Author Archives: Mikayla

Nursing Degree – Health Of The Future

It is far from a hidden truth that there is a shortage of nurses in the United States. Hospitals, doctors and nursing homes have been clinging to dear life for years in the attempts to find and keep a good group of nurses. With the shortages in the profession, the pay rate has climbed to far exceed expectations and this leaves nurses with many options. For the nurse this is an excellent opportunity, but for the providers it can prove costly. If you are on the fringe of making a decision between a nursing degree and some other here are some things to consider.

The American Association of College Nursing estimates that there will be a shortage of over 300,000 nurses by the year 2012. That could not only create a hazard to the medical industry, but also provide nurses with an excellent paying career. Nursing is one of those careers that not only provides good pay, but also gives the individual the greatest reward ever. This reward can be seen on a daily basis with the fact that they help those in need and it is the thanks in the eyes of a child that sustains the career choice.

There are several options that nurses have afforded to them. There are different certifications in nursing and with them brings different duties as well as pay. Another positive about the nursing profession is the fact that there are so many options. One nurse may work in Pediatrics and another can work in Geriatrics. There is no limit to the opportunities in the nursing field. Here is a look at the types of certifications and a little bit about each.

LVN/LPN:

A year’s worth of college training and a set amount of experience can help you obtain the certification of either LVN/Licensed Vocational Nurse or LPN/Licensed Practical Nurse. While completing the required academic requirements the nursing student will spend time shadowing nurses, doctors and other health care providers for hands on and/or practical experience. After all the requirements have been fulfilled the nursing student will be expect to take the state exam, which is not easy. It is recommended that students purchase a good study guide or course to refresh and prepare for the test. A LPN or LVN can expect to make an average of $37,000 per year. LVN or LPN can be responsible for administering medications, giving injections, drawing blood and/or starting IV’s as well as a host of other medical duties.

RN:

The RN or registered nurse is gained by attending college for two to three years and passing the state’s respective exam. The test consists of educational material as well as practical information, making it necessary to study for the exam. The major shortage in nursing comes with the licensure of the registered nurse. The RN certification opens many doors and opportunities to those wanting to pursue a career in the medical profession. In most cases the Registered Nurse oversees other medical tech., interns, LPN (LVN) and Certified Nurses Aids. The average salary reported on the Internet for a RN is in the range of $55,000 per year. RN’s can work in private practice, doctor’s offices, hospitals, traveling situations as well as other medical options.

BSN:

The BSN or Bachelors of Science in Nursing can be obtained after a nurse completes a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. Many universities are now offering an online option or correspondence classes for nurses to achieve the higher level of education. The RN may wish to return to school to enhance his/her skill and salary level. This transition may not be obvious to a patient by sight, but the experience and knowledge could be a tale-tale sign. A BSN also looks better on paper and hospitals, doctors, nursing homes will ring your telephone off the wall. Generally, the BSN works in a managerial position reviewing case files, dealing with administrators and advocating for patients, but can hold a variety of other nursing positions. The Internet reports the average salary for a BSN at well over $60,000 per year.

Regardless of the nursing path that is chosen, it is extremely important to prepare. While in school take good notes, keep textbooks and other information obtained during the educational experience. Pay close attention in the practical training provided in the hospital or with other medical professionals. The state exam that you will be taking to obtain your license must be taken seriously. There are a variety of great preparatory study guides that will help prepare you for your big day. It is also recommended and advisable to obtain the furthest degree in nursing possible. The more education and letters behind your name the more opportunity that you will have. Nursing is one of those fields that no matter where you go or live there is always a job waiting for you.

Natural Therapy for Maintaining Healthy Blood Pressure

One of the more common treatments for high blood pressure are ACE inhibitors. When your kidneys detect low blood pressure, they release an enzyme called renin, which stimulates the formation of a protein called angiotensin I. Angiotensin I is then converted by the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) in the lungs to a very potent chemical called angiotensin II. Angiotensin II is a powerful blood vessel constrictor that causes muscles surrounding the blood vessels to contract, resulting in narrowing of the blood vessels. This narrowing of the vessels increases pressure in the vessels and can result in high blood pressure .

