49 Ways To Live Longer To 100: Part 2

Living to a happy, healthy old age is something we all hope to achieve, and there are things you can do to put yourself on the right track. Admittedly some are easier to do than others, but we submit them all for your review.

Building on what we’ve shown you in part 1 of our series on living to be 100, here are 17 more science backed suggestions to help you live longer, better, healthier.

1. Get out in the yard. Working in the garden is a great combination of cardiovascular exercise and flexibility, endurance and building muscle strength. What’s more, when the workout’s finished, your yard looks beautiful. An hour of steady gardening is the equal of a five-mile walk; so if you don’t do anything else, get out in the garden three to four times a week.

2. Consider half a selenium pill, an antioxidant that is a natural part of soil but that modern farming practices have removed. This trace mineral is widely acknowledged as having some cancer protective properties. Women should be getting 50-60mcg/day, men up to 100 mcg/day. Unfortunately it’s hard to find selenium supplements at this dose, so split a 100mcg pill, or take a tablet every other day. Brazil nuts are a natural source of selenium.

3. Use an extra onion that can be sneaked into other recipes as this veggie is thought to bring down the risk of colorectal cancer, laryngeal cancer and even ovarian cancer. They are naturally rich in the antioxidant quercetin that is believed to prevent harmful enzymes from setting off inflammation, while also having sulphur compounds that help strengthen the immune system.

4. Drink your milk as the vitamin D content also makes it a good anti-inflammatory. Also, low levels of vitamin D in the bloodstream have been associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, both conditions that have inflammation as the culprit.

5. Keep your fruit out of the fridge, as keeping these foods at room temperatures has been found to boost the health giving properties. Some brightly colored fruits (tomatoes, watermelon, red/pink grapefruit) when stored at room temperature have double the beta-carotene as chilled fruit does. They also keep 20 times more lycopene because the warmer temperature helps them keep on ripening.

6. Have sex at least two times a week. One U.S. expert estimates that sex at least three times a week can add as much as 2 years to your life, while doing it every day can add as much as 8 years. A Welsh study found that regular sex has a protective effect, those who had orgasms at least two times a week had a 50% lower risk of early death. Sex does release DHEA a substance known to help repair and heal tissue.

7. Forget something every day. Age related memory issues may not be because of shrinking brain cells, but because we try to hold onto too much. Brains at mid life have a hard time blocking out information, so try and consciously drop unimportant info to free up space.

8. Throw away your scale. It’s not so much how much you weigh as where the fat is that matters. Fat around your middle, measured by waist circumference is a far better predictor of heart disease then the more well-known body mass index. While you don’t have to obsess about the number on the scale, you should do what you can to get rid of a spare tire that could shorten your life.

9. Build those biceps, as weight lifting is a great tool to fight aging. In a study of 40 post menopausal women who worked out with weights, two times a week for 30 minutes found that after a year their bodies had gotten 15 to 20 years younger in terms of restored muscle mass. And they even regained bone density rather than losing it as you do normally at this stage.

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49 Ways To Live Longer To 100: Part 2 Continued…

10. Skip the sunscreen. Your body’s natural ability to synthesize vitamin D from
the sun goes down with age, and lower vitamin D levels affect your bones and
immunity. If you’re over 60, take a 10mcg supplement each day and spend a little
time, just 20 minutes a day, in the sun.

11. Don’t be too cheerful, as research has found a link between cheerful children and living to an old age. In fact, the link between being cheery and dying early was as significant as is high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Imagine that! Experts think that very happy people tend to underestimate the risks to health and fail to take precautions or follow medical advice.

12. But when you smile, smile broadly. The wider and more authentic your smile, the longer you’ll live, perhaps because a genuine smile reflects positive emotions and these areas associated with physical and mental health. Smiling also triggers the release of substances that make you feel happier.

13. Eat prunes, as scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture have come up with a rating scale for antioxidant content in food. Raisins, blueberries and blackberries are all considered “super foods” that have 20 times the antioxidant levels of other foods. But the simple prune tops the list.

