Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Avoid Stretch Marks

Along with weight loss or gain come those annoying unstoppable stretch marks. Almost all pregnant women want to know how they can avoid ugly stretch marks. Unfortunately, there is nothing guaranteed to prevent them, though there’s no harm in trying.

Stretch marks are thin reddish streaks that usually occur on your tummy and your breasts, as well as on your thighs and bottom. Once you have them, they never completely disappear in most of the cases, though they fade to a silvery colour and, if you have pale skin, become much less noticeable after the baby has been born. If you have dark skin, the silver lines may be clearer.

Stretch marks are caused by the weakening or tearing of the fibers of the skin. This may happen if you gain a lot of weight in a short period of time (or even when you grow rapidly, for example during adolescence). In pregnancy, it can also happen as a result of the effects of the hormones on the structure of your skin.

If your stretch marks are caused by your hormone levels, there is little you can do to prevent them. Massaging your tummy with creams or oils may feel pleasant and keep the skin supple, but there is no medical proof that it will make any difference to the stretch marks. You might be able to reduce the chance of getting them by trying not to put on excess weight, but though it’s a good idea to avoid empty calories, there is no point in restricting your diet in the hope of avoiding stretch marks.

Stretch marks may start to appear from as early as three to four months medically known as “striae gravidarum”, they usually begin in the second trimester, frequently starting at the navel and fanning out over your abdomen in what a pregnant girlfriend of mine now refers to as her "personal beach ball" pattern!

Medha Panshikar, an internationally-trained cosmetologist says, "Stretch marks mainly occur due to a burst of collagen. The protein substance that gives your skin elasticity tears away from the skins connective fibers. Mainly it occurs due to genetic factors and your internal body structure. They cannot be completely avoided but there are definitely some easy remedies to it. There are also some factors related to stretch marks that you can control. So, even if you are prone to this problem, there are ways to decrease your risks - starting with watching your weight and keeping extra pounds under control”.

Easy Remedies

  • Make your own all-natural cocoa butter by heating equal parts of grated cocoa butter and coconut oil in a microwave until melted. Stir well, let it cool and apply generously on your tummy, hips, buttocks, breast and arms
  • Two tablespoons of honey in a warm bath can draw moisture to your skin. If you're a shower girl, bring a plastic squeeze bottle of honey into the tub, and after tummy is wet, squeeze a little honey directly on your belly and rub in. Let it remain while you continue your shower and rinse off right before you're done
  • Watch your weight
  • You can use stretch marks prevention lotions although it is believed that they are not very effective
  • Soak a clean, white cloth in small dish of warm milk, squeeze out and apply the compress to your belly for up to 15 minutes. Re-dip several times, and reapply as needed
  • Use Vitamin E oil or Olive oil on the effective areas
Source: http://www.mumbaimirror.com/

Monday, November 29, 2010

Vegetable of the week: Corn

Because of its high protein and carbohydrate content, corn has been an important nutritional resource for thousands of years. Today, corn has less starch and is sweeter. A good thing about corn is that frozen and canned corn has about the same nutritional value as fresh corn.

Varieties: There are more than two hundred varieties of corn. All are good sources of vitamin C.

Selection: Make sure the husks are green, tight and fresh looking. Pull the husk open to make sure that the ear contains tightly packed rows of plump kernels. The kernels should be smaller at the tip of each ear. Large kernels at the tip is a sign of overmaturity. If you pinch a kernel, milky juice should spurt out. Corn should be stored in a cool area. Warmth causes the sugar content of corn to be converted into starch.

Storage: If the corn is not cooked shortly after it is purchased, then it should be stored in refrigerator. Refrigeration helps the corn retain its sugar and vitamin C content. If you buy unhusked corn, keep it in its husk until you are ready to cook it. This will help the corn retain its moisture content. To fully enjoy the great taste of sweet corn, cook it as soon as possible. The sooner the better is a good "rule of thumb."

