25 Reasons Why Turmeric Can Heal You

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Here are some of the benefits of using turmeric as a spice

  1. Turmeric is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.
  2. When combined with cauliflower, turmeric has shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer.
  3. Prevented breast cancer from spreading to the lungs in mice.
  4. It may prevent melanoma and cause existing melanoma cells to commit suicide.
  5. Reduces the risk of childhood leukemia.
  6. Turmeric is a natural liver detoxifier.
  7. Turmeric may prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.
  8. It may prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer.
  9. Turmeric is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects.
  10. Has shown promise in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis in mice.
  11. Turmeric is a natural painkiller and cox-2 inhibitor.
  12. May aid in fat metabolism and help in weight management.
  13. Has long been used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for depression.
  14. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is a natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
  15. It boosts the effects of chemo drug paclitaxel and reduces its side effects.
  16. Promising studies are underway on the effects of turmeric on pancreatic cancer.
  17. Studies are ongoing in the positive effects of turmeric on multiple myeloma.
  18. Turmeric has been shown to stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumors.
  19. It speeds up wound healing and assists in remodeling of damaged skin.
  20. Turmeric may help in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.
  21. Curcumin seems to delay liver damage that can eventually lead to cirrhosis, according to preliminary experimental research at the Medical University Graz in Austria.
  22. Kansas State University research found that adding certain spices, including turmeric, can reduce the levels of heterocyclic amines — carcinogenic compounds that are formed when meats are barbecued, boiled or fried — by up to 40 percent.
  23. Rodent studies at the University of Texas indicate that curcumin inhibits the growth of a skin cancer, melanoma and also slows the spread of breast cancer into the lungs.
  24. Researchers from the University of South Dakota have found that pretreatment with curcumin makes cancer cells more vulnerable to chemo and radiotherapy.
  25. Epidemiologists have hypothesized that the turmeric that is part of daily curries eaten in India may help explain the low rate of Alzheimer’s disease in that country.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-6873/25-Reasons-Why-Turmeric-Can-Heal-You.html

10 reasons why jogging is good for you

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1. It improves your cardiovascular fitness

Aerobic exercise like jogging improves your body’s ability to deliver oxygen to your muscles. It also helps your muscles to become more efficient at using that oxygen. The more you exercise it, the better your heart works, and this reduces the risk of a heart attack.

2. It can help to reduce your blood pressure

Improving the fitness of your cardiovascular system can reduce high blood pressure, which is one of the risk factors for a heart attack or stroke.

3. It increases levels of good HDL cholesterol

HDL cholesterol removes deposits of bad LDL cholesterol from your blood and carts it off to your liver to be excreted from your body. Excess LDL cholesterol is linked with heart disease as it blocks the flow of blood to your heart. Levels of HDL cholesterol can be boosted by improving cardiovascular fitness.

4. It helps to build strong, healthy bones

Weight-bearing exercise like jogging puts your bones under stress, so your body responds by increasing your bone mineral density to make your bones stronger. This makes them less likely to break, and helps to keep osteoporosis at bay.

5. It can help prevent diabetes

A sedentary lifestyle is one of the risk factors for type-2 diabetes, as is being overweight. Jogging can help with both of these.

6. It may make your immune system stronger

A strong immune system helps you to fight bacteria and viruses. Regular exercise stimulates the production of cells in your blood that fight off bugs.

7. It may help decrease your risk of cancer

Several studies indicate that aerobic activity like jogging may be able to reduce the risk of cancer, in particular breast and colon cancer. It’s thought it does this by affecting several factors that can play a part in the development of cancer, such as obesity, inflammation and hormone levels.

8. It can help with weight-loss

Jogging is a great way of burning fat. If you weigh 65-70kg you’ll burn up to 335 kilojoules for every kilometre you run. So if you jog 5km four times a week, that’s up to 6700 kilojoules you’re burning each week.

9. It improves mental fitness

Jogging and other physical activity can lead to the release of endorphins, the chemicals in the brain that produce a sense of happiness and well being. It can also help relieve stress and can improve your confidence and self-esteem.

10. It may help you to sleep better

Doing cardiovascular exercise such as jogging – particularly in the morning – may set your body clock so that you are wide awake during the day and sleepy at night. Plus it may help you to relax and go to sleep more easily.

