Saturday, September 13, 2014

Build a Better Body With Broccoli

Build a Better Body With Broccoli

Broccoli may not be at the top of your favorite-foods list, but it should be. From boosting immunity to strengthening your skeleton and joints to cutting cancer risk, here are 10 ways this cruciferous veggie sends your health soaring.

Broccoli might not be the most popular vegetable around, but it’s certainly one of the most nutritious. Considered a superfood for its nutritional value and disease-fighting properties, broccoli is high in fiber, antioxidants, B vitamins, vitamins A, C, K, and the mineral iron, all of which are essential for a healthy diet. More recently, broccoli has also been praised for its ability to combat osteoarthritis.
Widely recognized as a cancer fighter, broccoli’s health perks stem throughout the body. Here are more key broccoli benefits that should earn it a place at the top of your shopping list.

1. Broccoli slows osteoarthritis. New research out of the University of East Anglia (UEA) in the UK and published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism has identified sulforaphane, a compound generously found in broccoli, as being preventive against osteoarthritis in mice. Sulforaphane displays anti-inflammatory behaviors and is responsible for slowing down the decomposition of joint cartilage. Researchers suggest that this finding will further fuel the emphasis that human treatment, in this case for arthritis, could lie in diet and lifestyle changes — not just in costly medication and surgery.
"This study is important because it is about how diet might work in osteoarthritis,” said lead researcher Ian Clark, professor of musculoskeletal biology at UEA, in a press release. “Once you know that you can look at other dietary compounds which could protect the joint and ultimately you can advise people what they should be eating for joint health. Developing new strategies for combating age-related diseases such as osteoarthritis is vital, both to improve the quality of life for sufferers and to reduce the economic burden on society."

2. Broccoli helps prevent cancer. Chief among broccoli’s benefits is the superfood’s role in fighting disease. “Broccoli can actually detoxify the body and is known to have cancer prevention properties," Keri Glassman, RD, CDN, the New York City-based author of The O2 Diet says. “It has been shown to reduce breast, bladder, colon, and ovarian cancers.” In particular, two of broccoli’s phytochemicals — indoles and isothiocyanates — play an important role in cancer prevention. Studies have found that the indole-3-carbinol may help prevent hormone-related cancers, such as breast and prostate cancer.
A recent study at the University of Illinois found that broccoli’s anti-cancer properties can be boosted even further when the veggie is paired with spicy foods that contain the enzyme myrosinase, such as horseradish, mustard, and wasabi.
Other research, done at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, found that sulforaphane, an isothiocyanate, increased the activity of a group of cancer-fighting enzymes. In addition, beta-carotene in broccoli transforms into vitamin A within the body, which may also help prevent cancer.

3. Broccoli helps fight depression. Elizabeth Somer, RD, author of Eat Your Way to Happiness, says broccoli is a good source of the mood-boosting B vitamin folate. “Your brain cells won’t turn on without it,” she explains. “It’s no wonder that poor intake of folate increases the risk for depression, fatigue, poor memory, and possibly even more serious mental problems like schizophrenia. People battling the blues who boost their intake of greens such as broccoli say they feel better and happier as a result.”

4. Broccoli enhances bone health. Broccoli contains calcium and vitamin K, both of which are important for bone health and preventing osteoporosis.

5. Broccoli helps maintain a healthy nervous system and balances sodium’s effect on blood pressure. Broccoli is rich in potassium, which helps stabilize blood pressure and also aids in maintaining a healthy nervous system and brain function, according to Rovenia Brock, PhD, anutrition coach and author.

6. Broccoli may help prevent cardiovascular disease. Some studies have shown that broccoli’s vitamin B6 and folate may offer some protection against heart disease and stroke.

7. Broccoli improves digestion. Jeanette Bronee, a certified holistic health counselor with Path for Life in New York City, says broccoli’s high fiber content aides with digestion and prevents constipation by sweeping out the digestive tract. "It does need to be slightly cooked to be well digested, though,” she cautions.

8. Broccoli helps fight vision loss and repair skin damage. Broccoli contains lutein, which is important for eye health. Studies have shown that lutein helps prevent age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Additionally, broccoli contains vitamin A, which is essential for vision. Broccoli also contains glucoraphanin, which helps repair damage from too much sun exposure or the aging process.

9. "Super broccoli" may prevent heart disease. Researchers at the Institute for Food Research in Norwich, England, are making broccoli even more powerful by developing a new so-called super broccoli that contains two to three times the normal amount of glucoraphanin, a nutrient that is believed to help prevent heart disease. This new breed of broccoli is not genetically modified, but rather, it's a cross between a British variety and a Sicilian one. On sale in some parts of the United Kingdom and United States now, this super veggie is set to be available across the United States by the end of 2011.

