Increasing dopamine, the HAPPY HORMONE
The foods we suggest at your wellness visits provide a dopamine boost.
Dairy foods such as milk, cheese and yogurt
Unprocessed meats such as beef, chicken and turkey
Omega-3 rich fish such as salmon and mackerel
Fruit and vegetables
Nuts such as almonds and walnuts
In addition, as always, watch the alcohol and processed sugars and starch that block the dopamine path to your brain.
How does food affect dopamine?
Dopamine affects the reward and pleasure centers in the brain. The sudden availability of many pleasurable things such a caress, a kiss, or the sudden availability of food increases dopamine release – making you smile!
People who are obese may have, among other things, blocked the dopamine path to the brain by constant exposure to sugary foods. This makes it more and more difficult to become satisfied while eating. We know that eating increases dopamine, but again, just as in the case with leptin, the intake of sugar makes it more and more difficult to a satisfying release of dopamine – like any addiction, the more sugar you get the more you want.
What is a low sugar, highly satisfying diet? Protein intake will boost dopamine production and not block the dopamine receptors in the brain – increasing early satiety. On non-fasting days eat a high protein breakfast that includes eggs, lean meats and dairy which is satisfying AND increases dopamine.
Choose healthy fats to improve satiety such as butter, milkfats in cheese and yogurt, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in olive, safflower, sesame or rapeseed oils in addition to avocado, walnuts, flaxseeds and oily fish such as herring, fresh tuna and trout.
Again, this is not a diet but a lifestyle change that can improve your mood and sense of satisfaction. For what it’s worth, simply look at the quality of foods you eat, reduce processed foods, keep sugary treats to a minimum and make sure you’re fasting twice a week to get that great growth hormone pulse.
The human body contains more than 2.2 pounds of calcium, mostly in the bones. As most people know, calcium is vital for human health.
In fact, it is such an important mineral that our bodies are designed to use various hormones to ensure adequate calcium levels in both the bloodstream and the bones.
The hormones responsible for maintaining calcium levels include vitamin D, calcitonin, and parathyroid hormone.
Specifically, vitamin D enhances absorption of calcium from the gastrointestinal tract; calcitonin stimulates the absorption of calcium into bones; and parathyroid hormone causes calcium to be released by the bones.
The complex interplay between these three hormones are responsible for ensuring:
• Adequate calcium absorption
• Integration of calcium into the bones
• Normal serum calcium levels
Parathyroid hormone — which is secreted by the parathyroid glands — increases the concentration of calcium in the bloodstream by releasing calcium from the bones. This process is called “bone resorption.”
In the kidneys, parathyroid increases reabsorption of calcium. In other words, it decreases calcium excretion in the urine.
Hyperparathyroidism — an excess of parathyroid hormone — is known to cause both osteopenia and osteoporosis. In treating osteoporosis, it is important to closely monitor parathyroid hormone levels.
It should be supplemented only when levels are very low.
Schedule a consultation today for a well-checkup - Phone:(214) 368-3755
Americans collectively spending up to $315.8 billion annually on obesity-related medical treatment, the personal finance website WalletHub took an in-depth look at 2016's Fattest Cities in America.
In order to call attention to the communities where weight-related problems are most prevalent, WalletHub’s analysts compared 100 of the most populated U.S. metro areas across 14 key metrics. They range from “percentage of adults and high school students who are obese” to “percentage of people who are physically inactive.”
Weight Problems in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington (1=Worst, 50=Avg.):
- 18th – % of Overweight Adults
- 49th – % of Obese Adults
- 32nd – % of Physically Inactive Adults
- 10th – % of Adults with High Cholesterol
- 50th – % of Adults Eating Fewer than 1 Serving of Fruits/Vegetables per Day
- 49th – % of Adults with Diabetes
- 28th – % of Overweight Teens
- 12th – % of Obese Teens
- 16th – % of Overweight Children
For the full report, please visit:
Men seek it out to combat low energy and decreased sex drive. Prescription testosterone has become so popular that so-called "low T" clinics are becoming common sights in cities and suburbs.
The number of testosterone prescriptions written in the U.S. more than tripled in the past decade. But researchers suspect that much of the testosterone dispensed at low-T clinics isn't tracked, since it's often bought with cash. This unfettered flow of testosterone — officially a controlled substance — has raised concerns among doctors who specialize in hormonal problems.
Hormone treatment itself isn't without risk: A recent study of more than 55,000 men found a doubling of heart-attack risk among older men who used testosterone. Younger men who had a history of heart disease had a higher incidence of nonfatal heart attacks. In addition, men who are on prolonged high-level testosterone replacement therapy can experience testicular shrinkage.
Have low-t questions? Come visit us today for a consultation. Call: (214) 368-3755
The consumption of eggs is one of the common denominators between populations who live the longest, according to the Blue Zones. That might be because eggs are the most easily assimilated bioavailable protein source. They contain lots of good-quality fats and amino acids, which is what hormones are made from.
I haven’t had dairy in almost two decades because I’m a big believer that it’s just an all-around bad guy for hormonal health. For one, the antibiotics it contains can negatively affect your microbiome, which prevents estrogen metabolism. But yogurt is still an excellent source of good bacteria, and it can be delicious! A coconut-based version is dairy-free and super good (my favorite is Anita's Creamline Coconut Yogurt).
Blueberries and Strawberries
Fresh and organic berries are full of antioxidants, and they’ve been shownto be powerful blood sugar and insulin stabilizers. Plus, they're packed with gut-healthy fiber.
Unsweetened almond milk is a great alternative to dairy, and I personally think it tastes better than cow's milk!
Drinking organic coconut water is a great way to beat the bloat and reduce water retention, which can often be caused by magnesium deficiency or heightened cortisol. I recommend the Purity Organic brand.
Sunflower Seed Butter
SunButter Organic Sunflower Spread is my absolute favorite nut butter—I love to spread it on gluten-free toast and top with fruit. Sunflower seeds are an amazing source of fiber, magnesium, niacin, and antioxidants like vitamin E.
Going gluten-free can be difficult for bread lovers, but a rice substitute definitely satisfies the cravings and then some! My favorite is Food for Life Exotic Black Rice Bread—it has a great, moist texture that many gluten-free breads lack, and it packs in extra antioxidants.
Flaxseed is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and lignans—which bind to estrogen receptors and could help prevent absorption of excess estrogen—as well as fiber. I recommend the Spectrum Organic brand.
A couple of tablespoons a day of fermented foods rich in good bacteria—like kimchi and sauerkraut—work wonders for re-establishing healthy gut flora. I like Hawthorne Valley Organic Sauerkraut.
Kale, baby spinach, broccoli, and watercress are amazing for so many reasons, including that they contain the phytochemicals sulphorophanes, indole-3-carbinol, and D-glucarate, which are critical liver detoxifiers.
Avocados are a wonderful source of monounsaturated fatty acids. One of my absolute favorite research studies that I often reference is a Harvard School of Public Health study that found women undergoing IVF who ate the highest amounts of this important nutrient were 3.4 times more likely to conceive than those who ate the lowest amount.
Grass-Fed Bison and Lamb; Organic Chicken and Turkey
We need protein to make the amino acids that manufacture our hormones. A lack of protein could cause us to age prematurely, both in how we look and feel and in terms of our biological age, including fertility. I recommend bison and lamb as great protein sources in the second half of your cycle, when you might be low on iron and craving meat.
Wild King Salmon and Wild Codfish
Wild fish is another high-quality source of protein, and salmon and codfish are also packed with hormone-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and essential amino acids.
Organic Peaches, Nectarines, Apples, Lemons, and Pears
These contain important flavonoids, as well as lots of fiber.
Organic Zucchini, Green Beans, Celery, Carrots, Parsnips, and Sweet Potato
Fresh veggies play a big role in my diet. I recommend root vegetables, like sweet potatoes, and leafy greens from the Brassica family, like kale, during the luteal phase of your cycle to help support the liver and make sure you're keeping an optimal ratio of estrogen.
Mark Mattson, a neuroscientist at theNational Institute on Aging in Maryland, has not had breakfast in 35 years. Most days he practices a form of fasting — skipping lunch, taking a midafternoon run, and then eating all of his daily calories (about 2,000) in a six-hour window starting in the afternoon.
“Once you get used to it, it’s not a big deal,” said Dr. Mattson, chief of the institute’s laboratory of neurosciences. “I’m not hungry at all in the morning, and this is other people’s experience as well. It’s just a matter of getting adapted to it.”
In a culture in which it’s customary to eat three large meals a day while snacking from morning to midnight, the idea of regularly skipping meals may sound extreme. But in recent years intermittent fasting has been gaining popular attention and scientific endorsement.
