Up Kids Intake Of Veggies Using Fun Names

Here’s an idea that might help you get your kids to eat their veggies. Even though the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act is now in effect, putting one serving of fruits/veggies on those school lunch trays does not kids will eat them. Now a Cornell University study has identified a unique approach. Changing the names of these foods – so carrots become “x-ray vision carrots” – might just do the trick.

The work, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, examined 186 preschool children, aged four. On some lunch days the kids were given carrots, and on other days the same veggie but with a more intriguing name. The kids ate almost two times as much of the veggies, and kept on eating 50% more of the veggie even on days when they didn’t have the catchy names.

Giving these good for you foods fun names appears to make them more appealing, more fun to eat. And the influence of the names might linger.

A second trial at two more schools used broccoli and green beans, both known to be not all that popular with kids. When broccoli became “tiny tasty tree tops,” and green beans were dubbed “silly dilly green beans” things changed and consumption doubled. At the end of the research 5% of the kids, up from 2% before the study started, were actually asking for these veggies.

This certainly demonstrates the power of marketing. And similar results have been seen in us all too mature adults. Changing the name of a dish from Seafood Filet to the more descriptive Succulent Italian Seafood Filet caused sales to rise by 28%, ratings of taste to increase by 12%. Changing expectations made for a different experience according to lead researcher Brian Wansink, the author of the book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think.

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Up Kids Intake Of Veggies Using Fun Names Continued…

The cool names are still only part of the efforts to get kids to eat more vegetables. Many parents simply start feeding a child a wide variety of veggies when he/she starts eating solid foods and while this often works for some, there are those kids who lose their taste for healthy veggies as they get older. Here are some other things you might try to encourage eating more vegetables in kids.

- Add fun noodle shapes to vegetable soup, kids are so busy spelling and searching they don’t notice they’ve eaten the veggies.

- Try getting veggies in with vegetable drinks over ice with a straw, cocktail umbrella or celery stalk.

- Offer raw veggies with ranch dressing for dipping.

- Speak to the artist in your child by encouraging them to make art from raw veggies. Then they can enjoy eating the art supplies.

- Make a veggie pizza using store bought crescent rolls that you cook, cool and then spread with cream cheese and top with raw veggies.

- Offer a salad with dinner along with a choice of dressings, and don’t forget the croutons and shredded cheese.

- Encourage kids to get involved in cooking the veggies, as this not only brings pride in the finished dish, and it prompts need to taste it.

- Hide veggies in other foods… orange mashed potatoes are a mix of carrots and potatoes that get mashed together. Cover broccoli with tomato sauce or cheese.

This research on getting young kids to enjoy veggies appears in the journal Preventive Medicine.

To your good health,

Essential Nutrients For A Healthy Diet

When we talk about eating healthy, fiber is one of the important nutrients always mentioned. And with good reason. Dietary fiber (also known as roughage or bulk) that’s a natural part of fruits and veggies, as well as whole grains and legumes is well recognized as a natural way to cure constipation, but that’s just one of the many health benefits – the others include helping people maintain a healthy weight as well as lowering the risk of diabetes or heart disease.

Nutrition experts tell us that fiber can’t be digested by the body like fats, proteins or carbs can. It passes pretty much intact through your digestive system. Fiber is either soluble (dissolves in water) or insoluble (does not). When soluble fiber comes in contact with water it turns to a gel that helps lower blood levels of cholesterol and glucose. This type of fiber is a natural part of oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium.

Insoluble fiber, the other type of fiber, promotes the movement of material through the digestive tract and adds to the bulk of your stool, which is why it can really help those with constipation or irregular stools. Things like whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans and veggies like cauliflower, potatoes and green beans are the best sources of insoluble fiber.

When it comes to fiber, whole foods are better than supplements, though there are many on the market that make compelling claims. These products don’t provide the variety of fibers, vitamins, minerals and other beneficial natural compounds that whole foods can give. There are times when a fiber supplement is helpful, but you should talk to your doctor before you take any supplement.

