Calcium Needs At All Life Stages

It is the most abundant mineral in the body, present mainly in the bones and teeth. From the start, toddlers have an increased need for dietary calcium to support bone growth and skeletal development that takes place rapidly in the early years of life. This development and its need – continues into the teenage years and is particularly crucial for adolescent girls who need to stock their calcium supplies to prevent osteoporosis later in life. Adequate intake at this stage is needed to support ongoing bone growth and to achieve peak bone mass. It is an essential dietary element required in optimal amounts for good bone health, efficient nerve and muscle function, and overall cardiovascular health. Without enough of it throughout life, a person’s bones can begin to weaken over time. That can make it more difficult to stay active while also creating a higher risk of fractures and osteoporosis. A person’s bone density will generally reach its peak at roughly age 30, and then begin to fade after that. Adequate daily intake can help maintain proper bone density and help prevent osteoporosis – which creates porous and fragile bones. It makes up about three percent of the earth’s crust and is a basic component of most animals and plants. Eating a diet rich in calcium helps to restore it to the bones; supplements can help as well.

Why is calcium necessary?

It is known mostly for its role in building and maintaining strong bones and teeth, but it is also required for proper functioning of the heart, muscles and nervous system. It plays a role in maintaining normal blood pressure, regulating blood clotting. It is also associated with relieving mood swings, food cravings, and decreasing the pain, tenderness and bloating associated with premenstrual syndrome.

What are the deficiency signs?

Deficiency symptoms (also known as hypocalcemia) range from minor – numbness or tingling of the fingers, muscle cramps, lethargy and poor appetite – to more severe, including mental confusion, skeletal malformations, dermatitis, and in infants, delayed development. Illnesses such as osteoporosis (brittle, thin, porous bones that easily break) and rickets are also associated with a deficiency.

How much, and what kind, does an adult need?

If vitamin D levels are optimal, most adults should be able to meet their daily calcium needs via a varied diet. When individuals are unable to get enough of it through a diet or for those who may need more than the recommended daily allowance, supplements can help. Doctors recommends women supplement with 500 to 700 mg of calcium citrate in two divided doses taken with meals for a total of 1,000-1,200 mg a day from all sources. Supplementing with its citrate form, which is more easily absorbed than other forms, taken with half the dosage amount of magnesium.

How much does a child need?

The normal daily recommended intake for children is as follows: infants through three years of age is 400-800 mg; children between 4 and 10 years of age is 800 mg; adolescent males is 800-1,200 mg; and adolescent females is 800-1,200 mg daily.
How do you get enough from foods?

An abundant source of this mineral in the American diet is dairy products – two glasses of milk per day provide 1,000-1,200 mg. If you choose to get via dairy products – and this is not essential, as there are many other calcium-rich foods – make sure you use only hormone-free, organic dairy products to reduce your exposure to the antibiotics and hormones found in many dairy products. Non-dairy foods include: greens such as collards, mustard, kale, and bok choy; canned salmon (with bones) and sardines; tofu, soy milk, fruit juice and cereals; blackstrap molasses; and broccoli.

Are there any risks associated with too much?

Its supplements can be constipating, and should be balanced with magnesium as discussed above. Excessive amounts in the blood may have negative effects, including nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and increased urination. More serious complications include kidney toxicity, confusion, and irregular heart rhythm. Studies indicate that men who take too much may have an increased risk of prostate cancer, and should limit their dietary intake to 500-600 mg daily from all sources.

Who should we take it as supplements?

It is an important mineral for the human body. It helps build and protect your teeth and bones. Getting enough of it over your lifetime can help prevent osteoporosis. Most people get it through their normal diet. Dairy foods and leafy green vegetables have high levels of calcium. Your health care provider will tell you if you need to take extra dose id required.

TYPES OF CALCIUM SUPPLEMENTS

Forms of calcium include:
Calcium Type
Pros
Calcium citrate (21% calcium)
Most easily absorbed
Calcium carbonate
Least expensive; has more elemental calcium

Calcium carbonate. Over-the-counter (OTC) antacid products contain it and these sources of it do not cost much. Each pill or chew provides 200 mg or more of calcium.

Calcium citrate. This is a more expensive form of calcium. It is absorbed well on an empty or full stomach. People with low levels of stomach acid (a condition that is more common in people over age 50) absorb this better than other forms.

HOW TO TAKE HIGHER DOSE

Increase the dose of your supplement slowly. Your provider may suggest that you start with 500 mg a day for a week, and then add more over time.Try to spread the extra dose you take over the day. DO NOT take more than 500 mg at a time. Taking it throughout the day will:

Allow more calcium to be absorbed

Cut down on side effects such as gas, bloating, and constipation
The total amount adults need every day from food and supplements:
19 to 50 years: 1,000 mg/day
51 to 70 years: Men – 1,000 mg/day; Women – 1,200 mg/day
71 years and over: 1,200 mg/day

SIDE EFFECTS AND SAFETY

DO NOT take more than the recommended amount of it. Try the following if you have side effects from taking extra calcium:

Drink more fluids.

