Archive for August, 2011

Diet, Exercise and Cardiovascular Disease

Sunday, August 28th, 2011 No Commented
Under: Heart Disease

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in the Western world and affects people increasingly as they get older. Being our number one killer, it gets a lot of attention in the media and from our health services. The received wisdom is that we should all stop smoking, drink less and avoid saturated fat. Meanwhile those with established cardiovascular disease, and those thought at risk of future cardiovascular disease, are put on drugs to modify their blood cholesterol and blood pressure. While the advice to stop smoking and to drink less is undoubtedly grounded on good evidence the other cornerstones of modern-day prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease are more controversial.

What is cardiovascular disease?

Cardiovascular disease covers a number of distinct conditions and therefore there are a number of possible causes. The main cardiovascular conditions that can cause early death are:

— Atherosclerosis, perhaps the best known, when arteries clog up. This narrows the arteries and creates conditions in which the artery ultimately becomes blocked.

  • If the artery is a coronary artery, one of those that provide oxygen for the muscles around the heart, then a heart attack follows.
  • If the artery is a carotid artery supplying oxygen to the brain then a major stroke occurs.

Heart attacks have a posh name, myocardial infarction. Basically myo stands for muscle, cardio for heart and infarction to tissue destruction due to lack of oxygen. Which neatly sums up what happens when a coronary artery is blocked.

Aneurysms, which are ballooning blood vessels that occur when the blood vessel walls becomes too weak to cope with the local blood pressure. If an aneurysm bursts then a haemorrhage occurs and the lack of blood and the oxygen it carries to vital organs such as the heart and brain can be fatal.

— Heart failure occurs when the muscle that makes the heart beat becomes ineffective. This is due to a previous heart attack in about 2 out of every 3 cases. It can also be caused by failure of the valves in 4% of cases, very high blood pressure, also 4%, alcohol and viruses, again 4% of cases. The remaining 20% have unknown causes. It is more common than aneurysm related death, but less common than death from heart attacks and strokes resulting from blocked arteries.

Arrhythmias are heart beats that become irregular, extremely fast or slow as a result of abnormal electrical activity in the heart. They are very common, but normally only prove fatal when a serious prior event such as a heart attack has already taken place.

So what causes cardiovascular disease?

The conditions described above are clearly worth avoiding. The main changes that occur in the body to cause the problems above are narrowing of arteries, weakening of blood vessels and damage to the heart muscle. Narrowing of arteries due to atherosclerosis is the most important factor in all of this, causing nearly all heart attacks and about 85% of strokes (15% are caused by haemorrhage). What exactly are the causes cardiovascular disease? Below I list and then examine those factors that are well-known, and those that have strong evidence to support them.

  • Blood Cholesterol levels, specifically cholesterol carried in the blood by low density lipoproteins
  • High blood pressure, specifically by causing damage to the lining of blood vessels.
  • Dietary cholesterol intake from foods such as eggs and prawns.
  • Intake of saturated fats from foods such as red meats and cheese.
  • Intake of damaged fats such as artificial trans fats.
  • Ratios and overall intake of polyunsaturated fats.
  • Blood sugar levels.

– Blood Cholesterol levels are rather more complex in their effects than most people are aware. While low cholesterol levels are associated with a reduced incidence of heart attacks they are also associated with a greater risk of death, with depression, cancer, stroke and atrial fibrillation. This should give us pause when considering the importance of lowering cholesterol levels in people with anything other than established cardiovascular disease. For most of us a level th at is classified as borderline-high such as between 200-240 dL/L (5.1-6.2 mmol/L) would probably be an optimal level. There is evidence that higher levels protect against many types of strokes, especially haemorrhagic stroke where bleeding from blood vessels causes death. The above should not be surprising if you consider the role of cholesterol in the body. It is an integral part of all our cell membranes, and is a precursor for many of our hormones, including vitamin D, which increasingly is being associated with reduced risk of many serious diseases.

