Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Drink More Water for Your Health

Of all the food and beverage choices you face every day, what's calorie-free, virtually cost-free, and, oh yes, essential to keeping you alive? Plain ol' water. But those aren't the only reasons to drink it. This excellent reminder about the need for us all to drink more water was sent to me by a reader, by I believe it was from a Yahoo! health article.

"Water drives basic body performance," says Beth Reardon, director of nutrition for Duke Integrative Medicine, part of the Duke University Health System. "All of the systems in the body require water for proper functioning, and so do 90 percent of all chemical reactions in the body."

Here are the top five reasons to quench your thirst with water.

It will help you de-stress

Why: Being sure to sip water throughout a stressful day can soothe stress-induced symptoms as diverse as headaches, tense muscles, fuzzy thinking, a pounding heart, and low energy. That's because stress taxes all your basic body systems -- and when you're dehydrated, the effects are magnified. Given that more than half your body weight is water, Reardon says, "just a 2-percent reduction in hydration has a dramatic impact on energy levels and cognitive function." And dehydration further
raises levels of cortisol -- the "stress hormone."

Water won't wash your stressors away. But it can provide you with more energy, ease tension, slow breathing, and reduce the strain on your heart.

Water-drinking tip: "Eight by eight -- eight 8-ounce glasses a day -- is a good general rule of thumb," Reardon says, "but it's a myth that's the magic amount for everyone, because there are so many variables." The "right" amount for you depends on factors including your age, your activity level, your health level, medications you're taking, and the weather. So how do you know if you're drinking enough? Follow your thirst, and know that you're on the right track if you have straw-colored urine, Reardon says.

You'll lose Weight

Why: In a 2010 study of adults aged 55 to 75, drinking two 8-ounce glasses of water before meals was associated with almost four pounds more weight loss in 12 weeks than in a control group who ate a similar diet but didn't have the pre-meal H20. Participants drank an average of 1.5 cups of water a day before the study. In part, the Virginia Tech researchers say, water is filling, so you feel fuller and eat less. An earlier study found those who drink water before meals consume an average of 75 fewer calories per meal. (Make that twice a day over a year, and that could add up to 14 pounds!) The Virginia Tech scientists also believe the water drinkers began swapping this zero-calorie beverage for sodas and other caloric

What's more, when you're well hydrated, your body is working closer to maximum efficiency -- enhancing aspects of weight loss, like digestion and muscle function, when you exercise.

Water-drinking tip: For variety's sake, try flavoring your water. Drop some fruit into a pitcher and let it sit a few minutes -- lemons, oranges, watermelon, and berries all work well. Or let an herbal or flavored green tea bag steep in unheated water to accent the taste.

You'll Be Less Apt to Get Sick

Why: Hydration keeps your mucus membranes in top working order -- they're gatekeepers to the natural defense system that helps keep out germs such as cold and flu viruses. When these tissues dry out, germs can more easily penetrate to the nasopharynx, where the nasal passages and mouth meet. And if you catch a bug anyway, the severity of your illness is more likely to be lower if you've been
drinking a lot of water.

Water is an especially smart health move when you're traveling. Most commercial planes fly at elevations between 30,000 and 35,000 feet, where humidity is 10 percent or lower. That means you're breathing dry air in a tight space filled with germs from dozens of people. Water keeps your mucus membranes moist -- and your defenses high -- even in that challenging situation.

Water-drinking tip: Bring an empty water bottle with you to the airport that you can fill for free once you're past security. Or buy the biggest bottle you can right before you board, and aim to finish it by flight's end. Don't hesitate to ask the flight attendant for refills while you're in the air.

You'll Be More Comfortable

Why: It doesn't matter if the water you sip is hot or ice-cold. The act of drinking it will keep you warmer on a cold day -- and cool you off on a hot one. "Your internal thermostat works better when you're well hydrated," Duke nutritionist Beth Reardon says. "Water helps regulate body temperature." The body's temperature-regulating system, governed by the hypothalamus in the brain, is constantly picking up information that allows it to make adjustments to maintain a fairly steady core temperature.