Source: http://www.womensweekly.co.nz/latest/health/10-reasons-why-jogging-is-good-for-you-8518

5 Mental Tricks to Feeling Amazing, Even if You Miss a Few Workouts

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Your self-worth has nothing to do with how often you hit the treadmill.

Your plan was to relaunch your regular gym and clean eating regimen on January 1. More than a week into the new year, that’s mostly fallen by the wayside. Logically, you know that your self-worth doesn’t rely on perfect attendance at SoulCycle. So why do so many of us drop into a shame spiral when we skip a few workouts or finish off a sugary treat?

“We’re in a society that hyper-values fitness and thinness, and we’re taught to be ashamed of feeling like we’re not to living up to expectation,” says Andrew Walen, a psychotherapist specializing in eating disorders and body image and the founder of The Body Image Therapy Center in Washington, D.C. Not sticking to a routine can also make you feel out of control, and that too tends to fuel anxious or depressive thinking, says Walen.

Maintaining your healthy food and fitness goals is hard work, and sometimes life gets in the way—or the couch and a Stranger Things binge session are calling you hard. Next time you start to feel guilty for what you view as slipping up, try these simple mental tricks, which will banish negative thoughts and empower you with body positivity.

Recite a mantra

Repeating an affirmation, song lyric, or some other catchy and motivational phrase might sound a little silly. But reciting inspiring words keeps you in the moment and gives your brain something to focus on, crowding out self-criticism while the mantra’s positive message sinks in, says Walen.

Next time you start to beat yourself up for ditching the treadmill, repeat your mantra out loud or in your head with intention. We like “I’m more than my body” and “I am beautiful” because these phrases are simple and super upbeat. But anything that resonates with you in a personal way will work just fine.

Banish ‘I should’ from your brain

Pay attention to key words in your own internal dialogue. “Every time you hear ‘I should’ or ‘I must,’ recognize that you’re punishing yourself for no reason,” says Walen. For example, if you’re spending time relaxing on the couch with family and suddenly catch yourself thinking, “I really should put on my gym gear and go for a run,” stop right there. Distract yourself with your social feed, a conversation with your partner, anything to get out of that negative head space.

Put on clothes that make you feel awesome

You should never feel bad about your body, but if you do, there’s no quicker way to start feeling sexy and attractive than changing into an outfit you know you look good in. “Dress in a way that makes you feel adventurous and flirtatious and desirable,” says Walen. “Don’t feel like you need to fit into a mold with what you wear—it’s a time to express yourself.” Whether it’s a revealing bandage dress or comfy jeans and sneakers, your clothes can switch up your mindset.

Don’t get sucked into someone else’s body criticism

Body shame is so prevalent in our culture, you might frequently find yourself caught up in other people’s body drama—such as a conversation about your sister’s failing efforts to stay on Whole30 or your coworker’s guilt about gaining a few pounds. Before their body negativity triggers your own dissatisfaction, change the subject, suggests Walen.

If redirecting the conversation isn’t your cup of tea, just leave the vicinity. Politely excuse yourself and spend time with people who are talking about something besides diet and exercise.

Be kind and forgiving—to yourself

When we feel guilty for not living up to our own (our society’s) expectations, we tend to punish ourselves for it—vowing to skip a meal to make up for a binge, for example, or overexerting ourselves at the gym to compensate for blowing it off all week. Problem is, doing this treats food and fitness as punishments, when they should be celebrations of your body and mind. So give yourself permission to make mistakes and enjoy life’s indulgences, with no regrets whatsoever.

Source: http://www.health.com/mind-body/how-to-feel-body-positive

Here’s How to Talk to Your Daughters About Sexual Harassment

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You’ve probably seen the hashtag in your Twitter feed, read the stories on Facebook, or posted your own heart-wrenching stories about sexual harassment. On Sunday night, actress Alyssa Milano resurfaced a 10-year-old campaign originally created by activist Tarana Burke with the first “Me Too” tweet. Since, literally millions of women have posted the words in solidarity and shared their own stories.

And chances are, if your daughter is on social media, she’s seen those stories, too. Even if she’s too young to be on Instagram (or watch Saturday Night Live, or follow the news about her favorite actresses), your daughter has likely witnessed men or boys making inappropriate sexual comments. She may have even experienced it herself.

