Preferred Fitness Blog

Our goal is to offer the opportunity to the sharing of experiences and info related to HEALTH, FITNESS, PROMOS and upcoming EVENTS.

  1. How to Dodge Awkward Family Situations During the Holidays

    December 8, 2017 by

    It’s that time of year again. You will have many opportunities to be around family and get some uninvited advice about your job, your kids, your house, or even your cooking. Conversations may arise about who got your most recent political vote, what you are eating, and other comments that tend to start some holiday flare-ups with your relatives. This is why two-thirds of people claim to predict there to be at least one argument this season. Here are some ways to dodge some awkward conversations so you won’t be left running for the door before dessert is served.

    1. Politics

    Americans tend to avoid discussing politics during holidays, but this year, there is likely to be a bit of discussion. To avoid having an argument, some families even institute a politics-free rule. However, things may still come up, especially if there is alcohol involved. This may cause some people to feel picked on for their political views.

    While it may be tempting to defend your political POV, moving on to a different conversation doesn’t have to mean that you have abandoned your beliefs. If someone isn’t willing to have a polite conversation, then protect your sanity by counteracting a family member’s raised voice by speaking in a soft and slow tone. Stay calm so the other people in the room will be likely to do the same thing. Also, at the beginning of the event, pair up with someone to help you steer the conversation into safe waters.

    If someone asks questions rather than pointing out why you’re wrong, this is a sign that the person is willing to have a real conversation. Just try not to do it somewhere that the whole family is listening and will begin to chime in.

    Finally, if someone makes a comment that really bothers you, follow up with them later during a more quiet moment. You can even use the comment as a starting point to begin a conversation with your children about your family’s principles.

    2. Food Fights

    Strict diets, allergies, and limitations are common these days, leaving people eating very differently from one another. If someone makes a comment about your diet, respond in a brief yet firm way that doesn’t invite further discussion. You can even choose to quickly change the subject so the person has no room for further questions.

    3. Your Life

    Choices that were once considered to be shocking, such as unwed cohabitation, midlife career changes, and waiting to have children, are now fairly common. But old-school thinkers may still judge you for your own personal life’s timeline. It is a good idea to have some responses planned in advance for these types of questions concerning exactly when you will get engaged or get pregnant.

    A good way to deal with this is to use humor so the interrogators aren’t able to watch you squirm. Make a joke about someone asking you where your date is by saying something like “He is trapped in my basement.” People will either laugh or become uncomfortable enough to change the subject.

    4. Family Fights

    It is no surprise that your relatives have a lot of opinions about how you are raising your children. Research actually shows that parents are more likely than adults without children to fight with their family during the holidays. People often wonder if they are doing a good job parenting and it is a sensitive subject, so when this is challenged, it is likely to start a feud.

    Whether you are dealing with some habits are uncomfortable or truly upsetting, dealing with someone else’s opinions is a great way to remind yourself of what you want from this holiday season. Chances are, you just want to have a good time. If you’re not willing to let some things slide, work with your partner to hash things out and have each of you deal with your own side of the family.

    5. Mental Health

    While the world has made great strides in overcoming the misconceptions and stigmas that surround mental health, unfortunately, your family may not be making any progress. Realizing why they do not understand certain conditions, like generational taboos, doesn’t remove the sting from their side-eye. You are allowed to be annoyed when your relative sees your prescription drugs in your bag and is now an expert on curing anxiety the natural way.

    If someone makes a comment, it is not your responsibility to educate them on your treatment plan. Instead, respond by saying that you are doing what works best for you right now. If a family member can’t understand why you are depressed, all you can do is remind yourself that not everyone understands mental health issues. Remind family members that everyone has their ups and down and it’s normal to go through some low points in life. Then do what you need to stay calm. Walk the dog or send an eye roll emoji text to a friend.

    6. Game Changers

    If you feel a conversation is starting to go south, use a one-liner to dodge the bullet. Say something along the lines of:

    “I hear you have been involved in some community service. Tell me about it.”

    Why it works: People love to talk about themselves. Shift the attention back to them!

    “I don’t want to talk about this.”

    Why it works: Women hate confrontation or ruffling feathers, so putting up boundaries and setting limits for yourself is the best thing you can do during this holiday.

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  2. Increasing Your Gratitude

    December 7, 2017 by

    Having gratitude is important for living a happy and healthy life. Talking about the things in your life that you are grateful for is one of the healthiest parts of celebrating the holidays. According to psychologists, practicing gratitude can help you gain both happiness and health. However, it is a shame that most Americans don’t talk about what they are grateful for on an everyday basis. While it is great to give thanks once a year, doing it more often is even more beneficial.

    Studies have shown that being conscious of your gratitude has positive effects on your health. One way to increase the amount of time you spend focusing on what you are grateful for is to take a minute before every meal to consider how much work was put into preparing it.

    When thinking about all of the work that went into your meal’s creation, from planting seeds to harvesting and cooking, you will appreciate the nourishment that it provides.