The ACE Inhibitors block the action of the angiotensin-converting enzyme in the lungs so that angiotensin I is not converted into angiotensin II. This allows blood vessels to remain widened, which results in lowering of the blood pressure. ARBs block the action of angiotensin II itself, so that vessels dilate, making it easier for the heart to pump blood, and results in lower blood pressure .

The natural bioactive casein hydrolysate tripeptides in Melaleuca’s ProStolic™ act as a natural blocker to the formation of angiotensin II. Also included in this proprietary blend is pomegranate juice powder, which inhibits activity of the angiotensin-converting enzyme as well. A third ingredient is passionflower extract. Although researchers don’t know exactly how passionflower works, they believe that flavonoid and alkaloid compounds in the plant regulate the neurotransmitters in your nervous system that reduce anxiety. One of these flavonoids in particular, chrysin, helps to calm your central nervous system and lower your blood pressure.

Combined with the proprietary blend of tripeptides, pomegranate juice powder and passion flower extract, ProStolic™ also contains potassium and calcium to provide a well-rounded natural remedy to help promote healthy blood flow and naturally maintain healthy blood pressure, but without the side effects so common with medications.

Tripeptides are formed when milk casein is broken down into smaller pieces. Several different peptides have been studied, but a significant amount of research has determined that the tripeptides Isoleucine-Proline-Proline (IPP) and Valine-Proline-Proline (VPP) have the most supportive evidence for their efficacy, safety and bioavailability The natural bioactive hydrolyzed casein (a combination of tripeptides IPP and VPP) is an active ingredient included in the proprietary blend in Melaleuca’s ProStolic™. These tripeptides are derived from nonfat milk casein, and have been clinically proven to help maintain healthy blood pressure. Most studies show that blood pressure is lower after 2 weeks of daily consumption of IPP and VPP, and reach a stable level after 4-6 weeks.

Like the mechanism of action of the commonly prescribed ACE Inhibitors, the natural action of tripeptides block the formation of Angiotensin II, which normally causes the blood vessels to narrow. But that’s where the similarity ends. Studies show that IPP and VPP tripeptides accomplish the blockage of Angiotensin II without the side effects so common in ACE and ARB medications. In 2001, an 8-week placebo-controlled, double-blind study was conducted on 30 people with mild or moderate hypertension. Results of the study showed a significant decrease in blood pressure of IPP and VPP test subjects, but no change was seen in the placebo group. In addition, no adverse reactions such as dry cough, digestive tract symptoms or abnormal changes were observed.

Nutritional Supplements: Adding To Your Health?

Nutritional supplements refers to a wide range of products that are designed to enhance your health, improve athletic performance, or otherwise affect your physical or mental well being. These can include vitamins, sports supplements, weight loss products, teas, herbs, and anti-oxidants. Nutritional supplements can be found in almost all health food stores and many traditional stores as well.

Throughout history, nutritional supplements have been used to treat a wide range of ailments and to improve health. Many traditional medicines come from what may be considered supplements. Perhaps one of the most common forms of nutritional supplement is the vitamin. Many people take multi-vitamins, and doctors often recommend such use. Some vitamins can be risky if taken in excess, however, so an awareness of the safety of such vitamins is essential. An excess of Vitamin A, for example, can lead to liver damage and other unpleasant side effects. Consult with a doctor before taking anything vitamin supplements.

Other popular supplements are used in sports, where they are used to enhance performance and speed recovery. Many supplements used for these purposes cause debate as to effectiveness, and some have been pulled from the shelves. Ephedrine is one recent example. Used in many weight loss products, ephedrine caused serious heart problems for some users and is now a regulated substance. Creatine is another supplement of possible unknown side effects. Some people claim that it causes liver damage, while others say that it is safe when used appropriately.

One of the most important things to know about nutritional supplements is that they are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is why many product claims on packaging labels and advertising materials include the message, “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration” or something similar. Because supplements are not regulated, the manufacturing, processing, and packaging methods can vary a great deal from one product to another. When using supplements, be sure to research the company and choose a reputable supplier. The safety of supplements may also be unknown due to the lack of regulation. Again, careful shopping is necessary.