“The news about Harvey Weinstein and Me Too is really hitting a nerve,” says Holly Kearl, founder of the nonprofit Stop Street Harassment. Though the stories are unsettling, Kearl says the positive side is that everyone is talking about it now, and it’s providing an invaluable opportunity for you to discuss the issue with the girls—and boys—in your life. “Many parents want to talk to their daughters, but they worry they’ll do it wrong, or they don’t know exactly what to say, so they wind up not saying anything,” says Kearl. Here are three ways to start the conversation:

If Your Savvy Tween or Teen Daughter Is on Social Media and Has Lots 0f Questions…

  • Ask how much she already knows about the news, and what questions she has about it, and answer her honestly. You can also use this opportunity to share your own experiences from the past and how you handled them—or wish you had, says Kearl. As your girls get older and ready to go out into the working world, you can also broaden the conversation to let her know it’s not just about sex, but about wielding power, says Dana Dorfman, PhD, a New York family and child therapist.
  • Give her strategies for what to do if someone harasses her or a friend. “If someone is bothering them at school or in public, they can say ‘Nope, I’m not interested,’ and walk away,” says Kearl. “But also let them know if they are being harassed, and the other person is older or in a group, they shouldn’t feel any pressure to respond in the moment. They should just get to a safe place, and talk to someone about it afterward.”
  • Teach her to trust her intuition. “With older girls, let them know it’s okay to want to be attractive and to flirt with a boy, but when it crosses a line, they shouldn’t feel they are somehow responsible,” says Dorfman. “Make sure girls know they have their own inner barometer of when something isn’t right, and they should trust that and get out of the situation.”

If Your Daughter Hears You Talking About the News and Wants to Know What It’s All About

  • Break it down: You can say that one very powerful man in the movie business has gotten fired because he treated women very badly, touching them sexually when they didn’t want to be touched and saying crude and mean things to them—behavior that is never acceptable in any situation. And now women all over the country are supporting each other by sharing their stories.
  • Use language they relate to. In order to bring up the concept of sexual harassment without scaring your child, you can say, “Most men and boys are really nice and great to be friends with, but there are a few who think it’s okay to talk about girls in a way that’s mean or creepy. Sometimes they may touch them without permission. If you ever see this or if it happens to you, I want you to know you can talk to me about it.”
  • Use real-life teaching moments. “When you see someone being disrespectful to a woman, either in the movies, on TV, or in real life, use it as a springboard to a conversation with your sons and daughters,” says Kearl. “I know what we’re seeing, but in our family that is not how we treat women.”

If Your Daughter Is Too Young to Know What’s Going On…

  • Talk to her generally about boundaries.
    For the youngest girls, there’s no need to bring up news that they’re not interested in or can’t understand. But you should start talking about good touching and bad touching as soon as they can understand. “Even at age 5 or 6, a girl may have heard someone say something to her mothers or older sister, and you can say it is never okay for someone to talk about your body or touch you without your permission,” says Kearl.
  • Model good behavior at home. “Children pick up more from listening to us talk about others than from what we say to them,” says Dorfman. This means that any time your kids overhear you referring to someone as “hot” or hear a male member of the family comment on a woman’s body, they internalize that this is acceptable behavior. “No one is born a harasser, they are just modeling behavior they have seen other people do,” says Kearl.


5 Signs You’re Getting Fitter—Even If the Scale Hasn’t changed

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You’ve been doing everything right: loading up on greens, lifting weights, and going easy on the wine and late-night snacks. But whenever you step on the scale, the same digits stare back at you—or worse, the number is higher than it was last time. WTF?

Before you get too worked up, the scale doesn’t tell the whole story—and you know this! Fortunately there are other ways to gauge your progress: As you get healthier, a few subtle mind-body clues begin to surface. Read on to learn what to look for. If you can check any of the boxes below, it’s a safe bet you’re on the right track (even if the scale claims otherwise).

Your junk food cravings have mellowed out

Once you’ve adapted to a cleaner diet, your hankerings for sugar and processed foods should get less intense (and may even go away completely), says Mark Hyman, MD, director of the Center for Functional Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. “You can absolutely train your body to crave healthy foods instead,” he says. In other words, jonesing for edamame is an excellent sign you’ve made headway.

Test your taste buds: Make a list of five foods you once craved; then after two weeks, note whether you crave them anymore. The shift can happen very quickly, says Dr. Hyman, who wrote The Blood Sugar Solution: 10-Day Detox Diet. “If you load up on plant foods, healthy fats, and protein with every meal, you will find that eventually you won’t want the junk.”

