Molecule Made While Exercising Helps Block Inflammation

running sunrise sunsetWhile hunger might be the most obvious effect of dieting or fasting, dropping the amount you eat can have broader effects on your body than just feeling the need to eat more. Researchers had observed that fasting for long periods of time and exercising could both drop inflammation in a person’s body as measured by blood markers. While some research had shown some of the reasons for this lowering of inflammation, new research out this week has found that the body’s switch in fuel source when calories are scarce may also play a major role. Read more  »

Winter Woes: Tips for Feet and Toes

winter-boots

For those of us living the Northeast, as well as many other parts of the U.S., this winter has brought us its fair share of snowy conditions and cold temperatures. Whether you are a city dweller facing the cold terrain of the city streets or someone who loves outside winter sports, the sub-zero temperatures can wreak havoc on your feet. Here are some tips to keep your feet protected, warm and cozy. Read more  »

Is Chocolate Really Healthy? The Pros and Cons

Chocolate

Did Cupid leave a heart-shaped box of chocolates for you recently? This month of dark days and Valentine’s Day may have you bingeing on chocolate more than usual. If you are a fan, then you will be pleased to know that chocolate has enjoyed some time in the nutrition spotlight. However, you may want to think twice before reaching for that candy bar. Despite its health benefits, chocolate is high in calories. Continue reading to find out how your body and health can gain the benefits without the pounds! Read more  »

Love: It’s Not Just in Your Head

love

Your heart races, your palms sweat, your body is on edge and fixated on one thing.

Being chased by a tiger? Nope. Honey, you’re falling in love.

That flood of feelings we all get when falling in love is more than just “in our heads.” Scientists have noticed actual biochemical reactions occurring. It turns out that when you have “chemistry” with someone – it’s literally due to feel-good chemicals triggered within your own body. Read more  »

Improve Your Life Through Vastu

vastu-home

Cowritten by Michael and Robin Mastro

Vastu is yoga for your home, and shares many similarities with the Chinese tradition of feng shui. Both aim at keeping energy in your home or office flowing. Both posit that blocked energy could possibly create stress that might affect your health, career, finances and more, limiting your fullest potential. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Blood Pressure, Alcohol and Smoking

Lower blood pressure makes a difference in diabetics. Keeping your blood pressure down drops your risk of a variety of different diseases that can affect your health. Diabetics are particularly vulnerable to the effects of high blood pressure and new research indicates that keeping their blood pressure lower than the bar used for others may be beneficial. “Guidelines suggested that a systolic blood pressure (the top number) of 140 is a good goal for people with diabetes, but the new study found that 130 or even lower may be better. The analysis found that lowering from 140 to 130 was associated with a 13 percent reduction in the risk for death, a 12 percent decline in the risk of coronary heart disease, and a 26 percent decline in the risk of stroke. The 10-point drop was also associated with a 13 percent reduction in retinopathy (a cause of blindness in people with diabetes) and a 17 percent reduction in albuminuria, an indication of kidney problems.” The researchers don’t know whether going lower than 130 would have even bigger effects, but they say that many diabetics would probably benefit from blood pressure medications to get their pressure into the 130 range. (NYT)

Alcohol may only benefit women over 65. Initial studies looking at low level alcohol consumption found health benefits, but recent studies have found plenty of caveats. Those early studies included people of all ages and genders. A new study has found that only a select few actually benefit. “Unless you’re a woman over 65, alcohol consumption is unlikely to forestall your death. For these older women, the health benefits of alcohol are not enormous, but drinkers were less likely to die six and 10 years after the study. The same study initially returned findings that men between the ages of 50 and 65 might reap a small benefit from drinking alcohol. But those apparent benefits evaporated when the researchers scrubbed from their non-drinking ‘reference group’ all those who used to drink but have stopped.” The health benefits found in past studies are thought to have resulted from the inclusion of people who used to drink a lot, but who have since cut back and improved their health in doing so. While older women did see a benefit from alcohol, the authors warn “that older drinkers are more likely to have health conditions, and to take medicine for them, that impair their ability to metabolize alcohol. That puts this group of people at greater risk from drinking alcohol.” (LA Times)

Smoking damages a wide variety of organs, leading to many diseases. We’ve known for decades that smoking is one of the worst things you can do to your body and new research has confirmed that it contributes to a wide variety of diseases and dramatically shortens life span. “Breast cancer, prostate cancer, and even routine infections are all maladies tied to smoking in a new study that says an additional 60,000 to 120,000 deaths each year in the United States are probably due to tobacco use. The study looks beyond lung cancer, heart disease and other conditions already tied to smoking, and the 480,000 U.S. deaths attributed to them each year.” The researchers comment that smokers die, on average, more than a decade before nonsmokers and they think that past estimates of the cost of smoking to health and society have substantially underestimated how many people are affected by diseases related to smoking. “Death rates were two to three times higher among current smokers than among people who never smoked. Most of the excess deaths in smokers were due to 21 diseases already tied to smoking, including 12 types of cancer, heart disease and stroke. But researchers also saw death rates in smokers were twice as high from other conditions such as kidney failure, infections, liver cirrhosis and some respiratory diseases not previously tied to smoking.” (CBS)

Surgical Treatments for Cervical Cancer Don’t Affect Fertility

cervix uterus female reproductive organsCervical cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among women in the U.S. The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) that infects cells in the cervix and disrupts normal growth and replication causes the vast majority of cases of cervical cancer. If allowed to progress, that disruption can develop into full-blown cancer that kills about 4,000 women per year.

Fortunately, those rates are far lower than they used to be. Cervical cancer used to be the most common cancer in women, but the HPV vaccine now prevents many infections from ever occurring and screening tests like the Pap smear have allowed doctors to catch the cancer in its very early stages when it can still be destroyed completely. There were concerns that this surgery might affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant, but new research has shown that not to be the case. Read more  »