetes are at greater risk.
3.      Thyroid- The thyroid gland is generally checked during your physical. If you have no family history or problems, then screening is usually recommended at age 30.  If you do have a family history, then screening may begin at age 20. The THS test measures the amount of thyroid hormone present in your blood. In late 2003, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists narrowed the range of what is considered the “norm”. The new normal now being 0.3 to 3.0- Most labs in the USA are still using the old range as their reference.  Tell your doctor about family history, unexplained weight loss or gain and fatigue.
·        The dreaded rectal exam.  Women usually have this exam at the same time as their gynie check up. It may help the physician to better check the uterus and the ovaries.  The rectal exam in men is used to help check out the prostate and aid in early detection of cancer. Average screening age for men is around 50. If there is a family history of cancer then screening might be recommended at age 40.  This exam can also detect hemorrhoids, growths and rectal cancer allowing for further tests to be ordered.
·        Point out and ask your doctor to check out any moles or suspicious spots on your skin.
·        Your heart will generally be checked for heart murmurs or irregular heart beat. 64% of woman who die from heart attacks have had no previous symptoms. 1 in 3 deaths are from heart disease. Discuss shortness of breath, pain in your chest or feeling easily fatigued.
·        Keep your immunizations up to date. Discuss annual flu shot, tetanus booster (every 10 years), and pneumococcal vaccine given to high risk or elderly patients. Shingles vaccine is available and reduces the risk of shingles by about 50%. There are many contraindications so be sure to discuss carefully with your doctor.
·        Ask when you should have a colonoscopy. Colon cancer is one of the most common cancers and yet the most preventable.  Doctors generally advise a first colonoscopy at age 50 unless a parent or sibling was diagnosed with polyps or colon cancer before age 50.  In that case you are at higher risk and your doctor may suggest having a colonoscopy 10 years prior to the age that your family member was diagnosed.  Testing is generally repeated every 5 years. If no problems are found and you have no family history, testing may be done every 10 years at your doctor’s discretion.
·        Vision should be checked every 2 years from age 40 to 65 and then annually.  Have exams before age 40 if glaucoma runs in your family or if you are at high risk.
                                                        Tests for Women.  
·        Mammograms and breast exams-   According to the Susan G. Komen organization, a woman dies of breast cancer every 74 seconds.
The American Cancer Society recommends that starting at age 20; women should have a manual breast exam. This is usually done by your gynecologist.  They recommend that women ages 40 to 79 have an annual mammogram. Breast cancer risk increases with age. Women, who are at higher risk due to family history, should begin at an earlier age. There has been some controversy that  health insurances only cover mammograms every 2nd year up until age 50. You should follow the advice of your physician.
Types of Mammograms:-
1.      Screening mammograms are done on women with no symptoms of breast cancer. These are usually 2 x-ray images of each breast.
2.      Diagnostic mammograms are done when there is a symptom such as a lump. Many more pictures are taken of the breast tissue.
If the mammogram picks up an abnormality, you may be asked to have an ultrasound of the breast. This can determine whether the lump is a solid mass or if a biopsy is necessary.
Mammograms are a safe, low dose x-ray and along with a clinical breast exam is the best way for early detection.
If you see or feel a lump, go immediately to your doctor.
False positives can happen. I personally have been called back for an ultrasound screening due to the density of the breast tissue.
Tips for a more comfortable Mammogram-
1.      Schedule appointment for right after your period. Breasts are tender the week prior to menstruation.
2.      Wear a skirt, shorts or pants so you only need remove your top.
3.      Don’t use powder, deodorant, perfume or lotion under your arms or near your breasts.
·        Pelvic exams and pap smears:- HPV(human pappilloma virus) affects both men and women. Whist it is estimated that 75% of people will be infected with the virus in their lifetime, for the most part it will clear on its own. When it does not, HPV is the primary risk factor for cervical and vaginal cancer.
 Each year approximately 530,000 women worldwide are diagnosed with cervical cancer. In the USA 4,000- women die from it yearly.
 HPV  has been linked to genital warts, anal, penile and throat cancer in men.  
Women should consult with their doctor as to how often screening is necessary.  The ACOG guidelines suggest that screening should begin at age 21.  Women ages 21 to 30 years of age, be tested every 2 years. Women 30 years and older who have had normal paps for 3 years in a row, may be told to be tested every 3 years. Testing is at your doctor’s discretion with your family history taken into consideration.
Best time to have a pap is between 10 and 20 days after the first day of your last period. Do not use any internal preparations for 2 days prior to testing (unless directed by your doctor) as this may hide abnormal cells.