You’re reaching for heftier dumbbells

So you finally started lifting—or doing body-weight workouts—to build fat-burning muscle. Here’s some encouraging news: You may notice progress stat. For some people, it takes just a few weeks to see improvements in strength. “This is often referred to as beginner’s gains,” says Kourtney Thomas, a certified strength and conditioning specialist based in St. Louis. (After that, progress may slow, but it should still happen over time.)

Track your gains: As a general rule, if your regimen includes progressive overload (meaning you gradually make your muscles work harder over time, by adding weight or tension) you should be able to lift weight that is 7 to 10 percent heavier—or do endurance strength moves (such as planks) for longer—after every 14 days or so. Try using specific exercises (think bicep curls and a squat hold) as “benchmarks,” and testing yourself every two weeks or so. But keep in mind that fitness progress isn’t always linear, Thomas notes. “Other general clues like having more energy for workouts, and better balance and coordination are valuable indicators too,” she says.

You’ve never felt more rested

“Exercise has been proven to not only boost your daytime energy, but your sleep quality, too,” says Marci Goolsby, MD, a physician in the Women’s Sports Medicine Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Researchers have found that when people with insomnia get on a long-term exercise program, they tend to doze off quicker, snooze longer, and sleep more deeply than before they started working out. (Just don’t bang out a HITT routine right before bed, Dr. Goolsby warns, because that might actually keep you up.)

Collect some data: Use a sleep tracker device for a few weeks. “It can give you some general feedback,” says Dr. Goolsby, such as how long it takes you to drift off, and how long (roughly) you spend in REM sleep (the deepest stage). Once you start noticing positive changes, you may be motivated to hit the hay earlier, she adds.

Your appetite has changed

If your get-fit plan has you turned you into a gym rat, you may not be as hungry as usual—or, you may be famished. Exercise can actually have both effects: Some people experience a drop in appetite, while others crave more food.

If your end goal is a slimmer waist, feeling ravenous can be frustrating. But you may actually need more food to keep burning calories, says Thomas: “You might have to increase what you are eating to fuel your body through your exercise routine.”

Assess your eating habits: In a notebook or with voice recordings in your smartphone, keep tabs on your hunger levels and rough calorie intake. If you do notice you’re eating more since you’ve started crushing your workouts in full-on beast mode, that okay, says Dr. Hyman. “Just make sure you’re adding real, whole foods,” he says. “Eight hundred calories from an avocado is going to do dramatically different things to your body than 800 calories coming from gummy bears.”

Your jeans fit differently

“Focusing on how your clothing feels is a good gauge for most people,” says Thomas, “as long as you recognize that sizing is a messed up mind game and are able to not worry about that.” But don’t expect your pants to get looser necessarily; you may actually fill them out a bit better. This is what happens to Dr. Goolsby (who describes herself as not naturally muscular) when she starts a new workout. “If I start doing Spin, for example, all of a sudden I’m starting to notice my pants feel a bit tighter as I’m building my quads. It’s not because I’m gaining weight, I’m putting on muscle.”

Do a mirror check: If you want visual evidence of how your body is changing, consider snapping pics of yourself wearing the same outfit (and at the same time of day) every so often. (Note: If this habit becomes obsessive or makes you feel discouraged, it’s not worth doing.) Even just taking a mental note of how you feel physically in your clothes when you get dressed in the morning is fine.

Should you toss your scale?

The number on the scale is not worth fixating on—but that doesn’t mean weighing yourself is a complete waste, says May Tom, RD, an in-house dietitian at Cal-a-Vie Health Spa in Vista, California. “Having objective data to look at can help move people toward change,” she says. Research backs her up: Two recent studies have reaffirmed that people who step on the scale regularly tend to lose more weight than those who weigh themselves less frequently or not at all.

So how often should you weigh in? Once a week at most, says Tom. “That’s my usual recommendation if people feel like [the scale] keeps them on track and accountable,” she explains. “Any more than that and you can become frustrated if you don’t see progress.”

Source: http://www.health.com/fitness/scale-weight-loss-progress

How to Keep Your Friendships as Strong as Ever Even When Life Gets busy

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There’s no question: When life gets complicated, it’s harder to keep up with your crew (beyond liking each others’ pics on Instagram). With a little creativity, however, it is possible to stay close no matter how far apart you live, or how little time you have. Here, relationship experts offer a few simple ways to connect IRL.

