Women’s Health

Black surgeon writing in medical chart
Black surgeon writing in medical chart

Consider one of the most potent forces now marketed to rapidly aging baby-boomers: Replacement hormone therapy. Estrogen is touted to alleviate symptoms from hot flashes, prevent osteoporosis (the so-called “brittle bone” disease of aging), and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

But estrogen is not without risk. Because “pure” estrogen increases the risk of uterine cancer, some women take a combination pill which combines estrogen and progestin. Although this lowers the risk of uterine cancer, some experts worry that any replacement hormone might increase the long-term risk of breast cancer. The long-awaited results of the Postmenopausal Estrogen/ Progestin Intervention Trials released last November revealed that hormones reduced the risk of heart disease but the study was too short-term to address the possible long-term breast cancer risk.

Estrogen or exercise?

Before you reach for a hormone pill or a patch, consider a “wonder” therapy that you may have overlooked. It’s called exercise.

Walking has been shown to lower high blood pressure and exercise can help control, and possibly even prevent, diabetes. Both high blood pressure and diabetes are strong heart disease risk factors in women.

As for osteoporosis, weight-bearing exercises, such as walking and lifting weights, help build strong bones. Even swimming, not traditionally thought of as a bone-builder, may be beneficial.

Remember though, if you have heart disease or other medical problems, talk to your doctor before undertaking vigorous exercise.

If you’ve undergone a hysterectomy, have severe menopausal symptoms, or very strong risk factors for heart disease or osteoporosis, hormones may benefit you. But whether or not you opt for replacement hormones, you may want to join me in trying exercise, the other “miracle” therapy.

Women’s Health Facts:

According to the experts, the most common sexual problem experienced by female heart patients is a lack of desire.

If a woman has undergone heart surgery, she may feel undesirable because of her incision. Or she may be afraid of taking an active role when having sex.

Her partner may hold back out of fear of hurting her. To make matters worse, some medications can dampen passion.

The key to a good sexual relationship is the same as the key to any other good relationship communication. If you’re accustomed to discussing your problems frankly, you should find it easier to talk about those of a sexual nature.

One of the biggest fears experienced by all heart patients, male or female, is that sexual excitement will lead to a heart attack. Happily, this fear simply is not grounded in fact. Here are the facts for most women:

If you are able to climb a flight of stairs without becoming short of breath or experiencing chest pain you should be able to resume passive sex with safety.

If you are planning to be the active partner, or anticipate finding sex especially exciting, climbing two flights of stairs without breathlessness or chest pain is the rule-of-thumb.
If you have concerns, talk to your doctor. An approved exercise program can help you get into shape for anything, including sex!

A heart-healthy lifestyle should include a satisfying sex life as well. And that’s no joke.

Dr. Rowan Molnar:Dr. Rowan Molnar is the best specialist anaesthetist in Australia. He is Head of Discipline, Anaesthesia at University of Tasmania Clinical School.

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Food for Thought- the Impact of Childrens Eating Habits on Their Health

Young woman lifting weights
Young woman lifting weights

Your Child The Grandparent

At the turn of the century the life expectancy of an urban dweller in the UK was around 50 years, today our children may have a life expectancy as high as 100 years. Medical advances may preserve them through illness for longer. They will spend more of their lives as older people, but possible have more health problems associated with unhealthy living. The way that we raise them will impact upon the quality of their lives, and patterns set today may protect them from a lingering but unhealthy older age.

At the moment 60% of people over the age of 50 are taking four or more prescription drugs. A majority of this medication could be made unnecessary through adherence to a healthier lifestyle, changing eating and exercise habits. If we educate our children to be active every day, and to eat a balanced diet ,we are instilling in them habits which should last a life time, and make that lifetime last longer.

The western lifestyle encourages over consumption of calories from low-quality unhealthy foods high in fat, salt and sugar. Heart Disease, Cancers and Strokes are the biggest killers. A huge proportion of these deaths can be avoided by changing eating and exercise habits. These are also concerns that bad health is impacting on the fertility of westerners and that our children could suffer infertility along side ill-health.

Obesity is expected to overtake these problems as the West’s biggest killer, and as American foods, TV and habits spread around the world so will the associated deaths from unhealthy living. It is up to us to make a stand against these worrying trends, and prepare our children for the long healthy lives that they deserve. All efforts that we make now are a pension fund that our children will draw from when they are grandparents.

Kid-Junk and the Propaganda Machine

£500 million is spent on advertising to children, in an industry that is worth £41 BILLION a year. These people are out to make as much as they can, which means using the cheapest ingredients, that last the longest, and selling them in ways that our children find irresistible. Most of this advertising comes to our children though television where they may see 10 food adverts an hour. Of these 10, 95-99% will be for unhealthy foods which offer little or NO nourishment, and are high in fat, salt additives, preservatives and other chemicals and sugar. Children’s innocence and gullibility is exploited because they cannot differentiate between advertising and programming until approximately 10 or 12 years old. They actually believe what is told them.