Hot sun? You'll sweat to cool down. Hatless in snow? The hypothalamus will know you're losing heat through your head and work to produce extra energy, such as shivering. But these mechanisms work less well if you're dehydrated – and dehydration is a common risk for people of all ages, in winter as well as summer. In cold weather, for example, you lose water vapor through your breath. And many people tend to drink less water in cold weather because they don't think they need it as much as on hot, sunny days.

Water-drinking tip: Start by swapping out one soda, cup of coffee, or high-calorie hot chocolate a day with an equal amount of water. Carry a bottle of water with you all day long as a visual reminder to pause and sip. Sip more when you're physically active, whether in water, snow, or any weather condition.

It Will Help Regulate Your Blood Pressure

Why: In 2010, the American Red Cross discovered that when blood donors were given 16 ounces of water to drink before giving blood, there was a 20 percent drop in fainting after the procedure. That was an important finding for them, given that many of those who faint then chalk blood donation up as a bad experience and never return to give again. It's not entirely clear what mechanism is at work. But the Red Cross was inspired to conduct a study after researchers at Vanderbilt University noticed that drinking water activated the parasympathetic nervous system -- related to the "fight or flight" system that makes you more alert, elevates blood pressure momentarily, and boosts energy. Fainting after donating blood is often connected to a drop in blood pressure, and they theorized that the water would counter that effect. (Not drinking enough water on a regular basis can also raise blood pressure. That's because dehydration causes blood vessels to constrict as the body strives to conserve water that it loses through perspiration, urination, and breathing. When blood vessels constrict, however, the heart pumps harder, bringing blood pressure up.)

Water-drinking tip: Start your day with a glass of water for a simple energy boost that remedies any dehydration that may have occurred overnight. Keep a filled glass or bottle on your nightstand or an empty one next to the bathroom sink.

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Toxic Hair Care Products

MyAchingKnees has written several times before about the four legged chair of health. One of those legs, the most often over looked aspect to one's health, is Avoiding Toxins.

An article by Elisabeth Leamy was recently posted on Yahoo! from ABC news concerning a warning on Formaldehyde's in specific hair products. We would like to also add the suggestions that all hair and skin care products be looked at for formaldehydes, parabens and other substances which are or can be a threat to a person's health.

How to Identify Formaldehyde in Hair-Smoothing Products

Five months ago, the federal government put out a hazard alert about the hair-smoothing treatment, Brazilian Blowout, warning that it contains liquid formaldehyde that can turn into formaldehyde gas when heated during a treatment. So we wanted to know whether salons are up-to-date on the news that the product does, indeed, contain a form of formaldehyde and whether they would share that information with us.

We visited 16 salons. Every salon told us they had no safety concerns. Twelve salons said the product contains very little formaldehyde. And four were not aware that it contained formaldehyde. The salons all had outdated versions of Brazilian Blowout's literature and bottles, which said "formaldehyde free." Now, the company's bottles of solution carry a warning label to alert stylists to the potential formaldehyde risk and the need to perform the treatment in a well-ventilated area.

Brazilian Blowout says if the product is used as directed it is safe. Brazilian Blowout isn't the only hair-smoothing treatment that contains formaldehyde. It's just gotten the most publicity. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), in an article you can find on OSHA's website, the following products also contain formaldehyde, or can expose you to formaldehyde during use, even though they may not list formaldehyde on their labels or MSDSs:

Products OSHA Says Contain Formaldehyde or that can expose you to formaldehyde during use, even though they may not list formaldehyde on their labels or MSDSs:

Brazilian Blowout

Acai Professional Smoothing Solution

Professional Brazilian Blowout Solution


Brasil Cacau

Acai Therapy


Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy

Natural Keratin Smoothing Treatment

Natural Keratin Smoothing Treatment Blonde

Express Blow Out

Marcia Teixeira

Brazilian Keratin Treatment

Advanced Brazilian Keratin Treatment

Chocolate Extreme De-Frizzing Treatment

Soft Gentle Smoothing Treatment

Soft Chocolate Gentle Smoothing Treatment

The hair-smoothing products above are probably not the only ones that contain formaldehyde. Some manufacturers list synonyms for formaldehyde on their labels. They sometimes do this because the formaldehyde is dissolved in water or another substance and that changes its chemical composition slightly, giving the chemical a new name. All of these are names for formaldehyde under OSHA's formaldehyde standard or can release formaldehyde when subjected to certain conditions, such as the heat involved in a hair smoothing treatment. OSHA has provided a list of what it calls "synonyms" for formaldehyde, printed here, and listed below:

Methylene glycol


Methylene oxide


Formic aldehyde




Timonacic acid

Thiazolidinecarboxylic acid

Three Federal agencies have investigated Brazilian Blowout and other hair-smoothing treatments. Oregon was the first to uncover problems. And California recently settled with the company. Here are several helpful key words that you can google to explain the issues and timelines:

OSHA: Hazard alert

OSHA: Timeline of government actions

OSHA: Information about formaldehyde in hair-smoothing products

FDA: Warning Letter to Brazilian Blowout

FDA: Summary of actions on Brazilian Blowout

NIOSH: Letter summarizing testing at one salon

Oregon: Hazard Alert

California: Press Release Regarding Settlement

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Harmful Effects of Diet Soda

Finally the mainstream health experts are coming down against Diet Soda. Any of these diet drinks with the sweetner "Aspartame" have long be banned in my household. MyAchingKnees has written sevral times about the dangers of Aspartame and our personal experience with it. Now it seems like the consumption of Diet Sodas in general will place your health at risk. Lisa Collier Cool from Yahoo! Helaht Line published a good, short article about Diet Soda's and harmful effects of drinking these.

Is Diet Soda Harmful?

Beyond the addiction issue, diet soda has been linked to increased rates of heart attack and stroke, kidney problems, preterm deliveries, and, yes, weight gain. While not yet carved in scientific stone, the emerging evidence is a bit disturbing. Here’s a rundown:

• Heart Attack and Stroke: Drinking diet sodas daily may increase the risks for heart attack and stroke and other vascular events by 43 percent, but no such threat exists with regular soft drinks or with less frequent consumption of diet soda. These results come from a study including more than 2,500 adults published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine on January 30, 2012. So far, no one knows what it is about diet sodas that could explain the added risk.

• Kidney Trouble: In 2009, researchers at Harvard found that drinking two or more diet sodas daily could lead to a 30 percent drop in a measure of kidney function in women. No accelerated decline was seen in women who drank less than two diet sodas daily. The drop held true even after the researchers accounted for age, high blood pressure, diabetes and physical activity.

• Preterm Delivery: A Danish study including more than 59,000 women found a link between drinking one or more diet sodas daily and a 38 percent increase in the risk of giving birth to preterm babies; the risk was 78 percent higher among pregnant women who drank four or more diet sodas daily. No such risk was seen with regular soda.

• Weight Gain: Wouldn’t it be ironic if instead of helping you lose weight, diet sodas had the opposite effect? A study at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio found that compared to those who drank no diet sodas, study participants who did had a 70 percent greater increase in waist circumference; worse, drinking two or more diet sodas daily led to ballooning waist circumference that was 500 percent greater than those who drank none. This doesn’t prove that diet soda is to blame since the study was observational - it could be that participants began gaining weight and then started drinking diet sodas.

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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Heart Attack Info and New Aspirin

MyAchingKnees received this Public Service Bulletin and wanted to pass it on for consideration. I say consideration because after all it contains a recommendation to buy a particular vendor’s product.