Eat high-fiber foods

Switch to another form of calcium if the diet changes do not help.

Always tell your provider and pharmacist if you are taking extra dose. Its supplements may change the way your body absorbs some medicines. These include certain types of antibiotics and iron pills.

Are there any other special considerations?

Vitamin D is key to absorbing and so make sure to get adequate intake of vitamin D. Vitamin D, often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” is actually a fat-soluble hormone that the body can synthesize naturally. There are several forms, including two that are important to humans: D2 and D3. Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is synthesized by plants, and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is synthesized by humans when skin is exposed to ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays from sunlight. The active form of the vitamin is calcitriol, synthesized from either D2 or D3 in the kidneys. Vitamin D helps to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus.

Vitamin K2 is a beneficial form of Vitamin K for bones. Unlike Vitamin K1 which is used to activate blood clotting proteins, Vitamin K2 is beneficial for activating proteins which help bind calcium to bones. Vitamin K2 is found in food but not in anywhere near the concentration found in Osteo-K. Taking Osteo-K helps boost daily intake of vitamin K2 to support bone health. Older people may need to take it in extra larger doses because they do not absorb it as well as younger people.

If you take oral vitamin D,you also need to take vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 helps to move calcium to proper areas where its needed and removes it from sites where it shouldn’t be present like arteries and soft tissues. When you take vitamin D, your body creates more of these vitamin K2-dependent proteins, the proteins that will move it around. They have a lot of potential health benefits. But until the K2 comes in to activate those proteins, those benefits aren’t realized. So, really, if you’re taking vitamin D, you’re creating an increased demand for K2. Vitamin K2 deficiency is one of the reason why people suffer from vitamin D toxicity symptoms which includes improper calcification leading to hardening of arteries. And vitamin D and K2 work together to strengthen your bones and improve your heart health.

It seems likely that 150 to 200 mgs of vitamin k2 is enough to activate your K2 dependent proteins to shuttle calcium to proper areas.

How can you tell that you are deficit of vitamin k2?

There is no specific tests for finding it. By assessing the lifestyle and diet you eat,one can find whether he is lacking the critical nutrients needed for the body. If you face following health conditions then you are likely deficient in vitamin K2.

Do you have osteoporosis?

Do you have heart disease?

Do you have diabetes?

If you are facing such symptoms, its better to think on deficiencies and take necessary steps.

The Top 10 Benefits and Uses of Essiac Tea

Essiac tea is an alternative health drink that is getting a lot of attention lately. It’s a tea that is comprised of several herbal elements include burdock, rhubarb, elm bark, and many other elements. It has been traced to being a major drink of indigenous tribes in North America. Researchers have been studying the drink for some time, and it has been shown to help the body in a number of ways. Drinking this on a regular basis could very well help with the following 10 benefits.

Liver Health

The first major benefit is in regard to the liver. The blend of herbs helps with cleaning the liver of toxicity. It can flush toxicity through the liver, and process it through the urine. With this tea, some individuals may see a reversal of issues related to jaundice. Which is a disease of the liver. While it’s not a miracle cure, it does support liver function, enzymes, and the removal of toxicity that can end up traveling through the body’s digestive tract. It can help boost immune system, and waste management, with a boost to the liver outright.

Ease Constipation

For individuals that are dealing with bowel movement issues, specifically constipation, this tea can help. The herbs can help soften the stool, and can help bring through enough fiber to help with intestinal distress. This is an easy laxative to take as it works with the body’s natural systems. It’s not a chemical stimulant, or harsh fibrous element. The herbs help the body manage waste, and assist with constipation with ease. There is no pain, or issue when taking this tea, as it helps the body within a few hours of drinking it, assuming the individual is struggling with constipation.

Iron Supplement

Essiac tea has a few key vitamins and minerals. One of the most common is iron. Iron is a very critical part of the body’s natural systems. With iron supplemented through tea drinking, you’ll find that the proteins in the blood help form red blood cells, and even help with reversing anemia. This strengthens circulation, and assists with proper production of hemoglobin. Staving off anemia is a great thing, and can help people that are struggling with diet and exercise, get a small boost in the right direction. It helps directly with the circulatory system, promoting heart health.

Blood Pressure Regulation

Those dealing with blood pressure issues, specifically high blood pressure, will find that the tea can help with circulation. It can help with lowering pressure, and regulating heartbeat. Those that utilize this as a calming drink, will find that it can help with a variety of different elements in the body. It can lower pressure, and even help with stress. It begins working within the first time taking it, and works as one drinks more of it through several days. Studies have shown that in a few days, pressure can significantly drop to safer levels.

Bone Health

Much like calcium, this tea can help with bone health. While it’s not the same compound as calcium, it does help with strengthening bone structure, and delivers a powerful mix of vitamins and minerals that the body utilizes to strengthen bone structure. There is a calcium element in this, but not as much as milk, but enough to help boost the body’s natural resources to help with strengthening bones that are susceptible, or may be weakening from injury, or malnutrition.

