Junk sleep: When sleep and technology don’t mix – CNN.com

Junk sleep: When sleep and technology don’t mix – CNN.com.

I have been warning my husband and son about this for awhile now. They both are on their computers too long and too close to bed time (admittedly I am too many times).

Almost everyone I know says they either don’t sleep well, or have trouble staying asleep all night. Good sleep hygiene is also important; avoiding caffeine late in the day, no TV or electronics in the bedroom and of course a healthy diet.

We are now surrounded by EMF’s (electromagnetic fields) in our homes, cars and jobs, and this constant bombardment interferes with our bodies electrical system. So it is important to find ways to lessen the burden.

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Supporting Evidence for Aspartame-Alzheimer’s Link Emerges

Supporting Evidence for Aspartame-Alzheimer’s Link Emerges.

Another study showing evidence of the dangers of artificial sweeteners.

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6 Best Anti-Aging Longevity Herbs | Be Well Buzz

6 Best Anti-Aging Longevity Herbs | Be Well Buzz.

The term “anti-aging” sounds like science fiction. In fact I think it isn’t the best term for what this branch of medicine is trying to promote. Anti-aging science is really more about how to age well.

This article reviews 6 different herbs that have been studied to show they may be effective in helping the body deal with stress or the effects of stress.

Herbs are natures medicine. Many of our current prescription drugs are derived from herbs, or other plants. However, herbs are milder than prescription drugs and therefore can often help without all the negative side-effects.

If you decide to try any of these, please research them to see if they interact with any medicines you are currently taking. And while herbs are gentler on our body, they can still be powerful and should be used as recommended and with caution.

 

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Now Here’s A Good Reason To Cross Sodas Off My Grocery List. Forever.

Now Here’s A Good Reason To Cross Sodas Off My Grocery List. Forever..

Although this video may seem a little over the top, I think it is a beautiful depiction of what soda is doing to this and future generations. And as a side note, I believe that soda wasn’t as harmful until we replaced sugar with high fructose corn syrup. I think all sugary beverages are bad for our health (cavities, obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease), but drinks sweetened with HFCS contain so much more concentrated, and unnatural levels of sweetener, that our bodies can’t even handle what most people would say is “moderation”. Soda is the modern day cigarette.

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Fibromyalgia: Its Not All in Your Head – Its in Your Hands!

Fibromyalgia: Its Not All in Your Head – Its in Your Hands!.

I read this article with such hope and anticipation, but unfortunately ended up feeling disappointed. This seems like more of a symptom rather than a cause of the disease. If it is a cause, why didn’t they discuss how it began? Are people with FMS born with this problem? If so, why don’t most of us get symptoms until we are older? I still believe FMS is a neuro-endo-immune disorder, affecting much of the autonomic nervous system, which could cause this and all the other symptoms experienced with FMS. Before I give this possible theory any credence I would need to learn how and why some of us developed this condition. I appreciate all studies in this field, but this one doesn’t really provide many answers. I hope there is more to come…

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Don’t you put that soda down, Ezra!

Don’t you put that soda down, Ezra!.

Oh my… where to begin? Ok, first let’s talk about your credentials as a nutritionist and scientist. Oh, that’s right, you have none. Well I am a nutritionist, and can tell you that when I work with clients who are overweight, almost all of them drink diet soda. In fact the most current studies show that at least 40% of people who drink diet soda remain overweight. And there are over 100 studies that show a link between diet soda consumption and obesity, kidney problems, osteoporosis, migraines, increased stroke risk, and yes cancer. (http://search.medscape.com/news-search?newSearch=1&queryText=diet+soda+)

Out of all the “unhealthy” foods and drinks I urge my clients to quit- guess which one they resist quitting the most? Yep, you probably guessed it- diet soda. Why is that you ask? Well, let me explain the “scientific” reason to you. Aspartame is addictive. It is addictive because it actually raises certain neurotransmitters, such as dopamine (if you need an explanation of what they are- please look it up) to an unnatural high level, which tells your brain it is pretty happy and content. But once the affect starts to wear off, your brain starts to feel unhappy and craves more. And if you even doubt this process, go a day or 2 without drinking diet soda and see how you feel. You might assume it is the caffeine, but that is only part of it. Otherwise, why are so many people unable to give up their diet soda, but can quit other forms of caffeine more easily? By the way, anything you are addicted to, is not good for you, because it chemically alters your brain chemistry. Do people ever get addicted to broccoli, or apples, or oatmeal? No, never… So, Adam, please feel free to take your chances on drinking a completely unnatural, chemical concoction that has lots of evidence that it can harm your health. But stop telling other people that it is fine. I think the FDA should take action against you like they do against natural health products that claim to cure. If anything you are doing more harm than any of those people are. Isn’t it ironic that the FDA doesn’t care if people claim something that is clearly bad for you is ok, but they can arrest a farmer who claims that eating natural cherries is healthy for you. Yes, that is an agency you should put your trust in.