Chat on your commute

Schedule a (hands-free) phone catch-up with a friend for your trip home, suggests Suzanne Degges-White, PhD, a counseling professor at Northern Illinois University—and make it a weekly date.

Make big announcements one-on-one

Pregnant? Got a new job? Before you post the news on Facebook, tell your inner circle. “There is nothing more devastating to a friendship than learning about your friend’s life at the same time as everyone else,” says Karla Ivankovich, PhD, a clinical counselor at OnePatient Global Health Initiative in Chicago.

Watch the same TV shows

If you and your squad love The Bachelor but can’t get together for watch parties, dish about the drama via group text.

Put a group outing on the calendar

We’re all short on time, but most people can set aside one day every few months to spend with friends, says Degges-White. “Go day-tripping for kicks,” she says. “Choose the date and make a plan to drive two hours north, east, south, or west. See where you end up.”

Recruit a wellness buddy

Choose a healthy challenge (say, a sugar detox) and commit to regular check-ins to celebrate your progress, and cheer each other on when motivation wanes.

Check out Glide

The phone app lets you send video messages (worth 1,000 texts!) back and forth. Hearing your bestie laugh may be enough to brighten your whole day.

Include the kiddos

If you have friends with kids who live nearby, sign your little ones up for the same activity or sports team, suggests Degges-White. “Then you can get whole families together before or after practice for a quick meal,” she says.

Don’t forget about snail mail

Once in a while, send a reminder you care. “It can be a postcard, or a pair of funny socks, whatever,” says Ivankovich. That simple surprise can mean a lot.

Source: http://www.health.com/relationships/friends-stay-in-touch

9 Surprising Ways Caffeine Affects Your Health

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Your body on caffeine

Does your morning start only after your first (or second) cup of coffee or mug of tea? You’re not alone: It’s estimated that 85% of U.S. adults consume caffeine, the world’s most widely used central nervous system stimulant. Most of those folks get their caffeine through coffee, but it’s also in chocolate, tea, soda pop, and even painkillers.

Caffeine shakes out the cobwebs, making you feel more mentally alert. But it can also disrupt your sleep or make you anxious or jittery, especially if you’re sensitive to it or consume too much.

“Clearly some people are more sensitive to the physiological effects of caffeine than others and would benefit from keeping coffee to a minimum or switching to a decaffeinated variety,” says Robin Poole, MB ChB, a researcher at the University of Southampton in the U.K., who has reviewed the health effects of coffee.

It’s worth noting, says Connie Weaver, PhD, distinguished professor in the department of nutrition science at Purdue University, that research to separate the benefits of coffee versus caffeine are lacking. In fact, recent research from the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine tied both regular and decaf coffee consumption to a lower risk of death due to heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and respiratory and kidney diseases.

So how does caffeine specifically affect overall health? Studies point to a number of possible benefits and some risks. For most healthy adults, a daily dose of up to 400 milligrams of this widely used stimulant does not pose health risks, studies suggest. That’s roughly four small (5-ounce) cups of coffee–or upwards of 10 cups of tea.

If you’re wondering about your own caffeine habit, talk to your doctor about these potentially helpful and harmful effects.

Caffeine enhances physical performance

Caffeine is a known performance booster. Not only does it ease the pain and fatigue of a workout, but it’s believed to help muscles burn fat as an energy source too.

In a small Brazilian study of endurance cyclists, caffeine supplements gave athletes an edge: They were able to pedal longer and faster than when they took a placebo instead. What’s more, they benefited from the caffeine boost–the supplement contained about 400 milligrams of the stuff–no matter how much caffeine they got from their daily coffee habit.

It helps your brain react

caffeine buzz can really snap you out of a sleepy lull. In doses up to 300 milligrams, studies suggest it enhances attention, reaction time, and “vigilance,” meaning you’re able to stick with “lengthy, boring, or tedious tasks,” according to one review of caffeine’s effects.

Whether caffeine is a boon to higher-level mental tasks is less clear, researchers note. Its impact on problem solving and decision making, for example, “are often debated.”