Many producers and users of supplements claim that they are safe because they are natural or made from “all natural” ingredients. While this may seem like a logical claim, consumers must use their best judgment when considering the use of supplements. Many substances found in nature are not safe, and are in fact toxic, poisonous, and even deadly. After all, poison ivy is “all natural,” but you likely won’t want to rub it all over your skin, even if a great sales pitch tried to convince you that it’s the best moisturizer around.

Some nutritional supplements can be useful and aid your health. Just as with any consumable, careful shopping and research is essential to your good health. If a claim seems too good to be true, it likely is. Be aware of product pitches and use good judgment before purchasing and using any nutritional supplements. Buy supplements from a reputable company and manufacturer, and when in doubt, consult a physician before beginning a supplement routine.

Naturally Sweet and Healthy – The Wonders of Stevia

Stevia (STEE-vee-uh) is an outstanding, sweet tasting herb that has remarkable health promoting qualities. The sweetness of Stevia is largely due to its complex stevioside molecule that is composed of glucose, sophorose and steviol. A second compound called rebaudioside, which is present in Stevia, also contributes to Stevia’s sweetness. Stevia has a taste that is unique and has been described as very sweet with a slight licorice, almost bitter aftertaste. Generally, high quality Stevia contains very little of this bitterness. The sweetness of Stevia is much different than the sweetness of other natural sweeteners, sugar, or artificial sweeteners, but it is delicious. For some people the taste may require some “getting used to,” but most people quickly develop a taste for it.

Stevia is a South American shrub whose leaves have been used for centuries by native peoples in Paraguay and Brazil to sweeten their yerba mate and other stimulant beverages. The stevia plant belongs to the Compositae (sunflower family of plants). Centuries ago, Natives of Paraguay used the leaves of this small, herbaceous, semi-bushy, perennial shrub to sweeten their bitter drinks. Originating in the South American wild, it could be found growing in semi-arid habitat ranging from grassland to scrub forest to mountain terrain. The plant made its way to Pacific Rim countries where in recent decades it became cultivated domestically, used in its raw leaf form and now is commercially processed into sweetener.

If you’ve ever tasted stevia, you know it’s extremely sweet. In fact, this remarkable noncaloric herb, native to Paraguay, has been used as a sweetener and flavor enhancer for centuries. Stevia is a natural, non-caloric, sweet-tasting plant used around the world for its pleasant taste, as well as for its increasingly researched potential for inhibiting fat absorption and lowering blood pressure.

Stevia is about 300 times sweeter than sugar in its natural state, and much more so when processed. Its medicinal uses include regulating blood sugar, preventing hypertension, treatment of skin disorders, and prevention of tooth decay. Other studies show that it is a natural antibacterial and antiviral agent as well. Stevia is actually good for you! On top of that, it is calorie and carbohydrate free. Stevia is a great sweetener choice for diabetics, those watching their weight, and anyone interested in maintaining their health.

Topically, Stevia has excellent healing capabilities. If placed on a cut or scrape, it stings initially followed by a significant reduction in pain and accelerated healing with no scarring. Whole leaf Stevia extract can be used as a facial mask by smoothing the dark liquid over the entire face, allowing it to dry for 30-60 minutes, then rinsing. This will help tighten the skin, smooth out wrinkles and heal skin blemishes and acne. This has been reported to be effective when used on seborrhea, dermatitis and eczema, as well. Stevia is also beneficial for the hair and scalp; good results have been obtained by adding Stevia concentrate to shampoo, and also applying concentrate to the hair after shampooing, allowing it to remain on the hair for a few minutes, then rinsing.

Stevia is also able to perform a number of other beneficial tasks. For example, it has been shown that Stevia may enhance moods and increase energy levels and mental alertness. What’s more, it is also been shown to stop the growth of bacteria in the mouth is responsible for the production of acids that are responsible for gingivitis and cavities.

In recent years, Stevia has made its way to the Far East. In the 70’s and 80’s Stevia was developed as a sweetener/flavour enhancer which has since been used widely for this purpose in Japan, China, Korea, Israel, Brazil and Paraguay. It has been embraced in Japan, where it’s used in soy sauce, sweet pickles and soft drinks. In Japan, Diet Coke has been sweetened with Stevia.

