Jan 28, 2009

Your Nails Tell Much About Your Health

Beautiful nails are challenging for me at this time of year, when the cold weather comes, my nails become brittle and break, and I find that I need to spend time filing them to keep them smooth much more than I do in the summer...and if they aren't filed properly, the jagged edges catch on something and they break immediately.

First, let me share a few things about health that your nails tell you, then some tools to help you care for your nails.

What your nails may be telling you about your health:

  • Soft Nails - consider the endocrine system, arthritis?
  • "Spoon" shaped nails - consider the thyroid, iron deficiency possible
  • Ends of fingers swollen and nails club-like - consider respiratory and heart conditions, or the liver...cirrhosis?
  • Pale Under Nail - consider anemia
  • Nails have no "moons" - consider the thyroid, underactive?
  • Nail "moons" very large - overactive thyroid?
  • Ridges that run length of nail - common with aging, but could indicate nutrition deficiency
  • White Spots - Mineral or vitamin deficiency?
These are just a few things to consider. It might not be a bad idea, if you tend to have your nails "done" and covered with artificial nails to let them go natural at times for the health of the nail and to see if there are any health tips your nails can share with you.

Now, here's how to make those nails pretty without running to the nail salon all the time. Not only will you save money on treatments, but getting the right kind of nail files is important, I know I am very fussy about the kind I use.

Updated 3/19/16

Middle-Aged Adults Nutrition & Fitness Study

After my comments on my age in the previous post, I was happy to see that in the following article, the age range for "middle-aged adults" that were part of a study were aged 45-64! So I'm not quite a Senior after all...then why do I get AARP Magazine...hmmm:-)

Getting serious now, here's a study that I think you'll find helpful...we can't get enough encouragement to eat the right kinds of foods, can we?

Dr. Dana King and his team of researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina have just completed a very inspirational study. Dr. King and his team set out to find if middle-aged adults could reap the rewards of habits like eating vegetables and walking 30 minutes a day.

The researchers reported in June 2007 that middle-aged adults age 45 to 64 who began eating five or more fruits and vegetables every day, exercising for at least 2 1/2 hours a week, keeping weight down and not smoking decreased their risk of heart disease by 35 percent and risk of death by 40 percent in the four years after they started.

"The adopters of a healthy lifestyle basically caught up. Within four years, their mortality rate and rate of heart attacks matched the people who had been doing these behaviors all along," said Dr. Dana King at the Medical University of South Carolina, who led the research. Dr. King added "even if you have not had a healthy lifestyle previously, it's not too late to adopt those healthy lifestyle habits and gain almost immediate benefits."

The four key habits are eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables everyday, exercising for 2 ½ hours per week, not smoking and maintaining a healthy weight. The study participants who adopted all four healthy habits enjoyed a sharp decline in heart disease risk and in death from any cause.

It took all four -- having just three of the healthy habits yielded no heart benefits and a more modest decrease in overall risk of death. Still, said Dr. Nichola Davis at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, "These benefits are on a continuum. The more of the healthy habits that you can adapt, the better. ...These are modest changes that they're talking about."

The Wholefood Farmacy foods offer you a convenient and delicious way to enjoy five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each and every day. How many servings have you, your family and your children had today?

Updated 3/19/16

Jan 27, 2009

Gathering Place for Those With Cancer

Today I was introduced to a beautiful site, www.knowcancer.com, for those who are dealing with cancer personally, have a loved one who is dealing with cancer, or are interested in the site as a learning resource. Some of the site is still under construction, but when I visited, it was very welcoming and warm in it's appearance.

As some of you may know, my mother dealt with the blood cancer, Leukemia, when she was in her mid-60's. She went through the chemotherapy treatments available, and though things were a bit tough for one summer, she came through it all, and just turned 80 this past year. All of us are likely to be touched by this disease at some point in our lives, either personally, or through someone we care about.

At knowcancer.com, you will also find educational articles on different types of cancer. For example, visit bladder cancer and you will see that it goes into detail on this particular condition. Again, the site is new and "under construction" at the time I am typing this post, and some links are not yet active, but if you visit the Bladder Cancer link, you'll get a good idea of how things will develop. For each type of cancer, there will be a community to join, a blog related to the particular type of cancer, and much more.