Heart Attack Info and New Aspirin

Bayer is making crystal aspirin to dissolve under the tongue. They work much faster than the tablets.

About Heart Attacks.  There are other symptoms of a heart attack besides the pain on the left arm.

One must also be aware of an intense pain on the chin, as well as nausea and lots of sweating, however these symptoms may also occur less frequently. There may be NO pain in the chest during a heart attack.

The majority of people (about 60%) who had a heart attack during their sleep, did not wake up.

However, if it occurs, the chest pain may wake you up from your deep sleep.

If that happens, immediately dissolve two aspirins in your mouth and swallow them with a bit of water.

Bayer is making crystal aspirin to dissolve under the tongue. They supposedly work much faster than the tablets.

Afterwards: CALL 911

- say "heart attack!"

- say that you have taken 2 aspirins.

- phone a neighbor or a family member who lives very close by

- take a seat on a chair or sofa near the front door, and wait for their arrival and.....DO NOT lie down.

Maybe a good idea to keep aspirin by your bedside.

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Monday, March 5, 2012

New Health Recommendations

This article came from titled “New Health Guidelines - 4 Health Rules You Can Break Today” By Leslie Goldman

They're the imperatives for well-being that have been drilled into us forever --"Drink eight glasses of water a day!" "Eat nine servings of fruits and veggies!" "Stay away from red meat!" But it turns out that taking care of yourself isn't quite so black-and-white, says Harvard Medical School psychologist Alice Domar, PhD, coauthor of Live a Little! Breaking the Rules Won't Break Your Health. "Research is revealing that whoever wrote the old guidelines didn't have the whole picture, and that there are more paths to optimal health than we previously thought," Domar says. Happily, the new rules are more user-friendly than the old ones. Here, four tips to live by.

Old Rule: Eat nine servings of fruits and vegetables.
New Rule: Fill half your plate with produce.

A serving of broccoli is about five florets. A serving of raw spinach, one cup. A serving of mango, roughly the size of a fist. "It's not surprising that people get confused over what, exactly, a serving is," says Washington , D.C. , dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield. Her advice: Stop counting and instead make half of every meal produce. "You don't need a big mound on your plate. Six asparagus spears at dinner, a spinach salad at lunch, and a sliced banana and some berries at breakfast should do it." And quality counts: Even two or three daily servings of deeply hued fruits and veggies (like blueberries, bok choy, or red peppers) may help reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease, Scritchfield says. "It's like darts. The goal is to hit the bull's-eye. But hitting nearby is good, too."

MyAchingKnees comment Exactly! Who wants to go through life counting, measuring and weighing? But you have to buy it to eat it. You may have to add a couple of short trips or two to your monthly grocery stores runs in order to have the fresh fruits and vegetables on hand.

Old Rule: Avoid red meat.
New Rule: Beef in moderation can be healthy.

Red meat was long considered a heart attack on a plate because it's high in saturated fat. But a 2010 study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that the cardiovascular risk comes from processed varieties, such as sausage, hot dogs, and cold cuts--not from steak, hamburgers, and other nonprocessed cuts. (The real culprits may be salt and preservatives). Red meat is a good source of iron and immunity-boosting zinc-two nutrients some women don't get enough of. Beef (especially grass-fed) also contains high concentrations of conjugated linoleic acid, a type of fat that may decrease cancer risk and help reduce body fat. "But not all red meats are created equal," says Leslie J. Bonci, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh 's Center for Sports Medicine. She recommends choosing very lean cuts and avoiding anything labeled "prime," as it will have more fat marbling. And try not to eat more than three 4- to 5-ounce servings (about the size of an iPhone) per week.

MyAchingKnees comment It warms my heart to see someone not only bashing red meat, but recommending it. Lean cuts, stay away from processed meats,...all good advice.

Old Rule: Keep your BMI between 18.5 and 24.9.
New Rule: Eat healthy, exercise, and let your weight settle naturally.