14. Have a challenging job, for though you might think a no stress career would be better, studies have found that hard work and accomplishment are a strong predictor of longer life. Those with the most career success were the least likely to die young.

15. Be honest, not just because you should, but because lying actually triggers stress hormones that up your heart rate and breathing while also slowing digestion and causing tension and hypersensitivity in nerve and muscle fibers.

16. One glass of wine a night, (125 ml) of red gives you flavonoids and resveratrol, both compounds that reduce the risk of heart disease, some cancers and even slow the progression of neurological conditions. But stop at one, drinking as few as three glasses per night might be enough to up the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, breast and bowel.

17. Be a woman, that extra X chromosome makes us more resilient when dealing with attacks on immunity according to researchers.

To your good health,

49 Tips To Live Longer To 100 : Part 1

We all want to enjoy a long, healthy life, right? Truth is, there are many ways (some admittedly easier to do than others), backed by science that may really help you live longer and healthier. In fact, there are so many good ones we couldn’t fit them all into just one article, which is why there are two parts to follow this.

1. Step out of your comfort zone, consciously, each and everyday. For example, reading upside down puts the brain under mild stress, damaging cells, but in addressing this damage, age-related damage is also repaired. Other ideas? Try writing with your non-dominant hand, arguing the opposite of what you believe; even listening to music you can’t stand.

2. Eat something red. Did you know a red pepper has more vitamin C than an orange? Beetroot has nitrates that relax blood vessels and tomatoes are loaded with the powerful antioxidant lycopene? Red grapes are rich in resveratrol, which is thought to have anti inflammatory, cholesterol lowering and anti cancer properties.

3. Run a mile, as fast as you can. The speed that you can run a mile in your 40s and 50s is a scarily accurate prediction of heart disease 30 to 40 years later. For men, 8 minutes is good, for women 9 is just fine. If a man struggles to do the mile in ten minutes (12 minutes for a woman) you have a 30% greater chance of getting and dying from heart disease. Try walking the distance first, then jogging a few yards at a time and slowly building up.

4. Be careful about public bathrooms. While you might be good about washing your hands, there’s no guarantee that the person before you was the same. That door handle can be a hotspot for bacteria, upping the risk of infection. Try leaving by grasping the lower part of the door handle (touched by fewer people) and hope for the best.

5. Eat a banana and you’ll bring down your blood pressure, as well as risks of stroke and heart disease by getting more potassium into your diet. This helps counter the effects of all that salt in the diet. One banana is usually enough to give you the potassium you’ll need to lower blood pressure.

6. Practice squatting, that is, lowering your body as if to sit on a chair, hovering there and then returning to a standing position as this move is widely thought to be the single most effective muscle strengthening exercise of all. Keeping agile in this way helps you get out of a chair without falling.

7. Drink one tea each day, as this has been shown to bring down levels of stress hormones and may even boost survival rates following a heart attack by as much as 28%. It maybe the antioxidants in the drink help blood vessels relax.

8. Go to bed an hour earlier, as just one extra hour of rest could bring down your blood pressure in just six weeks. For those who sleep less than seven hours a night, going to bed an hour earlier can lead to a big drop in your blood pressure, as well as your risk of stroke or heart attack. Too little sleep is thought to impact the body’s ability to handle stress hormones.

9. Take yogurt drinks with you to the hospital. Those who enjoy a daily probiotic drink while in the hospital have a lower risk of the superbug clostridium difficile (C.Diff). It’ll keep your digestion healthy, and may also have a positive effect on your immunity. A probiotic a few days taken a few days before surgery has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of postoperative infections.

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

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49 Tips To Live Longer To 100 : Part 1 Continued…

10. Floss every day as doing so can have a big impact on how fast you age. It can actually take 6.4 years off your age. The bacteria that cause tooth decay also bring on inflammation, which is a precursor to heart disease. Flossing daily may also protect against diabetes and dementia.

11. Breathe with a straw. This simple exercise, just a few minutes each day taking deep, long breaths through a straw, will help you breath more deeply and can improve lung function and capacity that naturally go down with age. This also slows your heart rate and brings down blood pressure.