    The First Thanksgiving

    Thanksgiving represents the first recorded feast in 1621 between the pilgrims and the Native Americans in Plymouth. It was attended by at least 50 pilgrims and 90 Indians, who walked for two days just to be at the feast. They ate food and played games for three days. Their meals consisted of venison, fish, and fowls.

    This feast did not become an annual holiday until 1863. Instead, the feast that occurred in 1621 seems to have been an event on its own. The peace between pilgrims and the Native Americans did not last, and Thanksgiving is actually a controversial holiday for many people of Indian descent because of the reminder of ancestral pain.

    Pilgrams and Native Americans lived together in peace for about a decade until thousands of new settlers came over to America after a plague cut the native population by more than half. The arrival of the settlers resulted in a fight for land and animosity.

    Stay Thankful for Thanksgiving

    While you may only be able to think of a few things to be thankful for, creating a great life requires you to work against negative thoughts and act in a positive way even when you don’t want to. Evidence suggests that people can choose to practice gratitude, which helps increase happiness.

    One way to show gratitude when life is not going right is to show thanks for things that may seem insignificant. This could be the passing smell of flowers or the taste of a nice dinner. Over time, you will find that you will be able to find gratitude easily in your everyday life.

    Health Benefits

    Showing thanks has been found to have health benefits, including:

    • Increasing pleasurable feelings and emotions
    • Improving the quality of your sleep
    • Increasing the probability that you will workout
    • Helps with your relationships
      Increases your competence at work

    • Reduces stress
    • Enhances sense of well-being
    • Improves cardiovascular health
    • Strategies to Build Gratitude

    Your sense of gratitude can be built with practice. Here are ten ways to practice strengthening your ability to show thanks.

    1. Write in a daily gratitude journal

    Use a paper journal or an app on your phone to do this. People who keep a gratitude journal tend to exercise more and have fewer visits to the doctor than those who do not.

    2. Write thank you letters

    Getting into the habit of writing thank you letters can help you express your gratitude in addition to just feeling it.

    3. Nonverbal actions

    Give away smiles and hugs. They are free!

    4. Be sincere, and choose your words wisely

    Say “please” and “thank you” when you truly mean it. This will allow the recipient to really believe you when you say these words.

    5. Focus on the well-being of other people

    This will help decrease your unneeded anxieties. Cherish the kindness of other people so you’re less likely to take friends for granted.

    7. Don’t compare yourself to others

    Chances are, you don’t really know what is going on in everyone else’s life. You probably have a lot of things that the next person would be jealous of as well.

    8. Make a nightly gratitude ritual

    Each night before you go to bed, think about 3 things that you are happy about or thankful for from the previous day. Then think about 3 things that you can look forward to the next day. Even if these things are small, it can make a difference.

    9. Spend money on activities rather than things

    Activities will leave you with memories to last a lifetime while things will come and go.

    Have an Attitude of Gratitude All Year

    Your health and happiness depends on your current thoughts. Remember that each moment of every day is a chance to feel and show gratitude. Doing so will strengthen your relationships, make you happier, and improve your health.

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  3. Foods to Increase Your Health

    December 6, 2017 by

    It is important to eat real, whole foods in order to stay healthy throughout your lifetime. It is best to avoid any packaged or manmade food as well as anything that had been processed in a factory. Do your best to make your diet at least 90% whole foods and leave the last 10% for unhealthy snacks.

    Lifestyle is also a huge component of overall health. Some lifestyle choices to make that are beneficial are doing intermittent fasting, getting enough (but not too much) sun exposure, as well as avoiding your exposure to electromagnetic fields. This can be done by limiting your time on your cell phone.

    Top 6 Brain Foods

    When you are looking for foods that nourish your brain, along with your heart health, gut health, muscles, and immune system, think about foods that contain a lot of healthy fat. This makes sense because your brain is actually made up of mostly fat.

    1. Avocados

    These are a good source of oleic acid, which helps decrease inflammation. They also include almost 20 essential nutrients like potassium.

    2. Organic coconut oil

    Coconut oil is great for your thyroid and metabolism and is a medium-chain fatty acid. MCTs have a lot of health benefits, including increasing your metabolism and getting rid of pathogens.

    3. Grass-fed butter and ghee

    About 20% of butterfat is pure short- and medium-chain fatty acids. Your body uses these immediately for energy and they don’t increase your body fat. So, a large portion of the butter you eat is used right away for energy. Ghee is a healthy fat that is great for cooking. It has a longer shelf life than butter.

    4. Organic pastured eggs

    A lot of the best foods for you are high in cholesterol and saturated fats, including eggs. Your body needs cholesterol to regulate protein pathways that are involved in cellular processes. This is especially important for your brain because it contains about 25% of your body’s cholesterol.

    5. Wild-caught Alaskan salmon

    Wild-caught Alaskan salmon is important due to their health benefits and they have a low risk of contamination. It is high in omega-3 fats that your body needs for optimal brain and heart health.

    6. Organic raw nuts

    Macadamia nuts have the highest fat content and lowest protein and carb content out of all of the nuts available, and 60& of the fat oleic acid. One serving of macadamia nuts provides 58% of the recommended daily amount of manganese and 23% of the thiamin you need each day.

