Friday, September 23, 2011

Burn even more calories during your walk.

It seems as though the news on walking gets better and better with every step. Not only does walking burn about 100 calories per mile, it gives your heart a great workout, too.

According to Maggie Spilner of Walk For All Seasons, the University of Illinois recently discovered during a study that "regular walking might even make you smarter by improving the connectivity of important brain circuits.

The American Heart Association suggests that brisk walking for a minimum of 30 minutes per day for five days per week is a great target for beginners. One way to improve your success rate of meeting or beating the aforementioned goal  is to join a walking group.

Not interested in walking with strangers? Start your own walking group by asking co-workers, neighbors, family members or friends to join you at a mutually comfortable area or post an ad on Craigslist to get a foothold on forming a walking group.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lower your blood pressure with celery.

Fresh celery. Photo courtesy of
For centuries, "celery has been used in Asia as a folk remedy for high blood pressure," according to Prevention Magazine. Researchers at the Univ. of Chicago Medical Center actually tested this ancient remedy after one man persuaded them. His persistence paid off in spades! Within one week of participation in the study, his blood pressure plummeted from 158/96 to 118/82.
Later, the researchers began testing the celery theory on lab animals. Once again, within one week, the animals' blood pressures dropped an average of 12 to 14 percent! Celery was found to relax the muscles of the arteries that regulate blood pressure allowing the vessels to dilate.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Earthquake rocks Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania!

Here in Pittsburgh, the earthquake visibly shook me today as I sat at a small table on the seventh floor of an office building downtown. It has been more than 25 years since I can remember feeling the effects of an earthquake.

In spite of today's activities, I believe I was lucky that things weren't worse than they could have been and think I should share the following portion of an article from Yahoo!News as an explanation:

MINERAL, Va. (AP) — Tens of millions of people from Georgia to Canada were jolted Tuesday by the strongest earthquake to strike the East Coast since World War II. Three weeks before the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, office workers poured out of New York skyscrapers and the Pentagon, relieved it was nothing more sinister than an act of nature.

There were no known deaths or serious injuries, but cracks appeared in the National Cathedral, and three capstones broke off its tower. Windows shattered and grocery stores were wrecked in Virginia, where the quake was centered. The White House and Capitol were partly evacuated.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake registered magnitude 5.8. By West Coast standards, that is mild. But the East Coast is not accustomed to earthquakes at all, and this one unsettled some of the nation's biggest population centers.

In New York and Washington, people said their thoughts were of an explosion or terrorist attack. In some cases, workers in Washington mentioned the tremors in phone calls to colleagues in New York, and seconds later, the shaking reached there, too.

"We thought it was a bomb at first because everyone has 9/11 on the brain and that it's so close to September and the 10th anniversary," said Cathy McDonald, who works in an IRS office in downtown Washington.

Hundreds of people spilled out of the federal courthouse blocks from ground zero, workers in the Empire State Building rushed into the streets, some having descended dozens of flights of stairs.
"I thought we'd been hit by an airplane," said one worker, Marty Wiesner.

Adrian Ollivierre, an accountant who was in his office on the 60th floor when the shaking began, said: "I thought I was having maybe a heart attack, and I saw everybody running. I think what it is, is the paranoia that happens from 9/11, and that's why I'm still out here — because, I'm sorry, I'm not playing with my life."

The quake was felt as far north as Toronto, as far west as Indiana and Kentucky and as far south as Atlanta and Savannah, Ga. It was also felt on Martha's Vineyard of Massachusetts, where President Barack Obama, who is vacationing there, was getting ready to tee off in a round of golf.

The White House said there were no reports of major damage to the nation's infrastructure, including airports and nuclear facilities. Two nuclear reactors at the North Anna Power Station in Virginia were automatically taken off line by safety systems, said Roger Hannah, a spokesman for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The plant is in the same county as the quake's epicenter, about 80 miles southwest of Washington and 40 miles northwest of Richmond, Va.

