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Posts tagged ‘Aging’

3 Myths to Dispel About the Brain

What if we could improve our memory, reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and keep our brains young with just a few simple mindfulness techniques?

Deepak Chopra recently appeared on the Dr. Oz show discussing memory and the brain. With the recent release of his new book, Super Brain, co-authored by Harvard neuroscientist Rudy Tanzi, there has been a lot in the air about the connection between the mind, aging and brain health. Deepak and Rudy discuss some key themes from the book, including memory, love, and sleep, on The Chopra Well series, SUPER BRAIN.

As it turns out, we have more of a say in the strength and resilience of our brains than we may have thought. Here are three myths to dispel before we can harness the power of our “super brains.” If we can wrap our minds around these, then we are off to a great start.

Myth #1: Over the course of our lives, our brains continuously lose cells that will never be replaced.

Truth: We do lose brain cells as a natural course of wear and tear (about one per second), but these cells are replaced and can even increase in a process called “neurogenesis.” Several thousand new nerve cells come into being every day in the hippocampus, home of short-term memory. We can promote the birth of these new cells by choosing to learn new things, take risks, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. This includes avoiding emotional stress and trauma, which have been shown to inhibit neurogenesis.

Myth #2: The brain is hardwired and cannot be changed.

Truth: Our brains are actually incredibly flexible, if we can just learn to nurture and foster their development. The term for this “re-wiring” is neuroplasticity and is dependent on our own will to try new things, tackle new goals and experience change. The brain’s circuitry can be reshaped by our thoughts, desires, and experiences. This property has been vividly illustrated by dramatic recoveries after injuries, but it also comes to bear every time you take a new route to work or learn a new skill.

Myth #3: Memory loss with age is irreversible.

Truth: It is possible to prevent and even reverse memory loss! Ever misplaced your keys and blamed it on old age? The fact is, you have to learn something in the first place before you can forget it. So it may be that you just never learned where you placed your keys. Practice mindfulness as the first step toward building a resilient memory. Also, memories associated with feelings are much stronger than memories based in simple, hard fact. We must take an interest in everything going on around us, stay alert, and resist feeling hopeless or apathetic about the aging process. Our brains are capable of miracles, regardless of age.

By The Chopra Well

4 Food Strategies to Boost Brain Function

4 Food Strategies to Boost Brain Function

While there are many positive aspects to aging, we’re more familiar  with the  things that can go wrong. For all the wisdom we gain from  experience, we’re  more apt to worry about memory loss. We fret over  rusty neurotransmitters and  cloudy thinking.

So we diligently do crossword puzzles, wrestle with brainteasers and  learn  to play musical instruments — for the intrinsic joy, of course,  but also to  help inoculate our brains against negative age-related  changes. These are  helpful pursuits, but they’re not the only ones that  matter. In fact, if we  want to build a better brain, what we choose to  eat and drink might make the  biggest difference of all.

The following food-based strategies can help any brain function better — whether that brain is 9 years old or 90.

Hydrate

Proper hydration is a critical factor in maintaining and improving  your mind  as you age. “Your brain is 80 percent water,” says Daniel  Amen, MD, a clinical  neuroscientist and author of Use Your Brain to Change Your Age: Secrets to Look, Feel,  and Think Younger Every Day (Crown,  2012). “Even slight dehydration  increases the body’s stress hormones,  which can decrease your ability to think  clearly. Over time, increased  levels of stress hormones are associated with  memory problems.”

While the amount of hydration you need day-to-day depends on several   factors, including activity level, relative humidity and eating habits  (to name  only a few), the oft-repeated advice to drink 64 ounces — or  eight 8-ounce  glasses — of water a day isn’t a bad general rule to  follow. Keep in mind,  however, that you can account for those ounces in  several different ways. If  you’re eating a lot of vegetables and fruits,  for example, you may need to  drink less water. Most fresh plant foods  have a high water content and will  help keep you hydrated.

While the feeling of thirst is a good indicator you need to hydrate, if the only time you grab a glass of water is when you’re noticeably thirsty,  you  may not be drinking enough for optimal health. That’s because that  “thirsty feeling” kicks in only when your body is already a bit  dehydrated. The  best approach to hydration is a conscious, proactive  one. So, drink up! (For  more on proper hydration, see Drink to Your Health.)

Fight Free  Radicals

If you leave a bottle of wine open too long, it will oxidize and  become  stale. If your car is exposed to the elements for too long, its  exterior may  rust. Just as wine degrades and metal rusts, the cells in  our brains and  bodies degrade over time when they are exposed to free  radicals.

Free radicals are unstable molecules that are generated in the body  as a  byproduct of other natural internal processes, such as the  metabolizing of food  or the triggering of an immune response by a  bacteria or virus.

Free-radical molecules are unstable because they have an uneven  number of  electrons, which prefer to be in pairs. So in an effort to  restabilize  themselves, free radicals roam the body stealing electrons  from healthy cells.  When that happens, the formerly healthy cells, now  short an electron, head out  on their own searching for a replacement  electron, thus inciting an unhealthy  chain reaction of stolen electrons  throughout the body. It is that cascade of “electron theft” that causes  the cellular damage or “rust” in our brains and  bodies.

Antioxidants are free-radical scavengers. They fight the corrosive  effects  of free radicals by quieting their search for additional  electrons. You can  build up your antioxidant power by eating more  vegetables: Broccoli, cabbage,  cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, spinach,  kale and chard all pack a powerful  punch in the fight against  free-radical damage.

Garlic, too, is a powerful antioxidant, and it also has antibacterial  and  antifungal qualities. Fruit is another ally. Blueberries brim with   antioxidants, as do raspberries, blackberries and strawberries. Red  grapes  contain high levels of the potent antioxidants resveratrol and  quercetin. (So,  too, by extension, does red wine; in moderation, it may  offer some antioxidant  protection.)