TV advertising is the single most important factor affecting what our children eat. In much of Scandinavia, advertising is banned during children’s programming. Here our children are bombarded, and to make matters worse, watching TV is massively linked to obesity, so they are inactive and requiring junk food at the same time- a double whammy against their health.

Kid-Junk is often advertised as containing added nutrition, so that parents loose the loop hole of saying- ‘but it isn’t good for you.’ Whilst rushing round Tesco’s taking a business call, calming a baby and arguing with school child, we grab for vitamin-enhanced cereal, and calcium-enriched cheeses believing that we may be doing them some good. Do not be fooled, these things are labelled to trap us, what they really represent is poor quality over-processed pap, which has some chemically processed vitamins and minerals added because there is nothing good there in the first place. The cheap additives may be in a form that is not readily absorbed by the child’s body, and will contain dangerous anti-nutrients which are. The uncomfortable fact is that if you want the best for your child you need to remove these products from their lives. Here are some ways of doing this;

o Don’t buy them.

o Provide your child with cynicism; let them know how BAD they are.

o Make them feel proud of making an informed choice.

o Provide exciting alternatives.

o Choose TV channels with no advertising- cbeeebies etc

o Minimise TV watching and encourage healthy pursuits.

o If you have to cheat; throw the Sunny D in the toilet (where it belongs) and fill the carton with fresh orange, put the bran flakes in the Chocolate Frosties cereal box. I am ashamed to admit, but my youngest thinks that bran flakes are made of chocolate, and I may have encouraged this falsehood.

o Remember that children can enjoy the look and taste of real food, and the more that you provide it the more they will get used to it.

Your Child the Caveman

Our bodies have adapted cope
with survival in a harsh environment. Although we achieved civilization thousands of years ago, our bodies have not evolved to adapt to this change. If we placed our child back in the distant past they would have eaten less sugar, salt and fat in a year than they now eat in a week or less. Our child would have eaten a diet of a little meat and fish, mostly vegetable matter, fruit, berries, nuts, seeds and fruits, roots, and starchy vegetable matter. They would only have drunk water, and possibly a little goats’ milk, and they may occasionally sample the splendour of honey. In addition to that they would have been in a state of constant movement, playing, working, foraging, but rarely staying still.

I think that this child from the past is a useful tool for understanding what our child’s eating and activity profile should be if they are to reach optimum health. There would have been no slouching on a sofa in front of the TV, no Pizza Flavour Cheese string, and pink panther wafer biscuits. Our imaginary child may not even recognise these things as food. Our children need a diet rich in whole foods, in raw foods, and home cooked foods. They need to explore the pleasure of foraging for food, growing it and making a mess with it. We need to get back to the camp-fire and share family food times together, making eating a natural and loving social event where the family will interact and bond. This way people eat slower, and eat less allowing their body to feel full and satisfied.

Do not presume that they will reject real foods, things that we may expect them to dislike may be a source of amusement and interest; show them how to scrape the fishes flesh from the bone, let them gnaw on a spare rib or a chicken drum-stick, get the barbeque out and skewer some tiger prawns. More adventurous kids will relish picking seafood out of shells, and beheading prawns, you just need to give them a chance to find their cave man. Never presume that they can’t cope with certain foods, always give them a chance to experiment, and reward them richly with praise.

If you are doubtful about the validity of a food, ask yourself how far-removed it is from its natural state, could you make it yourself, would it have existed a hundred years ago or more? If the answer is no then the chances are that it is not very healthy.

Leading the Way

From their first moments your child has looked to you for everything, and you are the biggest influence upon their lives. You need to lead the way and set a shining example by eating well and exercising, informing your child that this is the only way to live. A healthy diet and active life will protect the family against many illnesses, and send your child into later life with an understanding about how to look after their body correctly, and how to care for their children as well. Here are some ways to become healthier as a family;

o Eat together and bring family and friends together through food events as well.

o Couple this up with healthy activities, organise a party or picnic and organise team-sports how ever silly to get people moving. I have seen grown women go crazy trying to win a hula-hoop competition. Make exercising fun.

o Go family foraging; visit pick-your-own farms, farm shops and market. Pick blackberries, sloes, mushrooms (get them checked) and wild foods together, children love finding things and it shows them foods in their natural state. Try the Farmers Markets.

o Cook together, the kids can help prepare and cook foods, and will love making their own lunchboxes and teas. Let them fry some fish, pod some peas, peel some carrots, make their own pizzas.

o Let them organise tea parties or dinner parties and barbeques for friends, encouraging them to design a healthy and funky Jamie Oliver menu.

o Organise more active family pursuits, go on bike rides, pony treks, sculpture trails (Leigh Woods and Forrest of Dean), kite flying, racket sports, French Cricket.

o Make the most of your garden, grow stuff, get out there together and work, get a basketball hoop.

o Make sure that YOU get out there and exercise, go to a yoga class or play badminton in the evenings. If they see you participating in a healthy lifestyle then it will always seem natural to them.