It has been promoted in best-selling books and endorsed by celebrities like the actors Hugh Jackman and Benedict Cumberbatch. The late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel claimsthat for the past two years he has followed an intermittent fasting program known as the 5:2 diet, which entails normal eating for five days and fasting for two — a practice Mr. Kimmel credits for his significant weight loss.
Fasting to improve health dates back thousands of years, with Hippocrates and Plato among its earliest proponents. Dr. Mattson argues that humans are well suited for it: For much of human history, sporadic access to food was likely the norm, especially for hunter-gatherers. As a result, we’ve evolved with livers and muscles that store quickly accessible carbohydrates in the form of glycogen, and our fat tissue holds long-lasting energy reserves that can sustain the body for weeks when food is not available.
“From an evolutionary perspective, it’s pretty clear that our ancestors did not eat three meals a day plus snacks,” Dr. Mattson said.
Across the world, millions of people fast periodically for religious and spiritual reasons. But some are now looking at the practice as a source of health and longevity.
Valter Longo, the director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California, initially studied fasting in micethat showed that two to five days of fasting each month reduced biomarkers for diabetes, cancer and heart disease. The research has since been expanded to people, and scientists saw a similar reduction in disease risk factors.
Dr. Longo said the health benefits of fasting might result from the fact that fasting lowers insulin and another hormone called insulinlike growth factor, or IGF-1, which is linked to cancer and diabetes. Lowering these hormones may slow cell growth and development, which in turn helps slow the aging process and reduces risk factors for disease.
“When you have low insulin and low IGF-1, the body goes into a state of maintenance, a state of standby,” Dr. Longo said. “There is not a lot of push for cells to grow, and in general the cells enter a protected mode.”
Critics say that health benefits or not, various forms of intermittent fasting are too impractical for most people.
The 5:2 diet, for example, advocates eating without restrictions for five days and then consuming just 500 calories — roughly the equivalent of a light meal — on each of the other two days of the week. Another regimen, called alternate-day fasting, involves eating no more than 500 calories every other day.
A third regimen, which Dr. Mattson follows, is known as time-restricted feeding. The idea is to consume all of the day’s calories in a narrow window, typically six to eight hours, and fasting for the remaining 16 to 18 hours in a day. Studies of time-restricted feeding practices in both animals and humans have suggested that the practice may lower cancer risk and help people maintain their weight.
The scientific community remains divided about the value of intermittent fasting. Critics say that the science is not yet strong enough to justify widespread recommendations for fasting as a way to lose weight or boost health, and that most of the evidence supporting it comes from animal research. Advocates say the body of research on intermittent fasting is growing rapidly and indicates that the health benefits are striking.
The 5:2 diet, in particular, is backed by “promising” studies that show that it lowers weight and improves blood sugar, inflammation and other aspects of metabolic health, said Joy Dubost, a registered dietitian and a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the country’s largest organization of dietitians. She noted that fasting isn’t appropriate for pregnant women, people with diabetes and people on medications.
“Most people who do this understand that it’s not about binge eating,” Dr. Dubost said. “But they like that it gives them the freedom not to worry about calories, carbs and other restrictions on days when they’re not fasting.”
Krista Varady, an associate professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has studied the effects of alternate-day fasting on hundreds of obese adults. In trials lasting eight to 10 weeks, she has found that people lose on average about 13 pounds and experience marked reductions in LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, triglycerides and insulin, the fat-storage hormone.
Dr. Varady found in her research that intermittent fasting was easiest when people ate a moderately high-fat diet and were allowed to consume up to 500 calories on their fasting days. In her studies, 10 percent to 20 percent of people usually find the diet too difficult and quickly stop. Those who stick with it typically adjust after a rocky first few weeks.
“We’ve run close to 700 people through various trials,” Dr. Varady said. “We thought people would overeat on their feast days to compensate. But people for some reason, regardless of their body weight, can only eat about 10 or 15 percent more than usual. They don’t really overeat, and I think that’s why this works.”
In 2011, Dr. Mattson and his colleagues reported a study of the 5:2 program that followed 107 overweight and obese women. Half of the subjects were assigned to eat no more than 500 calories each on two consecutive days each week. A control group was assigned to follow a low-calorie diet.
After six months, both groups had lost weight. But the intermittent fasting group lost slightly more — about 14 pounds on average — and had greater reductions in belly fat. They also retained more muscle and had greater improvements in blood sugar regulation.
Dr. Mattson’s interest in intermittent fasting grew out of work on animals that showed that alternate-day fasting protected mice from strokes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and consistently extended their life spans by 30 percent. Dr. Mattson and his colleagues found that alternate-day fasting increased the production of proteins that protect brain cells, enhancing their ability to repair damaged DNA. Fasting, he said, acts as a mild stress that makes cells throughout the body stronger, shoring up their ability to adapt to later insults.
In this way, intermittent fasting is like exercise, which causes immediate stress and inflammation, but protects against chronic disease in the long run. Eating fruits and vegetables may have a similar effect. While very large doses of antioxidants can cause cancer in humans, moderate amounts of exposure can make cells more resilient, Dr. Mattson said.
“There is overlap between the way cells respond to exercise, to fasting, and even to exposure to some of the chemicals in fruits and vegetables,” he added.
Dr. Mattson is now starting a rigorous clinical trial of people 55 to 70 years old who are prediabetic and at high risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. He plans to study whether intermittent fasting may slow cognitive decline.
Dr. David Ludwig, a professor of nutrition at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, said one benefit of fasting is that it forces the body to shift from using glucose for fuel to using fat. During this process, the fat is converted to compounds known as ketones, a “clean” energy source that burns more efficiently than glucose, like high-octane gasoline, Dr. Ludwig said.
The same process, known as ketosis, occurs when people go on extremely low-carb, high-fat diets. Dr. Ludwig said ketones seem to have unique effects on the brain. High-fat diets, for example, have been used for years to treat people who suffer from epileptic seizures.
“There are extensive reports of children who had debilitating seizures who were cured on ketogenic diets,” Dr. Ludwig said. “If it benefits the brain to prevent seizures, then maybe it benefits the brain in other ways.”
Dr. Ludwig noted that the long-term effectiveness of fasting had not been well studied. He cautioned that for many people, fasting is simply too difficult and may slow metabolism. A potentially more practical approach is to limit sugar and other processed carbohydrates, replacing them with natural fats, protein and unrefined carbohydrates, he said.
“It takes a very disciplined person to skip a couple meals every day,” he added.
But Dr. Mattson, who has been skipping meals for decades, said the adjustment to skipping breakfast and lunch was a lot like the change that occurs when a couch potato starts exercising.
“If you’ve been sedentary for years and then you go out and try to run five miles, you’re not going to feel very good until you get in shape,” he said. “ It’s not going to be a smooth transition right away. It takes two weeks to a month to adapt.”
Alongside the gender pay gap and the "glass ceiling", health is one of the biggest issues facing women the world over.
A recent study stressed that while progress has been made to improve women’s health “critical gaps” remain which must be tackled.
The study, involving the World Health Organisation and the UN and published in the BMJ journal, highlighted areas that need to be addressed including mental health and cancer.
To mark International Women's Day, here are six health issues affecting women that need to be addressed.
Breast and cervical cancer affect more women than any other forms of the disease. Each year, both of these diseases kill around half a million women each. Most of the women who die live in low and middle income countries where prevention methods are hard to find, and awareness levels are low.
Earlier this year, The Independent spoke to Dr Hania Morsi Fadl,who opened up the Khartoum Breast Cancer Care Centre in the Sudanese capital. The facility is the only breast cancer clinic in the Horn of Africa.
“For developing countries especially, with our customs and traditions, and even more so in the countryside, cancer is a taboo and it is seen as a death sentence.”
“I realised there is really urgent need to help, to do something,” she said.
The study published in the BMJ found that suicide is a leading cause of death between women aged 20 to 59-years-old across the world. Women are also more likely to experience depression and anxiety, due to biological differences but also the pressure of gender roles and responsibilities. For example, women who are abused by their partners are four times more likely to commit suicide than women who don’t. A lack of mental health services, particularly in low income countries, exacerbates the situation.
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death of women in the world.
Women are three times more likely to die of heart disease than breast cancer, according to the NHS. Women in low and middle-income countries are most at risk.
And despite the worrying rates, women are less likely to be prescribed aspirin to prevent a second attack, receive sophisticated pacemakers or be receive potentially life-saving surgery, according to the Word Heart Federation.
Most women develop heart disease because of preventable factors such as smoking, high cholesterol, diet, obesity or diabetes.
Reproductive and maternal health
Many women across the world struggle to protect themselves against STIs, die in childbirth, and are unable to gain access to safe, legal abortions
The latest statistics WHO from 2013 showed that almost 300,000 women died from pregnancy and childbirth that year. And 99 per cent of maternal deaths occur in developing countries.