It can tamp down pain–or trigger it

Caffeine helps ease migraine and tension headaches by constricting swollen blood vessels in the brain. That’s why some prescription and over-the-counter pain relievers (like Excedrin Migraine) add caffeine to the mix. Studies suggest it can boost the effectiveness of these medicines by up to 40%.

But, if you overuse caffeinated painkillers, you can get rebound headaches from stopping the medication. Without those meds, blood vessels expand again, leading to pain. If you have a regular caffeine habit, quitting cold turkey can give you a throbbing headache due to caffeine withdrawal.

It’s a lifesaver for preemies

Caffeine is routinely administered to preterm infants in the neonatal intensive care unit to coax their brains and lungs to keep breathing.

Studies show this natural stimulant works by reducing “apnea,” or pauses in preemies’ breathing, and staving off intermittent drops in their blood oxygen levels.

For some, caffeine may pose a heart risk

Caffeine is not recommended for heart patients because it can induce an abnormal, rapid heart rate, especially at high doses. But what if you’re otherwise healthy?

The evidence on caffeine’s cardiovascular effects is varied and incomplete, and there are many unanswered questions, according to a 2013 workshop convened by the Institute of Medicine. It could be, for example, that some people are genetically susceptible to caffeine’s heart health effects while others are not.

How caffeine affects your heart may also depend on whether you’re a habitual or infrequent user of caffeine, whether you have other preexisting health conditions, and what medicines you may be taking.

Young people may be more vulnerable to these effects, especially when consuming large amounts of caffeine. Media reports of adolescents whose hearts stopped suddenly after downing popular highly caffeinated energy drinks have raised serious safety questions.

The American Medical Association supports a ban on the marketing of high-caffeine beverages to anyone under age 18, and the American Academy of Pediatrics says energy drinks “should never be consumed by children or adolescents.”

Caffeine’s risk to bone health is minimal

Caffeine slightly reduces calcium absorption, studies suggest. Other studies link the caffeine and phosphorus in colas (but not other soft drinks) to bone loss.

As long as you’re getting enough calcium in your diet and you’re otherwise healthy, there’s no solid evidence that consuming up to 400 milligrams of caffeine will harm your bones. Studies to date have shown no significant fall or fracture risk, nor heightened risk of bone loss among healthy adults with adequate calcium intake.

Some people experience gut discomfort

Caffeine doesn’t cause ulcers, but experts suggest avoiding caffeine if you have one. That’s because the jolt sparks stomach acid production, which might in turn aggravate ulcers, open sores that sometimes develop on the lining of the stomach, esophagus, or small intestine.

Likewise, caffeine alone doesn’t cause gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also known as acid reflux. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, there have been no studies to show that quitting caffeine improves GERD symptoms. Yet many doctors advise heartburn sufferers against consuming caffeine because it may worsen symptoms.

It can spike blood sugar

Coffee drinkers seem to have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. But if you already have the disease, you may want to be careful with caffeine. Studies show caffeine drives up blood sugar levels and impairs insulin sensitivity, frustrating efforts to keep diabetes under control.

Researchers at Duke University Medical Center, who studied the effects of giving caffeine capsules to people with type 2 diabetes, suspect that caffeine may interfere with sugar metabolism or trigger the release of adrenaline (the fight-or-flight hormone), which is known to boost blood sugar.

It can cross the placenta if you’re pregnant

Avoiding caffeine as much as possible is the safest bet if you’re pregnant, says the American Pregnancy Association. Caffeine can raise your heart rate and blood pressure. It can boost urination, which can dehydrate you. And it can cross the placenta, affecting your baby’s movement and sleep patterns.

Some studies link caffeine to miscarriage, while others do not, according to the March of Dimes.

However, moderate caffeine consumption–less than 200 milligrams a day–“does not appear to be a major contributing factor in miscarriage or preterm birth,” adds the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Source: http://www.health.com/headaches-and-migraines/caffeine-health-effects#caffeine-pregnancy

How to Rewire Your Negative Thinking Habits and Feel Happier

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For many of us, it’s second nature to focus on the negative. We tend to dwell on criticisms (while brushing off compliments), and brace ourselves for the worst possible outcomes. But it doesn’t have to be that way, says Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD, author of The Science of Positivity: Stop Negative Thought Patterns by Changing Your Brain Chemistry ($16; amazon.com).