Energy Boost

While Essiac tea is not caffeinated like a cup of tea, there is an energy level boost given to drinkers of this tea. It’s done through an increase of vitamin-C, and B elements. By helping the body’s natural systems get a boost in vitamins, waking up becomes easier, and getting a little natural energy delivers on the premise that coffee does, without the crash. That’s right, there’s no crash, there’s no sleepiness after drinking this, instead, energy becomes natural, without stimulants. It has a balance that works with the body.

Helps Digest Food

Having problems digesting food? Upset stomach? Nausea? Well, the benefit that this tea gives the digestive system is immense. It helps bring about the right pH levels of the body. By stimulating the stomach to produce the right enzymes, and bile production from the glands, you’ll find that digestion is much easier. That means that eating will not be a chore, and you’ll reduce heart burn, acid reflux, and much more. This helps by adding a helping hand to the stomach’s acid, so that it stabilizes a bit easier. It becomes easier to enjoy your favorite foods, that’s for sure.

Regulate Sugar Levels

While this is not a cure for diabetes, it has been shown to help with insulin production. It can help with insulin secretion, and management. This can help lower blood sugar spikes, and help keep levels lower, although it’s not a replacement for any diabetes treatment. It can help people that are susceptible to blood sugar spikes. This can also help with boosting the pancreas’s levels as well. For those that are diabetic, the tea can help with kidney function, and help with reducing toxicity. It helps with urination, frequency, and quantity as well.

Help The Skin

Researchers exploring the benefits of Essiac Tea have found that it can help with skin care. Used as a topical solution it can help with anti-septic, and anti-inflammatory elements. It also helps from the inside out, providing skin care elements, reduction of acne, and even fine lines. Those that are looking to help with the signs of aging will see a boost in overall skin care in a few days. It helps the body with hormonal secretions and balance, helping the skin heal from the rays of the sun, to the interior of the dermal layers.

Promotes Weight Loss

The last major thing that you’re going to find with this tea is that it helps with losing weight. By helping the body’s digestive system, you may get a boost of metabolic ratio. That means that you will burn calories, even when asleep. Pushing the metabolic rate is a great thing, and can lead to faster weight loss, and sustained management in time.

Summer Tips to Keep You Healthy

Dreaming about laying back on the sun lounger, sand between your toes and cocktail in hand. The sun’s rays feel good right? But they’re no friend to your skin.

Though you won’t see it right away, they give you wrinkles and age spots, and they’re the top cause of skin cancer!

Overexposure to UV rays from the sun or sunbeds is the number one cause of developing skin cancer. You need to make sure you are doing everything that you can to protect yourselves so that you can enjoy your time in the sun. With the approach of Sun Awareness Week, we thought it would be the perfect time to share with you some of our top tips for staying safe in the sun this summer.

1. Seek shade

From 11am to 3pm the sun is at its strongest. During this period it is recommended for you to stay out of the sun as you are more at risk of burning or developing heatstroke. If you are having lunch in your garden or at the sea-side you may seek shade under a parasol to have maximum protection.

2. Stay hydrated

Spending too much time in the sun without drinking water will get you chronically dehydrated. It is recommended to reduce the consumption of caffeinated drinks or alcoholic beverages during hot days, as this will tend to make you even more dehydrated. You should drink at least eight glasses of water every day and even more on hot days to stay hydrated. Dehydrated skin is more prone to sun damage, so drink plenty of water!

3. Wear sunscreen

When you are exposed to the sun, always make sure that you are wearing a sunscreen that is right for you. It is important to know which sunscreen is suitable for you skin type and blocks both ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B radiation. Before applying your sunscreen, always check its expiry date. It should usually last for about 12 months from opening, moreover you can also check the label on the product. Always apply liberally and remember to reapply after swimming even if it says it is a water resistant sunscreen. Remember also that UV rays bounce off sand, snow, concrete, and water.

4. Clothing

Cover up with a hat that shades your face, neck and ears and a good pair of sunglasses. When deciding about which fabric to wear in summer choose cotton to absorb excess sweating or close-weave fabrics which give the best protection. Skin that’s not usually in the sun is most likely to burn. So take extra care with your back, shoulders and tummy.

5. Self-tan

Instead of exposing yourself to potentially harmful UV rays, use a self-tan to achieve that healthy brown glow you’re desiring.

Get Benefits of Medical Marijuana For A Healthy Life

Medical marijuana is the name given to the cannabis and cannabinoids that are recommended by doctors for the treatment of numerous conditions or ailments. And if you are not treating any of your conditions or ailments with it, it won’t be termed as medical marijuana. It is widely used all over the world under legal framework for various medical purposes.

The marijuana plant contains hundreds of cannabinoids and each of them has a different effect on the patient’s body. With the latest researches that count for the health benefits of marijuana, its popularity has gained over the stigmas linked to weed. Being in New York, you can only use medical marijuana if you are suffering from some particular diseases under the legal framework.

