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Here are 32 ways to make healthy strides in 2016

You can run down the health resolution to-do list quite easily and quickly:

Lose weight.

Stop smoking.

Join a gym.

If you take care of those, you may be asking: What are we here for on this first Tuesday of the new year, a day when anticipatory fitness still hangs giddily in the air?

To offer encouragement and to make this whole health thing — no kidding — easy. Or at least easier than you might think. You’ll feel better physically, mentally and emotionally. And you might even be thin(ner) and belong to a gym at year’s end.

We consulted a few folks in the fitness, health and wellness world to come up with these 16 — one for every year of this millennium. And then we offer 16 of our own.

1. Start your day with positive talk. This from Monisha Randolph, a.k.a. Coach Moe, a Dallas certified running coach and personal trainer. “As soon as I open my eyes, I try to convince myself that this is a day I was meant to live, and not only live but with purpose. I know for a fact my purpose does not include treating my body like a trash can, so I try to act accordingly.”

2. Meditate. Even a few minutes most mornings will start your day off focused and calm. “Reflect on the people who are special to you, your loved ones, family and friends,” suggests Dee Lancaster, who teaches Pilates in Rowlett. “Think positive thoughts. Also if you have a special poem or book, read and reflect on those.”

3. Eat an apple every day, Lancaster suggests. Apples have been shown to stabilize blood sugar, boost gum health and help prevent colon cancer, according to Reader’s Digest (rd.com). Plus they have fiber and taste good.

4. Grocery shop after you eat. So says Deborah Hamlin, faculty/staff wellness manager at the University of Texas at Dallas. That way, your hunger won’t lure you into buying foods you know in your heart of hearts you really don’t want in your belly or in your pantry.

5. Eat only until you start to feel full. Then what? Stop, Hamlin says.

6. Go outside, even for just a few minutes, says Hamlin. Ah, breathe it in, this beautiful world.

7. Chew each bite 15 times, suggests Hamlin. Registered dietitian Jennifer Neily of Dallas recommends 20 times. So much more civilized than inhaling your meals.

8. Go meatless. Just one meal a week, Hamlin says. You can do it. Save a cow; save your heart. Find recipes at mywholefoodlife.com and ohsheglows.com.

9. Time your meal. Make it last at least 20 minutes, Neily says. Sit at the table, not in front of the TV. Be aware of every bite, putting your fork down after each one.

10. Move more. You don’t have to sign up for a marathon; just swap out some immobile time (watching TV or waiting for the microwave timer to go off) for mobility, says Lisa Goins, women’s fitness specialist at Anytime Fitness in Richardson. Use canned goods for biceps curls; jog in place.

“It’s not all about walking and running, but if you are not huffing and puffing a little bit every day,” she says, “your heart isn’t getting enough of a workout.”

11. Drink more water. It’ll fill you up, aid digestion, make your skin better. If you keep forgetting to gulp it down, train yourself to drink a glass of water after you use the restroom, Goins suggests.

12. Ask for a to-go box. Do this before you eat, says Neily. Otherwise, there may not be anything to put inside.

13. Use smaller plates. The size of an average dinner plate is 2 inches larger than it used to be. So what do we tend to do with that space? Fill it up, of course. Thus, the smaller-plate tip from Hamlin and Neily.

14. Turn your meal into a Crayola box. Not literally. But think blue! Orange! Yellow! Green! Hamlin says. Even adding one or two colorful foods a day can up your vitamin and fiber intake.

15. Laugh. Good for your abs, good for your heart. And even it wasn’t, it sure feels good.

16. Say, “I love you.” “This might sound cheesy,” Randolph says, “but every day I try to genuinely verbalize to at least one person that I love them. Whether it be God, my parents, godmother, students or myself, genuinely vocalizing my love for someone always humbles me and centers me on what’s important in life.”

And 16 of my own:

1. Wash your hands. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention likens handwashing to “a do-it-yourself vaccine” because this simple act can help keep germ-spread at bay. Not to totally gross you out, but most reasons you read about the importance of handwashing come down to two words: fecal matter. Namely, that of whoever last touched the menu, faucet, light switch, doorknob, ATM keypad, dollar bill or — well, you get the picture. Keep hand sanitizer handy.

2. Stand on one foot while drying your hair or brushing your teeth. This helps your balance as well as engages your core.

3. Make use of chair time. When you have to be seated, every so often lift both feet off the ground and hold for a count of 10. Repeat. Good for your abs, your legs and for staying awake.

4. Keep a ball at your desk. Every 30 minutes or hour, put it between your ankles and straighten your legs. Hold, then slowly lower. Repeat a time or two.

5. Eat what you want, but not as much of it.

6. Stand up (at church, the movies, etc.) without using your arms for support.

7. Take the stairs up an extra flight, then come back down. This can not only accrue steps toward the 10,000-step goal many experts recommend to promote heart health, but also get your heart beating faster as you change elevations. Get a pedometer, by the way, so you don’t lose count. Wondering where the magic number 10,000 came from? Livescience.com says the Japanese marketed a pedometer in the 1960s called manpo-kei. Translation: “10,000 steps meter.”

8. Brush your hair with the opposite arm. It’s one of those little ways to keep your brain challenged, like driving a different way to work.

9. When waiting in line, go up and down on tiptoes.

10. Floss. Good for your teeth, plus it can also help prevent heart disease.

11. Read fiction. It helps improve brain connectivity and function, reports Psychology Today.

12. Donate blood. Here’s why: One pint can help save up to three lives. Every 7 seconds, someone needs blood. Every year, 4.5 million American lives are saved by blood transfusions. Find more at carterbloodcare.org. (Hey, if a former blood phobe can do it, so can you.)

13. Start your day with jumping jacks. Do them during commercials, too. Gets your blood moving, and they’ll show up as steps on that pedometer.

14. Make use of time while your coffee reheats. Do squats in those 30 seconds, or push-ups very fast or very slowly off the countertops.

15. Sign up for something. German class, yoga, whatever. You’ll learn something new and meet new people. Everyone can use another friend, plus connecting is good for the heart.

16. Be appreciative. Saying “thank you” is a good start. Or “This coffee tastes wonderful!” — if indeed it does. Does that blue sweater show off a pal’s eyes? Is a neighbor’s dog well behaved? Do tell. It’ll make them feel better (and, psst, you, too).

Source - http://www.dallasnews.com/lifestyles/health-and-fitness/health/20160104-1.ece

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Healthy Eating is Easier Than you Think!

t's easier than you think to start eating healthy! Take small steps each week to improve your nutrition and move toward a healthier you.

EIGHT HEALTHY EATING GOALS

Small changes can make a big difference to your health. Try incorporating at least six of the eight goals below into your diet. Commit to incorporating one new healthy eating goal each week over the next six weeks. You can track your progress through PALA+.

Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: Choose red, orange, and dark-green vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, along with other vegetables for your meals. Add fruit to meals as part of main or side dishes or as dessert. The more colorful you make your plate, the more likely you are to get the vitamins, minerals, and fiber your body needs to be healthy.

Make half the grains you eat whole grains: An easy way to eat more whole grains is to switch from a refined-grain food to a whole-grain food. For example, eat whole-wheat bread instead of white bread. Read the ingredients list and choose products that list a whole-grain ingredients first. Look for things like: "whole wheat," "brown rice," "bulgur," "buckwheat," "oatmeal," "rolled oats," quinoa," or "wild rice."

Choose a variety of lean protein foods: Meat, poultry, seafood, dry beans or peas, eggs, nuts, and seeds are considered part of the protein foods group. Select leaner cuts of ground beef (where the label says 90% lean or higher), turkey breast, or chicken breast.

Compare sodium in foods: Use the Nutrition Facts label to choose lower sodium versions of foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals. Select canned foods labeled "low sodium," "reduced sodium," or "no salt added."

Drink water instead of sugary drinks: Cut calories by drinking water or unsweetened beverages. Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks are a major source of added sugar and calories in American diets. Try adding a slice of lemon, lime, or watermelon or a splash of 100% juice to your glass of water if you want some flavor.