– High blood pressure is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. However the risk from high blood pressure is also dependent on the quality of the blood vessels. Damage to blood vessels is normally repaired, and if we consume the right diet it is likely that our blood vessels will repair themselves more quickly.

– Dietary cholesterol was the initial target of Government advice. However it turns out that cholesterol from foods such as prawns, liver and eggs do not raise cholesterol levels in most people and even if they did this may not be so bad a thing. In fact these high cholesterol foods are some of the most healthy in the diet containing a large amount of important micronutrients such as vitamins A, D and E as well as minerals such as iron (liver), iodine (prawns) and antioxidants (eggs and prawns).

Saturated fat has become increasingly the bad guy in Government campaigns of late, but is it so bad? Saturated fat has been in our diet ever since we evolved into human beings, you’d have thought our bodies would have learnt how to deal with it by now, and in fact there is plenty of evidence that suggests just that. A review in 2011 of 21 intervention studies carried out over the previous decade found no reduction in risk of death from cardio-vascular disease after interventions to reduce or replace saturated fat with carbohydrate or polyunsaturated fats. Clearly typical foods that contain saturated fat are no worse for us than those containing carbohydrate or polyunsaturated fat.

– Damaged fats have increasingly come under the spotlight over the last two decades. They are fats that have been heated to very high temperatures in their manufacture (or during cooking). When heated above about 160C, the molecules that they are formed from become changed into forms that the human body does not recognise. Foods such as margarines and most packaged goods containing vegetable fats contain these damaged fats. They are clearly linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Ratios of polyunsaturated fats to various other types of fat have been investigated by quite a number of studies. Most show that polyunsaturated fats when increased as a total proportion of calories reduce the likelihood of cardiovascular disease. Without boring you with the detail, this is most likely due to the presence of omega 3 fats such as those found in oily fish. Omega 3 fats have a potent effect on risk of cardiovascular disease and outperform statins in many studies.

Blood sugar levels get a lot of attention in those with diabetes, but very little in those without this condition. Basically if you wander around with blood sugar levels that are too high, your risk of cardiovascular disease is greatly increased. It is very important to make sure your diet does not lead to chronically raised blood sugar levels. For many this will mean reducing what is called the glycaemic load of their diet. In short try to moderate your intake of sugary drinks, cakes, sweets and puddings as well as starchy items that breakdown into sugars before being absorbed from your digestive tract. These include bread, rice and potatoes.

What does this mean for my diet and lifestyle?

A diet that reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease and the damage it causes through heart attacks and strokes would follow the general principles below:

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  1. Reduce the amount of junk food you eat. This is a very general point, but junk food generally has too much salt, sugar, additives and trans-fats. All of these make cardiovascular disease more likely. Examples include foods from takeaway burger joints, ready meals from supermarkets and drinks of fizzy pop.
  2. Eat more fruit and especially vegetables. Again this is a big food group, but many fruits and vegetable contain nutrients that help protect and repair your blood vessels from damage. Examples include tomatoes which when cooked provide a high dose of lycopene to quell oxidative damage to blood vessels, cooked beetroot which can release substances that relax your blood vessels and plants of the allium family, such as garlic, onions and leeks prevent blood clotting and narrowing of arteries.
  3. Try and incorporate some omega 3 fats into your diet. The most effective way of doing this is through oily fish such as mackerel, herring, trout, sardines, pilchards, kippers and tuna (not the canned stuff). One issue with these fish is that they can accumulate high levels of toxic heavy metals and pesticides in their fatty tissues. This is the reason pregnant women are sometimes advised to moderate their intake of them. One way to get round this is by using fish oils that have been processed to remove these contaminants. For vegetarians, omega 3 can be obtained from seaweed extracts. Linseed oils may also be effective in those with the ability to convert its omega 3 fat into a more potent form.
  4. When it comes to cholesterol and saturated fats I wouldn’t worry too much. If they come from good sources such as pasture fed cows, free range organic chickens then you will probably derive more benefit than harm from them. As stated above the evidence linking cholesterol and saturated fat intakes with heart disease is not consistent and is skewed by the massive interest of the drug companies in funding studies that attempt to make the link to justify their drug sales.

