Category Archives: Anti Aging

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The Benefits Of Playing A Musical Instrument At Any Age

Having the ability to play an instrument is a great gift; it also appears to improve your cognitive health in your later years, even if you’ve stopped playing according to a study in the journal Neuropsychology. We know music relieves stress and everyone recognizes that stress is terrible for both your physical and mental health. Beyond this, there’s plenty of science that supports the idea of music being good for you and there’s increasing interest among the medical community in keeping the brain as healthy and strong as the body.

The latest research in the area of music and the brain was conducted at the University of Kansas Medical Center and included 70 healthy (with similar fitness/education levels, and free of Alzheimer’s disease) adults who’d been recruited to participate. The subjects were from 60 to 83 years old and were broken into groups based on levels of musical experience from no musical training, one to nine years of music lessons, or at last 10 years studying a musical instrument.

Over half the subjects who had studied music were piano players, another quarter played woodwind instruments and the final quarter played string instruments, percussion or brass. The subjects were given a few cognitive tests, and not surprisingly, the musicians of the group performed better on these tests than those who had never studied or didn’t know how to read music.

When compared to the non-musicians of the study, those who had lots (10 years) of musical training had far higher scores on the cognitive testing. The benefits of musical training were still evident even in those who had stopped playing.

Intriguing that the brain function the team was measuring tends to go down with age.

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Fact: Poor Sleep Increases The Risk of Death/ Disease

Ever lain awake at night and counted the hours till dawn? Isn’t frustrating to be in bed and be unable to sleep?

With around 18 million prescriptions written every year for expensive sleeping pills…

…it’s clear that there’s a national epidemic.

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Learn how a retired M.D. Laney Chouest from New Orleans broke his 5-year addiction to Ambien, and now sleeps peacefully without medication.

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The Benefits Of Playing A Musical Instrument At Any Age Continued…

It may be that musical ability or learning stays with you and acts as a challenging mental activity that makes your brain sharper, more able to deal with the changes of aging. Learning an instrument takes years of study and practice, and might just create alternative connections in the brain that help to make up for cognitive declines that happen naturally as we get older.

But if you’re older, you can still get a number of health benefits from starting an instrument. Making music can lower your blood pressure, slow your heart rate, ease stress as well as anxiety and depression. There’s also more evidence than before that making music helps the immune response of the body.

As we’ve mentioned here recently, music has been used by therapists to help patients with dementia feel better. Music is familiar, evoking comfortable, happier memories. Music also has a close relationship with our unconscious emotions. It’s engaging and emotionally powerful and can have strong effects on the way we think, how we feel and even our physiology.

What’s great is that anyone, of any age or ability, can make music and get the benefit. You don’t have to be good or be a kid to take lessons. Musical study makes your brain work and this may be just the thing to help address the challenges of aging.

To your good health,

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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.

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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,

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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.

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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,

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7 Easy Ways To Boost Your Metabolism

Get this… even the little decisions you make about diet and exercise can make a very large difference in your metabolism. The thing to understand is that your metabolism isn’t fixed at one rate according to exercise physiologist Gary Ditsch, and you can make big changes depending on what you eat and how active you are.

Here are 7 smart ways to get your metabolism moving faster…

1. Weight lifting builds muscle, the more muscle you have the more calories you burn. What you might not realize is that the calorie burn keeps going long after the end of the workout. A research project at Southern Illinois University found that exercisers who did a 15-minute resistance routine burned 100 added calories a day for the next three days.

Why? Experts know that strength training causes micro trauma to the muscles, and your body will work to rebuild the tissue. It does this by burning added protein and carbs. To amp up fat burning, try 1 to 3 sets each of 5 resistance exercises (push-ups or squats) on three days a week.

2. Lift first, do cardio next as this combination will melt more fat. Exercisers who lifted weights for 20 minutes before cycling lost more weight than those who didn’t lift weights or those who waited longer between the periods of lifting and cardio. So go right from the weights to the treadmill, bike or stair climber.

