Sunday, September 30, 2012

Smart Sugars and Your Cholesterol

What's a person to do? People are confused by what is good and what is bad. We hear about, "Good fats and bad fats; Good cholesterol and bad cholesterol; Good sugars and bad sugars; Good vitamins and bad vitamins; Good Omegas and not so good Omegas." Now, I learn flax seed Omega-3 is good but absorbable less than 1% by the human body and most vitamins are made from coal tar and petroleum. What's a guy to do?

Ignorance, lies and deceptions are not just in politics; these villains are quite alive in healthcare. My objective is to learn what is best for the human body and let the chips fall where they may. If it is good for your body, brain, and mind, we all need to know about it and take action on it.

First, we (that's everybody) are ignorant in most things. It may be that medical science has not yet caught up with understanding cholesterol. Instead of thinking "Good vs. Bad" perhaps we should think both are Good and Best when there is more HDL and less LDL.

Cholesterol is an important fat in your body partially because it is actually the precursor to your leading hormones. Total cholesterol includes LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein).

Why is HDL "Good cholesterol" and LDL "Bad cholesterol"? LDL is considered "Bad" because it can build up in the arteries where it slows or blocks blood flow. This is where it earned the reputation as a major cause for heart disease. And, one reason HDL is the "Good cholesterol" is that it can remove LDL. You can remember the HDL as Hero and the LDL as Lethal.

Cardiovascular disease is the world's largest killer, claiming 18 million lives a year. Over eighty-one million (81,000,000) American adults have one or more types of cardiovascular disease (CVD). That's an awesome count of one in three adults. Thirty eight million (38,000,000) adults over 60 years of age have CVD.

"Essential" is a nutrient your body needs but cannot produce. "Vital" is a nutrient that your body can produce, but probably needs supplementation.

Omega-3 essential fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids which play a crucial role in brain function, normal growth and development and may reduce the risk of heart disease. Some reports indicate that Omega-3 lowers total cholesterol and increases HDL. There are conflicting data which may be due to the different qualities of oil. We have new evidence that when high quality Omega-3 is added to a weight loss program that inches come off faster... interesting!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

How to Properly Dispose of Unused Medication

Prescription drugs are meant for a specific purpose, i.e., to aid you in effective treatment for a particular condition. The problem arises when you have regained your health and do not find the need to pop them again. It is a common phenomenon to find surplus medication lying in a corner of the medical kit/cabinet, invariably becoming toxic waste. The major hurdle most face is the question of safely disposing the medicines that are no longer useful or have exceeded their shelf life.

In order to minimize the risk of drug abuse and poisoning, the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act came into being in 2010. This act seeks to reduce the risks of unused medicines and expired medicines by conducting national drug take-back programs. Medicines that aren't used and disposed in an improper method can contribute to the accumulation of toxic waste, and thereby contribute to the degradation of the environment.

Why is this such a major concern? Well, there is proof that water bodies contain some amounts of over-the-counter drugs that are generally flushed or drained down a sink. These drugs remain in the water as water treatment plants aren't designed to remove them, and eventually result in ecological harm.

Safe Disposal of Unused Medicines

Here are a few ways you can get rid of unused prescription or expired medication without letting it affect your environment and loved ones.

Drug Take-Back Programs
Community or national drug take-back programs collect unused and expired medication to safely dispose them off. Those of you who are worried of medicine misuse and abuse can contact your local pharmacy to ask if they take back unused medicines. It is also best to ask for community take-back programs that collect the prescribed medicines at a central location. The expired medicines can then be disposed, while unused medicines can be recycled or else donated to those who are in need of the medication. You will find a number of organizations who collect unused medicines that can be donated to Third World countries. The Drug Enforcement Administration, a component of the U.S. Department of Justice sponsors National Drug Take-back Days in the US. The next drug take-back day will be conducted on September 29, 2012. You can even call your local trash service or the local hospital who can collect the medicines and incinerate it.

Follow the Guidelines
If your region doesn't have take-back days, then the next best option is to follow instructions or guidelines printed on the prescribed medicines. Gone are the days when you could just empty the contents into the sink or simply flush it down the drain. The Federal Government despises flushing of medication as it impacts the environment in an adverse way. However, the FDA recommends that certain medicines should be flushed due to their abuse potential. Do read the instructions carefully before doing away with the medicines.