I’ve not covered exercise in this article, but regular daily exercise is very effective at reducing cardiovascular disease risk. Any exercise will be beneficial if it builds progressively on your current capabilities. For some this may mean walking an increasing distance at increasing speeds each day. Some resistance training is helpful for those who are already at a basic standard of fitness. For those with existing cardiovascular disease care should be taken, but it will be very beneficial as long as your body responds to the training without a crisis event. Consult a doctor or other professional involved personally with your healthcare if this is the case. For those who are already fit and wondering what is best for their cardiovascular health, then the general rule is to build fitness steadily and recover well from hard sessions. Normally what makes you fitter will also be good for you, if training is wearing you down it is good for neither your fitness or health.

SI Joint Dysfunction

Thursday, August 25th, 2011 No Commented
Under: Back pain

Sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction, once the most commonly diagnosed cause of lower back pain, fell out of the medical mind in the 1930’s when herniated discs became the main scapegoats for back pain. Recently the diagnosis of SI joint dysfunction began to reemerge on the medical scene. Some estimate that it is to blame for 15% of lower back pain instances, but is often confused with sciatica or disc damage.

The SI joint is located on each side of the body where the sacrum at the bottom of the spine connects with the ilia, or the large bones of the pelvis. This joint is less than one inch long and has a very small range of motion. It is responsible for transferring the forces of the upper body to the lower body.

If an SI joint is misaligned, or if it moves too much or too little, then SI joint dysfunction is present. The condition entails pain at the site of the affected joint that can radiate through the lower back, buttocks, hip and sometimes into the leg, particularly the back of the thigh.

There are a number of ways in which SI joint dysfunction can manifest.

— A genetic cause is leg length discrepancy. This will cause the pelvis, and therefore the join ts, to be misaligned.

— Another cause of SI joint dysfunction is muscle imbalance. The pelvis is the site of many muscles that work closely together to control the movements of the lower body and to support the weight of the upper body. If a muscle imbalance exists, the web of tough ligaments that supports the joint will be tugged in one direction, pulling the joint out of its proper position either upward, downward, to the front or to the back.

An example of muscle imbalance causing SI joint dysfunction is that of tight lower back and hip flexor muscles combined with weak hamstrings and abdominal muscles. Hip flexors (muscles in the hip that work to pull the knee upward) and lower back muscles often become tight due to poor posture and improper bending and lifting technique, two biomechanical problems that also lead to underused, weak abdominal and hamstring muscles. The pulling action of the tight, shortened muscles on the pelvis causes it to tilt forward. The ligaments of the joint are strained by this, and the joint may become dislodged.

— Another cause of SI joint dysfunction is trauma. A hard fall or other blow to the pelvis can wrench the SI joint out of place. This can create hypermobility or hypomobility of the joint, and both abnormalities provoke the body’s inflammatory response to block off the area. Significant pain results.

— Other causes of the condition include infection, pregnancy hormones and osteoarthritis.

How to Test for SI joint dysfunction

The only medically certain diagnostic test for this condition involves injecting a numbing agent into the joint and seeing if this alleviates pain.

There are other, less certain tests that are still deemed valid for diagnosing the condition. One indicator may be obvious to you without the help of a medical professional: if one side of your pelvis is higher or more forward than the other side.

Cardio Exercises For A Flat Tummy

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011 No Commented
Under: Weight Loss

Cardio exercises for a flat tummy prove helpful to a person when done in a proper manner. To get effective results, you need to perform them in a correct and disciplined manner. For this, joining a gym proves beneficial as you get a variety of cardio machines therein. Moreover, you also get the assistance of gym instructor.