Physicians use BMI (body mass index)--a ratio of your weight to your height--as a tool to diagnose obesity. But critics say BMI ignores muscle mass, and a 2011 Obesity study notes that it also ignores a person's hip circumference. "People come in different sizes and shapes," says Joanne Ikeda, nutritionist emeritus at the University of California , Berkeley . "The idea that everyone should fall under 25 is ludicrous." A person can have a high BMI and still be healthy, Ikeda argues. Research supports the theory: A Journal of the American Medical Association study found that fit women--even if they were overweight according to their BMI--were less likely to suffer a heart attack than those who were out of shape. Ikeda advises her patients to stop obsessing over their BMI, eat a nutritious diet, and log 150 minutes of exercise per week. "A healthy lifestyle results in a healthy weight."

MyAchingKnees comment More common sense. Again who cares about numbers? Let your eyeballs be your calculator. It IS more important to be healthy than it is to fit into someone else's view of what is over weight, slightly overweight, lean or simply too skinny. I would like to add that women are supposed to have curves!

Old Rule: Drink eight glasses of water a day.
New Rule: Eat your water.

The recommendation to chug all that H2O was likely based on guidelines published in 1945. However, says Howard Murad, MD, author of The Water Secret, much of your daily requirement is contained in foods: Fruits, vegetables, beans, and cooked whole grains like oatmeal and quinoa (which soak up moisture in the pot) all deliver servings of water. And, as Murad points out, they offer the added bonus of
nutrients: "Watermelon and cucumber are more than 90 percent water, but they also contain antioxidants. With a glass of water, all you get
is water." You'll know you're hydrated when your urine is colorless or pale yellow and you're rarely thirsty.

MyAchingKnees comment Now here's where I disagree. You are not ging to be able to "eat" enough water. Consider one ounce for every two pounds of body weight a god guideline. While a slice of water melon or even cucumber in a glass of water makes a tasty drink, ....drink your water, and lots of it!

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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Dr Oz on Relieving Back Pain

MyAchingKnees is a fan of Doctor Mehmet Oz and in particular his Health Corps where he and others are working to educate teenagers on fighting obesity. Obesity is rampant among our youth and leads to all sorts of degenerative disease and conditions including joint painn and diabetes.

From Simple Ways to Relieve Back Pain, Dr Mehmet Oz explains that sometimes it is better to simply live with back pain and to stay active as many times the quicker you get moving the faster the recovery.

MyAchingKnees concurs, but one must know the difference between an actual injury and simple muscle soreness.

Dr Oz goes on to state that over the counter NSAIDS (Non Sterodial Anti Inflammatory Drugs), such as Ibuprophen, Napricin, Aspirin can be effective in reducing and controlling the pain.

MyAchingKneeswants to caution people when taking NSAIDS. I abused Motrin for years and have no sworn off taking any NSAID with the exception of Aspirin for headaches.

Ice or Heat? Oz explains that both can help, but Ice initially then followed up by Heat will do a better job of controlling inflammation and pain. He also recommends Menthol and Capsaicin creams which can create heat and are also effective in controlling pain.

MyAchingKnees believes in these pain relieving creams, which can also enhance circulation and stimulate recovery through enhanced blood flow, paritculary effective when used in conjunction with massage therapy.

We recommend a product developed by Bill C. Coats, R.Ph., C.C.N., of Coats Aloe. Dr Coats has been manufacturing Aloe Vera products in FDA Inspected Facilities, since 1962. In fact, I was exposed to his products about 30 years ago by my sister. I always keep a bottle of Aloe Vera Linament in my bathroom.

Back to Dr Oz. He also states that if you have pain lasting more than a week - then see your Doctor. And if you have to do any rehabilitation, it can often be done in your home or office. Dr Oz finishes by demonstrating a simple seated hip and back stretch in the video. Watch the video by clicking on the link to the article at top of this post.

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