12. Keep your home neat, as the best predictor of longevity is how conscientious you can be according to experts who’ve studied longevity. This means being careful with money, detail oriented, thoughtful and putting things back in their places. People with these habits might also have more of the brain chemical serotonin, which also impacts how much they eat and sleep. What’s more, these subjects appear to just naturally be drawn to healthier situations and lifestyles.

13. Eat bacon, not sausage for breakfast, as eating lean, trimmed bacon will cut your intake of saturated fat that can up your risk of heart attack and dementia. Sausages are heavier, so you’ll eat more calories in one sitting.

14. Don’t fear the worst. Being concerned about your health is fine, because this makes you more likely to take action or make healthy changes. But catastrophisers (those who see impending doom everywhere) are more likely to take risks because they think life is short and hard, so they’re more likely to die because of accident or violence. When they are ill, these people often get depressed and lose motivation, refusing to take medication or comply with treatments.

15. Walk every day as research finds a short walk is enough to build up your brain, and slow memory decline. A study in elderly sedentary subjects who walked six miles a week saw that subjects did better in memory and decision-making tests after just 6 months. Maybe the greater activity triggered new brain cells to form, not to mention new blood vessels and new connections between brain cells.

16. Put less on your plate, U.S. research shows that many animals live up to two times as long when their intake of food is cut by a third. Eating less means the metabolism has less work to do, slowing down and producing fewer “free radicals”.

17. Choose healthy people to hang out with. Sociability won’t protect your health if you’re hanging out with people who don’t live a healthy lifestyle. The key is spending time with healthy people because our friends have been found to have a large, though unconscious, influence on our own behavior. Overweight friends are particular trouble; a fat best friend means you have a 171% greater chance of being fat as well.

To your good health,

Ease Depression And Anxiety Symptoms With Exercise

If you’re feeling down, or struggling with the jitters, exercising is probably the last thing you’re in the mood for, but it may be the best thing for you according to experts. In fact, it might just make all the difference it the world.

We know that exercise is good for preventing or improving health issues like high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis. What’s not as well known is what exercise can do for your mental state. Research has shown that the psychological and physical benefits of exercises can help bring down anxiety and improve your mood.

The ties between exercise, anxiety and depression still aren’t fully understood, but we do know that working out can help you burn off tension and feel better. The workout might even keep the anxiety and depression symptoms from coming back. Before you start to be active, talk with your doctor so you know what activities, how much exercise and at what intensity is best for you. Your own doctor knows best about any medications you take, and health conditions you have and can also be an unexpected source of advice for getting started or staying motivated.

When it comes to depression, exercise…

- Releases the feel good chemicals in your brain

- Reduces immune system chemicals that may make depression worse.

- Increase your body temperature, which has a calming effect.

Exercise has many benefits to your mental state too. It can help you…

- Gain confidence by meeting exercise goals, and feel better about how you look in shape leaves you feeling better about how you look.

- Be distracted from worries as exercise takes you out of the cycle of negative thoughts that fuel both depression and anxiety.

- Have positive social interaction during exercise or soothing time alone

- Engage in a healthy, constructive coping strategy for managing anxiety or depression. Other things you might have tried may only have made things worse, exercise is a chance to cope and make things better for yourself too.

Keep in mind that while exercise is a natural way to ease anxiety and depression symptoms, it can’t take the place of medication or other therapy. You’ll want to continue to work on your depression or anxiety root issues with your therapist, and don’t stop or change a dose on any medication, even when you feel better.

Before you decide if exercise is right for you, understand that we’re talking about more than working out at the gym or swimming laps at the pool. There are many other workouts that can be just as effective in lifting mood, easing tension. Anything that gets your heart pumping will do… this includes working in the garden, washing your car, walking around the block, playing basketball with your kids or other everyday activities. Anything that gets you up and off the couch will help.

What’s more, you don’t have to do all your exercise at one time. You can add small amounts of activity all through your day that add up to the benefits of a 30 minutes at once workout. You should try for this at least three, preferably five days a week to get a big improvement in depression symptoms. Activity for as little as 10 to 15 minutes at a time can also make a difference. Generally more vigorous activities (running or cycling) are especially good for mood when you don’t have a lot of time.