Before making a decision for any particular workout plan, a good research is required to get the best possible alternative. You can surf various websites, read fitness magazines, watch online videos or simply take assistance of a personal trainer. Apart from this, consider factors like your age, gender, medical condition and lifestyle, so that you get appropriate training.

What are Cardio Workouts and are they Good?

To tone your muscles and burn the excess calories, cardio exercise helps you as it gives effective results. A cardio exercise has to begin with an average intensity wherein the capacity has to be increased gradually with time. However, it is essential to give importance to your body type, so that maximum oxygen supply reaches your heart and lungs via the blood stream. Efficiency of heart increases with more supply of oxygen because of which fat burning capacity of your body increases.

Generally, 30-60 minutes cardio is practiced that may differ from person-to-person and as per the type of workout plan. This type of exercise is good as it helps an individual to increase the endurance and eventually lose weight. Moreover, your heart and lung muscles also become strong. With the support of best training, you can learn the tricks of different types of cardio workouts and get effective results.

Cardio Exercises for a Flat Tummy

To get a flat tummy, follow the given below cardio exercises.

  • Running on a Treadmill Running on a treadmill is one of the best forms of cardio exercises that are popular among fitness freaks. Many people carry out at-least ten minutes run at a treadmill in a gym or buy a machine to use them at their home. While doing so, you simply need to put your shoes on and run for a set of 10 minutes to burn up your excess calories.
  • Cycling Cycling is another favorite cardio workout that helps to burn maximum number of calories by means of around thirty minutes of workout. Many people prefer to buy a cardio cycle, so that they can conveniently do a workout as per their routine life and need. You can easily get a cardio cycle from the market or can visit a retail outlet or a mall.
  • Swimming Practicing swimming daily too acts as one of the good forms of cardio. It proves effective to get a toned body in a couple of months.
  • Playing Tennis or Squash If you do not like to go to gym or if you are sports enthusiasts, playing tennis or squash also helps to have a flat tummy.

Be it any form of cardio, it is a must to follow a systematic cardio workout to get the desired results. This will not only help to boost your health and have a flat tummy, but also improve functioning of your heart and blood circulation. Apart from this, the effects are long time, provided you continue your workout with persistent efforts. It is suggested for the heart patients and people diagnosed with hernia to be cautious and inform your instructor about it, so that proper care can be taken while doing it. Otherwise, they should stay away from it.

Understanding Back Pain to Find the Proper Treatment

Sunday, August 21st, 2011 No Commented
Under: Back pain

To understand how back pain is produce in the body we need to mention that the spine, or vertebral column, is composed of vertebral bodies separated by intervertebral disks. There are 7 cervical vertebrae(C1-7), 12 Thoracic vertebrae(T1-12), 5 lumbar vertebrae (L1-5), 5 fused sacral vertebrae (S1-S5) and 4 fused coccygeal vertebrae. The four regions of the spine differ significantly in their flexibility.

Every pair of vertebrae of the spinal column is separated by a disc and there are more than 30 disks in the entire vertebral column. The Disk is composed of the annulus pulposus, the annulus fibrosus and the end plates. The disk is a hydraulic system that keep the vertebra apart. It acts to cushion any balance or pressure and permits the functional unit to move in flexion to the front, extension to the back, and to the side. The intervertebral discs form approximately 25 percent of the length of the vertebral column. However, this percentage varies in the different parts of the spinal column. In the cervical region the discs contribute 22 percent of the length of the column, in the thoracic region 20 percent, and in the lumbar are 33 percent.

The annulus fibrosus of the intervertebral disc is composed of 90 sheets of laminated collagen fibers that are oriented vertically in the peripheral layers and more obliquely in the central layers. The cellular elements of the disc cannot receive blood nutrients thorough the mediation of the synovial fluid but must rely on a diffusional system that provides a metabolic exchange with the vessels that lie withing the vertebral bodies. The nutrition of the intervertebral disc, at birth is performed by some blood vessels that penetrate the disc from the vertebral bone and lateral margins of the annulus, however in the adult stage the disc is totally avascular. The lumbar disc are in fact the largest avascular tissues in the body. The cells of the discs must therefore derive their nutrients and dispose of their waste metabolic products by diffusion from and to blood vessels at the disc margins.