There are many health benefits of corn include prevention of heart ailments, lowering hypertension, controlling diabetes, and avoidance of neural-tube defects at birth. Some more health benefits of corn are as follows:
- It not only gives the essential calories for everyday metabolism, but is a wealthy resource of vitamins A, B, E and lots of minerals.
- Their high fiber substances make sure that it plays a job in avoidance of digestive ailments like hemorrhoids and constipation as well as colorectal cancer.
- The antioxidants in attendance in corn also act as anti-cancer agents and stop Alzheimer’s.
- Corn is a straight resource of folic acid, vitamin B1, B5, C, E, magnesium and phosphorus. - It is measured to be short in protein, due to the least content of the tryptophan and amino acids lysine. On the opposing, it is an excellent source of fiber, complex carbohydrate, and beneficial essential fatty acids.
- Corn is helpful in kidney problems counting renal dysfunction. Eat daily a soft boiled corn.
- Corn bran is a heart guardian, when eaten daily it can lessen cholesterol in the body. The soluble fiber in maize binds with cholesterol in ire from the liver.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Weekend activity: Gather and Share Your Family Health History

If you are concerned about a disease running in your family, collect your family history and talk to your doctor at your next visit. A doctor can evaluate all of the factors that may affect your risk of some diseases, including family health history, and can recommend ways to reduce that risk.

Family Health History is Important
- Family members share genes, behaviors, lifestyles, and environments, which together may affect their risk of developing health problems.
- Most people have a family health history of common chronic diseases (e.g., cancer, heart disease, or diabetes) and other health conditions (e.g., high blood pressure and high cholesterol).
- A person with a close relative affected by a chronic disease may have a higher risk of developing that disease than a person who does not have an affected relative.

Americans know that family history is important to their health. One survey found that 96 percent of Americans believe that knowing their family history is important. Yet, the same survey found that only one-third of Americans have ever tried to gather and write down their family's health history. Are you ready to collect your family health history but don't know where to start?

Talk to Your Family
- Write down the names of blood relatives you need to include in your history.
- The most important relatives to talk to for your family health history are your parents, brothers and sisters, and your children.
- Next, you may want to talk to grandparents, uncles and aunts, nieces and nephews, and any half-brothers or half-sisters.
- It is also helpful to talk to great uncles and aunts, as well as cousins, as well as cousins.

Ask Questions
Among the questions to ask are:
- Do you have any chronic diseases, such as heart disease, or health conditions such as high blood pressure, cholesterol or diabetes?
- Have you had any other serious diseases, such as cancer or stroke?
- How old were you when you developed these diseases?
- Also ask questions about other relatives, both living and deceased, such as:
- What is our family's ancestry – what country did they come from?
- What diseases did your deceased relatives have?
- How old were they when they died?
- What caused their deaths?

Record the Information
Write this information down, and update it from time to time. To organize the information in your family health history you could use a free web-based tool such as My Family Health Portrait.

Share with Your Doctor
Family health history can give you an idea of your risk for common diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes, but it is not the only risk factor. If you are concerned about diseases that are common in your family, talk to your doctor at your next visit. A doctor can evaluate all of the factors, including family health history, that may affect your risk of some diseases, and can recommend ways to reduce that risk.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov

Thursday, November 25, 2010

10 tips to keep your healthy habits intact during holidays

Dreading the holiday season, as it would crash your plans to maintain a healthy diet? Well, you don't have to worry, for an expert has come up with a few tips to help you keep healthy habits intact during this time of the year.

"Attitude and commitment are so important to eating healthy any time of year," said Brittany Glassett, registered dietician at Porter Adventist Hospital. There is no need to deny yourself all 'treats' this time of year, but if you are mindful of what you are eating and practicing moderation, then you can be successful in your weight management goals - and know that you are sticking with your healthy habits," said Glassett.

Here's is the 10 tips for healthy eating during the holidays:

1. No skipping meals. The old adage rings true - always eat breakfast. Eat small, frequent meals and healthy snacks during the day to help avoid overeating at holiday parties.

2. If you overindulge at one meal, don't stress about it - just get back on track with your next meal.

3. Don't drink your calories! Monitor alcohol and soda consumption. Both are high in calories. Try alternating water with alcoholic beverages.