Friday, September 28, 2012

An Alternative Technique to Treat Achilles Tendonitis

Have you been using stretching and strengthening exercises in an attempt to treat your chronic Achilles tendonitis? If so, you may be prolonging the injury. One school of thought says that this type of very common therapy could be exactly the opposite of what you need to speed the healing of Achilles tendonitis and other heel issues, and it all has to do with muscle fibers.

It’s well-known that Achilles injuries are closely related to the calf muscles. Many people say that stretching and strengthening the calf muscles is the key to resolving pain in the Achilles tendon. However, a closer look at the cause of Achilles tendonitis reveals that this may not be the best thing for the injury, and could in fact be causing more harm than good.

The Theory

The Achilles tendon attaches to the foot at the back of the heel, but it stretches down the entire length of the calf. Because the calf muscles attach to the leg just above the back of the knee, Achilles tendon issues really involve the entire lower leg. If there is damage to the calf muscles, Achilles tendonitis could result. One theory holds that if the muscle fibers in the calf are torn or knotted, the Achilles tendon will not be properly supported, resulting in inflammation and pain.

The Alternative

Massage and Compression for Realignment
For torn or knotted muscle fibers, stretching and strengthening exercises could be counterproductive. The muscle fibers may need to be rested, massaged, and realigned in order to bring the muscle back into proper working order. By stretching the calf muscles and the muscles surrounding the Achilles tendon, people with injuries could be preventing themselves from healing. The reason is that stretching has a tendency to tear muscle fibers even more, resulting in improper growth. Instead of stretching, therefore, the muscles should be compressed.

In order to compress the calf muscles to promote muscle fiber realignment and healing, those with Achilles tendonitis can massage their legs fairly aggressively. If people have Achilles tendonitis on one foot and not the other, chances are that they will find the calf muscle on the affected leg to be sorer in more places than on the unaffected leg. Deeply massaging calf muscles to discover these tender spots is the first step to recovery.

What to Avoid

Once the tender spots of the calf have been located, people with injuries should continue to massage the painful areas quite frequently without fearing a little bit of pain. It may be painful to compress and work out the knotted, torn areas of the calf muscles, but this pain could result in a stronger Achilles tendon. One note of caution, however: sore Achilles tendons themselves should never be aggressively massaged. Because Achilles tendon pain is caused by inflammation, massaging the Achilles will only irritate it, making the inflammation worse. The important thing to understand is that Achilles tendon pain is not necessarily caused in the location of the pain. The root cause of the pain could be much further up the leg, so focusing on those problem areas is likely to resolve the pain in the tendon.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Healthy Food Tips: Smart Ways to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Recent studies indicate that humans have an innate preference for the taste of sugar. If you're like most people, then you haven't quite figured out how to satisfy your sweet tooth without ruining your diet. The good news is that there are plenty of snacks and sweet treats that can be part of a balanced diet if enjoyed in moderation. You can have your favorite cake and eat it too, as long as you don't go overboard. The following substitutes have an amazing taste and are much more wholesome for you than their junk food counterparts:

Eat Dark Chocolate

If you are craving for chocolate, go ahead and get some - but make sure it's dark chocolate. Researchers have found that dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids and antioxidants. Some varieties are loaded with calcium and probiotics. Dark chocolate supports cardiovascular health and increases your energy levels.

Get Some Yogurt

Plain yogurt can be sweetened with jam or honey, or combined with granola, cereals, and chopped fruit. Greek yogurt brands are very delicious and filling. If you are looking for a creamy treat, combine some low fat yogurt with a high-fiber fruit, flaxseed, and ground nuts. Add blueberries and raspberries for extra fiber. You may also use crushed graham cracker crumbs and vanilla yogurt.

Pudding Is a Great Choice

Pudding is an excellent source of calcium and protein. You can make pudding at home or buy it from the cafeteria. Individual pudding packs are low in calories and come in all sorts of flavors. If you are trying to lose weight, you can opt for sugar free varieties.

Have a Sweet Drink

Sweet drinks contain empty calories, but you can add them to your diet once in a while when you are craving for sweets. The healthiest options include instant hot cocoa packets and hot chocolate made with milk. Stick to half of cup in order not to exceed 100 calories.

Try Chewing Gum

Chewing gum comes in all flavors and colors. Some varieties taste like Key Lime pie, while others are available in classic flavors such as mint or cinnamon. Chewing gum not only gives you fresh breath, but also helps you curb your appetite.