Eating lots of fiber as part of your diet has so many benefits…

Normalizes your bowel movements, making them bulkier and easier to pass, lessening the chances you’ll be constipated.

Helps keep bowels healthy as a high fiber diet brings down risk of having hemorrhoids and diverticular disease (little pouches in your colon where things can lodge and fester). Some fiber is actually fermented in the colon and there is research going on to see how this might prevent any disease of the colon.

Dietary fiber is also credited with prevention of colorectal cancers. And while this seems logical, to date the evidence to back the idea is decidedly mixed.

Lower cholesterol levels come from eating foods (beans, oats, flaxseed) that are natural sources of soluble fiber known to bring down LDL (bad) cholesterol. Research has also shown that fiber has other benefits to health – lowering blood pressure and inflammation.

Helps control blood sugar, in those who have diabetes, fiber can slow the absorption of sugar and thus impact blood sugar levels for the better. A diet that includes insoluble fiber may bring down the risk of developing diabetes.

Keeps you at a healthy weight because high fiber foods need more time to chew, which gives your body the chance to register that you’re not hungry anymore. This makes it less likely you’ll overeat. High fiber diets also tend to make meals feel larger though they don’t have the calories you’d expect for the volume, and they keep hunger at bay for a longer time.

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Essential Nutrients For A Healthy Diet Continued…

-
Choose a high fiber cereal for breakfast; look for ones with “whole grain” or “bran” in
the name. Or add some unprocessed wheat bran to your own favorite cereal.

-
Switch to whole grains for bread and pasta. Look for products that list whole
wheat, whole-wheat flour or some other whole grain as the first ingredient on
the list you see on the label. You want at least 2 grams of dietary fiber per
serving.

-
Substitute whole grain flour for baking, or try crushed bran cereal, unprocessed
wheat bran or uncooked oatmeal in recipes for muffins, cookies and even cakes.
Whole-wheat tortilla chips can even make nachos healthier.

-
Mix things up by adding cut fresh (or frozen) veggies to soups, sauces or salads.

-
Eat fruit at every meal.

-
Add more beans, peas and lentils to what you eat, as these are all excellent
sources of fiber. Kidney beans can be added to canned soup or a salad.

-
Make your snacks a chance to get in fresh fruits, raw veggies, low fat popcorn
or some whole grain crackers. Nuts or dried fruits are also great choices but
watch the portions, as they are also high in calories.

So how much fiber is enough? The Institute of Medicine has recommendations that are based on your age. For men aged 50 or younger, 38 grams, for women of the same age group, 25 grams. For men and women aged 51 and over, 30 grams of fiber a day for men, 21 grams per day for women.

Remember that adding too much fiber, too quickly can give your some nasty side effects. Intestinal gas, bloating in the abdomen and painful cramping come with adding too much fiber all at once. Instead, gradually increase the fiber you’re eating over a few weeks time as this lets the natural bacterial in your digestive system adjust to the change. And don’t forget to drink lots and lots of water.

To your good health,

Reach Your Weight Loss Goals With These 6 Strategies

When it comes to weight loss, there are so many options… fad diets, weight loss programs, “miracle” cures all promise results but deliver only frustration. The foundation of successful weight loss is a healthy, calorie controlled eating plan that’s combined with regular exercise. You’ll need to make permanent changes in the way you eat, the way you live and take care of your body to be successful at getting the weight off and keeping it off long term.

Here are 6 smart strategies you can use to succeed.

1. Make the commitment – Be sure that you are ready to make the permanent changes you need to in order to reach your goal. This will include days when you’re tired, under stress or just not feeling like putting in the effort – every day from this point forward you are committed to being healthy and fit, losing weight.

Make no mistake, this isn’t easy, and will take a lot of mental and physical energy, so make sure you think about how you’ll manage other stresses in your life. They aren’t going away, but managing them without food will only help keep you focused on living that healthier lifestyle.