Eat some seafood: Seafood includes fish (such as salmon, tuna, and trout) and shellfish (such as crab, mussels, and oysters). Seafood has protein, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids (heart-healthy fat). Adults should try to eat at least eight ounces a week of a variety of seafood. Children can eat smaller amounts of seafood, too.

Cut back on solid fats: Eat fewer foods that contain solid fats. The major sources for Americans are cakes, cookies, and other desserts (often made with butter, margarine, or shortening); pizza; processed and fatty meats (e.g., sausages, hot dogs, bacon, ribs); and ice cream.

Use the MyPlate Icon to make sure your meal is balanced and nutritious.

TRY THIS!

Emphasis on Fruits & Veggies

  • Mix vegetables into your go-to dishes. Try spinach with pasta or peppers in tacos.
  • Use fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables. They all offer the same great nutrients. Just be sure to watch the sodium on canned vegetables and look for fruits packed in water or 100% juice (not syrup).
  • Pack your child's lunch bag with fruits and veggies: sliced apples, a banana, or carrot sticks are all healthy options.

Healthy Snacks

  • For a handy snack, keep cut-up fruits and vegetables like carrots, peppers, or orange slices in the refrigerator.
  • Teach children the difference between everyday snacks, such as fruits and veggies, and occasional snacks, such as cookies or other sweets.
  • Make water a staple of snack time. Try adding a slice of lemon, lime, or a splash of 100% juice to your water for a little flavor.
  • Swap out your cookie jar for a basket filled with fresh fruit.

Ways to Reduce Fat, Salt, and Sugar

  • Choose baked or grilled food instead of fried when you're eating out and implement this at home, too.
  • Make water and fat-free or low-fat milk your go-to drinks instead of soda or sweetened beverages.
  • Serve fruits as everyday desserts—like baked apples and pears or a fruit salad.
  • Read labels on packaged ingredients to find foods lower in sodium.
  • Skip adding salt when cooking; instead use herbs and spices to add flavor.

Controlling Portion Size

  • Use smaller plates to control portion sizes.
  • Don't clean your plate or bowl if you're full, instead save leftovers for tomorrow's lunch.
  • Portion sizes depend on the age, gender, and activity level of the individual.

Healthy Eating in School

  • Bring healthy snacks into your child's classroom for birthday parties and celebrations, instead of providing sugary treats.
  • Pack healthy lunches for your children including whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
  • Schools across the nation are making their lunch rooms healthier places. Learn more with theChefs Move to Schools initiative—where chefs work with local schools to add flavorful, healthy meals to menus.
  • TIPS FOR BALANCING CALORIES TO MANAGE WEIGHT

    Following the eight healthy eating goals above can help your body get the nutrients it needs. Here are some other tips to keep in mind if you also are trying to manage your weight.

  • Balance calories: Find out how many calories you need for a day as a first step in managing your weight. Go to ChooseMyPlate.gov to find your calorie level. To help plan, analyze, and track your diet and physical activity, use the SuperTracker.
  • Enjoy your food, but eat less: Take the time to fully enjoy your food as you eat it. Eating too fast or when your attention is elsewhere may lead to eating too many calories. Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues before, during, and after meals. Use them to recognize when to eat and when you've had enough.
  • Watch your portion sizes: Check to see what the recommended portion sizes of foods you eat looks like in the bowls, plates, and glasses you use at home. When dining out avoid "supersizing" your meal or buying "combo" meal deals that often include large-size menu items. Choose small-size items instead or ask for a take home bag and wrap up half of your meal to take home before you even start to eat.
  • Be physically active: Being physically active can help you manage your weight. Youth (6-17 years old) need to be active for at least 60 minutes a day (or 12,000 steps). Adults (18 and older) need to be active for at least 30 minutes (or 8,500 steps) a day. Learn more about being active
  • FOOD SAFETY

  • When cooking, keep these tips in mind to keep your family safe from food poisoning.

  • Clean: Wash hands, utensils, and cutting boards before and after contact with raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.
  • Separate: Keep raw meat and poultry apart from foods that won't be cooked.
  • Cook: Use a food thermometer. You can't tell if food is cooked safely by how it looks.
  • Chill: Chill leftovers and takeout foods within two hours and keep the refrigerator at 40°F or below.
  • Rinse: Rinse fruits and vegetables (even those with skins or rinds that are not eaten) with tap water.
  • For more food safety tips, visit FoodSafety.gov.

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NEW YEAR: Electronic Health Records

Advantages of Electronic Health Records

EHRs and the ability to exchange health information electronically can help you provide higher quality and safer care for patients while creating tangible enhancements for your organization. EHRs help providers better manage care for patients and provide better health care by:

  • Providing accurate, up-to-date, and complete information about patients at the point of care
  • Enabling quick access to patient records for more coordinated, efficient care
  • Securely sharing electronic information with patients and other clinicians
  • Helping providers more effectively diagnose patients, reduce medical errors, and provide safer care
  • Improving patient and provider interaction and communication, as well as health care convenience
  • Enabling safer, more reliable prescribing
  • Helping promote legible, complete documentation and accurate, streamlined coding and billing
  • Enhancing privacy and security of patient data
  • Helping providers improve productivity and work-life balance
  • Enabling providers to improve efficiency and meet their business goals
  • Reducing costs through decreased paperwork, improved safety, reduced duplication of testing, and improved health.

Transformed Health Care

Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are the first step to transformed health care. The benefits of electronic health records include:

  • Better health care by improving all aspects of patient care, including safety, effectiveness, patient-centeredness, communication, education, timeliness, efficiency, and equity.
  • Better health by encouraging healthier lifestyles in the entire population, including increased physical activity, better nutrition, avoidance of behavioral risks, and wider use of preventative care.
  • Improved efficiencies and lower health care costs by promoting preventative medicine and improved coordination of health care services, as well as by reducing waste and redundant tests.
  • Better clinical decision making by integrating patient information from multiple sources.

CONTACT THE OFFICE TO SET UP YOUR PORTAL & PASSWORD TODAY: (214) 368-3755

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How To Reprogram Yourself For Wellness Success In 2016

Wellness Expert Says Mind, Body And Spirit Can Work Together To Help You Replace Bad Habits With Good

Some people start each day with an early morning jog.

Others begin with a cup of coffee and a donut.

“Everyone knows that people are creatures of habit,” says wellness expert Scott Morofsky, author of the books “The Daily Breath: Transform Your Life One Breath at a Time” and “Wellativity: In-Powering Wellness Through Communication” (www.Wellativity.com).

“But too often, the habits we nurture are laziness, procrastination, self-serving biases, justification and rationalization.”

Such behaviors put people on a path to destruction, all the while making them look forward to the trip, he says. In the process, they are robbed of essential happiness and joy.
The trick to improving isn’t just by ridding yourself of habits, he says, but by replacing the bad ones with good ones.

“I really believe people can use practical methods to reprogram themselves for life-enriching habits and overcome any affliction they suffer from,” Morofsky says. “After all, we all know the things that hurt us and we know that we shouldn’t be doing those things. So why don’t we stop? Because we don’t know how to go about making these changes happen.”

For Morofsky, the key is for people to become conscious of something they take for granted – breathing. By conditioning yourself to improve the quality of your breathing, you do a better job of taking in oxygen. A lack of sufficient oxygen in our cells is known to contribute to many health issues, he says.

“The important thing to remember is you don’t need pills, potions, gadgets or gizmos to make a change for the better happen,” Morofsky says. “Your desire for a better life and a system that helps you achieve it are all you need – if you’re willing. It’s a matter of getting your mind, body and spirit working together in a practical way.”

He offers these tips to get started going into the New Year:

• Conscious breathing. Morofsky made conscious breathing the centerpiece of Wellativity, which is what he calls his personal method for helping people overcome afflictions such as obesity, smoking, lethargy, eating disorders and any other behavior that inhibits wellness. This is much like the advice people hear their entire lives to “take a deep breath” when they face stressful moments. “The core focus is conditioning ourselves to stay as connected to conscious breathing as possible and to clear away anything negative or detrimental,” Morofsky says. Breathing awareness in itself helps reduce bodily tension, improve rational thinking and increase oxygen to the entire body.