4. Substitute - yogurt for cream, sour cream and mayonnaise, and substitute herbs and spices for salt and fats. You can also add strained apple sauce instead of butter or cooking oil when baking.

5. Eat smaller portions or use a smaller plate. Share a piece of pie and don't go back for seconds.

6. Pace, don't race. Eat your food slowly. If you eat too fast your stomach won't have time to register that it is full. Savour each bite.

7. Skip the appetisers - or bring your own healthy appetizer to a gathering. Nibble on raw vegetables, low fat dips and salsa.

8. Don't loiter in the same room as the food. Focus your attention on the company, rather than the buffet or the bar.

9. Trim back the trimmings. Dressings and side dishes are typically high in calories. Eat turkey without the skin, make gravy with little or no fat and use lighter dressings.

10. Make sure you get regular exercise throughout the holidays. It helps you maintain your weight and decreases your stress. Get the family together for a walk after dinner or get to the gym in the mornings before the holiday activities begin. Better yet, sign up to run (or walk) a Turkey Trot or other event.

Finally, don't deny yourself, said Glassett. Have a tiny taste of those things you really enjoy, but the key word is taste.

Source: http://www.dnaindia.com

Wish you a HAPPY THANKSGIVING from all of us at EaseMyHealth.com!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Health Benefits of Smoking Cessation!

Breaking free from nicotine dependence is not the only reason to quit smoking. Cigarette smoke contains at least 250 chemicals known to be toxic or carcinogenic (i.e., cause cancer). Cigarette smoke can cause serious health problems, numerous diseases, and death.

Fortunately, people who stop smoking greatly reduce their risk for disease and premature death. Although the health benefits are greater for people who stop at earlier ages, cessation is beneficial at all ages.

Smoking cessation is associated with the following health benefits:
- Smoking cessation lowers the risk for lung and other types of cancer.
- Smoking cessation reduces the risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. Coronary heart disease risk is reduced within 1 to 2 years of cessation.
- Smoking cessation reduces respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. The rate of decline in lung function is slower among persons who quit smoking.
- Smoking cessation reduces the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), one of the leading causes of death in the United States.
- Smoking cessation by women during their reproductive years reduces the risk for infertility. Women who stop smoking during pregnancy also reduce their risk of having a low birth weight baby.

Methods to Quit Smoking: Effective treatments that can increase the chances of successful cessation include the following:
- Brief clinical interventions (i.e., when a doctor takes 10 minutes or less to deliver advice and assistance about quitting)
- Counseling (e.g., individual, group, or telephone counseling)
Behavioral cessation therapies (e.g., training in problem solving)
- Treatments with more person-to-person contact and intensity (e.g., more time with counselors)

Cessation medications found to be effective for treating tobacco dependence include the following:
- Over-the-counter and prescription nicotine replacement products (e.g., nicotine gum, inhaler, nasal spray, lozenge, or patch)
- Prescription nonnicotine medications, such as bupropion SR (Zyban®) and varenicline tartrate (Chantix®).

The combination of medication and counseling is more effective for smoking cessation than either medication or counseling alone.

So go right ahead, give yourself a chance to QUIT SMOKING!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Elderly can blame low sodium for fractures and falls

A new study has shown that older adults with even mildly decreased levels of sodium in the blood (hyponatremia) experience increased rates of fractures and falls. Falls are a serious health problem for the elderly and account for about 50% of deaths due to injury in the elderly. "Screening for a low sodium concentration in the blood, and treating it when present, may be a new strategy to prevent fractures," comments Ewout J Hoorn, (Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands).

However, hyponatremia does not appear to affect the risk of osteoporosis, as defined by low bone mineral testing, so more research is needed to understand the link between sodium levels and fracture risk.

The study included more than 5,200 Dutch adults over age 55, all with initial information on sodium levels and six-year follow-up data on fractures and falls. "A number of recent studies suggested a relationship between hyponatremia, falls, osteoporosis, and fractures," Hoorn explains. The authors' goal was to confirm these possible associations using prospective, long-term follow-up data.