How What We Drink Can Affect Our Weight and Health

Close up of female doctor measuring woman's weight
Close up of female doctor measuring woman’s weight

Hello Everyone,

I thought that I would talk about what we drink. Everyone loves a long cool drink, but often we forget to think about how many calories and nutrients are in what we drink. The warm weather can leave us dehydrated, and it is important that we are all drinking lots of water, especially before we go to a class. There should be no risk to a healthy person of exercising in hot weather providing you make sure that you drink before, during and after exercise (water that is).

Often we exercise and watch what we eat, but forget to add in the amount of calories that we consume through drinks. Someone left a delicious bottle of lemonade in my fridge last week, and as I haven’t had a fizzy drink in ages, I got very excited and drank the lot over the course of the day. I was horribly shocked as I glanced at the label as it went in the bin to realize that I had consumed over 1000 calories! That is at least 3 aerobics classes worth of calories, and yet it looked harmless and tasted so delicious. From now on I am back on the sparkling mineral water.
As I look around me on the street and in our sports centers I see children walking along drinking from cans and cartons. A2001 report in The Lancet warned of a 60% risk of obesity for every can of high-sugar drink a child consumes each day. An average child in the UK consumes 15 high-sugar drinks each week. The best way to cut down the amount of simple sugars in your child’s diet is to cut out these unhealthy drinking habits. Try dilute fruit juice (you can change the dilution slowly to give your child a chance to adapt) or fizzy water with a little fruit juice. Good quality squash should be saved for treats, and kept very weak. The best drink for your child is water, and you will be surprised how quickly they adapt to enjoying it. It is useful to note that even fresh fruit juice is high in natural sugar and can add to weight problems, also the body has difficulty digesting fruit juices and they should be watered down.

Alcohol is high in calories (1g = 7kcal where as 1g of fat =9Kcal). In a perfect world, none of us would touch it, especially whilst following weight loss goals. However, in reality we all like a drink. It is important to keep your intake of alcohol under control – moderation is the key. While a 5 oz glass of wine per day at 100 calories may seem harmless enough, over two and a half weeks that’s approximately an extra 1,700 calories. This is equivalent to about a half a pound of body fat. That’s about 10 pounds of body fat, per year.

The Royal College of Physicians recommends that alcohol consumption be no more than 21 units a week for men; 14 units a week for women. It is better for health to spread alcohol units (up to the maximum recommended) throughout the week, than to drink large amounts in a single day or weekend. Therefore women should aim to consume no more than 2 units a day; men 3 units a day.

One unit of alcohol is the amount in half a pint of beer, a single (25ml) measure of spirit, a small glass (120ml) table wine, or a small glass (50ml) of fortified wine, such as sherry.

It is easy to see how even a “moderate” consumption of alcohol can have a very serious impact on your daily calorie quota: 3 units of beer could amount to a total 345kcal, 2 units of wine 160kcal.

How Many Calories in Various Alcoholic Drinks?

Calorie content

1 Pint/568ml Lager 230

1 Pint/568ml Beer, Bitter 182

1 Pint/568ml Cider, Sweet 240

1 Shot/25ml Spirits, 37.5% Volume 48

1 Bottle/275ml Alcopops (Calculated Estimate) 200

1 Glass/120ml Wine, Red 80

1 Glass/120ml Wine, White 77

Calories in Popular Mixers

Calorie content

1 Glass/250ml Tonic Water 83

1 Glass/250ml Cola, Coca Cola* 105

1 Glass/250ml Cola, Diet, Coca Cola* 1

1 Glass/250ml Lemonade 53

1 Glass/250ml Diet Lemonade 3

1 Glass/200ml Orange Juice, Unsweetened 72

1 Shot/25ml Lime Cordial 28

Ways to Reduce the Calories

o Try alternating alcoholic drinks with low calorie non-alcoholic drinks or water.

o Ask for low calorie / diet mixers where possible.

o Make your wine into a spritzer (a longer drink), or your lager into a shandy – both have fewer calories.

o Substitute your “alcopop” for a shot of spirit and a low calorie mixer – about a quarter of the calories!

o To add a healthy slant, try a single shot of spirits with some fresh fruit juices.