    Pecans are similar to macadamia nuts when it comes to fat and protein, and they also have magnesium, which acts as an anti-inflammatory, oleic acid, antioxidants, and manganese.

    3 Foods to Increase Your Heart Health

    Your heart also thrives on healthy fats. Additionally, these three foods are known for their heart benefits:

    1. Beets

    Research shows that beets are very healthy due to their high nitrate content. Your body produces nitric oxide form nitrates, which enhances oxygen and blood flow. It is also beneficial to the immune systems. Research shows that drinking raw beet juice can lower blood pressure by up to five points in only a matter of hours.

    2. Arugula

    Arugula contains flavonoids that help improve blood vessel function, lower blood pressure, increase blood flow, and decrease inflammation. It also has cleansing properties that can help your body get rid of heavy metals.

    3. Sprouts

    Harvesting sprouts before they reach maturity will give you a nutrient-dense plant food that fills you up by eating less food. An easy way to improve your nutrition is to swap out lettuce for sprouts in your salad or other foods you typically put lettuce on.

    4 Foods for Gut Health

    More and more studies continue to show that there are a lot of factors that go into nutrition. One of the components focuses on nourishing health-promoting bacteria in your gut. Having a healthy diet helps create a proper environment for beneficial bacteria to thrive in your gut, while eliminating disease-causing bacteria, fungi and yeast. Some of the best foods to eat for your gut include:

    1. Raw, grass-fed kefir

    This cultured milk product is full of probiotics. It also has fiber, which also helps to nourish the gut.

    2. Fermented vegetables

    Stop eating sugars and eat traditionally fermented foods instead. Fermented vegetables are a common choice and you can ferment almost any vegetable that you want by using a starter culture.

    3. Organic bone broth

    Bone broth is one ancient meal, dating back to the Stone Age. It is also one of the most healing meals. It is easily digested and has amazing immune-optimizing components that are building blocks for the treatment of many diseases.

    4. Organic psyllium

    Psyllium is a dietary fiber that helps increase the number of healthy bacteria in your gut, while also reducing intestinal inflammation. You should be consuming between 20 and 30 grams of fiber each day.

    Anti-Inflammatory Spices

    Many foods have anti-inflammatory properties, but spices can also do the trick.

    1. Turmeric

    Curcumin, the bioactive compound in turmeric, has been found to aid in digestion, modulate about 700 genes, positively control 160 various physiological pathways, improve cell membrane health, and lower inflammation. Turmeric may also have potent anticancer properties.

    2. Ginger

    Ginger has great medicinal qualities. Studies show that ginger can protect against a variety of chronic diseases, partly due to its positive effects on inflammation and oxidative stress. Ginger has also been found to fight cancer and decrease the size of prostate tumors.

    2 Immune-Boosting Foods

    Your immune system fights against diseases and a large part of your immune function depends on your gut health. So, every gut-healthy food that has been previously mentioned helps boost immune function as well. Two others include:

    1. Allium vegetables

    Garlic and onions have health-promoting effects such as reducing inflammation, improving immune function, and improving heart health.

    Garlic and onions can also combat up to 14 kinds of cancerous cells, such as brain, breast, lung, and pancreatic. Both sprouted and fermented, black garlic are variations you can try to switch up your diet a bit. Both of these have shown to give additional health benefits over regular garlic.

    Onions have a lot of beneficial properties. They are antiallergic, anti-inflammatory, antihistaminic, and an antioxidant. Polyphenols are plant compounds recognized for their disease prevention, antioxidant and anti-aging properties.

    2. Mushrooms

    Mushrooms are high in protein, fiber, calcium, vitamin B, vitamin C, and minerals. They are also a great source of antioxidants such as ergothioneine, which is recognized as a “master antioxidant.”

    Mushrooms are also an immunosupportive food which is why they can help treat and prevent cancer.

    2 Muscle-Boosting Foods

    You need protein to build muscle, but eating too much protein can lead to diseases such as cancer. It is best to eat just the right of protein that your body needs.

    Typically, people need about 0.5 grams of protein for each pound of lean body mass. To figure out your lean body mass, subtract your percent body fat from 100 and multiply that percentage by your weight. Then divide your lean body mass in half to get your protein requirement in grams. Two of the top foods for protein are:

    1. Grass-fed beef

    Grass-fed beef has better omega-6 to omega-3 ratios than conventional beef. It also has a higher concentration of conjugated linoleic acid and antioxidants and is less likely to be contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

    2. Whey protein

    This byproduct of milk and cheese provides all of the essential amino acids for your body.

    3. Anticancer Foods

    These foods have potent chemoprotective activity:

    1. Broccoli

    Broccoli has compounds like sulforaphane, glucoraphanin, phenolic compounds and diindolylmethane, which help reduce one’s risk of cancer.

    2. Leeks

    This allium vegetable has therapeutic effects stemming from its sulfur-containing compounds. Leeks also have kaempferol, which is a natural flavonol that has been linked to a lower risk of cancer.

    3. Black cumin

    Black cumin has at least 20 different ways to improve your chances of being able to fight cancer. It has natural antibacterial properties, is an antioxidant, acts as a renal protective, and even has gastro-protective properties.