 All in good time. One of the most common pitfalls people face when they want to improve their lives is trying to do too much too soon, Morofsky says. That’s especially true with exercise or physical fitness programs, but it applies to other areas of life as well. It’s fine to be ambitious about trading bad habits for good, but don’t set yourself up for failure by creating unrealistic goals.

 Healthy boundaries. When you are establishing a healthier lifestyle, it’s important that you have healthy boundaries. “An alcoholic in recovery shouldn’t join the crowd at the bar while waiting for a dinner table,” Morofsky says. “A person with a gambling problem shouldn’t vacation in Las Vegas. As much as possible, when you are trying to trade bad habits for good, put yourself in the best position to be successful.”

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Avoid Holiday Weight Gain: Here Are 20 Ways!

Tis the season of eggnog, good food, delightful company and lots of joy. With so much fun in one sentence, how can one manage to keep their weight under control? The holidays are an exciting time of year for so many reasons. Whether we choose to believe it or not, most of us over-indulge in the month of December. This year, set yourself up for success and avoid holiday weight gain.

20 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

1. Eat a little before you go out
2. Focus on protein when you are building your plate
3. Eat slowly (or slower than normal) and take time to chew your food
4. Drink a glass of water before every meal
5. Eat on a smaller plate
6. Double up on the vegetables
7. Avoid sugary foods (if you can)
8. Wait 20 minutes before going for a second serving
9. Save some for the next day; you don't need to eat it all at once
10. Take it easy on the booze
11. Weigh yourself every week (will keep you aware)
12. Exercise in the morning (every day)
13. Relax; don't get too excited by the buffet (it's just like any other meal)
14. Focus on the company, not on the food
15. Politely, say no when it comes to certain sweets
16. Keep a log of your food (will also help keep you aware)
17. Challenge a friend to maintain your weight during the holidays
18. Bring your own (healthy) dish to a party
19. Start with soup or salad
20. Don't stress it if you over do it! Enjoy the season, but do so moderately

Let's enjoy this time of the year with our friends and take care of our bodies this holiday season.

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Testosterone and Depression

Does having a low mood, in addition to low testosterone, mean you're depressed? Not always, but there's a connection you should be aware of.

Your testosterone level drops off naturally as you get older. For instance, if you're between ages 40 and 80, you have about a 30% chance of having low T. At the same time, your risk for depression increases as you get older.

One study followed 748 men older than age 50 to see who would develop depression. The men with low T were about twice as likely to become depressed as were men with normal testosterone levels.

In fact, several studies have suggested that men's chances of developing depression go up as their testosterone level goes down. The exact cause isn’t clear. But there's evidence that low T may change your brain chemicals in a way that causes depression.

Recognizing Symptoms of Depression

You need to take depression seriously. That's true whether or not you have low T. Let your health care provider know if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Low mood that doesn't go away

  • Feeling hopeless or worthless

  • Loss of interest in people and activities

  • Trouble thinking clearly

  • Changes in sleep or appetite

  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Can Testosterone Therapy Treat Depression?

If you have low T plus symptoms of depression and other low T symptoms, your health care provider might suggest testosterone therapy. If this works to improve your low T symptoms, your mood may improve simply because you feel better. However, major depression may not get better. Most studies show that testosterone alone is not a reliable treatment for major depression. Back in the 1940s, testosterone injections were sometimes tried as depression treatment. Today, antidepressants are a much better choice.

On the other hand, if you have low T and depression, and antidepressants aren't helping, adding testosterone therapy may help. This can be especially true if you're having trouble getting an erection or being interested in sex while taking an antidepressant. This can be a side effect of the medicine. About 20% of men have sexual problems because they're taking an antidepressant. Combining an antidepressant with testosterone therapy may improve sexual function.

Key Takeaways

  • There is a strong link between depression and low T.

  • As you get older, your risk for low T and depression increases.

  • Treating low T may lift your mood because you have more energy and feel better.

  • Treating major depression usually means taking an antidepressant. Adding testosterone may help if you have low T.

For more visit: http://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/depression/testosterone-and-depression?cid=t1_bdrr&sr=C53310a10

 

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DONE with Diets!

Are diets over?

As more companies shift focus away from calorie counting and deprivation and towards wellness and lifestyle benefits, the traditional diet appears to be faltering. This week, Weight Watchers, which brought weight management to the mainstream, with meetings, weigh-ins and a popular point system, and Oprah Winfrey, who recently bought a 10% stakeannounced a “holistic” new programcalled “Beyond the Scale.”

The new Weight Watchers WTW, +2.42%   system is “designed to help find and fuel inner strength,” and jettisons the word “diet” altogether.

“We may be the greatest diet company on the planet but the consumer isn’t thinking strictly in diet terms anymore,” James Chambers, the chief executive of Weight Watchers International Inc., told The Wall Street Journal.

Weight Watchers has seen 11 consecutive quarters of revenue declines, a dip that has happened alongside a major change in the way Americans view dieting, despitelevels of obesity that remain high.

More than 90% of people said they believe it’s better to eat a well-balanced diet than to use diet products in a 2015 survey of 2,000 Internet users by market research company Mintel. In 2013, another market research company, NPD Group, reported that dieting in the U.S. had hit an all-time low. That year, only 20% of adults said they were on a diet, down from a peak of 31% in 1991.

Americans also were reporting that they were giving up on diets sooner. In 2004, 66% of those on diets said they stuck to a diet for at least six months. In 2012, the number dipped to 62%.

As a result, there has been a shift from touting the explicit weight-loss benefits of fitness and food products to promoting an overall lifestyle that is sustainable, said Priya Raghubir, the chair of the marketing department at New York University’s Stern School of Business.

This is, in part, likely a response to extreme diets that are hard to maintain or never delivered on their promised results, said John Stanton, a professor of food marketing at Saint Joseph’s University.

Some common examples are the cabbage soup diet (exactly what it sounds like), which the Mayo Clinic warns will not give the dieter proper nutrition and should only be maintained for a maximum of a week, or the grapefruit diet, which the University of Wisconsin-Madison cautions against.

“I definitely think a sustainable approach is best,” said Marjorie Crawford, 37, who blogs about recipes and her journey with Weight Watchers on her website, A Pinch of Healthy.

Crawford has used Weight Watchers during three periods of her life: In the 1990s, when she was in high school and lost about 30 pounds, then again during her mid-20s when she lost about the same amount (after gaining some weight during college), and once more after the birth of her first child in 2012. “If you go into a diet with the mentality of, ‘I’m going to be so perfect, I’m going to eat so little’ and with a mindset of deprivation, you’re setting yourself up for failure.”

As a result, she thinks a moderate approach and overall message of wellness will be successful for the company.

When marketing a fitness or health product, focusing on delivering a weight-loss promise is “a slippery slope,” said Todd Magazine, the president of Blink Fitness, a division of Equinox Fitness with the motto: “We put mood above muscle.”

“A lot of people don’t achieve what they want to achieve,” Magazine said. “The idea of broadening the definition of fitness and health to include more diverse body types and emotional benefits is a very powerful idea.”

Indeed, often brands are more successful when they connect with consumers on an emotional level than on a functional level, said Laura Shulman, a senior vice president who works in the food and nutrition division at public-relations and marketing agency FleishmanHillard in Chicago.

“It’s not just about dieting to be thin, but dieting perhaps to have energy, or these other benefits that can be just as helpful in your life,” said Marissa Gilbert, a reports analyst at Mintel who focuses on health and wellness.

Several products have changed messages in recent years to adapt to the aversion to dieting.

Breakfast cereal-maker Quaker, Shulman pointed out, in 2014 focused its ads ongiving consumers “energy” rather than explicitly detailing health or weight-loss benefits. And Kellogg’s Special K, which in the past used the tagline “What will you gain when you lose?,” has transitioned to touting nutrition benefits with the line, “Eat special. Feel special.”

In July 2015, for the first time, Women’s Running magazine featured a plus-sized runner on its cover.

