Monthly Archives: October 2014

You Can’t Get Too Many Bananas

You can’t get too many bananas, and maybe they should start saying a banana a day can keep the doctor away. Last time I really doubled down on my bananas was after a larger tattoo. Potassium leaks out, and the heart palpitations can be pretty scary. Bananas take care of you in that regard. But even if you’re not getting a tattoo or otherwise doing something where you need more potassium, bananas have a ton of different nutrients.

If you are a woman over the age of 50, bananas have recently been shown to potentially reduce your risk of stroke in association with your ability to take in more potassium. Researchers tested women, and they found that those eating a high potassium diet were 12% less likely to suffer from a stroke. Moreover, these same women were 16% less likely to suffer an ischemic stroke. Those eating a high potassium diet were also less likely to die in general than those who did not eat as much potassium.

Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, lead researcher and investigator at the Women’s Health Initiative of Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York says, Potassium has long been associated with lower blood pressure. We think it goes above and beyond that, to a cellular level. Potassium is used in cellular function, and could be positively affecting the cells that line blood vessels.

Wassertheil-Smoller did not expect that the relationship between potassium and stroke prevention was actually highest among women who did not have hypertension. She says, That was surprising and really interesting. So we think it’s good to up your potassium intake before hypertension has a chance to develop.

According to the research, they have not found the same type of connection between greater potassium intake and stroke in men. Researcher Wassertheil-Smoller says, We think it does apply to men, as, in general and on average, men eat more potassium than women because they tend to consume more calories.

Researchers took the data from 90,137 postmenopausal women between ages 50 and 79 for an average of 11 years. They consumed an average of 2,611mg of potassium daily, which is significantly below the USDA’s recommendation of 4,700mg per day. Wassertheil-Smoller suggests more than that saying, We would say at least stick to the WHO recommendation-which equals 12 bananas a day. You don’t have to just eat bananas. A serving of spinach is probably twice that of a banana. Potassium is sort of everywhere, you just have to read labels to make sure.


When Celebrities Eat Clay

Zoe Kravitz recently claimed to lose 20 pounds by eating clay. Salma Hayek will be introducing a one ounce bentonite clay shot in September, and there are plenty of cleansing supplements that claim that clay will attract toxins and help you to lose weight and be healthier at the same time. Should you eat clay?

It’s a fun trend to be sure. You’re not eating food, and one could refer to the practice as a form of PICA. But clay does have its roots in traditional medicine according to Holly Phillips, an internist and medical contributor to CBS news. It’s supporters certainly jump to cling to that fact.

The problem is that clay is much more complicated than some would like to think. Clay can be contaminated with bacteria, viruses, and parasites according to Phillips. Concerns have been raised about dangerously high arsenic and lead levels in many of the supplements sold in health food stores and online.

Dr. Kent Sepkowitz has also criticized the act of eating clay for health. He has jumped on the celebrity diet, saying:

The purported benefits of geophagy, including its ability to somehow take toxins out of the system, strike me as nutty and decidedly untrue, though surely there is some impact on digestion. What needs a bit more consideration is the risk side. Dirt, after all, is dirty, and—be it clay from Attapulgus, Georgia, or the fields of Naryn, Kyrgyzstan, or the Oklahoma hills that Woody Guthrie once sang about—contains the excrement from countless animals who work the territory as they look for non-dirt nourishment.

I would say anything that is a celebrity trend is worth viewing with a skeptical eye.

Is It “Aging” Or Is It Diabetes?

You hear about the people who just got more and more tired as they got older, and then you hear about those who are lively, upbeat, keep walking and gardening, and some even become bodybuilders later in life. Yes, your body does break down as you age, but that doesn’t mean that these are necessary or typical ways of aging. Some typical signs of aging are actually typical signs of diabetes.

With over 8 million Americans unaware that they are suffering from diabetes as estimated by the American Diabetes Association, those who are 45 years old or older are at the highest risk. Melissa Joy Dobbins, MS, registered dietitian and diabetes explains, A lot of people have prediabetes or diabetes for quite some time before it gets diagnosed……you could feel perfectly fine and have diabetes. This is especially true if you’re discounting things as just normal signs of aging. You should watch out for:

Hearing Loss or Blurred Vision

Some people will start to lose their hearing and sight gradually with age, but there are also cases where it’s not age. You don’t have to suffer through it. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that those with diabetes are twice as likely to experience hearing loss than those who do not have diabetes.