The diseases that can be treated with medical marijuana in New York include Epilepsy and Seizures, Asthma, HIV/AIDS, and Alzheimer’s. It is advised for any patient to use medical marijuana safely in accordance with the physician’s prescription. In the nutshell, if medical marijuana is taken properly, it can prove to be a lot of beneficial to the user’s body.

Benefits of Medical Marijuana There are countless benefits of marijuana that make it a recommended dose for the patients suffering from various ailments or disorders.

1. It can cure many diseases. Medical marijuana is known for curing many diseases and physical problems. It can control epileptic seizures, fight Glaucoma, slow Alzheimer’s, help in preventing cancer from spreading, reduce Hepatitis C side-effects, treat inflammatory bowels, relieve arthritis pain, ease multiple sclerosis pain, help you get through chemo and much more.

2. It can help in losing weight. It regulates insulin production in one’s body and helps in managing the daily intake of calories more efficiently. You also might have noticed that people who consume weed are slimmer than the ones who don’t. Moreover, it also improves the body metabolism of the patient.

3. It can reduce anxiety and depression. A study has shown that medical marijuana can improve the user’s mood to a great extent and can even act as a mild sedative. It can easily kick out anxiety and depression out of patient’s mind.

4. It is the best alternative to dangerous addictions. It has been found that it easier to get attracted towards marijuana from all other types of lethal drug addictions. In other words, it can save many lives that are prone to other hard drugs.

5. It helps the user in improving focus. Medical marijuana helps people in focusing on their job and increases their mental creativity. It might not have proved to be helpful in improving short-term memory, but it does prove to be helpful in performing well at tests and makes you smarter.

6. It reverses the negative impact of smoking tobacco on your lungs. It doesn’t have any harmful effect on the user’s lungs. Instead of this, it eliminates the effects of tobacco smoking provided you have quit it.

7. It is a good choice for relaxation. It is a good option for people who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It can actually work on relieving the stress that is associated with PTSD.

6 Healthy Packaged Foods That Save You Time And Money

When choosing packaged foods, it’s important to read the labels. This can be time consuming but worth it. To save time, try focusing specifically on foods low in sugar, low in salt and high in protein. Stay away from anything containing high fructose corn syrup which is an unnecessary sugar additive. Why do we even need sugar in bread? Foods with the fewest ingredients are best. If you don’t know what an ingredient is, chances are it’s not good for you.

Marketing techniques labeling foods as Lite, gluten free, healthy or wheat may not always be the healthiest choice. As an educated consumer you should know the difference. Many so called “wheat” products may not be whole grain or made from whole wheat. The first ingredient should be whole wheat flour. Wheat flour, unbleached wheat flour, multigrain, enriched, and stone-ground wheat flour are alternative ways of saying “refined white flour.”

To save you some time in the grocery store, I’ve compiled a list of packaged healthy foods that can also save you money. Here are 6 packaged foods that I recommend:

1. Canned beans. Opt for the low salt version if you can. Always rinse the beans thoroughly to wash away any unnecessary salt. Try to avoid beans with sauce or refried beans that tend to be high in sodium.

2. vegetables. Plain vegetables without sauces and added salt are a healthy and delicious addition to any meal. Steamables are a great choice when you’re in a hurry or just too tired to cook. They are quick and easy and leave you with little clean up. They can be more expensive, so stock up when they’re on sale. I’ve found them on sale for as little or close to $1 a bag.

3. Frozen berries. Not only are they delicious, but can really save you money. Especially in the winter when berries are out of season and more expensive. Try mixing them in plain Greek yogurt. Or serving them with pancakes or French toast. It makes a natural sweet sauce. Sometimes we thaw them in the microwave, making them a little warm to pour over our pancakes. Try topping them with a dollop of Greek yogurt too. It gives it a taste that’s almost like a crepe.

4. Nut butter. If the ingredient says almonds, you have a winner. It takes some time to stir, but if you store it in the refrigerator, you shouldn’t have to stir it again.

5. Low sugar cereals. Ideally cereals should have less than 6 grams of sugar. Opt for whole grain cereal such as toasted oats and muesli. Unsweetened instant oatmeal can be thrown in the microwave for a quick & healthy breakfast.

6. Canned Tuna fish. Packed in water. This is a quick and inexpensive source of protein. I pack my tuna salad with lots of vegetables like onions, celery, carrots, vinegar, pepper and olive oil mayonnaise (it tastes just like the real thing without adding as much fat and calories).

When choosing pre-packaged foods just remember, marketing can be deceptive. The fewer ingredients, the more natural the product. Look for whole wheat flour as a first ingredient when selecting whole grain foods. Try to stay away from processed foods that are high in sodium, sugar or contain high fructose corn syrup.