Many of the tissued in the spine contain elastic and collagen fibers with mechanical properties. The collagen fibres in the annulus are arranged in a definitive geometric pattern, while the nucleus contains a few randomly dispersed collagen fibrils. The primary function of the intervertebral disc is to allow the spine to twist and bend to an almost continuously variable range of postures. As a resulted of their positions in the spine, the discs are subjected to compressive forces. It’s the nucleus, the most highly hydrated part of the disc, which contributes the majority of the internal pressure needed to balance the applied pressure.

The neck is the most flexible part and its discs are relatively thick, and it can be moved easily in all directions. In the chest region the discs are thinner. The lumbar region is relatively flexible because the discs in this area are thick and it has no rib cage to stiffen it. The sacral region is the least flexible part of the spine.

The intervertebral disk is a hydraulic system composed of a fibroelastic envelope containing a colloidal gel in its center. The fluid contained withing the confines of the encircling annulus is a colloidal gel and by its self-contained fluidity has all the characteristics of a hydraulic system. If increased intradiscal pressure forces fluid out of the disc, when pressure is released or decreased fluid returns into the disc by imbibition.

The disc is constructed like an automobile tire, and like a tire has a high internal pressure of its own. While a tire’s pressure comes from compressed air, the disc’s pressure is due to water. Discs are over 80 percent water. The discs’s high water content makes it highly elastic, that is, able to change its shape and then return to its original form. The disc is, in fact, one of the body’s chief shock absorbers.

Compression of the disk takes place in the annulus, if a vertebral disc unit is subjected to massive compression the fluid is rapidly squeezed out of the nucleus. The intervertebral disk has the ability to absorbe large amounts of water, and the essential compound involved in this process is a protein /Polysaccharide gel that can bind almost 90 times its own volume of water. The water is attracted to the ground substance because it contains glycosaminoglycons to high osmotic pressure to allows tissue to withstand compressive load. Osmosis leads to a high internal fluid pressure which can support a load just as the pressure of air in attire supports the weight of a car. With only a limited blood supply, especially to the inner aspects of the disc, the continual changeover of fluid in the nucleus, that it’s ability to be hydrated and dehydrated in a cyclical manner. The nucleus can balance the average compression forces when comparatively fully hydrated. When the nuclear tissue of the disc is damage this hydraulic action is lost. Normally the body weight and other compression forces are transmitted through the nucleus, the hydraulic action of which distributes pressure equally over the surface of the vertebra and the annulus fibrosus.

With nuclear destruction pressure is no longer evenly distributed and the major consequence of disc degeneration is the loss of hydrostatic properties, and the gradual decrease in the osmotic swelling pressure of the intervertebral disc. The ability of the disc to imbibe water and distributed load deteriorates with aging, largely owing to changes in the molecular proteoglycans and collagen.

When the nuclear tissue of the disc is damage this hydraulic action is lost. Normally the body weight and other compression forces are transmitted through the nucleus, the hydraulic action of which distributes pressure equally over the surface of the vertebra and the annulus fibrosus.

In back problems if the disc presses upon any several roots of the sciatic nerve, the person affected will feel the disctintive pain of sciatica and also may have numbness or muscular weakness in the affected leg. If the disc press instead on nerve roots in the neck, then person may feel pain shooting down an arm and have numbenesss and muscle weakness in the hand and fingers. Or if the disc presses nerves in the cauda equine, the continuation of the spinal cord supplying the bladder and bowels, the person may have trouble urinating or defecating. One common sign of back trouble is the excruciating pain called sciatica because it follows the course of the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body. The sciatic nerves are formed in the hip region, one on each side, by the combination of several nerves that emerge from the lower part of the spine.
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There are 31 pairs of spinal nerves that arise from the spinal cord at each level and exit through the intervertebral foramina. There are 8 cervical, 12 thoracic, 5 lumbar, 5 sacral, and 1 coccygeal nerve. We have 31 pairs of these nerve roots, 62 altogether, emerging from the spine. Each pair of nerves roots services a specific part of the body. The pair of nerves emerging from between the fourth and fifth neck vertebrae, for instance, activates muscles that help, over the shoulders. The nerves coming out from between the sixth and seventh neck vertebrae run to muscles serving the wrist and fingers. In the lower spine, nerves that exit from between the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae go to muscles moving the hips and knees, while those emerging from between the fifth lumbar vertebrae and the sacrum activate our feet.