The products in which Stevia has been used include soft drink, ice cream, cookies, pickles, chewing gum, tea and skin care products. In Japan about 40% of the sweetener market is stevia-based. The main producers of stevia are Japan, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Korea, Brazil, Malaysia and Paraguay.

The cosmetic industry also employs the use of Stevia in many of the available skin care products. It has been shown to reduce skin blemishes when applied topically. Stevia also relieves stomach discomfort.

There are no symptoms of deficiency but everyone can benefit from the use of Stevia. Populations that may benefit from the use of Stevia include: diabetics, the obese, the elderly, children, and athletes.

Diabetics, individuals with blood sugar problems, or the obese, may benefit from supplementing with Stevia due to its ability to regulate blood sugar.

Individuals suffering from hypertension may also benefit from the use of Stevia. It has been shown that in cases of high blood pressure Stevia has the ability to act as a vasodiolator, thus helping to lower hypertension.

In the late 1980s an “anonymous firm” lodged a “trade complaint” with the FDA about Stevia when it started to surface in the United States. One company using stevia was the Celestial Seasonings herbal tea company. They were ordered by the FDA to stop producing tea “adulterated” with Stevia. Traditional Medicinals, another tea company, had their inventory of Stevia teas confiscated during an unexpected FDA raid and were told the tea would be burned.

Why did the government treat Stevia like a controlled substance? FDA documents call Stevia a “dangerous food additive” even though the safety of Stevia has been widely tested for many years by scientists in Japan. The FDA will not reveal who made the “trade complaint” (despite the Freedom of Information Act) though many suspect that it was the makers of the artificial sweetener Aspartame (aka “Nutrasweet”) trying to fend off competition, as the artificial sweetener is very profitable.

To judge from the extensive measures the FDA has employed to keep Americans in the dark about Stevia, one might assume it was some type of dangerous narcotic. But, in fact, no ill effects have ever been attributed to it, although it has been used by millions of people around the world, in some locales for hundreds of years.

So adamant has the FDA remained on the subject, that even though Stevia can now be legally marketed as a dietary supplement under legislation enacted in 1994, any mention of its possible use as a sweetener or tea is still strictly prohibited.

In 1995 the FDA reversed their decision to ban Stevia, but only halfway. Stevia can now be sold as a “nutritional supplement” but not as a sweetener in the United States. This is also the case in the European Union, and the World Health Organization is pressuring other countries to follow suit.

Benefits
• non-caloric sweetener
• inhibits fat absorption and lowers blood pressure
• regulates blood sugar levels

Noninfectious Reasons to get Health Insurance for the Family Cat

Most people do not to think about purchasing pet health insurance for the family cat simply because it seems as if cats never get sick. The veterinary concern most cat owners worry about is what will happen if their family cat gets run over by a passing car. Cat owners who keep their cats in the house don’t even worry about that. The truth is that there are many health problems that can cause the family cat to need to visit the family veterinarian and most of them are expensive. On the rare occasions cat owners find themselves facing an emergency vet bill they wish they had purchased a pet health care policy for their cat.

When humans think about cat allergies they automatically assume you are talking about humans who are allergic to cat hair what they don’t realize is that cats can have allergies all of their own that can plague them for the rest of their lives. Some cats suffer from inhalant allergies, these are allergies caused by inhalant allergens with are airborne particles that irritate the respiratory system. Inhalant allergies often make themselves apparent in asthma like symptoms. Some cats who suffer from inhalant allergies will also have skin lesions and experience hair loss. Dusty kitty litters, pollen, perfumes, cleaning sprays, deodorizers, dust, and smoke are all things your family cat might be allergic to.

A second type of allergy cats suffer from are called contact allergies with are allergies that are caused be physical contact with a substance that causes a physical reaction (often hives, swelling, and/or hair loss). Contact allergens a house cat might be exposed to are plants, carpet fresheners/cleaners, household cleaners, dust, synthetic fibers, wool fibers, some medicated skin crams, and ink.

If your cat has any type of allergies do not treat it with an over-the-counter anti-allergy medication without your veterinarian’s advice. Some cats require veterinary care for anal gland problems. Anal glands are glands are small glands in the anal sphincter muscle. Sometimes these glands become, impacted, injured, or infected and require veterinary care.