Don’t be tempted to skip meals to allow for drinks, alcohol won’t satisfy your hunger. In fact, alcohol lowers blood sugar levels (it prevents sugar that is normally stored in the liver, as glycogen, from breaking down). A drop in blood sugar levels sends signals to the brain you are hungry. With alcohol in your system, willpower can go out of the window and the snack attacks kick in. Eating a proper meal before you go out will line your stomach and slow the rate at which alcohol absorbs into your bloodstream. Keeping you in control of how much you eat and drink.

So the message is to enjoy a drink or two if you wish, but to support your body by eating before hand, drinking plenty of water, and not over-doing it.

Heart Healthy Moves for Everyone

Overweight woman being weighed
Overweight woman being weighed

To be physically active and to eat a healthy diet are some of the most critical actions you can take to improve your health and quality of life. The American government feels so strongly about this that it has combined the complementary contents of two department publications to provide guidance on the importance of being physically active and eating a healthy diet. The purpose of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) publication, “The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans”, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) publication “The Dietary Guidelines for Americans”, is to promote good health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases among Americans.

According to their guidelines bodily movement is divided into the two broad categories of baseline activities and health-enhancing activities. Standing, walking slowly, and lifting lightweight objects are considered baseline activities and vary from person to person. It is the intentional addition of a health-enhancing physical activity to your baseline activity produces the desired health benefits. Heart healthy moves, also called motion fitness, are exercises of varying intensities that are intended keep your heart functioning at optimum capacity. A health-enhancing activity such as walking for exercise opens the door to unlimited health benefits. The published Federal Guidelines for aerobic exercise (also known as cardio exercise) recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise 5 days per week or 150 minutes a week. These guidelines offer helpful strategies on a wide range of physical activities that provide important health benefits. Walking for exercise fits the criteria easily. To walk for exercise lowers risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus, and heart disease and other chronic diseases. It also improves blood pressure, cholesterol, and stress, and comes with the added bonus of weight loss.

Most sports require a certain level of competence and fitness, but walking for exercise has no learning curve requirements, and it is something most people can easily do at any time. Walking is a low impact exercise, because your feet don’t pound the ground. Also to walk for exercise is cost effective because it is free. There is no need for membership fees or gym equipment purchases. The experts also recommend that you make walk for exercise a part of your motion fitness program.

Brisk walking is motion fitness without a gym. How you walk does make a significant difference in the benefits you gain from this activity. Race-walk coaches suggest the application a few simple techniques to your brisk walk routine can convert your walk for exercise into an aerobic experience. To walk faster take faster steps instead of longer strides, and to increase your speed bend your elbows and pump your arms beside your trunk as you walk. When you feel the need for more speed and more power roll your foot to your toes, and push with the ball of your foot and toes as you go; be sure to land each step on your heel first, and not the entire foot at once. Use these techniques when you want to convert a moderate intensity walk into an aerobic exercise and/or fat burn machine and reap the rewards of increased energy, improved stamina, and a heightened mental focus.

Health Protection Guide for Caregivers

Weight, child
Weight, child

If you are a personal caregiver — you provide support for a family member or friend in their home, don’t forget to take good care of you while you are helping others. Look at your role as a personal caregiver this way. The best gift you can give your friend or family member is your own good health.

Caregiving is a big job. Stress related to caregiving can affect your immune systems making you more prone to chronic illness. Caregiving is an enormous responsibility, and while it is rewarding, it can zap the energy you have left over for yourself and your family. Personal caregiving takes on many different forms depending on the age and the needs of the person who benefits from your care. Anyone who runs errands because a family member or friends no longer drives, or helps them get dressed, prepares food or helps with numerous other issues, is making a difference as a personal caregiver.

Too often caregivers don’t see themselves as caring for someone else. They may see it as a family obligation or doing a “favor” for another person. But if you are devoting time to caring for a friend or family member consider yourself a personal caregiver.

Most caregivers start out wanting to be helpful for another less fortunate person. But at the end of the day too often caregivers feel physically and emotionally drained. They juggle caregiving with their own family needs or work schedules. But when caregivers don’t balance their own life with their role as a caregiver, they can feel burned out, sad, angry and depressed.

A Balanced Life

Maintaining a balance is key to being a healthy caregiver. It’s easy to get worn out even if the person you are caring for receives professional care. You may still be making many personal decisions for the person you care for. That alone is worrisome and wearing. If you are like a lot of caregivers, it’s difficult to turn off caregiving and get a good night’s sleep.

If you’re feeling run down, more tired than usual and aren’t sleeping well, it’s time to step up and put a “caregivers’ health plan” in place. How can you take better care of you? These tips can help you increase your physical and emotional strength and ward off exhaustion and illness. At the same time, your improved health will allow you to be a better caregiver.