Starting, and sticking with, an exercise program can be challenging, so we’ve included some suggestions that might help…

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Ease Depression And Anxiety Symptoms With Exercise Continued…

- Find what you like to do and you’re more likely to stick with it. Gardening after work? A jog before dawn? A bike ride with the kids? Find what activity fits into your life and that you genuinely enjoy. Do that as often as you can.

- Set realistic goals. You don’t have to be athlete fit to be successful, instead think honestly about what you’ll really be able to do. Forget guidelines for the moment and focus on getting more active.

- Stop thinking about exercise as a chore, a “should” in your life because when you don’t think you’re living up to this, you associate exercise with failure. Look at exercise the same way you would medication or a therapy session, a tool to help you get better that you need to make time for if you want things to change.

- Look at what’s stopping you from exercising and you’ll likely come to see an alternative solution, if you look hard enough. If you’re self-conscious about how you look, or your fitness level, exercise at home. If you work better with a partner to motivate you, find someone to work out with. Money tight? Find exercises that don’t cost anything, like walking or gardening.

- Be prepared for setbacks or obstacles, and don’t let them stop you. Yes you might be too busy one day to exercise, but don’t let that derail the whole idea, just try again the next day. Each day is a fresh start.

To your good health,

Turmeric: Revelation In Cancer Treatment And Prevention

There’s little research (yet) in human subjects that says turmeric can prevent/treat cancer, but the early work in the lab has been promising. A spice that’s often a flavor in Asian dishes, turmeric is a part of the ginger family that’s also been known under names like Indian saffron, jiang huang, haridra, haldi, and as the major ingredient of curry powder 2. The spice grows in many Asian nations and has been used for thousands of years as part of herbal medicine, with the active ingredient identified as powerful antioxidant curcumin.

In terms of human research, there was a phase 1 clinical trial that gave curcumin to 25 patients who had pre cancerous changes in different internal organs. The work appeared to find that the substance could stop the precancerous areas from changing into cancer. Other studies have found that there are low rates of some cancers in countries where the population eats curcumin (100 to 200 mg/day) over the long term.

When it comes to cancer treatment, there are several lab studies on cancer cells that have found curcumin does have anticancer properties. It seems to kill cancer cells and keep others from growing, with the most impressive effects against breast cancer, bowel cancer, stomach cancer and skin cancer. A study from 2007 found that combining curcumin with chemotherapy to treat bowel cancer cells in the lab resulted in killing more cancer cells than the chemo alone.

Another study, also in 2007 but in mice, found that curcumin helped to stop the spread of breast cancer cells to other parts of the mice body.

Why the connection? Experts think that the curcumin lingers in the digestive system and is absorbed by the cells of the bowel. A small UK study examined how curcumin is absorbed from the gut into liver cells. The work looked at how much of the curcumin was absorbed into cancer and normal cells. The study found that the level absorbed into the liver wasn’t high enough to have any anticancer effect, but the team suggests any future clinical trial of curcumin should focus on preventing tumors of the bowel in the first place.

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Turmeric: Revelation In Cancer Treatment And Prevention Continued…

A few studies have found the curcumin taken in capsule form gets absorbed by the stomach, and is in the blood, but in very small amounts. Experts have since developed injectable, fat soluble forms of curcumin that might just improve the action of this substance in the body. More work needs to be done, in humans, before anyone will suggest curcumin as a potential cancer treatment. If you are a current cancer patient, continue to rely on conventional medicine for your treatment and use complementary therapies as an add on, with your treatment team’s knowledge.

Turmeric used in cooking is totally safe, but when used for medical reasons, no one can be sure how the body might react. The trials there have been done seem to suggest that turmeric brings few if any side effects. But when taking any substance, even a beneficial one, in large amounts things can prove tricky. There have been reports of stomach pain and skin problems if this substance is taken for long periods.

There have been warnings about a turmeric based food supplement Fortodol (also sold under the name Miradin) that suggest these products may also include other substances. If you’re taking either, stop immediately and get in touch with your doctor, especially if you have signs of liver issues like jaundice, dark urine, nausea, vomiting, unusual tiredness, stomach or abdominal pain or a loss of appetite.