Veterinarians say that most cat constipation is caused by a hairball that is plugging up the cat’s system. If the hairball is extremely large your veterinarian may have to perform immediate surgery to remove it. Like their human owners some cats suffer from liver and kidney disease. Liver and kidney disease is most commonly seen in older cats although some younger cats will suffer liver disease that can be caused by parasites, medications, infections, cancers, and toxins. Blood tests are normally needed to accurately diagnosis kidney or liver disease.

A potentially lethal inflammation of the pancreas is called panaceatitis. Pancreatitis can be caused by infections, shock, infections, trauma, and/or metabolic disorders. Cats that have pancreatitis typically have abdominal pain, fever, elevated heart rate. If you suspect your cat is suffering from pancreatitis you can try with holding food and pushing water spiked with electrolytes. Your vet should be consulted immediately.
Pancreatitis is often associated with diabetes.

Office Plants For A Healthy & Happy Workplace

It is difficult to completely control the indoor climate in an office. It can easily become too hot, too cold, too dry or too damp. Furthermore, it can never be perfect for everyone: what one person finds too hot is too cold for someone else.

In addition printers, copiers, computer monitors, floor coverings, paint and wallpaper release substances into the air which affects the quality of the indoor climate.

The potential consequences of poor air quality are well known: irritated eyes, headache, skin complaints and dry membranes in the nose and mouth. This is not only unpleasant, it is also unhealthy.

Dry throat? Burning eyes? Recurrent headaches? Plants improve your working environment all year round

In winter, when the heating is running at maximum, it is the lack of moisture in the air which causes problems. Most people find a relative humidity of between 30% and 60% pleasant. But many offices do not even achieve the lower level of 30% in winter months. It is no fun indoors in the summer either. Sealed climate control systems with non-opening windows means that you cannot control the environment yourself. Even in offices with the latest climate control systems, more than a quarter of the staff are dissatisfied with the temperature or the humidity.

Yet you can easily improve the indoor climate buy using plants! Plants help create a healthy indoor climate and a happier workplace. Not only do they put water vapour back into the air, they also absorb heat and filter dust and harmful substances out of the air. Some indoor palms give off a lot of water, and sword ferns and gerberas cleanse the air of the formaldehyde released by building materials, paper and furniture. Other good air-purifying plants are the rubber plant, English ivy and date palm.

Which plants?

Different plants have different effects – some purify and some humidify the air. Plants with a high level of water consumption can increase humidity by to 15%. Recommended plant types to purify the air are: Parlour Palm, Kentia Palm, Ficus, Ivy, Boston fern, Philodendron, Spathiphyllum and Mother-in-law’s Tongue. Recommended plant types to humidify the air are: Ferns like Boston fern, African Hemp, Cyperus and other grasses, Spider plant, Bamboo and Spathiphyllim

Fewer complaints & less illness

The effect of plants in the workplace has been the subject of repeated scientific investigation. Time after time the conclusion is the same: plants work! One study looked at the effect of plants on the health of staff in the radiology department of a Norwegian hospital. Once plants were placed in the department and artificial daylight was introduced, the level of health complaints amongst those studied fell noticeably. This resulted in a permanent reduction in absence due to illness from 15% to 5% within 6 months. The instances of the following complains fell by a significant percentage:

Nutritional Supplements: Are They Really Essential For Good Health

Why should I take nutritional supplements? Can’t I just eat healthy, exercise, drink plenty of water, etc.? A fair question. After all, quality nutritional supplements are not cheap. Let’s look at the arguments for taking nutritional supplements in addition to a healthy lifestyle.

Argument #1: Our foods no longer contain the nutrition they should

Due to modern processing and farming methods, foods that should be high in certain nutrients no longer are. For example, the tomato is an excellent source of phytonutrients, specifically, lycopene. But when you buy a tomato from the grocery store, there is little to no lycopene or other nutrients left in it. The tomato was likely grown on nutrient depleted soil, fertilized and sprayed with toxic chemicals, picked green, then gassed to turn it red. Little wonder it has no nutrition value left!

Another culprit in the nutrition depletion of foods is our food cooking and preparation. Even if you could by some magic acquire a nutrient rich tomato, cooking or storing the tomato will destroy most of the nutrients. For example, studies have shown that phytonutrients begin breaking down less than 24 hours after the vegetable was picked!