2. Find your inner motivation – No one else can do this for you, you have to want to lose weight, get healthier to please yourself and no one else. Write down your reasons for losing weight and remind yourself of these in times of temptation.

It also helps to have some support. Choose the people who will support you carefully, look for those who will encourage you in positive ways, without shaming, embarrassing or sabotaging you. Someone who will listen to you, exercise with you or cook healthy menus for you, who shares the priority you’ve placed on living a healthier lifestyle. This support also brings accountability, which is a powerful motivator in itself.

3. Change your perspective – Take a good hard, honest look at your eating patterns and way of life. Look at your own personal challenges to weight loss and try to work out a strategy to make gradual changes in your habits and attitudes that have hurt your efforts in the past. Recognizing your challenges is one thing, planning how you’ll manage them, and then doing it, will see you succeed in your weight loss goals.

4. Set realistic goals for yourself – Sounds so obvious, but many people just don’t know what healthy weight loss is. It is dropping 1 to 2 pounds per week, though at first you might lose faster if you’ve made significant changes. To do this you need to be burning 500 to 1,000 calories more than you eat. Goals need to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time limited). So don’t worry about setting precise pounds per week estimates, and instead focus on the process and build new healthier habits as a key to losing weight.

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Reach Your Weight Loss Goals With These 6 Strategies Continued…

5. Enjoy the many healthy foods out there – Cutting calories doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice taste, how easy these foods are to prepare or the feelings of satisfaction after a meal. Try more foods that are plant based, fruits, veggies and whole grains, and go for variety to ensure you get all the vital nutrients you need.

Eating that healthy breakfast is a key weight loss strategy. You’ll also want to try and get four servings of veggies, three servings of fruits each day and be sure to use healthy fats (olive and vegetable oils and nut butters) in cooking. You should cut back on sugar and choose low fat dairy products. Meat intake should be kept to a 3-ounce portion, about the size of a standard deck of playing cards.

6. Get active and keep moving – you’ve got to burn more calories than you take in, so you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you eat to lose one pound. And while you can drop pounds without exercise, adding exercise to calorie restriction can give you a real boost. Workouts help burn off the excess calories you can’t cut out of your diet, it also brings many, many benefits to your health – improves mood, strengthens your cardiovascular system, brings down blood pressure, maintains weight already lost – all good things.

How much your burn with exercise depends on how often you do them, how long and how intensely you workout. You can lose body fat by steady, aerobic exercises like brisk walking for 30 minutes most days of the week. Any extra helps burn even more calories. But you can also look into other ways to increase your activity levels during the day; several trips up and down the stairs without the elevator; parking at the far end of the lot at the mall or grocery store; doing yard work manually instead of with gas powered machines are all calorie burning workouts.

One thing more. Everyone has occasional setbacks. Don’t let this be the excuse to give up your efforts and go back to the old ways. Instead, just start fresh the next day, and remember, you didn’t get this way in a day; it will take more than one day to change things. But the results, when they come, will be so worth it.

To your good health,

Figh Osteoarthritis With Broccoli

There’s a potential new weapon in the fight against painful, disfiguring arthritis, and it’s easy to get – right in the produce section of your local supermarket. According to new research appearing in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism, there’s a natural compound (sulforaphane) in crunchy green broccoli that can help prevent, or slow the progression, of one of the most common forms of arthritis – osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a disease of the joints that’s caused by the breakdown of cartilage and bone that are a part of every joint in the body. This disease hits most often in the hands, feet, spine, hips and knees with the main symptoms being pain and stiffness. It’s the most common form of arthritis, a painful part of life for millions around the world, 27 million here in the U.S. Osteoarthritis gradually does get worse over time, and there is no cure, though treatments (drugs for inflammation and pain, cortisone injections, bone realignment or joint replacement) slow the progression and help ease the pain so you can move better.