Why Few Extra Pounds Can Be Good For You

Here’s a challenge to the idea that those of normal weight live longer. In fact, according to new research, those who are carrying a few extra pounds tend to live longer than those of either normal weight or who are very obese. The review covered 97 studies that included 2.88 million subjects, of whom just over 270,000 died during study follow up. Surprisingly for our thin-obsessed culture, it may be that under certain conditions, being a bit overweight is actually a good thing.

Earlier studies have hinted at lower mortality for the moderately overweight. This latest research review is the largest, most comprehensive and carefully conducted work in the area.

The review appears in the well-regarded Journal of the American Medical Association and looks again at nearly 20 years of study into the relationship between body weight and risk of death. The participants came from countries the world over. Those who had a BMI under 30 but still above the normal range were less likely to die during the studies examined compared to those who had normal BMIs.

The reduction in the risk of death was about 6% lower for those who were overweight, remarkably consistent from study to study. This is reassuring to those who are carrying more weight than they know they should be, but are otherwise in good health. There is some thinking that a little “padding” isn’t so bad, and perhaps provides some resilience in terms of enduring an illness.

Also important to know, those considered obese by BMI (numbers over 35) were worse off, about 18% more likely to die of any cause compared to those at a normal weight according to the review. Once you’re carrying this much weight, the risk to your health is serious.

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Why Few Extra Pounds Can Be Good For You Continued…

The review findings do add fuel to questions about the accuracy of body mass index, and remind us that this is a measure, not a diagnostic tool. BMI is simply a ratio of height to weight, it doesn’t account for age, gender or muscles. It can’t tell the difference between lean body mass and fat mass and it doesn’t tell us where fat is located. A heavily muscled athlete might have a high BMI, an elderly patient can have a normal BMI that masks age related muscle loss. These examples fuel the argument for waist circumference being a better overall measurement than BMI.

Today almost 30% of women, 40% of men are considered overweight using body mass index (BMI) measures. But while these folks might not be the smallest size on the clothing rack, they aren’t necessarily sicker than those who are at what’s considered a normal weight. For those who are overweight, and do not have traditional risk factors (high blood pressure, high lipid levels, or high fasting blood glucose levels, large waistline) for health problems, there may be no need for undue concern about early death.

Findings like these show us why it’s so important to be eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting physical exercise on a regular basis. Despite the current review findings on being overweight and death risk, no one is suggesting you gain weight or gorge on unhealthy foods. It may be that part of the reason the overweight do better is that these people go to the doctor, perhaps have identified other conditions that might be linked to weight, and are taking steps to address them.

To your good health,

Lower Your Blood Pressure With These 7 Foods

When it comes to keeping your heart and circulation healthy, managing blood pressure is important. There are foods that are unhealthy diet staples you’ll want to eliminate if you’re working to control your numbers. Saturated fats and sodium top the list of things to remove from your diet.

But, did you know there are foods, seven in fact, that science has identified as lowering your blood pressure naturally? You’ll be surprised how easily one (or more) of these fit into your diet.

1. Non-fat Yogurt: Unlike other dairy foods that are often lumped in with sources of saturated fat, non fat yogurt turns out to be good for your heart. A study presented at the High Blood Pressure Research 2012 Scientific Sessions saw that those who ate more non-fat yogurt were 31% less likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure than others. The work included over 2,000 adults who were studied for 14 years.

2. Sunflower Seeds: While all legumes and nuts are good for your heart, sunflower seeds are in a class all their own when it comes to blood pressure. Sunflower seeds are very high in vitamin E, rich in folic acid, protein and fiber. Spanish researchers found that during digestion, sunflower seeds release a peptide that stops the body’s production of an enzyme that’s known to bring up blood pressure. Be warned that a prepackaged pack of sunflower seeds is very salty and the sodium (as we know) has the exact opposite effect on blood pressure.