In her new book, she explains how cynical thought habits develop (remember we humans evolved to focus on threats for survival), and how you can rewire your brain to “transcend negativity.” The ultimate goal, she says, is to experience the world in a more optimistic—and realistic—way.

And it’s worth the effort: A recent study by Harvard University researchers found that women with an optimistic outlook were less likely to die of top killers like cancer, infection, and heart disease. We tapped Breuning, who is a professor emerita of management at California State University East Bay, to learn how to remove our crisis goggles, and prioritize positivity for a more balanced and healthier life. Read on for simple steps you can take starting today.

Pause for positivity three times a day

The brain’s neural pathways are shaped during childhood and adolescence, Breuning explained in an interview: “Our early experiences create superhighways in the brain where electricity flows effortlessly.” As a result, by the time we finish puberty, we’re biased toward certain paths of thinking, like finding the “bad” in most situations.

The best way to carve new pathways is through repetition, says Breuning. It might feel weird at first, but you can redirect your thinking habits by taking note of positive things in your life three times a day for six weeks.

If you need inspiration for what to feel positive about, Breuning recommends appreciating your micro-accomplishments: “I’m not talking résumé things,” she says. Instead, focus on little choices you made that worked out well. It could be something as simple your decision to wear waterproof boots because of the foul weather predicted that day. “Your inner mammal is worried about survival, so it’s going to panic about every choice unless the brain circuit for feeling good about your decisions is as well-developed as the brain circuit for feeling bad about your decisions,” she says.

Set realistic expectations

It sounds counterintuitive, but it can really help to stop expecting greatness from yourself. “On the one hand, you don’t want to think, Nothing ever goes right for me. But on the other hand, many of us are coached to avoid that hopelessness with excessively grandiose expectations,” says Breuning. And when we can’t meet those expectations, we feel like failures.

To sidestep this vicious cycle, it’s best to set realistic goals that are within your control—and appreciate the journey, even if you don’t get there. For example, choose a doable goal (say, learning to do a chin-up), and make an effort to enjoy the process (building the muscle memory and strength required), no matter the outcome. “That’s really the secret to life,” says Breuning. “Enjoying the steps.”

Pursue variety

Mix up the simple pleasures in your life, and you may appreciate them even more: “Our brains are designed to look for reward, but any reward that you already have stops triggering your happy chemicals,” says Breuning. “That’s how dopamine works.” In other words, instead of feeling content once a specific need is met, we tend to shift our attention on other needs. It’s a phenomenon known as habituation.

So how can you manage it? The answer involves embracing variety. Take this real-world example: If you love red wine, try having a glass just three days a week rather than every single night, to preserve your brain’s ability to enjoy it when you do have it. The aim is not to suffer, but to find alternative things that make you feel good, while also training yourself to derive more pleasure from the thing you already know you love. “Above all,” says Breuning, “variety is going to give you the most feeling of reward.”

Source: http://www.health.com/anxiety/how-to-be-more-positive

Exactly What to Do if Your New Year’s Resolution Is Already Slipping

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With each new year comes a new opportunity to better ourselves. We vow to kick our sugar addictions, call our parents more, and check Facebook less. Yet within weeks, most of us are back to snacking, screening parental calls, and mindlessly scrolling through our newsfeeds.

But before you become one more person observing Ditch Your New Year’s Resolutions Day (yep, it’s a real thing; January 17 is the day most people throw in the towel), know this: There’s still time to revamp a resolution that’s losing steam and initiate the lasting change you aimed for back on January 1. “The most important thing is to first figure out the top reasons why resolutions fail, and then use that to get back on track,” says behavioral psychologist Art Markman, PhD.

Markman, the author of Smart Change: Five Tools to Create New and Sustainable Habits in Yourself and Others explains the top five reasons New Year’s resolutions fail—and the small tweaks to make to fix each mistake.

Your resolution is framed in a negative way

We often make resolutions around what we want to stop doing instead of what we want to start doing, says Markman. “When you have a behavior you’re trying to change, whether it’s eating less or checking your email fewer times a day, you actually have to put another behavior in its place,” he explains. “The key is to focus on a positive action that you’re going to perform in the situation where you were doing the old behavior.”

So instead of vowing to give up a certain behavior or do without something, frame your resolution around the new positive action you will do in place of it. Let’s say you want to quit mindlessly scrolling through your phone at night. Instead of pledging to turn off your device by 10 p.m., vow to start getting ready for bed at that time instead. This way, you unplug digitally while rewarding yourself with more sleep—a positive action that can motivate real change.

