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Archive for June 22, 2014

6 Everyday Habits for Better Brain Health

6 Everyday Habits for Better Brain Health

 

June 2014 is the first-ever Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, an ideal time for all of us to take stock of whether our daily routines are enhancing or degrading the health of the all-important organ sitting between our ears.

While nothing can prevent or cure Alzheimer’s, adhering to these six habits can lead to better overall brain health:

Healthy body, healthy brain: Diabetes, heart disease—even poor gum health– have all been shown to increase a person’s risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. Conversely, individuals who exercise on a regular basis, consume diets that are rich in fruit, vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats, and engage in proper mouth hygiene practices often experience a lower risk for developing Alzheimer’s in their later years.

Good sleep hygiene: A recent study from the University of California, San Francisco found that older men who didn’t get enough high-quality sleep—woke up multiple times during the night, couldn’t fall back asleep, etc.—experienced cognitive issues equivalent to the effect of an additional five years of brain aging. Fitful sleepers had greater trouble planning, making decisions and were more likely to encounter issues with abstract thinking. Check out these 7 Yoga Poses that Can Help You Sleep.

Build a buffer against dementia: Cognitive reserve describes the mechanism by which a person’s mind helps compensate for damage to their brain. The term has recently become a buzzword among health care professionals because research indicates that people who have larger amounts of cognitive reserve are less likely to exhibit the classic signs of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia—short term memory loss, difficulty multitasking, etc.—even if their brain scans show mental damage. This is because cognitive reserve effectively makes the mind stronger and more nimble, enabling it to come up with ways to compensate for disease-related loss of functioning.

Fancy training programs not required: Building a cognitive reserve buffer doesn’t require a bunch of fancy mental puzzles and exercises—though such activities can help. Rather, the key to constructing cognitive reserve lies in seeking out novel activities and experiences in your everyday life. For example, Shlomo Breznitz, Ph.D., co-author ofMaximum Brainpower: Challenging the Brain for Health and Wisdom, says even simple tasks—using your non-dominant hand while eating, taking an alternate route to work—can strengthen your cognitive reserve. Discover six additional Ways to Boost Brainpower.

Stress management is essential: Studies have shown that individuals who experience high levels of stress in middle age have a greater risk of developing dementia, even decades later. Cortisol and other hormones released during the stress response can contribute to brain inflammation and can damage the hippocampus—the part of the brain responsible for memory formation.

The benefits of social support: Maintaining strong social connections with friends and family throughout life is widely-regarded as an ideal buffer against a host of ailments—both physical and mental. Indeed, new research has even outlined the Deadly Consequences of Loneliness.

By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com Editor

AgingCare.com connects family caregivers and provides support, resources, expert advice and senior housing options for people caring for their elderly parents. AgingCare.com is a trusted resource that visitors rely on every day to find inspiration, make informed decisions, and ease the stress of caregiving.

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler
Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author
 

7 In-Season Fruits and Veggies to Eat Now

7 In-Season Fruits and Veggies to Eat Now

 

 

We are right on the cusp of summer, which means we’ve got maybe another couple of weeks to track down some beautiful spring produce before it starts to wane. Here are 7 yummy spring fruits and veggies to find right now!

Depending on where you live, you may have an easier or tougher time tracking down spring produce so late in the season. If it’s been cooler where you are, you’ve got a better chance of finding the more elusive spring produce this close to summer. When you head to the farmers market this weekend, keep these spring beauties in mind!

Spring Produce Spotlight: 7 Fruits and Veggies to Find Now

1. Watercress

This leafy green is getting some superfood cred lately, and it’s a lovely addition to sandwiches, salads, and soups. If you’re new to watercress, don’t worry! Here are some tips on growing your own along with how to prepare it.

Spring Produce Spotlight: 7 Fruits and Veggies to Find Now

2. Sorrel

Sorrel is another lovely leafy green that has a tangy, citrusy flavor. It’s a delicate green, so shopping for and storing sorrel can be a little bit tricky. Check out the health benefits of sorrel along with how to store and prepare it here!