3. Bananas: Two bananas a day could keep the cardiologist away because this fruit is loaded with potassium. The amount in one and a half to two bananas a day has been shown to reduce blood pressure by 2 to 3 points. Potassium is known to improve kidney function and help flush sodium from the body. Potassium also helps the walls of arteries relax. If bananas aren’t your thing, try raisins, prunes or watermelon.

4. Potatoes (Purple Majesty especially): These tasty veggies are a source of antioxidants that are known to bring down inflammation according to a small study, showing that they decreased blood pressure by almost 4% without causing any weight gain. The drop might seem small, but it’s enough to help with several forms of heart disease.

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Lower Your Blood Pressure With These 7 Foods Continued…

5. Spinach: A Swedish study from 2006 appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the nitrates in spinach are able to lower blood pressure. The benefits that come from veggies may in part depend on nitrate.

6. Oats: Though Quaker Oats funded the research, there’s no question that high fiber oats are good for your heart. Adding oats to the diet is expected to bring small but certain benefits.

7. Beets: Even though the University of Reading study was done using beet juice, the phytochemicals that give beets their rich red color are what count, and these are a natural part of the whole food and the juice.

Now that’s a variety of tasty choices you might want try!

To your good health,

Steps To Follow To Get A Good Night Sleep

It used to be that we all thought sleep was not all that important, maybe even a waste of time… but no more. Sleep is now considered critical to your health and well-being. To improve the quality of the sleep you’re getting, you’ll want to …

- Keep a regular sleep/wake schedule that you stick to even on weekends, holidays or when you’re on vacation.

- Keep the noise, light and temperature shifts to a minimum where you sleep.

- Consume no caffeine 4 to 6 hours before bed. Limit what you use during the day.

- Avoid heavy meals or alcohol before sleep.

- Not smoke, especially near bedtime or if you wake up in the middle of the night.

- Exercise regularly.

A typical night of healthy sleep is broken into five continually shifting stages that are identified by types of brain waves, signaling either lighter or deeper stages of sleep. Toward the morning sleepers have an increase in rapid eye movement (REM sleep), the fifth stage where muscles are relaxed yet the brain and other body systems are more active and dreaming takes place. Recent memories are likely consolidated in the brain during this stage of sleep.

Hitting the “snooze” on the alarm isn’t great for your schedule and your feelings of waking up rested and ready to go. It typically interrupts the calm of the REM sleep stage and makes sleep more fragmented. The restorative value of sleep is diminished when the amount of time is short – these little snatches of shuteye leave you feeling worse, not better. It’s no surprise then that getting up and going after doing this a few times is so difficult.

What’s more, repeatedly hitting the “snooze” button is a signal that you’re not getting enough of the sleep your body needs. If you’re getting enough sleep, you should not need the “snooze” at all. Unfortunately based on surveys conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, at least 40 million Americans are managing over 70 different sleep disorders. A full 60% of adults say they have problems sleeping a few nights a week or more. Most cases of sleep disorders go undiagnosed and untreated.

A unique approach to treating sleeping problems comes from psychotherapy and is known as cognitive behavior therapy, or CBT for short.

As the name implies, CBT teaches patients how to recognize thought patterns (cognitive) and make changes to behavior that helps to solve problems, including sleep problems. In fact, this approach has been found to be quite effective in getting patients to fall asleep and conquer insomnia. Solid work in this area comes from October 2004 research appearing in The Archives of Internal Medicine that found cognitive behavior therapy works better and lasts longer than one of the most widely used sleeping medications.

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Steps To Follow To Get A Good Night Sleep. Continued…

The study included 63 subjects who had insomnia but were otherwise healthy and
assigned them to different therapies. The subjects were randomly assigned to
be given Ambien in a full dose for a month, and then weaned off; to get cognitive
behavior therapy in five 30-minute sessions over 6 weeks; to receive both the
medication and 6 week therapy; or lastly be given a placebo.

At three weeks, 44% of those getting cognitive behavior therapy and those getting the therapy and medication fell asleep sooner compared to 29% of the subjects taking medication alone. Two weeks after all the treatment was finished, the patients who had cognitive behavior therapy were falling asleep in half the time it took them before the study. Only 17% of the subjects taking the sleeping medication were falling asleep in half the time. It would appear that the therapy had some effect, especially going forward.