About eight percent of the study participants, all community dwelling adults, had hyponatremia. This group of older participants had a higher rate of diabetes and was more likely to use diuretics (water pills) than those with normal sodium levels. Subjects with hyponatremia had a higher rate of falls during follow-up: 24 versus 16%.

However, there was no difference in bone mineral density between groups, so hyponatremia was not related to underlying osteoporosis.

Nevertheless, the group with low sodium levels had a higher rate of fractures. With adjustment for other risk factors, the risk of vertebral / vertebral compression fractures was 61 percent higher in the older adults with hyponatremia. The risk of non-spinal fractures, such as hip fractures, was also significantly increased: a 39% difference. The relationship between hyponatremia and fracture risk was independent of the increased rate of falls in the low-sodium group. Subjects with hyponatremia also had a 21% increase in the risk of death during follow-up.

The study has been presented at the American Society of Nephrology's 43rd Annual Meeting and Scientific Exposition.

Source: http://www.dnaindia.com


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Monday, November 22, 2010

Fruit of the Week: Grapes

The grape is one of the oldest fruits to be cultivated going back as far as biblical times. Some of the most popular ways in which the fruit is used, is eaten fresh, in preserves or canned in jellies, dried into raisins, and crushed for juice or wine. Although, Grapes are about 80 percent water, making them a delectable low-calorie snack or dessert; a cup of Concord or Catawba grapes contains only about 60 calories Grapes also add fiber to the diet and are naturally low in sodium. Raisins, or dried grapes, contain only about 15 percent water. For this reason, nutrients and calories are more concentrated in raisins-one cup contains 464 calories! Like other dried fruit, raisins are a good source of iron.

Selecting Grapes: Look for firm, plump, well-colored clusters of grapes that are securely attached to their green stems. Fully ripe grapes are soft and tender. Grapes showing signs of decay, shriveling, stickiness, brown spots or dry brittle stems should be avoided.

Health Benefits
Grapes are very high in Vitamin A, C and B6. But that’s not all, grapes are also good source of folate, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc, copper, and iron. As you know these are extremely important for a good health. Grapes appear to confer several specific benefits, following are some the most important health benefits of grapes:
- Good For Heart: Red grapes are very good for the heart. Red grapes juice reduces plasma concentrations of oxidized LDL cholesterol, this results the reduction in cardiovascular disease risk. Grapes also increase the nitric oxide level in the blood which is responsible for preventing blood clots and thus reduces the chances of heart attack.
- Cancer: Grapes contain high amount of caffeic acid, a cancer fighting substance and bioflavonoid. Bioflavonoids are good for the body as the provide strength to our cells in the battle with cancerous cells. Bioflavonoids also kill the cancer cells.
- Alzheimer’s Disease: Resveratrol (an effective antioxidant) is classified as a polyphenol, that presents in the grapes reduces the levels of amyloidal-beta peptides in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Hypertension: Products made from the grapes such as wine is good for heart. Research showed that a glass of wine with evening meal is good to control hypertension.
- Lung Health: Grapes are good for the lung health. Study showed a glass of red wine daily (not white), reduces the chance of lung cancer.
- Asthma: Assimilatory power of grapes is higher and increases the moisture present in lungs. Also, research showed that grapes can be used to cure asthma because of its eminent therapeutic value
- Cataract: Apart from other health benefits that described above, grapes are good for reducing the chances of cataract. Flavanoids presents in the grapes fight the damage caused by free radicals such as cataract.
- Anti-Aging: Another benefit of Resveratrol that it influences the genes controlling the aging process.
- Migraine: Ripe grape juice without mixing water is very good for curing migraine. Remember it should be taken early in the morning.
- Breast Cancer: Red grapes with seeds are good for preventing breast cancer. How? In breast cancer, an enzyme called aromatase, which converts other hormone substrates into estrogens, is present in greater amounts. Grape skins and seeds contain compounds called procyanidin B dimmers that suppress aromatase.