The Park Service closed all monuments and memorials on the National Mall, and ceiling tiles fell at Reagan National Airport outside Washington. Many nonessential workers in Washington were sent home for the day.

The Capitol was reopened by late afternoon for people to retrieve their things.

At the Pentagon, a low rumbling built until the building itself was shaking, and people ran into the corridors of the complex. The shaking continued, to shouts of "Evacuate! Evacuate!" The main damage to the building, the largest single workspace for the federal government, came from a broken water pipe.

To read the article in its entirety, click here.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

How-to reduce your risk of prostate cancer.

As a man approaching 45, I can't help to wonder about cancer and ways to possibly lessen my chances of being a statistic one day.

While reading a booklet a few days ago, I stumbled across some helpful tips for possibly reducing the risk of developing prostate cancer and wanted to share them.

Prostate cancer is cancer that starts in the prostate gland. The prostate is a small, walnut-sized structure that makes up part of a man's reproductive system. It wraps around the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body. More than 198,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed annually.

Prostate cancer is the third most common cause of death from cancer in men of all ages and is the most common cause of death from cancer in men over age 75. Prostate cancer is rarely found in men younger than 40.

Some ways to reduce your risk are as follows:

  • Limit the amount of animal fat in your diet.
  • Eat one or more servings daily of tomatoes or tomato-based foods, such as tomato juice and spaghetti sauce. Tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene, which may protect the prostate from cancer. Other food sources contain lycopene, but tomatoes are the best source.
  • Talk to your doctor about screening tests, especially if you are at high-risk -- African-Americans and men with a close relative who had prostate cancer at a young age.

Men who eat fewer than five servings a day of meat, milk, cheese, etc. have a lower risk of prostate cancer. A great deal of scientific research has been conducted to identify the properties of animal fat responsible for the increase in prostate cancer risk. One explanation is that animal fat might affect different hormone levels and increase the risk of cancer.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cell phones and your health

An Argentine study mentioned in the July/August 2011 issue of Men's Health Magazine, p.33, explains that cell phones worn on the belt may be related to lower bone mass. "Men who regularly carried a cellphone on their right hip had lower bone mass at the top of their right femur than men who didn't carry a phone."

The study comes on the heels of a recently released report
by a team of international scientists claiming a possible link between cell phone usage and cancer. Read my article published on Yahoo! and Yahoo!News, "World Health Organization unlikely to get people off the phone" for more information about the WHO classification of cell phones as potentially "carcinogenics to humans."

It's worth noting that both studies speculate that radiofrequency radiation might possibly affect cell formation and alter the natural coarse of things and lead to health-related issues.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Eating Sweets: How-to incorporate them into your daily diet.

Many parents fall into the dessert/sweet/treat reward for eating all the veggies and/or cleaning the plate. It doesn't have to be that way.

Sweets have a place in our daily diets -- even as adults! You don't have to give up your favorite cookies, cakes or chocolate treats. A vital part of the process includes cutting down on, or even eliminating, sugar from other sources, such as high fructose corn syrup.

It boils down to eating them at the right time of day to keep the pounds off and prevent them from coming back. Sweets should be enjoyed as part of a meal, or directly afterwards, according to newly published research at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, and not as a snack.

If you're having difficulty keeping maintaining a healthy weight once you've achieved your goal, read "8 tips for losing weight and keeping it off."

Remember that a proper diet has many deciding factors. The most successful weight-loss program depends upon good choices, exercise and more importantly -- moderation.

Beating the Heat this Summer: Have a Healthy and Happy Season!

Delicious summer fruit and vegetables are an excellent way to help you stay cool and hydrated. Watermelon, cantaloupe, tomatoes and other chilled veggies and fruit will keep you calm and cool this summer.

Protect your skin. It is possible for a sunburn to elevate your glucose level and increase your risk of skin cancer as well. recommends wearing "a shot-size dose" of sunscreen, SPF-15 or greater before venturing outside.