Most of these deaths could have been prevented if the women had had access to basic family planning services.
A WHO report assessing women’s health between 1990 and 2008 found that one in 10 pregnancies worldwide end in an unsafe abortion. Almost all of these take place in developing countries, where safe and legal abortions are not widely available.
The highest rates of unsafe abortion are in Latin America, a predominantly Catholic region where the procedures are highly restricted or banned entirely, including in El Salvador where abortion is illegal in all circumstances. And as the Zika virus - linked to brain damage in newborns - spreads across the region, experts fear women may be be forced to use back-streetabortionists.
In 2014, the United Nation’s UNAIDS said it hoped to end the AIDs epidemic as a global threat by 2030. This will mean helping women to prevent catching the virus.
For women aged between 15 to 44-years-old, HIV/Aids is the leading cause of death, according to the WHO.
Unsafe sex is the main culprit for spreading the disease, and a lack of education and access to health services, as well as having less power in sexual relationships, also expose women to the condition.
Violence against women
One in three women under the age of 50 has experienced physical or sexual violence from a partner, or someone who they were not with, according to the World Health Organisation.
As many as 38 per cent of women who are murdered are killed by their partner.
Survivors of such violence are more likely to have mental health illnesses - doubling the rate of depression - unplanned pregnancies, seek abortions and experience miscarriages that those who are not abused.
Sexual violence is also used as a weapon of war.
Too little sleep may bring on a form of the marijuana “munchies”, say scientists who found that sleep-deprived people craved crisps, sweets and biscuits far more than healthier foods.
The US researchers believe that skimping on sleep alters brain chemicals in much the same way as the hunger-boosting ingredient in cannabis, which has long propped up snack sales at 24-hour convenience stores.
After several nights of poor sleep, healthy volunteers who took part in the study reached for snacks containing more calories - and nearly twice as much fat - than ones they favoured after sleeping well for the same period, the scientists say.
When sleepy, the participants had terrible trouble resisting the snacks, even when they were full, said Erin Hanlon, who led the study at the University of Chicago.
Research has shown time and again that sleep loss raises the risk of obesity, but the reasons are complex and unclear. Insufficient sleep disrupts hormones that govern appetite and satiety. But those who sleep less have more time to eat, and may be too tired to exercise. To muddy the waters further, obesity can lead to breathing problems that themselves disrupt sleep patterns.
In a small study published in the journal Sleep, Hanlon invited 14 men and women in their twenties to spend two four-day sessions at the university’s clinical research centre. The volunteers’ time in bed was controlled, so that on one visit they averaged 7.5 hours of sleep a night, but on the other only 4 hours 11 minutes a night. During their stays, the volunteers ate identical meals, dished out at 9am, 2pm and 7pm.
After the fourth night of each leg of the study, the participants were offered a range of snacks. The sleep-deprived felt a strong urge to binge on fatty foods, and this was most intense in the late afternoon and early evening, when snacking is most linked to weight gain. They avidly consumed high-fat snacks even when they had eaten a solid meal containing 90% of their recommended daily calories only two hours earlier. Typically, the sleepy participants ate 300 calories in snacks, far more than they needed to make up for their extra hours awake.
To delve into why sleep loss might trigger poor eating habits, the scientists looked at various substances in the volunteers’ blood, including ghrelin, which boosts appetite, and leptin, which tells the brain when the stomach is full. Previous studies have shown that sleep loss goes hand-in-hand with high ghrelin and low leptin levels. Skipping breakfast primes brain to seek high-calorie food, study finds
But Hanlon looked also at levels of chemicals called endocannabinoids. She found that when sleep-deprived, volunteers had higher and more persistent levels of endocannabinoid 2-AG, a chemical that ramps up the pleasure felt when eating, especially sweet or salty high-fat foods. “We know that marijuana activates the endocannabinoid system and causes people to overeat when they are not hungry, and they normally eat yummy sweet and fatty foods,” Hanlon said. “Sleep restriction may cause overeating by acting in the same manner.”
In well-rested volunteers, levels of 2-AG rose in the morning, peaked around midday, and declined again. But in the sleep-deprived, levels rose 33% higher, peaked at 2pm, and remained high until 9pm. Writing in the journal, Hanlon says this may boost and prolong the pleasure people get from snacking, putting them more at risk of weight gain: “The early afternoon drive for hedonic eating may be stronger and last longer in a state of sleep debt.”
In a commentary published alongside the report, Frank Scheer, director of medical chronobiology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, says the new findings make for “compelling evidence” that endocannabinoids and food reward mechanisms underpin the excessive eating and weight gain that comes with sleep loss. The results raise the possibility of anti-obesity drugs that target endocannabinoids, but he warns that these would need “careful consideration” because of the dangers of unintended side effects.
Join The National Sleep Foundation in Championing Sleep Health!
The National Sleep Foundation is celebrating its annual Sleep Awareness Week © March 6th through March 13th, to raise awareness for the health benefits of sleep and its importance to safety and productivity.
Make this year’s Sleep Awareness Week © your #7Days4BetterSleep. Download their infographic and sleep tips . Make sure to share them with your friends and family! Prioritize your sleep and adjust your routines in advance of Daylight Savings Time.
Did you know?
Lack of Sleep Kills Sex Drive
Sleep specialists say that sleep-deprived men and women report lower libidos and less interest in sex. Depleted energy, sleepiness, and increased tension may be largely to blame.
For men with sleep apnea, a respiratory problem that interrupts sleep, there may be another factor in the sexual slump. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in 2002 suggests that many men with sleep apnea also have low testosterone levels. In the study, nearly half of the men who suffered from severe sleep apneaalso secreted abnormally low levels of testosterone during the night.
Many women with endometriosis experience pain during sex — but that doesn't mean you should avoid intercourse. Here are a few solutions that will help make sex satisfying again.
According to a recent study by researchers in Italy, more than half of all women with endometriosis experience intense pain during sex. What’s more, women who have such pain have a difficult time talking about the problem with their partners, making it even more frustrating.
Some women are even too embarrassed to talk about sexual pain with their ob-gyns. But because pain during sex is often an early sign of endometriosis, letting it go unchecked can mean a delay in diagnosis and treatment.
Endometriosis occurs when the type of tissue normally lining the uterus (the endometrium) starts growing outside the uterus. It’s the location rather than the size of the endometriosis lesions that typically determines the amount of pain you may feel during sex. If the endometriosis is behind the vagina and the lower part of the uterus and is affecting uterine nerves or ligaments, it’s likely to cause more pain as sexual thrusting pushes and pulls the growths.
The pain can vary from mild to unbearable, from sharp and stabbing to deep and widespread. You might feel pain with penetration of any kind, or with only very deep penetration. Worse still is that the pain can last beyond intercourse itself, for up to two days in some women.
If you're experiencing these symptoms please contact us today!
Address: 9301 N Central Expy #475, Dallas, TX 75231
You don’t need me to tell you that sex is great for the soul. Aside from, you know, the pleasure factor, gettin’ busy can solve pretty much any emotional issue, from stress, to anxiety, to anger — hell, it even cures headaches.
But according to sex-perts, the benefits of sweet, sweet loving extend way beyond simply boosting the mood. In fact, getting frisky on the reg might be one of the best things you can do for your body.
So how exactly does sex help your health? Read on to find out.
1. It’s great cardio.
Sex gets the blood pumping, so it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that it’s a good workout for your heart. But according to researchers at Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, getting your heart rate up is just one of many perks of a good, old-fashioned romp.
In one study, researchers found that having sex three times a week may reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke by up to 50 percent. Cardiologist Dr. Graham Jackson explains,
As far as the heart is concerned, sex is just another form of exercise. In fitness terms, its equivalent is going for a mile-long walk or climbing up and down two flights of stairs.
You can go ahead and cancel that gym membership now.
2. Guys: It can improve the quality of your sperm.
In a small study, Australian researchers discovered ejaculating daily reduces the risk of carrying sperm with damaged DNA by approximately 12 percent.
Dr. Gillian Lockwood, Midlands Fertility Services medical director, explains,
When sperm is hanging around in the epididymis, the long coiled tube in the back of the testes where sperm is stored, it dies off rapidly. Unless a man has a low sperm count, the more often he has sex, the better the quality of his sperm.
It makes sense: The more sperm you, uh, unload, the more room there is for fresh, new, healthy sperm. Though Dr. Lockwood says frequent sexual activity is better than having “lots of [sex] on infrequent occasions,” know that masturbation probably achieves the same result, health-wise.
Who says it takes two to tango?
3. It’s a serious mood-booster.
You know that relaxed, peaceful feeling you get after a good sweat sesh between the sheets? It’s not your partner’s sexual skill to thank — it’s your brain.