3. Spice things up as this can up your metabolism by from 20% to 25%. The way hot mustard that comes with Asian food appears to boost production of hormones that burn fat according to Lori Shemek who is author of Fire Up Your Fat Burn. One suggestion is to try adding a teaspoon of spices to a typical vinaigrette.

4. Include intervals. Some recent Colorado State University found that cyclists who pedaled at an all out effort using a high resistance for five, 30-second sprints burned 200 calories. Recovering between intervals is also important, the participants in the study recovered with four minutes of slow pedaling with low resistance. Changing the intensity levels forces your muscles to work harder.

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7 Easy Ways To Boost Your Metabolism Continued…

5. Drink water, as it will keep your metabolism running when you’re just hanging around. According to a University of Utah study, participants who drank 8 to 12 glasses of water a day burned more calories at rest than those who drank only four glasses. You can also peel citrus fruits and freeze them, using them in place of ice cubes.

6. Snack after your exercise. Those who drank a 250 calorie shake with 24 grams of protein and 36 grams of carbs after a strength training workout lost about 4 pounds more fat, created one and a half pounds more lean muscle in 6 months than those who didn’t consume the shake after workouts. If you don’t care for a shake, try a banana with peanut butter. The key is to snack within 30 minutes after exercise.

7. Do a down dog as Yoga gets your metabolism going. In one bit of research, subjects who om’d their way through a 50 minute session saw a drop in levels of stress hormone cortisol, known to inhibit fat burning. You might consider starting with a 10-minute session and work up to something longer.

Experts know that metabolism involves a complicated network of hormones and enzymes that not only change food into fuel, but also impact how efficiently your body burns that fuel. It has a whole lot to do with how quickly we gain, and lose, weight. And not everyone burns them at the same rate. Metabolism is influenced by age, (slows about 5% a decade after your 40s), if you are male or female (men burn more calories at rest than women) and portion of lean body mass (the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism), though it seems heredity also plays a part.

To your good health,


7 Factors That Influence Your Lifespan

We all want to live longer, better lives… here are some smart tips to help you reach that goal. It’s true that some things that affect lifespan are under the influence of genetics and how our mother behaved during pregnancy, still there are other factors that we can control that also have an impact on our chances of enjoying a long, healthy life. Let’s look at both.

Understand that much of the research into aging has been focused on the part played by telomeres, the protective tips at the end of chromosomes. They safeguard the end of the chromosome, preventing the loss of genetic information as cells divide. Every time this happens, the telomeres get shorter and eventually are so short they stop cells from dividing. This is how we age. Research has found that longer telomeres are linked to living longer, and can be inherited by the next generation.

Everyone knows that even before birth a child’s health is impacted by the lifestyle choices (good or bad) made by its mother. There’s much research that’s found if an expectant mother is highly stressed this can impact the baby, so that they are less capable of handling stress in their own lives. Heavy drinking during a pregnancy can bring on foetal alcohol syndrome, which often results in physical issues and lifelong learning disabilities in the child. Smoking also effects a baby’s development, and even the diet a pregnant woman eats can up her unborn child’s risk of obesity by making changes in the baby’s DNA.

What’s more, having a happy childhood may also boost your lifespan. One study found that those who were unhappy in their younger years had a higher risk of heart disease as adults. Getting outside as a child, spending time in natural sunlight, gives every child a key source of vitamin D. Today one in four kids are deficient in this nutrient, needed to build strong bones, by helping the body absorb calcium and phosphorus from the foods we eat.

No one disputes the many benefits of regular exercise to the body and mind. Exercise has a direct impact on how long you live because it ensures you get a healthier heart, while also boosting good mental health and offering an effective stress management technique that works on anxiety and depression too. Another key benefit of regular exercise is that it helps you reach (and keep yourself at) a healthy weight, which cuts the risk of diabetes. Weight bearing exercises are especially good for helping with bone density and offering protection against osteoporosis.

