Health Tips - Issue 13

  1. Walking is one of the most effective forms of exercise. Here's a tip for getting even more benefits each time you go for a walk. As you are walking, every two or three minutes, swing your arms over your head six to eight times. By doing so, you will tone your abs, arms, and back and improve the overall benefits walking provides. For best results, walk briskly and consider the use of hand weights of one to two pounds.

  2. Did you know that most commercial candles can be damaging to your health when they are lit? That's because such candles emit soot as they burn, which can damage your lungs. In addition, commercial candles contain the petroleum product paraffin which, when burned, emits benzene, a known carcinogen (substance that can cause cancer). If you enjoy the soothing ambience of candles around your home, you can avoid these health risks by choosing candles made from beeswax or soy with wicks made from cotton.

  3. Here's another reason why you should brush and floss your teeth every day. A recently completed 17-year study conducted by researchers at New York City's Columbia University has found that people with even mild gum disease have more than twice the risk of developing adult-onset (type 2) diabetes, compared to people with healthy gums. The study, which tracked over 9000 people, also found that people with tooth loss have a 70 percent higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, compared to people with all of their teeth. According to the researchers, the bacterial infections that contribute to both gum disease and tooth loss results in increased levels of chronic inflammation throughout the body, and the inflammation interferes with the human body's ability to regulate insulin levels. (Previously, the inflammation caused by gum and teeth bacteria has been linked to heart disease, stroke, and cancer.) To minimize this risk, brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day, and have regular checkups with your dentist.

  4. Are you prone to asthma attacks? If so, you might be able to prevent them by drinking coffee. That's because coffee acts as a natural bronchodilator, improving respiratory function. So, the next time you feel an asthma attack coming on, drink one or two cups of coffee. Note: For this tip to work, the coffee must be strongly brewed and unsweetened.

  5. If you want healthier skin, get in the habit of eating sunflower seeds. That's because sunflower seeds are rich in nutrients such as vitamin B1 and vitamin E, which are essential for healthy skin. In addition, sunflower seeds are also high in selenium, an essential mineral that helps to prevent and repair damaged DNA that can lead to unhealthy-looking skin.

  6. We've all heard that we should eat at least five to seven servings of vegetables each day because of the abundant supply of antioxidants and other essential nutrients they contain. One of the easiest way to obtain your daily supply of vegetables is to eat a salad that contains a variety of vegetables. Salads are easy to prepare and are very healthy for you so long as they do not contain commercial salad dressings. By getting in the habit of eating a salad with at least one of your daily meals you will help your body obtain many of its daily nutritional needs.

  7. Do you suffer from digestive problems? If so, they could be due to a deficiency of healthy bacteria (also known as probiotics) in your gut. To increase the supply of healthy gut bacteria, get in the habit of eating almonds. That's because almonds are rich in healthy fats that probiotics need to grow. In addition, almonds have also been shown to inhibit the growth of unhealthy gut bacteria.

  8. Here's another reason to make walking a part of your regular exercise routine: It can help prevent heart disease and high blood pressure. According to a 12-week study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, otherwise inactive people who took a 30 minute walk three times a day both reduce their systolic blood pressure (the top number) by an average of five points, and also reduced their waist size by about an inch. (An expanding waist is a leading risk factor for heart disease, as well as type 2 diabetes.)

  9. Here's an effective natural remedy you can use to stop a sore throat in its tracks. At the first sign of a sore throat mix two to three teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in six ounces of warm water. Sip a mouthful and then gargle with it for 30 seconds before spitting it out. Then swallow another mouthful. Repeat the gargle/swallowing process until you use up all of the vinegar/water combination. Do this every hour until you experience relief (usually within two to three hours).

  10. Here's a tip you can try to boost sluggish metabolism. Sprinkle one to two teaspoons of kelp powder onto salads or steamed vegetables, or into a bowl of soup. Kelp powder is rich in iodine, a mineral that is essential for healthy thyroid function. Your thyroid gland controls your body's metabolism and research shows that many of us today suffer from hypothyroidism (low thyroid function). As an additional bonus, kelp powder can also help break down stubborn fatty deposits in your body. Note: Do not try this if you have been diagnosed with hyper hyperthyroidism (abnormally high thyroid function).