10. Broccoli improves immunity. Broccoli is high in vitamin C, which boosts the immune system and helps fight infection. Somer says broccoli is also packed with phytonutrients and phytochemicals, including sulforaphane, which helps clear toxins from the body and strengthens resistance to colds.
Finally, says Bronee, the superfood is a non-starchy vegetable, so even carbohydrate-conscious eaters can benefit from incorporating broccoli into a healthy diet.

If you don’t like the vegetable plain, broccoli is easy to incorporate in stir-frys, salads, omelets, and more. Search Everyday Health’s recipe database for easy ideas to work broccoli into your diet.

Is Your Big Gut Ruining Your Love Life? 3 Things You Must Do Now

Is Your Big Gut Ruining Your Love Life? 3 Things You Must Do Now

If you’ve got a big belly, it may be causing a lot more problems than just making it difficult to pull that zipper up. In addition to spelling trouble for your heart and contributing to all sorts of chronic illness, it may be affecting you below the belt too.
Deep abdominal fat, or visceral fat, takes up residence around the liver and other vital organs. When that fat is released, some of it goes straight to your liver and into your arteries. It can do some rather serious damage to your blood vessels, which results in reduced blood flow to the heart as well as other important organs, like your genitals.
If you don’t have good circulation, this means that for men, you might have trouble getting or maintaining an erection. But blood flow is important for both men and women in order to enjoy the pleasures of sex.
Associate professor of urology at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Kevin Billups, M.D., further explains how a man’s sex life can be affected due to belly fat. An erection occurs when the blood vessels that lead to the penis dilate, and cause it to fill with blood.

The entire process begins with the inner lining of the vessels, known as the endothelium, through the release of nitric oxide, which is a molecule that signals the surrounding muscles to relax.
To date, experts aren’t exactly sure why, but being obese causes damage to the endothelium. When it doesn’t work like it should, the penis may not get enough blood to produce or sustain an erection.
A 2011 study out of Australia, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, found that losing just 5 to 10% of body weight over a two-month period was able to improve erectile function, and increase sex drive in obese men with diabetes.
So, now that you know why that big gut is wreaking havoc on your love life, what can you do about it?
Avoid foods that contribute to belly fat and replace them with foods that burn it
Giving up processed foods is one of the best things you can do to get rid of that belly fat. Avoid partially hydrogenated oils and trans fats at all costs, this includes margarine, packaged cookies, crackers and other baked goods as well as refined carbs, sodas and alcohol.
Wheat is also likely contributing to that ab fat, hence the term, “wheat belly,” something you might have heard about. Wheat is known to increase the appetite, raise blood sugar and cause inflammation – all of which contribute to obesity.
Replace those foods that contribute to belly fat with foods that burn it, including lots of organic vegetables – sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, spinach and cucumbers are all known to be particularly helpful. Also aim to eat more monounsaturated fats, found in coconut oil, olive oil, nuts and seeds.
Drink lots of water
Replace those sodas, beer and other beverages with water. If you aren’t drinking enough water, it impairs the liver’s job of fat oxidation, which is why it’s a must for it to be running at its best.
Without enough water, your kidneys, which also remove waste and toxins from the body, can’t function fully, which means the liver is forced to work harder. When that happens, it can’t do its job of properly metabolizing fat. The better hydrated you are, the more efficient your body will be in regard to fat burning as well as muscle building.
Your goal should be to drink about a gallon, or eight 16-ounce glasses of water, per day. If that sounds like way more than you can choke down, consider adding a squeeze of lemon, lime or orange for flavor.
Walk as often as you can
Walking is said to be one of the best exercises for keeping that gut at bay. In addition to taking a brisk 30-minute walk every day, find as many ways as you can to get some extra steps in. Investing in a pedometer or other gadget like the FitBit is a great way to keep track of how many steps you take each day.
Research has shown that walking 10,000 steps in a day will help you burn roughly 500 calories. If you do this every day, even without changing your diet (though you should) you will lose one pound of bodyweight every week. To lose even more belly fat, add in some weight training twice a week to increase muscle mass – which will help speed your metabolism.
belly fatYou probably already knew that gut was contributing to poor health, but now you have even more motivation to lose it: a satisfying love life.
-The Alternative Daily