Forget about wearing flip-flops. Closed-toe shoes are the best choice for protecting your feet from poison ivy, cuts, bruises, blisters, insects and sunburns.

Check for ticks!  Ticks are spider-like bugs that are renowned for spreading/transmitting inflammatory diseases such as Lyme disease.

Before going indoors check your skin for ticks, paying close attention around the waistband, armpits, and in hairy locations -- such as the scalp and groin areas.

Remove ticks with fine-tipped tweezers and call your doctor if a rash develops around the bite location(s).

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Big Plates Equal Big Waistlines.

Your diet plan and New Year's resolution aren't working? Take a tip from Brian Wansink. Brian heads Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab. In his book "Mindless Eating", Wansink noted that "the amount people serve themselves goes up about 22 percent" when you go from a 10-inch plate to a 12-inch plate. And since the 60's,  dinner plate sizes have increased 36 percent.

Think a 9-inch plate is better? Not likely. "Sometimes people start realizing they've served themselves less and go back for seconds and thirds," he said. It's about discipline. Decide that you are committed to becoming healthy and concentrate on serving size. Coupled with an appropriately-sized plate, your portions will satisfy and allow you to watch your waistline.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Vitamin B12 and Breast Cancer

A number of studies have revealed that women who are chronically LOW in vitamin B12 tend to develop breast cancer more readily than their counterparts.

The best food sources for vitamin B12 are seafood, meats, and poultry. To get started, here is a link to a healthy chicken sandwich: Cranberry Chicken Sandwich. Also try the chicken recipe featured here at the bottom of the blog titled, "Herb and Garlic Chicken with Citrus Pan Sauce".

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Natural relief for constipation.

Constipation is defined as unsatisfactory defecation. Sometimes doctors dismiss constipation as a minor complaint. While it is generally not life-threatening, constipation is uncomfortable and can be stressful.

Assuming you are normally regular and suddenly have become constipated, it makes sense to check with your doctor. There are diseases and conditions that are directly related to constipation, such as Parkinson's disease or an underactive thyroid gland. Does being constipated mean you have a serious illness? No. But it is best to consult your healthcare provider for a candid discussion -- especially if you drink plenty of fluids and eat a balanced diet.

Diet is the key to constipation prevention. Fluids and fiber are the best combatants against irregularity. Adequate fluids (at least six 8-ounce glasses per day) and a balanced diet containing no less than 25 mg of fiber each day.

Increasing you fiber intake can be accomplished by simply consuming 6 to 9 servings of fresh vegetables and fruit every day, along with whole-grains. Foods that are high in fiber include:

  • Apples
  • Broccoli
  • Prunes
  • Raisins
  • Winter Squash
  • Blackberries
  • Lima Beans
  • Popcorn
  • Chickpeas
  • Bran Cereal
  • Oats (Steel-cut)
For uncomplicated constipation, focus on increasing your dietary intake of these high-fiber foods. An additional source of high-fiber is flaxseed. Flaxseed is a great source of soluble fiber and while treating your constipation, flaxseed can also lower your cholesterol. Flaxseed is also another excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Simply add ground falxseed to your hot or cold breakfast cereal along with a few berries for the easiest way to inject it into your diet.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Drink Fluids!

Quench your thirst. Fluids can do wonders for your waistline. A recently released study found that after men and women drank 17 ounces of water, their metabolism increased by 30 percent within 10 minutes and peaked about 40 minutes later.

You don't have to drown yourself. A recent National Academy of Sciences report found that most women need eleven 8-ounce cups of fluid a day...but it doesn't have to be strictly water, either. A cup of tea counts. Plus tea also has other health benefits as well -- antioxidants. Juice and an occasional cola will work too. Just watch the sugar.

Wine and booze are beneficial. Cardiologist Holly S. Andersen, M.D., an assistant professor at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City, explains, "I do not encourage non-drinkers to drink, but I also do not encourage women who drink a glass of wine to stop, because it may actually be good for your heart."