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Diet Soda Tied To Stroke Risk, Though Reasons Still Unclear

Diet Soda Tied To Stroke Risk, Though Reasons Still Unclear.

This is pretty big news about diet soda and the increased risk of stroke and heart disease. Although the experts in the article can’t say why diet soda increases the risk, there is a neurologist named Russell Blaylock who has been saying for years that aspartame (and other artificial chemicals) is an “excitotoxin” which over stimulates the brain and can lead to events such as migraines and stroke. I truly think diet soda is worse than regular soda (which is bad too), and have had the hardest time trying to get my nutrition clients to give it up. It is one of the most addictive substances I run into in my field- a clear sign it has to be bad for the brain.

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Long-term, high-fat diet alters mice brains: Brain changes may contribute to cycles of weight gain

Long-term, high-fat diet alters mice brains: Brain changes may contribute to cycles of weight gain.

This study shows that when mice eat a high fat diet for a long time, it changes the brain’s reward center, so that they crave more fat. This is probably the biggest obstacle people have to deal with when wanting to lose weight. It is also my main frustration when working with weight loss clients. I know that many people are not going to be able to lose the weight, and keep it off, because they will constantly be fighting cravings for more.

I have come to the conclusion that most people in this country have eaten a diet so unnaturally high in sugar and fat, that now their brain’s reward center is so accustomed to this high, that anything less makes them feel depressed, or unsatisfied, hence keeping them on a constant cycle of cravings. And this is why so many of us are unable to lose weight and keep it off for long.

This is why I also think so many people are on antidepressants. They are physically depressed, mostly due to this unhealthy diet cycle of over-indulgence and then deprivation. Neurotransmitters get caught on this roller coaster of highs and lows and eventually they burn out or require more octane to get back the level they are used to.

If caught early enough, I think many can turn this around and recover. But it requires a lot of discipline and some initial suffering. You have to cut out any refined and artificial sugars and fats, and eat a very healthy, natural diet for quite awhile. At the same time, physical activity will help maintain the brain’s neurotransmitters at a level of pleasure that can replace the sense of loss from the fat and sugar being eliminated.

I also believe people will need to still eat some sugars and fats in order to avoid too big of a neurotransmitter crash, but they should come from natural sources, ie fruits, meats, vegetables, etc. It also helps to find other sources of pleasure during the first stages so the brain doesn’t feel deprived.

There is also a drug being developed for weight loss that raises the neurotransmitter dopamine. This allows the brain to still feel satisfied, even if deprived of chemicals that previously provided this stimulus. So by taking this drug while changing the diet to less sugar and fat, the brain still feels good and cravings become much weaker.

I don’t usually recommend drugs, in fact I usually warn against them. But for some people, this drug, used temporarily, and combined with the right balance of a healthy diet and exercise, could help many people get over that hurdle to losing weight and keeping it off. The drug is called Concentra. It is not available yet, but the company has applied with the FDA and expects to be on the market in 2011 or 2012.

Again, my first recommendation is to change your diet and lifestyle as young as possible. Even if you are older, first go the natural path of lowering your consumption of high levels of fat and sugar, and add high nutrient foods like homemade soups, dark greens and a variety of fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins and fats. But if you have been addicted for years to things like diet sodas, and junk food pizzas and fries, and you have tried everything to no avail, then this drug may be a potential option for you.

This study also should be a warning to parents to try their best to keep their children off this cycle of cravings and on the path of healthy eating.

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Why a Bit of Belly Fat is a Good Thing

Why a Bit of Belly Fat is a Good Thing.

Getting close to 50 is definitely bringing on less than desirable changes for me. My gray hair is getting more difficult to color and maintain, my wrinkles are getting stronger everyday and I am gaining weight around my middle. I know I am not alone, but nonetheless I am struggling to get through this transition.