Why More Burly Guys are Turning to Yoga

Why More Burly Guys are Turning to Yoga

Two years ago, Page gave Roberts a call, suggesting that he give yoga a try too. Roberts told the New York Times just last month, “I was like ‘O.K., Dallas, O.K.,’ ” but, he said, “I was trying to get off the phone so I could go pick up my drugs.”
Fortunately, the former wrestler finally gave in and started attending daily sessions. Today, he’s sobered up, lost weight, and his body, which had become soft and inflexible, is now lean and limber once again.
Many NFL players, who are certainly not perceived to be “weak” in any way, have also turned to yoga to improve their game and decrease the chance of injury, including Detroit Lions’ wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Johnson, who was credited with 12 touchdowns in 2013, does yoga as part of his pregame routine.
The specifics of it vary based on what he wants to stretch out, but says he believes it’s very beneficial, telling last season, “Whatever I’m feeling, if I need to work on my hamstrings, if I need a full-body deal or if I just need to work on my hips, whatever needs work. “I’ve seen definitely a positive impact from just being loose in my hips, hamstrings,” adding, “I know it’s something that worked for me. I’ve just been doing it ever since.”
Pittsburgh Steelers’ safety Troy Polamalu, who helped lead his team to two Super Bowls and was given the Most Valuable Player of the Year Award in 2010, in addition to being named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year, has said that he doesn’t believe in lifting weights and has practiced yoga for many years. On the field, he appears calm, yet he also plays very intensely.
Wide receiver Nate Burleson, formerly a member of the Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings, has said that yoga was “a lot tougher than he expected,” but like many others, when someone advised him to try it, his first thought was, “that’s for girls.”
Burleson quickly changed his mind, discovering that exercises like yoga can make a “world of difference for football players because it stretches out the muscles that are so often compressed.” He explains, “Lifting just makes you tight. You basically tear and re-tear your muscles.
That’s how we build muscles, so if we’re continually doing that, all your muscles are going to do is get tighter and tighter as it heals up. With doing yoga and pilates and whatever else you need to do, it helps out.”
Do you have the old mindset that yoga is something that only women or weak men practice? Many men, and some women, have been under the impression that yoga is “just for girls,” but that’s certainly not the case. Quite a few big, burly men as well as tough athletes have been discovering the benefits of yoga recently.
One well-known wrestler, Diamond Dallas Page, successfully used his own form of yoga, D.D.P. Yoga, which he combined with traditional strength building exercises and calisthenics in order to help heal his injured spine, and even return to the sport to become a champion at the age of 43.
Page helped other wrestlers to manage chronic back pain and other health issues as well, including six-time WWE champion Chris Jericho, who declared that D.D.P. Yoga healed his herniated disc.
Page also assisted one of his best friends, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, who had not only been suffering from debilitating pain and depression, but a number of addictions that resulted from trying to relieve it, including pills, alcohol and cocaine.

Making the body more flexible helps to reduce the risk of injuries, which is always a huge concern in such a tough profession.
The 33-year-old added, “What most guys are doing now, they’re using it as a preventative measure, so it’s almost like ‘prehab’ in a sense, and you’re able to get your body more flexible, and your ligaments and tendons, all that stuff can give a little bit more when you have it already stretched out and worked out.”
Fitness yoga man in cobra pose stretching absFlexibility is the key that far too many people are missing. Whether you’re an athlete, or someone just concerned about your health, your fitness level or even simply maintaining the ability to perform daily tasks, you can benefit from becoming more flexible and increasing your range of motion through practicing yoga.
-The Alternative Daily