Of course, there are many other factors contributing to the poor nutrient content of our foods: breeding, GMOs, storage, etc, etc. Once you consider all of the factors causing the poor nutrient content in our food, it becomes quite logical to take supplements to replace these nutrients.

Argument #2: We no longer eat the right foods

If you eat a 100% organic, fresh diet, you’re a long ways ahead of the rest of us. Of course, the foods you’re eating are still nutrient depleted, as we saw above.

But for the rest of us, we need to supplement our diets also because we’re just not eating the foods we should. Currently, french fries are the most consumed vegetable in the United States. We’re just not getting the nutrients we need!

Argument #3: Environmental stress necessitates nutritional supplements

The Los Angeles Times ran an article last year revealing a startling finding: scientists announced that by the time a child born in LA was 2 weeks old, he had already been exposed to more toxins than would be acceptable for his entire life! While we don’t all live in Los Angeles, we’re all subject to environmental stress that puts extra burden on our immune systems. Even our drinking water has chemicals and toxins in it.

The best way to counter the stress on your body’s health caused by all of these toxins and such is to support your body with proper nutrition. Since our foods are nutrient depleted, the only way to properly support your health is through nutritional supplements.

Argument #4: Nutritional supplements allow us to benefit from nutrient rich foods around the world.
Even if our foods weren’t nutrient depleted and our environment wasn’t toxic, nutritional supplements would still have benefit. They allow us to benefit from plants and nutrient rich foods found around the world that otherwise we would be unable to benefit from. Good examples would be the goji berry from China, the Australian bush plum, and many others.

Do you want optimal health? The only way to properly support your body’s health is to take quality nutritional supplements.

Obesity is an Increasing Health Risk

High blood pressure, joint pains, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, heart ailments, palsy, liver ailments, menstrual abnormalities, breast cancer, female infertility, decline in libido, endometrial cancer, mental stress, blood circulation diseases like arteriosclerosis, cholelithiasis etc. These are some of the diseases which might come up with obesity. This list seems endless. But before knowing how to end obesity one must know “what is obesity?”

Whom would you consider a person to be obese? A person who has BMI (Body Mass Index) of over 30 is considered to be an obese individual. But how does one become obese? In theory causes of obesity are gene, intake of fatty foods, lacking of physical activity, food habits, laziness and endocrine problems.

What are the available remedies for getting out of obesity?

Liposuction: It is a surgical process where the fat is removed by sucking out the fat from the body by inserting a needle.

Surgery: Commonly this procedure involves surgery of stomach and intestine to lower the intake of food.

Diet Pills: Majority of the diet pills are for short-term use only. These diet pills are effective only if they are used in combination with exercises and a controlled diet.

Fat burning pills: These are short-term quick fat burning pills. But the main problem with this medication is that the results are short lived. Once the medication is stopped the fats again show up.

Exercises: It is an age old technique of obesity reduction. It is a natural process so side effects are not there.

Controlled diet program: Like exercises this too is a natural process. Here a limited amount of food is taken which controls the formation of fat in the body.
Acupressure and acupuncture: Age old technique but nothing concrete has been proved yet.

Whatever be the method of getting over obesity there is no better method than natural methods like exercises and controlled diet program. And if a diet pill like Phentermine, Adipex, Acomplia is introduced the effects would be visible within a short time period.

Apart from physical aspects obesity may also let you feel dejected, out of the world and may make an individual abstain from social gatherings. If you are obese it is time to act. Whatever remedy you choose you should always consult your doctor for his view on that remedy.

Nutrition: The Super Foods That Keep You Healthy

Get ready to experience a volume of information of the healthiest foods in the world. Here is a list of the top ten super foods that most health experts agree on. You should tell everyone you know about these foods and enjoy them at your next meal. From fruits and vegetables, to whole grains, nuts, beans and legumes, this power-packed nutritional inventory will take you into the best years of your life and beyond.

