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How To Improve Muscle Strength In Later Life

Amazing news. A moderate exercise routine along with regular intake of oily fish fatty acids holds immobility at bay in elderly subjects according to a recent trial presented at the British Science Festival in Aberdeen.

Subjects over 65 who got omega-3 fatty acids gained nearly two times as much muscle strength after exercise than those who take olive oil. More work, larger this time, is planned to confirm the findings and understand more about just why muscle condition gets better.

As part of healthy aging, muscle size goes down by 0.5 to 2% each year. Known as sarcopenia, this natural loss can bring both frailty and lack of mobility as you age. Data for the United States suggests 25% of those ages 50 to 70 have sarcopenia, as many as half of people at 80 years old have the condition. Beyond the loss of independence and mobility of the patient, the need for and cost of constant care, there’s the cost of hospital admissions due to falls. Almost 1.5% of the U.S. health care budget is given to sarcopenia related medical costs.

Earlier work has shown that livestock fed omega 3 rich diets had more muscle. This was the finding that prompted the University of Aberdeen’s Dr. Stuart Gray to see if these fatty acids could help turn back the clock on sarcopenia in older people. In the first round of research, Gray demonstrated by MRI images that middle aged rats fed fish oil supplements lost less lean muscle mass than those fed a normal diet. The fish oil seemed to have anabolic and muscle building effects in the subject rats. Of course since rats aren’t people, this finding only meant so much.

The brought Gray and his team to recruit 14 females over 65 and ask them to undergo a 12 week exercise program that involved two 30 minute workouts using standard leg muscle exercises. Half the subjects were given omega-3 fatty acids known as EPA and DHA, the other half got an olive oil placebo. Leg muscle strength of the subjects was tested at the start and end of the study.

Continues below…

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How To Improve Muscle Strength In Later Life Continued…

The women who got olive oil upped their muscle mass by 11% while those taking EPA and DHA showed a 20% increase. That’s a statistically significant number.

But you must keep in mind that not all fish oil supplements have the right amounts of these fatty acids. The amount of EPA varies from product to product. Your best bet is to find the supplements that have the highest amounts of dietary EPA and DHA – or choose food sources such as a half serving of oily fish. When getting omega-3 from fish, the way it’s prepared has an impact – broiled or baked is best, fried cancels out the benefits of the fish oil.

Experts also know that men and women are different in how they synthesis protein and how they respond to exercise. Older women have similar protein synthesis levels as younger ones, but older men have lower levels of protein synthesis than younger men. Older men increase their protein synthesis in response to exercise, while women don’t do this to any extent, though their levels are higher naturally.

Can you change the rate of your own muscle loss? Yes, by making some simple lifestyle changes – being more active and eating a diet with more natural sources of proteins.

To your good health,

Mcability / Pixabay

Play The Game: Wear A Pedometer

Walking is one of the safest, most effective workouts there is, and we all know we should be doing more of it. But following through isn’t always easy though a new study may hold the key to helping people take more steps every day – wearing a pedometer. The research on the effectiveness of pedometers evaluated two different prescriptions for physical activity in older patients and appeared in the respected Annals of Family Medicine.

The study on walking included 330 non-active seniors (65+) living in New Zealand whose walking rates were tracked for over a year. At the start of the study, all the subjects were considered healthy enough to be active, but most said they actually got little exercise. The subjects were randomly assigned to either be given a pedometer or not and encouraged to follow the country’s “Green Prescription” for being active. The initiative is focused on trying to get people to do at least 30 minutes of moderately intense activity every day. Both groups also got a visit with a primary care physician and a total of 3 counseling sessions by phone over the following 12 weeks. All this was aimed at getting them up and moving.

At the end of the year, both groups had gotten more active. But, those who had been given the pedometers nearly doubled – 50 minutes vs. 28 minutes – their weekly time spent walking compared to those who hadn’t gotten the devices. The older adults got more active just by wearing these devices. They could check their progress during the day against goals for being active that they’d decided upon earlier.

