Saturday, July 6, 2019

5 surprising benefits of walking 

Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School

The next time you have a check-up, don't be surprised if your doctor hands you a prescription to walk. Yes, this simple activity that you've been doing since you were about a year old is now being touted as "the closest thing we have to a wonder drug," in the words of Dr. Thomas Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
 
Get your copy of Walking for Health
 
Walking for Health
The simple activity of walking has so many powerful health benefits. Done correctly, it can be the key to losing weight, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and boosting your memory,
as well as reducing your risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer and more. Walking
for Health
, created by the experts at Harvard Medical School, takes you step-by-step from why
walking may be the most perfect exercise, to how to get started on a walking program, to specific walking workouts. It even has a special section on walking for weight loss.

Read More

Of course, you probably know that any physical activity, including walking, is a boon to your overall health. But walking in particular comes with a host of benefits. Here's a list of five that may surprise you.
1. It counteracts the effects of weight-promoting genes. Harvard researchers looked at 32 obesity-promoting genes in over 12,000 people to determine how much these genes actually contribute to body weight. They then discovered that, among the study participants who walked briskly for about an hour a day, the effects of those genes were cut in half.
2. It helps tame a sweet tooth. A pair of studies from the University of Exeter found that a 15-minute walk can curb cravings for chocolate and even reduce the amount of chocolate you eat in stressful situations. And the latest research confirms that walking can reduce cravings and intake of a variety of sugary snacks.
3. It reduces the risk of developing breast cancer. Researchers already know that any kind of physical activity blunts the risk of breast cancer. But an American Cancer Society study that zeroed in on walking found that women who walked seven or more hours a week had a 14% lower risk of breast cancer than those who walked three hours or fewer per week. And walking provided this protection even for the women with breast cancer risk factors, such as being overweight or using supplemental hormones.
4. It eases joint pain. Several studies have found that walking reduces arthritis-related pain, and that walking five to six miles a week can even prevent arthritis from forming in the first place. Walking protects the joints — especially the knees and hips, which are most susceptible to osteoarthritis — by lubricating them and strengthening the muscles that support them.
5. It boosts immune function. Walking can help protect you during cold and flu season. A study of over 1,000 men and women found that those who walked at least 20 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, had 43% fewer sick days than those who exercised once a week or less. And if they did get sick, it was for a shorter duration, and their symptoms were milder.
To learn more about the numerous benefits of walking, as well as easy ways to incorporate a walk into your daily routine, read Walking for Health, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School. 
Image: monkeybusinessimages/iStock
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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

How to Protect and De-Age Your Brain

 Food for Thought—Nutrients for Brain Health

 Thank you to:  https://askthescientists.com/nutrients-brain-health/

Your brain is powerful. You can even use it to think about how the brain itself works. Crazy, right? But this power doesn’t make your brain immune to factors that impact the rest of your body. Lifestyle and environment can affect your brain health. Luckily, there are nutrients for brain health shown to support cognitive function.

Lipids

For a long time, dietary fats (lipids) have been connected to brain health. Originally, lipids’ effect on the cardiovascular system was thought to facilitate that connection. But more recent research shows dietary fats have more direct actions on the brain.
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (like DHA from fish oil) normally make up cell membranes throughout your body. And like other saturated fat, they’re fundamental building blocks for your brain cells. That’s part of the reason fish is often called a brain food.

Flavonoids

The antioxidant effects of flavonoids are well-established in a test-tube setting. But these plant compounds—like cocoa, ginkgo, and grape-seed extracts—have more complex actions in the body that is continually being researched.
Some flavonoids show promising results in maintaining healthy brain function. Quercetin—a flavonoid that’s a major component of ginkgo biloba extracts—has been shown to maintain memory and learning abilities in some studies. Further research on the subject is needed.

B Vitamins

Adequate levels of the B vitamin folate are essential for brain function. The proof? Folate deficiency can lead to neurological disorders, like depression and cognitive impairment.
Clinical trial results have deepened the connection between folate and cognitive function. These studies have shown folate supplementation—by itself or in conjunction with other B vitamins (B6 and B12)—to be effective at maintaining healthy cognitive function during aging.