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7 Factors That Influence Your Lifespan Continued…

As we get older, the strong bones of our youth are no more. People start losing bone density in their mid 30s as a normal part of aging. The good news is that you can fight back against natural bone loss/weakening by eating a diet rich in calcium and exercising as often as you can. Exposure to natural sunlight is also crucial as this helps your body produce more vitamin D.

One key to longevity in terms of diet is to limit or avoid certain foods and drinks. You know the ones, those with lots of calories that are loaded with salt, simple carbs (sugars) or fat that taste great but also pack on the weight. Trans fats are particularly bad for you, raising the levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and raising the risk of atherosclerosis, heart disease and even stroke. If you want to live longer, healthier, avoid these foods. Too much alcohol can also have serious consequences on your health – drinking more than is recommended over the long haul can cause damage to vital internal organs.

Smoking is also a well-known life shortener. Smokers have higher risk of over 50 serious, life altering health problems. Smoking is the cause of almost 90% of lung cancers, does damage to the heart and circulation, makes respiratory conditions worse and even effects fertility. If you want to live longer, stop smoking now.

Beyond eating right and exercising, drinking alcohol in moderation and not smoking, another key area that helps with longevity is to have friendships.

Research on loneliness has found that social isolation is linked to a higher rate of death in older adults. Loneliness may well prove to be the hidden, unacknowledged killer of older people. Research has also found that those who are married live longer than single adults do. The reason may be the improved social support networks
of spouses, which cuts down on the risk of isolation and loneliness.

To your good health,

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8 Ways Every Woman Can Look Younger

As our largest organ, our skin gives many clues about overall health and wellness… not to mention age. If you’re tired of looking your age (or older) there are many things you can do to keep your skin glowing and healthy, no matter how many birthdays you’ve had. Here are eight of the best ways to help yourself look younger.

Be sure your skin care products contain these three powerful ingredients for youthful looking skin – antioxidants (vitamin C is one) to brighten skin, retinoids to encourage cell turnover, stimulate the renewal of collagen, along with a gentle scrub of alpha hydroxyl acid to remove the top layer of dead skin cells.

Wear sunscreen every day. If you haven’t already, make this step a part of your skincare routine because it’s vital to protect your skin from the aging looks of sun damage, lessen your risks of skin cancer. Experts remind us that any product beyond SPF 30 has not been shown in research to be any more protective… those higher numbers don’t give you more safety.

Fake a healthy glow by applying a gradual self-tanner instead. A product that works gradually will keep you from seeing the blotchiness, streaking or buildup on your ankles, soles of the feet and knuckles. For your face, use a cream blush to give your complexion a lift, and apply in a circular motion with your finger, blending the edges.

Go easy on foundation as too much will tend to settle into fine lines or on top of the rough patches of your face – calling attention to these areas. Instead, go for a transparent moisturizing foundation or a tinted moisturizer. Stay away from any product with a powder base.

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8 Ways Every Woman Can Look Younger Continued…

Stay away from the glitter as products with shimmer and glitter actually make wrinkles more obvious. These products don’t look good on lids that have tiny lines or rough patches. Dark tones combined with lighter neutrals are the most youthful options for eye color. Skip the liquid liner and go for a soft pencil liner that’s blendable instead.

Choose the right shape for eyebrows, and let a professional do the plucking and shaping. Droopy, tired looking eyes can be improved by slightly arching the brows and letting them extend out from the temple. The arch is a key part of the brow and should be both gentle and gradual… professionals are just better at getting this look.

Your neck loses elasticity faster than anyplace else on your body, so be sure to take care of the skin on your neck and décolletage area. Follow the same routine you do for your face, moisturize in the morning and again at night, exfoliate one or two times each week and use sunscreen every day.