Tips for Being a Healthy Caregiver

  • Exercise your brain. Play board games, take up a new hobby, and sign up for a class. You may not realize it but your brainpower has incredible potential when it is “sharpened” and kept fit. As we age, the health and vitality of our brains becomes more dependent on how we use it. Exercising your brain can offer new life to aging neural pathways. Establishing new pathways is even better for an aging brain and helping you be a more focused, healthier caregiver.
  • Don’t forget to add physical exercise in your daily life. Get exercising. It is important for both your physical and mental well-being.
  • Improve your quality of sleep. Look for new ways to get better sleep. Slow down before you got to bed. Don’t watch TV or work on the computer before bedtime.
  • Take a break from caregiving. Respite time is crucial when you’re taking care of someone else.
  • Stay involved with hobbies and social activities. Don’t neglect the routine of doing what you love to do in your free time.
  • Watch for signs of depression. If you become depressed it will impact your ability to make good decisions. Ask for help when you feel overwhelmed.
  • Slow down. Most of us aren’t trained to be caregivers. Recognize that it is important to know how and when to slow down, step back, and share the responsibilities with other family members or community resources. You don’t have to shoulder all the responsibilities of personal caregiving alone.
  • Laugh… It’s good for you for others around you.

It’s Never Too Late to Get Back into Health and Fitness

Male doctor measuring the height and weight of a patient
Male doctor measuring the height and weight of a patient

Hello people,

At this time of the year many of you go on holiday, or have the children at home, and adding to this the warm evenings, barbeques, and enticing beer gardens, many people find that they are slipping out of their good habits, and starting to feel sluggish. It is an often repeated scenario that effects many of you, including myself, that just when you seem to be getting somewhere, improving fitness levels, and losing unwanted weight, life takes over, holidays loom, work tires you out, babies are born, and suddenly it seems as if you are back to square one. Many people feel that when they have taken time out from their exercise routine, or when social engagements and holidays have sabotaged their healthy eating habits, that they have to start from scratch again. This can seem daunting and unfair, and often is enough to put you off altogether. We feel that all the hard work is useless if you can loose it all so easily, and that it is easier not to bother, and that we have failed. This may lead us back to bad habits and spiraling low-self esteem, where it becomes harder and harder to get back into fitness and health.

It is never too late to get back into health and fitness.

I think that we should take a leaf out of the government’s book and replace the word FAILURE with DEFFERRED SUCCESS. Slipping out of your health and fitness routines is merely a normal part of the journey towards changing your lifestyle for the better for ever (no that is not an excuse for deliberately slipping out and buying that chocolate gateau). We should view these little excursions from out healthy routine as minor blips. Do not allow them to continue, don’t think about having to start again, just think about continuing with your good work. Try to see the bad times as an exception to the rule, and the good times as normal life, rather that the other way round.

Last week I was talking to my dad and he explained that they have had lots of visitors staying and provided them with lots of lovely (and naughty) food, and that next week they were having a dinner party and so he would be dropping out of his healthy routine yet again. He told me that he would start again after the dinner party, but I reminded him that he could continue to eat well until the dinner party, and then just take a day off. I think that this illustrates the way that many of us think about our healthy lifestyles, often it seems something that we can put off until later, but sometimes later becomes a lot later and sometimes it never happens. I am afraid that we have to be a little strict with ourselves, pick ourselves off the sofa, turn off that TV and get out there, book a badminton court, turn up to a class or go for a walk.

Summer is such a great time to take a look at your exercise routine and what you eat and make some more effort. If you go on holiday do not see it as a time to do all of the things you would never dream of doing at home, look at it as an opportunity to try some new pursuits such as fitness walking, sea swimming, pony trekking, skiing etc Take in the scenery whilst being active, visit markets to sample local fruit and vegetables, and if you are close to the sea, go to seafood restaurants and eat loads of fresh fish. If you are at home with kids, try some active pursuits with them, get down the farmers market and get them to choose some interesting seasonal fruits and vegetables. Go out into the garden and do some gardening, use the better weather to stay active, and then when the Autumn comes and most people are feeling remorse for the damage that they have done to themselves over the Summer, you will know that you calmly carried on living well and healthily.

If you find that you are struggling to fit everything in, then write down the way you feel when you are eating well and exercising regularly; more energy, sleeping better, feeling confident, feeling less stressed, having a more positive body image, feeling physically strong, feeling proud of yourself. Remind yourself of these things, and then continue with this healthy happy path. Forget the period of relapse, don’t feel bad about it, don’t let it put you off making the effort to get back into health, just calmly take the steps needed to get you back on track. Clear the rubbish out the fridge, telephone a squash partner, pick up a timetable from the gym, put a note in your diary and make an appointment with yourself to get fitter and feel better.

Health and fitness is about progression not perfection, don’t look back at where you went wrong, look forward and think about the things that you can do today to progress.