Continues below…

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Play The Game : Wear A Pedometer Continued…

Also of note, while neither group lost weight, both groups did see big improvements in blood pressure.

Why did the pedometers work? According to study lead author Gregory Kolt, the head of the School of Science and Health at the University of Western Sydney in Australia, wearing these devices does let you see how active you are. And since they are both affordable and accessible, pedometers are likely to be a great addition to public health efforts to get people up and exercising.

Pedometers are able to sense your body motion and keep count of your footsteps. That number is converted into distance by knowing the typical length of your stride. Wearing one can be a great motivator that you can wear all the time, or just when you’re out for a walk.

When it comes to choosing a pedometer, investigate the different types (i.e. accelerometer, coiled spring or hairspring mechanism), think about what you want it to do (total daily steps, workout tracking) and how you’ll wear the device. Size and comfort are key, especially if you’re tracking total steps in a day. You want a secure clip mechanism so you don’t lose the pedometer and the display should be easily read without having to take off the device to do so. Most important of all, if there’s a reset button, be sure it’s in a place where you won’t hit it by accident during your regular activities. As you might expect, there are apps that work like pedometers, but like the device itself, they have their pluses and minuses.

Science knows that being inactive is responsible for many chronic health problems, which is why your health care team are always asking about activity level. Now we see that actively keeping track of your walking might get people to do more, without even realizing it.

To your good health,

geralt / Pixabay

Feel More Confident In Your Skin

Feeling a bit down about how you look… experts tell us that boosting body confidence is 90% mental and has little to do with losing weight, getting a makeover or buying a store’s worth of clothes and jewelry. Here’s what they suggest…

Prepare... don’t decide on the day of a big event what clothes and accessories you’ll wear. Pulling things together at the last minute leaves you rushed and liable to forget something or encounter some other unexpected mishap. Just a bit of extra time in planning what you’ll wear, ensuring it’s clean and pressed and ready can make a huge difference in how you look, and feel.

Remember, others are insecure too. Almost always they are so busy worrying about how they look they don’t have time to think about you. They don’t see what you hate about your hair, your clothes, your mannerisms.

Fake it. Pretending isn’t just for kids, spend five minutes each morning before you leave and picture yourself looking good, imagine how those you encounter will also think you look good. Plant a message of confidence in your mind as you begin the day and in time you’ll come to believe it.

Put the phone away. Checking it every second makes you look bad… tells everyone you’re not available to pay attention to them, or anything new. What’s more, the blue light makes you face look sickly.

A lot of how you look comes from the clothes you wear. To get help with this we’ve taken the advice of wardrobe consultant Terri Ghio who runs The Style Institute, a coaching program for personal stylists. Too many of us dress like we did in high school or from a look we saw in a magazine or catalog that isn’t at all suited to us.

Continues below…

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Are Your Genetics Keeping You Fat? (1 tip to change fast)

Ever heard the excuse “I’m overweight because of my genetics”?

Are several members of your family overweight and you just figured, you were stuck that way too? Well, I have great news. Recent studies reveal that being overweight has NOTHING to do with genetics and EVERYTHING to do with your lifestyle.

BUT, if you make the wrong choices… well, you know how that ends.

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Feel More Confident In Your Skin Continued…

Here’s some help…

Pull out your favorite outfit, the one you wear a lot and has you feeling like you look great. Try it on and consider why it’s right… the color, cut, fabric. Use this outfit as a guide.

Shop for your body shape… your real shape. No matter how smart and elegant something is, no matter how good it looks on a mannequin, if it’s not made to suit your body shape, it won’t look good and you won’t feel good in it.

- Find the one thing you love about your body, and work to focus attention on that.
Whether it’s a haircut to frame your face, a style that hides a spare tire, look for what flatters and stick with those styles. Invest in the best quality basics you can afford.

- Stop staring in the mirror, it’s way too easy to get obsessed about looks. So check your teeth and hair, take a quick look at the full view of your outfit and then go about your day.

- Match every negative thought about your body with at least one positive one.