Fruits

1. Cantaloupe

Only a quarter of cantaloupe provides almost all the vitamin A needed in one day. Since the beta-carotene in a cantaloupe converts to vitamin A, you get both nutrients at once. These vision-strengthening nutrients may help reduce the risk of developing cataracts. Like an orange, cantaloupe is also an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps our immune system. It is also is a good source of vitamin B6, dietary fiber, folate, niacin, and potassium, which helps maintain good blood sugar levels and metabolism. This pale orange power fruit may help reduce our risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

2. Blueberries

These mildly sweet (and sometimes tangy) berries offer a high capacity to destroy free radicals that can cause cancer. Low in calories, they offer antioxidant phytonutrients called anthocyanidins, which enhance the effects of vitamin C. These antioxidants may help prevent cataracts, glaucoma, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, peptic ulcers, heart disease and cancer.

Vegetables

3: Tomatoes

Tomatoes help us fight against heart disease and cancers such as colorectal, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and cancer of the pancreas. Tomatoes are also good sources of vitamin C, A, and K. In a 2004 study, it was found that tomato juice alone can help reduce blood clotting.

Fresh, organic tomatoes deliver three times as much of the cancer-fighting carotenoid lycopene. Even organic ketchup is better for you than regular ketchup! Look for tomato pastes and sauces that contain the whole tomato (including peels) because you will absorb 75% more lycopene and almost two times the amount of beta-carotene.

4: Sweet Potatoes

As an excellent source of vitamin A, C, and manganese, sweet potatoes are also a good source of copper, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, potassium and iron. Those who are smokers or prone to second- hand smoke may benefit greatly from this root vegetable that helps protect us against emphysema.

For a unique dessert, cube a cooked sweet potato and slice a banana. Then lightly pour maple syrup over the top and add a dash or two of cinnamon. Add chopped walnuts for an even healthier kick.

5: Spinach and Kale

A cancer-fighter and cardio-helper, spinach and kale top the list as far as green leafy vegetables are concerned. Much like broccoli, they provide an excellent source of vitamin A and C. Kale is a surprisingly good source of calcium at 25% per cup, boiled. Vitamin K is abundantly found in spinach as well, with almost 200% of the Daily Value available, to help reduce bone loss.

Whole Grains

6: Whole Grain Bread, Pasta and Brown Rice

Whether it’s bread or pasta, the first thing to check for when purchasing whole grain bread and pasta is to make sure it is 100% whole grain. Remember to check the list of ingredients on the package. For example, look for the exact phrase “whole wheat flour” as one of the first ingredients listed in whole wheat bread. If it’s not listed as such, then it’s not whole grain. Wheat bran is a cancer-fighting grain that also helps us regulate our bowel movements.

Brown rice is also a better choice than refined grain (white rice) for the same reason as choosing whole wheat bread. Whole wheat flour or brown rice that turns into white flour or white rice actually destroys between 50-90% of vitamin B3, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, manganese, phosphorus, iron, and all of the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids we need. Even when processed white flour or white rice is “enriched,” it is not in the same form as the original unprocessed kind. In fact, 11 nutrients are actually lost and are not replaced during the “enrichment” process!

Nuts

7: Walnuts

These nuts are packed with omega-3 fats, which is one of the “good” fats. A quarter cup of walnuts would take care of about 90% of the omega-3s needed in one day. Walnuts provide many health benefits including cardiovascular protection, better cognitive function, anti-inflammatory advantages relating to asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis. They can even help against cancer and also support the immune system.

Beans and Legumes

8: Black Beans and Lentils

While black beans are a good source of fiber that can lower cholesterol, so are lentils. The high fiber content in both black beans and lentils helps to maintain blood sugar levels. Also a fat-free, high quality protein with additional minerals and B-vitamins, black beans and lentils fill you up and don’t expand your waistline.

A complete, one-stop source of using a variety of beans and lentils comes easy when you can find a bag of 15-bean mix (includes black beans, lentils, navy, pinto, red, kidney, etc.) at the grocery store. Consider making a delicious soup with the addition of tomatoes, onions, garlic and your favorite spices with this bean mixture.

Dairy

9: Skim Milk and Yogurt

Skim milk (or low-fat) helps to promote strong bones, offering an excellent source of calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin K. These nutrients help protect colon cells from cancer-causing chemicals, bone loss, migraine headaches, premenstrual symptoms, and childhood obesity. Recent studies also show that overweight adults lose weight, especially around the midsection, when consuming low-fat dairy such as skim milk and yogurt.