Research shows that after sex, the body releases a cocktail of “feel-good” chemicals, including oxytocin and serotonin. The former, known as the “cuddling” hormone, promotes feelings of calm and contentedness, while the latter is one of the body’s natural antidepressants. Though both men and women experience this surge of hormones post-orgasm, the effect is more pronounced in females, who produce up to four times more of the chemicals than men.
As a result, sexually active women in long-term relationships are less likely to suffer from depression than their sexually inactive counterparts, according to a poll conducted by psychologist Gordon Gallup.
4. It could cure your cold.
OK, OK — so there’s no actual cure for the common cold. But having frequent sex may strengthen your immune system, making it easier to fight off the icky germs that turn you into a walking sneeze.
In one small study, researchers measured levels of immunoglobulin A (IgA)— a chemical that helps the immune system ward off illness — in the saliva of 11 volunteers with different sexual histories.
The researchers measured the lowest levels of IgA in the volunteers who abstained from sex, while the highest levels — up to 30 percent higher, in some cases — were found in those who got down more than once a week.
It’s still not exactly clear how sex strengthens the immune system, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s enough to know that it does.
Here’s to making the most out of your sick days.
5. It may help you live a longer life.
It’s true: Having sex frequently may straight up reduce your risk of dying. The benefits don’t get much better than that.
In one study, researchers found having sex twice weekly or more may reduce a man’s risk of premature death by up to 50 percent.
According to researcher Dr. Brewer, the longevity-boosting effect of frequent sexual activity may be linked to DHEA, a sex hormone released before and during orgasm.
Though DHEA serves as a “building block” for several other sex hormones, including testosterone and estrogen, it is unclear if its sexy-time release also benefits women’s health. For our sake, we’ll assume that it does.
The list of wines benefits is long—and getting more surprising all the time. Already well-known as heart healthy, wine in moderation might help you lose weight, reduce forgetfulness, boost your immunity, and help prevent bone loss.
With America likely to edge out France and Italy in total wine consumption in the near future, according to one analyst, and with women buying more than 6 out of every 10 bottles sold in this country, were happy to report that wine may do all of the following:
1. Feed your head
Wine could preserve your memory. When researchers gave memory quizzes to women in their 70s, those who drank one drink or more every day scored much better than those who drank less or not at all. Wine helps prevent clots and reduce blood vessel inflammation, both of which have been linked to cognitive decline and heart disease, explains Tedd Goldfinger, DO, of the University of Arizona School of Medicine. Alcohol also seems to raise HDL, the so-called good cholesterol, which helps unclog your arteries.
2. Keep the scale in your corner
Studies find that people who drink wine daily have lower body mass than those who indulge occasionally; moderate wine drinkers have narrower waists and less abdominal fat than people who drink liquor. Alcohol may encourage your body to burn extra calories for as long as 90 minutes after you down a glass. Beer seems to have a similar effect.
3. Boost your bodys defenses
In one British study, those who drank roughly a glass of wine a day reduced by 11% their risk of infection by Helicobacter pylori bacteria, a major cause of gastritis, ulcers, and stomach cancers. As little as half a glass may also guard against food poisoning caused by germs like salmonella when people are exposed to contaminated food, according to a Spanish study.
4. Guard against ovarian woes
When Australian researchers recently compared women with ovarian cancer to cancer-free women, they found that roughly one glass of wine a day seemed to reduce the risk of the disease by as much as 50 percent. Earlier research at the University of Hawaii produced similar findings. Experts suspect this may be due to antioxidants or phytoestrogens, which have high anticancer properties and are prevalent in wine. And in a recent University of Michigan study, a red wine compound helped kill ovarian cancer cells in a test tube.
5. Build better bones
On average, women who drink moderately seem to have higher bone mass than abstainers. Alcohol appears to boost estrogen levels; the hormone seems to slow the bodys destruction of old bone more than it slows the production of new bone.
6. Prevent blood-sugar trouble
Premenopausal women who drink one or two glasses of wine a day are 40 percent less likely than women who dont drink to develop type 2 diabetes, according to a 10-year study by Harvard Medical School. While the reasons arent clear, wine seems to reduce insulin resistance in diabetic patients.
The most effective way to meet any goal, experts say, is through a series of tiny changes. Here are 100 that work.
1. Wipe down your office doorknob.
Using disinfectant wipes on commonly touched objects like doorknobs can reduce the spread of cold- and flu-causing viruses by up to 90%, according to researchers from the University of Arizona.
2. Meditate in the morning.
"I start my day with a simple meditation practice; it sets the tone for my day and clears my head to prepare for what's ahead," says Tiffany Cruikshank, an internationally renowned yoga instructor and the founder of Yoga Medicine.
3. Eat sardines twice a week.
They're packed with protein and omega-3s, and most worthy of a place on your plate. Try these 3 easy recipes with sardines—your heart will thank you.
4. Make your own salad dressing.
Skip the not-so-healthy bottled stuff; all you need are a handful of ingredients to bring out the best in your greens. Try these easy 5-ingredient salad dressings.
6. Get Sugar Smart.
Americans eat an insane amount of sugar—and much of that sugar is hidden in foods without you realizing it. Take back control with The Sugar Smart Diet, written by Prevention's own Anne Alexander (published by Rodale, which also published Prevention).
7. Do a sun salutation each morning.
Sukanya Mahajan, a retired city clerk from Chicago (shown above), runs through the postures 6 times for 10 minutes. It will start your day with some stretching and strengthening—and it just plain feels good.
8. Ease anxiety with a Tibetan sky-gazing meditation.
Look out the window (or look upward), relax your whole body, and let your gaze expand into the spaciousness of the sky, says Dean Sluyter, author Natural Meditation: A Guide To Effortless Meditative Practice. Repeat the ahhh sound silently—it's the most open sound you can make, and it amplifies the feeling. Let your attention go, and sit for a few minutes.
9. Play that calming music.
The body's internal rhythms entrain to the external rhythms of music, like when you go to the sea and you start breathing slower and your heart rate slows down and starts moving closer to the rhythm and pace of the ocean. It's the same with music, especially reggae, says Frank Lipman, MD.
10. Plan a trip.
Travel happiness actually spikes in the planning stage, according to research.
11. Put down your smartphone.
When that impulse to whip out the phone strikes, resist. You're going to feel a wave of anxiety, says Sluyter, but don't panic—that wave is supposed to happen. Once it rolls through, you'll see that there's something good in its wake: silence. Freedom.
12. Boost your memory while you grocery shop.
In lieu of a list, take a page out of US Memory Champ Chester Santos and think up a crazy story that features the items you need to buy. (Try these6 simple brain boosters to keep your thinker thinking.)
13. Breathe deeply.
For fast focus, sit in a comfortable place, breathe naturally, and settle your attention on your breath, says Sharon Salzberg, author of Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation. With each inhale and exhale, mentally repeat the words "in" and "out." If your mind wanders, just let go without judgment, and bring your attention back to it.
14. Don't check your email when you wake up.
And don't turn on the news or the radio—just sit silently and have a cup of coffee or tea and allow your mind to wander. This 10-minute cocoon of time is a calming, centering way to start the day.
15. Try frozen brown rice.
Packed with all the whole grains and fiber of freshly cooked rice, frozen brown can be ready in minutes—just microwave per package directions.
16. Focus on your mentors.
To feel a deeper connection to those around you, Sluyter suggests this ancient Tibetan technique: Sit quietly and think of someone who has unconditionally supported you. Close your eyes and visualize that person behind and slightly above you. Imagine her radiating love in the form of beautiful, golden light. Then visualize someone in front of you who you want to share the light with. Let it pour down through you and bathe the person in front of you.
17. Start foam rolling.
Business owner Carolina Caywood (shown above) does a trigger-point massage with a foam roller on her legs and feet every morning to easepain and improve flexibility. Try these 10 feel-good foam-rolling moves.
18. Get creative with yogurt.
Not only is it the fastest clean breakfast around, but it also makes an instant creamy addition to savory dishes. Use to marinate meat, as the base for dips, soups, and sauces, or these 6 other surprising uses for yogurt.
19. Add rotisserie chicken to your grocery list.
Using rotisserie birds in your recipes can be just as healthy (not to mention faster!) as home-roasting your own when you opt for organic (meaning no water, sodium, or artificial flavors were injected).
20. Try a loving-kindness meditation.
Sit quietly, breathe normally, and repeat the phrase "May I be happy, may I be peaceful," says Salzberg. Whenever your attention wanders, gently let those thoughts go and come back to the phrase. After repeating that phrase for yourself, offer it up to include all beings everywhere, saying "May all things be happy, may all things be peaceful."