So in the midst of this metamorphosis called aging, I am happy to report some good news. The doctor who wrote this article believes that a little extra belly fat, in women, is a good thing. And from all the research I have done on hormones and longevity, I have to agree with her. I still don’t like it when I see my “love handles” spilling over the sides of my jeans, but I am finding solace in knowing that it is part of a natural process that’s intended to protect and prepare me for what’s to come.

The most recent studies on longevity cite that people with 10-20 extra pounds on them live the longest. And most interestingly, after age 65, the thinnest people have the highest mortality rate. It makes sense to me. Fat serves many life-sustaining purposes on our bodies. For women, fat is used to create more estrogen, which is essential for maintaining strong hearts, bones and brains. Fat insulates aging bones from fractures. It also is one of the main ingredients in the myelin sheath, which is the fatty substance that covers our nerves.

Over the last couple of decades fat undeservedly became the taboo of the 3 main food groups. Some poorly designed studies, based on faulty assumptions, blamed fat as the reason for the growing obesity problem in this country. Now, many scientists have realized that they over-generalized the fat hypothesis, and have found that most of our excess weight is coming from artificial fats like trans- fats and too many simple carbs in the diet in the form of junk food (also our sedentary lifestyles play a major role here).

Fat, we have come to learn, is crucial to good health. It helps to make our skin more supple, balances our hormones, and as previously mentioned, keeps our bones, heart and nervous system working smoothly. But like everything in life, there is a delicate balance required for optimal health. Too much fat, of course, can be unhealthy. The message here is to include fat in your diet, but consume it in its most natural form. Healthy meats (grass fed is best), dairy from animals allowed to graze outside, eggs (yolks are extremely good for your health), nuts, avocado and fish are some of the best sources of good fats. Moderation is also important to remember. That means do not eat meat everyday, and do not make fat the bulk of your calories. Balance, as always, is key.

So enjoy some fat. And if, like me, you are starting to look like your mother, try to remember that nature is doing her job. It’s normal to mourn the loss of your younger, svelte body. But as in all types of loss, you will need to eventually accept it and move on. And remember you are in good company!

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Study – Human Exposure to BPA Grossly Underestimated – NYTimes.com

Study – Human Exposure to BPA Grossly Underestimated – NYTimes.com.

Yet another study saying that humans are exposed to more BPA than previously thought and at levels that are damaging our hormonal health. At this point, there seems to be more than enough studies showing the harmful effects of BPA and that our country should be taking action. But no. There remains a lurking controversy that is blocking our regulatory systems from banning this ubiquitous substance. The main controversy underlying the determination of whether or not BPA is bad for us is that some schools of science say the human body can metabolize and excrete the substance just fine, while others say we cannot.

It is frustrating to me to know that there are people, in the scientific community no less, who believe that humans were built to metabolize and detoxify everything equally. In fact it is amazing that we let any scientist assert this and not fire him from his job! I can think of so many obvious examples that the human body has demonstrated that it cannot metabolize “everything” that it seems criminal to suggest anything else.

The most glaring obvious point is medicinal drugs. We know that different people metabolize drugs differently. Whereas some people barely notice the effects of the drug, others have such negative reactions they almost die. Or how about food allergies? Why can most people eat peanuts without a problem, yet others can go into anaphylactic shock? And how about if someone ingests 2 tylenol for a headache? Taking 2-5 Tylenol pills usually can help get rid of pain, but 30 can kill you. Enough said.

Yet still some scientists believe that the human body can defend itself against most substances it encounters. Which miraculously is somewhat true. The human liver and detoxification system are quite powerful in defending us from many toxins. But today, with more than 50,000 new manmade chemicals bombarding us on a regular basis, even the powerful liver cannot keep up. And what about people with liver or kidney diseases, or alcoholics, or diabetics and many other people with compromised detoxification systems. I think that we would find that the scientists who claim that the liver can detoxify everything, have a financial interest in making this assertion.

Fortunately there seem to be enough scientists interested in exposing the truth about BPA and continue to present data that proves it is a harmful chemical that should be banned or at the very least restricted. In the meantime, we should all lower our exposure to BPA by avoiding unnecessary use of plastics. And you should consume natural substances that are known to help metabolize this substance more quickly. Natural soy products, folate from dark greens and seaweed, fresh water and teas that are known detoxifiers like dandelion and green tea can help.

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