Simple Steps to Improve Your Health

There are various ways of attaining good health and this article discusses easy techniques and small lifestyle changes that you can make in order to achieve a better, healthier lifestyle. Here are a few simple steps that might help you achieve better health –

1) Nutrition

Sustenance and Health is an online worldwide companion investigated diary that spotlights on the connection amongst nourishment and wellbeing. In the event that you need to keep your body clean, avoid sugar-loaded artificially treated nourishment that is so normally sold nowadays. Stick to home-made clean nourishment things that exclusive join crisp fixings without additives. These practices enable you to accomplish a superior build, as well as give a special reward of mental fulfillment. Consuming a sensible, balanced diet can help us to achieve optimal health throughout life.

Drink plenty of clean and safe water.Water is important for life and is necessary every day. A person needs about eight cups of fluid per day. When it is very hot, while working, sweating or suffering from diarrhea, vomiting or fever, a person needs to drink even more to replace the water that has been lost. If drinking-water is collected from a protected well or borehole it is important to store it in a clean container. If the water is from an unprotected well or river the water should be boiled for at least ten minutes and stored in a clean container (see advice on food hygiene)

2) Exercise

Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn. Regular trips to the gym are great but don’t worry if you can’t find a large chunk of time to exercise every day.

Our bodies are designed to move — they actually want exercise. Regular exercise is necessary for physical fitness and good health. It reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases.

3) Sleep

Sound sleep is as important as nutrition and exercise. Try to have at least 7-8 hours of sleep on a daily basis. Sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle and can benefit your heart, weight, mind, and more.

Research suggests that people who get less sleep i.e. six or fewer hours a night have higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins than those who get enough sleep sleep

4) Yoga

Yoga can provide relief from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Yoga is being practiced as an alternative healthcare practice. The number of Yoga practitioners continues to rise tremendously. Of the many benefits ascribed to yoga practice, blood pressure control is among the most studied. Now-a-days, millions and millions of people across the globe have benefitted by the practice of Yoga which has been preserved and promoted by the great eminent Yoga Masters from ancient time to this date.

Yoga’s attention to breathing techniques and meditation can also improve your health. Regular yoga practice may promote better posture and help you do activities requiring a greater range of motion, from dancing to reaching up to a high shelf. A lot of yoga poses, especially the warrior pose, plank pose and boat pose, also help tone the muscles of the trunk – the hips, abdominals and lower back. These muscles contribute to balance and improve back function.

8 Health Benefits of Hydrogen Water

Hydrogen water has the potential to offer the body a wide range of positive health benefits. This type of water is made by changing the composition of standard tap water. This is achieved with a water ionizer which creates a reaction in the water through electrolysis or by using a magnesium stick. Let’s take a look at a few of the most promising benefits:

Anti-aging properties

A very appealing quality of hydrogen water is the potential to significantly slow the development of wrinkles. The increased hydrogen in the water has the positive effect of suppressing the reactive oxygen species, which will benefit the body’s anti-aging properties.

Great for thirst

A regular drink of hydrogen water is the most effective way to up the body’s intake of hydrogen. This chemical element is a lot more effective at increasing the hydration level in the body compared to drinking plain bottled water. In fact, it is nearly six times more effective at satisfying your thirst.

Improved absorption

Drinking hydrogen water has the potential to make the body more effective at absorbing daily supplements. Plus, the body will be more efficient at absorbing food based nutrients compared to drinking regular bottled water.

Muscles and joints

This water is appreciated for its ability to lubricate the muscles and joints. It is particularly useful for those with painful or swollen joints, and can help people suffering with the first stages of arthritis.

Brain function

A proper intake of water is essential to make sure the brain is able to fully function as intended. With the proper hydration, the brain is able to function at optimal levels, which means improved memory, increased alertness, improved focus and reduced confusion.

Remove impurities

It is very effective at removing impurities from the body. Also, it has the ability to greatly improve the quality of the body’s organs and cells.

Blood pressure

Hydrogen water is useful for maintaining the all-round performance of the body which includes regulating your blood pressure. Hypertension is a typical problem for those that are significantly dehydrated.

Hydrates the skin

It will naturally hydrate the skin. Without the proper hydration the skin can soon start to sag and appear flaky. A regular intake of water is necessary to maintain the best quality skin condition. Hydrogen water is believed to be the most effective option to hydrate the body and maintain the fresh and healthy looking skin.

Overall, a proper intake of water means your body and heart does not need to work so hard and therefore critical to your all-round health and well-being.

5 Vital Tips to Stay Fit and Healthy Before Your Wedding

Tying the knot is one of the most significant milestones of one’s life and the days leading to your big day are some of the most exhilarating yet nerve-racking ones. There are a million things to worry about your special day starting from choosing the right wedding dress and the most click-worthy bouquet to dreadful stuff like forgetting the vows or tripping on the aisle.

This means there are quite a few things that may fall aside when it comes to your big day. But there is one thing that you can’t afford to lose sight of at this time and that happens to be your health.

So here are a few things that will help to keep you healthy by enhancing your immunity and thus, keeping sickness at bay. Just read on.