21. Use a netti pot.
"Every morning, wherever I am in the world, I do a netti pot 'session' to rinse my sinuses and stave off nasty bacteria and germs," says Valerie Orsoni, health and wellness expert and founder of LeBootCamp. "Since I started this regimen, I have caught no cold during the winter or after traveling by plane."
22. Brew a cup of afternoon tea.
The process forces you to take a break and will put you in a Zen mood, says Khalil Hymore, Prevention contributing food editor. (Follow these steps for the perfect cup of tea.)
23. Have eggs for dinner.
Eggs turn into dinner faster than any other protein in the fridge (think beef, chicken, or tofu), saving you about 20 minutes. This superfood has endless uses, including in quiches, sandwiches, and soups. Try these 10 easy egg recipes made with just 5 ingredients.
24. Scrub your scalp in the shower.
Improving circulation to the follicles is one of your best bets for keeping the hair on your head healthy. While shampooing, use your fingertips to apply light, steady pressure along the center of your scalp (right where your middle part would fall) for 3 to 5 minutes, then rinse.
25. "Deal" with a difficult person.
Visualize the person with whom you're having difficulty as a perfect, enlightened being radiating a pure, tranquil light, says Sluyter. But she's stuck in an eggshell, and all the actions you find difficult or problematic are just this person trying to peck away at that shell. Now visualize yourself gently helping to peel away that shell so she can become her best, enlightened self. Next time you see that individual, you'll frame your relationship in this new context.
26. Press a spot on your face to relax.
Relieve tension and get your blood pumping with DIY acupressure. Find the base of each cheekbone and press lightly for 30 seconds—it's long been tied to a brightening effect on the complexion. (Also try this feel-good facial acupressure technique.)
27. Use quick-cooking oats.
They're still whole grains—they've just been pressed slimmer than traditional oats for faster cooking. Look for organic varieties to keep pesticides out of your morning meal.
28. Remember what you want.
Sometimes we're so distracted by stresses that we never take time to settle down and listen to what our body, mind, and soul are telling us, says Malika Chopra, founder and CEO of Intent.com. Try this: Sit in a comfortable position, settle your breath, close your eyes, and, as you breathe, mentally repeat the words "I am" for 5 minutes. Next, ask yourself "What do I want?" 2 to 4 times—don't feel like you have to answer it, let your mind settle down and see what bubbles up.
29. Dry brush your whole body.
Do this for better circulation and glowing skin: Before your next shower, start at the tops of your feet, working your way up your body and brushing with long, straight strokes in the direction of your heart. Each stroke should take 2 seconds, skipping the too-delicate skin on your neck, décolletage, and face. Watch this short video for a quick demo.
30. Have coffee…
Women who drink at least four cups a day have a 20% lower risk of depression, a 65% lower risk of late-in-life dementia, and, per the most recent research, a 21% less likelihood of developing tinnitus, of all things.
31. …And make it this kind of coffee
Mold-free coffee with butter and coconut oil gives you clean energy and a complete lack of cravings for about 6 hours, says Dave Asprey, author ofThe Bulletproof Diet (Rodale). Here's his recipe.
32. Shiver for more burn.
Exercising in temps between 62° and 65° activates brown fat, a metabolically active type of fat that cranks up calorie burn and helps your body regulate insulin, says George King, chief scientific officer at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.
33. Turn down the music.
If you work out with headphones, set the volume at 60% of max. Studies show consistent exposure to sounds above 100 decibels (normal conversation is 60dB) can leave your with a permanent "huh?" reflex.
34. Stock up on frozen veggies.
Frozen veggies can save time and be healthier: Produce picked at its peak and then frozen often adds more nutrients than fresh that sits out too long.
35. Pop a daily probiotic.
People who regularly supplement with probiotics report fewer coldsymptoms and faster recovery, per research. Try a supplement with at least 1 billion colony-forming units of either Lactobacillus rhamnosus GGor Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis BB-12.
36. Cook your kale.
Cooking it and draining the water will remove much of its oxalic acid, which can contribute to kidney stones, says Asprey. Choose kale that's lower in oxalic acid, like dinosaur kale, and boil until tender.
37. Visit the bathroom, even if it means being a few minutes late for work.
When poop sits in your colon, it becomes drier and harder, and that can plug you up, which causes pain (not to mention a pretty foul mood), says Alex Ky, associate professor of surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
38. Trade the cookie for a squat.
Exercising in short bursts has completely changed Sadie Lincoln, wellness expert and founder of barre3 fitness (shown above). She says, "I do a quick 10 minute workout at around 3 pm every day. This time of day is when I used to grab sweets or reach for a cup of coffee—both were sabotaging my weight loss goals and didn't help my productivity in the long run. This way of exercising has changed my life so much that I have created an entire company around it!"
39. Sit up straight!
When you move from poor posture to good posture, you increase levels of energizing hormones, as well as feel-good serotonin, plus you decrease the stress hormone cortisol, says spinal surgeon Kenneth Hansraj. (Try these 6 quick posture fixes to stop the slumping.)
40. Take a peek at your pee.
It should be pale yellow to clear. If it's not, drink more water. Researchers at the University of Connecticut founds that even mild dehydration zaps energy and lowers concentration among otherwise healthy women.
41. Jump in place 10 times.
In a Brigham Young University study, women ages 25 to 50 who jumped 10 times twice daily upped their hip-bone density after 16 weeks. (Here are 12 more ways to get break-proof bones for life.)
42. Give your coworker a mega-watt grin, even if you'd rather throttle him.
Even a fake smile can lower heart rate after a stressful event, according to a study from the University of Kansas.
43. Daydream of superfoods.
People who called to mind sensible food instead of indulgent junk had smaller spikes in ghrelin, the hunger hormone, according to the new book20 Pounds Younger (Rodale).
44. Relieve a headache in 30 seconds.
Ease tension and relieve an achy head by searching for tender spots on your forehead and scalp, and then rubbing them in a circular motion with the pad of your thumb and knuckles, says Maureen Moon, past president of the American Massage Therapy Association.
45. Resist the urge to stifle that big afternoon yawn.
Yawning helps cool your brain, which in turn improves alertness and performance, according to research from University of Vienna in Austria.
46. Indulge in a mini marathon of hilarious animal videos.
Laughing lowers stress and blood pressure and gives some sparkle to your frame of mind.
47. Crush an afternoon slump with this 30-second yoga move.
Stand and ground your feet by pressing into all four corners of each sole. Bend knees and fold forward from hips, keeping back straight. Hang for 10 to 30 deep breaths, then slowly rise back up. You'll improve blood flow to your brain and stretch your oh-so-tight spine, says yoga instructor Elissa Lappostato.
48. Fill up your tank after dark.
Gasoline emissions evaporate as you fill your tank, contributing to the formation of ozone, which is a component of smog—bad for your lungs and the environment. The sun facilitates this, so filling up postsunset keeps emissions from turning into pollutants.
49. Take off your shoes at your front door.
This keeps all kinds of grossness out of your home. When researches tested shoes for germs, they found a disturbing array of pathogens, including E.coli. (Check out these 10 worst germ hot spots you touch every day.)
50. Brush your tongue.
That bit of flesh harbors a lot of bacteria, which can spread to teeth and up the risks of cavities and gingivitis.
51. Keep your bedroom between 65° and 70°.
A cool bedroom helps promote the drop in core body temperature necessary to induce restful, uninterrupted slumber.
52. Shop on Sundays for smoothies.
To make throwing together a daily smoothie super simple, stock up on ingredients from each of these categories: liquids, fresh leafy greens, fresh or frozen fruit, nuts and seeds, and boosters, says The Blender GirlTess Masters. (Have fun trying these 25 mix-and-match smoothie ideas!)
53. Prep smoothie packs for the week.
Load all measured solid ingredients into zip-top bags, starting with hard heavy ingredients, followed by leafy greens, and finally soft foods. Write the liquid you'll need to add on the front of each bag and freeze until you're ready to blend. Try these 5 smoothie pack ideas.
54. Say good-bye.
Ginger Zee, chief meteorologist for Good Morning America, says she always kisses her husband and dog good-bye (even though they're asleep!) before she leaves for work. "Then on the ride to the studio, I take a moment to set my intention for the day. The routine has made me settled and focused."
55. Make smoothie cleanup easier.
After you pour your drink, fill the pitcher halfway with warm water and a drop of dish soap. Blend on high for 30 seconds, rinse, and air-dry. Voila!
56. Take a bath.
Feel the stress leave your body while you soak. Cristina Ferrare (shown above), a model, actress, chef and host on Hallmark Channel's "Home & Family" (weekdays at 10 am ET/PT) adds salts, soothing lavender, and grapefruit essential oils, and puts on soft spa music. "I do this for myself at night to calm down and it definitely has an impact on my life because it helps me to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep through the night," she says.