Updated 3/19/16

Jan 26, 2009

Children, TV, HBP, Diabetes and More

Adults are not the only ones that can suffer from high blood pressure, so can your children. There are a number of factors that can affect blood pressure, here are a few things for you to consider.

A recent study from the University of California, San Diego, shows that watching too much television can lead to obesity and high blood pressure in children.

This study, published in the December 2007 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that obese children who watched four or more hours of TV a day were 330% more likely to have high blood pressure than children who watched less than two hours a day.

Dr. Jeffrey Schwimmer wrote in the study that: "There is a significant association between hours of television watched and both the severity of obesity and the presence of hypertension in obese children". Many studies have found a strong link between watching TV and obesity, but this is the first study to show a link between TV and blood pressure in obese children and teens, the researchers wrote.

Obesity in children is on the rise, increasing the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Moreover, high blood pressure in children has been rising right along with obesity rates. High blood pressure in children is often undetected and can quietly damage the internal organs, especially the kidneys.

we encourage parents everywhere to guide their children towards a more active lifestyle and to make healthier food choices available in the home. Small changes, over time, offer parents the best chances of success. A little less TV and a few more healthy snacks are two small changes that we can all live with and enjoy.

Updated 1/19/16 ~ Some info used w/ permission, provided by the Wholefood Farmacy.

Jan 21, 2009

Breakfast, Giving Teens and Tweens a Good Start

When I was a teen, I never ate breakfast. Before I ran out the door to go to school, I grabbed a few cookies or a piece of leftover cake, and that was my breakfast. I wonder if this is how it is today?

Maybe with children being raised by parents that are more health-conscious, like I was (live and learn!) things are different. In fact, studies are showing that if teens eat breakfast, they are more likely to weigh less...read on!

New research from the University Of Minnesota School Of Public Health shows that teenagers who eat breakfast on a regular basis tend to weigh less, exercise more, and eat a healthier diet than teens that usually skip breakfast. The research is published in the March, 2008, issue of the medical journal Pediatrics.

The study followed 2,216 adolescents and their lifestyle habits for five years beginning at age 14. The researchers were surprised to discover that the more regularly the teens ate breakfast, the lower their body mass index was. Body mass index, or BMI, is a ratio of height and weight. Those who always skipped breakfast on average had a higher BMI.

According to previous research, 12 to 34 percent of children and teens age 6 to 19 regularly skip breakfast and we also know that 25% of 6 to 19 year olds are overweight or obese. The researchers also warned about rates of obesity, which have doubled in children and nearly tripled in adolescents over the past two decades, according to a 2007 report by the U.S. Surgeon General’s Office. Obesity has been clearly linked to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, asthma and diabetes.

Many people assume that skipping meals will help them to lose weight. In reality, when we skip a meal the body thinks that food is scarce so it slows the metabolism protect us from starving -we then have less energy so we burn fewer calories. On top of that, the next meal that we eat after skipping a meal is converted to fat and stored around the waste and hips as protection from starvation. The net result of skipping meals, especially breakfast, is a slower metabolism, less energy and more production of body fat.

The Wholefood Farmacy offers a delicious and convenient way to eat a healthy breakfast each and every day. Start with a healthy whole grain food such as oatmeal or cream of wheat and then add some Organic Phi Plus, Organic Cranberry Phi, Organic Coco Cherry Phi, TropiPhi or Fruitalicious Plus. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s healthy and it can help your teens to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.

Updated 3/19/16 ~ Image Credit: Pixabay

Jan 19, 2009

Planning a Romantic Valentines Dinner

Valentine's Day is next month, and I have a feeling that many who usually go out to dinner may be finding alternatives to save some money. One way to do this is to plan a romantic dinner at home, and do the preparations yourself as an expression of love for your partner. Maybe you don't know where to begin, especially if you don't usually prepare the meals in your home, but want to surprise your husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend.

A friend, Betty Lynch, has put together a complete guide to preparing a nice, romantic meal, complete with easy-to-prepare recipes, a shopping list, wine suggestions, and other tips to enhance the meal...click here for more information...this is an excellent offer from a cookbook author.