One of the most extreme examples, perhaps, is SoulCycle, the popular spinning class, which is famously centered on “inspirational instructors” and spaces, and which on its website says the company “doesn’t just change bodies, it changes lives.”

Promoting this type of emotional change can help companies retain their clients because physical benefits of exercise take more time, and consumers may believe it is not working for them, Magazine of Blink Fitness said, whereas an endorphin rush or lift in mood can happen immediately.

“If you do stay with exercise longer, you’ll get all the benefits you want, including the physical ones,” he said.

Emily Green, 34, who has used Weight Watchers on and off as an adult and who blogs about food on her website, Emily Bites, said she believes Weight Watchers has already done a good job of promoting the idea that weight loss requires a lifestyle change.

“They’ve always been smart about that,” she said. The company’s new Beyond the Scale approach “is just taking it a step forward to make sure they’re using the program in a more healthy way.”

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MENOPAUSE

The Modern Treatment of the Menopause and Breast Cancer

Designs for Wellness – Samuel Tyuluman, MD

The duration of menopausal symptoms can last 10 or more years with hot flashes, night sweats, flushing, anxiety, sleep disruption, and heart palpitations.  Over the long term estrogen and testosterone deficiency also leads to vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA), causing atrophy of the vulva, vagina and lower urinary tract.  Over the years symptoms of menopause eventually resolve, however the physical changes of VVA are progressive and continue to adversely affect health, sexuality, and the quality of life.  The vagina narrows and the introitus contracts.  The vaginal surfaces becomes thin, dry, and sensitive.  Urinary urgency and incontinence are often a result of loss of normal hormonal support of the urinary tract.

Hormone replacement is the best treatment for menopausal symptoms and VVA but the Women’s Health Initiative started in 1991 associated an increased incidence of breast cancer with the oral hormone replacement PremPro (estrogen and medroxyprogesterone), placing post-menopausal women in a quandary – risk breast cancer or enjoy a normal premenopausal lifestyle. The media and many physicians assumed this study included ALL hormones, but the only hormone replacements studied were the oral medications PremPro and Premarin (estrogen only).   The study actually found that oral estrogen alone didn’t cause any increased risk for breast cancer.  These same studies indicated that estrogen alone may even reduce risk for breast cancer. The media didn’t bother to differentiate PremPro from Premarin leaving many women and physicians thinking all hormone therapy caused cancer.  The WHI published results can be found at https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/whi/whi_faq.htm

A brief summary of the WHI findings on estrogen plus progesterone and estrogen only:

Compared with the placebo, estrogen plus progestin resulted in:

  • Increased risk of heart attack
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Increased risk of blood clots
  • Increased risk of breast cancer
  • Reduced risk of colorectal cancer
  • Fewer fractures
  • No protection against mild cognitive impairment and increased risk of dementia (study included only women 65 and older)

Compared with the placebo, estrogen alone resulted in:

  • No difference in risk for heart attack
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Increased risk of blood clots
  • Uncertain effect for breast cancer
  • No difference in risk for colorectal cancer
  • Reduced risk of fracture

Clearly the use of oral hormones with or without progesterone is not advisable.  The life time incidence of breast cancer increased 5% and stroke and blood clots increased for those using oral PremPro (estrogen and medroxyprogesterone) and Premarin based on WHI data. 

Breast cancer risk is influenced by many factors.  Estrogen with Progesterone is not the only contributor to increased breast cancer risk, it is actually a minor contributor. Compared to women who don't drink at all, women who have three alcoholic drinks per week have a 15% higher risk of breast cancer. Experts estimate that the risk of breast cancer goes up another 10% for each additional drink women regularly have each day.  For women who have never had breast cancer, a daily glass of wine increases breast cancer risk by 55% and the risk for dying from breast cancer by 20%.  These numbers are from studies published in the November 2011 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology (http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/174/9/1044.full.pdf+html) that looked at more than 320,000 people and the November 2, 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1104569) that looked at more than 105,000 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study.  Regular drinking — even as little as two or three drinks a week — raises breast cancer risk significantly more than that of PremPro. 

Any increased risk for breast cancer is not acceptable.  Menopausal symptoms can be treated and breast cancer risk can be reduced with the proper hormone balance and minor life style changes.  Recent research has shown that the use of estrogen and testosterone does not increase, but may decrease the incidence of breast cancer.  The use of hormone replacement, estrogen only and that including testosterone has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer in a number of studies done over the past 10 years, a few of which I have included here.  The use of progesterone, which is the hormone most associated with increased breast cancer risk should be minimized and used only as needed to decrease the incidence of endometrial (uterine) overstimulation and vaginal bleeding. 

Briefly:

1.     Initial studies by the NIH in 2009 “Addition of testosterone to the usual hormone therapy regimen may diminish the estrogen/progestin increase in breast cancer risk.”  http://breast-cancer-research.com/content/11/5/212.

2.     The addition of testosterone to conventional hormone therapy for post-menopausal women does not increase and may indeed reduce the hormone therapy associated breast cancer risk- thereby returning the incidence to that of the normal untreated population.  Menopause, Vol. 11, No 5, 2004. http://www.htcapractitioner.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Dimitrakakis-04-Breast-cancer-incidence-in-postmenopausal-women-using-testosterone-in-addition-to-usual-hormone-therapy1.pdf

3.     Testosterone inhibits the stimulatory action of estradiol in normal human breast tissue in explant cultures.  Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2012;97:E1116-27.

4.     Testosterone is breast protective and does not increase the risk of breast cancer.  Hickey TE, Robinson JLL, Carroll JS, Molecular Endocrinology 2012;26:1252-67. 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22745190. 

5.     Testosterone therapy in women: Myths and Misconceptions, https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.maturitas.2013.01.003.

6.     Reduced breast cancer incidence in women treated with subcutaneous testosterone, or testosterone with anastrozole: a prospective, observational study.  NIH. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.maturitas.2013.08.002.

7.     Management of Menopausal Symptoms, Obstet Gynecol 2015;126:859-76. Women’s Health Initiative hormone therapy trials: absolute risks (cases per 10,000 person years) shows that the incidence of invasive breast cancer decreased on estrogen alone as compared to placebo.  The original reference was to the article in JAMA 2013;310:1353-68.  http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1745676

 

Finally, the risk of breast cancer is decreased with a diet high in or supplemented with folate.  The risk of breast cancer is significantly increased with alcohol intake. This increase may be reduced with folate supplementation.  

1.     Research in 2004 showed that ensuring adequate folate intake seems particularly important for women at higher risk of breast cancer because of alcohol consumption. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16103452

2.     Research in 2005 showed no clear support for an overall relationship between folate intake or blood folate levels and breast cancer risk was found. Adequate folate intake may reduce the increased risk of breast cancer that has been associated with moderate or high alcohol consumption. http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/99/1/64.abstract

 

3.     Research in 2014 showed that folate may have preventive effects against breast cancer risk, especially for those with higher alcohol consumption level; however, the dose and timing are critical and more studies are warranted to further elucidate the questions. http://www.nature.com/bjc/journal/v110/n9/full/bjc2014155a.html

In summary a balance between estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone can safely be used to treat menopausal symptoms and avoid the life style changes associated with VVA.  Furthermore significant reduction in breast cancer risk can be achieved by adding testosterone to usual hormone replacement, limiting alcohol intake, and having adequate folate levels either by supplement or by diet.

Next: The Modern Treatment of the Menopause and Heart Disease and Clotting Disorders

 

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World Aids Day

WHAT IS WORLD AIDS DAY?

World AIDS Day is held on the 1st December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day, held for the first time in 1988.

WHY IS WORLD AIDS DAY IMPORTANT?

Over 100,000 people are living with HIV in the UK. Globally there are an estimated 34 million people who have the virus. Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

Today, scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition. Despite this, each year in the UK around 6,000 people are diagnosed with HIV, people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with the condition.

World AIDS Day is important because it reminds the public and Government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.

WHAT SHOULD I DO ON WORLD AIDS DAY?

World AIDS Day is an opportunity to show support to and solidarity with the millions of people living with HIV. Wearing a red ribbon is one simple way to do this. Find out where you can get a red ribbon.