Many girls are being vaccinated against the HPV.  “Gardasil” is for females and males ages 9 – 26. It is given in a series of 3 shots. Gardasil works best if given before there is any contact with the HPV virus and so it is recommended before sexual contact. Only your doctor can recommend whether you or your child should be vaccinated.
·        Bone density test- Osteoporosis and low bone mass affect 44 million Americans according to the N.O.F.  Women are 4 times more likely to develop osteoporosis than men. Your doctor will help you decide what age you should have a bone density test.  It is a non invasive test taking about 10 minutes. The patient is fully clothed and exposed to a small amount of radiation.
                                                       Tests to do at home:-
   1.      Check out your skin for any changes in moles or any new suspicious spots.
   2.      Self breast exam
                                                  Heart Health Tips:-
   1.  Eat plenty of antioxidants- all the berries, pomegranates, tomatoes and spinach are some- these can help prevent  build up of plaque in the arteries.
       Potassium rich fruits such as oranges and bananas help lower blood pressure.
   2. Omega 3 fatty acids- Found in salmon, sardines and trout- helps lowers blood pressure and triglycerides.
   3. The American heart association suggest 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. This can be walking.
   4. Cut out smoking- Risk of heart disease is 2 to 4 times higher in smokers.
   5. Cut down on the saturated fats- These elevate the bad cholesterol. Found in butter, animal fat and whole fat dairy products.
      Cut down on the trans fats- These raise the bad cholesterol and also lower the good cholesterol- Found in margarine,other shortenings and fried foods as well as many others. Check the labels of products for content. 

  •     Tips of the day: -
  •  Ask your doctor for copies of all of your test results and keep your records carefully in a file. 
  • Have blood work done prior to appointment so you can discuss your results during your consultation.
  • Don’t be intimidated. Ask plenty of questions, get second opinions and be your own health advocate.
  • Don't 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, February 13, 2012

Sex and Health

Valentine's day- a day of romance dedicated to lovers all around the world.
There are 3 major myths on the origin of St Valentine.
Valentine was a Christian priest in Rome. Emperor Claudius ll outlawed marriage for young men as he believed that single men made better soldiers. Valentine defied Claudius and secretly performed marriages for young lovers. When Claudius found out, Valentine was sentenced to death.
The 2nd legend is that Valentine helped Christians escape from Roman prisons where they endured terrible cruelty. When caught, he was executed.
The 3rd legend is that Valentine fell in love whilst in prison with the jailer's blind daughter. He gave her back her sight and before his death, he sent her a note signed "from your Valentine".

 Today's health and beauty buzz is on how sex can benefit           health.
        1. Stress is reduced. Endorphins and oxytocin are released        during sex and these feel good hormones create feelings of relaxation and help to stave off anxiety and depression.
        2. Sleep- The same endorphins that help you de stress, also relax the mind and body. Prolactin is released during orgasm. Prolactin levels are naturally higher when we sleep.
         3. Pain- The surge of hormones after orgasm can help to ease a headache. Gone are those headache excuses! In clinical trials, migraine sufferers reported relief after orgasm. The endorphins released during orgasm closely resemble morphine and can   
                                    effectively ease pain.
4.   Colds and flu- people who have regular sex were found to have higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A. These antibodies help combat disease and enable the body to stave off colds and flu.
5.   Glow- Those enjoying lots of sex were perceived to be 7 – 12 years younger than their age. Regular sex promotes the release of hormones including testosterone and estrogen which help to keep the body young.  Estrogen promotes soft skin and shiny hair.
6.   Menstrual cramps- Orgasm causes the uterus to contract and this process rids the body of cramp causing compounds.  It also helps to expel blood more quickly helping the period to end faster. Going horizontal during menstruation has been shown to help decrease the risk for endometriosis (uterine tissue growing outside the uterus).
7.   Exercise-Sex counts as cardio and can burn between 85 to 250 calories.
8.   Guy benefits- Studies have shown that men who had sex at least 2 times a week had ½ the risk of suffering a fatal heart attack.
Regular sex can bring down the chances of developing prostate cancer.
Regular ejaculation (with or without a partner) can help rid a man’s body of potential carcinogens.