Yogurt also includes the essential nutrients such as phosphorous and vitamin B2, vitamin B12, vitamin B5, zinc, potassium, and protein. Yogurt’s live bacterial cultures also provide a wealth of health benefits that may help us live longer and strengthen our immune system.

Seafood

10: Salmon

Salmon is high in protein, low in saturated fat and high in omega-3 fats (the essential fatty acids that are also found in those walnuts mentioned earlier). Salmon is a heart-healthy food and is recommended to eat at least twice a week. When choosing salmon, it’s best to stay away from farm raised and select wild instead. Research studies show that farmed salmon may cause cancer because it may carry high levels of carcinogenic chemicals known as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

Other

Green Tea and “Power” Water

Although not food per say, the health benefits of these beverages are worthy of mentioning.

Green tea has beneficial phytonutrients and lower levels of caffeine than all other teas. The more research studying green tea, the more health benefits are found. A cancer fighter as well, green tea has antioxidant effects that lower risks of bacterial or viral infections to cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, periodontal disease, and osteoporosis.

Water packed with vitamins and/or naturally sweetened fruit are also the newest trend. Some offer a full day’s supply of vitamin C while others promise no artificial sweeteners with a full, fruity taste.

As you can see, the top ten super foods are worth every bite (or sip). Now that you know which foods can help save your life, what’s more important than investing in your health?

Pedometers: The Magic Pill for Better Health

If there were a pill you could take that could help you lose weight,
get in better shape, and live a longer, healthier life, wouldn’t you
want to know about it?

The good news is, there is such a pill, and it doesn’t require a
prescription, nor is it available ¡°over the counter.¡± It’s a simple step
counter, or pedometer, and it has powers you would not believe to
improve your health and wellness, lose weight, and live longer.

What’s a pedometer? It’s a simple electronic device you wear on
your waistband that counts steps. Technically, a pedometer
calculates distance, as opposed to a step counter, which only
counts steps. The pedometer still counts steps, and uses a user-
input stride length to calculate the distance. Other pedometers
show calories burned, elapsed exercise time, steps per minute, and
on and on. All you really need is something that accurately counts
steps. Other features can be nice, but many are not necessary.

Why is it important to count steps? It’s a primary indication of the
activity you are engaged in during the day. Studies have shown that
you don’t need to dedicate a specific time to exercise, per se, but
smaller bouts of activity can have the same effect as one longer,
extended period.

That means that making small changes in your daily routine can have
tremendous effects on your health. Park farther from the store, take
the stairs instead of the elevator, pace while you’re on the phone,
walk with the dog instead of just letting her go, and go down the hall
instead of sending an e-mail or picking up the phone.

By taking more steps-essentially increasing your daily activity and
burning more calories-you are becoming more physically active.
The American Medical Association says that by increasing your
activity level, you will:

¡¤ Increase stamina
¡¤ Stimulate weight loss
¡¤ Lower blood cholesterol
¡¤ Lower blood pressure
¡¤ Improve self image
¡¤ Improve mood
¡¤ Enhance quality of life

As if that weren’t enough, the AMA says you will also:

¡¤ Sleep better
¡¤ Strengthen your heart and lungs
¡¤ Decrease stress
¡¤ Increase energy
¡¤ Maintain appropriate weight
¡¤ Lower triglycerides
¡¤ Control blood sugar levels/diabetes
¡¤ Feel better
¡¤ Reduce feelings of depression and anxiety
¡¤ Improve productivity
¡¤ Build an maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints
¡¤ Increase muscle tone
¡¤ Reduce risk if dying prematurely

If any of these benefits are important to you, it’s vital that you begin
to move more. The American College of Sports Medicine
traditionally prescribes the following as the appropriate level of
activity in order to get these benefits:

¡¤ Frequency: 3 – 5 days per week
¡¤ Intensity: 60% to 90% of maximal heart rate
¡¤ Duration: 20 – 60 minutes

If you can’t take 30 minutes to exercise, try three 10-minute walking
sessions throughout the day. Walk briskly to get the maximum
benefit. If you have been sedentary, check with a doctor and start
slow.

Your new life begins today, and it will be a healthier, longer, and
happier life!