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  4. The Healthy Habit of Increasing Fiber

    December 5, 2017 by

    Fiber is an important part of one’s overall health, including the fight against cancer and other serious diseases. One study revealed that people suffering from colon cancer who added fiber to their diet likely have a lower risk of death than those who do not eat a lot of fiber.

    Eating enough fiber is so crucial that consuming more fiber after getting a cancer diagnosis can positively impact a patients? prognosis, regardless of how much fiber they ate before their diagnosis.

    One study used the data of over 1,500 adults with colon cancer to find out how much fiber they typically ate, then followed half of the participants for eight years. Of that half, 733 of them died, 174 of which were due to their cancer.

    The study showed that for each additional 5 grams of fiber a patient ate per day, their chances of succumbing to cancer decreased by 22%. Additionally, those patients had a 14% decreased risk of dying overall compared to those who ate the least amount of fiber.

    When someone gets diagnosed with colon cancer and adds dietary fiber to their diet, their survival rate increases. However, it is important to note that the fiber is specifically dietary. Researchers say that certain grains, such as those from cereal, to be one of the most effective ways to increase one’s fiber intake. However, grains raise insulin and leptin levels, which promotes the inflammation of chronic diseases. Some healthier forms of fiber are foods such as produce, berries, flax, psyllium seed husk, and chia seeds.

    Biggest Risk Factors to Disease

    Family history plays a big role in one’s chances of getting colon cancer, as is a personal history of cancer, a failure to get screened, and gastrointestinal diseases such as ulcerative colitis. Lifestyle can also influence one’s risk.

    The intestinal flora of cancer patients also plays a big role in whether or not they are able to be treated with immunotherapy. Some people have thought that specific bacteria had to be present for gut health to be positive, however, it is more likely that the diversity of the flora is the important part.

    This is important because diets that are low in fiber have little microbial diversity. So consuming a fiber-rich diet will improve the microbial diversity in the gut and allow a patient to have better responses during immunotherapy cancer treatment.

    Fiber Should Be a Priority

    People don’t usually think about how much fiber they need to eat throughout the day. Often, people are focused more on protein and fats. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says that people need to consume 25 grams of fiber each day. Most people don?t even come close to eating this amount. This may require an entire diet transformation for some people.

    Fiber helps to move foods along that are stuck in your large intestine and help things pass properly. It also allows the body to distribute nutrients. Additionally, it?s actually your body?s inability to digest some kinds of fiber that makes it important to your digestive process. Soluble fiber, the kind in blueberries and flaxseeds, soaks up water like a sponge and helps foods dissolve into a gel-like texture, slowing down your digestion.

    You want your digestion to be slow so you will full longer, allowing you to eat less. Insoluble fiber is found in celery, carrots, and dark green leafy vegetables.

    Many whole foods like fruits and vegetables have both soluble and insoluble fiber. Both types of fiber are good for you and have positive impacts on long-term health.

    A plant-based diet may result in a wider variety of microbiomes in the gut. Studies have found that the gut microbiome directly affects overall health. One study listed health conditions that can occur with a compromised microbiome. Some of these include:

    • Clostridium difficile infection
    • Inflammatory bowel diseases
    • Allergies
    • Obesity
    • Autoimmune diseases
    • Neuropsychiatric illnesses

    It is jarring to realize that your gut bacteria and your diet can have an impact on your mental health. In addition to your diet, other factors come into play such as the chemicals and pollution that you come into contact with. However, your diet is something that you can easily control that has a large impact on your overall health.

    Some healthy foods that are rich in fiber include:

    • Acorn squash
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Cauliflower
    • Chia seeds
    • Flaxseeds
    • Broccoli
    • Psyllium husk
    • Raspberries
    • Fresh pears
    • Dried figs
    • Almonds
    • Avocados
    • Prunes
    • Pistachios
    • Walnuts

    Remember, it is still important to consider all food factors when eating, such as the high amount of natural sugars in fruit and whether or not a fruit or vegetable is organic.

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  5. Everything You Need to Know About Mint

    December 4, 2017 by

    People love to add mint to their foods and beverages due to its sweet smell and cooling flavor. This great herb is very versatile and is used for many reasons in the culinary industry.

    However, did you know that mint is also very healthy? Mint has a high antioxidant capacity which helps it alleviate health ailments. Also referred to as mentha, mint is a group of about 20 perennial plant species, with the most well-known varieties being peppermint and spearmint. Mint originated n Asia and the Mediterranean and has been valued for centuries not its elegant aroma, and its medicinal benefits. There are a lot of varieties of mint, including peppermint, catnip, spearmint, bergamot, and lemon balm.

    Most mint plants can be distinguished by the appearance of their leaves, stems, and flowers, which are either purple, white, or pink. If you rub a leaf between your fingers, you will be able to notice the distinct and well-known minty smell of mint.

    Mint Leaves and Health Benefits

    Mint’s high antioxidant content is one of its characteristics that make mint beneficial for one’s health. Mint contains vitamins A, B2 and C, and minerals like zinc, calcium, magnesium, and copper.