Sexual desire fluctuates throughout life. Lack of libido is more common in women than in men. Some of the major milestones effecting libido are pregnancy, nursing your baby, menopause and illness.

There are many other reasons which may be responsible for low libido:
  1. Obesity- Results from a study at Duke found that obesity impacts sex drive, desire and performance. Obesity leads to a deficiency of certain sex hormones in both men and women. Poor body image can also impact desire
  2. High cholesterol – Cholesterol can build up on the walls of the arteries of the body including the arteries in the pelvic area. When blood flow is restricted, there is less sensation which can lead to frustration. Unfortunately many statins lower libido as cholesterol aids in the production of sex hormones.
  3. Diabetes is a serious disease and can cause kidney damage and even blindness. It can cause erectile problems and nerve damage due to reduced blood flow. It lowers testosterone levels affecting mood and sex drive.
  4. Pain- Painful sex can be caused by a number of reasons.  Infection of the pelvis or vagina, a cyst, an STD or lack of estrogen resulting in dryness. Consult with your gynie immediately.
  5. Psychological problems stemming back from childhood or an unresolved traumatic event such as your house being broken into, being attacked or raped or a death of a loved one.
  6. Problems in your relationship, depression, anxiety, low thyroid levels and anemia.
  7. Difficult circumstances such as juggling a career, taking care of children, having an in-law or parent living with you, financial worries and many others.
  8. Alcohol is a depressant and diminishes sex drive, performance and desire.
  9. Some prescription drugs including birth control hamper arousal and the ability to achieve orgasm.                       
                                        Foods that can help boost sex drive.

There are many foods that have the reputation of boosting libido.
These are a few of them:-
  • Pomegranate juice- pomegranates are rich in polyphinols and antioxidants that allow blood to flow through your veins- a component of good sex.
  • Zinc- Healthy levels of zinc boost sex drive. Foods rich in zinc are oysters, crab, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, chick peas and steak. Legend has it that Casanova ate dozens of oysters daily.
  • Cocoa (unsweetened) or dark chocolate (70% dark) contain a chemical which stimulates the sense of well being.
  • Bananas and pineapple have an enzyme in them called bromelain which boosts libido. Bananas are rich in potassium which increases energy levels.
  • Avocado increases libido. They contain high levels of folic acid, vitamin B6 and potassium.
  • Chilies contain capsaicin which triggers the release of endorphins. Good for weight loss too.
  • Figs- supposedly Cleopatra’s favorite food are high in amino acids which are found to increase libido and also stamina.
  • Tests reveal that foods that are rich in L Arginine improve sexual function in men. These foods include oatmeal, cashews, walnuts, garlic, soybeans, chick peas and dairy. There has been no definitive proof that these foods work effectively in woman. They are healthy foods and certainly cannot do any harm.
  • Asparagus is high in vitamin E which has long been considered “a sex vitamin”.
  • Watermelon contains citruline which is an amino acid that helps to relax blood vessels that increase sex drive.
     There are many supplements, medications, devices, toys and special lubricants on the market today said to increase libido.

 Some of the supplements considered to be safe include:
  • Maca- The maca root plant is native to the Andes in Peru. It is related to other root vegetables. It is thought to increase stamina, fertility, energy and libido. It can be purchased in powder or capsule form.
  • Ginseng- Ginseng has long been touted for improving sexual function in men. Studies performed were on "Korean red ginseng" at a dose of 1,800mg daily. 66% of men saw an improvement. Red ginseng tested in women was found to increase arousal with no severe side effects.
  •  L Arginine- Arginine might offer benefit for sexual dysfunction in men. Arginine alone has not been studied as a treatment for women, but a trial found evidence for benefit with a combination formula of L-arginine as well as other herbs and vitamins. Arginine in healthy individuals has shown no adverse effects. High levels may increase acid reflux, stomach ulcers and should not be used by diabetics on medication or patients with a heart condition.
There are still some contraindications linked to the supplements listed above. 