Last, but not least, pay attention to your hands. As old fashioned as it seems, you’ll really want to wear gloves when washing dishes as chemicals and hot water combined strip away the protective lipid barrier on the skin, making dryness and irritation more likely. Cover your hands with lotion before you put on those rubber gloves and this will protect them from the harsh environment and give them a warm moisturizing treatment at the same time.

To your good health,

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5 Tips To Prevent Alzheimer’s

These are are sobering numbers. Today estimates from the Alzheimer’s Association suggest that about 44 million people are coping with dementia the world over, with that number expected to triple by 2050 to 115 million. So many people… so much misery. To combat these frightening numbers, experts discussed the latest research at the 2014 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference held in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Here are five important discoveries that came from the conference.

1. Having hypertension in old age may actually protect your brain. Though high blood pressure is known as the “silent killer”, a new study out of the University of California suggest that if you’re over 90 years old, this condition can actually save your brain cells.

The team followed 625 subjects who developed hypertension in their 90s for up to a decade and found that their risk for dementia was 55% lower than those who had a medical history of hypertension. Naturally the study isn’t saying hypertension is good for you, especially considering that it is tied to many other bad things.

Instead, the study presents the idea that when it comes to normal blood pressure, a one-size-fits-all approach may not be right for older people.

2. Lifestyle changes are better made late than never at all. There are a number of changes to lifestyle that can lower the risk for late life cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s. This finding comes as the result of a two-year clinical trial out of the Karolinska Institutet and the Finnish Institute for Health.

The work included 1,260 subjects who were from 60 to 77 years old. One group got a “lifestyle package” that included guidance on what to eat, physical activity and management of heart health risk factors, mental training and social function. The control group got standard health advice, and after two years, the lifestyle package group performed far better on tests of memory and thinking skills.

Start implementing those lifestyle changes at midlife and you can help fight off Alzheimer’s disease. It’s never too late.

3. Playing mental games makes your brain larger. Turns out middle-aged people who are avid game players tend to have bigger brains than those who didn’t do these kinds of activities according to a study that examined brain scans. Think of it like looking at muscle mass – bad when it’s small, good when it’s bigger.

When the researchers examined specific parts of the subject’s brains, they saw that that areas that tend to be damaged by Alzheimer’s disease were actually bigger. These larger areas are associated with higher scores on tests of cognitive ability. Mixing up the games, or engaging in another stimulating activity, is great for the brain – anything that offers a cognitive challenge keeps the brain in shape over the long haul.

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5 Tips To Prevent Alzheimer’s Continued…

4. Exercise benefits your brain. Being active appears to slow the progression toward dementia according to two sets of data out of the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging. What’s more, exercise positively influences how mild cognitive impairment and dementia present and progress.

In one group of subjects who had mild cognitive impairment, working out appeared to protect against developing dementia. Data for another group of healthy patients who exercised showed they were less apt to be diagnosed with cognitive impairment than those who did not exercise, either lightly or vigorously.

While not a cure, exercise is certainly good for your brain.

5. Alzheimer’s may soon be detected by a smell test. A test of your sense of smell might actually help your doctor tell if you are at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Results from two separate projects find that those who were unable to identify some odors were more likely to experience cognitive impairment. The experts think that the brain cells that are key to a sense of smell may be killed off in the early stages of dementia. A simple, non-invasive diagnostic test would be a huge step forward.

With a test to spot the early symptoms, doctors believe they could intervene early and treat sooner, and this will slow the progression of this devastating disease.

To your good health,


Stronger Bones And Joints With These exercises

You’ve heard, over and over most likely, how good exercise is for the body. But if you’re not active right now, sitting comfortably on the couch (and happy that way) it’s hard to get up and get motivated. Experts suggest you ease into being more active; slow, steady progress over time is what you’re after. Forget the idea of measuring what you do against what another person is doing. The key is to get up, get started. Take that all-important first step.