Eating the cruciferous veggies (Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli to name a few) releases sulforaphane into the body. Earlier work has suggested that sulforaphane has anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory properties but no one, until now, has looked at the effects on joint health. And there’s been no study that supports the idea that food can play a role in easing the progression of a disease like osteoarthritis.

If the findings hold in people, this is an amazing breakthrough.

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Figh Osteoarthritis With Broccoli Continued…

This time the research team, from the U.K.’s University of East Anglia found that sulforaphane actually blocks the enzymes that cause the destruction of joints by halting a key molecule that causes inflammation. It worked in the three lab models they used, human cartilage cells, cow cartilage tissue and mice. To show it works in humans, the team is testing the findings on 40 patients who are scheduled to have knee replacement surgery. If this succeeds the researchers hope for a far larger scale trial to show the impact of broccoli on osteoarthritis joint pain and function.

In the small study of broccoli being conducted in people, half of 40 patient volunteers scheduled for knee surgery will be given “super broccoli” that’s been specially grown to be loaded with sulforaphane. The patients will eat this for 2 weeks before surgery, after surgery the team can investigate if the compound had any affect on the joint and what’s going on in the replacement joint. Surgery isn’t the answer, doctors insist, it’s just one of the only options available at a certain point. If you can slow the progress and progression of this disease so you can hold off on surgery for longer, that’s always the best way to go.

Prevention is always preferred, of course, and long-term changes to diet may well be the only way to accomplish this. We know that aging and obesity are two of the most common contributors to risk of osteoarthritis and the numbers dealing with both these conditions are on the rise. Now might be a very good time to start eating healthy, crunchy cruciferous to keep your body, and your joints healthy.

To your good health,

Reverse Aging With Positive Lifestyle

Maybe you can turn back the clock, and the years after all. Making changes to your lifestyle, like eating a healthy diet and doing some moderately intense exercise on a regular basis might just help reverse the aging process we all fight so hard to hold off according to research appearing in The Lancet Oncology.

A team from the University of California at San Francisco has found that some lifestyle changes might increase the length of DNA protein complexes at the end of chromosomes known as telomeres. Science has learned that telomeres appear to control the aging process and protect the end of chromosomes from being damaged, much like the plastic end of a shoelace protects the lacing from unraveling. Not only do they protect our genetic data, they make cell division possible and may also hold some clues to how we age and get cancer.

Every time a cell divides, the telomeres get shorter. When they get too short, the cell dies, and this is the process that’s thought to be linked not only to aging, but cancer and a higher risk of death. Your age can be predicted by the length of your telomeres, with shorter telomeres linked to higher risk of early death and diseases related to aging. These include cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colorectal areas, heart disease, vascular dementia and obesity.

To conduct work on telomeres and aging, the team examined two groups of men who were diagnosed with low risk prostate cancer. Both didn’t have conventional treatments for the disease.

The first group of subjects made big lifestyle changes including…

-
Eating a whole food, plant based diet

-
Doing moderate exercise on a regular basis

-
Using stress management techniques like meditation and yoga

-
Working to obtain better intimacy and social support

The second group of subjects acted as a control and made no lifestyle changes.

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Reverse Aging With Positive Lifestyle Continued…

Researchers measured the length of telomeres of the subjects at the start and
at the end, 5 years later, of the study. The data showed that the men who made
the lifestyle changes had a telomere length that had increased 10%. The men who
didn’t do a thing had a 3% shortened telomere length. The more a subject did
in terms of positive changes, the more they stuck to the diet and exercise plan,
the higher the increase in the length of their telomeres

And while this study was not looking at the progression of prostate cancer, earlier work has found that positive lifestyle changes can delay the progression of this form of cancer, especially in its early stages. That’s good news for many men.