Health benefits of grapes and grapes juice are immense. If you want to drink grape juice then do dot any extra sugar.

Sources: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov, http://healthmad.com

Friday, November 19, 2010

TV, a bad teacher of Yoga

Do you sit and perform complicated yoga postures day after day at home with only TV as your instructor? It may be time to turn the idiot box off, as experts warn that practising yoga through mass media without proper guidance can do more harm than good.

"Yoga needs very close concentration and two-way communication is essential; so the best way to perform yoga is with an instructor. The asanas (postures) and prakriyas (processes) somebody is imitating from TV may not be suitable for them and can create trouble," said Yogi Shri Ashish Chatterjee, president of Satya Foundation.

Yoga is India's traditional physical and mental discipline which is associated with meditative practices.

Yoga is a Sanskrit word which is derived from the Sanskrit root 'yuj', meaning to control, to yoke or to unite. However, in general yoga is typically associated with hatha yoga and its asanas or as a form of exercise.

Dr. Manoj Kumar, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Moolchand Hospital, New Delhi, said: "There has been quite an increase in the number of people coming with injuries caused by doing yoga in inappropriate postures as they just watch it on TV and try to imitate it."

"At least three to four patients come with such complaints every week," says Kumar.

R.S. Bhogal, principal of prominent meditation and yoga institute Kaivalyadham in Lonavala, said: "Of course, practising yoga through TV or DVD can create lots of problems as the person cannot get proper feedback and he can either overstretch or have too much contraction."

Bhogal added: "The best way to practise yoga is through one-to-one interaction, so that communication can be easy and efficient. However, it is not always possible to conduct a one-to-one yoga programme; so in my opinion the ideal ratio between instructor and student would be of 30:2 (one yoga instructor, one assistant and 30 students)."

Bhogal also feels it would not be right to practise yoga through mass media.

"The reason behind it is that these asanas have spiritual value. Though it looks like simple exercise, it is not. The different asanas lead us towards peace," Bhogal said.

Rachna Rana, an MBA student who has practised yoga through TV, said: "I was thrilled to see yoga on TV and started practising it every morning, but in a few weeks I got my knee sprained and it took long to recover."

Yash Gulati, senior consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi, said: "One yoga posture cannot be beneficial for all kinds of people. So it is very important to consult an expert before practising, as the effectiveness of yoga depends on various factors like age, physical condition, etc."

While Chatterjee admitted that the TV has helped yoga gain popularity, he said: "TV is distorting the spiritual aspect of yoga and it is not doing any good to people; rather it is causing complications."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Regular Exercisers Cut Dementia, Cancer Risk

Exercising regularly may just be the much-sought-after key to a long life. A new review of findings of 40 studies published in the last four years concluded that exercising regularly can cut the risk of about two dozen physical and mental health conditions, from cancer to dementia. "What is clear from the research is that men and women of all ages should be encouraged to be more physically active for the sake of their long-term health," lead author Leslie Alford, a physiotherapist and lecturer at the University of East Anglia in the U.K., said in a statement.

Alford studied 40 papers published between 2006 and 2010 and looked at the impact of exercise on cancer, heart disease, dementia, stroke, depression, type 2 diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure, among other ailments. He found that other than abstaining from smoking, physical activity is the best medicine a person can take to improve health and longevity.

"Physical inactivity results in widespread pathophysiological changes to our bodies," said Alford. "It appears that our bodies have evolved to function optimally on a certain level of physically activity that many of us simply do not achieve in our modern, sedentary lifestyles." Exercising can not only make us healthier and stronger, giving us protection against a variety of problems, but it also delays the body's age-related decline, the findings showed.

"It's the universal repair," longevity and wellness guru Dr. Walter M. Bortz, author of "Living Longer for Dummies," told AOL Health. "When you're fit, your immune system is better. Everything is better." Bortz said exercise has been shown to be so beneficial in part because it triggers the release of a powerful protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF. "It's a growth hormone for the brain," Bortz said. "It's hot -- it influences everything. Here is this marvelous chemical that gets triggered by exercise."