Exercise, even a half hour a day, will have you feeling better about your body, how it moves and how you feel. Over time, this will bring real, visible results too.

To your good health,

cascalheira / Pixabay

Is Fiber Really That Good?

You’ve probably heard a lot about fiber… mostly that you should be getting more of it as part of an overall healthy, balanced diet. So it’s good for you… but just what is this stuff, and how does it work in the body?

Fiber is a carb that is a natural part of plants that we eat but can’t digest, which means this material passes through your digestive system pretty much intact, and having no calorie value. There are two types – soluble and insoluble and both are equal in importance for your body. They help with overall health, your digestion as well as working to keep things like diabetes, obesity, heart disease diverticulitis and constipation at bay.

Experts tell us that women should take in about 25 grams of fiber daily, men about 38 grams. The average adult only eats 15 grams of fiber per day!

Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a sort of gel. This slows digestion and many types act as prebiotics that nourish the good bacteria in your digestive system. It also improves blood sugar control by slowing down the rate at which food moves from your stomach, avoiding the rise in blood sugar that often comes after meals. The delay in the emptying of the stomach may also be helpful in weight loss by keeping you feeling full and satisfied for longer.

Some sources of soluble fiber… oatmeal, lentils, apples, oranges, pears, nuts, cucumbers, celery and carrots. There are many others.

Insoluble fiber won’t dissolve in water so adds bulk to the diet and helps prevent constipation. This type of fiber speeds the passage of food and waste through your digestive system. Insoluble fiber is found mainly in veggies and whole grains – wheat bran, seeds, barley, brown rice, zucchini, celery, broccoli, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, dark leafy greens, raisins and grapes. There are many other natural sources as well.

Solution for all: For the gluten sensitive/intolerant, you might consider quinoa, brown rice, oats or corn as gluten free grains that taste great too.

Continues below…

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WARNING: The truth about Moles, Warts and Skintags…

There are so many “scare” stories that it’s sometimes hard to know what to believe. Which is why this is so timely…

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Is Fiber Really That Good? Continued…

Since both soluble and insoluble fiber are important for keeping the body healthy, nature often puts the two types together in the same food. Some examples? Whole grains. Fruits. Vegetables. Beans. Nuts. Seeds. The natural fiber is always a good bet and comes with many other nutrients besides. You may have noticed products like cookies, drinks, sugared cereals and even ice cream with fiber added. Don’t be fooled, this is not the same as getting your fiber from natural sources.

Whole foods are always the choice for optimal health. Refined grains, highly processed foods and juices have been stripped of the natural fiber, as well as many other nutrients, and don’t offer the same benefit to the body.

If you have bowel problems or even high cholesterol numbers, it might be a good idea to talk to your health care provider about a fiber supplement. A registered dietician can also be helpful. If you do increase fiber intake, do it slowly so you don’t suffer gas or bloating and always drink plenty of water.

If you’re still not convinced that adding fiber to your diet is a smart move
- consider this. Research from 2013 found that those with the highest intakes of fiber have a far lower risk of dying of any cause. The study included nearly 400,000 subjects and saw that for every 10-gram increase in intake of fiber, risk of death went down 12% in men, 15% in women. Hard to argue with those numbers.
To your good health,

PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

Health Or Happiness…

Here is a surprise. Research has found evidence that those who are in poor health are often just as happy as those who are considered healthy. Conditions like cancer actually appear to have little impact on a person’s happiness, while others have a far different result. A recent study appearing in the Journal of Happiness Studies supports this idea, but makes an important point. Anyone whose daily life is disrupted because of their condition (urinary incontinence, severe, chronic pain) suffers a lasting negative impact on their sense of happiness.

Study lead author Erik Angner, Ph.D. from George Mason University points to this research as the first to measure the degree different health conditions disrupt daily activity. The interdisciplinary team, including researchers from the University of Chicago, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and UMass Medical School came up with a measure that was intended to assess limitations in physical activities due to the limitations of health conditions. It was dubbed the “freedom from debility score” and was based on four healthy questions designed to address restrictions to physical actions and usual role activities due to health problems.