Spices and herbs are also powerful weapons in the fight  against free radicals.  Cumin, cloves, cinnamon, turmeric, mustard, ginger,  oregano, basil,  sage, thyme and tarragon are rife with antioxidants. Look for  recipes  that call for these, or add a dash of cinnamon, turmeric or ginger to a  cup of tea. Green, white and black teas contain antioxidants, too, so by   pairing tea with spices, you’ll get a double dose of antioxidant power.

Ditch Processed  Foods

The vast majority of unhealthy, age-amplifying foods are processed  foods.  One of the main dangers of processed foods? Added sugar.

Each year, Americans consume an average of 150 pounds of sugar per  person — much of it in processed foods, says Nancy Appleton, PhD,  coauthor of Suicide by Sugar (Square One, 2009). And that is  not good news for brain health.

Overconsumption of sugar has been linked to depression and dementia disorders  such as  Alzheimer’s. It also increases inflammation and raises insulin levels  in  a way that can suppress the immune system, increasing your  vulnerability to  a host of additional diseases of brain and body.

Remember, too, that high-glycemic carbohydrates (also called “simple   carbs”), which proliferate in processed foods, act like sugar in the   bloodstream.

Processed foods also contain more than their fair share of unhealthy  fats.  While the human brain needs healthy fats to function — such as  those found in  nuts, avocados, and coconut and olive oil — bad fats like  trans fats and highly  processed commercial vegetable oils have been  linked to depression and other  mood disorders. These fats interfere with  the metabolism of essential fatty  acids in brain-cell membranes, which  can harm some of the neurotransmitters  responsible for mood, focus and  memory.

Boost Key  Nutrients

Dietary supplements can play a key role in healthy brain functioning. Here  are some of the top brain-boosting supplements:

Vitamin D. Studies have shown that vitamin D can protect against dementia, a range of  autoimmune disorders, cancer,  high blood pressure and many other illnesses. Our  bodies produce vitamin  D in response to sunshine, but most people don’t get  adequate daily sun  exposure — especially if you live in a northern climate.

Omega-3s. Daily supplementation with fish oil, one  of the  best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, can give your brain a big  boost.  High-quality fish oil, free from mercury and other toxins,  provides the omega-3  fatty acids that sheath brain cells and facilitate  healthy brain functioning.  Omega-3s also help fight inflammation, which  tends to occur in our brains as we  age. Studies have shown that some of  the other nutrients in fish oil, such as  DHA and EPA, help provide  protection against depression, stabilize mood and  promote alertness.

CoQ10. Short for coenzyme Q10, CoQ10 is a molecule  that  works in concert with other nutrients to improve the functioning of  all the  cells of the body. Many recent studies have linked CoQ10 with  boosting overall  energy and sharpening cognition. (For more on CoQ10,  see CoQ10:  The Miracle Molecule.)

One of the most common myths about aging is that memory inevitably  declines.  But I know from the growing body of scientific evidence that  age-related  decline in brain function isn’t a foregone conclusion. If  you nurture your  brain with the right nutrients, you will help it remain  flexible, resilient and  strong. So, next time you sit down for a meal  or reach for a snack, think of  your future brain, and choose wisely!

By Michael J. Gelb, Experience Life

Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness  publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic  lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in  favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit experiencelife.com   to learn more and to sign  up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe  to the print or digital version.

14 Foods that Fight Inflammation and Pain

14 Foods that Fight Inflammation and Pain

Some of the best healing remedies to overcome inflammation also taste  fabulous (I can’t say that about any prescription medications). Plus, foods  won’t cause the nasty side effects common to most pain medications.

1. Blueberries: Blueberries are also excellent  anti-inflammatory foods. They increase the amounts of compounds called  heat-shock proteins that decrease as people age.  When heat-shock proteins  are in short supply inflammation, pain and tissue damage is the result.

2. Cayenne Pepper: Ironically, cayenne pepper turns DOWN the  heat on inflammation due to its powerful anti-inflammatory compound  capsaicin.

3. Celery and 4. Celery Seeds: James Duke, Ph.D., author of The Green Pharmacy, found more than 20 anti-inflammatory compounds in  celery and celery seeds in his research, including a substance called apigenin,  which is powerful in its anti-inflammatory action.  Add celery seeds to  soups, stews or as a salt substitute in many recipes.

5. Cherries: While many people opt for aspirin as their  first course of action when they feel pain, Muraleedharan Nair, PhD, professor  of natural products and chemistry at Michigan State University, found that tart  cherry extract is ten times more effective than aspirin at relieving  inflammation.

6. Dark Green Veggies: Veggies like kale and spinach contain  high amounts of alkaline minerals like calcium and magnesium.  Both  minerals help balance body chemistry to alleviate inflammation.

7. Fish: According to Dr. Alfred D. Steinberg, an arthritis  expert at the National Institute of Health, fish oil acts directly on the immune  system by suppressing 40 to 55 percent of the release of cytokines – compounds  known to destroy joints and cause inflammation.

8. Flax seeds and Flax Oil: Flax seeds are high in natural  oils that convert into hormone-like substances in the body to reduce  inflammatory substances. Add ground flax seeds to smoothies, atop pancakes or  French toast, and many other foods.  Do not heat.

9. Ginger: Dr. Krishna C. Srivastava at Odense University in  Denmark found that ginger was superior to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs  (NSAIDs) like Tylenol or Advil at alleviating inflammation.

10. Raspberries, 11. Blackberries, and 12. Strawberries: In  Dr. Muraleedharan Nair’s later research she discovered that these berries have  similar anti-inflammatory effects as cherries.