Mechanic damage of the spine is generally believe to be a major cause of low back pain. The spine is a highly sophisticated mechanical system of which the tissues are presumably well suited to withstand the forces to which they are normally subjected. Nevertheless, if the tissues are abused, they will be damaged and act as sources of pain either directly through their own nerve supply, or indirectly, because they become distorted and compress nerve roots.

Disc lesions are probably best classified according to location, namely cervical, thoracic or lumbar, according to type, namely, bulging, protruded or herniated (ruptured); according to consistency, namely, soft or calcified, and according to position, namely midline or lateral. Bulging disks represent a very early manifestation of displacement, associated with minimal thinning of the annulus fibrosus in that particular area. They are always of soft consistency. It is at this stage that disks are probable amenable to conservative therapy. A certain degree of scarring occurs, and with bed rest, aproppiate exercises and a general improvement in overall health and posture, the weakness in the annulus fibrosus and, possibly, in the posterior longitudinal ligament often seem to disappear. In protruded disks, there is marked thinning of the annulus fibrosus, and probable few such lesions heal spontaneously, in spite of any form of conservative therapy. They maybe soft or calcified. These disks represent further progression of bulging disks and consist of lesions in which there remains merely a thin layer of annulus fibrosus overlying the protruding nucleus pulposus. Protruded disks are the most common form of disk disease.

In Intervertebral disk lesions the direction of the protrusion will determine the symptoms. The osteophytos developed and protrude in four general directions: posterior, posterolateral, lateral and anterior. Symptoms may result, depending on the anatomic structures adjacent to the vertebrae whose function is impared from compression. The ligaments that surround the disk are taut when the disk is normal, these ligaments become loose and redundant when the disk collapses. Progresive enlargement of the osteophytes may continue until they encroach on vital soft tissues adjacent to the spine, causing symptoms.

In the Cervical region the most common sites of occurrence of such lesions are between C5 and C6 and between C6 and C7, with the later being the more frequent on the two sites. In the Lumbar region the most common sites are L4 to L5 and L5 to S1 interspaces, the latter being the more frequent. Approximately 90 % of disk herniation will occur toward the bottom of the spine at L4-L5 (Lumbar segments 4 and 5) or L5-S1 (lumbar segment 5 and sacral segment 1).

Disk problems in the cervical spine will not only cause neck pain, but may experience headaches, shoulder, arm and hand pain, numbeness or weakness, chest pain, Thyroid problems, as well as ringing in the ears and blurred vision.

In the thoracic area can lead to middle back pain, pain radiating around the rib cage, chest pain, heart palpitations, difficult breathing, and headaches. And finally in the lumbar region can lead to low back pain, pain traveling down the leg, pain in the feet, bowel and bladder problems, as well as sexual organ dysfunction. In disc problems the disc don’t receive very good blood flow. Blood is responsible for carrying oxygen and nutrients to injured tissues for faster healing, and because the discs don’t receive this blood supply, then tend to be very problematic when it comes to healing.

Herniated disks, or the so-called rupture form, are seen in cases in which there is an actual tear in the annulus fibrosus and posterior longitudinal ligament, with escape of part of the nucleus pulposus through the tear. A small fragment of the nucleus pulposus may escape or there may be completed herniation, with the degenerated disk lying free.