Nag over, cheerio until next time, and have a healthy happy week.

Do you have any friends and family who could benefit from getting fitter and feeling better? If you do, then treat them to free copy of this newsletter, forward it to them, and get them to e-mail me with a request. E-mail health care subject: newsletter request. Would you like to bring health into the workplace? Getfitter now offers a corporate package, including yoga classes/courses, Massage, Nutrition and Stress Management seminars, team-building events, conference breaks, Company Wellness days and Healthy Friday a monthly wellness event. Please visit health care or ring Vikki on 0117 3300655.

5 Best Fruits And Vegetables For Good Health And Weight Loss

Overweight Man sleeping on Exercise Ball in health club
Overweight Man sleeping on Exercise Ball in health club

Different foods help our bodies to grow, to heal, and to keep the immune system running properly but what are the best fruits and vegetables for weight loss? It’s really important to eat healthily, so let’s look at five of the best fruits and vegetables for weight loss and good health to include in your diet.

1. Broccoli.

The cruciferous family of vegetables are the best vegetables to eat to lose weight and one of the most nutrient-rich of this group is broccoli. It contains nutrients that help balance out other food elements that cause the body to deposit fat in our abdominal area..

Broccoli is also an excellent source of vitamins C and K, as well as folate, vitamin B and fiber. In addition, it contains potassium, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6, protein and calcium. Broccoli can help in reducing cholesterol levels which boosts cardiovascular health and fitness. It helps the body’s cleansing system, aids vitamin D uptake and may also reduce our vulnerability to a number of allergies.

2. Blueberries.

The second on our list of the best fruits and vegetables for weight loss are blueberries. They are one of the best fruits to eat to lose weight because they have a low glycemic index (GI). This means they have a low impact on our blood sugar levels, so you won’t get a sugar rush from eating blueberries. Eating foods with a low glycemic index is also believed to reduce the risk of developing type-II diabetes as well as coronary heart disease.

Blueberries are high on the nutrient-density scale as they are a good source of vitamin K, manganese and vitamin C. They are also a very rich source of antioxidants, which are believed to help minimize the risk of developing cancer.

3. Spinach.

Spinach is one of the best green vegetables for your health. It contains a huge quantity of nutrients which provides various health benefits. The most concentrated nutrients in spinach are magnesium, folate, iron, potassium, calcium, vitamin E, protein and zinc.

Spinach contains vitamin K, magnesium and calcium which is good for maintaining healthy bones. There are also antioxidants in it that help remove harmful free radicals from the body. Spinach may help reduce the risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer. It’s also an anti-inflammatory, which means it can help lower our susceptibility to allergies.

4. Watermelon.

The best fruits to eat to lose weight are ones that are full of water, such as watermelon, because it helps keep you satisfied on fewer calories. Watermelon is 92% water and a good source of vitamin C. When it’s the red variety (some are orange or yellow), it also has lycopene, an antioxidant that may help protect against heart disease and some types of cancer. Some of the other best fruits and vegetables to eat to lose weight because they are made mostly of water include cucumbers (95%), salad greens (90%) and strawberries (91%).

5. Apples.

You’ll get more benefit from a raw crunchy apple rather than apple juice or apple sauce. Whole fruit dulls your appetite because it has more fiber. Apples are a great source of fiber which helps towards a healthy digestive system and chewing sends signs to your brain that you have eaten something substantial, so you feel less hungry.

This also aids in the regulation of blood sugar levels. Apples are also a great source of vitamin C. Although apples aren’t as nutrient-rich as some other fruits and vegetables, they are thought to have both anti-cancer and anti-asthma properties. In addition, they’re good for cardiovascular health.

The Top Five Health Insurance Plans

Disabled man lifting weights
Disabled man lifting weights

Since competition in terms of health insurance is on the rise, it is no wonder that more and more forms of health insurance are being designed. Among these, there are few that are popular and they are briefly described below.

Individual Insurance: Ensuring a person individually is a common mode of insurance. One may be selective about what s/he wants in a plan through this process. Accordingly, one has required premium is calculated, and the insurance plan takes effect.

Group Insurance: Another type of insurance is the group arrangement. Through this type of insurance, one is compelled to abide by what others are going for, and this is dependent on the insurance providers. They are the ones that decide what is feasible to include in a plan, and on that basis, a group insurance can take place.

Indemnity Plan: This plan allows one to go to any doctor when one needs to; there are no restrictions on this, and it is believed to be more of a traditional plan. One does not need permission to go to a particular health care provider. However, usually what happens is that the member pays 20% of the total fee for treatment while the insurance provider pays 80%. In addition to this, there is a period through which one pays up in this manner, and then the company takes over paying the whole 100%.