    • Simplicity is Bliss – You should enjoy every second of the process and not to put too much on the plate. Though it is true that it will be awesome if you prepare an inventive dinner each night by finding items while you casually stroll through the farmer’s market but ultimately this would create unnecessary stress. That is why you should try to keep the food simple, have left-overs and purchase pre-chopped veggies. You should be focusing on de-bloating and easy-to-make foods while getting ready for the wedding day and restrict the amount of stress factors.
    • Get Ample Rest – Almost all the time, you hear this advice but how many of us really have the stipulated eight hours of sleep on the reg! It is true that deep down sleep is essential for our health. Many people think that they can catch up on the sleep in the weekends but keep it in mind that sleep is a daily rhythm and you should go to sleep and wake up the same time every day for staying fit.
    • Meditate – For effective distressing, you must ensure that you take out a few minutes each day for meditation. This should be a peaceful or Zen time for you and you should make it such a habit that your morning or nights should not be complete without it. At the time when you meditate the cortisol level decreases and that, in turn, helps to reduce your belly fats. Keep it in mind that you will be able to take care of others only when you take care of yourself in the proper way. So it is completely worth it, if once on a day you keep your phone switched off and peek into your inner self.
    • Commit to Fitness – Fitness happens to be an indispensable factor that contributes to your good looks. Not only that, it also helps you to stay healthy. It is true that exercising during sickness is not recommended but if you exercise regularly, your overall immunity gets boosted by strengthening your bacteria-fighting immune system cells. This makes you more resistant towards flus and colds.
  • Get Sufficient Amount of Protein –Carbs and proteins both have 4 calories per gram, but protein is much more satisfying or filling. This implies that you will be less likely to be inclined towards the unhealthy foods when you include the lean proteins into your regular diets. So you can opt for oats as breakfasts or go for fruit delicacies like a mango smoothie that can stimulate your taste buds and also enhance your health quotient to a great extent.

How to Dine Out and Stay Healthy

What these researchers found out about fast food was pretty impressive, from a (bad) health perspective: Each one of those speedy breakfasts, lunches, or dinners contained an average of more than 1,750 milligrams (mg) of sodium.

To put these findings in perspective, consider that the new U.S. government dietary guidelines recommend that a person consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium–over the course of a whole day. Would you be shocked if I also told you that over half of those 6,500 single meals (57 percent of them) contained more sodium than the 1,500 mg daily supply?

Far too much salt

And how much sodium does the human body really require in a day? Only about 500 mg. And yet, the experts estimate that the average American swallows between 6,900 mg and 9,000 mg of sodium every day.

Since 1 teaspoon of salt contains roughly 2,000 mg of sodium, this means that the average American is downing up to 4 1/2 teaspoons of salt each and every day! If a high-sodium diet can leave you feeling bloated, what must these folks be feeling?

A hazardous substance

For people sensitive to sodium, such as those with a family history of hypertension, people with diabetes, African Americans, and the elderly, the accumulation of too much salt in the body can be particularly risky–it can, for example, increase one’s chances of getting heart disease, a leading killer. Add to this the fact that about half the people with high blood pressure aren’t even aware that they have hypertension–and, Houston, we’ve got a problem here.

Consuming less sodium in restaurants

Now that you know that restaurant food in particular is laden with piles of sodium, maybe it’s time for us all to review the tips given by the American Heart Association (AHA) to reduce sodium intake when dining out:

  • Get to know which foods are low in sodium, and look for them on the menu.
  • Ask for your dish to be prepared without salt.
  • When you order, be specific about how you want your food prepared.
  • Don’t add salt to your food. Instead of the salt shaker, reach for the pepper shaker.
  • Ask for fresh lemon and squeeze its juice onto your dish instead of using salt. (Lemon juice goes well with fish and vegetables, for example.)

And consume less fat as wellAs always, we’ve got to also continue to keep track of the calories and fat when dining out. What should your daily target be for calories and fat? The AHA now recommends that most adults, besides limiting their sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day, consume no more than about 2,000 calories and 20 grams of saturated fat (the artery-clogging kind) each day.

Healthy options are possible–even at McDonald’s (sort of)

So how are you supposed to navigate the unhealthy meals being dished out by so many of today’s eating establishments? If you find yourself at a McDonald’s, for example, what can you do to stay healthy? The medical and health news publisher WebMD recommends steering clear of the fatty offerings and going with the Egg McMuffin, which totals

  • 300 calories
  • 12 grams of fat (5 grams of it saturated fat)
  • 2 grams of fiber
  • protein that should help you feel satisfied for hours

But… please know that the McMuffin falters in the sodium department, containing as it does a whopping 820 mg of the stuff, or a little more than half the daily limit of 1,500 mg.… And even at Burger King (sort of)

In Burger King, you could choose the Egg and Cheese Croissan’wich, which provides

• 320 calories

• 16 grams fat (7 grams of it saturated)

• 11 g of protein to keep your hunger at bay

Like the McMuffin’s, however, the Croissan’wich’s sodium content is still too high: 690 mg.

If you’re ordering lunch at Burger King, the chicken baguette sandwich will supply you with 350 calories and 5 grams of fat.