Calcification of the end plates cartilage and vascular changes seen in older vertebrae probable impede the delivery of disc nutrients from the blood. Disc nutrition is made by diffusion, diffusion of solutes occurs through the central portion of the end plates and through the annulus. Glucose and oxygen enter via the end plates.

The nucleus pulposus may act as a chemical or a inmmunogenetic irritant to the nerve roots. The nerve roots showed different degrees of inflammatory response, which is a physical impediment to the diffusion of nutrients from the cerebrospinal fluid through the membranes of the nerve root. This produces conditions that prevent or delay the delivery of essential nutrients normally supplied by the microavasculature. Its not the mechanical pressure alone that causes the phenomena of nerve root pain but rather an abnormal chemical environment of nerve root that alters electrical activity. The nerve root can be involved in nerve root compression or nerve root irritation.

The supporting structures that give the spine stability include the anterior longitudinal ligament, the posterior longitudinal ligament, the intervertebral disks, and the musculature of the neck and trunk.

Why Throwing Groceries Into Food Deserts Won’t Help Cut Obesity

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011 No Commented
Under: Obesity

Areas controversially named ‘food deserts’ where there is little or no access to healthy foods have been put under scrutiny in relation to the obesity epidemic which is affecting many first world countries. Food deserts are urban areas where grocery stores and supermarkets have been pushed out resulting in the only foods readily available are to be had from fast food restaurants.

It was thought that obesity was endemic in these areas because they mainly occurred in poorer districts: Poor people with no access to the means to prepare their own diets equates to an over-consumption of junk food. While not having access to groceries does mean that people will have to order fast food more, the lack of access to markets doesn’t seem to be the primary cause of being overweight.

To clarify, people who do have access to fresh meat, fruit and vegetables are as much a part of the weight problem as those who have little or no access to such ingredients. A study which has been observing thousands of participants for 15 years found that the subjects didn’t eat better just because there was better food available to them, the deciding factors were income and the availability of fast food.

It would be nice to think that people would eat better and lose weight if only they had a grocery nearby where they could get their fresh produce to cook their own balanced meals but the evidence suggests a different story. It’s not the lack of access to good food that drives up the width of the waistband but the ease of access to bad foods. It would be nice to also think that encouraging markets to open up in areas where obesity is a problem would go some way to resolving the issue but it seems rather not.

The study has been conducted by Barry Popkin, director at the Nutrition Transition Program based in the University of North Carolina. It observes that notwithstanding everything else, the grocery is chock full of poor health choices as well as the good. Also, a fresh food shopping bill will invariably come to more in cost than a few burgers and fries, therefore it seems more expensive to buy store cupboard foods than ready to go processed food. Popkin says: “This raises the serious issue of how we get people to eat healthy.”

Popkin’s study had been observing African-American and white adults from Birmingham Alabama, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Oakland California since 1985 and the results were published this year. The survey includes data like the participant’s diet and the distance they lived from either fresh produce or fast food. However, the survey hasn’t information on height, weight or BMI. It was able to confirm the findings of other surveys that proximity to fast food was clearly concomitant with greater fast food consumption, particularly among low income males.

Unfortunately the inverse wasn’t found to be the case, ie, that being proximate with healthy food supplies meant that consumers made that choice. Popkin said that his study had found, much like others, that the introduction of a supermarket into a previously food deserted area did not significantly increase the eating of fresh fruit and vegetables among the badly off. In both Scotland and New York City research found no identifiable impact between supermarket locality and the people’s consumption of fresh foods.

Policy reformers have been pushing to change the disparity between the number of fast food restaurants and groceries in recent years, So, while it’s true that if there are more supermarkets and fewer fast food places there is an effect, simply increasing the number of food markets itself without removing fast food joints, it won’t noticeably improve public health.

Best Electronic Cigarette Retailer: Where to Find Them?