13. Turmeric: Research shows that the Indian spice  frequently used in curries suppresses pain and inflammation through a similar  mechanism as drugs like COX-1 and COX-2 inhibitors (without the harmful side  effects).

14. Walnuts: Like flax seeds, raw, unsalted walnuts contain  plentiful amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids that decrease pain and  inflammation.

Adapted from Arthritis-Proof:  The  Drug-Free Way to Beat Pain and Inflammation by Michelle  Schoffro Cook, PhD.

By  Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and 12-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine,  whose works include: Healing  Recipes, The Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body  Detox, The Life Force Diet, The  Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, and The Phytozyme  Cure.  Check out her natural health resources and subscribe to her free  e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com  to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook  and Facebook.

Heat Wave Survival Tips

Heat Wave Survival Tips

Feeling the heat? A heatwave stretching across much of the U.S. has many of us  seeking relief, but it’s prime time for heat-related illness to strike.

In recent years, excessive heat has caused more deaths than all other weather  events, including floods, according to the American Red Cross. Our bodies lose  water and salt when we perspire, which can lead to heat cramps. If not  addressed, dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion leads to  heatstroke, a potentially life-threatening condition.

Young children, the elderly, and people with chronic diseases are most at risk of developing heat cramps,  heat exhaustion, or heatstroke. Do you know how to lower your risk of  heat-related illness…would you recognize the warning signs, and would you know  what to do should heat-related illness strike?

Tips to Avoid Heat-Related Illness

  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing made of breathable fabric like  cotton.
  • When outdoors, wear a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Choose shade over the sun on a hot day.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise during a heatwave.
  • Drink plenty of water or other fluids.
  • If you feel overheated, take a cool shower or bath.
  • Avoid sitting in a hot car or leaving your child in the car. (And that goes  for pets, too!)
  • Take advantage of cooling centers during a prolonged hot spell.
  • Listen to weather advisories before planning outdoor events.
  • Check on people who live alone, especially the elderly or ill.

Risk Factors for Heat-Related Illness

  • prolonged exposure to high temperatures
  • high levels of humidity
  • dehydration

You are at increased risk if you:

  • have heart disease or other chronic illness
  • are drinking alcohol
  • exercise excessively
  • take certain medications like diuretics and beta blockers

Early Warning Signs of Heat-Related Illness

  • fatigue
  • thirst
  • muscle cramps
  • profuse sweating

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion

  • dizziness and lightheadedness
  • weakness
  • headache
  • nausea and vomiting
  • cool, moist skin
  • dark urine

Symptoms of Heatstroke

  • fast, shallow breathing
  • pulse is fast and weak
  • confusion and strange behavior
  • fever
  • skin is red, hot, and dry
  • seizures
  • loss of consciousness

First Aid for Heat-Related Illness

  • Take the victim to a cool place.
  • Have them lie down with their feet up.
  • Apply cool, wet cloths (or cool water alone) to their skin. Cold compresses  can also help.
  • If the person is conscious, have them drink water or a salted drink. Do not  offer drinks that contain alcohol or caffeine.

When to Call 9-1-1

Consider it a medical emergency if the victim:

  • appears to have blue lips and fingernails
  • has a high fever
  • has difficulty breathing
  • has a seizure
  • is confused or behaving irrationally
  • has lost consciousness

By Ann Pietrangelo

Ann Pietrangelo is the author of No More Secs! Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Multiple Sclerosis.  She is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and a regular  contributor to Care2 Healthy & Green Living and Care2  Causes. Follow on  Twitter @AnnPietrangelo

Photo credit: Stockbyte/Thinkstock

Sources: American Red Cross, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

3 Super-Healing Summer Melons

3 Super-Healing Summer Melons

 

Cantaloupe for Healthy Eyes

The orange color gives away some of this fruit’s healing ability. One cup of  cantaloupe contains enough beta-carotene to provide your full daily intake of  vitamin A. Beta-carotene converts into vitamin A which is proven to reduce the  risk of cataracts by 50 percent.  Cantaloupe also contains enough  antioxidants to reduce the risk of macular degeneration.

Honeydew for a Dewy Complexion

Honeydew melon (the green-fleshed one) is a natural source of the mineral  copper, which assists in skin repair and skin cell regeneration. Additionally,  this melon is rich in vitamin C which helps boost collagen levels. Collagen  tends to become depleted as we age, causing wrinkling. Eating more honeydew  melon may help prevent small lines and wrinkles.

Watermelon for a Healthy Prostate and Liver

Tomatoes aren’t the only food that contains high amounts of the phytonutrient  lycopene. So does watermelon. Lycopene is known for its prostate protecting,  anti-aging, and disease-thwarting powers.  Watermelon contains the  important nutrient glutathione that helps to detoxify the liver. Water is also  showing promise as an alternative to Viagra for erectile dysfunction. Keep an  eye out for my upcoming article “The Fruit that Works like Viagra” for more  information.

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and 12-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine,  whose works include: Healing  Recipes, The Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body  Detox, The Life Force Diet, The  Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, and The Phytozyme  Cure.  Check out her natural health resources and subscribe to her free  e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com  to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook  and Facebook.

 

7 Super-Healing Summer Berries

7 Super-Healing Summer Berries

 

Berries are a delicious addition to any diet.  But,  taste is not the only reason to love them.  Here’s why you should add these  seven super-healing summer berries to your diet:

Blackberries

Loaded with vitamin C, blackberries also contain ellagic acid—an important  phytonutrient that protects skin cells from damaging UV rays. Ellagic acid also  prevents the breakdown of collagen in the skin that occurs as we age and is  linked to wrinkling.