    Menthol, which is also in mint, has analgesic, which acts as a local anesthetic and can help heal irritations. Mint includes nutrients and has health-promoting properties that make it a beneficial herb. Some potential benefits that you can get from using mint leaves include:

    • Alleviate allergy symptoms due to its anti-inflammatory properties
    • Eases digestive problems because of its ability to increase bile secretion and encourages bile flow, which leads to easier and quicker digestion
    • Helps relieve headaches and nausea
    • Helps relieve congestion and some respiratory disorders by soothing the nose, throat, and other parts of the respiratory system
    • Provides pain relief and helps reduce fatigue

    If mint is used topically, it can be used for many benefits due to its calming and cooling properties. It can help relieve insect bites, sunburn, rashes, and other skin ailments. Additionally, it can be used as an immediate breath freshener.

    It is important to note that certain groups of people should be cautious when using mint. For example, mint can exacerbate the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, so it should be avoided in these circumstances. People who have had gallstones may also want to be cautious to not use this herb for similar reasons.

    Uses for Mint

    Mint has a lot of uses. For example, ancient Greeks used it to clean their tables and even added it to their baths. Also, the Romans believed that mint’s scent can keep people happy and that eating it can boost intelligence.

    Today, mint is used in many products including toothpaste, soothing balms, inhalers, chewing gum, and breath fresheners. There are also a lot of uses for plain mint leaves, including:

    • Flea and tick repellent
    • Foot scrub
    • Room freshener
    • Floor cleaner
    • Mint tea

    Due to its many uses, it is a great idea to plant your own mint at home. To do this, plant several plants about two feet apart from each other because they tend to grow. Most mint plants will grow up to 2 feet tall and do not require a lot of care to thrive. However, it is important to note that mint benefits from pruning and picking because the plant usually produces horizontal runners that could take over your garden.

    If you don’t have a backyard, you can grow mint inside. Plant some mint in containers that have adequate drainage and put them in an area with indirect sunlight. Because mint thrives in moist soil, be sure to water your plant regularly. Once you have a healthy mint plant, you can enjoy all of its benefits.

    Cooking With Mint

    Mint works great in appetizers, main courses, and dessert. You can even use it in a salad to add a fresh taste. People often like to add mint to their water to make it more refreshing to drink. It is just important to remember that different varieties of mint taste a bit different, so you want to make sure you are using the one that you intend to use.

    To choose the best mint variety for your dishes, consider peppermint’s strong flavor that works well in cooked dishes and desserts or drinks that you want to have a menthol flavor. Alternatively, spearmint has a milder and sweeter taste, which is great for making mint tea, creating sauces, and even making jellies. Orange mint, on the other hand, works well when it is used with fruits such as nectarines, peaches, apricots, and plums.

    If you can’t plant mint at home, you can find it at a farmer’s market or your local grocery store. Just make sure that you buy mint that looks healthy and does not appear to be damaged.

    How to Store Fresh Mint

    If you do not store your mint properly, it can wilt and lose its flavor. You should treat mint like a flower when storing it by putting it into a container with water.

    Once you take off the rubber bands that are holding your mint together, trim stems’ ends by cutting off the leaves, allowing some space at the ends. Put the mint stems in a tall container and add water. Cover your plant loosely with plastic and store it in the refrigerator, making sure to change the water every other day.

    You can also wrap your mint with a damp paper towel and put it in a plastic bag. However, it is important to be sure that the mint leaves are not crushed and the mint is able to stay together. Store this in your fridge and it will stay fresh for several weeks.

    Mint smells sweet, is refreshing, and invigorating. It has several different varieties and it has gained a great reputation in the cooking world due to its fragrance and flavor. Its health issues are also widespread, making mint a very good thing to keep around the house.

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  6. The Power of Blueberries and Dark Chocolate

    December 3, 2017 by

    If you are a chocolate lover, you will likely be happy to know there may actually be a scientific reason for your cravings. Researchers claim that potent compounds in both dark chocolate and blueberries could contain some secrets to staying young. Scientists say these compounds can fight wrinkles because they help rejuvenate old cells.

    Lab research has actually been able to show old cells look and act like younger cells by continuing to divide. Using plant chemicals can actually help to switch on the major class of genes that turn off with age, helping restore the function of your old cells. Natural compounds that are found in red grapes, blueberries, red wine, and dark chocolate, specifically the antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory flavonoids, can help you appear more youthful as you age.

    Researchers have been surprised by the extent to which the cell rejuvenation happens and how quickly it takes place. Old cells begin looking like young cells, which increases the implications and potential for new research. Scientists hope this information can be used to increase normal, healthy lifespans for people.

    One reason that this study is so exciting is that it builds upon old anti-aging experiments that focused on significant genes that “switch off” with age along with dysfunctional cells that build up in your tissues with age.

    As you age, your cells are not able to splice as they once did, making them work less effectively. This means they are not able to respond to their environment as well as they could when they were younger. This new discovery has the ability to lead to certain therapies that could help people age better and decrease the degenerative effects of aging. By the age of 85, most people have experienced some sort of chronic illness, and are increasingly likely to experience a stroke, heart disease, and cancer.