Other Nutrients

There are more nutrients for brain health. Here’s a short list of the other nutrients with researched roles in brain health:
  • Alpha lipoic acid has been shown to maintain memory and cognitive function.
  • Vitamin E, or α-tocopherol, has also been implicated in cognitive performance. Decreasing serum levels of vitamin E were associated with poor memory performance in older individuals.
  • Curcumin is a strong antioxidant that seems to protect the brain from lipid peroxidation and nitric-oxide-based radicals.
  • Several gut hormones or peptides—like leptin, ghrelin, glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP1) and insulin—have been found to support healthy emotional response and cognitive processes.

Energy Production

The brain runs your body. And it takes a lot of energy to literally be the brain of the operation. Healthy macronutrients are necessary to fuel your brain and provide the energy it needs.
The mechanisms involved in the transfer of energy from foods to neurons are likely to be fundamental to the control of brain function. Processes that are associated with the management of energy in neurons can affect brain plasticity.

Far-Reaching Impacts

Lifestyle and diet have long-term effects on your health. That means they are likely underestimated for their importance to public health—especially when it comes to healthy aging. But they’re important to your brain. The gradual and sometimes imperceptible cognitive decline that characterizes normal aging can be influenced by the nutrients you feed your brain through a healthy diet.
These impacts go beyond your life, too. Through epigenetics, you pass on traits to your children and their children. Newer studies back this up. They indicate that these nutritional effects on your brain might even be transmitted over generations by influencing epigenetic events.
Gómez-Pinilla, Fernando. Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2008 Jul; 9(7): 568–578.
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Thursday, January 31, 2019

Put Sanoviv On Your Must-Do List For a Healthy Check-Up, Treatments and Vacation.


 Once you have been to Sanoviv, you will be sure to spend another week there in the future.  This is my fourth time there.  The Sanoviv Medical Institute is a fully-licensed hospital, that feels more like a wonderful resort.  It offers a unique blend of conventional, alternative and integrative programs to help maintain your good health and to treat a wide range of diseases. 

The unique, toxin-free construction, combined with a warm and caring staff,  provide the ideal environment for the mind, body and spirit to heal.  Cutting edge medical science is combined with proven alternative therapies to give new hope to those struggling with chronic and degenerative disease.

 Just walking along the ocean front pathway, breathing in the fresh air, is intoxicating.  You are also invited to walk on the grass in your bare feet, so good for your body.

 Your spacious bedroom has a long balcony with chairs to relax, while overlooking the ocean and the heated thalasso pools.  I start my day swimming in the lap pool.  The drawers in your bed contain the natural fiber clothing that you will wear on your visit.  Free laundry is provided every day.


 Your living room sized bedroom includes a sofa set, table, rebounder, and Chi machine.  You will enjoy the Usana shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste in your spacious bathroom.  A smaller bedroom is adjoined for your companion.

This is my doctor, who confers each day with all the other medical personnel on my progress, such as a PhD Psychologist, Dentist, Physical Exercise Expert, Nutritionist, and specialists in massage, energy medicine, meditation and the many specific treatments.  Together, they plan my program for the next day.

I especially appreciate the Hyberbaric Oxygen Therapy, a medical treatment that involves the intermittent inhalation of 100% oxygen  under pressure.  It feels like sitting in a submarine or spaceship!

This allows the oxygen to reach tissues with compromised circulatory function and increases the oxygen entering the blood stream, and can reach the difficult parts of the body like bones, plasma, the brain and central nervous system, as well as the lymphatic system.

All of that and it stimulates a positive effect on the immune system, which fights infection and kills bacteria, accelerates the healing process, growth of new blood vessels, decreases swelling and inflammation, deactivates and clears toxins and metabolic wastes.  Wow!

                                                                                 
  How to make green juice, nut butter and so many other healthy choices, happen in the beautiful dining area.  All meals are organic and gluten free, often made especially for you when ordered by the doctor for your particular health situation.  Even the desserts are low sugar but delicious.  Be sure to read more about Sanoviv at:  www.sanoviv.com  There is a video there with the visit by Dr. Oz explaining his excitement for the peace, healing and expertise offered at Sanoviv.