Safety concerns over some of the more popular enhancement supplements-
  • Epimedium(horny goat weed)- Rapid heart rate and mania in people with bi polar disorder was reported.
  • Yohimbe- In 2005 there were more adverse reports for Yohimbe than there were for ephedra(a herb banned in the USA for safety concerns).
 *Do not take any medications including supplements and herbal remedies before first consulting your doctor. You could be putting your life in danger.*

                                         Wishing you all a happy Valentines Day.

                                                  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.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Benefits of Friendship on health

            Today's health and beauty buzz is on the benefits of friendship for good health.

Friends can bring happiness, laughter and joy in to your life.
Friends can encourage you and help you to achieve your goals.
Friends take care of you when you are ill. They run errands, collect medication and drive you to the doctor.
Friends can help take care of your children.                
Friends can console you during periods of grief and despair.
Friends can prevent loneliness by giving you a sense of belonging.
Friends can boost your self esteem and self worth.
Research has shown that people who have friends live longer, healthier and happier lives. 

There are many different forms of friendship all of which can contribute towards living a happy and fulfilled life.

1. Colleagues in the work place. Many times people like to keep their professional and personal lives separate. Most waking hours during the week are spent at work and with colleagues. You can develop great friendships with the people you work with.  
2. Siblings. As the old saying goes "we cannot choose our family". On the other hand, friends may come and go but sibling relationships are forever. Although siblings often go their own separate ways, the relationship is unique as you share a lifetime worth of memories. 
3. Your parents. Forget the mistakes your parents made. Share your lives with them as adults and enjoy each other's company. Their time is limited and precious.                                                     

4.   Your adult children. When your children are
      grown, your relationship changes and can
      turn into fulfilling friendships. Don't interfere
      in your adult child's life. Schedule time to spend
5.   Your partner or spouse. When you are friends
       with your partner, you want to build a better
       life together. Enjoy each other's company, laugh
       and cry together, share goals and interests.
6.   Your childhood and college friends. There are no friends like old friends.
7.  Your neighbors. You can become friends with your neighbors by welcoming them to the community. Offer friendly advice on schools and restaurants. Take over a welcome package such as a fruit basket, a house plant or dinner the day they move in.
8.  "Dog is man's best friend". This applies to all types of animals. Enjoy your pets. You will get the love you give back 10 fold.

We sometimes feel more at ease with our long time friends than we do with our own partner and family. It is not uncommon in times of extreme stress to reach out to old friends for comfort and support even if you are separated by distance.
Woman in particular are often more comfortable discussing personal issues with a close friend than with anybody else.

Pick your friends wisely......

Avoid negative friends. Happiness and negativity are both contagious. Attempt to surround yourself with positive people. Avoid toxic friendships. If after spending time with someone, you feel bad about yourself, sad and disillusioned, then they should be avoided.
Dump the frenemy. The frenemy belittles you making you feel inadequate and stupid. The frenemy seems to always point out the negative and is never truly happy for you. The frenemy is critical of your family, other friends, spouse and even your children
Appreciate your friends and don't take them for granted. They sustain you and have an enormous impact on psychological well being.
Learn to be your own best friend. Be kind to yourself.

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.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Conflict and Health

               Fight fair…….
Today’s health and beauty buzz is on the effect that conflict has on health.
Conflict can jeopardize your own health as well as your partner’s health.
  1. There is a rise in cytokines (proteins) which impair the immune system.
  2. Hardening of the coronary arteries leading to health problems including heart attack.
  3. Studies have shown that a high level of parental conflict can wreak havoc on the lives of their children.
  4. Stress which contributes to illness such as arthritis, cancer and diabetes.
Conflict in a relationship is inevitable. No two people can possibly agree upon everything in life and it is impossible to always get along with everyone you encounter. My husband and I recently celebrated out 26th wedding anniversary.  I married my first and only boyfriend whom I began dating at age 15.  We certainly have had our fair share of fights over the years but fortunately have always been able to reach a compromise on major issues.
Arguing can be a sign that your relationship is strong and passionate.  Squelching anger especially if you feel that you have been wronged is dangerous and can also cause serious health consequences. Spats are a necessary evil. Express anger and emotions sooner than later but if unresolved, you can go to bed angry and sleep on it!