Sunday, August 14th, 2011 No Commented
Under: Quit Smoking

With the internet feeding a lot of information that just one click and you will be taken to numerous related searches, it is just hard to know if you are on the right site you’ve been trying to find. When you type in electronic cigarette on the search bar and click on search, you will be given a lot of sites showing almost the same titles. How do you know then if you are on the right track? If you are searching for the best electronic retailer, how would you know that you’re staring at the right one?

Looking for the best electronic cigarette retailer is kind of a big task. You will be surrounded with so many choices that it is very hard to figure out which one to pick. There are a lot of them in the market offering almost the same products and services. It is then your job to make sure that you are choosing the best among the rest.

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  • The first thing you’d want to look for in a retailer is the quality of the product they are selling. There are known brands that you might want to check out. For me, I would suggest that you look first at those very popular brands. The fact that people are talking about that retailer means that a lot of tried it. Go to that retailer’s website and read on their products and services. Read also the testimonials and reviews that users have given. That should give you an idea of the reputation of the company.
  • Next, compare prices. They might cost quite the same, just differ in a few cents but there must be one that is comparably cheap. Yes, cheap but with high quality.
  • Do not forget about quality. The best electronic company retailer is the one that offers affordable cigarette with the same quality. If you can’t find one, you might want to compromise on the cost. Anyway, what is low cost when the product is not serving its purpose? What is cheap cigarette when you frequently buy a new one because the first one you bough just went dead? So if you are force to choose one, always go for quality.
  • Lastly, check on promotional offers. Who is offering free shipping? Who is selling at 50% discount? Who is giving lifetime warranty? Things like this should also be considered.

Who knows, you might just get the best deal and get so save a lot of money.

Is Hypnotherapy the Answer to Insomnia?

Thursday, August 11th, 2011 No Commented
Under: Sleep

Do You Suffer From Insomnia?

If you suffer from insomnia, you know how debilitating it can be. Everyone suffers from sleeplessness sometimes, after drinking too much coffee or from a bout of nervousness before an important exam. However, not many people understand what it’s like when you suffer from sleeplessness on a nightly basis.

Lack of sleep over a period of time makes you irritable, over- sensitive to outside stimuli, and can even induce bouts of depression. It can make you unable to perform on the job because of low motivation and concentration. Not great news if you operate machinery or work with sharp objects or children!

It can have a negative effect on your relationships, due to repeated mood swings. All in all, insomnia can seriously compromise your health and well-being.

The medical profession offers cures for insomnia, most of which are inadvisable over a period of time. One example of this is sleeping pills, which will undoubtedly put you to sleep but which also may compromise the way in which your body naturally sends you to sleep. It may work a couple of times but really, your body simply isn’t designed to be bombarded with such things on a regular basis. For this reason, insomnia is best defeated by attacking it at the source of the problem.

So what can help banish insomnia for good? Well, though insomnia is sometimes caused by physical problems such as too many stimulants. It is much more likely to be caused by the mind, and, in this case is best treated through some type of therapy.

When a person experiencing insomnia lies in bed all night thinking that they are unable to sleep, they are really just re-affirming to their subconscious mind that falling asleep is impossible. Because of the connection that the mind has with the body, they are literally programming themselves not to fall asleep.

Have you ever told yourself before you go to sleep that you need to wake up at a certain time and have then woken up before the alarm clock? There’s no mystery about it – you told yourself what to do and your mind gave the instructions to your body.

Hypnotherapy is the ideal way to calm the mind and body, so it’s logical that it can be used to cure people’s insomnia. Hypnotherapy can literally remove the mental blocks that may cause insomnia, and to put the body in a sleep-ready state.

As a result, a person who had previously been unable to fall asleep, will find themselves able to drift off effortlessly.

So despite insomnia being a debilitating condition, there is no need to let it control your life.

You can even do it yourself. If you think you can’t get yourself to a hypnotherapist, try downloading some Mp3′s and trying them out. There are also subliminal audios to try, so there’s no excuse.

And on that note, I’m going to say goodnight.