  11. If you experience stomach cramps or spasms, try drinking peppermint tea two or three times a day. That's because peppermint has been shown to relax the stomach muscles that cause cramping and spasms. Note: If your symptoms are moderate to severe, you can try taking a capsule of peppermint oil three times a day, but you should also see your Health Expert to rule out more serious health problems.

  12. The time you feel frazzled or stressed, try this tip to quickly calm yourself. Pour a few drops of vanilla extract onto a cotton ball and hold the ball beneath your nose, deeply breathing in the vanilla scent for a minute or two. Scientists have found that the scent of vanilla promotes calm because it increases the brain's supply of the "feel good" chemical serotonin. A small portion of organic vanilla ice cream will also do the trick, but it's not advisable if you are trying to lose weight.

  13. When it comes to your heart and cholesterol levels, you want you HDL ("good") cholesterol levels to be high and your LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels to be low. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition, you can achieve both of these goals more easily by regularly snacking on a handful of nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, peanuts, pistachios, pine nuts, and macadamia nuts. That's because these nut varieties are all rich in healthy monounsaturated fatty acids that simultaneously raise HDL levels while reducing LDL cholesterol. To get the full range of benefits these types of nuts provide, make sure to eat them raw and unflavored.

  14. Here's a caffeine-free alternative for boosting energy and staying alert. Instead of coffee, try inhaling peppermint oil. Research has shown that inhaling peppermint oil can increase blood circulation throughout your body, thereby also speeding energizing oxygen to your body's organs, including your brain. If you are susceptible to periods of fatigue during the day, try placing a few drops of peppermint oil in an aromatherapy diffuser in your room or office.

  15. Here's a quick way to stop the bleeding from minor cuts. Cover the cut with cayenne pepper. Although doing so may cause the cut to sting, this will soon pass and in most cases the bleeding will stop quickly as well. Note: Anytime that bleeding does not stop after a normal amount of time, seek immediate medical attention.

  16. Do you suffer from insomnia or have trouble maintaining a restful sleep? If so, try eating a handful of raw walnuts just before you go to bed. That's because walnuts are rich in serotonin, a chemical that promotes calm and relaxation, and which is necessary for deep, restful sleep. For best results, chew each mouthful of walnuts thoroughly so that the serotonin and other nutrients they contain is more quickly made available to your body.

  17. Dust mites are often present in clothing, sheets, and other bedding materials. To effectively kill dust mites, wash such items in temperatures of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the American Thoracic Society, doing so will kill 100 percent of dust mites that may be present, compared to less than seven percent when the same items are washed in temperatures at or below 104 degrees.

  18. Due to concerns about global warming, energy-saving fluorescent light bulbs have grown in popularity in the last few years. Although such bulbs use less energy than traditional light bulbs, they can pose health risks. For one thing, such bulbs contain mercury, a highly toxic chemical that can be dispersed into the air should a fluorescent bulb break or not be properly disposed of. In addition, according to the British Migraine Action Association, they can also trigger migraine headaches because due to their high "flicker" rate. Even more alarming, the Epilepsy Action organization reports that this same high "flicker" rate has caused seizures in a number of people who suffer from epilepsy.

  19. Here's a quick and easy way to help prevent and reverse constipation. Every morning before breakfast, drink eight ounces of warm water with one tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice. This combination will improve your body's production of bile, which, in addition to improving digestion, also acts as a natural laxative.

  20. Did you know that stress can make you fat? It's true. During periods of stress, your body's adrenal glands produce higher amounts of the hormone cortisol, which in turn increases the activity of an chemical in your body known as lipoprotein lipase. The main function of lioprotein lipase is to signal your body to start storing more fat. This is one more reason why regular exercise is so important as part of your overall daily health routine. Not only does exercise help your body to burn more calories, it also keeps cortisol levels in check by increasing the production of anti-stress hormones known as endorphins. So, to stay physical fit and stress-free, try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise at least five days per week.

All material © 2010 WellnessWatchersMD. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of WellnessWatchersMD's terms of use and privacy policy. The information provided in this Web site is intended for your general knowledge only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Please see your personal physician immediately if you have any concern about your health, and you should always consult your physician before starting a fitness regimen.