When the team surveyed 383 older adults who had been recruited from 39 primary care practices in Alabama, they saw that health status was a key predictor of happiness. In fact, a one point increase in the freedom from debility score was associated with a 3% reduction in the odds the subject would report feelings of unhappiness.

But, after accounting for other factors related to happiness – poor health was closely associated with unhappiness only in those who also reported that their health issues interfered with their daily activities. For those who are ill, but without regular disruption of daily activity, such as cancer patients, most are able to adapt over time and come to accept even the most dangerous health problems or serious disability.

It seems that though we might fear a calamity, the evidence suggests human beings are highly adaptable when it comes to feelings of happiness.

Continues below…

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Health Or Happiness… Continued…

Expert Bryan Bruno, MD a psychiatrist and acting chairman of the department of psychiatry at Lenox Hill Hospital, agrees that many patients adapt remarkably well to a change in health status, just so long as the decline isn’t too fast. This isn’t likely to be the case for those who have a history of either depression or anxiety. The researchers from the current work are hoping that a better understanding of the relationship between our health status and feelings of well-being may have big implications for the treatment of patients going forward.

It’s hard not to worry about the inevitable declines that go along with aging. The good news is that more often than not the changes are slow and gradual, and most of us cope fairly well even in a youth focused culture that teaches older people to be wary, that aging is a threat to our self worth and quality of living. Even under the constant bombardment of ways to keep our youthful looks… hair colours, Viagra and all manner of cosmetic procedures… we can age with grace and style.

Perhaps it’s time to start thinking about aging differently. To consider added years making us better not worse. To accept what we can’t change, while working to change what we can – our attitude and lifestyle.

To your good health,

yyoz / Pixabay

You Are As Old As You Feel …

This study was unique that it looked at the benefits to health from
a positive attitude
; while earlier work has examined the health risks and declines linked to a negative outlook on life. We see, for the first time, that there might just be tangible health benefits to having a more positive outlook on aging.

To conduct the research, the team performed periodic surveys that included 589 subjects, 70 years old or older, on their views on getting older over a period of 11 years. The survey involved the subjects supplying the first five words or phrases that came to mind when they thought of older people. The responses were rated on a five-point scale as most positive or most negative. None of the subjects were suffering from any form of disability when the study began, but later, all of them reported at least a month when they needed help with everyday tasks like dressing, bathing or walking. Some disability was considered severe, other cases were mild.

People with positive visions of aging experienced health gains and better recovery as well as a reduction in health losses according to researcher Tara L. Steward, Ph.D. who is an assistant professor of psychology at Idaho State University. The findings were strongest for seniors who had the most severe forms of disability.

Continues below…

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You Are As Old As You Feel … Continued…

Naturally there are many things that impact how a patient recovers from a disability, and the study doesn’t prove that a positive attitude made the difference. Still our attitudes about aging do say a lot about how much we think our health is under our own control. If you see seniors as “spry” you may be more likely to do things in your own life that support this – eating well and exercising, keeping doctor appointments, taking medications and doing all you can to maintain your health. A more upbeat idea of what aging means may also impact how you handle stress, and may well put less stress on the heart.

And while there are losses associated with getting older, these years are also time to do things to improve your health or disability status, make choices that help you maintain hold of your independence. To live to please yourself. As the population ages, and baby boomers begin reaching their senior years (U.S. boomers account for 76 million people) attitudes about aging can, and likely will, be updated. New products and services are likely to be created as this generation is known to expect comfort, convenience and of course fun.

Going forward, more work will be done to see if people can reverse their attitudes about aging… focus on some of the positives of aging and reap the same benefits.

To your good health,

woman doing yoga 10 L1

10 Unexpected Things Harming Your Immune System…

You’re doing all you can to keep yourself healthy, and yet you still come down with a cold… fever or worse yet, the flu. There are things that aren’t all that immunity. So keep washing your hands, drinking all the orange juice you like, and avoiding close contact with anyone who is obviously sick, watch for these added immunity sappers.