    The ?secret? compound found in dark chocolate and blueberries is one that is getting more and more attention these days. There have been many international studies that have indicated that resveratrol has beneficial effects on long-term health. Studies have also shown that resveratrol can modulate a signaling pathway that has the potential to regulate the splicing of cells, as well as suppress cellular senescence.

    While it is exciting to consider the potential of the compounds that are found in blueberries, red wine, red grapes, and dark chocolate, it is important to note that there is already considerable interest in developing drugs that can create senescence for eventual human use. Resveratrol has been noted to have possible protective factors against cancer.

    Curcumin is another food that includes resveratrol. Curcumin is a powerful compound that is found primarily in turmeric. One study has shown that curcumin, along with resveratrol and flavonoids has the ability to positively impact a wide variety of diseases. The idea that these plant-based foods might be helpful when it comes to disease intervention, particularly cancer, is very significant.

    When the human body is exposed to a stressful environment, cell survival is challenged and the risk of chronic disease increases. The polyphenols found in these plants give you protection against some stress-induced toxicities by modulating intercellular communications that inhibit inflammation, free radicals, nuclear damage, which all have the potential to increase one’s life expectancy.

    Antioxidants are the compounds that help decrease oxidation in the body, which is a chemical process that can cause severe damage to your cells. Blueberries and dark chocolate both contain antioxidants and their strength in these foods can be considered impressive.

    Oxidation in the body is similar to a rusty bicycle. This is very close to what happens inside your body if you smoke, eat a poor diet, or live in constant stress. These disruptions in your natural oxidation process create unstable and damaging molecules that are called free radicals. Oxygen allows these chemicals to form, and if left uncontrolled, they will damage the body’s cells.

    Antioxidants, however, fight the damage from free radicals, making resveratrol a potent compound. Flavonoids, which are in blueberries, have been shown to improve brain function in clinical trials. One study actually found that when a group of older adults drank blueberry juice every day, their blood flow to the brain increased. improving cognitive function.

    Studies have shown that the risk of dementia is actually reduced by a higher fruit intake, and cognitive function improves in healthy older adults who have a diet that is rich in plant-based foods.

    While flavonoids are commonly found in fruits and vegetables, they can also be found in nuts, seeds, and green tea. Red wine also includes flavonoids, but should only be consumed in moderation. Many studies show the protective exploits of deeply colored foods such as red grapes and blueberries because polyphenols that they contain are plant chemicals that benefit your entire body, including your brain, skin, heart, bones, and gut. They also help to improve blood pressure, reduce inflammation, stabilize blood sugar, and strengthen bones.

    There are a lot of flavonoids in dark chocolate, including epicatechin, which optimize brain function and lower your risk for Alzheimer?s and improve your mood and emotional stress. This helps benefit your vascular system and decreases your risk of a stroke.

    It is important to note that dark chocolate is the ?good? chocolate because, unlike milk chocolate, it doesn?t contain milk products and sugar that other chocolates have in them. Raw cacao nibs are a great choice for a food, which can be eaten whole or ground into powder to put into smoothies or other recipes. When you are looking for chocolate, look for products with higher cacao and a low sugar content.

    You may not think about your diet when considering your longevity and overall health, but the compounds that give you the most benefits are found in whole foods such as blueberries and dark chocolate. If you eat foods that can improve your health and help prevent disease, you are more likely to live longer.

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  7. Six Ways to Add Variety to Your Workout

    December 2, 2017 by

    If you have been doing the same workout routine for years, it is likely time to switch it up. This will allow your body to get out of a plateau and will also bring a new sense of enjoyment to your workout schedule.

    Whatever your reason is for looking for some new moves, you have obviously hit a workout fatigue that needs some adjusting. You need some new motivation to get to the gym on a regular basis and continue gaining muscle. Boring workouts can result in a willingness to quit, which will not help you reach your goals.

    However, you don’t have to completely rework your routine, especially if you still enjoy doing certain parts of it. Making little changes can help you set your routine on the right path. Here are six ways to add variety to your workout to keep your motivation high.

    1. Try Some New Moves

    While it may be an obvious answer, adding in some new moves to your current routine is one way to switch it up and keep it exciting. You will always resort to doing the exercises that you are used to doing because you like them and they are comfortable for you. Instead, you need to put forth some effort to add in new moves.

    This may require giving some things a try that you never really thought you would do. Maybe there is a sport that you have never tried or even a new type of exercise that you have seen people doing. How about a new class that you never considered or even a bootcamp?

    Trying new things will not only allow you to have a more well-rounded fitness routine, it will also make you healthier in the long-run. Also, you might discover that you like something that you had never considered doing before.

    2. Change Up Your Current Moves

    If you really like what you do now, you don’t have to come up with an entirely new routine. You can take what you currently do and just change it up a bit. Make some little tweaks so you don’t feel like you have to give up what you love.

    This means that you can change to an exercise that has a new variation rather than trashing it completely. This is a great idea if the reason you want to change is that you keep developing the same injury that is being caused by repetition.

    For example, if the back squats that you do hurt your lower back, try doing a front squat or a goblet squat. You can also change your workout by switching your dumbbells to barbells.