Blueberries

Blueberries are phytonutrient powerhouses.  They  contain: anthocyanins, ellagic acid, quercetin, catechins, and salicylic acid.  If the latter sounds familiar, you may recognize it as the drug we’ve come to  know as Aspirin. That’s right—blueberries contain natural aspirin, but in this  beautiful and delicious packaging offered by Mother Nature, there’s no worry  about harmful side effects. What’s more, blueberries are proven to reduce heat  shock proteins that are linked with some forms of brain disease, making these  little marvels potent weapons in the prevention of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s  disease as well as other neurological disorders.

 

Loganberries

A cross between blackberries and raspberries, these berries  strengthen blood  vessels, making them an excellent addition to help  fight heart disease or  varicose veins. They contain rutin, which  research shows strengthens  capillaries and improves circulation. They  look like long raspberries.

Currants

Currants contain gamma-linolenic acid that inhibit the body’s histamine—the  allergic response in reaction to pollens. That makes them great to help you  avoid or eliminate sinus congestion and itchy eyes linked to seasonal allergies.  Since they are tart, you might enjoy them best mixed with other berries.

Raspberries

Raspberries are still my favorite fruit. Raspberries, like other  berries,  contain an important compound that is 10 times more effective  at alleviating  inflammation than aspirin. Containing the phytonutrient  ellagic acid,  raspberries can help protect against pollutants found in  cigarette smoke,  processed foods, and may neutralize some cancer-causing  substances before they  can damage healthy cells. They’re delicious on  their own, in a fruit salad, in  a smoothie, or on top of a green salad.

 

Gooseberries

Gooseberries—the berries that resemble green grapes—help you to feel  happier.  In recent research in the journal Experimental  Neurobiology,   scientists found that gooseberries contain a flavonoid  called   kaempferol that prevents the breakdown of brain hormones serotonin and   dopamine. These brain chemicals naturally help us fight stress and keep   our  spirits up.

Strawberries

More than delicious, when it comes to disease prevention, these babies pack a  serious punch. Not only do eight strawberries contain more vitamin C than an  orange, they are antioxidant powerhouses. Whether you want to evade heart  disease, arthritis, memory loss, wrinkling, or cancer, these berries have proven  their ability to help. Plus, they’re just so easy to get into your diet on a  regular basis.

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and twelve-time book author and doctor of traditional natural  medicine, whose works include: Healing Recipes, The Vitality Diet,  Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body Detox, The  Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan,  and The Phytozyme Cure.  Check out her natural health resources and  subscribe to her free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com.

Image credit (loganberry): ndrwfgg / Flickr

13 Ayurvedic Anti-Aging Herbs

13 Ayurvedic Anti-Aging Herbs

 

The  modern sciences are engaged in researching the products and formula for   anti aging property. Based on recent scientific findings, one  of the techniques  of anti-aging, for both women and men, is herbal  treatment. The total blueprint  of herbal anti aging treatment  is in   Ayurveda,  the ancient Indian system of medicine are called Vata, Pitta,  and Kapha.  According to this system, the secret to productive anti aging  is to maintain  Vata, Pitta, and Kapha in perfect equilibrium. Rasayana  is an exceptional  ayurvedic anti aging  treatment. This method involves  two faculties namely, kutipravesika and  vatatapika. Kutipravesika  attributes itself to restricting the person being  treated in a tiny  shelter with just one small door. The system also requires  small holes  instead of windows.

In Ayurvedic herbal treatment, anti aging means principally keeping up a   healthy body into herbal treatment and bringing down the operation of  aging,  degeneration and depreciation. The objective of herbal anti-aging  treatment is  to aim for a healthy aging mode, and to maintain both mind  and body working at  optimum level, so the treasures of old age can be  relished with peace of mind  and vitality.

Amla(Emblica Officinalis): Amla is the best Rasayana as   mentioned in the  Charaka samhita. Amla is the magical herbs with the  rich  in Vitamin C. It is believed to have good rejuvenating power. The  fruits of  Amla  is used to make the Chyawanprash (Herbal tonic) and best  Rasayana.  So daily intake of Amla and its products is good anti aging  property.

Ginger Family: The rhizomes of the ginger family  contain an  array of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredients.  Ginger contains  essential oils and spicy substances such as gingerol,  shogaol, zingerone and  capsaicin, all of which increase peripheral blood  flow. It reduce cellular  inflammation for anti-aging skin care  benefits.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) rhizomes contain curcumin and  its  derivatives (curcuminoids) that are bright yellow in color. Their  hydrogenated  derivatives, tetrahydrocurcuminoids, are nearly colorless  materials. All of  them possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory  activity.

Galanga (Alpinia officinarum), also known as Galangal  or  Chinese ginger, contains essential oils, gingerols and a group of  pungent  substances, diarylheptanoids. Diarylheptanoids (and analogous  phenyl alkyl  ketones) possess excellent anti-arthritic properties due to  their arrest of  prostaglandin biosynthesis via inhibition of  5-lipoxygenase. Purified extracts  of galanga, which are composed  primarily of lower alkyl cinnamate esters, have  UV absorbing,  antioxidant and tyrosinase inhibiting properties.

Frankincense, Boswellia: Guggal (Boswellia serrata) has   been used for centuries as an arthritis treatment. This biochemical  mechanism  provides a way to formulate skin anti-aging products via the  incorporation of  extracts or isolated pure compounds.

Clove Family: Clove oil and clove buds have  applications as  toothache and muscular pain remedies. A number of plants  in this family,  notably Syzygium aromaticum, Syzygium corynocarpum and  Syzygium mallacense  contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory  constituents.

Vitis: The grape family is well known for its potent   antioxidant constituents, especially procyanidins, found mostly in  seeds, and  resveratrol, concentrated in skins of red and black grapes.  suggests their  application for skin anti-aging benefits.

