Thursday, July 5, 2012

Nourishing the Heart with Chocolate and Fish Oil

According to The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease (, 42 million women in the United States are now living with heart disease.  Here are some of my best heart health strategies.

Magnesium The top of my healthy nutrient list is magnesium. As a culture, it appears that the combination of junk food, depleted soils and stress have made magnesium a scarce commodity in our bodies. Magnesium lowers blood pressure, reduces risk of strokes and corrects irregular heartbeats. It also promotes better sleep, relaxed muscles, improved brain function, reduced PMS and happier moods. So, whether it’s your physical heart or emotional heart that needs support and mending, magnesium is the mineral you need to be taking daily.

 The most absorbable magnesium is called magnesium glycinate (250-400 mg daily). You can also find topical versions as magnesium chloride oil, which is great for massaging into those achy muscles.

Fish oil High on my list of heart elixirs is fish oil. Fish oil provides omega-3 fatty acids which help reduce inflammation that can cause clotting, reduce high triglycerides that can lead to fatty liver, reduce the risk of clogged arteries after angioplasty or bypass surgery, lower your risk for an irregular heartbeat, lower blood pressure and reduce your risk for stroke. It’s also fabulous for nourishing skin and hair, helping with weight loss, fertility and preventing aging of your genes!

Best to go with a reliable company. You don’t want to skimp on this essential nutrient. And cheaper brands may also be on the rancid side. If you find yourself burping it up, that’s a sure sign and you want to return it for a better one! Fish oil comes as liquids and capsules. Whichever option you choose, you’re aiming for 2-4 grams daily. Wild salmon (not their farm-raised brethren) are full of health-promoting omega 3’s and so are sardines. So be sure to slip them into your favorite meal at least once a week.
Vitamin D The last but not least of the heart healthy trio is Vitamin D. Low levels, which are epidemic, have been linked to significantly increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease including heart attacks, stroke and heart failure. People with low Vitamin D levels are more likely to have the risk factors that cause heart disease: type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Vitamin D also affects how well your body absorbs two minerals important for a healthy heart: calcium and magnesium.

Vitamin D The last but not least of the heart healthy trio is Vitamin D. Low levels, which are epidemic, have been linked to significantly increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease including heart attacks, stroke and heart failure. People with low Vitamin D levels are more likely to have the risk factors that cause heart disease: type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Vitamin D also affects how well your body absorbs two minerals important for a healthy heart: calcium and magnesium.dark chocolate

When is comes to Vitamin D, a blood test is essential to let you know that you have hit the target of optimal range.  What you are aiming for in your blood test is around 70. Vitamin D is turning out to be a wonder kid of nutrients, not only for heart health but also for healthy bones, balanced hormones, brainpower, strong immunity and reduced inflammation. Definitely add it to your list of best friends! Your dose will depend on your blood test results, but a good maintenance dose is around 5000 IU daily.

Dark chocolate And what would we do without luscious dark chocolate, the food of love and healthy hearts?  Thanks to cocoa’s phenol and flavanol content, it decreases blood pressure. Also, dark chocolate contains epicatechin, a powerful antioxidant. When buying your chocolate, choose at least 70 percent or higher cocoa content if you want to savor its healing delights.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Debunking Acne Myths and Fighting the Dreaded Zit

Parents face numerous challenges as they guide their kids through their teenage years. One challenge, which is frequently not discussed, is helping teens deal with acne. Most of us experienced acne when we were growing up. And, if we are not too old or haven’t blocked out the memory, we can still remember how physically and emotionally devastating it can be to a teenager.

Kids at this age are particularly insecure and vulnerable to social pressures, so a physical malady such as acne can create deep feelings of inadequacy.

So, what are some of the best strategies you as a parent can use to help your youngster get through the acne years, with the least amount of mental and physical scars?

Experts contend that in addition to being sympathetic to the social pressure your kids are under, understanding the latest science surrounding acne is important. Make sure your kids know the facts:

 #1 –Acne has no cure.  Not with the most expensive prescription medication, and not with the best over-the-counter system. However, acne can be treated and controlled with daily maintenance therapy that includes proven acne medications.

 #2 – Acne is not caused by dirt.  No amount of scrubbing with soap and water will help clear it up.

 #3 – Acne is not caused by what you eat.  It takes weeks for a pimple to emerge—so, it has nothing to do with the chocolate or fries your child just ate.

Although acne can’t be cured, it can be controlled, and there are dozens of treatments available. One of the most important things you can do is help your child select and stick with an effective acne treatment. That means a treatment that is backed by science, not hype, a treatment that fits in your family’s budget, and that’s easy for your child to use.

When it comes to all the facts above, our clear recommendation is Proactiv®.  Today, the Proactiv three-step system is America’s number one acne treatment system, and has won numerous beauty and skincare awards.