World AIDS Day is also a great opportunity to raise money for NAT (National AIDS Trust) and show your support for people living with HIV. If you feel inspired to hold an event, such as a bake sale, or simply sell red ribbons, visit our fundraising page. If you’d like to see events that others are holding please visit our events page.

BUT WHAT ABOUT AFTER WORLD AIDS DAY?

Although World AIDS Day is a great opportunity to talk about HIV, it is important to keep the momentum going all year round. Sign up to NAT's newsletter which will keep you up to date with all the new developments in HIV and the work of the National AIDS Trust, or visit our website, HIVaware, for more information.

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Thanksgiving Wellness Tips

Enjoy the holiday feast without the guilt -- or the weight gain.

Thanksgiving only comes around once a year, so why not go ahead and splurge?

Because gaining weight during the holiday season is a national pastime. Year after year, most of us pack on at least a pound (some gain more) during the holidays -- and keep the extra weight permanently.

But Thanksgiving does not have to sabotage your weight, experts say. With a little know-how, you can satisfy your desire for traditional favorites and still enjoy a guilt-free Thanksgiving feast. After all, being stuffed is a good idea only if you are a turkey!

Get Active

Create a calorie deficit by exercising to burn off extra calories before you ever indulge in your favorite foods, suggests Connie Diekman, MEd, RD, former president of the American Dietetic Association (ADA).

"'Eat less and exercise more' is the winning formula to prevent weight gain during the holidays," Diekman says. "Increase your steps or lengthen your fitness routine the weeks ahead and especially the day of the feast."

Make fitness a family adventure, recommends Susan Finn, PhD, RD, chair of the American Council on Fitness and Nutrition: "Take a walk early in the day and then again after dinner. It is a wonderful way for families to get physical activity and enjoy the holiday together."

"Have a glass of wine or a wine spritzer and between alcoholic drinks, (or) enjoy sparkling water," says Diekman. "this way you stay hydrated, limit alcohol calories, and stay sober."

Be Realistic

The holiday season is a time for celebration. With busy schedules and so many extra temptations, this is a good time to strive for weight maintenance instead of weight loss.

"Shift from a mindset of weight loss to weight maintenance," says Finn. "You will be ahead of the game if you can avoid gaining any weight over the holidays."

Focus on Family and Friends

Thanksgiving is not just about the delicious bounty of food. It's a time to celebrate relationships with family and friends.

"The main event should be family and friends socializing, spending quality time together, not just what is on the buffet," says Finn.

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Consumer Trends in Health & Wellness

At The Hartman Group’s A.C.T. (Anthropology. Culture. Trends.) Health & Wellness Now—and Next 2015 symposium in Seattle this past September 24, professionals and practitioners from across a broad spectrum of the food and beverage industry gathered for a one-day immersive learning experience into the cultural factors and trends transforming the food and beverage marketplace. Hartman Group analysts and executives provided diverse insights into a variety of topics ranging from how progressive consumers are redefining health and the emerging influence of Gen Z to lessons from brand disruptors in the health and wellness food and beverage market.

In her opening remarks, Hartman Group CEO Laurie Demeritt highlighted The Hartman Group’s more than two decades of work documenting and tracking the consumer journey in health and wellness. “About 25 years ago, most consumers and companies were looking to solve primarily baseline health and wellness conditions or find new approaches to them,” Demeritt said. “And those goals fell into one of two buckets. The first bucket was health condition management, and consumers were looking for food and beverage products that would help them treat or prevent specific conditions. The second bucket was around weight management. At the time, consumers were very much in a reactive mode to their approach.”

As the event unfolded, attendees learned about how today’s consumers are very much proactive—and even progressive—in their approach to health and wellness. Provided here are key highlights from the day’s presentations:

Progressive health and wellness consumers are increasingly influential in redefining food culture: While they may be a minority group in terms of overall numbers, the influence progressive wellness consumers have over food culture is disproportionate. Progressive wellness consumers are paving the way, sharing their enthusiasm and knowledge with mainstream consumers who are hungry for guidance and direction. As shoppers, progressives are no longer thinking about condition management (lowering cholesterol or blood pressure) or dieting (low fat, low carb) but are focused on real quality food, positive nutrition, fresh, less processed foods and beverages and fun. From a purchase and use perspective, this means moving away from products that are fat-free, diet products and 100-calorie portion packs to kale, dark chocolate and quality fats, such as found in nuts, avocados and butter.

The “new healthy” is a consumer journey of contradiction and discovery: Progressive health and wellness consumers are seeking alternatives to fear-based information, a phenomenon that has been driving wellness views for decades. Food is the most important cultural manifestation that we have because we have to eat. Two modern approaches to eating that progressive consumers are utilizing to stack the deck for optimal results are plant-based and paleo diets. Such eating styles signal the fact that how we think about and understand nutrition and our bodies is changing. Each eating style differs, and yet ultimately both are all about wellness and human performance.

Health, wellness and sustainability are starting to converge at the most progressive food retail and food service outlets: Consumers see the convergence as being all about mindfulness, integrity and authenticity. Food-forward startups in QSR and fast casual restaurant segments like Epic Burger consider their approach to be more mindful in terms of ingredients, menu and experience, attributes consumers are increasingly seeking in food service. In a related cultural context, we are rethinking production as craft, not industry. Local grain economies have become less commoditized, and from bread to beer, the modern grain economy is about connectedness and building a community food system through flavor.

Gen Z is already exerting its influence on the marketplace—and some haven’t even been born yet: Gen Z already makes up 23 percent of the U.S. population. This generation moves seamlessly between digital behaviors and real life. They are already highly proactive participants in health and wellness: Gen Z knows a lot (or think they do), and they think a lot about being ‘balanced.’ More so than any other generation, Gen Z looks to exercise as a way to treat or prevent illness, and it is particularly relevant for emotional and stress-related issues. For Gen Z, technology is fun, entertaining and useful. These young consumers are learning about what is healthy from their parents and from school. They are engaging with technology across all parts of everyday life. Outside of direct family, Gen Z is more likely than all other generations to look to their online social networks for advice on health and wellness.

Energy is a key component of contemporary health and wellness lifestyles across all consumer age groups: Conceptually, energy is almost as important as concerns over weight management and physical fitness. This rise in importance is a change from the past. For the majority of consumers, the very definition of health and wellness is having the energy to live an active life. Almost a third of consumers view their energy levels as urgently needing improvement – this is surpassed in importance only by thoughts about getting fit and losing weight. Consumers see energy management as a balancing act that affects all other aspects of wellness. They take this balance into account in their health and wellness habits and purchasing, including of foods and beverages. All consumers acknowledge an implicit connection between energy and what they eat. The understanding of gut-brain connections will become more sophisticated as trends emanate outward from progressive consumers.

Activating health and wellness at retail and in food service means more than mere execution; it involves “strategic choices”: In food service it’s important to understand that cuisines are among shortcuts consumers use to navigate health and wellness goals while eating out. For example, Asian cuisines, especially sushi, are shortcuts to a perceived healthy meal out. Many consumers develop rules relating to “balancing choices” to help guide menu choices when eating out. They work to balance indulgent favorites with healthy choices, such as salad instead of fries with a burger or skipping dessert after an indulgent entrée. At food retail, customization is important to shoppers; for example, grocery food bars offering inexpensive, freshly made meals that can be personalized can assist in health and wellness goals. Applying curation, grocers can offer meal kits, which reduce the work of choice making, to facilitate meal-prep at home. Similarly, supermarkets can advocate for shoppers, pare down products on purpose and reduce the need to shop with “guards up.”

Consumers managing diabetes look to food and beverage for solutions. In the U.S., a new case of diabetes is diagnosed every 30 seconds; more than 1.9 million people are diagnosed each year. Those managing diabetes are preventing or treating 14 health conditions, which is nearly double (8 health conditions) those not managing diabetes. Incidence of diabetes is growing because of increased rates of obesity, larger food portions, greater total dietary intake and individuals using less energy. Half of all consumers say they use foods and beverages to directly address diabetes issues. Consumers managing diabetes say they are seeking whole food solutions: whole grains and fiber are sought by two-thirds of consumers managing diabetes. Consumers are avoiding ingredients such as sweeteners, sodium, trans fat and cholesterol. Partly because of the higher likelihood of managing comorbidities such as hypertension, obesity and cardiovascular disease, eating and drinking pose significant challenges when managing diabetes, since sugar and carbohydrates are ubiquitous in many foods. Yet foods and beverages pose great opportunities for helping consumers.