Trace Metals: About 30 elements are recognized as  essential  to life. Some are required in macroscopic amounts in  essentially all forms of  life: H, Na, K, Mg, Ca, C, N, O, P, S and Cl.  The others occur in trace or  ultra-trace quantities. Fe, Cu and Zn are  at the top end of this “trace” scale.  The modulation of these  metalloenzymes by appropriate trace metal topical  therapies can lead to  new skin anti-aging ingredients and their formulation  methodologies.

Rosemary: It contains some of the most promising active   agents, including rosmarinic acid, and diterpenes ursolic acid,  carnosic acid,  carnosol, oleanolic acid, hinokiol and seco-hinokiol,  rofficerone, and  amyrenones, which, due to their reported strong  antioxidant, anti-inflammatory  and tyrosinase inhibiting properties.

Licorice: Glycyrrhiza glabra contains some very  exciting  active agents  Glycyrrhizin, glycyrrhetinic acid, glabrol,  glabridins and  various liquiritins are most interesting for skin care  applications due to  their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and skin color  (melanin) reduction  benefits. Neem: Azadirachta indica has been recognized  for its  antibacterial, insecticidal, antimalarial, hypoglycemic, and   would-healing benefits. Recent work has shown neem extracts to possess  strong  antioxidant and free radical scavenging properties.

Andrographis: Neoandrographolide, one of the principal   diterpene lactones, isolated from a medicinal herb Andrographis  paniculata  actively inhibits suggests potential for skin anti-aging  applications for both  andrographolide and neoandrographolide.

Pomegranate: Punica granatum provides a wealth of  wonderful antioxidant and free radical  neutralizing ingredients, for  example, ellagic acid, gallagic acid, punicalins,  and punicalagins. All  are suitable for anti-aging applications, although some  are not  commercially available.

by Dr.  Ram Mani Bhandari, Contributor to Ayurveda  on Allthingshealing.com

All Things Healing (allthingshealing.com) is an online  portal and community dedicated to informing and educating people across the  globe about alternative healing of mind, body, spirit and the planet at large.  We are committed to bringing together a worldwide community of individuals and  organizations who are working to heal themselves, each other, and the world. We  offer 39 healing categories, 80 plus editors who are experts in their fields, a  forum for each category, and an extensive “Find Practitioners” listing. Our  Costa Rica Learning Center and Spiritual Retreat is coming soon. Join  us!

7 Warm-Weather Foods with Surprising Health Benefits

7 Warm-Weather Foods with Surprising Health Benefits

The days are getting warmer and longer, inspiring people to engage in  backyard barbecues, and midday picnics.

Even if your elderly loved one isn’t able to take part in traditions like  cookouts, or holiday parties, you can introduce seasonal celebrations into their  lives through food. Many popular warm-weather foods even offer the added bonus  of helping a senior get the nutrients they need to remain healthy.

Here are some popular spring and summer treats that may offer some unexpected  health benefits for you and your elderly loved one. Ruth Frechman, M.A., a  registered dietician and spokeswoman for the American Academy of Nutrition and  Dietetics, offers her perspective on how these foods can be both tasty and  nutritious for seniors.

Watermelon: Synonymous with summer, this juicy fruit is not  only low-fat, it also contains a staggering amount of nutrients seniors need.  Pound for pound, watermelon  has more lycopene than any other fresh fruit or veggie. Also found in tomatoes,  lycopene is an antioxidant that has been shown to combat certain forms of cancer  and heart disease. Watermelon is also packed with potassium, which can be a boon  for seniors suffering from potassium deficiency, or hypokalemia. According to  the National Institutes for Health, hypokalemia in seniors can sometimes be  brought on by certain heart failure and blood pressure meds, and can cause  problems with heart and muscle function. Watermelon also contains significant  amounts of vitamins A, C, and B6.

Iceberg lettuce: Don’t forgo a spring salad just because it  has romaine lettuce in it. Oft-maligned as the less-healthy relative of spinach  and romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce actually has more of the antioxidant  alpha-carotene than either of them. Alpha-carotene (and its companion,  beta-carotene) can be transformed by the body into vitamin A, which can help  maintain good eye health. Research has shown that alpha-carotene, on its own,  may also play a role in lowering a person’s risk of dying from ailments such as  cancer and cardiovascular disease. Iceberg lettuce also has a good deal of  vitamin K, which can help combat osteoporosis and regulate blood clotting.  Frechman says that, because the amount of alpha-carotene in iceberg lettuce is  relatively low compared to other veggies, so you may want to add some carrots,  tomatoes, and spinach to a salad to boost its overall carotene content.

Spices: Seasoned sauces and rubs are the cornerstones of a  delicious warm weather cook-out. Spices can serve the dual purpose of making  food more flavorful to seniors whose ability to taste has been diminished, as  well as helping them fight off disease. From tumeric, whose primary compound,  curcumin has been shown to be beneficial in fighting off diseases such as  Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and cancer; to cinnamon, which can help people with  type 2 diabetes by lowering their blood sugar, total cholesterol, and  triglycerides, spices have numerous potential health benefits.

Popcorn: Going the movies to see a popular summer flick can  be a simple, fun way for caregivers and their elderly loved ones to get out of  the house. Popcorn has been a cinema staple for years, and often gets a bad rap  for being unhealthy. But, if you forgo the extra salt and butter, recent  research indicates that popcorn may actually have health benefits. Researchers  found polyphenols—a group of beneficial antioxidants—to be more plentiful in  popcorn than certain fruits and veggies. Popcorn is also a pure source of whole  grain, an important dietary element for seniors. (Leesa recommends the bag of Organic Popcorn in Olive Oil found at Trader Joes!)