A great source of dietary info from restaurants

HealthyDiningfinder is a website that has teamed up with restaurants and with registered dietitians to help diners in the U.S. find–and restaurants to serve–food that passes or surpasses a list of healthy-eating criteria. The website shows diners a selection of restaurants in their area that offer tasty, dietitian-approved, menu choices, while it inspires the restaurants themselves to offer healthier choices.

The site also provides tips on how to decrease the content and consumption of calories, fat, and sodium. In order to meet HealthyDiningfinder‘s “Sodium Savvy” criteria, for example, an entrée can have no more than 750 mg of sodium, whereas appetizers, side dishes, and desserts must contain no more than 250 mg.

Playing with HealthyDiningfinder

Here’s how I had fun playing with this website:

  1. Go to the search mechanism on HealthyDiningfinder.com and you’ll find the search parameters listed in a column down the left-hand side of the page.
  2. Type in your city, state, and zip code. (It’s not necessary to enter your exact street address.)
  3. Narrow your search to within 5, 10, 15, 20, or 50 miles of your house, depending on how far you’re willing to drive for a meal.
  4. Don’t bother choosing a “Price Range”–you might as well see all the restaurant options available out there.
  5. I clicked on only 1 “Cuisine” choice at a time–“American/Family”; “Asian/Chinese”; “Italian”; Fast/Quick”; “Mexican”; “Seafood”; “Other”; etc.). By choosing just a single category each time, I could keep my search results simple.
  6. Click the “Apply” button after each of your “Cuisine” choices, take note of the results, and then go back to the search page and unclick your last choice. Choose another type of cooking that you’re interested in and click “Apply” again. Repeat as long as you want to keep looking.
  7. I also didn’t bother to choose any of the 3 Specialties–“Sodium Savvy,” “Kids LiveWell,” and “Coupons”–because whenever a restaurant popped up in the search results, its specialties were automatically listed below its name and logo.

A couple of surprisesHealthyDiningfinder‘s search form worked pretty well for me, although it presented me with a couple of surprises. A Hooters restaurant here in Baltimore, for example, proudly listed 7 “Healthy Dining Options”–who knew? And when I searched “Seafood,” not a single restaurant turned up, even when I extended the search out to 50 miles. I have to assume that the “Seafood” category was not functioning, since I live in Baltimore, a city that sits right on the Chesapeake Bay and is world-renowned for its piscine delights. Oh–that reminds me of 1 further step:

8. At some point in your search, be sure to click on the last category, “Other.” When I finally got around to searching it, several seafood places did pop up–although none was a Baltimore great.

Snake Oil Sellers and Health

Someone discovered that I’m a fifty something male so every day my inbox fills up with news of miracle cures for low testosterone and erectile dysfunction. I also get emails about the health benefits of lemon juice, baking powder and apple cider vinegar for conditions from arthritis to diabetes to indigestion. Some of these miracle cures are already in your kitchen, but the majority are potions concocted in a laboratory in Taiwan – and they are going to cost.

I should say at this point, that I am not a medical practitioner and the opinions I express here are based on a dose of common sense mixed with a dram of scepticism rather than on any expert knowledge or extensive research into medical issues.

When I open one of these emails, the typical pitch goes like this:

1. You can’t trust the medical establishment – they’re in cahoots with Big Pharma to make you ill and keep you ill – type 2 diabetes being the crowning example.

2. Most if not all prescription medicines have dreadful side effects, some of which are worse than the condition you started with.

3. Surgery is a drastic way to make your back/shoulder/knee pain worse.

4. There are various natural remedies for almost every illness known to humanity, but because of pesticides, poor quality control etc you can’t just get your medicine from the supermarket. You need supplements. And ours happen to be the best.

5. If we don’t have a supplement to sell, we’ll sell you a cookery book or a set of DVDs

The same applies to exercise. These health gurus are now telling us that everything we thought was true about exercise is false. Far from keeping you lithe and young, conventional “cardio” and “carb burning” exercise clogs your body with free radicals that accelerate the aging process. Ditch the running, cycling and gym classes and buy our miracle exercise programme: four extremely intense minutes a day and you’ll have a physique to die for…

Some of the promises are clearly overblown and result in fairly swift use of the delete button. But the most effective messages are carefully crafted, with references to rigorously controlled trials published in respected medical journals and “case studies” of people like you and me with “before” and after “photos” to seal the deal.

The most pernicious aspect of these emails, though, is the claim that the medical establishment wants to keep you ill so they can make big bucks from your misfortune. Medical practitioners in the US, where almost all my emails originate, may have incentives – for billing purposes – to tell you you’re really ill and you need a battery of medications, surgery, physio etc. though I doubt it. But the situation in the UK is very different Here, because of NHS funding and resourcing issues, medical practitioners have more incentive to ration treatment. For example, patients with long-term conditions such as diabetes or hypertension can claim free prescriptions, so what’s in it for GPs in keeping patients drug-dependent for life? There is every incentive to minimise the use of surgery and other therapies because of long waiting lists. The NHS even has gate-keeping services to limit demand by offering telephone or online advice. The NHS certainly has no incentive in keeping you ill.