This project gives a very solid clue that while our genes (and telomeres) are something we cannot control, and may put us at risk for some conditions, the good news is that there are things within our direct control that we can do to impact those genes. More work with larger and varied populations will need to be done before we have the whole story on how lifestyle impacts the length of telomeres.

In the meantime, there’s no better reason to adopt a healthier way of living.

To your good health,

Manage Chronic Pain in 5 Natural Ways

It’s likely that you, or someone you see every day, is fighting to manage chronic pain, a condition that affects 100 million Americans. This is more than the numbers dealing with heart disease, diabetes and cancer combined. Chronic pain is considered any pain that lasts longer than three months, and it can cause changes in your nervous system that get worse over time. Relief seems like an impossible goal. Many rely on strong pain medication to manage their problem, though this has the risk of dependency and accidental overdose.

If you’re dealing with chronic pain and looking for a more natural way to manage it, try one of these practices and see if your pain doesn’t get better.

1. Massage

It sounds like expensive pampering, but massage is a treatment option that’s backed by research showing how effective it is in treating chronic pain in many parts of the body, including the lower back and shoulders. Painful knots or trigger points are often the reason for this pain. Because those with chronic pain are super sensitive to touch, a massage therapist (no matter what technique used) needs to take care not to over stimulate the area of pain. A skilled practitioner with experience working with trigger points and chronic pain will know where to put their hands to ease out the knots, without making things worse.

2. Acupuncture

Another costly treatment, this option often makes people cringe at the thought of being stuck with needles, but they are sterile, hair thin so you feel little if anything when they’re inserted. Acupuncture has been used safely for centuries to treat chronic pain and other conditions. Its gained wider acceptance in the U.S. with studies showing that it can successfully reduce levels of discomfort that are part of life when dealing with chronic pain. It can be very effective for those who can’t tolerate medication or who don’t want to take it.

You should be sure that the source of your pain is not a ligament tear, break in a bone or another structural issue before you consider acupuncture. Usually 6 treatments are needed before you can tell if your pain is getting better.

3. Proper Workouts

If a particular exercise ups the intensity of your pain, then you’re not ready for that yet. It can help to gradually add strengthening exercise to your routine, however they can hurt you more if you start them before you have your pain under control. When you do an exercise you increase muscle tension and this can make soft tissue pain worse. Experts suggest you start with stretching exercises that are research proven to help chronic pain related to the lower back. Yoga can also be helpful, but you need to talk with the instructor to change poses as needed. Being in tune with your body, so you know what makes pain worse, is super critical here.

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Manage Chronic Pain in 5 Natural Ways Continued…

4. Stress Management

Studies show a link between sustained stress and chronic pain. When stress is pushed inward, this can bring on muscle tension. You need an outlet that’s safe and healthy to release that excess energy. There are lots of choices in terms of stress management (deep breathing, mindfulness meditation, guided imagery), so you’ll need to do a bit of research to find what feels right for you.

5. Sleep

Research finds that skipping sleep may exacerbate your pain, so getting the good, quality rest you need is very important for keeping chronic pain in check. Sleep is one of the best medicines in terms of pain, just as Mom used to say. It can help to set up a pre sleep routine that helps you wind down and sends a signal to the body that sleep is soon to come. Chamomile, mint and passionflower teas are very calming. If you wake during the night, try to avoid walking about, putting on lights or checking your devices; relax quietly and rest instead.

To your good health,

Is Frozen Food Better Than Fresh?

Ever wonder if you should go fresh or frozen when choosing a fruit or veggie? Fresh is full of color and crunch, while frozen is hard, cold and unappealing. Sometimes markets use clever marketing to make produce seem more appealing, but thanks to highly evolved “harvest to freezer” methods of packaging, frozen foods hold their nutritional value far better than you think.

It’s now well understood that “fresh” foods are picked before they’re ripe, so they have less chance to develop the full spectrum of natural vitamins and minerals. These foods will never have the same nutrient value as if they had been allowed to ripen on the vine. And then there’s the transportation and storage for up to a month before these “fresh” fruits and veggies make their way to your produce section. Then you buy and store them at home, and during this period researchers know that deterioration happens. That expensive fresh fruit might end up having less nutrient value than a frozen one by the time you eat it.