Proactiv’s famous three-step system now includes:

A medicated Renewing Cleanser, made with exclusive micro-crystal benzoyl peroxide — featuring smaller, finer particles that quickly penetrate pores to start killing acne-causing bacteria on contact. The cleanser also contains tiny exfoliating beads that gently remove dirt, excess oil, and dead skin cells to help keep pores from clogging.

A refreshing, alcohol-free Revitalizing Toner that removes impurities and excess oil so skin looks and feels clean, soft, and refreshed—not tight and dried out.  It also includes soothing botanical agents that gently balance your skin tone.

A feather-light medicated Repairing Treatment that gets deep into clogged pores, but has a safe oil-free formula that’s gentle on the skin.

Proactiv also works hard to keep its product affordable, often offering special discounts, and the ActivMember program offers home delivery, plus guaranteed low-price protection.  Every product Proactiv sells also comes with a 60-day guarantee, so if you aren’t satisfied with the product for any reason, simply return it for a refund (less s&h).

Untreated acne can affect your child’s confidence, leave lasting physical scars, and even affect their quality of life.  But, you don’t have to accept it.  Millions of people have turned to Proactiv for help in achieving clear and even complexions, and Proactiv can probably help your family as well.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What is a Yoga Cooldown, and do you Really Need ?

Many of the soothing asanas (postures) we do in the last 10 minutes of yoga are already considered a cool-down because you’re probably already stretching on the floor with hip openers and other floor work.  stretching. “After every workout, start holding poses longer and gradually decrease intensity,” recommended certified yoga instructor Johnny Anzalone, who teaches yoga at Equinox and Sports Club/LA in New York City.

Some yoga instructors believe the most effective cool-down portion of class should assimilate inversions (going upside-down in Headstand or Shoulderstand, for instance) to reverse the flow of blood leading to your head and heart – improve mental concentration and energy.

An efficient cool-down slows your pace and rhythm. It can feature chanting or meditation, core work and deeper flexibility of the spine, back, legs and hips,” said Anzalone, a professor of dance and musical theater at NY University.

Her are Anzalone’s favorite cool-down stretches; hold each side for 60 seconds or more:

1.  Thread the Needle (relaxes hips, buttocks, legs, lower back)
Lie back and cross right ankle above left knee, and straighten left leg. Grasp left hamstrings with both hands and draw left knee toward chest, holding the back of the left thigh with both hands. Hold the stretch, and circle ankles in both directions and point/flex the feet. Switch sides, and repeat.

2. Spinal Twist (targets abs, back, core, shoulders, waistline)
Lie back and bend both knees to the right, lying with legs together and hips stacked on the floor. Use your right hand on the top leg to deepen the stretch and breathe deeply, stretching the left arm out.  Return to center and switch sides, bringing knees to the left side and repeat the stretch to the right shoulder.

Other examples of cool-down asanas on the floor are Knees-into-Chest stretch, gentle twists from a seated position and finally, Corpse Pose, or Savasana. In this final pose, lie back and relax with your eyes closed for several minutes to cultivate calmness and transition into the real world.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

How To Get Rid of Dark Spots

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve been seeing advertisements for anti-wrinkle skin care solutions your

entire life.

With an innumerable amount of products out there promising to turn aging, line-plagued skin into silky-smooth

perfection, you may even be led to believe that wrinkles are the one and only enemy of maintaining a youthful

radiance. The truth of the matter? They’re only part of the problem.

Pigmentation (dark spots) will add years to your look just as quickly and viciously as wrinkles—and turning age-

mottled skin into peaches-and-cream perfection requires a targeted approach you may be overlooking in your everyday

beauty routine.

Fading Dark Spots: Two Easy Steps

In order to make headway when it comes to reducing the look of dark spots and restoring an even-toned appearance in

your skin, there are two variables that must be in place.

First and foremost, you must commit to protecting your skin with an SPF of 20 or higher every single day of the

year, rain or shine! Being diligent in your sunscreen use will not only ensure that your skin care endeavors yield

optimal results—it will help prevent skin cancer, too.

Second, you need to commit to the daily use of a product that contains ingredients proven to even up pigmented skin.

Vitamin C and licorice extract are a couple that are most favored by dermatologists.

All Your Anti-Aging Concerns, One Product

Lest you fear you can’t add another treatment product to your skin care regimen, worry not: You don’t need to! All

you need to do is select a wrinkle-fighter that pulls double-duty as an anti-spot solution. That product is iQ Derma

Resurface Serum. And it gets even better—check out these findings from an independent clinical study:

83% of participants saw an improvement in skin smoothness within 15 minutes
89% saw an improvement in skin moisture within 15 minutes
71% saw an improvement in skin texture in just 15 minutes
77% saw firmer-looking skin
71% saw more luminous skin

One little bottle to satisfy ALL your anti-aging concerns. How cool is that?