You’re breathing polluted air: The smog in the air isn’t doing
your lungs or your immune system any good. Research has shown that dirty air causes inflammation in the body and suppresses T cells, essential in terms of your immunity.
Invest in an air purifier for your home or office so you can breath easy inside.

You’re sitting too much: If you have a desk job, you likely spend
lots of time in the chair at your desk. This can slow down your
metabolic rate, causing your body to naturally absorb immunity
boosting nutrients at a slower rate than normal. Every hour and a
half, get up and step out of doors for a five-minute break. The
movement will activate your muscles, fire up your metabolism, and
the fresh air will wake you up, make you feel more alert.

You’re using the wrong beauty products: Things like foundation,
concealer and lipstick not only sit on your skin, they are absorbed into the body all day long. Some of these products have artificial ingredients that your immune system isn’t used to breaking down, so the bad stuff can readily slip past your internal defenses. Go all-natural with as many products as you can. The fewer ingredients a product lists, the safer it is for your body and immunity.

You’re eating too much white flour: The white flour in some
baked goodies actually impairs the T cells and B cells, both key illness fighters in the body. Make sure the grains you’re eating are
primarily whole grains, as they have lots of immunity building fiber.

You don’t make sleep a priority: If your body doesn’t produce
enough melatonin naturally as you sleep, your immune system isn’t
able to make the white blood cells it uses to fight off bacteria
and keep your body in good repair. Try for seven to eight hours of
sleep each night, and make getting that a priority, not a luxury.

Continues below…

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Fact: Poor Sleep Increases The Risk of Death/ Disease

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10 Unexpected Things Harming Your Immune System… Continued…

You’re eating too much animal protein: Too much animal protein
causes the body to naturally produce more of the IGI1 hormone, known to speed up the aging process and impact your immunity. Try to keep your intake of meat and dairy to 10% of your daily intake of calories. You might even consider cutting animal protein consumption even more, to about 5% of your daily intake, and you should see a difference.

Your diet doesn’t have enough good fat: Healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fats from fish, avocados and nuts do have anti-inflammatory properties that help improve your immunity. So avoid the processed foods, limit your intake of animal protein,
but try and add foods such as salmon, sardines, almonds and kale.

You’re lonely: Lonely souls tend to be less resilient in terms of stress, which causes the immune system to struggle. If this is you, schedule some time with those you like, friends, co-workers, neighbours, members of groups of like-minded people. People who have more relationships in their lives also appear to have a greater resistance to infection.

You think you thrive on stress: People think they work well under pressure, but long term stress brings up cortisol levels, and this reduces levels of other hormones like testosterone and estrogen.

When hormones are out of balance, your immune system can’t react to threats as quickly. Learn how to stress less, or find quick ways to relax.

You’re not doing yoga as part of your workout
: This type of workout appears to have the most impact on Immunity as it stimulates the body’s circulatory, digestive, endocrine and nervous systems, and these all work together to make the immune
system stronger. There are tons of tips out there for beginners so there’s no reason not to give yoga a try.

To your good health,

OpenClips / Pixabay

9 Myths And Facts About Your GI Tract

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t know a whole lot about your digestive process and the gastrointestinal tract that makes it all happen. Myths are often repeated as fact by people who seem to know what they’re talking about. It’s only when you start to have uncomfortable (embarrassing) digestive symptoms that you have to search out the truth so that you can help yourself feel better.

So let’s de-bunk 9 of the most common myths…

1: Digestion happens in the stomach. False, the biggest portion of the digestive process actually happens in the small intestine. The stomach takes in food, churns it and breaks it into smaller particles, unappealingly named chime. This is then released in batches to the small intestine where a good deal of the digestion and absorption of nutrients occurs. Foods don’t digest in the order you eat them – rather it’s all mixed together and sent along its way.

2: Cut your food intake, you’ll shrink your stomach. False. Once you reach adulthood, your stomach is pretty much the same size, unless you have surgery to shrink it. Eating less will not shrink your stomach. Eating less will help you reset your appetite thermostat so you may not feel as hungry and it’s easier to stick to healthy eating goals, resist snacking.