Party dip: Perennial components of popular party dips, tomatoes and avocados  can offer seniors an array of healthy nutrients. Salsa comprised of tomatoes and  other vegetables can provide an elderly person with part of their daily  recommended vegetable intake, as well as antioxidants such as lycopene. Though  they are high in (“good”) fat, avocados, the main component of guacamole, are  full of vitamins and minerals that can deliver a host of health benefits to  seniors. (Leesa says to make sure the veggies are organic!)

Eggs: Sometimes shunned as a member of the protein portion  of MyPlate, eggs are actually a good source of protein and contain many essential  vitamins and minerals, including vitamins: A, D, E, B6 and B12. And, it’s  not just egg whites that contain health benefits. According to Frechman, egg  yolks contain choline, lutein, and zeaxanthin—several nutrients that are  essential for good eye health. (Leesa recommends using free-range organic eggs.) 

Chocolate: In moderation, certain types of chocolate  are actually good for you. Dark chocolate is chock-full of antioxidants and has  been shown to have numerous health benefits, including: reducing blood pressure,  and increasing insulin sensitivity. (Leesa recommends Vivani Organic Dark Chocolate – order yours today from Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/vivanichocolate. )

While this article is directed at the elderly, Leesa says everyone can enjoy the benefits of these foods! Enjoy!

By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com  Editor

AgingCare.com provides online  caregiver support by connecting people caring for elderly parents to other  caregivers, elder care experts, personalized information, and local resources.  AgingCare.com has become the trusted resource for exchanging ideas, sharing  conversations and finding credible information for those seeking elder care  solutions.

7 Surprising Reasons You Wake Up Tired

7 Surprising Reasons You Wake Up Tired

When you can’t sleep, you know it. But what about when you can, yet you wake  up feeling tired and achy or you’re groggy again a few hours later? What’s that  about? All too often, it turns out, the problem is one that doesn’t keep you  awake but does sabotage your sleep in more subtle ways, so the hours you spend  in bed don’t refresh and revitalize you the way they should. Here are seven  signs that you have a sleep problem that’s secretly stealing your rest.

1. You sleep poorly and wake with a bad taste in your  mouth.

What it’s a symptom of: “Morning mouth” can be a  signal of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or asymptomatic heartburn.  Recent sleep studies have shown that up to 25 percent of people who report  sleeping poorly without a diagnosed cause have sleep-related acid reflux. But  because they don’t have obvious heartburn symptoms, they’re unaware of the  condition.

How it interrupts sleep: Acid reflux causes the  body to partially awaken from sleep, even when there are no symptoms of  heartburn. The result of this “silent reflux” is fitful, uneven sleep, but when  you wake up digestion is complete and you can’t tell why you slept poorly.

What to do: Follow treatment suggestions for  heartburn, even though you aren’t experiencing classic heartburn symptoms: Don’t  eat for at least two hours before hitting the sack, and avoid acid-causing foods  in your evening meals. (Alcohol, chocolate, heavy sauces, fatty meats, spicy  foods, citrus fruits, and tomatoes all contribute to heartburn and acid reflux.)  Some doctors also recommend chewing gum before bed, because it boosts the  production of saliva, which neutralizes stomach acid.

Certain medications, particularly aspirin and other painkillers, are hard on  the stomach and esophageal lining, so don’t take them just before bed.

Sleep studies have shown that sleeping on the left side reduces symptoms, and  sleeping on the right side causes them to worsen because acid takes longer to  clear out of the esophagus when you’re on your right side. If you prefer to  sleep on your back — a position that can increase reflux — elevating your head  and shoulders can help.

Losing weight can do wonders to banish heartburn and acid reflux. And if all  else fails, try taking an over-the-counter antacid.

2. You toss and turn or wake up often to use the  bathroom.

What it’s a symptom of: Nocturia is the official  name for waking  up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. The National Sleep  Foundation estimates that 65 percent of older adults are sleep deprived as a  result of frequent nighttime urination. Normally, our bodies have a natural  process that concentrates urine while we sleep so we can get six to eight hours  without waking. But as we get older, we become less able to hold fluids for long  periods because of a decline in antidiuretic hormones.

How it interrupts sleep: For some people, the  problem manifests as having to get up to use the bathroom, and then being unable  to get back to sleep. Once middle-of-the-night sleeplessness attacks, they lie  awake for hours. But for others the problem is more subtle; they may sleep  fitfully without waking fully, as the body attempts to send a signal that it  needs to go.

What to do: Start with simple steps. Don’t drink  any liquids for at least three hours before going to bed. This includes foods  with a lot of liquid in them, like soups or fruit. Lower your coffee and tea  consumption; the acids in coffee and tea can irritate the bladder. Don’t drink  alcohol, which functions as a diuretic as well as a bladder irritant.

Go to the bathroom last thing before getting in bed and relax long enough to  fully empty your bladder. It’s also important to get checked for conditions that  cause urination problems. Guys, this means getting your prostate checked.  Inflammation of the prostate, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPN), and prostate  tumors can all cause frequent urination. In women, overactive  bladder, urinary  tract infections, incontinence,  and cystitis are common causes of urinary problems.

Diabetes  can also cause frequent urination, so if you haven’t been tested for diabetes  recently, see your doctor. Certain drugs such as diuretics and heart medications  can contribute to this problem; if that’s the case, talk to your doctor about  taking them earlier in the day. A prescription antidiuretic can cut down on  nighttime urination if all else fails and there’s no underlying issue.

3. Your jaw clicks, pops, or feels sore, or your teeth are wearing  down.

What it’s a symptom of: Teeth grinding, officially  known as bruxism,  is a subconscious neuromuscular activity. Bruxism often goes on without your  being aware of it; experts estimate that only 5 percent of people who grind  their teeth or clench their jaws know they do it until a sleep partner notices  the telltale sound or a dentist detects wear on the teeth. Jaw clenching is  another form of bruxism, except you clench your teeth tightly together rather  than moving them from side to side. Jaw clenching can be harder to detect than  grinding, but one sign is waking with pain or stiffness in the neck.