You’re probably wondering how Resurface Serum is able live up to its claims, mitigating the two biggest obstacles in

the road to a youthful complexion. The answer is simple: it contains superior ingredients.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Managing Headaches

Headaches are often under-rated or ignored despite being an often debilitating condition. In the list of leading causes of disabling conditions, a headache was ranked 12th for women and 19th for men, according to recent research by the World Health Organisation.

Calling it a migraine or headache is of no help in making a diagnosis or finding the correct treatment. As Dr. Elliot Shevel, Chairman of the South African Headache Society, published in the South African Medical Journal, they are part of a continuum; each one has components of the other. Determining which structures are causing the pain and generating the pain signals is the real million dollar question.

The pain primarily comes from one or more of three structures, namely the arteries supplying the head and scalp (not inside the brain), the muscles of the head and neck and jaw, and nerves that supply theses areas. One also needs to understand the difference between a trigger and a cause. A trigger is an external factor outside of the body, for example chocolate, which contains a chemical called phenylethylamine, thought to trigger a headache by affecting the arteries. Other triggers are sunlight, stress, fatigue, low blood sugar and dehydration. Causes are a variety of physical structures inside the body, including muscles, nerves, arteries, brain, sinuses, eyes, teeth, the jaw and even skin, which need to be assessed in a single comprehensive diagnosis in order to determine exactly what is causing the pain.

Dr. Shevel says “The latest research shows that muscle tension headaches are the most common form and generally stem from the craniomandibular (connecting the head to the jaw) and craniocervical (connecting the head to the neck and shoulders) muscles. Be aware of your posture when driving or sitting at your desk and use a good chair that supports your back, as this can result in a tension headache.”

 Michelle Das Neves, a Gauteng based biokineticist who works with The Headache Clinic's team of specialists says “One of the reasons why you present with a headache is due to incorrect alignment of the neck and shoulders. This in turn creates imbalances in the muscles attached to these areas that leads to neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain, incorrect posture, muscular fatigue, stiffness and tension”.

To alleviate this a biokineticist will prescribe exercises to create movement, work the overactive muscles, relax the tight muscles and provide relief, which should be done in a quiet area where you can concentrate and relax.

Exercising should be done daily if possible, with a days break for six weeks, with a minimum of three weeks.

“It is important to be diligent and consistent about the exercises. Results can vary with relief after three weeks to two months”, says Das Neves.

Dr Shevel explains that dietary headaches are another common affliction and are usually triggered by foods that assist with energy. “Having too much sugar, like refined carbohydrates where the body produces too much insulin, causes the body's blood glucose level to drop. Your diet should consist of slow digesting, fibre-containing food sources”.

Slow-digesting foods: Grains and seeds, (barley, wheat, oats, millet, semolina) beans (lentils), whole meal flour, unpolished rice etc. (called complex carbohydrates)

Fibre-containing foods: bran sources, (whole wheat, grains, seeds) vegetables, (green beans, peas, marrow, mealies, spinach) and other herbs (iron-rich beetroot leaves), fruit with skin, dried fruit, especially dried apricots, figs and prunes, almonds, etc.

The foods eaten should be well-balanced, containing foods from each food group, i.e. fruits, vegetables, protein, bread/cereals and dairy products

Dehydration can also trigger headaches, so be sure to remain properly hydrated

Skipping meals is a surefire trigger for headaches, but eat in moderation

Top tips to avoid a dietary headache:
Avoid the following foods:
Fried and fatty foods
Foods containing too much sugar
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol

Eat and drink the following:
Dates (excellent source of sugar, fibre, carbohydrates, potassium and magnesium)
Almonds (rich in protein and fibre with low fat)
Bananas (good source of potassium, magnesium and carbohydrates)
Drink plain water, as many carbonated soft drinks contain substances that can trigger headaches

It is important that headache patients and sufferers understand that headache pain is a real neurobiological disease that can be treated following proper diagnosis. People who suffer from headache symptoms are urged to seek treatment so that they don't have to live with this debilitating condition” concludes Dr Shevel.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What every woman should know about Breast Cancer

Over 13,000 Australian women are diagnosed with Breast Cancer every year.

We hear so much about Breast Cancer these days, but how do we know what is fact and what is fiction?

The National Breast Cancer Center have produced a free DVD to give women the facts about risk factors, the types of breast changes to look out for, and also dispels some of the myths and misconceptions about the disease. It addresses women’s most most frequently asked questions about breast cancer.

The video also provides advice to women of all ages about what they can do to find breast cancer early.You can watch the video online or order a copy from National Breast Cancer Centre.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Who wants to be a big loser?

Are you scales screaming at you for help?
In the forums we are putting a call out for all the fatties to join us in the 12 week AFW Biggest loser challenge. Lots of girls have already signed up to be a loser,  to hopefully lose weight and make some healthy life changes.

The challenge starts tomorrow, but it’s not too late to join in the fun. Jump on over to the forums to find out how you can become a loser.

There is also a prize for the lady crowned the biggest loser overall for a little more incentive. So come on, don’t be scared! 2008 is your year to be a big fat loser!