57. Consider avocado a food group.
Eating an avocado or two per day gives you omega-3s, which help your body build healthy cell membranes, says Asprey. The dark part of theavocado closest to the peel has the most vitamins, so get out your scraping spoon—just discard any brown parts. Try these 29 amazing avocado recipes.
58. Soak your face in ice water for 1 to 2 minutes.
Exposure to ice water allows you to reset levels of the appetite hormone leptin, which leads to faster fat loss, says Asprey.
59. Say a prayer.
"Taking a few moments a day for prayer and breathing has been very impactful for me," says Monica Potter, Star of Parenthood and Founder of MrsPotter.com. "I used to be very mindful of prayer when I was younger and it just gets more necessary as I get older."
60. Breathe with intention for 2 minutes.
Inhale for 4 counts while saying "I am" in your mind. Then exhale for 4 counts while saying "at peace" to yourself. Repeat the cycle at least 4 times to ground yourself, says Aviva Romm, MD, herbalist and midwife.
61. Push your pressure points.
Daniel Hsu, doctor of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, says key acupressure spots on the head, face, and hands are really close to bundles of nerves, so pressing on them can help relax the nervous system. Apply pressure to the meaty part of your hand between the thumb and forefinger anytime you're stressed.
62. Align your chakras.
Getting your 7 so-called energy centers in line could ease your pain and up your happiness, among other things. (Check out one writer's crazy experience with her chakras.)
63. Throw a mini dance party with your partner.
Research shows that romance reduces the production of stress-related hormones, says Elaine Wyllie, MD. Dancing around the house for a few minutes leaves you feeling youthful and excited.
64. Note 3 things you're grateful for every night.
"I 'practice gratitude' for a few minutes a day," says Gail Saltz, MD, bestselling author and associate professor of psychiatry at The New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornel School of Medicine. "I note three things for which I am grateful that day, they can be small, like a delicious cup of coffee, or big like my husband totally supported my book project. Over time this has changed my feeling about how full my life is and how much I appreciate it."
65. Boost immunity with saline nasal spray.
Travis Stork, MD, uses one or two squirts every morning and night—it immediately moisturizes nasal passages and washes away congestion, allergens, and other irritants.
66. Eat cleaner.
Cutting out artificial sweeteners, refined carbs, or anything that comes from a box changed Lisa Lenz, an office case manager in Auburn, CA (shown above). She says old friends barely recognize the new her.
67. Do 100 push-ups every day.
It sounds like a lot, but Jim Sears, MD, says you can break it up into 20 reps 5 times a day. If you're not used to push-ups, do them on your knees, or start with 2, 3, or 5 and add one each week.
68. Ground yourself.
Stand and feel your feet on the ground, the distribution of weight between them, and with your eyes open, begin walking at a normal pace. Slow down and notice the sensation of your legs moving up and down. Your mind will wander, says Salzberg, but that's OK—when it does, bring it back to those sensations.
69. Drink a cold glass of water with freshly squeezed lemon every morning.
It hydrates, gives a dose of vitamin C, boosts the immune system, and has fat-burning benefits, says Andrew P. Ordon, MD. Bonus: when skin is hydrated, fine lines and wrinkles are less obvious. (Not a fan of plain water? Consider these 25 slimming add-ins.)
70. End your day with a guided meditation.
Search YouTube and select whatever guided meditation you need that day: relaxation, love, or health, says Jennifer Berman, MD. You'll wake up happy and go to sleep with a quiet mind and calm stomach.
71. Indulge your sweet tooth.
Try this healthy dessert from Rachael Ross, MD: Slather a toasted slice of whole grain bread with 1 Tbsp of almond butter, and top with sliced banana, blackberries, a drizzle of melted dark chocolate, and ground flaxseed. It satisfies cravings while providing protein, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, potassium, and tons of antioxidants.
72. Exfoliate nightly, then apply a retinol or coconut oil.
Exfoliating allows the next product to penetrate deeply, and alternating the powerful anti-ager retinol with natural coconut oil is like a one-two punch for skin, says Jennifer Ashton, MD.
73. Eat like a caveman.
Following the Paleo diet forces artificial sugars and packaged foods out of your life—and replaces them with high fiber fruits and veggies. Want a formal introduction? Give these 5-ingredient Paleo recipes a try and see what the trend is all about.
74. Soak in some Epsom salts.
Once dissolved in warm water, they're absorbed by the skin and replenish your body's magnesium levels, which can be depleted by stress, says Deborah Levy, MS, RD.
75. Turn off your devices long before bed.
These devices emit light in the blue spectrum, which disrupts sleep. It shuts down production of the sleep-enhancing hormone melatonin when it hits your retina, explains Robert Rosenberg, DO, of the Sleep Disorders Center of Prescott Valley, Arizona. (Give these 20 other ways to sleep better every night a try.)
76. Answer an email in person.
Not only is it friendlier, but it also forces you to walk around, which you should do at least once every hour if you have desk job, says Martha Gulati, MD, director for preventive cardiology at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Studies link sitting to weight gain and poor heart health.
77. Unleash your inner artist.
Research shows creative pursuits outside the workplace can noticeably increase your on-the-job performance. Researchers say the rush you get from creating something boosts self esteem and the belief you can succeed at anything. (Here are 9 ways to boost your own creativity.)
78. Chew gum to improve memory.
Chewing Think Gum ($2, thinkgum.com), which contains caffeine, peppermint, and ginkgo biloba, improves aspects of memory, according to research published in the journal Appetite.
79. Do a high intensity AM workout.
Serious, kick-butt workouts can increase the number of calories you burn at rest (called after burn) for up to 72 hours after your workout ends, finds research in the European Journal of Applied Physiology. Do thisslimming 7-minute workout while your coffee brews.
80. If it hurts, just treat it.
It's that easy. It took Prevention editor-in-chief weeks to call the podiatrist after his new puppy chewed up his fancy orthotics. He could have saved himself (and his freaky-high arches) a whole lot of pain.
81. Make a food plan for the week.
Chalkboards are trendy, but they're also good for guiding your mind and your mouth toward a healthy meal at the end of the day. (Fill your menu with these freezer-friendly recipes you can make ahead of time.)
82. Volunteer your time.
You get what you give: Research shows volunteering regularly can lower your risk for death by up to 24%. All that usefulness and altruism might cause your brain to produce more oxytocin and progesterone—good-vibe chemicals that curb stress and reduce harmful inflammation. (Here's how to find the good deed that matches your personality.)
83. Layer products for radiant skin.
Never struggle to choose between two creams again: Apply lighter products like water-based serums first, followed by any oils or lotions, and finish with sunscreen, waiting a couple minutes between each step, says Jessica Wu, MD, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at USC.
84. Firm up your neck with one move.
Grasp your neck so your palms are touching your neck and the insides of your wrists touch. Then, simply jut your head forward using the muscles in the front of your neck and release. Do 20 repetitions twice daily for full effect, says Carole Maggio, a licensed esthetician and author of Ultimate Facercise.
85. Wake up tired eyes with chamomile tea.
Steep two bags in hot water for 5 minutes, then let chill for a few minutes. Once tepid, close your eyes and place one bag over each eye (you'll want to cover both upper and lower lids) for 10 minutes. Chamomile's anti-inflammatory qualities will soothe the sensitive skin around your eyes for a brighter, tighter look.
86. Wear sunscreen every single day.
With a reduced risk of skin cancer, and fewer wrinkles and sunspots, there are a million reasons to protect your skin, says Alison Sweeney, author of Scared Scriptless and host of The Biggest Loser. "Each morning, I make a point of taking care of my skin by applying moisturizing sunscreen. It gives me a few minutes of quiet and I'm protecting myself for that day and the years ahead."
87. Try hand and foot therapy balls.
When used like a foam roller, they can relieve soreness, pain, and increase circulation in your hardest to reach places. These 10 pain-fighting tennis ball moves are the next best thing to a professional massage.
88. Spike your breakfast with cinnamon.
The spice has been shown to reduce insulin resistance and may help lower cholesterol and triglycerides, blood fats that could contribute to diabetes risk. Find it in these 12 energy-boosting breakfasts.
89. Drink water with apple cider vinegar.
The stuff has been shown to lower blood sugar levels, soothe digestive issues, and even treat dandruff, thanks to its anti-fungal properties. It's also a gut-healthy prebiotic, giving your microbiome a dose of healthy bacteria.
90. Take the time to craft your mantra.
Especially when you're using one for fitness. Your mantra should be something that stirs you into action when things feel tough, so it should hit on the deeper reason you're exercising, says Jeff Halevy, a behavioral health and fitness expert. Find the best one for your workout.