Your end goal is too vague

Resolving to exercise twice a week sounds like a solid plan, but it isn’t targeted enough, says Markman. “Your goal has to be so specific that the actions you’re going to take [to accomplish it] can make it onto your calendar,” he says. “‘Twice a week’ isn’t on your calendar, but ‘Mondays and Thursdays at 4 p.m.’ is.”

Getting specific doesn’t just help you realize what you need to do in order to see your resolution through; it also highlights the things that could get in the way of it (think: your weekly manicure also scheduled at 4 p.m. on Thursdays). Start accounting for all possible roadblocks, and add into your planner the steps you’re taking to get them out of the way so you can actually make it to the gym, rather than make excuses.

You don’t address the root cause

In order to carry out a resolution, you need to know the who, what, when, where, and why of the behavior you’re trying to change. For example, if want to stop biting your nails, pay attention to the circumstances under which you engage in the habit.

“I encourage people failing at their resolution to keep a habit diary for a week or two,” says Markman. “Not so they can change their behavior, but just to watch it and see what they’re doing.” Once you realize that you always bite your nails while anxiously finishing a work project, you’ll be better equipped to take actions to stop it—like buying desk toys to busy your hands throughout the day or just being more mindful about keeping your fingers on your keyboard as the deadline ticks away.

You think it’s all about willpower

Willpower is overrated. According to Markman, people often believe their commitment is enough to prevent them from falling back into their bad habits. Sadly, a pantry full of cheese popcorn isn’t going to magically become less tempting just because you’ve told yourself you’ll stop gobbling it down while you watch Netflix.

“At this point you’re riding the brakes,” says Markman. “Your motivational system is reminding you of the snack in the kitchen and you have to rely on your willpower to keep you from eating it. But just like in a car, if you ride the brakes long enough, they’re going to fail.”

The solution? Rather than relying on willpower, structure your environment so the thing you want or habit you’re trying to break is so difficult to get or do that won’t bother attempting it. Because you can’t eat a pint of ice cream you never bought, right?

You’re going at it alone

News flash: If you succeed in carrying out your resolution, no one’s going to say Congratulations, but it’s not that big a deal because you had a support system. “If you find yourself ditching your resolution, phone a friend,” suggests Markman. “Find somebody who’s willing to serve as your backup so that when you’re about to slip, you can call or text them for support instead.” Crushing your goals doesn’t count any less if you do it with a little help from your friends.


Malaria Breath test shows promise

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People with malaria give off a distinctive “breath-print” that could be used as a test for the disease, according to American scientists.

They had already tried out a crude prototype breathalyser in Africa, a tropical medicine conference heard.

The test was reasonably good at detecting cases in children, but needs developing to become a routine device.

One of the odours it sniffs out is identical to a natural smell that attracts insects that spread malaria.

Pine trees and conifers emit these terpenes to summon mosquitoes and other pollinating insects, say the researchers, from Washington University in St Louis.

man with a mosquito on his handImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

They believe people with malaria who have this odour in their breath may also attract mosquitoes and infect more of the biting insects, which can then spread the disease to other people that they bite.

Although the test needs perfecting, it could offer a new cheap and easy way to help diagnose malaria, Prof Audrey Odom John and colleagues say.

Distinct odour

The prototype breath test detects six different odours or volatile organic compounds to spot cases of malaria.

The researchers tried it on breath samples from 35 feverish children in Malawi, some with and some without malaria.

It gave an accurate result in 29 of the children, meaning it had a success rate of 83%.

This is still too low for the test to be used routinely, but the researchers hope they can improve its reliability and develop it into an off-the-shelf product.

Simple, rapid blood tests for malaria are already available, but they have limits, say the Washington University researchers.

Testing blood can be expensive and technically challenging in rural settings.

A non-invasive method of detection that does not require blood samples or technical expertise could be of great benefit.

Prof James Logan from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said: “The rapid detection of asymptomatic malaria is a challenge for malaria control and will be essential as we move towards achieving the goal of malaria elimination. A new diagnostic tool, based on the detection of volatiles associated with malaria infection is exciting.”

He said more work was now needed to see if it could be made into a reliable test.

The findings are being presented at this year’s annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-41820346