And since you will be saving so much money preparing your meal at home, you'll have some extra to spend on those wonderful, romantic flowers that woman, and I'm sure some men, look forward to each year. I always receive roses or a single rose from my husband, and on occasion I have had a "masculine" arrangement sent to him at work. The flowers you purchase will make a nice centerpiece on the table when you have your home-prepared romantic Valentines dinner. And after all that good eating, and with all that romance in the air...well, I'll leave the rest to your imagination. 

Updated 3/19/16 ~ Image from Pixabay

Jan 16, 2009

Cabbage Soup Diet, Good or Bad?

People are thinking of weight loss at this time of the year...maintaining weight all year round is my preference, but I understand how hard that is in our society today, with so many foods to entice us...it takes real self-control.

Usually, if I'm overweight, which I am right now, it's by about 10-20 lbs. I'm happy to have lost 10 in the past few months.

Several years ago I heard of "The Cabbage Soup Diet", and have made the soup on a couple of occasions. Wow, what a cleanse! But I have mixed feelings about it, some of them expressed in the following article by W. Darren, a link to that article and recipe for the diet at the end of this page.

The Cabbage Soup Diet has been getting great testimonials from people who have undergone the diet. Some can attest that they have lost over ten pounds in just one week. Others say that it’s the best diet they have done. However, others say that although the weight loss is undeniable, the after effects as well as the condition while on the diet is not worth it. The Cabbage Soup Diet is just one of the many fad diets that have hit the market in the past years. Let us consider the advantages and disadvantages of the Cabbage Soup Diet.

The 2 Advantages
  1. Dramatic and speedy weight loss. The Cabbage Soup Diet promises weight loss of up to ten pounds in just one week. This can be very essential for people who have to undergo surgical operations and need to lose weight fast. The Cabbage Soup Diet is also helpful for people who need to lose weight immediately for special functions such as weddings or an important first date.
  2. The presence of good dietary fiber and other nutrients. Cabbage and the other ingredients have fiber in them that helps sweep away toxins and waste from the body. Cabbage, if eaten regularly and often can help with constipation and prevention of other digestive problems. Celery has the same effect as well as green pepper. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a helpful antioxidant known to reduce the risk of certain cancers. More importantly, Cabbage Soup is very low in saturated fat and has almost zero cholesterol. It can greatly help obese people in losing weight and can reduce the risk of heart attack and hypertension.
The 3 Disadvantages
  1. The Cabbage Soup Diet can only be done in a week at most. Because of the dangerously low levels of carbohydrate and calorie content of the diet, medical experts only advise at most seven days for the diet to continue. A longer period can be very unhealthy and can result in a collapse in the dieter’s health. Worse, it can lead to sickness and other complications.
  2. Effects on the dieter during the dieting period. Some people who have undergone the Cabbage Soup Diet complain of irritability, weakness and lack of concentration. This is because the person is taking very little calorie and carbohydrates that they cannot function very well. The dieter also feels hungry more often since the soup, with the lack of meat, is often not filling. However, unlike the high protein diet such as Atkins and South Beach diets, this diet is relatively low in cholesterol and fat so it can be considered healthier.
  3. Blandness of the Cabbage Soup. One can only take in so much cabbage. It lacks flavor and since the heart of the diet is cabbage, it is the main course in every meal with the dieter often advised to eat as much of the soup as possible. There have been many varieties of the Cabbage Soup already. Some add spices like curry or herbs to make it tastier. Because of this, the diet is criticized as having high levels of sodium which can be harmful to one’s health.
I agree with all of the cautions above, and would not suggest you do this unless you are in excellent health, don't do this if you have hypoglycemia or diabetes without consulting a doctor as your blood sugar levels will be dramatically affected.

Here is a post with the recipe for the Cabbage Soup Diet.

Updated 3/19/16

Jan 10, 2009

Breast Feed and It's Health Benefits

I nursed both of my now-grown children for approximately 5 months, with one feeding of formula, or breast milk that I provided, for a bottle in the evening so that my husband could have the pleasure of holding and feeding his children. The health benefits of nursing your baby when it is possible are many, some of them shared in the article below.