So if you or someone in your life is struggling with sleep issues, talk with your doctor and consider giving CBT a try. Sleep problems will not resolve themselves, and you won’t feel better until you take steps to do something.

To your good health,

Feeling Of Satiety With Oils And Fats

Low fat foods are everywhere, but after eating them (or more of them than we should) many of us are just not satisfied… not full. Clearly this can be a problem if you’re trying to lose weight, or keep it off. Now a new study finds that natural oils and fats are able to regulate our feelings of fullness after eating, with good for you olive oil leading the way. We know olive oil is naturally loaded with antioxidants and oleic acid (a monounsaturated fat good for the heart), this latest work suggests that some of the benefits of the crown jewel of the Mediterranean diet might just come form the wonderful, rich smell.

A group of researchers from Technische Universität München (TUM) working under Professor Peter Schieberle and also at the University of Vienna working under Professor Veronika Somoza examined four different edible oils and fats – lard, butterfat, rapeseed oil and olive oil – and found out more about how they impact our feelings of being full. They wanted to see if there was a way to cut down the fat content of food without impacting the taste or smell.

Over a study period of three months 120 participants were split into five groups and were instructed to ate 500 grams of low-fat yogurt that was enriched with one of the four fats/oils (or plain to serve as a control) each day, as a supplement to their normal eating plan. The subjects were followed very closely and took regular blood tests.

Turns out, olive oil gave the best satiety effect according to Schieberle. It brought a higher concentration of the satiety hormone, serotonin, in the bloodstream. What’s more, study subjects said that they found the olive oil yogurt very filling. Also of note, during the study period, no member of this group showed an increase in weight or body fat percentage. That’s impressive.

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Feeling Of Satiety With Oils And Fats Continued…

The findings are rather surprising, even the researchers admit this. In fact, rapeseed oil and olive oil have the same type of fatty acids. In the second part of the experiment, the team narrowed the search for answers by looking at the aroma compounds that are naturally a part of olive oil. In this phase, one group of participants got yogurt with olive oil aroma extracts, the control group got plain yogurt. Still the olive oil group’s calorie intake stayed the same. It seems that smell and taste may be even more strongly linked than we ever thought.

How long those feeling of satisfaction last after eating is impacted by a number of factors, though blood sugar levels are probably the most important. The faster blood sugar falls due to cells absorbing glucose, the sooner the person will start feeling hungry again. In the next part of their work, the team of researchers examined which of the aroma substances in the olive oil are most effective at stopping the absorption of glucose.

Turns out Italian olive oil has larger amounts of two aroma compounds, hexanal and E2-Hexenal, and does the job well. Aroma, it seems, is also capable of regulating how full you feel. The team is hoping that this research will make way for the development of more effective “light” foods that are low in calories yet also satisfying.

To your good health,

How Peptide Is Responsible For Happiness?

In the search for happiness, there are many things that are thought to bring it. Money. Family. Success. Loving relationships. Now, for the first time in human subjects, researchers from UCLA have measured the release of a specific peptide that went up when subjects were happy, decreased when they were sad. The work appears in the online edition of the journal Nature Communications.

For the current research, the team got data on the peptides they were studying directly from the brains of eight patients who were undergoing treatment at Ronald Regan UCLA Medical Center for intractable epilepsy. Other doctors had outfitted the participants with intracranial depth electrodes, and participants gave permission for researchers to use these same electrodes to do their own work. The subjects were recorded while they did everyday things and notes were made, samples collected every 15 minutes. Subjects also rated mood and attitude on a questionnaire that was administered every hour while they were awake.

One of the peptides studied, hypocretin, when boosted could also improve both mood and alertness. Could this provide a future treatment of psychiatric disorders such as depression? Researchers are unsure today, but the outlook is promising.

The study also measured the release of a different peptide, melanin concentrating hormone, or MCH, and found that the release was minimal while awake, but greatly increased when you sleep. This suggests a key role for this substance in helping people go to sleep.