Similarly, because of lower food standards in the US, it might be difficult for many consumers there to access good quality food. That is not the case in the UK at the moment (though post-Brexit things may be different). Here food production and labelling standards mean that consumers can be confident that a pound of carrots will contain reasonable levels of whatever vitamins and minerals are associated with them.

Some gurus are out to sell the benefits of complementary therapies: reiki, reflexology, acupuncture. These may be helpful – or at worst harmless – for minor ailments or for pain relief for osteo-arthritis. However, the danger comes when they are peddled as cures for cancer and heart disease.

Other gurus alert you to the dangers of eating certain foods: “Never eat these five foods!” they scream. Wheat phobia is a fairly common one and seems to stem from the paleo community, who teach that farming is the worst human activity ever. The fear of wheat is now spreading to other grains that were still benign yesterday: oats, rye, barley. Rice and potatoes are also pure poison for the paleos.

Some gurus tell tales of remote Tibetan villages where everyone lives to be 150 because they use some mysterious herb in their tea. It’s true that there are “blue zones” where a significant proportion of people live to a ripe old age and in fine fettle. However, all the research indicates that this is never due to a single factor but to a combination of factors such as genetics, diet and lifestyle. For example, remaining physically active and being part of a close community appear to be crucial. You can’t replicate these factors in a bottle.

Some advice looks innocuous because there doesn’t seem to be any selling going on. For example, drinking warm water, lemon juice and honey every morning. However, to get the “free report” on the miracle that is lemon juice you have to provide your email address, which is then sold to other snake oil sellers, so that like me, you’re soon inundated with pseudo-medical advice.

Remember, most of these gurus have no formal medical training at all, and the minority who do have opted for a comfortable living as medical heretics.

When you see a claim for the benefits of taking magnesium or L-Arginine, check it out on a reputable website like WebMD. You will generally find:

1. The claims are overblown, i.e. there is little or no evidence that the herb, spice or mineral has any appreciable impact on serious conditions such as cancer, heart disease etc.

2. A clinical trial on a small group of patients showed some impact on a minor or rare condition – this is the “kernel of truth” that makes the claim defensible in case of litigation.

3. Overall though, the list of proven uses is much shorter than is claimed.

4. There are risks, for example, for pregnant women, the elderly or people using other medications.

If the sales blurb refers to clinical trials carried out at a university or research institute, check directly on the institution’s website. Did such a trial take place, and if so, what were the results?

Similarly, check with your country’s food and drug regulator. What advice are they giving about this miracle potion?

Always be wary of the snake oil seller’s call to action, which usually rounds off a long and tedious email or video presentation:

1. A stark reminder that your condition is wrecking your life.

2. Orthodox treatments are dangerous or ineffective.

3. You have to take responsibility for your health because your doctors and their mates in Big Pharma don’t give a damn about you.

4. The answer to your problems is available at a massive discount but you need to buy within the next 15 minutes.

5. Get your credit card ready.

Of course, if you don’t buy the miracle cure there and then, you’ll get reminder emails for several days afterwards saying the discount is still available for you alone because “we really care about your glaucoma/rheumatism/varicose veins etc.”

When I get emails from the gurus, my approach is:

1. Never accept claims for miracle cures unless or until there is clear evidence to support such claims i.e. rigorous clinical trials conducted by a reputable institution such as a university.

2. Never use any supplements without checking that you really need them, and they work. Then check the ingredients and quality control. Read independent reviews wherever possible.

3. Be wary of paying for any diet or exercise programme until you have seen it in action: be sure that you can commit to it and that it will work for you – physically and mentally. Where possible read independent reviews before parting with any cash.

4. Avoid fads such as therapies, lifestyles or superfoods that have no proven efficacy.

In my family, our approach to health issues is:

1. Have regular check-ups with an orthodox medical practitioner. Increase the frequency as you get older or if you have a long-term condition.

2. Only take supplements if you really can’t get the vitamins and minerals you need from your diet, such as Vitamin D in the winter, or if your doctor recommends it because of a medical condition or other issue.

3. Use complementary therapies where there is a proven medical benefit and/or where you feel some tangible benefit, such as pain relief, relaxation or de-stressing. Do not use these therapies instead of orthodox medicine, particularly for serious conditions such as cancer or heart disease.

4. If you want to follow a diet or eating plan, find one that suits your likes and life-style. If you want to lose or gain weight, or if you have a condition such as diabetes or coeliac disease, follow proven medical advice for your condition.

5. Follow an exercise plan that suits you, whether it be walking to the shops or running marathons. Exercise should be fun, so find an activity that you can enjoy and commit to. If you can afford it, find a personal trainer who can help you design an exercise programme that works for you and keeps you motivated.

6. If you don’t want to eat healthily or do any exercise, be mindful of the potential consequences.

7. If you are a parent or carer, follow this approach for your child or the person you are caring for, as well as for yourself.