Marketers can learn a lot from disruptive health and wellness brands. Speed in the marketplace isn’t everything when it comes to winning as a disruptive health and wellness food and beverage brand. Real success stories in emerging health and wellness brands tap into emerging consumer trends and nearly always start small and build momentum gradually. Most new product stories in health and wellness brands come from smaller, more entrepreneurial companies that are looking at where food culture is headed, not where it is right now. New benefits are harder to mainstream quickly than new ingredients. Brands built on emerging benefits have the longest-term potential for scale. The more disruptive the brand is, the longer the wait is to achieve scale and returns, but the larger the final prize will be.

Progressive consumers are a window on to the future of health and wellness. We anticipate there will be clearer labeling of food and beverage production methods as well as provenance and nutrition, making us all savvy consumers. It will likely be mandatory to disclose how something is grown and whether anything is added to that process, such as pesticides, as well as the potential impact they may have on human health. Like it or not, GMO crops are expected to be taken to new levels beyond the current focus of technology to intensify production. With this, we can expect biodynamic farming to become more prominent in the coming years. Through exposure to the environmental impacts of both industrial and sustainable farming methods, we expect consumers will be more inclined to make significant changes to their lifestyles, with a focus on more sustainable diets. We anticipate that a more sophisticated understanding of digestion and inflammation will spread to the mainstream. Visionary food companies will develop a passion for food culture and will understand the progressive health and wellness consumer so they can authentically speak to mainstream consumer aspirations.

For more visit: http://www.forbes.com/sites/thehartmangroup/2015/11/19/consumer-trends-in-health-and-wellness/

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Battling Winter Blues?

“You cannot tailor make the situations in life, but you can tailor make the attitudes to fit those situations before they arise.”—Zig Ziglar

Much like the seasons, we are constantly experiencing changes in our lives. Sometimes these changes can weigh a heavy toll on us, affecting ouremotional wellness. This dimension of wellness involves the awareness, understanding, and acceptance of our feelings as they come and go.

As the days are becoming shorter and the nights are getting colder, it’s easy to begin feeling the emotional side effects of the winter blues. Many of us begin to feel a shortage of motivation and lower energy levels during these times. Despite these changes, your emotional well-being is a crucial factor of your overall health. Thankfully, there are many strategies you can use to the advantage of your emotional wellness during this cold season.

Get some sun

Most people acknowledge that the sun supplies our bodies with vitamin D. However, the sun can also nourish our minds as well. Similar to exercise, sunlight exposure releases neurotransmitters in the brain that affect mood. While winter days are shorter and darker than other months, many people are exposed to less sunlight. Spending more time outdoors, pulling up the blinds in your home or office, and even changing your light bulbs to “full spectrum” bulbs to mimic natural light can have positive effects on your mood. (Source: Healthline.com)

Embrace the season

It is easy to get caught up in dreading the cold and holding a grudge against the pile of snow that accumulates on your car overnight. Whenever you feel yourself thinking negatively, immediately redirect your thoughts and focus on the positive. Instead of lingering on how cold it is, keep a good mentality about the better things winter has to offer to help you snuff out the winter blues.

Manage your stress

Stress affects both our emotional and physical wellness. Finding time in your week to sit back and relax can help you recharge and remain calm. Whether you’re enjoying the holiday movie collection on Netflix with a large mug of hot chocolate (and marshmallows, of course) or snuggling up on the couch with a warm sweater and your favorite book, taking some time for yourself is a great emotional wellness strategy. 

Catch some Z’s

With shorter days, people naturally want to sleep a little bit more during the winter. Sleep is an important part of overall health and well-being. Everyone is busy, putting school, work, family obligations and fun before sleep. With good time management, we can meet our shut-eye needs. Aim for seven to eight hours each night, and try to keep your bedtime and waking time consistent. That way, your sleeping patterns can normalize and you’ll have more energy.

Accept support

Often, getting things off your chest makes you feel better. Talk to someone about how you feel. Whether it is a trusted friend or a trained professional, you do not need to go through tough times alone. Being aware of what you are feeling can help you to channel your emotions into productive, positive feelings. Achieving emotional balance lays the foundation for total body well-being.

Source

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The Modern Treatment of the Menopause and Breast Cancer

Designs for Wellness – Samuel Tyuluman, MD

The duration of menopausal symptoms can last 10 or more years with hot flashes, night sweats, flushing, anxiety, sleep disruption, and heart palpitations.  Over the long term estrogen and testosterone deficiency also leads to vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA), causing atrophy of the vulva, vagina and lower urinary tract.  Over the years symptoms of menopause eventually resolve, however the physical changes of VVA are progressive and continue to adversely affect health, sexuality, and the quality of life.  The vagina narrows and the introitus contracts.  The vaginal surfaces becomes thin, dry, and sensitive.  Urinary urgency and incontinence are often a result of loss of normal hormonal support of the urinary tract.

Hormone replacement is the best treatment for menopausal symptoms and VVA but the Women’s Health Initiative started in 1991 associated an increased incidence of breast cancer with the oral hormone replacement PremPro (estrogen and medroxyprogesterone), placing post-menopausal women in a quandary – risk breast cancer or enjoy a normal premenopausal lifestyle. The media and many physicians assumed this study included ALL hormones, but the only hormone replacements studied were the oral medications PremPro and Premarin (estrogen only).   The study actually found that oral estrogen alone didn’t cause any increased risk for breast cancer.  These same studies indicated that estrogen alone may even reduce risk for breast cancer. The media didn’t bother to differentiate PremPro from Premarin leaving many women and physicians thinking all hormone therapy caused cancer.  The WHI published results can be found at https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/whi/whi_faq.htm

A brief summary of the WHI findings on estrogen plus progesterone and estrogen only:

Compared with the placebo, estrogen plus progestin resulted in:

  • Increased risk of heart attack
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Increased risk of blood clots
  • Increased risk of breast cancer
  • Reduced risk of colorectal cancer
  • Fewer fractures
  • No protection against mild cognitive impairment and increased risk of dementia (study included only women 65 and older)

Compared with the placebo, estrogen alone resulted in:

  • No difference in risk for heart attack
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Increased risk of blood clots
  • Uncertain effect for breast cancer
  • No difference in risk for colorectal cancer
  • Reduced risk of fracture

Clearly the use of oral hormones with or without progesterone is not advisable.  The life time incidence of breast cancer increased 5% and stroke and blood clots increased for those using oral PremPro (estrogen and medroxyprogesterone) and Premarin based on WHI data. 

Breast cancer risk is influenced by many factors.  Estrogen with Progesterone is not the only contributor to increased breast cancer risk, it is actually a minor contributor. Compared to women who don't drink at all, women who have three alcoholic drinks per week have a 15% higher risk of breast cancer. Experts estimate that the risk of breast cancer goes up another 10% for each additional drink women regularly have each day.  For women who have never had breast cancer, a daily glass of wine increases breast cancer risk by 55% and the risk for dying from breast cancer by 20%.  These numbers are from studies published in the November 2011 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology (http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/174/9/1044.full.pdf+html) that looked at more than 320,000 people and the November 2, 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1104569) that looked at more than 105,000 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study.  Regular drinking — even as little as two or three drinks a week — raises breast cancer risk significantly more than that of PremPro. 

Any increased risk for breast cancer is not acceptable.  Menopausal symptoms can be treated and breast cancer risk can be reduced with the proper hormone balance and minor life style changes.  Recent research has shown that the use of estrogen and testosterone does not increase, but may decrease the incidence of breast cancer.  The use of hormone replacement, estrogen only and that including testosterone has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer in a number of studies done over the past 10 years, a few of which I have included here.  The use of progesterone, which is the hormone most associated with increased breast cancer risk should be minimized and used only as needed to decrease the incidence of endometrial (uterine) overstimulation and vaginal bleeding. 