Frozen foods fare much better in terms of holding onto valuable nutrients because they are picked at their peak ripeness, when they are naturally loaded with nutrients. Once this produce is picked it is chilled soon after being harvested – a “harvest to freezer” process intended to hold onto beneficial nutrients so they can be ingested.

The challenge to fresh produce comes as the result of two different projects; one from Leatherhead Food Research, another from the University of Chester that found two out of three fruits and veggies have more nutrients if they are frozen, and in fact are comparable in terms of nutrients to fresh fruits and veggies. Frozen foods continue to possess their cancer fighting nutrients while also offering nutrition that aids the eyes, skin, body and brain.

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Is Frozen Food Better Than Fresh? Continued…

The two independent projects combined to conduct 40 different tests to measure the nutrient levels in produce that had been sitting in the fridge for three days compared to the frozen equivalent. The teams found more helpful nutrients remained in frozen foods like broccoli florets, carrots and blueberries. In two out of three cases the foods did better on tests of antioxidant type compounds that are thought to be beneficial in both preventing cancer and supporting the natural functioning of the body.

Most of us eat only a third of the recommended (5-9) daily intake of fruits and veggies, so a vegetable of any kind is better than none at all. When veggies or fruits are “in season” buy them fresh and as ripe as possible. Look for the U.S. Fancy shield on any produce you buy and always eat fruits and veggies as soon as you can after buying.

In the winter, when fresh fruits and vegetables just aren’t available in many places, frozen is the next best choice. It’s certainly convenient and ready to cook, without cutting. Prepare your frozen vegetables by steaming or in the microwave instead of boiling to keep from losing the wonderful water-soluble nutrients.

To your good health,

What Trigger Fatigue And Sleepiness, Part 2

In part 1 of our series on fighting fatigue, we examined mild fatigue as well as some of the causes of more serious bouts of daytime sleepiness. If you’ve looked into all these possibilities and are still struggling with fatigue that’s unexplained, a trip to your primary health care physician is in order. Feeling utterly exhausted all the time is not normal, and not acceptable. You can find out what’s wrong, and how to fight back.

Start by talking with your doctor about your fatigue.

One of the best-known causes
of daytime fatigue is sleep apnea
. You might think you’re getting the right amount of sleep, but because of the brief stoppages of breathing during the night, you really aren’t getting quality sleep at all. For the overweight, taking off some of those pounds will certainly help. If you smoke, quit. Sleeping with a CPAP device to keep airways open at night can also prove helpful, but you should be evaluated and treated before you make any changes on your own.

Another well recognized cause; the leading one for women in fact,
of sleepiness and feelings of fatigue is anemia
. Our natural monthly blood loss can bring on a deficiency in essential iron. If blood testing from your doctor identifies this as the reason for you feeling sluggish, you can take iron supplements and add some iron rich foods to your diet. Lean meats, liver, shellfish, beans and enriched cereals are all good choices.

A trip to your doctor to discuss your feelings of fatigue will also help you rule out a surprising
cause of sleepiness, hypothyroidism
. The thyroid is a tiny gland that sits at the base of your neck and controls your metabolism. If the gland is underactive, your metabolism runs too slowly and you can feel sluggish while also gaining weight.

Diabetes also presents with bouts of persistent, unexplained fatigue; only a visit to the doctor can diagnose this problem. A blood test can confirm or rule out this condition, and there are a wide variety of treatments available. Sometimes changes in diet and upping your exercise are all that’s needed. For other patients, insulin therapy or other medications may be used to help the body process sugar as it should.

The positive here is that if the blood testing confirms a thyroid issue or diabetes, there are things that can be used to get you back on track.