Part of what diabetes does is it damages blood vessels and nerves, and this includes those in the ears and eyes. Dobbins tells us, When the blood sugar is higher than what’s normal, that damages your circulation. This could lead to problems with hearing and sight loss.

Low Energy and Irritability

Older people have less energy, but at the same point, you see some senior citizens who are still quite active. This isn’t unexplained. Type 2 diabetes can explain exhaustion and the irritability that often comes with it. Dobbins says, Our body needs fuel in order to function. The body prefers glucose, and so when we don’t have enough of that – – it’s staying in our circulation and it’s not getting into the cells where it’s needed – then we are going to feel tired, hungry, and low energy, because that fuel pathway isn’t working the way it’s supposed to. In short, the calories you get from food aren’t being processed into energy, and the glucose just goes out with your urine.

Frequent Urination and Extreme Thirst

Some people urinate more as they age, and it could be because of diabetes. For those with diabetes, sugar can’t get into the body, instead going out with the urine.

The only way to get the sugar out of the body is to flush it in the urine, and that dehydrates you and makes you really thirsty. Naturally, if you’re more thirsty, diabetics will try to drink more orange juice, milk, soda, and other sugary drinks, which perpetuates the problem.

Unexplained Weight Loss

I have seen some elderly people who lose fat and muscle as they age. In some cases though, it might be diabetes. Dobbins notes, But any sort of unexplained weight loss – – if somebody is not trying to lose weight – – really needs to be looked at. You can’t just brush aside unexplained weight loss, even if it’s not diabetes.

There are other symptoms you might notice with diabetes such as tinglin and numbness for example. It’s a complicated disease. As you age though, it is essential not to simply write these types of potentially serious symptoms off.

You May Want To Start Washing Your Face Twice

It is well known that you should wash your face regularly. You get rid of bacteria and oils that build up on your face, it’s obviously cleaner, and you keep your pores from getting clogged among other things. You avoid acne, get rid of cakey makeup, and you can even brighten your complexion. According to some research, letting all of these things build up on your skin without regular washing could actually accelerate the aging process.

Don’t use a harsh scrub. Yes, exfoliating your skin is a good thing. However, even better many have found is double cleansing. In other words, wash your face twice. It’s not because you’re OCD. In Asia, it’s actually the norm, particularly in skin conscious countries like Korea and Japan. It has also been taught at the prestigious Dermalogica Academy.

This doesn’t mean just washing twice with bar soap. Of course, the idea is to get all harmful junk off your skin in part. However, for true skin experts, they recommend an oil based cleanser first, and then you can use a traditional cleanser to finish the job. If you are using a makeup remover and then cleansing your face with a traditional cleanser, you are actually already doing this.

According to experts, there are a few basic steps:

  1. Massage the Oil Cleanser Onto Dry Skin in a Gentle Upward Motion: You don’t want to go down, because you want to don’t want to encourage gravity to take your skin down. There are many different brands you can try, and many would encourage Korean brands. After all, they’ve been doing this for years. So realistically, they have more experience making the right stuff.
  2. Add Little Bits of Water to Emulsify the Oil and Rinse It Off: Don’t scrub with a washcloth. You can use muslin clothes that often come with cleansing balms. It’s your face. Make sure that you are gentle with your skin.
  3. Use a Cream or Foam Cleanser: There are various cleansers. Try to stick to one that isn’t too stripping and is more gentle. You can also use milky or creamy cleansers to soften and moisturize your skin at the same time. The goal is to get soft and dewy skin as opposed to dry and squeaky clean skin
  4. Let Your Skin Dry And Apply Skincare Products: You should let your skin air dry if possible. Then you can apply your skincare products, which will be more effective when your skin doesn’t have all the dirt and skin cell buildup.

Become A Part Time Vegetarian

Quit trying to play up your choice not to be vegetarian by talking about how unhealthy vegetarianism is. I know it’s a nice excuse, but honestly vegetarians tend to be healthier, and it’s hard to discipline yourself into giving up meat. Instead, work with yourself, and if you’re not prepared to really go vegetarian, go part time vegetarian.

Tanya Zuckerbrot, registered dietitian in New York City says, Opting for vegetarian meals more often during the week can cut out much of the saturated fat that comes with eating animal protein. Vegetables are an excellent source of nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber, which support a healthy digestive system while lowering cholesterol and controlling blood sugars. Additionally, fiber helps prevent cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers, such as breast and colon cancer, and more. Zuckerbrot cites a Loma Linda University study, which found that people who were part time vegetarians were 12% less likely to die compared to non-vegetarians.