Briefly:

1.     Initial studies by the NIH in 2009 “Addition of testosterone to the usual hormone therapy regimen may diminish the estrogen/progestin increase in breast cancer risk.”  http://breast-cancer-research.com/content/11/5/212.

2.     The addition of testosterone to conventional hormone therapy for post-menopausal women does not increase and may indeed reduce the hormone therapy associated breast cancer risk- thereby returning the incidence to that of the normal untreated population.  Menopause, Vol. 11, No 5, 2004. http://www.htcapractitioner.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Dimitrakakis-04-Breast-cancer-incidence-in-postmenopausal-women-using-testosterone-in-addition-to-usual-hormone-therapy1.pdf

3.     Testosterone inhibits the stimulatory action of estradiol in normal human breast tissue in explant cultures.  Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2012;97:E1116-27.

4.     Testosterone is breast protective and does not increase the risk of breast cancer.  Hickey TE, Robinson JLL, Carroll JS, Molecular Endocrinology 2012;26:1252-67. 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22745190

5.     Testosterone therapy in women: Myths and Misconceptions, https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.maturitas.2013.01.003.

6.     Reduced breast cancer incidence in women treated with subcutaneous testosterone, or testosterone with anastrozole: a prospective, observational study.  NIH. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.maturitas.2013.08.002.

7.     Management of Menopausal Symptoms, Obstet Gynecol 2015;126:859-76. Women’s Health Initiative hormone therapy trials: absolute risks (cases per 10,000 person years) shows that the incidence of invasive breast cancer decreased on estrogen alone as compared to placebo.  The original reference was to the article in JAMA 2013;310:1353-68.  http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1745676

 

Finally, the risk of breast cancer is decreased with a diet high in or supplemented with folate.  The risk of breast cancer is significantly increased with alcohol intake. This increase may be reduced with folate supplementation.  

1.     Research in 2004 showed that ensuring adequate folate intake seems particularly important for women at higher risk of breast cancer because of alcohol consumption. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16103452

2.     Research in 2005 showed no clear support for an overall relationship between folate intake or blood folate levels and breast cancer risk was found. Adequate folate intake may reduce the increased risk of breast cancer that has been associated with moderate or high alcohol consumption. http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/99/1/64.abstract

 3.     Research in 2014 showed that folate may have preventive effects against breast cancer risk, especially for those with higher alcohol consumption level; however, the dose and timing are critical and more studies are warranted to further elucidate the questions. http://www.nature.com/bjc/journal/v110/n9/full/bjc2014155a.html

In summary a balance between estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone can safely be used to treat menopausal symptoms and avoid the life style changes associated with VVA.  Furthermore significant reduction in breast cancer risk can be achieved by adding testosterone to usual hormone replacement, limiting alcohol intake, and having adequate folate levels either by supplement or by diet.

 

 

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Childhood Obesity and Diabetes

Childhood Obesity Facts

  • Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.1, 2
  • The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to nearly 21% over the same period.1, 2
  • In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.1
  • Overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors.3Obesity is defined as having excess body fat.4
  • Overweight and obesity are the result of “caloric imbalance”—too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed—and are affected by various genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors.5,6

Health Effects of Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity has both immediate and long-term effects on health and well-being.

Immediate health effects:

  • Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.7
  • Obese adolescents are more likely to have prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels indicate a high risk for development of diabetes.8,9
  • Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem.5,6,10

Long-term health effects:

  • Children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults11-14 and are therefore more at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.6  One study showed that children who became obese as early as age 2 were more likely to be obese as adults.12
  • Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk for many types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.15

Prevention

  • Healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and physical activity, can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing related diseases.6
  • The dietary and physical activity behaviors of children and adolescents are influenced by many sectors of society, including families, communities, schools, child care settings, medical care providers, faith-based institutions, government agencies, the media, and the food and beverage industries and entertainment industries.
  • Schools play a particularly critical role by establishing a safe and supportive environment with policies and practices that support healthy behaviors. Schools also provide opportunities for students to learn about and practice healthy eating and physical activity behaviors.

Key Resources

References

  1. Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Flegal KM. Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the United States, 2011-2012. Journal of the American Medical Association 2014;311(8):806-814.
  2. National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States, 2011: With Special Features on Socioeconomic Status and Health . Hyattsville, MD; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2012.
  3. National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Disease and Conditions Index: What Are Overweight and Obesity?Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health; 2010.
  4. Krebs NF, Himes JH, Jacobson D, Nicklas TA, Guilday P, Styne D. Assessment of child and adolescent overweight and obesity. Pediatrics2007;120:S193–S228.
  5. Daniels SR, Arnett DK, Eckel RH, et al. Overweight in children and adolescents: pathophysiology, consequences, prevention, and treatment.Circulation 2005;111;1999–2002.
  6. Office of the Surgeon General. The Surgeon General's Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation.[PDF - 840 KB]. Rockville, MD, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2010.
  7. Freedman DS, Zuguo M, Srinivasan SR, Berenson GS, Dietz WH. Cardiovascular risk factors and excess adiposity among overweight children and adolescents: the Bogalusa Heart Study. Journal of Pediatrics 2007;150(1):12–17.
  8. Li C, Ford ES, Zhao G, Mokdad AH. Prevalence of pre-diabetes and its association with clustering of cardiometabolic risk factors and hyperinsulinemia among US adolescents: NHANES 2005–2006. Diabetes Care 2009;32:342–347.
  9. CDC. National diabetes fact sheet: national estimates and general information on diabetes and prediabetes in the United States, 2011[PDF - 2.7 MB].  Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  10. Dietz WH. Overweight in childhood and adolescence. New England Journal of Medicine 2004;350:855-857.
  11. Guo SS, Chumlea WC. Tracking of body mass index in children in relation to overweight in adulthood. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition1999;70:S145–148.
  12. Freedman DS, Kettel L, Serdula MK, Dietz WH, Srinivasan SR, Berenson GS. The relation of childhood BMI to adult adiposity: the Bogalusa Heart Study. Pediatrics2005;115:22–27.
  13. Freedman D, Wang J, Thornton JC, et al. Classification of body fatness by body mass index-for-age categories among children. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine 2009;163:801–811.
  14. Freedman DS, Khan LK, Dietz WH, Srinivasan SA, Berenson GS. Relationship of childhood obesity to coronary heart disease risk factors in adulthood: the Bogalusa Heart Study. Pediatrics 2001;108:712–718.
  15. Kushi LH, Byers T, Doyle C, Bandera EV, McCullough M, Gansler T, et al. American Cancer Society guidelines on nutrition and physical activity for cancer prevention: reducing the risk of cancer with healthy food choices and physical activity. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians 2006;56:254–281.

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Men's Health Month: BEST Breakfasts for Men

Alan Aragon, known as one of the most brilliant nutritionists on the planet, authoring groundbreaking scientific studies and working with everyone from bodybuilders to pro athletes to average dudes breaks down the BEST breakfast option for men below.

 

Coffee
Aragon not only likes java as a liquid base because it tastes good and delivers eye-opening caffeine, but it’s also a nutritional powerhouse. A review in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that coffee can help control your insulin levels, deliver antioxidants, and even ward off cancer.

Banana
No surprise this tree fruit is packed full of vitamins and minerals. But it’s also an ideal source of fuel for athletes, says Aragon. “Bananas have a good mix of glucose and fructose, and studies show that’s beneficial for people who train hard.”

Cocoa
A study in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity found that cocoahas more healthy phenolic compounds and a higher antioxidant capacity than green tea, black tea, or red wine. Those chemical compounds may help prevent cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, says Aragon. “There’s even evidence of cocoa benefitting blood flow and blood pressure.”

Whey Protein
“Whey is a no-brainer as a multi-functional protein powerhouse,” says Aragon. Here’s why: It’s one of the most bioavailable protein sources in the universe—meaning your body can easily absorb and use it—and there’s mountains of research supporting its effectiveness for improving and maintaining your muscle mass and strength.  