    3. Change Your Sets and Reps

    If you want to keep your old exercises but challenge your body a bit more, try changing up your sets and reps. If you are like most people, you probably tend to do three sets of 10 of your exercises. Instead, try doing 10 sets of three. Just make sure to increase your weight accordingly.

    Also, don?t forget about doing drop-sets and getting to the last set until failure. Both of these will stimulate your strength and growth.

    4. Make a Variation to Your Rest

    You may not be great at sticking to an effective rest schedule. Do you ever find yourself chatting with friends or getting some water when you should be paying attention to how much you are resting between sets?

    If you tend to take long rests, shorten them up by holding yourself accountable for only doing 50 seconds of rest. This should equate to a workout rest ratio of 1:1. This will help you build up your muscle endurance and make your muscles more resistant to getting tired.

    5. Change Up Your Tempo

    Try the time under tension theory when it comes to setting your pace. Consider how long each muscle is under strain during a set to help change things up. While you might be used to trying to finish your move as quickly as possible, this is not the best way to challenge your muscles.

    Do the lowering part of your squat for five seconds, then take five seconds to come back up. This will help you increase the amount of time that your muscles are under tension in your workouts.

    6. Add in Some Pauses

    To make your workout more challenging, add a pause before you lift up from your movement. So, if you?re doing a push-up, lower your chest to the ground and pause before pushing back up. This takes some of the momentum out of your exercise, which will make your muscles work harder.

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  8. Seven Great Recovery Tools

    December 1, 2017 by

    Do you ever feel like you just know you are going to be sore the next day after finishing up your workout? If so, consider getting a head start on that misery and think about some tools that you can use to help prevent your muscles from getting sore.

    Here are seven of the best tools available to help you alleviate the pain in all of your muscles before it even appears. These will allow you to feel great the next day after a hard workout.

    1. Roll Recovery Roller

    Massage rollers are great for any part of your body. You can use them on your IT bands, hamstrings, glutes, shins, calves, and even your arms. Massage rollers can help you get deep movement into your muscles that will allow them to relax, preventing them from being sore the next day.

    2. Pro Massage Roller

    These rollers are thin and target areas of your body that may be hard to reach, such as your Achilles tendon and your forearm. These rollers are also great for traveling because they can be packed up easily. They allow you to use as much or as little pressure as you feel necessary, so you can either gently or firmly get rid of the soreness in your muscles.

    3. Massage Ball Set

    Using a massage ball set allows you to loosen your muscles with the freedom to move the balls around as needed. If you need a little more pressure in one place than you do another, these balls are great for targeting exactly what you need in order to feel better. They are good for trigger points and places on your body that are difficult to reach. These balls are also very easy to bring along with you while you travel.

    4. Vibrating Foam Roller

    Professional athletes often use vibrating foam rollers to help relieve their muscles. With various speeds of vibration, you can allow these rollers to do the work for you while you just relax. After using a vibrating foam roller, you will likely not even be able to tell that you had a tough workout at the gym just the day before.

    5. Resistance Band

    It is really important to make sure that you stretch after every workout so you don’t develop sore muscles. Resistance bands make stretching much easier by giving you the resistance that you need without requiring that you reach in uncomfortable positions. Resistance bands come in varying degrees of resistance depending on your range of mobility, so find the right resistance for you and use them after every workout.

    6. Heated Foam Roller

    Applying heat to your affected muscles will allow them to relax while you are stretching them out. Use a foam roller that can be heated up in the microwave to relieve your sore muscles, or even stick it in the freezer to help reduce inflammation that may occur following an intense workout at the gym.

    7. Trigger Point Foam Roller

    This may be the right tool for you if you find that you constantly have pain in the same place after working out. The 3-D surface of a trigger point foam roller is great for digging into all of the kinks in your muscles. These rollers are not too hard and not too soft, allowing your blood to flow back into your muscles for a speedy recovery.

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  9. Why to Refrain From Making Decisions When You’re Anxious

    November 11, 2017 by

    While it may be easy to share your life with your partner, it may not always be so easy to share a bed. Despite the amount of love that you may have for each other, having sleep issues and poor habits at bedtime can have a huge impact on one’s life during the day. These habits may drive a wedge between you and your significant other.

    Many people may encourage you to go with your gut when deciding on an important decision. However, it may be difficult to follow your gut if you are anxious about making a decision that could possibly have an effect on your long-term goals.

    Have you ever been faced with a decision that you had to make quickly or you had pressure on you to make the correct decision on the first try? Perhaps you have had to make a decision that would make a long-term impact on your life or a goal that you are trying to achieve. Having anxiety can actually hold you back from making proper decisions, which has been seen through various studies.

    Researchers have actually found that making decisions while you are anxious can actually inhibit your ability to really listen to and follow your intuition.

    Intuitive decision making refers to decisions that are able to come effortlessly and without too much consideration. These are small things that you decide on throughout the day that probably have very little impact on your life. You actually use this type of decision making on a regular basis without even realizing it. However, if you are anxious, you are likely to make a poor decision or possibly not make a decision at all.