Spring Produce Spotlight: 7 Fruits and Veggies to Find Now

3. Endive

Yes! Another yummy salad veggie. Endive might look unassuming, but it’s packed with nutritional goodness and plenty of flavor. Read more about how and why to eat more endive.

Spring Produce Spotlight: 7 Fruits and Veggies to Find Now

4. Broccoli

Broccoli has a long growing season, but during the hotter part of summer it can be hard to find. Grab some now before it disappears until fall! I’m sure that you know how to prepare broccoli, but you can read up on prep tips and health benefits of this cruciferous veggie here.

Spring Produce Spotlight: 7 Fruits and Veggies to Find Now

5. Asparagus

This might be the hardest spring veggie to track down so close to summer. Asparagus season is painfully short, so if you see asparagus at the market, snatch it up before it’s gone! Check out why asparagus is super healthy and get some tasty asparagus recipes here.

Spring Produce Spotlight: 7 Fruits and Veggies to Find Now

6. Cherries

I probably don’t have to tell you to hoard those cherries. Who can pass them up, right? The only trouble with cherries is getting those pits out if you want to bake with them or use them in a fruit salsa. Don’t worry! We’ve found you a handy cherry-pitting trick and some yummy cherry recipes.

Spring Produce Spotlight: 7 Fruits and Veggies to Find Now

7. Artichokes

If you’re used to buying artichoke hearts, dealing with a whole artichoke might seem a little bit daunting. Don’t let that stop you from snatching up this spring produce at the market. Learn how to cook whole artichokes and check out some bonus artichoke recipes.

Do you have a favorite piece of spring produce that wasn’t on this list? Tell us about it in the comments!

(Leesa recommends choosing organic fruits and organic vegetables!)

by Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284 write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

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The Impressive Anti-Cancer Power of Berries

The Impressive Anti-Cancer Power of Berries

For disease prevention and health maintenance, berries of all colors have “emerged as champions.” Research has focused mainly on cancer prevention and treatment. Studies show that the anticancer effects of berries are partially mediated through their abilities to counteract, reduce, and also repair damage resulting from oxidative stress and inflammation. Berries may also have many other positive effects, such as boosting detoxifying enzymes.

One of the more remarkable effects is that of blueberries on natural killer cell counts. Natural killer cells are part of our immune system’s rapid response team against cancer cells, eliminating cancer cells through the activation of cancer cell suicide via death receptors. They’re called natural killers because they don’t require activation by prior exposure. We don’t want to wait until our second tumor before our immune system starts fighting.

We have about two billion of these soldiers circulating in our blood stream at any one time, but we may be able to get a troop surge with blueberries. Researchers had athletes eat about a cup and a half of blueberries a day for six weeks to see if that would reduce the oxidative stress of long-distance running. They indeed saw a blunting of the spike in oxidant stress. But that’s not what sets that study apart.

The number of natural killer cells in the blood typically decreases after prolonged endurance exercise, dropping by half to only about one billion—that is, unless we’ve been eating lots of blueberries. If you click on the video on the next page, you can see a graph comparing natural killer cell numbers with and without blueberries.  Those who ate blueberries retained close to the standard two billion cells. This is because six weeks of blueberries had doubled the resting number of natural killer cells up to over four billion. This has never before been demonstrated in humans. There was a study on goji berries, but despite a cup a day for a month, there was no significant change in the number of natural killers.

Another study, though, showed a significant increase in natural killer cell activity thanks to the spice cardamom. (Cardamom and blueberries—I never thought we’d be fighting cancer with blueberry muffins!) When researchers took some lymphoma cells in a petri dish and added cardamom, nothing happened. However, if we add some natural killer cells, about 5% of the cancer cells are wiped out. Add a little more cardamom, and our troops do better still. And then if we add more and more spice, then all of a sudden the natural killer cells are killing cancer like crazy—the same number of natural killer cells, but they’re now able to kill off ten times more cancer cells. While cardamom alone had no effect on cancer cells even at the highest dose, it seemed to enhance our natural killer cells’ killer instincts.