But for some, it seems, good health and a long life are simply a matter of good fortune. "The literature reviewed shows that how long people live and how healthy they are depends on a complex mix of factors, including their lifestyle, where they live and even luck," Alford said.

Still, the research found a strong link between health and factors that people can control like exercise, diet, smoking and obesity.

Among the findings Alford arrived at in his analysis, which will be published in the December issue of the International Journal of Clinical Practice, are the following:
- Moderate to intense physical activity on a regular basis is linked to a lower risk of stroke and coronary heart disease.
- Exercise seems to reduce the chance of developing certain cancers including colon and prostate cancer, as well as type 2 diabetes, depression, obesity, hypertension and osteoporosis.
- Physical activity is associated with lower cancer death rates.
- Walking or cycling for at least a half an hour a day reduces the risk of cancer; up to an hour can lower the chance of getting cancer by 16 percent.
- Sexual dysfunction problems in men happen less often in those who exercise frequently.
- Physical activity seems to decrease the risk of dementia in the elderly.

As much of an advocate as he is for exercise, Bortz doesn't think there is enough evidence to support the theory that it can help prevent cancer. "That's pushing it," he said.

Alford suggests that health adults aged 18 to 65 should try 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week, like 30-minute brisk walks each day. Those who exercise more vigorously should try 20 minutes three days a week. He also recommends two weekly strength-training sessions. For the elderly, balance and flexibility exercises are also a good idea. "Ideally, to gain maximum health benefits people should exercise, not smoke, eat a healthy diet and have a body mass index of less than 25" Alford said. "The more of these healthy traits an individual has, the less likely they are to develop a range of chronic disorders."

Source: http://www.aolhealth.com

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

10 do's and don'ts for a healthy skin

Has your skin lost the shine? Here are the do's and don'ts to curb your complexion crimes.

1. Taking hot showers: We all love languishing in a steamy shower but hot water can damage delicate facial skin.
"If you're prone to redness the heat can weaken capillaries making redness worse so aim for a tepid temperature," the Daily Express quoted Shula Starkey, founder of Ark Skincare, as saying.

2. Stressing out: It's well known that stress has a negative effect on health but it adversely affects your skin too. Try yoga and deep breathing techniques and treat your skin to a destressing product. "The stress hormone cortisol is your skin's worst ageing enemy and as we age levels rise. Avoid coffee and alcohol to relieve stress as it will only ramp up cortisol levels," said Starkey.

3. Rushing your cleansing routine: The new trend of cleansing in a hurry using packet wipes has many skin experts cringing. "Inadequate cleansing can lead to bacteria build-up and skin break-outs," she said.

4. Dieting: Sticking to a strict low-fat diet can age and dull skin. Good fats are crucial for skin health, repair, moisture and flexibility. "Essential fatty acids from oily fish, eggs, flax seeds, walnuts and dark green vegetables are particularly important," said dietician Tanya Haffner, spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association.

5. Eating sugary snacks: Too much sugar in the bloodstream widens your waistline and can result in wrinkles. "Glycation is a process where sugar in the bloodstream reacts with collagen in the skin and changes its structure from springy and stretchy to hard and brittle and can lead to premature skin ageing," said nutritionist Melanie Flower (natural-healthcare). The process is accelerated in people with poor insulin control but Melanie advises cutting back on sugar. "Snacks containing protein are the best option when cravings strike, especially nuts and seeds because they contain skin-friendly oils."

6. Not wearing sun protection: If you slather on SPF protection only when the sun is shining you're not doing enough, dermatologist Dr Stefanie Williams (eudeloboutique) said. She suggests using a broad-spectrum sun protection moisturiser with SPF 30-50 under make-up all year round.

7. Neglecting your neck: "You should care for your neck exactly as you do your face so apply all your facial skincare products from the hairline right down to the neck and d├ęcolletage," said Williams. "Use an antioxidant serum under your sun protection moisturiser every day."