“It also has some lesser-known benefits,” says Aragon. “Those include improving your ability to control your blood sugar and appetite, improving your immune system, and helping keep cancer away.” (Here’sThe Best Whey Protein Powders for Every Guy.)

Walnuts
“These nuts have the highest omega-3 fatty acid content and antioxidant capacity compared to all other nuts,” says Aragon. Plus, a review in theAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that walnuts could improve your blood lipid profile and fight inflammation. “A new line of investigation even suggests that walnuts may potentially help maintain brain health as you age,” says Aragon.

Directions

What you’ll need:
14 oz room-temperature or cold coffee (make this the night before)
1 frozen banana
1.5-2 cups ice
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2 scoops chocolate protein powder (Aragon uses Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Whey)
1 handful walnuts (as much as you can grab)
 
How to make it:
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until you hit your desired consistency. If you want a thicker shake, use 2 cups of ice.
 
Calories:  615
Protein: 56
Carbs: 46
Fat: 23

 

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Chemicals in nail polish may be affecting your hormones!

The chemical TPHP, found in fire retardant, plastic hardener and nail polish, may be harmful to the body by altering hormone regulation, metabolism and reproductive systems.

Julia Lurie for Mother Jones reports that Duke University and theEnvironmental Working Group did a study on animals and found that the chemicals were able to seep through the nails and filter through the body.

Best selling brands such as Sally HansenOPI and Revlon all contain this harmful substance.

The study  concluded that the chemical most likely entered the body via the cuticles, as opposed to the airways, when polish is applied to the fingernails.

Since the studies and  experiments were done on animals, it is not positive that these chemicals are harmful to humans.

However, this news should be alarming  to nail polish wearers out there!

It is also quite disturbing that these tests are being done on animals, but that’s a subject for another time.

 

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Why Chocolate is GOOD for you!

A Healthier Heart

The latest research backs up claims that chocolate has cardiovascular benefits: In a 9-year Swedish study of more than 31,000 women, those who ate one or two servings of dark chocolate each week cut their risk for heart failure by as much as a third.

Wish that was a serving each day? Another big, long-term study in Germany this year found that about a square of dark chocolate a day lowered blood pressure and reduced risk of heart attack and stroke by 39 percent. Most of the credit goes to flavonoids, antioxidant compounds that increase the flexibility of veins and arteries.

But since those antioxidants come with a generous portion of sugar, milk, and butter, chowing down on chocolate isn't an excuse to skip your workout. Chocolate and exercise actually work surprisingly well together: Another recent study, out of Australia this time, showed that eating chocolate high in healthy antioxidants reduced the blood pressure-raising effects of exercise on overweight individuals. So go ahead and reward yourself. A chocolate bar has five times the flavonoids of an apple, after all.

Weight Loss

If you're wondering how you can add dark chocolate to your diet plan without putting on pounds, the good news is that it should be easier than you expect.

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen found that dark chocolate is far more filling, offering more of a feeling of satiety than its lighter-colored sibling. That is, dark chocolate lessens cravings for sweet, salty, and fatty foods. So if indulging in a bit of healthy dark chocolate should not only make it easy for you to stick to the small portion recommended for optimal health, but it should make it easier for you to stick to your diet in general. Jackpot!

Happier Kids

Women who ate chocolate daily during their pregnancy reported that they were better able to handle stress than mothers-to-be who abstained. Also, a Finnish study found their babies were happier and smiled more. Hmm, so your options are popping a piece of premium chocolate or sticking a pacifier in your screaming baby's mouth?

Diabetes Prevention

Candy as a diabetes foe? Sure enough. In a small Italian study, participants who ate a candy bar's worth of dark chocolate once a day for 15 days saw their potential for insulin resistance drop by nearly half. "Flavonoids increase nitric oxide production," says lead researcher Claudio Ferri, M.D., a professor at the University of L'Aquila in Italy. "And that helps control insulin sensitivity."

Reduced Stress

UC San Diego researchers recently confirmed what your fat pants could have told them back in college: When times get tough, people tend to dip into the chocolate stash more often than they might otherwise.

And as it turns out, that kind of emotional eating might not be such a bad thing. You know what kind of havoc stress and its sneaky sidekick cortisol can wreak on your body. Swiss scientists (who else?) found that when very anxious people ate an ounce and a half of dark chocolate every day for two weeks, their stress hormone levels were significantly reduced and the metabolic effects of stress were partially mitigated. After a breakup, break out a dark chocolate bar rather than a pint of ice cream.

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“LOVE HORMONE” OXYTOCIN LINKED TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

“LOVE HORMONE” OXYTOCIN LINKED TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

For years the scientific study of relationships has centered on the hormone oxytocin. Made in our brains and traveling through our blood, oxytocin is said to be the physiological glue that brings humans together. It makes us trust and become attached to one another.

During childbirth, oxytocin is released in large amounts to help facilitate uterine contractions, to encourage milk production during lactation, and to enhance maternal-child bonding. The hormone can also offer relief for chronic pain sufferers and is released during sexual intimacy, connecting us emotionally to our partners.

Oxytocin is known for its ability to strengthen social bonds. But as hormones are complex, surprising new research points to a potentially dangerous side of oxytocin: High levels may be associated with relationship violence.

Because of oxytocin’s associations to social behaviour, researchers have studied the use of oxytocin to treat interpersonal symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and personality disorders. In 2003, Eric Hollander, psychiatry professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, showed abnormal oxytocin levels in people with ASD. When he administered oxytocin to them, it improved speech comprehension and recognition of emotions, important factors for establishing relationships.

Paul Zak, economist at Claremont Graduate University, says that oxytocin isresponsible for behaviours like empathy, cooperation, and trust. In one study, he tempted participants with money, and found that those who inhaled oxytocin, compared to a control group, were more willing to give their money to a stranger. That is, those in the experimental group were more trusting.

Since oxytocin is naturally released during intimate moments, Zak prescribes eight hugs a day to make us happier and warmer people. But as with all medical science, oxytocin is complicated. And its catchy nicknames may be misleading.

Recent research by psychologist Nathan DeWall at the University of Kentucky and his colleagues demonstrated that oxytocin may be a factor in abusive relationships, if the abusive individual is already an aggressive person.

DeWall initially measured the underlying aggressive tendencies of male and female undergraduates. Participants were randomly split into two groups and unknowingly inhaled oxytocin or a placebo spray.

DeWall then created stressful situations that are known to elicit aggression. He asked the subjects to give a public speech to an unsupportive audience, and later experience the uncomfortable pain of an ice-cold bandage placed on their forehead.

Individuals then rated how likely they would be to engage in specific violent acts toward their current or most recent romantic partner; for example, to “throw something at [their] partner that could hurt.”

Oxytocin increased inclinations toward intimate partner violence (IPV), but only in participants who were prone to physical aggression.

Similarly, a study by Jennifer Bartz, a psychiatry professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, shows that oxytocin hinders trust and cooperation in persons with borderline personality disorder, which is characterized by pervasive instability in moods, behaviours, and interpersonal relationships.

Notably, DeWall’s experiment took place in a laboratory setting, and it’s an open question as to whether this finding is generalizable to actual violent behaviour in domestic relationships.

DeWall explains that oxytocin is linked to maintaining relationships by keeping the ones we love close. For those with aggressive tendencies, preserving a relationship can mean controlling or dominating the partner with physical and emotional abuse.

In his book The Other Side of Normal, Harvard psychiatrist, Jordan Smoller explains that prior trauma in relationships gives a “negative colouring” to trust and intimacy. Oxytocin is still released when unhealthy relationships form; it just becomes associated with relationship trauma and contributes to unhealthy attachments.

Oxytocin is imperative for human connection, but it seems that past experience and interpersonal predispositions complicate oxytocin’s social-bonding capabilities.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, approximately 960,000 domestic violence incidents occur every year. While only in its preliminary stages, DeWall’s research helps us better understand the complicated minds of offenders, and offers hope for preventing domestic violence.

For more visit: http://trauma.blog.yorku.ca/2014/06/love-hormone-oxytocin-linked-to-domestic-violence/

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