The same thing was found for black pepper: Black pepper alone, nothing, but when combined with natural killer cells, there seemed to be a boosting effect up to around 30 or 40% cancer cell clearance. If cardamom and black pepper are combined, they synergize and their individual effects are doubled. The researchers conclude that “Taken together, these data strongly suggest that black pepper and cardamom have the potential to markedly enhance the anti-cancer activity of natural killer cells.”

Exercise itself can improve immune function in general, but the blueberry finding is so far unique.

It is true that the blueberry study was funded by the North American Blueberry Council and the North Carolina High-bush Blueberry Council. However, just because the study was funded by blueberry councils doesn’t necessarily mean the science is suspect, but we would want to see the study independently verified, especially one so dramatic.

(For a convenient way to enjoy your berries, Leesa recommends you enjoy Chews4Health every day! Chews4Health is made with Goji, Noni, Mangosteen, Acai, Dulse, Kelp, Bladderwack, Nori, Vitamin B-12, Folic Acid, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Resveratrol,  Pomegranate, Blueberry, Cranberry, Raspberry!)

By Michael Greger, M.D.

A founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. Currently Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. Hundreds of his nutrition videos are freely available atNutritionFacts.org.

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284 write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn ~ www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

like ~ www.tinyurl.com/Facebook-HealthyHighway

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6 Signs You Need to Eat More Fat

6 Signs You Need to Eat More Fat

Look at the aisles of low-fat products in any grocery store, and it might be hard to believe that fat can actually be good for you. Fats can be just as vital to your health as your daily intake of veggies and other important nutrients, giving your body energy to function, aiding brain development, helping absorb vitamins, and more.

Do you need to add fat to your diet? Read on to find out:

Add fat if: youre always hungry. If you find your stomach growling for lunch shortly after finishing breakfast, you may need more fat in your diet. Dietary fat has been shown to provide satiety, as well as regulate the appetite, preventing overeating. Even small changes to your meals can make a big impact—switch out your low-fat yogurt and milk for full-fat options, add avocado to your daily snack, or use a full-fat dressing like blue cheese on your lunch salad.

Add fat if: youre often cold. Before you start running a portable heater in the middle of June, try eating more fat. Our body’s fat cells are responsible for generating heat and keeping us warm, and “people with low body fat or who don’t get enough fat in their diets often complain of being cold,” according to registered dietician Felicia Stoler, MS.
Add fat if: you take vitamin supplements…or care about your bone, eye and heart health. Whether you take supplements or get your daily intake from the foods you eat, vitamins like A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble, meaning that they’re absorbed with dietary fat. Not enough fat in your diet and you might also be vitamin-deficient. Not ready for a dinner of bacon with a side of bacon? Try snacking on almonds, which are packed with omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.
Add fat if: youre feeling mentally sluggish. If you’re having trouble concentrating or are feeling mentally tired throughout the day, consider salmon for lunch. Research has found that the omega-3 fatty acids found in foods like some popular fish, certain oils, and spinach are crucial for mental acuity and cognitive function. They’ve even been shown to possibly protect against Alzheimer’s and depression.
Add fat if: you have dry skin. If your skin is dry, flaky, or itchy, your diet may be to blame. Essential fatty acid deficiency can lead to dermatitis–and getting enough omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids has been shown to reduce sun sensitivity and diminish acne-related inflammation. EFA supplementation has also been shown to help with psoriasis treatment.
Add fat if: you have diabetes. It may sound counter-intuitive, a high-fat, low-carb diet can actually have a more positive effect on blood sugar levels than low-fat diets, according to recent research. Experts recommend healthy fat sources like lean meats, olive oil, and whole nuts, as well as avoiding white flour, white rice, and sugar. (Leesa recommends choosing organic fats including organic oils, organic nuts,etc. )
By Diana Vilibert

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284 write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn ~ www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

like ~ www.tinyurl.com/Facebook-HealthyHighway

join ~ www.tinyurl.com/googleplusHealthyHighway

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

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