91. Use clean food as a flavor booster.
Research shows that certain spices, herbs, and spreads not only boost flavor but can also help curb appetite, ease digestion, promote better memory, and even fight heart disease and cancer. Here are 9 clean condiments to keep on hand.
92. Keep peppermints in your purse.
They can ease ill-timed digestive issues, bring you back from a bout of light-headedness, soothe frustration during rush hour traffic, and give you a good afternoon pick-me-up.
93. Laugh your way through meditation.
If ohm-ing isn't your style, trade yoga class for a comedy club: A good laugh now and then may give you a mental boost similar to meditation, suggests new research presented at the Experimental Biology 2014 conference in San Diego. (Learn more about making laughter your own type of meditation.)
94. Take your walk to greener pastures.
The University of Essex in the UK found 30 minutes of walking in a green scene reduced depression in 71% of participants.
95. Bulk up on B12.
Low blood levels of B12 can lead to depression. The good news: it works the other way around, too. In one study, depressed people on antidepressants felt much better after taking B12 supplements for just 3 months.
96. Take advantage of morning air.
"I wake up, go outside, and I breathe fresh air morning air," says Dolvett Quince, author of The Biggest Loser Bootcamp (on sale January 6 wherever books are sold). "It rejuvenates me and gives me good energy—I feel like I can take on anything!"
97. Trade your after-work sweatpants for workout gear.
Even if you stay home, donning workout clothes will give you an increased range of motion, so you'll probably put more energy into your chores.
98. Switch the channels on the TV without the remote.
You could easily burn 200 extra calories a day if you stop using the remote, garage door opener, electric can opener, and other labor-saving devices.
99. Trade that pat of butter for some olive oil.
In one study, those who dipped bread in oil ate a total of 52 fewer calories on average than those who used butter.
100. Sip some green tea before you walk.
The caffeine frees fatty acids so that you burn fat more easily, while the antioxidants appear to work with caffeine to increase calorie burn.
It’s an annual physical and discussion about your health that all women are advised to get to help identify serious health concerns before they become life threatening, according to a press release. Among those life-threatening issues are heart disease and stroke.
Your wellness visit will be tailored to your age, family history, past health history, and need for preventive screenings. Some services – such as checking your blood pressure, height, weight, and temperature – will be provided as needed, based on your medical and family history. (For example, if you had your cholesterol and blood sugar levels checked last year and they were normal, you likely will not need to have these screening tests done every year.)
The exam will also screen for other health problems that are unique to women including mammograms for breast cancer, pap smears for cervical cancer, prenatal care, bone-mass measurements for osteoporosis; plus “gender-neutral” screenings and services such as colon cancer screening, obesity screening and counseling, and shots to prevent flu, tetanus, and pneumonia.
It likely will take more than one visit to get all of your recommended screenings and services. Such procedures as a mammogram or colonoscopy would normally have to be scheduled into the future.
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women and kills more women than all forms of cancer combined. A wellness visit should have an emphasis on detecting early signs of heart disease. The American Heart Association estimates that 80 percent of cardiovascular disease may be preventable. The wellness visit is likely to include tests such as cholesterol screening, body mass index, blood pressure and other evaluations specifically designed to help assess heart health.
The wellness visit something to consider scheduling each year. Patients who go several years between physical exams run the risk of a health problem going undetected and causing far more damage than if it were caught early.
Come see us to take care of your overall wellness needs today.
This Friday is National Wear Red Day, but the whole month of February is a time to reflect on the important issue of women's heart health. Each year heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women, killing about one woman every 80 seconds.
This silent killer is caused by a combination of factors including age, lifestyle, overall health, and family history – all of which contribute to raising a woman's risk. While you cannot change such things as age or biological makeup, the good news is that even minor changes to your diet and lifestyle can improve your heart health, and lower your risk by as much as 80%.
To discuss simple lifestyle changes that help reduce the risk of heart disease contact Dr. Tyuluman of DFW Hormones (DESIGNS FOR WELLNESS™) today:
Phone: (214) 368-3755
Some areas we can help you with include:
Superfoods for your Heart
Tips for lowering Cholesterol
Healthy Recipes for a Healthy Life
Vitamins & Supplements – why they're the perfect complement to any diet
Men. High sex drive. Panting sexual animals. We know what they want. And we know when they want it: right now.
Even doctors tend to see men as "sexual automatons," hardwired always to want sex, says pioneering sex researcher Irwin Goldstein, MD, director of sexual medicine at San Diego’s Alvarado Hospital and editor in chief of The Journal of Sexual Medicine. "But that is not the case at all," Goldstein tells WebMD Magazine. "Many, many men -- about one in five --have such low sexual desire they’d rather do almost anything else than have sex."
One in five men doesn't want sex? How can that be true? And why haven't we heard about it? Actually, many women have -- the ones hearing the phrase "Not tonight, dear." Goldstein says most people think that is a rare occurrence. "But in fact, almost 30% of women say they have more interest in sex than their partner has."
The causes of low sex drive
So what's behind low sexual desire? Aging plays a role, though many older men have a robust interest in sex, Goldstein points out. Like most other human traits, the sex drive varies. Most men are in the normal range; some are extraordinarily driven toward addiction-like sexual behavior. At the other end of the scale are men with very low sexual interest. These are men who suffer from hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD).
"There are always men on both sides of the normal curve," Goldstein says. "And a certain percentage -- perhaps up to a quarter -- will be considered to have HSDD for a whole host of reasons." These include:
Medical problems. Diseases such as diabetes; conditions such as obesity,high blood pressure, and high cholesterol; and HIV drugs, some hair-loss remedies, and other medications can negatively affect sexual desire.
Hormonal causes. "Testosterone is the hormone of desire, arguably for women as well as for men,” Goldstein says. Low testosterone levels usually mean low sexual desire. Levels dip as men age; other causes include chronic disease, medications, and other drug use. Other hormones can play a role, too, such as low levels of thyroid hormone or, rarely, high levels of prolactin, a hormone produced in a gland at the base of the brain.
The causes of low sex drive continued...
Low dopamine levels. Sexual desire obviously involves the brain -- and the brain's chemical messaging system is intimately linked to sexual desire. One of those messengers is dopamine. Doctors have noted thatParkinson's disease patients treated with dopamine-stimulating drugs had increased sexual desire. Goldstein says these drugs help some men with HSDD.
Each cause of low sexual desire has its own treatment. When the root cause is psychological, sex therapy can offer men specific techniques and strategies for regaining their enjoyment of sex. "It is notpsychotherapy; it is psychology counseling focused on sexual issues," Goldstein explains.
In cases where the problem is low testosterone, men can taketestosterone supplements if they have measurably low levels. About 25% of men go for weekly testosterone shots, Goldstein says, but most opt for skin patches or gel formulations applied directly to the skin of the chest, shoulders, or abdomen.
When Goldstein suspects low dopamine levels are at the heart of a man's low sexual desire, he might prescribe dopamine-increasing drugs, though this treatment is not currently approved by the FDA and has risks.
However, a new drug now in clinical trials -- for women -- does increase dopamine levels while decreasing a specific kind of serotonin in thebrain. Early clinical studies suggest the drug could help women with low sexual desire. Goldstein thinks this new treatment has promise. And if it's approved for women, he says, it will likely be tested in men.
In the end, the choice for men who've lost their desire for sex is not between being a panting sexual animal and being a eunuch. Instead, the real choice is whether these men are ready to regain a vital source of intimacy with their partners -- and a key part of a healthy life for themselves.
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Super Food 1: Purple, Red, and Blue Grapes
Grapes, especially dark-colored ones, are loaded with phytochemicals, antioxidants that may help protect against cancer and heart disease. Two of those phytochemicals, anthocyanin and proanthocyanidin, may be especially good for your immune system. Grapes also contain vitamin C and selenium.
Super Food 2: Blueberries
Recent animal studies suggest that blueberries may help protect cells from damage and lower inflammation. Blueberries contain many of the vitamins and minerals known to strengthen the immune system, along with key phytochemicals that may help protect against cancer and heart disease.
Super Food 3: Red Berries
Berries, especially raspberries and strawberries, contain ellagic acid, another phytochemical that may help protect against cancer-causing agents in the diet and the environment.
Super Food 4: Nuts
Nuts are one of the most balanced foods on the planet. They offer a good dose of “healthy” fats along with a smaller amount of protein and carbohydrate. Each type of nut offers a unique profile of minerals, phytochemicals, and types of fat. Walnuts are the highest in plant omega-3s, for example, while Brazil nuts are best for selenium.
Super Food 5: Dark Green Veggies
Popeye had a point: It’s tough to compete with the nutritional muscle of broccoli and spinach. Kale and collard greens are also members of the esteemed dark green vegetable group.