Most parents are aware that breast milk is best for their baby, but may not be aware that the benefits of breastfeeding extend far beyond basic nutrition. In addition to containing all the vitamins and nutrients your baby needs in the first six months of life, breast milk is packed with disease-fighting nutrients that protect your baby from illness. That's why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months.

Another advantage of breastfeeding is that it's as healthy for mothers as it is for babies. Not only does lactation continue the natural physiologic process begun with conception and pregnancy, but it provides many short and long-term health benefits to the mother.

The full range of benefits that breastfeeding offers are rarely emphasized in prenatal counseling by health care professionals and are all but ignored in popular parenting literature - but the latest research is quite clear and suggests that breastfeeding:

  • Protects your baby from gastrointestinal trouble & respiratory problems
  • Protects your baby from ear infections
  • Can protect your baby from developing allergies.
  • May boost your child's intelligence (I.Q.)
  • May protect against obesity later in life
  • May protect your baby from childhood leukemia
  • May protect your baby from developing type 1 diabetes
  • May protect preemies from infections and high blood pressure later in life
  • May lower your baby's risk of SIDS
  • May protect the baby against osteoporosis later in life
  • Helps the mother lose weight by burning up to 500 calories a day
  • Can lower the mother's stress levels and reduce postpartum bleeding
  • May reduce the mother's risk of some types of cancer
If the "pitter patter of little feet" is in your future, we encourage you to search online for the "benefits of breastfeeding" and to get more information so that you can make a truly informed decision.

Part of the information provided above used with permission of Wholefood Farmacy

Updated 3/18/16

Jan 8, 2009

Different Perspective on the Rice Shortage

Rice, or the shortage of it, was in the news some months ago. There was concern about a shortage involving countries outside of the United States. They mentioned that large food chains like Costco were rationing rice they sold; yet they said that in California rice production was normal, so they say there is nothing to worry about...what to believe? Time has passed, and it seems we have bigger concerns than just a shortage of rice to talk about in the news.

This article is about a shortage of another kind, how a certain kind of process can cause a shortage of nutrients in rice.

Milling is the process that turns brown rice into white rice by removing the outer layer known as the bran layer - this alters the nutritional value of the rice. The complete milling process that creates white rice from brown rice destroys 67% of the vitamin B3, 80% of the vitamin B1, 90% of the vitamin B6, half of the manganese, half of the phosphorus, 60% of the iron, and all of the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids. In short, brown rice is a fiber-rich whole grain whereas white rice is simply a refined and nutritionally depleted processed food.

In March of 2006, research reported in the journal Agricultural Research, Nancy Keim and a team at the USDA ARS Western Human Nutrition Center studied 10 women age 20-45 who ate a whole grain diet for three days, then ate the same foods but with refined grains in place of whole grains. Blood samples at the end of each 3-day period showed that the refined grains diet caused a significant increase in triglycerides and a worrisome protein called "apolipoprotein CIII" (apoCIII), both of which have been associated with increased risk of heart disease.

At the University of Utah, in a study of over 2000 people, a team led by Dr. Martha Slattery found that high intakes of whole grains, such as brown rice, reduced the risk of rectal cancer 31%. They also found that a high-fiber diet, 34 grams or more of fiber per day, reduced rectal cancer by an impressive 66%. The findings were published in the February 2004 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

In a Study presented at American Heart Association Conference, March 2006, overweight children, age 9-15, spent two weeks on an all-you-can-eat diet of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean protein, while exercising 2.5 hours each day. University of California researchers led by Dr. James Barnard reported that in just two weeks the children's cholesterol levels dropped an average of 21%, while insulin levels fell 30%.

One small change you can make is serving whole grain brown rice in place of processed white rice. Even though this is a small change to make it offers tremendous benefits to your family and children. The habits your children learn from you while young will stay with them for a lifetime. Learning to eat more whole grains like brown rice offers lifelong health benefits to your children.

Article courtesy of the Wholefood Farmacy, a wholesale buyers "club".

Updated 3/18/16