Surprisingly, booze counts towards your daily fluid intake quota -- meaning, you can drink a beer (or two) in moderation provided you are not at risk for certain types of hormonal cancers. Check with your doctor.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Vegetable Juices

Drink vegetable juice, but don't expect it to replace whole vegetables needed in your daily diet. Television commercials want you to believe that you can drink your veggies instead of chewing them. Don't go for it! Whole veggies are still the best way to get your daily dose.

Vegetable juices are fairly rich in vitamins and minerals and low in calories, drinking 6 ounces will typically give you 60% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C and nearly half the suggested daily intake of beta carotene. However, commercial varieties have lots of sodium (about 600 mg) and provide very little fiber compared to whole vegetables. Look for "no salt added" vegetable juices for the healthiest alternative.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Laziness, Exercise and the Health of the Union

Judging by the obesity rates, Americans are increasingly becoming more sluggish these days. A new study suggests that adults in Appalachia and a handful of Southern states are less likely to be active if there isn't a real need to move.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimated activity levels in every U.S. county using data from 2004 to 2008. The report found that residents in Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee and Oklahoma are least likely to exercise in their leisure time than people living elsewhere.

The country's most active residents live on the West Coast, Colorado, Minnesota and parts of the Northeast.

What's the driving force behind the study? The areas with the highest levels of obesity and diagnosed diabetes were also the most inactive.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Beneficial Vegetables Your Family Should be Eating!

Choose Cruciferous Vegetables. Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collards, mustard greens and brussels sprouts all contain nitrogen compounds called indoles, which may protect against certain cancers. These dark-green vegetables are also great sources of cancer-fighting carotenoids (most notably, beta carotene) and they all supply generous amounts of vitamin C and fiber.

Check out broccoli. Broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse! One cup of chopped broccoli supplies a whopping 90% of the daily recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin A in the form of beta carotene, 200% of the RDA for vitamin C, significant amounts of niacin, calcium, thiamine, phosphorous and 25% of your daily fiber needs. In addition to these valuable assets, broccoli has reportedly been a possible cancer fighter. Some of the substances in broccoli, such as sulforaphane, are thought to help protect against cancer. All of these benefits and only 45 calories!

Monday, February 7, 2011

How to remove baby formula from washable fabrics.

Baby formula is a protein-based stain. Protein stains are animal based in nature and require careful attention to prevent damaging the garment.

If the spot is on white clothing treat the stain with undiluted lemon juice and place the item in the sun to dry.
Most likely, the stain is on a colored fabric or shirt. To treat the stain on colored clothing, coat the spot with a paste made of cool water and unseasoned meat tenderizer and let stand for at least 30 minutes. Once dry, brush away the paste and launder as usual.

Other options:
Soak in an enzyme solution according to the item's and manufacturer's instructions.
In a pinch, wipe formula spills and spit-ups with moist baby wipes. Rinse with cool water, then treat any remaining stain as quickly as possible.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Drink Tea

Tea contains enough fluoride to help prevent tooth decay, and is also rich in substances called polyphenols (polyhydroxy phenol), which act as antioxidants and thus may help protect against cancer.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Be Active.

As many as 12% of all deaths -- 250,000 per year -- in the U.S. may be attributed indirectly to the lack of regular physical activity, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Only about one in four Americans exercise enough to be considered physically active, according to the government's guidelines.

By exercising regularly you're likely to become trimmer and fitter even if your weight stays the same, since you're building muscle and burning body fat. As a suggestion, begin by walking for 30 minutes each day  for a week, then gradually increase the distance, walking speed or time spent on your daily routine.

Working in your garden is another great alternative to add to your regimen. Using the old-fashioned gas-powered push lawnmower will burn 420 to 480 calories an hour -- that's the equivalent of a game of tennis! Even the less strenuous forms of gardening like weeding, trimming and raking can burn about 300 calories an hour if you're working energetically and at a constant pace.