Need another reason to go green? These veggies are brimming with antioxidant phytochemicals such as kaempferol, which may help dilate blood vessels and may have cancer-fighting properties. Leeks, lettuce, and kale provide lutein and quercetin, both strong antioxidants.
Super Food 6: Sweet Potatoes and Orange Vegetables
Move over, russet potatoes. There’s a new tuber in town. All across America, sweet potatoes are creeping onto menus. Sweet potato fries are nudging traditional fries off restaurant plates.
Both white and sweet potatoes provide important nutrients such as vitamins C and B6, potassium, and fiber. But sweet potatoes have more of these nutrients. They also bring to the table key nutrients such as calcium and whopping amounts of vitamin A.
Other orange vegetables are nutrient-rich and packed with phytochemicals as well. Carrots are famously high in vitamin A, while butternut and acorn squash are tops in vitamins A and C.
Super Food 7: Tea
With one sip of tea, you get two potent phytochemicals -- anthocyanin and pro anthocyanin. Both are antioxidants that help fight inflammation. Add to that a healthy dose of catechins, antioxidants that are thought to block cell damage that can lead to cancer.
That’s just the beginning. Green tea, in particular, contributes many other protective phytochemicals. The catechin epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is especially abundant in green tea, is a particularly potent antioxidant.
If you are sensitive to small amounts of caffeine, look for the decaf options.
Super Food 8: Whole Grains
Making this one dietary change may significantly improve your health: Switch to whole grains. For example, eat whole grain bread instead of white bread, wild or brown rice instead of white rice, corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas.
Some research has shown that people who eat at least one serving of whole grains a day have a lower risk of heart disease and stroke. Whole grains deliver zinc and selenium, in addition to phytochemicals thought to help protect against heart disease and cancer.
Super Food 9: Beans
The lowly bean is tops in antioxidant activity. It offers an amazing package of nutrients, including many vitamins and minerals. Green soybeans and soy provide vitamin C,calcium, zinc, and selenium. Lentils and black-eyed peas are rich in folate and zinc. Black beans and kidney beans also offer a good amount of folate.
Super Food 10: Fish
Fish provides powerful omega-3 fatty acids. Evidence suggests that omega-3s, particularly those coming from fish, may help prevent inflammatory diseases, such as coronary heart disease. Although all fish have some omega-3s, the stars include sardines, salmon, oysters, mackerel, tuna steak, wild rainbow trout, shark steak, albacore tuna, and herring.
Fish also offers an essential nutrient that’s hard to find in food: vitamin D.
Skip sticks and deep fried fish, and go fresh when possible, two or three times a week.
Going on a diet usually means that you moderately cut calories every day, but some diets require you to drastically reduce calories just a few days a week. Although this approach, known as intermittent fasting, was roundly decried at first by health experts as unhealthy, recent evidence shows it might not be so bad.
In fact, a growing body of research suggests that intermittent fasting works just as well as traditional dieting for people who want to lose weight and that some people may even find it easier to stick with this approach because there are fewer days when self-discipline is needed. Some nutritionists who had previously advised against skipping meals now say they have changed their minds based on new research and recommend intermittent fasting for some people who want to try it.
“We in the nutrition community always thought it was bad” to skip meals, said Katherine Tallmadge, a registered dietitian and past national spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “But based on my experience and these studies combined, I think it’s great,” said Tallmadge, who now recommends a variation of intermittent fasting to a small minority of her clients.
However, experts caution that intermittent fasting isn’t right for everyone, and there are some drawbacks to using this approach instead of a traditional diet.
For example, intermittent fasting is intended to be used only for the short term, so there’s a risk that people could gain the weight back when they come off the diet, said Lauren Popeck, a registered dietitian at Orlando Health in Florida.
“Coming off one of these intermittent-fasting plans, the person would really need to have a maintenance plan, or a plan they’re going to be following afterwards, so they don’t end up overeating and gaining all the weight back,” Popeck said.
Also, there have been few studies on the long-term effectiveness of intermittent fasting, Popeck added.
How to do it
Intermittent fasting involves significantly cutting calories on some days and eating regularly the rest of the time. Some people fast every other day, while others try the “5:2 diet,” which involves fasting just two days a week. On fasting days, people eat about one-fourth of what they would eat in a typical day, around 400 to 600 calories.
Recent studies suggest that the method is effective for weight loss. A review study published last April found that people on intermittent-fasting diets lost about 9 percent of their body weight over six months — about the same amount of weight loss seen in studies of traditional dieting. And about 80 percent of the participants were able to stick with the diet.
In another study, published in 2011, women who were overweight or obese were randomly assigned to either an intermittent-fasting diet, in which they ate 540 calories two days a week, or a regular diet, in which they ate 1,500 calories every day. After six months, women in both groups lost a similar amount of weight, about 11 to 13 pounds.
Tallmadge advises clients who want to try intermittent fasting to fast in the evenings twice a week, meaning they skip dinner or eat something small such as yogurt or fruit. Overall, this means they consume about two-thirds of their usual calorie intake on fasting days, or about 1,300 calories instead of their typical 2,000, she said.
Intermittent fasting may work well for people who are used to skipping meals or who feel as though they are too busy to eat, Popeck said. On the other hand, this approach might not work for those who like to snack every few hours. People who are diabetic also would not be advised to try this diet, because going long periods without eating could cause their blood sugar to drop too low, Popeck said.
Although it seems logical that people would overeat on the days when they don’t fast, they often don’t. The fasting slows their metabolic rate, which lowers appetite, Popeck said.
Still, some people have a tendency to binge on non-fasting days, so this diet would not work for them, Popeck said.
Tallmadge stressed that people should be careful to eat nutrient-dense foodson their fasting days, meaning foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains that have lots of nutrients relative to their calories.
And people should still have an eating plan for non-fasting days, a plan that allows them to eat about the same number of calories they need to maintain their weight. But if they slip up on these days, the intermittent-fasting diet is a little more forgiving than traditional dieting.
“It’s not as detrimental if you have a little slip,” because people make up for it on their fasting days and can still end up losing weight, Tallmadge said.
- Before Eating, Divide The Plate
Here’s a simple rule to portion a plate properly: Divide it in half. Automatically fill one side with fruits or vegetables, leaving the rest for equal parts protein and starch. This way, you begin to see what a properly balanced meal looks like. Spaghetti and meatballs? Steak and potatoes? They’re only half a meal, incomplete without fruits and vegetables.
- Pre-Portion Tempting Treats
The bigger the package, the more food you’ll pour out of it. When two groups were given half- or 1-pound bags of M&Ms to eat while watching TV, those given the 1-pound bag ate nearly twice as much.
- Head Off The Mindless Munch
Five minutes after eating at an Italian restaurant, 31 percent of people couldn’t remember how much bread they ate. If you’re worried you might do the same, have the bread removed from the table.
- Downsize The Dishes
If you’re one of the 54 percent of Americans who eat until their plates are clean, make sure those plates are modestly sized. On a standard 8- to 10-inch dinner plate, a portion of spaghetti looks like a meal. On a 12- to 14-inch dinner plate, it looks meager, so you’re likely to dish out a bigger portion to fill the plate. When researchers gave study participants 34- or 17-ounce bowls and told them to help themselves to ice cream, those with the bigger bowls dished out 31 percent more ice cream.
- Limit Your Choices
The more options you have, the more you want to try. In one study, researchers gave two groups jellybeans to snack on while they watched a movie. One group got six colors, neatly divided into compartments; jellybeans for the other group were jumbled together. Those given a mix ate nearly two times more.
- Use Your Power For Good
Most homes have a “nutritional gatekeeper” who controls 72 percent of the food eaten by everyone else. The person who chooses food, buys it, and prepares it wields power. If that’s you, take advantage of it.
- Avoid A See-Food Diet
Office workers who kept candy in clear dishes on their desks dipped in for a sample 71 percent more often than those who kept their candy out of sight.
- Turn Off The Television
The Vast Wasteland leads to vast waists. It’s not just the couch-sitting. TV distracts you from how much you’re eating, and the more you watch, the more you’re likely to eat. In a study comparing how much popcorn viewers ate during either a half-hour show or an hour-long show, those who watched more television ate 28 percent more popcorn.
- Think Before You Drink
Pour cranberry juice into two glasses of equal volume: one short and wide, the other tall and thin. Most people pour 19 percent more cranberry juice in the short glass because the eye is a poor judge of volume in relation to height and width.
- Serve Good-For-You Foods Family-Style
Not all portion-control strategies are about eating less. You can have as much as you want of some foods. Place the foods you want your family to eat more of―salads and vegetable sides―within easy reach on the dining table. In a soon-to-be-published study, Wansink found people who kept baby carrots in plain sight ate 25 percent more during a day.