HMO: The Health Maintenance Organization is one that allows a member to select a particular doctor off the panel. It is these selected doctors that will deal will with members’ problems. The selected doctor is the one that will be approached for checkups of any kind, and if there are problems with a member that cannot be handled by him or her, the member is referred to specialists.

Value For Money With Your Health

Smiling doctor with patient on weight scale
Smiling doctor with patient on weight scale

Today’s world is driven by money. Even when we don’t have any, the focus is on the lack. Very little attention is given to value for money especially in healthcare, which is often ‘free’ in many countries. Of course it isn’t really free as you probably paid handsomely for it in taxes, levies and/or insurance premiums.

But the perception remains.

Most people invariably go to their GP when they have a health issue and only turn to holistic health when they don’t get the results they were looking for. Those who struggle financially rarely consider holistic health as they have to pay for it, so automatically assume it is outside their budget. But is it?

To illustrate my point, I want to tell you about Martha. Martha injured her back out walking her dog one day. She slipped and fell on a rock awkwardly. She managed to struggle back home, as she hadn’t walked very far. But the process was painful.

Initially, Martha simply rested and popped pain killers. However, it didn’t get better, and after a day off work, she went to see her GP. He sent her off for tests.

The results didn’t look good. She had damaged her spine, which was already showing signs of ankylosing spondylosis, a chronic inflammation of the lower spine.

Initially her treatment was anti-inflammatory and pain relief medication. After a few months, when she was still suffering quite badly, she was put onto steroids. Initially, this really helped, but as the months wore on blood tests showed she was starting to move towards diabetes and osteoporosis, two common side effects of steroids.

She went to see a physiotherapist and started doing exercises. These helped a bit, but the pain was still getting worse. Eventually, she had to give up work and go onto a disability allowance.

Martha considered orthopedic surgery at this point. She went onto the list, which meant waiting months, possibly years, before she could have it done. But she was hesitant. She was aware that surgery on the spine can be fraught with problems.

Having been out of work for several months, Martha had little left in the way of savings. She was becoming more and more anxious about her health and about her future.

Then a friend told her about homeopathy and about her experience with it. In the beginning, Martha dismissed the idea, as the cost of it now seemed beyond her reach. But her friend kept niggling gently at her.

Martha started putting a small amount of her allowance to one side. When she had enough for the first consultation, she rang me to see if I could help.

The initial treatment I prescribed for her allowed her to slow then stop all the medication she was on, in the first week. This alone saved her a lot of money. She found the pain was more easily managed with the remedy. I had also given her information about diet to support her health, and in particular, her spondylosis.

Before she came for her follow up visit, she was back at work, albeit part time. Over the following months, her back, as well as her overall health, improved dramatically. She cancelled the surgery. She started working full time.

Martha recognised that life isn’t just about what you can or can’t afford, even when she had very little. It’s all about value for money. She could have chosen to give up and live with permanent back pain, on a meagre pension. Her surgery may or may not have been successful, if she had chosen to go ahead with it.

Instead she chose to take a different course of action.

Martha’s back injury was a defining moment, as her health had been declining. What was initially an unfortunate accident, turned out to be her saviour. She was able to resume the physical activities she most enjoyed, but had given up a few years prior. She loved dancing and was delighted to be able to dance once again.

Don’t assume you can’t afford holistic health, simply because you have to pay for it. Look at the bigger picture. Value for money in healthcare means getting better enough to resume your life as it was. Perhaps that is the ability to work. Perhaps physical activities. Perhaps enough energy to be productive through the day.

Whatever it is, don’t just assume anything is too expensive, or is out of your price range. Consider what effect good health will have on your life. What it gives you back in the form of your life or your livlihood. Homeopathy is very good at giving people that back. Consider value not cost. Sometimes, what appears to be too expensive works out to be the cheapest option!

Health and Fitness in Pregnancy and Delivering a Healthy Baby


Pregnancy is when women are most beautiful, when there’s another life being nurtured inside the mother’s womb. This act of creating life, though, is not without its complications, and expectant soon-to-be mothers should do their best to keep their health in optimal condition, for their sake as well as the unborn child’s. Even the common cold can affect the pregancy. So what are the steps to take during pregnancy? Here are a few tips and suggestions.

The first step in pregnancy is to visit a doctor and have yourself examined for any possible complication, get your pap smear, blood test, the works; also make sure that you get as much information as possible to help make sure your pregnancy is being handled properly. Of course, it is best to take great care in choosing a physician, a midwife, a hostpital, and all the necessary staff in the pregnancy. Make sure that they are just as concerned for the baby as you are

Pregnancy makes it all the more important to maintain a healthy diet especially since there’s another life at stake. The intake of folic acid (necessary for embryo development and cell growth) should begin as soon as possible. Another important supplement that might be needed is iron, for healthy blood, and for the development of the bones and teeth of the baby. Do not overdose on the seafood intake as fish tend to have high levels of mercury. The recommended weight gain during pregnancy is around 25 to 30 pounds — on healthy food, of course.