The team noted that while hypocretin levels were not linked to general arousal they were maximized during positive emotions, anger, social involvement and waking up. MCH levels were maximized during the onset of sleep and minimized during social interactions. This suggests abnormalities in the activation of certain systems may contribute to an array of psychological disorders.

These findings may explain the sleepiness of narcolepsy and the depression that comes with this terribly disruptive disorder according to senior author Jerome Siegel, a professor of psychiatry and director of the Center for Sleep Research at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. A deficiency of hypocretin may also be behind depression from other causes.

Back in 2000 Siegel’s team made news with findings that showed those who had narcolepsy also had 95% fewer hypocretin nerve cells in their brains than those without the illness. This was the first work to uncover a possible biological cause of this strange disorder that involves uncontrolled periods of deep sleep. As you might imagine depression is strongly linked to narcolepsy, and so Siegel’s lab started to look at hypocretin and a possible link to depression.

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How Peptide Is Responsible For Happiness? Continued…

Narcolepsy is a neurological condition, often starting between the ages of 15 and 25, that affects the individual’s control of wakefulness and sleep. Those who have the condition experience excessive sleepiness during the daytime, and they have intermittent, uncontrollable episodes where they fall asleep during the day. The attacks of sleep can happen at any time, and while doing anything. Often the condition goes undiagnosed.

Experts also tell us that depression, a medical illness not a sign of weakness or character flaws, is the leading cause of psychiatric disorders in the United States. More than 6% of the general population is affected, with lifetime prevalence up over 15%. There has also been recent research that antidepressants are any more effective than a placebo medication.

While science still doesn’t know very much about the neurochemical changes that are behind our emotions and social behavior, we’re getting closer. Today hypocretin antagonists are being developed by a few drug makers for use as sleeping aids and more research in the area is sure to follow.

To your good health,

Improves Cognitive Functioning Later In Life With Lifelong Exercise

Yet more reason to get up and get moving… now. A study, the first of its kind, from researchers at King’s College London and appearing in the journal Psychological Medicine finds that exercising regularly when you’re young can bring better cognitive functioning in your later years. In fact, intensive lifelong exercise can truly improve how your brain works at the age of 50. This research is the first to look at how lifelong exercising might impact the brain.

Beyond what exercise can do for your heart, and your weight, here’s how it can help your brain…

” Clearing the mind and managing stress

” Supplies more oxygen to cells

” Promotes good, restorative sleep

” Effects memory and mechanisms specific to the brain

The experts conducting the study believe that their findings make the case for all people to make long-term changes in lifestyle to include regular exercise in order to keep the brain healthy in later years. Getting the word out about lifelong exercise has the potential to significantly reduce the burdens associated with loss of cognitive function, not just for patients and families, but for the community at large.

The team examined data on over 9,000 subjects and asked about the amount of exercise they did between the ages of 11 to 50. They were interviewed at age 11, again at 16, at 33, 42, 46 and finally at 50 years of age. The subjects were also asked to do cognitive tasks that provided an assessment of memory and executive function.

Those who exercised regularly as a child and adult, once a week at a minimum, did better on the tests at the 50 year mark than did those who weren’t working out at all. As a point of reference, experts suggest that to hold onto cognitive function you exercise at least 150 minutes a week. What’s more, even low amounts of exercise can have a positive impact on the brain, although less than a more intense workout. Researchers saw that the highest level of intensity provided the greatest benefit.

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Improves Cognitive Functioning Later In Life With Lifelong Exercise Continued…

Even if you don’t start being active until midlife, there’s evidence that making this change protects against dementia in your later years. The research suggests that higher fitness levels earlier in life might also account for lower risk for dementia.

In a completely separate study reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, a team from the US Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois and the University of Pittsburgh concluded that exercise was able to keep the brain from deteriorating. Other research, a rather large brain imaging study conducted by the University of Edinburgh (appearing in the journal Neurology) has found that exercise is more protective for the aging brain than either mental activity or leisure time.

More work will need to be done to explore the benefits of intense exercise on brain function later on in life. In the meantime, it cannot hurt you, or your brain, to get up and get moving. In case you haven’t noticed, there’s not a lot of research to show a sedentary lifestyle is good for you.

To your good health,