One of the many reasons to exercise is what it does for an aging body. As we age, one of the many things we lose, is bone mass. There are exercises you can do that can slow (or even prevent) destructive diseases like osteoporosis, as well as many others. When it comes to your joints, experts suggest that the best protection is to have strong muscles around them.

Here’s more on the different types of exercises that are especially good for bones and joints, and how often you should do them.

Strength Training: 2 to 3 times per week

You can do this with hand held weights or resistance bands, set at an amount that will tire your muscle but not cause any pain in the joint. The best choice is to work each major muscle group (arms, legs, core) and give yourself a day off between strength training to let your body rest as your muscles actually get stronger as they recover. Don’t cheat yourself of this period.

Aerobic Workouts: 150 min. moderate activity a week, 30 min/5 days a week

Exercise that are considered weight bearing, like dancing, hiking, walking, climbing stairs can also be a smart way to build your bones and keep joints protected and in good shape. Workouts like swimming and biking aren’t considered weight-bearing activities, and though they are good for overall muscle tone, your lungs and heart, they aren’t a good choice if you’re looking strictly for bone support.

Exercises for flexibility: 3 days a week

Activities like stretching and yoga are especially good for your joints as you age because they help you hold onto range of motion. You’ll need to be careful that you don’t do too much stretching, and be sure to warm up for a bit first, you never want to stretch a cold muscle.

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Stronger Bones And Joints With These exercises Continued…

You might also want to add balance exercises to your workout three days a week. Just standing on one leg can help keep you from suffering a bone-breaking fall. Tai chi is another activity you might consider for improving balance.

When exercising it’s also important to do all you can to avoid hurting yourself. This is also where a personal trainer can be invaluable. These professionals can help you find the right workout, monitor your progress and celebrate with you when you achieve your goals. They also help you keep doing exercises correctly, which eliminates a leading cause of injury. Here are some other smart tips to injury proof any workout routine.

- Don’t just workout on the weekend, spread workouts over the whole week.

- Maintain good posture in any exercise you are doing.

- Avoid extreme positions (deep knee bends, crunches) that can harm your joints or put pressure on your spine.

- Work on exercises that target your back and abdominals to strengthen your core, a must for good body mechanics.

To your good health,

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14 Food Combos To Improve Your Life, Part 1

Isn’t it great when two good things combine to create something even better? This is exactly the case with the food combos we’re sharing with you here. All seven are readily available, tasty combos you can add to your diet right away.

1. Green Tea + Lemon = Healthy Heart

Green tea is good for the heart due to catechins, a powerful antioxidant that’s naturally abundant in green tea. When researchers added lemon juice to the tea, the availability of those beneficial catechins skyrocketed, from 20% to 80%.

2. Broccoli + Tomatoes = Cancer Fighting

Cancer fighters on their own, research finds that eating these two veggies together might be even better. Eating tomato and broccoli at the same time was more effective at slowing down the growth of malignant prostate tumors than eating either veggie alone. Try a pizza topped with broccoli or sprinkle florets over a plate of pasta and sauce.

3. Red Bell Peppers + Black Beans = Better Immunity

You absorb more immune boosting plant iron from the beans when you add in a few red bell peppers. The iron in beans exists in a form known as non-heme iron that’s harder for your body to take in, but adding a dose of vitamin C (like in red peppers) convers the iron into a type that’s easier for the body to absorb. Add some red bell peppers to your next batch of chili.

4. Eggs + Mango = Firmer Skin

To keep your skin looking firm, try eating a combination of eggs and mango, as the eggs are naturally rich in two amino acids essential to the formation of skin plumping collagen. Foods that have lots of vitamin C, such as mango, work with these acids to help boost the production of collagen. This restores lost stores in the body and can really improve the look of your skin. Try an omelet with fresh chunks of mango for breakfast.

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14 Food Combos To Improve Your Life, Part 1 Continued…

5. Green Tea + Black Pepper = Smaller Waistline

A cup of green tea with dinner, and a half-teaspoon of black pepper shaken over your meal and you’ll boost the absorption of EGCG (an antioxidant in green tea tied to burning calories) by 130%. What’s more, those who drink green tea with a meal say they feel fuller and are less apt to go for a second helping than those drinking water.