So if you’re not quite ready to swear off meat altogether, but you want to be healthier, it’s okay.

  1. Keep Kale Handy: Consider various ways to sneak kale into your diet. If you use a bag of kale, it will stay good for an extended period of time, and you can juice it, put it in dishes, use it as a salad base, or even make it into a side dish like kale chips.
  2. Get Plenty of Canned Beans: Canned beans have a ton of protein and iron, and they can replace meat in many dishes. They also tend to be cheap with low calories and less fat.
  3. Get Prepackaged Vegetarian Foods: Okay, so you may not necessarily want to eat prepackaged foods on a regular basis. However, if you’re going part time vegetarian and you have trouble figuring out what to eat, make it easier on yourself. Many are low calorie.
  4. Go Nuts: Protein is filling, as is fiber. But if you’re not eating meat, you’re going to have to figure out a way to get around that. Get nuts. Whether you’re talking peanuts, pistachios, or something else, they can be eaten in meals or as snacks, they have plenty of protein, they are filling, and you can always keep them handy.
  5. Keep Spreads On Hand: Keep a good, healthy nut butter, or better yet hummus on hand. If you’re not prepared with a whole meal. get a pita or wrap and spread a little hummus on for a snack or lunch.

The Healthy Way To Recover From An All Nighter

All nighters aren’t healthy, regardless of your age. So if you can avoid them, the smart thing would be to do just that. With this in mind, it might be helpful to know why. When you pull all nighters and experience significant sleep deprivation, you will also experience memory loss, weight gain, and even heart disease, especially if it is a continuing pattern. If you have had an all-nighter or you are on the tail end of a string, here is how to get yourself back on the right track the healthy way, and I’m not talking about binge sleeping.

  1. Don’t Give Into All Of Your Cravings: Studies have shown that people who don’t get enough sleep tend to crave and eat more junk food, which only does more harm to your body if you haven’t noticed. They eat more calories than those who get enough sleep. So stay clear of the refined carbs, sugars, fat, croissants, pizza, candy, etc. Those types of foods will only make your crash and your challenges that much worse.
  2. Lean Proteins And Natural Sugars Instead: Instead of eating junk food and tons of carbs, stick to lean proteins and natural sugars that can keep you energized and healthier. These natural sugars could be things like fresh fruit.
  3. Take a Walk: Move around and go for a walk. This will tell your body to increase its alertness naturally, and even if you’re not sleep deprived (maybe especially if you’re not), it can help you to be more creative at work. A little fresh air also never hurts.
  4. Control Your Caffeine: Caffeine is the obvious way to increase your natural energy levels, but don’t go overboard. Too much can leave your heart racing, and it can leave you jittery and anxious. Stick to a normal size cup of coffee instead of the super size that you’re tempted to get. Then sip instead of gulping it down.
  5. Get Plenty of Water: Getting too little water can leave you feeling tired normally when you are getting enough sleep. It only adds to your problems when you’re not.
  6. Take a Nap: Okay, so maybe you don’t have time to get a full night’s sleep. So take a nap every once in a while. Listen to your body and take 20 minutes to give your body a little bit of time to recover between sets. If you can get more sleep, all the better. You will be sharper and better able to keep up with your fast-paced life.

Symptoms of High Cholesterol

Unfortunately, there are no official symptoms of high cholesterol. You won’t get a fever, a headache, cold or flu symptoms, suddenly start bleeding, or anything else that would alert you that you need to go into your doctor right now, at least not until it may already be too late.

You can undergo regular preventative testing, and it’s generally easy and relatively painless. High cholesterol leads up to coronary heart disease, which can lead to heart attacks and other similar issues, even leading to death with chest pain, dizziness, and/or shortness of breath. But it’s all about prevention and testing regularly.

There are good and bad cholesterol levels, and if your doctor is checking, they can test for both. They can tell you if your levels are high enough in good cholesterol and low enough in bad. They can even tell you if you have too low of cholesterol in general.

Diet and DNA are the two major factors that play into it. Regardless of the reasons behind your high cholesterol though, if left unchecked, it could get serious.

Cholesterol is essential to the body ironically, while causing potential harm. But the best person to tell you about your cholesterol and its impact is your doctor.