How it interrupts sleep: Bruxism involves tensing  of the jaw muscles, so it interferes with the relaxation necessary for deep  sleep. And if you’re fully grinding, your body is engaged in movement rather  than resting.

What to do: See a dentist. If you don’t have one,  dental schools often offer low-cost dental care provided by students supervised  by a professor. A dentist can look for underlying causes, such as problems with  your bite alignment, and can prescribe a mouth-guard-type device such as a  dental splint. If jaw clenching is your primary issue, there are specific dental  devices for that.

Experts also suggest giving up gum chewing during the day, because the  habitual chewing action can continue at night. Some people who grind their teeth  have experienced relief from botox injections to the jaw muscle. Others have had  success using a new biofeedback device called Grindcare, approved by the FDA in  2010.

4. You move all over the bed or wake tangled in the  covers.

What it’s a symptom of: That kind of movement  indicates restless  leg syndrome or a related problem, periodic limb movement disorder  (PLMD).

How it interrupts sleep: Doctors don’t know exactly  what causes these sleep movement disorders, but they do know they’re directly  related to a lack of deep, restful, REM sleep. The restlessness can prevent you  from sinking into deep sleep, or a muscle jerk can wake or partially rouse you  from deep sleep.

What to do: See a doctor to discuss your symptoms  and get a diagnosis, which may also involve looking for underlying conditions  related to restless leg syndrome or PLMD. Diabetes, arthritis,  peripheral neuropathy, anemia, thyroid disease, and kidney problems can all  contribute to restless leg syndrome and PLMD. Make sure to tell your doctor  about any medications you’re taking; a number of medications, including  antidepressants, antihistamines, and lithium, can cause restless leg syndrome as  a side effect.

You can also try making dietary changes to make sure you’re getting enough  iron and B vitamins, particularly folic acid, since iron and folate deficiency  have been linked to restless leg syndrome. Red meat, spinach, and other leafy  greens are good sources of both nutrients, but you may want to take supplements  as well. If your doctor diagnoses restless leg syndrome or PLMD, medications  used to treat Parkinson’s can relieve symptoms by eliminating the muscle jerks.  Your doctor may also prescribe medication to help you sleep more deeply, with  the idea of preventing the involuntary movements from keeping you in light  sleep.

5. You wake up with a dry mouth or horrible morning  breath.

What it’s a symptom of: Mouth breathing and snoring  both disrupt sleep by compromising breathing. Look for drool on your pillow or  in the corners of your mouth. If you have a partner, ask him or her to monitor  you for snoring, gasping, or overloud breathing.

How it interrupts sleep: Mouth breathing and  snoring can interrupt sleep because you’re not getting enough air to fully  relax. Severe snoring — particularly when accompanied by gasps or snorts — can  also indicate a more serious problem with obstructed breathing during sleep.

What to do: Train yourself to breathe through your  nose. Try snore-stopping nose strips, available over the counter at the  drugstore, or use saline nasal spray to irrigate your nasal passages. Experiment  with sleep positions; most people have a tendency to snore and breathe through  their mouths when sleeping on their backs. Use pillows to prop yourself on your  side, or try the tennis ball trick: Put a tennis ball in the back pocket of your  pajama bottoms (or attach it some other way), so it alerts you when you roll  over.

If you typically drink alcohol in the evening, try cutting it out. Alcohol, a  sedative, relaxes the muscles of the nose and throat, contributing to snoring.  Other sedatives and sleeping pills do the same thing, so avoid using anything  sedating. Alcohol also can trigger snoring in two other ways: It makes you sleep  more deeply initially and is dehydrating.

Losing weight — even just ten pounds — can eliminate snoring, studies show.  If none of these solutions work, consult a doctor to get tested for  sleep-disordered breathing conditions such as apnea.

6. You sleep fitfully, feel exhausted all the time, and wake with a  sore throat or neck pain.

What it’s a symptom of: Obstructive  sleep apnea is a disorder defined as breathing interrupted by intervals of  ten seconds or more. A milder sleep breathing problem is upper  airway resistance syndrome (UARS), in which breathing is obstructed but  stops for shorter intervals of under ten seconds. The number of people who have  sleep apnea and don’t know it is astounding; experts estimate that 20 million  Americans have sleep apnea, and 87 percent of those are unaware they have the  problem. One mistaken assumption is that you have to snore to have sleep apnea.  In fact, many people with apnea don’t snore.

How it interrupts sleep: Obstructive sleep apnea  results when the throat closes and cuts off airflow, preventing you from getting  enough oxygen. UARS is similar, but it’s usually tongue position that blocks air  from getting into the throat. Blood oxygen levels drop, and when the brain knows  it’s not getting enough oxygen, it starts to wake up. This causes fitful,  unproductive sleep. Weight gain is a major factor in sleep apnea, because when  people gain weight they end up with extra-soft tissue in the throat area, which  causes or contributes to the blockage.

What to do: See an otolaryngologist, who will  examine your nose, mouth, and throat to see what’s interrupting your breathing  and how to fix the problem. It’s also important to have your oxygen levels  measured during sleep. Your doctor will likely recommend using a Continuous  Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device, a mask that blows air directly into your  airways. Studies have shown CPAP masks to be extremely effective in treating  sleep apnea. Another mask called a BiPap (Bilevel positive airway pressure  device) works similarly but has dual pressure settings. Airway masks only work  if you wear them, so work closely with your doctor to choose a model that’s  comfortable for you.

Other options include oral appliances, which change your mouth position by  moving your jaw forward to open up the throat, and surgery, which aims to remove  the excess tissue from the throat. Newer, minimally invasive outpatient surgical  treatments include the Pillar procedure, which involves using permanent stitches  to firm up the soft palate; coblation, which uses radiofrequency to shrink nasal  tissues; and use of a carbon dioxide laser to shrink the tonsils.