National Yoga Month

Celebrate National Yoga Month with Natural Solutions
September is National Yoga Month. You don't know much about yoga you say? Never to fear the month of September is designated and designed to help educate the public on the health benefits of yoga and also to inspire a healthy lifestyle for all. Natural Solutions is here to help with all your yoga questions with articles that will give you information and have you bending all over.
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8 Yoga Poses You Can Do At Home
Yoga is tremendously popular now, and rightly so. It's a safe, powerful exercise with many benefits that has been refined for thousands of years - the perfect antidote to the stress and hustle of modern life. Although it is helpful to many people to go to a yoga studio, you can by all means practice yoga by yourself at home-in fact, I highly recommend it. You are the one best qualified to establish a yoga practice that speaks to you, because you know what you need out of your practice on any given day.Here are eight poses you can do at home to get you started.
Fine Tune Your Body
Everybody has them- backaches from sitting at an office desk too long, a stiff neck from sleeping in an awkward position, or an overuse injury from years of athletic competition. Whatever the issue is, at some point in your life, you will welcome the help of a professional in treating your ailments. Restoring peace to your body is imperative to leading a fruitful life, and ultimately, we all hope that doctors can help us feel "normal" again. However, a solution is not always so cut and dry. Left in the hands of the wrong physical therapist, chiropractor, or masseuse, treatment can leave you feeling even worse. One New York City doctor, however, lessens these disappointing outcomes and, just as you would tune a delicate instrument, helps restore your body so it can function beautifully (and at its best) once again.
How to Make Yoga Part of Your Routine
You know the drill. Wake up. Get the kids up. Make them breakfast. Get them ready for day. Whether you're sending them off to school or preparing for play dates, it's hard to find a moment for yourself. If you can barely squeeze in a shower during the week, how can you find time for a personal yoga practice? More and more busy moms are flocking to yoga studios or gyms for fitness, stress relief, and time to connect with themselves. Luckily, many of these places offer on-site childcare that allows moms to indulge in a class or two. But to take your practice to the next level and create optimal health and wellness, it is essential to also have a home practice. As author and yogi Rodney Yee states, "Home practice is vital if you want to deepen your practice. It sets the stage for the deep insights and profound transformation of mind and body that are the real benefits of yoga." Finding the time for a personal yoga practice can be a struggle, so here are a few tips to get you started.
Health Tips: Get the full benefits of yoga
Yoga has grown in popularity for a variety of reasons. Among them is its ability to reduce mental and physical stress, improve mood, and slow the aging process. Click here to learn more.

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Recognizing the Early Signs of Osteoporosis

Recognizing the Early Signs of Osteoporosis

If you have risk factors for osteoporosis – meaning you’re a postmenopausal woman or you’re vitamin D-deficient, among others – don’t wait until you have symptoms to get screened. The fact is, bone loss that leads to osteoporosis often occurs without any noticeable symptoms, so by the time you have a fracture, feel pain, or develop curvature of the spine, osteoporosis may already be present.
But if you identify bone loss early, you can take steps to reduce your risk of osteoporosis.
When to Get Screened for Bone Loss
Studies suggest that only 12 percent of people with osteoporosis have had abone mineral density (BMD) screening, the most reliable diagnostic test for osteoporosis. This is likely due to a lack of awareness among middle-aged and older women and their physicians about the risk of osteoporosis. The most common type of screening for BMD is referred to as a DXA or DEXA (dual x-ray absorptiometry) scan, a painless procedure using very low levels of radiation to measure the density of bone in your hip, spine, or other areas.
Who Should Get Screened for Bone Loss
In general, people who should be screened for osteoporosis include:
Women over age 65
Women who have more than one risk factor (for example, a family history of osteoporosis or low body weight) other than being Caucasian or past menopause
Postmenopausal women who have had a fracture
Since bone loss begins without any noticeable symptoms, screening should ideally occur before you have reason to worry.
Fracture: The Most Common Early Osteoporosis Symptom
You may have a fragility-related fracture before you are diagnosed with bone loss or osteoporosis. This means that your wrist, back, hip, or another bone is fractured as a result of a mild to moderate trauma, such as falling from below your standing height. Mild impact caused by tripping, falling, or hitting an object that might not have fractured or broken a bone in previous years can cause fractures when you have bone loss or osteoporosis. If you experience this kind of fracture and are over 50 years old, talk to your doctor about bone-loss screening or other tests for bone loss.
A study of 127 people who had a fragility-related fracture showed that only 17 percent thought their fracture could be related to osteoporosis and fewer than half believed they were at increased risk for another fracture, even though having one fracture significantly increases the risk of later fractures. Osteoporosis was diagnosed in 44 percent of these patients, and the patients who reported understanding the connection between osteoporosis and fracture had already been told they might be at risk.
Having any of these signs or conditions means you are at higher risk for a bone fracture:
High levels of serum calcium or alkaline phosphatase on a blood test
Vitamin D deficiency
Difficulty getting up from a chair without using your arms to push
Joint or muscle aches
A resting pulse greater than 80 beats per minute
Height loss
Increasing stooping (curvature of the spine)
BMD results of -2.5 or less
These symptoms can indicate other health problems as well, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about them to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
Fragility Fracture Symptoms
You might wonder if you have experienced a fragility related fracture. Sometimes they're obvious and you will experience pain and swelling immediately after a fall or impact. At other times, you may feel pain, such as in your back, but not be able to trace it to a single event. Nonetheless, back pain can be a result of a vertebral fracture. The pain may last as long as six weeks while your bones heal. If you suspect that a fracture is possible, see your doctor.

By knowing your risk factors and getting early screenings and diagnosis, you will be taking important steps toward managing your osteoporosis risk, and if necessary, getting early treatment.

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