For women, an
undiagnosed UTI is another common cause of feelings of sleepiness
. This infection doesn’t always present with the hallmark symptoms of burning and urgency, sometimes fatigue can be the only physical sign something isn’t right. A urine test can quickly spot the problem, and antibiotics can resolve it. The feelings of fatigue that accompany a UTI usually resolve within a week, once you are being treated and your body has chance to recover.

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What Trigger Fatigue And Sleepiness, Part 2 Continued…

When fatigue comes on during everyday activities, it can be a sign of
heart problems
. It you find it’s getting harder to finish a task that used to be easy for you, mention this to your doctor. Often lifestyle changes, medications and therapeutic procedures can do wonders to get heart disease into a manageable state, giving back your energy.

Other well-known conditions that cause fatigue that interferes significantly with daily
life include Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or fibromyalgia
. Both present with different symptoms, but share the main feeling of persistent, unjustified, utter exhaustion. Neither condition has a quick fix, but once you know what’s going on, you can make changes to your schedule and include some gentle exercise to help you feel more energized, less sluggish.

Beyond what the physical body slows us, another cause of fatigue
and sleepiness is often undiagnosed depression
. This emotional condition has many physical symptoms, and each person feels them to a different degree. If your feelings of fatigue are accompanied by headaches and a lack of appetite or interest in things you used to enjoy you may be depressed.

Look to your current circumstances to see if you can find a trigger for your feelings of sadness – the death of a loved one, change in life circumstances, birth of a child, retirement – there are many things that can bring a natural lowering of mood. And many things that can help fix it.

To your good health,

What Trigger Fatigue And Sleepiness, Part 1

In today’s busy world, there are many reasons why people battle fatigue, skimp on sleep and push past the breaking point only to end up dragging and feeling awful. In a two part series, we’ll explore fatigue, both the mild, troublesome type and the energy sucking kind that keeps you on the couch – as well as make suggestions for what you can do to fight back, feel better.

When it comes to mild fatigue, the kind that hangs on, maybe slows you down a bit but lets you keep going; often the best suggestion is exercise. Research has found that a modest workout gives healthy but fatigued adults a significant energy boost. Twenty minutes of moderately intense exercise three times a week is enough to do the trick.

The most obvious cause of more serious fatigue, is of course, not
getting enough quality sleep
. Too little sleep impacts not just how you feel, but your ability to concentrate as well as your overall health. While there is no one amount that works for everyone, 7 hours each night at a minimum is what experts suggest. If you’re not waking up before the alarm, you’re probably in need of making sleep more of a priority in your routine. Shut off all the technology after a certain hour, or ban it completely from your bedroom.

Working nights or rotating shifts is a recognized cause of fatigue and
sleepiness
because this type of schedule disrupts your natural internal clock. This makes it harder to feel awake when you should, and harder to turn off when you need to sleep.

The best bet for shift work is to try and limit your exposure to daylight when you need to be sleeping. Make your sleeping space dark, quiet and comfortably cool. If you continue to have trouble, talk to your doctor, as there are supplements and other medications that might help you establish a good sleeping schedule.

Another common-sense cause of daytime
fatigue is
not enough fuel
. Eating too little is not going to do much for your energy level of course, but so is choosing the wrong (junk) foods. A balanced diet that’s loaded of lots of nutritious options keeps your body running and your blood sugar steady. You won’t get that sluggish, gotta eat feeling when blood sugar drops after eating less healthy foods.

One thing that can’t be stressed enough is to always, always eat breakfast while also trying to have protein and complex carbs as part of every meal. It’s okay to have snacks, healthy ones, through the day if you need them to help sustain your energy.

If you’re eating a pretty balanced diet and symptoms of significant fatigue persist, some physicians believe that you might be dealing with a food
allergy, a common cause of daytime sleepiness
. If your feelings of fatigue increase after you eat, this may signal a mild intolerance to something you’ve eaten that’s not enough to cause itching/hives, but is enough to have you feeling tired and not quite right.