    This link between anxiety and poor decision making has been tested with a random selection of 111 assigned participants who were split into three groups: those who are anxious, neutral and optimistic. The results showed that people who are anxious when making a decision often do not make the best decisions to benefit their wellbeing.

    In order to get the subjects into their assigned mood, they showed the people in the groups various images to help induce feelings of anxiety, optimism, or neither. For example, they would highlight the fact that everyone’s future is uncertain to the group who was supposed to feel anxious or that they cannot be sure that their neighborhoods are safe.

    The positive mood group was exposed to cheerier things such as personal achievement and relationships that they may have with friends or family.

    Participants measured their mood by filling out survey questionnaires three times throughout the study to determine their existing anxiety levels. They did this the first time before their mood was manipulated, once after, and a final time at the end of the experiment.

    Participants measured their intuition by self-reported their natural tendency to trust their gut and then were tested by completing a word-association task using their gut to determine their answers. They would then report the level to which they trusted their instincts.

    The study found that those who were put in the anxious group had a much more difficult time using their intuition to finish the task at hand compared to the participants in the other groups.

    This supports previous research that shows that being anxious can make it difficult to assess all of your options and make proper decisions. This shows that having anxiety makes us pessimistic, less confident, risk-averse, and less likely to choose the safest, routine, decision.

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  10. Sleep Problems That Can Negatively Impact Your Relationship

    November 10, 2017 by

    While it may be easy to share your life with your partner, it may not always be so easy to share a bed. Despite the amount of love that you may have for each other, having sleep issues and poor habits at bedtime can have a huge impact on one’s life during the day. These habits may drive a wedge between you and your significant other.

    Sleep issues in relationships can show up for anyone at any time. To help you maintain your healthy sleep habits without leaving your partner to sleep alone, a doctor has addressed some of the most common sleep problems that he sees in his patients, and some proper ways to fix them.

    1. Having Different Wake Up Times

    Having varying sleep schedules is common but if one person?s alarm goes off at 5:00 am and their partner is planning to sleep until 8:00, it?s certain to wake the other person, and even more distracting if the snooze button is pressed several times. These can lead to lack of sleep and resentment.

    Once up, if you continue to make noise and turn on lights while getting ready for your day, you can further disrupt your partner?s sleeping routine. It is important to be respectful of your partner if they are in the same room but still trying to sleep.

    To fix this, try opting for a vibrating alarm clock that will not be as loud as an audible one. That way, the sleeping partner does not have the listen to a loud alarm before they are ready to get up for the day. Many activity trackers have vibrating alarms that can help you ease out of sleep with a gentle pulse on your arm.

    You may also want to consider the parts of your morning routine that you can do the night before, such as laying out your clothes or preparing your lunch. Not only will this save you time in the morning, it will also reduce the noise you are making in the house.

    2. Snoring

    Snoring can easily wake up the person you are sleeping next to throughout the night. Data shows that people who sleep with a partner who snores tend to lose an hour of sleep each night.

    In order to fix this problem, the person who snores can use an internal nasal dilator or a mouthpiece to help increase airflow and breathing. It is also a good idea to not drink alcohol before going to bed because it can increase snoring. You can also take a decongentant before falling asleep so your nasal passages become clear.

    If you are the one who is not snoring, create a pillow wall to muffle the sound of snoring. If this doesn?t work, get some earplugs or a white noise machine.

    3. Temperature Conflicts

    People typically sleep better in the cold than when it is warm, but some like to keep it warm all night. This can be a problem if partners have different preferences for the room temperature.

    Err on the side of cooler so those who want to be warm can use more blankets. It is always easier to warm up than it is to cool down. If you like it to be extra cold, on the other hand, consider sleeping with your feet outside of the covers so you can dissipate heat from the bottom of your feet.

    4. Your Mattress Isn’t Great

    It is always difficult to find the perfect mattress for your body and sleeping style. Each person has a different need. It is always easier to make a mattress softer than it is to make one harder, so go as firm as both of you are willing to go. Once you get your mattress, you can modify it with mattress pads to make it the right level of comfort for you.

    5. Going to Bed with the TV On

    While one person may find the tv in the background to be relaxing as they drift off to sleep, another may be distracted by the noise and light. One good idea is to use the TV’s sleep timer so it goes off automatically, hopefully after the tv-water has fallen asleep.

    If it is the sound that bothers one of you, you can either use earplugs or get pillow speakers. They now even sell Bluetooth speakers that go into your pillow so only one person can hear what is on tv.

    6. Keeping Pets in the Bed

    Some people very much enjoy sleeping with their pet, while their partner may not appreciate it so much. This requires a couple to compromise. One possible solution is having the pet sleep at the foot of the bed, which may be less disruptive. Alternatively, your pet could sleep on the floor next to you.

    It is also important to consider hygiene. Be sure to change your sheets often to get rid of pet hair and dander.

    7. Pajamas? Or no Pajamas?

    While there are certain times when you will likely be naked in bed, not everyone likes to sleep in the buff. Talk with your partner about what makes you both comfortable. If hygiene is your primary concern, wash your sheets on a regular basis, about once a week.

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