8. Not protecting against pollution: "Exposure to environmental pollution plus passive exposure to tobacco smoke can cause oxidative stress and damage to skin," said Williams. "Pollutants can also make the skin more sensitive to the harmful effects of UV exposure."

9. Drinking too much: Alcohol dilates the capillaries and over time can lead to broken veins and flushing of the face, deplete the body of vitamin A, an important antioxidant for skin elasticity, and dehydrate leaving your skin more prone to wrinkling. So drink water alongside alcohol and make sure you are getting enough daily fluid, advised Tanya Haffner. "Six to eight glasses will give your skin the necessary moisture for a dewy look and help flush out toxins," she said. If you are sipping cocktails on your night out forego the straw as the sucking effect encourages wrinkles to form round the mouth.

10. Not sleeping enough: Skin regenerates at night so make sure you get eight hours. "Studies have shown lack of sleep can increase cortisol levels, which is associated with acceleration of the ageing process, reduced collagen production and increased collagen degradation," said Williams. When you are asleep your skin is better able to absorb products so slather on a rich, soothing night cream with a calming aroma.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Get some 'Sunshine Vitamin'!

Covering up in the sun to protect against skin cancer could harm our health in other ways, say experts. Here’s how to get it right. For years we’ve had it drummed into us that we need to cover up and slap on the high SPF sunscreen in hot, sunny weather. But experts fear some people are taking it too far.

While it’s vital to protect your skin from damage, including skin cancer, a recent study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) revealed that vitamin D deficiency is rising. People are getting far too little sun exposure, which the body needs to produce vitamin D, according to the study led by Professor Simon Pearce and Dr Time Cheetham.

It seems that years of sun-safety warnings have made us so terrified of skin cancer, we’re overcompensating by covering up too much – or staying out of the sun altogether. But this can cause bone problems – in extreme cases rickets and osteoporosis – depression and even weight gain.

That’s not to say we should ditch the sun cream.Whether you’re fair skinned or have olive skin that never burns, you should always wear at least factor 20 when you’re in the sun for longer than an hour, and never allow skin to burn.

However, it’s important to remember that small doses of unprotected sun exposure are vital. Experts say we need about 20 minutes a day to help bodies produce enough vitamin D, known as the “sunshine vitamin”. Here’s why you should get enough sun...

It strengthens teeth and bones
One of the main reasons vitamin D deficiency causes diseases like rickets and the brittle bones in osteoporosis is because it helps to regulate the amount of calcium in the body, vital for keeping teeth and bones strong. A lack of vitamin D often results in a lack of calcium, no matter how much milk or yogurt you have.

It reduces your risk of cancer
People with optimum levels of vitamin D have a 40% lower risk of getting cancer compared to people with very low levels, according to a study in the BMJ. That’s particularly breast, ovarian, prostate and colon cancers.

It helps you lose weight
Low levels of vitamin D are also associated with obesity, say researchers at the University of Minnesota. “Our results suggest the possibility of the addition of vitamin D to a reduced-calorie diet will lead to better weight loss,” says Shalamar Sibley, who led the study.

It found people starting a weight-loss diet have better results if they include plenty of vitamin D in their diet and get a bit of sunshine. Just remember: keep sun exposure safe by making sure it’s in small doses and not in the hottest part of the day.

It lifts mood
As the sun gets brighter and the days longer, our mood lifts. That’s because there’s a link between vitamin D from the sun and feel-good hormones in the body. This explains seasonal affective disorder and why gloominess often hits in dark and cold months.

Here's how to get what you need

Get a little sun
Make sure you step outside for 10 to 20 minutes every single day. Staying cooped up indoors is depressing for a reason – you get absolutely no vitamin D, which lowers the number of feel-good hormones in your body and brain.
If you’re worried about over-exposure, wear a hat and keep your shoulders covered.

Tweak your diet
Vitamin D is mainly found in oily fish such as salmon and mackerel, eggs, dairy products and breakfast cereals. It can also be found in fortified margarines, liver and cod liver oil. Try to include these foods in your diet, but if you’re struggling, then try a supplement.