As metabolism increases during pregnancy there is larger loss of water, which should be compensated by drinking more water than usual.

Exercise is an important part of a healthy pregnancy, though, of course, pregnant women shouldn’t exert extreme amounts of effort. It is best for expectant mothers without complications to work out at moderate intensity for 30 minutes a day. It is important, though, to first consult with your physician before working out.

While it’s important to keep physical health at an optimum, emotional health should also be taken into consideration. Disorders such as depression can lead to loss of appetite and weight, sluggishness, irregular sleeping habits and disturbances in motor activity, as well as an intensified presence of feelings of worthlessness, incapability, or guilt. Pregnant women are more susceptible to this, and they will need an extraordinary amount of support from peers and family. Counseling and meditation have also proven to be successful in treating this disorder. But as an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure, and prevention may just save your pregnancy. Introspection may help; examining your capabilities as a mother, past relationships, etc. Don’t forget to take your needs seriously. Work with your partner and don’t be shy to get professional health.

Pregnancy can be a nine month tribulation of passing gas, nausea, and heartburn. It is a period of bonding with an unborn child, wondering about your child’s purpose in life, feeling every hearbeat and kick with amazement. To avoid any later regrets, take care of your health. And enjoy life.

“In her own interest, every pregnant woman should make a habit of never entering a room without making a note of the quickest way of getting out of it and into either fresh air or a bathroom.” –Audrey Hull

Great advice Audrey!

Better Sex for Better Health – The Best of All Worlds for Active Men

Intensive care unit
Intensive care unit

All men know that an active penis is a happy penis, but they may not know that more and better sex can often make for a healthier man all around. Practicing regular penis care keeps the penis in good shape, which enables it to be more sensually engaged, thereby positively impacting overall health; it’s a chain of events that’s win-win all the way.

So just what are some of the health benefits that are associated with a robust, active penis?

1) Less stress. Who doesn’t feel more relaxed after a good round of sex? Women may complain about men dozing off after coupling, but the reason this happens is that a heightened level of activity provides the kind of stress reduction that money just can’t by; with the stress relieved (at least temporarily), the body is in its most favorite comfort zone. The relief may be temporary, but all other things being equal, a man who engages in sex frequently is more likely to feel less stress overall than a man who enjoys fewer releases.

2) Relief from headaches. There’s evidence that headaches respond positively to sex. When a person becomes excited, oxytocin levels rise, peaking upon release. More oxytocin often translates to less pain, helping to reduce headaches or other body pains.

3) Improved blood flow. The penis knows that good sex depends to a large degree on good flow: a guy’s equipment needs an influx of blood to get happily erect. But the excitement that accompanies sex gets the blood pumping throughout the body, spreading oxygenated goodness throughout – including to the brain.

4) Heart health. Having sex makes the heart healthy. That’s not just wishful thinking: medical studies back it up. For example, one study found that among its subjects, men who had sex twice a week had a significantly smaller chance of developing cardiovascular disease than men who had sex less frequently. The reasons for this are not clear: do men who have sex more frequently do so because they are in better cardiac health, or are they in better cardiac health because they have sex more frequently? But the take-away message is: a guy’s heart really WANTS him to have more sex.

5) Possible cancer benefit. There is credible evidence that the more frequently a man comes, the less likely he is to develop prostate cancer later in life. The National Cancer Institute looked at data from 29,000 men that included how frequently they came (whether through self-pleasure or partner sex) and then looked at the incidence of prostate cancer among this population. Those who responded that they averaged 21 emissions per month were much less likely to develop prostate cancer as they aged than men who came seven or fewer times per month.

6) Immune system health. More frequent sex is also thought to provide a boost to the immune system. At least one study has examined the amount of IgA (immunoglobin A) in people, both those who have sex frequently and those who don’t. There were higher levels in those who are more frequently active. Since IgA plays a role in battling such ailments as colds and flus, it is surmised that these higher levels indicate that sex keeps the immune system pumping along at a healthier rate.

Increased sex is a worthy goal simply for the enjoyment it brings, but the fact that an active penis also boosts overall health just adds to its attractiveness. Of course, frequent sex sometimes means that active penis becomes a sore (if enormously happy) penis. Using a superior health care (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) is the ticket for this problem. It can even become an extension of a man’s intimate play: he can ask his partner to rub a cream with a high end emollient like shea butter into his tool after finishing an encounter. It also helps to make sure that the cream includes acetyl L carnitine, a neuroprotective ingredient that helps heal any peripheral nerve damage that may have been encountered through an over-enthusiastic romp.