3: Thin people have naturally smaller stomachs. False. It might seem hard to imagine, but the size of the stomach is not related to weight or dieting. You can be naturally thin and have the same size (or larger) stomach than those who fight the battle of the bulge for a lifetime.

4: Exercise cuts the size of your belly. It doesn’t. Exercising does not reduce one area of fat alone, though it does help burn fat all over the body. It’ll also help tighten the abdominal muscles so that you’ll look leaner.

In truth, the most dangerous part of fat is the kind you can’t see, the fat in the omentum, a sort of sheet that lies over and all around your internal organs. If you’re really overweight you probably have a lot of fat over and around your organs. The danger with so much weight lies in that the liver can be so packed with fat that a form of hepatitis can develop.

Luckily making changes to a more healthy way of eating can really help in shedding the weight you see, and the stuff you don’t.

Continues below…

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9 Myths And Facts About Your GI Tract Continued…

5: Foods with insoluble fiber cause less gas and bloating. False. Gas and bloating actually come from intestinal organisms that are needed to digest soluble fiber. What you may have thought to be an easier form of fiber (soluble) can actually cause more gas and bloating than insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber isn’t digested, thus no involvement with intestinal organisms – so no embarrassing gas or uncomfortable bloat.

6: Ease acid reflux symptoms by losing weight. True. Losing just a bit of fat in the abdominal area makes a difference in your symptoms. Less fat means less push against internal organs, less heartburn, a bit of relief. Since most people lose weight in the tummy area first, you’ll see some change in your symptoms in just a few weeks after you start trying to lose weight.

7: Eating before bed makes you gain faster than if you ate the same foods during the day. False. Gaining weight comes down to taking in more calories than we burn, and weight gain isn’t based on the 24-hour clock as we understand it. There isn’t any science that says eating at a specific time can influence weight gain all by itself.

But you should know that eating before bed, especially if you’re stressed, can make digestion more difficult. You might experience gas, bloating and painful heartburn. Later in the day, the digestive system, like the rest of us, is tired, so it contracts less, moving food through the system more slowly.

8: A 200-calorie snack of peanut butter and crackers is better able to control your appetite than eating a 200-calorie serving of crackers. True. Fats digest more slowly than carbs, and they stay in the stomach longer which leaves us naturally feeling fuller, longer after eating a snack that has a bit of fat. By contrast, simple carbs give you a quick increase in blood sugar, but can have you dropping just as fast.

9: Beans cause everyone to make gas, and there’s nothing you can do. True. Beans are naturally loaded with a kind of sugar that needs a certain enzyme to digest. Some of us have more of it, some less and the less you have the more gas will be made during your digestion of beans. Over the counter gas remedies or charcoal tablets can help if you take them before you dig in.

To your good health,

obsidianphotography / Pixabay

Improve Your IQ With These Seven Solid Ways

If you want to help your brain (and who doesn’t?), there are things you can do to help grow your grey matter and improve your IQ (Intelligence Quotient) by no less than 17 points over a single week. You’ll be able to hold your own in intellectual conversations, feel more confident and empowered by taking just a few simple steps every day.

IQ is a measure of your mental agility or comprehension speed, and that this number can be influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. An average score is 100 and this usually stays stable upon reaching the teen years. The score comes as the result of a set of standardized tests (language fluency, three dimensional thinking, etc.) that measure your thinking abilities in relation to your age.

A higher IQ is related to attainment of education, income and other socioeconomic factors that are key to success in life. Here we bring you seven scientifically proven ways to add points to your own IQ.

1. Play board games – having fluid intelligence is a big part of every IQ tests, and is tied to your working memory. In research, just 25 minutes of play each day will bring your IQ up by 4 points. Puzzles, Dual N-Back games are good choices.

2. Take supplements – taking 5g of creatine a day can give you an extra 15 IQ points over a six week time period. Creatine gives a big boost to brainpower and raises the energy levels that are available for computation in the brain.