Causes of marital strife:
  1. Money- the number one cause of marital strife.
  2. Children- different parenting views are a major source of disagreement.
  3. Household chores- the distribution of chores are often bones of contention.
  4. Irritating habits- certain habits can drive you crazy. Don’t be afraid to point them out.
  5. Family- in-laws have been the butt of jokes forever. Parents, step children, siblings and in-laws can all create conflict. Sometimes it is best to just hold your tongue and hope they leave quickly.
  6. Friends- Sometimes friends don’t necessarily have your best interest at heart and can be a negative influence.
  7. Infidelity- this can be devastating. There are many reasons why people cheat. Some include boredom in the marriage, curiosity, anger at your partner, unhappiness within the marriage, feeling trapped or simply being attracted to someone else. Women tend to look for emotional involvement and link sex with love. Men’s involvement is often primarily sexual.
  8. Expectations- sometimes we just expect too much from our partner and marriage is the opposite of what we had hoped for.

 We all have our own style of fighting. These are tips on ways to fight fair:-
  1. Choose your words carefully and no name calling. Your hurtful words can never be retrieved and can cause irreparable damage. Take a time out and resume your discussion when you are
  2. Avoid character assassination. Criticism is a common way to express anger but can be very harmful to a marriage as it is a personal attack. Exercise self control.
  3. Don’t run away. Avoidance or turning your back on an argument settles nothing. If you need to calm down, tell your spouse so and resume in 10 minutes.
  4. Keep your conversation to the point. There is no point in rehashing old grudges.
  5. Deal with what it is that is really bothering you.
  6. Choose your battles. Forget about the toilet seat, toothpaste cap, dishes left in the sink or clothes thrown on the floor. Try not to sweat the small stuff even if it does drive you crazy! Picking your battles applies to parent/child conflict too.
  7. Keep your fight private. Don’t involve your children or anyone else who may be present.
  8. Keep the conversation calm and civil. Avoid shouting and yelling.
  9. Accept the apology. It is important not to draw out the fight.
  10. Decide who is going to talk first and then switch. Keep silent whilst the other person has their say.
  11. Be realistic and own up to your part of the fight.
  12. Try to find the humor in it if you can. Laughter is important for well being.
  13. Remember what’s important. Do you really want to hurt the person you are supposed to love? 
No marriage is perfect and it is all a matter of compromise.
Some people say that love is blind. Studies show that couples who idealized each other before they got married, seemed to be happier and more satisfied in the long term. The way we see ourselves is fairly accurate. The way we see others is often shaped by hope.

Ways to avoid conflict:-
  • Don’t be over critical. We are entitled to our own points of view. Agree to
  • Have reasonable expectations. We are all human and make mistakes.
  • Spend time apart.  The decision should be based on what works best for you as a couple. Taking a break allows you to reconnect with yourself. Not all couples are comfortable spending time apart. Does absence make the heart grow fonder?
  • Spend time with your friends- Relationships with your friends are completely different from the relationship you have with your partner or your children. “Girls and Boys” nights out are healthy, enjoyable and necessary.
  • Spend quality time together. Arrange date nights or weekends where you concentrate and reconnect with each other. If you are watching your pennies then go for a drive, take a walk or take a picnic to the beach or a park.
  • Learn to enjoy your own company. Many people hate to be alone and often make decisions based upon this fear.  Enjoy your hobbies and personal growth.
  • Verbalize your feelings. Your partner cannot guess what you want or how you feel.
  • Make major decisions together reflecting both party’s desires and concerns.
  • Mutually respect each other’s interests, hobbies and career choices. They are equally important as yours even if you may not think so.
  • Respect each other’s privacy.  Don’t go through each others emails, cell phone messages, desk, purse, closet or car. We have the right to privacy even in marriage.  If you feel the need to snoop for whatever reason, there is a problem which needs to be addressed.  Discuss and agree on privacy boundaries with your partner.
Stay happy, healthy 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.