7. You get a full night’s sleep but feel groggy all the time or get  sleepy while driving.

What it’s a symptom of: This signals circadian  rhythm problems or, more simply, getting out of sync with night and day.  Irregular sleep patterns, staying up late under bright lights, working a shift  schedule, using computers and other devices in bed, and having too much light in  the room while you sleep can disrupt your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.

Why it interrupts sleep: The onset of darkness  triggers production of the hormone melatonin, which tells the brain it’s time to  sleep. Conversely, when your eyes register light, it shuts off melatonin  production and tells you it’s time to wake up. Even a small amount of ambient  light in the room can keep your body from falling into and remaining in a deep  sleep. The use of devices with lighted screens is especially problematic in  terms of melatonin production because the light shines directly into your eyes.  This light is also at the blue end of the spectrum, which scientists believe is  particularly disruptive to circadian rhythms.

What to do: Try to get on a regular sleep schedule  that’s not too far off from the natural cycle of night and day — and preferably  the same schedule all week. (Experts recommend 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. or 11 p.m. to 7  a.m. every night, but that’s just a general outline.) If you struggle with not  feeling alert in the morning, go outside and take a brisk walk in daylight to  feel more awake; you’ll find that it’s much easier to fall asleep the following  night. This is also a trick experts recommend to help night owls reset their  internal clocks. Force yourself to get up and get into bright light one or two  mornings in a row and you’ll be less likely to get that “second wind” and burn  the midnight oil or experience nighttime sleeplessness.

As much as possible, banish all screens (TVs, computers, and iPads) for at  least an hour before bed. Reading is much more sleep-inducing than looking at a  lighted screen, but make sure your reading light isn’t too bright and turn it so  it doesn’t shine in your eyes. Remove night-lights; if you need to get up in the  middle of the night, keep a small flashlight next to your bed, being careful to  turn it away from you. Check your bedroom for all sources of light, however  small. Does your smoke alarm have a light in it? Put tape over it. Use an alarm  clock without a lighted dial, or cover it. If your windows allow moonlight and  light from streetlights to shine in, install blackout curtains or shades tightly  fitted to the window frames. Don’t charge laptops, phones, cameras, and other  devices in your bedroom unless you cover the light they give off.

(Leesa recommeds rubbing Lavendar essential oil on the soles of your feet before bed!)

By Melanie  Haiken, Caring.com  senior editor

6 Secret At-Home Stress Relievers

6 Secret At-Home Stress Relievers

As a caregiver,  you know you need to de-stress. But who has time to go to five yoga classes a  week or the money to indulge in a professional massage? There are ways to lower  stress without leaving your home, and without spending money. You’re surrounded  by everyday household items right now that have the power to help you relax and  unwind. You just have to know where to look!

Hand towel

Soak a hand towel in water and then microwave it for two minutes until its  steamy. Place the towel on the back of your neck and then over your face. As the  soothing heat hits your skin, your body will instinctively relax.

Water

Not only is running water a great noise muffler, but the sound and feel of  water is therapeutic. For maximum effectiveness, focus on the task at hand. The  goal isn’t to scrub down and towel off in under 30 seconds. Take 10 minutes for  a hot, unhurried shower or a steamy bath and feel the stress melt away. Massage  your head as you shampoo, use a scented body wash, loofah your skin gently. When  you emerge, you will feel rejuvenated and ready to take on the rest of your  day.

Paper

Don’t keep your anger, fear and frustration all bottled up. Vent it by  putting pen to paper. Studies show that writing  about stressful events in your life for just 10 minutes dramatically lowers  your perception of your personal stress. Experts aren’t exactly sure why it  works. Perhaps it’s because writing gets your worries out of your head and into  the real world where it’s easier to do something about them. It could be a more  transcendental explanation: the transfer of your stress through your hand, out  your body and onto the paper. Or maybe the exercise simply stops you from  ruminating about your problems. No matter what the reason, the result is the  same: Less stress and a better mood.

Tea

Skip  the coffee and opt for tea instead. Research has shown that drinking tea on  a daily basis can help lower stress hormones and inducing greater feelings of  relaxation. Try proven stress-busting brews, like Chamomile or black tea.  (Leesa recommends Organic India Tulsi Green Tea available at your local WholeFoods  (www.wholefoods.com) or order direct from Organic India at  www.organicindia.com.)

CDs

How often do you turn on the TV for “background noise.” Instead of reaching  for the remote, pop in a CD. Music has proven therapeutic benefits and does  wonders to alleviate stress. Experts suggest that it is the rhythm of the music  or the beat that has the calming effect on us even though we may not even be  consciously listening to it.

Candles

Aromatherapy is, well, therapeutic. Lavender, jasmine and chamomile scents relax  the mind and relieve stress. Give yourself several minutes of slow, deep,  even breathing. Imagine that with each breath, the scents are entering your nose  and spreading throughout your body, relaxing tight muscles and alleviating  tension. ( Leesa recommends Votivo candles!  Visit www.votivo.com. ) 

Tese moments will soon become one of your favorite times of the day.

Caregiving can be mentally and physically demanding. In the Caregiver Burnout  forum you can ask questions, find helpful answers or give your support.  Visit the Caregiver  Burnout Forum on AgingCare.com.

By Marlo Sollitto, AgingCare.com

6  Secret At-Home Stress Relievers originally appeared on AgingCare.com.   AgingCare.com provides online  caregiver support by connecting people caring for elderly parents to other  caregivers, elder care experts, personalized information, and local resources.  AgingCare.com has become the trusted resource for exchanging ideas, sharing  conversations and finding credible information for those seeking elder care  solutions.

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