3. Play social games – any activity that involves a diverse range of skills plus social interaction will add an IQ point to your total. You can play online on your own, or with friends, to keep on top of your game.

4. Blast some bad guys – a study at the University of Rochester confirmed a link between first person video games and better visual awareness in the real world. That’s a crucial building block for IQ and can add up to two points to your own number.

Continues below…

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Overweight? Shocking Proof that it may not be your fault

99% of the “professional” weight loss techniques are wrong – ending up with you actually putting on weight rather than losing it.

Find out why counting calories is bad for you and can sabotage your dieting efforts.

Click through now to discover how to drop 9lbs every 11 days…
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Improve Your IQ With These Seven Solid Ways Continued…

5. Do cardio workouts – a Swedish study proved that cardiovascular fitness can bring up your verbal intelligence by 50%. Better cardiovascular fitness was linked to better cognitive scores, an increase of 5 (or more) IQ points, while muscular strength was only weakly associated with intelligence.

6. Perform practice IQ tests – retaking IQ tests can actually up your score by as much as 2 points. This proven technique gives you a chance to prepare and be more confident during the next test.

7. Go vegetarian – like it or not, there are a number of studies that have linked higher IQ with a vegetarian diet. The lifestyle and food choices of vegetarians are linked with strong intellectual functioning and a slowed cognitive decline. Doing what you can to fix you diet could bring back 10 years of IQ age, and that isn’t anything to scoff at.

You see… not so difficult. And the payoff may well be huge.

To your good health,

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Spread Healthy Living Habits

Researchers at Duke Medicine have provided us with hard evidence of what seems good common sense. A child whose mother encourages and models healthy behavior is more likely to be active and eat a balanced diet as an adult. Not all that surprising really. Still the findings, appearing in the May 2013 issue of the International Journal of Obesity are an important reminder to parents – children often tune out what you say, but they never miss what you do.

Healthy habits are easier to adopt when they are established early. What’s more, they protect against childhood obesity, a problem that’s more than doubled in children, tripled in teens over the past 30 years. In 2010, more than one third of kids and teens were considered to be overweight or obese.

Study author Truls Østbye, M.D., PhD, professor of community and family medicine at Duke, is quick to recognize that obesity is a complex phenomenon that’s influenced by many factors, but there are variations in levels of obesity from one society/environment to another, so there’s something in the environment that impacts obesity. Of course when it comes to children, the home and parenting help to shape both diet (encouraging eating fruits veggies) and physical behaviors (encouraging play outdoors) for long into the future. This latest study supplies evidence of just how important this can be.

The team examined the relationship between the home and behaviors that are related to being obese (diet and exercise habits, for example) in a group of preschoolers. There were 190 children, aged 2 to 5, whose mothers where considered either overweight or obese. The team collected details on the children’s intake of food over the past week, with items rated as healthy or junk foods. The children even wore accelerometers for a week, and this measured both moderate and vigorous physical activity as well as time spent in sedentary activities.

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Spread Healthy Living Habits Continued…

The socioeconomic status of the mothers was also examined; they supplied details on their education levels and job status. These factors had no association with the physical activity of the children, but showed mixed results in terms of diet. More research in this area could help understand how socioeconomic factors might influence a child’s health. Further work on if the influence of the home environment changes as kids get older will also be needed before strategies can be developed to
address these issues.

The mothers also supplied details about the environment where their child lived, including the policies about food and exercise, the access to healthy/junk foods, availability of equipment/space for activity, and of course, if they modeled healthy eating and exercise for the child. When the team analyzed all the data they saw some significant links between the measures of environment and the subjects diet and exercise patterns. To promote healthy habits in children, parental role modeling and a healthy home environment are key. Kids ate more healthy foods when there was limited access to junk food and a family meal policy at home. The home environment had more impact on diet, rather than activity patterns, of the children.

It’s hard to change behaviors, but our children are one of the best reasons to do so. You’ll be healthier, and your children will have a ready role model for living a healthy lifestyle that will benefit them long into the future. It’s common sense, now backed by solid evidence.

To your good health,

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