Experts suggest that to narrow down a food allergy you try cutting out foods, one at a time, to see if your fatigue gets better or stays the same. There are also food allergy tests that can be done in a doctor’s office if you prefer.

You also might want to look at what you’re drinking. One of the surprising
causes of fatigue is the caffeine
you use to get going – improve alertness and concentration. In moderate amounts this is fine, but too much can up your heart rate, blood pressure and leave you jittery as well. Research has found that too much caffeine actually causes fatigue in some people.

Continues below…


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What Trigger Fatigue And Sleepiness, Part 1 Continued…

You can test the theory for yourself by gradually cutting back on caffeine in your diet, things like coffee, tea, soft drinks and chocolate. Also look to any over the counter drugs for added caffeine. Do not stop your caffeine intake abruptly as this can not only bring on unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, but add to your fatigue.

Feelings of fatigue can also be caused by dehydration… a sign your body is giving you that it needs fluid now. When you feel thirsty, experts explain, your body is already dehydrated so you need to be drinking water all during the day. You want your urine to be light colored. Make sure you drink enough before, during and after any physical exertion, especially in warmer weather.

If feelings of severe fatigue persist, even after exploring all these causes and addressing what you can, a visit to your doctor is in order. Sleep disorders are more common than you think, and the other potential physical causes we’ll go over in part 2 of the series aren’t going to get better unless you identify them. The thing to keep in mind is that there are many ways to fight feelings of serious fatigue so that you can feel more energized.

To your good health,

Cut Risk Of Breast Cancer With A Daily Walk

Getting active continues to prove itself as a very valuable thing indeed. Now new research appearing in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention finds that older women who do a regular daily walk cut their risk of breast cancer, the leading cancer among females. The study also found that women who exercised vigorously for that hour a day got even better protection from this dangerous, disfiguring disease. Both good reasons to start a fitness program.

Statistics show that in the U.S. about one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point during her lifetime.

The current research on breast cancer and exercise included over 73,000 postmenopausal women who were taking part in an American Cancer Society study on the incidence of cancer. When the project started in 1992, the average age of the subjects was almost 63 years old. Participants filled out a questionnaire covering medical, environmental and demographic factors at the start of the research, then again every two years from 1997 until 2009. They also reported their physical activity and time spent sitting that included watching TV and reading as well as any diagnoses of cancer of the breast.

During the 14 years of research 4,760 women were diagnosed with breast cancer.

The researchers then compared the exercise habits of those who’d been diagnosed with disease. Almost 9% never took part in physical activity, while nearly half said walking was their only exercise. The team saw that walking at a moderate pace for an hour a day was linked with a 14% lower rate of cancer of the breast, when compared to subjects leading a sedentary lifestyle.

If the women spent that hour or more doing more strenuous physical activity, the benefit was a 25% lower risk of breast cancer. Those who walked 7 hours (or more) a week, even if they did no other activity, got protective benefits compared to those who walked under three hours a week.

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Cut Risk Of Breast Cancer With A Daily Walk Continued…

The walkers in the study reported doing almost 3 miles an hour, or about the equal of a 20 minute mile. The more vigorous activities done by the women in the study include fast walking (a pace of 4.5 miles an hour), moderate cycling or swimming laps.

It’s also important to understand that the study only saw an association between moderate workouts and lower risk of cancer of the breast, there was no direct cause and effect relationship. Other studies have shown that exercise brought down the risk of breast cancer more for those who had a lower BMI. This study found the effect of exercise on cancer held no matter what your BMI was.

Other work has also shown a link between time spent sitting and risk of breast cancer, but the latest research didn’t see this link. The take home message is that you don’t have to go out and train like you’re running a marathon. Just an hour each day of moderately intense activity can bring a measurable benefit in terms of breast cancer risk. This is a goal that’s easily reached for almost all women.

To your good health,