6. Radicchio + Kale = Stronger Skeleton

You’ll take in even more of kale’s calcium by combining it with some radicchio. The colorful veggie is a major source of inulin, a carb that naturally enhances calcium absorption in the digestive tract. Try these two tasty greens in your next salad.

7. Avocado + Green Salad = Complexion Protection

You’ll absorb more of the good for your skin plant compounds (carotenoids) from a salad by adding a bit of avocado, full of healthy monounsaturated fats. This combo helps you absorb up to 15 times more carotenoids than if you didn’t eat your salad with avocado. It seems that carotenoids need some fat to be best taken in by the body, so add a half of an avocado into your next salad to reap double benefits.

That’s all for part 1, watch for part 2 coming soon.

To your good health,

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Four Unexpected Benefits From Veggies

Like most Americans, you’re probably not eating enough vegetables. You know they’re natural. You know they’re good for your body, help to fend off diseases and perhaps support your efforts to drop a few pounds, but you just don’t reach for a vegetable when mealtime comes. To help motivate you (and ourselves) here are 4 great reasons to take in more good-for-you veggies.

REASON #1: Veggies fight ugly belly bloat. You might think that vegetables will give you a bloated belly, but in truth, the opposite is the case. Veggies are rich sources of natural fiber, and this flushes out waste and gastric irritants, prevents constipation because it keeps the digestion moving.

Veggies might also have you looking leaner because they counter the bloat that comes with taking in too much salt. Most Americans get almost two times the recommended intake of sodium in a typical restaurant meal or by eating an instant variety of soup. Veggies have lots of potassium and water, and this helps flush that excess sodium out of the body, restoring the natural fluid balance of the body.

If you find you have a bit of gas when you add more fiber to your diet, try steamed veggies instead of raw. The heat from cooking breaks down some of the fiber and this helps keep your gastric distress to a minimum as your body adjusts to the higher intake.

REASON #2: Veggies give you glowing, younger looking skin. Vegetables are a natural way to prevent the unwanted signs of aging, keeping skin young and supple. This is thanks to abundant phytonutrient vitamin C and high water content. In fact, many veggies are naturally from 85%-95% water, and this is what hydrates the skin and cuts down on the wrinkles.

The phytonutrients that are a part of all vegetables also guard against early aging by protecting against cell damage due to stress, sun exposure, pollution and other toxins that are in the environment all around us. Vitamin C helps form collagen according to more than one study.

The bright colors of red and orange veggies give you an added benefit – beta-carotene, and this protects against sun damage to the skin. The lycopene naturally in red veggies has also been found to act as a natural sunscreen.

Continues below…

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Four Unexpected Benefits From Veggies Continued…

REASON #3: Veggies reduce your stress levels. You know that stress can leave you feeling tired and out of sorts, and this does no favors for your ability to make good nutrient rich food choices. Emotional eating and binges are often the result. What happens to the body is that nutrients like vitamin C and magnesium are quickly depleted. Luckily, vegetables have the very nutrients you need, as well as B vitamins that are known to fight anxiety and depression and tension reducing omega-3 fatty acids.

Potassium and magnesium in some veggies can relax blood vessels and keep your blood pressure in the normal range according to studies. Plus, the natural fiber keeps your blood sugar levels stable, preventing you from experiencing dips in energy and the mood swings that come along with that.

REASON #4: Veggies help keep your bones strong. While you might think that dairy is all the bone protection you need, turns out that some veggies also have high levels of calcium and vitamin D as well as bone building vitamin K, magnesium, potassium and prebiotic fiber – tomatoes in particular have been shown to be connected to healthy bones. In fact, a recent study found that when you remove lycopene rich foods from the diet, a woman is at a higher risk of osteoporosis.

To your good health,