Is good health contagious? A new study says yes.

There’s no magic solution for weight loss and improved health. But data collected by researchers in Kentucky shows friends and family members may lose weight more effectively by working as a team. That finding comes from a new study reported by the American Heart Association. The study’s results indicate that strong social networks, such as those among friends and relatives, help people lose weight and improve their overall health. Are healthy habits contagious? The study, undertaken by researchers in Kentucky, answers that question in the affirmative. The data showed that dieters who lost weight collectively with friends and family lost more weight and were likelier to achieve permanent results. Study organizers, working with a pool of 552 participants, assigned friends and family members into social groups of between two and eight people. The groups worked together to improve their health. Over the course of ten months, participants within social groups lost an (Read More)

5 Heart Healthy Habits

Many of the hardest things to do in life are based on good old-fashioned common sense.  So why are they so hard to accomplish? Let’s face it – in our minds we often think that change is not rational.  Our reasoning is that when we change something in our lives, that often means that we will also lose something – habits that gives us great pleasure. That is why people burn out so easily on their New Year resolutions.  As you read through these common sense behaviors that are critical to a healthy heart, remember that failure is an event – not a person.  Be willing to take risks to get out of you comfort zone. Be willing to start, create “baby steps” for change that are based in your behavior, not just your attitude.  It truly is better to act your way into a new way of thinking, rather (Read More)

Inflammation Triggers the Symptoms of Disease

The presence of inflammation is what makes most disease perceptible to an individual. It can and often does occur for years before it exists at levels sufficient to be apparent or clinically significant. How long it has been smoldering really determines the degree of severity of a disease and often the prognosis assuming the inflammation can be controlled. One could also argue that without inflammation most disease would not even exist. Take a look at this list of diseases and their relationship with inflammation: Disease Mechanism Allergy 4 Immune Mediated Types + Sensitivities, all of which cause inflammation Alzheimer’s Chronic inflammation destroys brain cells Anemia Inflammatory cytokines attack erythropoietin production Ankylosing Spondylitis Inflammatory cytokines induce autoimmune reactions against joint surfaces Asthma Inflammatory cytokines induce autoimmune reactions against airway lining Autism Inflammatory cytokines induce autoimmune reactions in the brain arresting right hemisphere development Arthritis Inflammatory cytokines destroy joint cartilage and synovial (Read More)

10 Benefits of Tamarind

People living in tropical Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America know that eating tamarind means eating healthy. The tamarind casually consumed in these regions has many health benefits for those who eat them. So, the next time you cruise the Asian supermarket aisles make sure to pick up a few of theses treats. The tamarind fruit is encased within a brown pod. Inside the pod of the tamarind is a soft, brown pulp with hard-coated black seeds. It is this pulp that people eat to get all the nutritional and health benefits of the tamarind. The pulp of the tamarind has a very sour taste while it is young, but as it ripens the pulp gets sweeter. Though the pulp will sweeten with age, the tamarind generally has a sour, acidic taste. In countries such as Jamaica, Mexico, Aruba and India, tamarind is mixed with sugar and sold as sweets (Read More)

Sun Exposure Reduces Blood Pressure

A little time in the sun can do more than just give you a tan; it may help reduce your blood pressure. The incidence of hypertension and cardiovascular disease correlates with latitude and increases during winter, and researchers from the University of Edinburgh set out to find out why. They hypothesized that the seasonal and latitudinal associations with hypertension could be related to the effects of the sun’s UV radiation on nitric oxide (NO) in the skin, in light of the fact that NO metabolites are abundant in human skin. In the body, NO typically has a vasodilating effect, facilitating blood flow and reducing blood pressure. In 24 healthy volunteers, irradiation of the skin with UVA lowered blood pressure with decreases in circulating NO and increases in NO metabolites. Dietary interventions to increase circulating NO had no effect on these UVA-induced changes, which suggests that the blood pressure reduction was (Read More)

4 Scientific Reasons Why Hugging Is Good For You

A recent study, as reported by the Daily Mail, found that hugging on the regular is correlated with a lower risk of heart disease, can fight stress and fatigue, boosts your immune system, fights infections and can reduce depression. A study by psychologist Dr. Jan Astrom, published in the journal Comprehensive Psychology, found that hugging for a mere ten seconds has health benefits. A ten-second-hug can increase “feel-good” hormones like oxytocin. This, in turn, causes stress chemicals like cortisol to drop. “The positive emotional experience of hugging gives rise  to biochemical and physiological reactions,” said Dr. Astrom in an interview. A study from the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill found that the “heart rate increased 10 beats a minute for those without contact compared with five beats a minute for huggers.” The study looked at 100 subjects. Psychologist Karen Grewen also found that hugging reduced blood pressure. The School of (Read More)

Why Beer Could Be Good for Your Health

That beer belly of yours might not be associated with beer at all, according to a Czech Republic study cited recently by Harvard’s Harvey B. Simon, M.D. Though most of us can agree that drinking copious amounts of beer will more than likely result in negative health effects, scientific research suggests that consuming beer in moderation can actually improve your health. Take heart, beer lovers, and consider the following rewards of kicking back with your favorite brew. Lowers Risk of Cardiovascular Disease A lower risk of cardiovascular disease has been observed in men and women who drink beer. The higher HDL levels (known as “good cholesterol”) in alcohol can be linked to this, according to Harvard researchers, who observe a consistent 25-40% reduction in risk. Having high levels of good cholesterol can be a big health boost for your heart, especially if you are able to keep levels of “bad” (Read More)

Comparing Differences Between Methylcobalamin and Cyanocobalamin B12

There are two forms of vitamin B12 that you’re likely to come across – methylcobalamin and cyanocobalamin. The latter is much more common in multivitamins and B12 supplements, but there are many strong arguments to replace this ingredient with methylcobalamin, which is slowly gaining popularity and will surely one day dominate the industry. But what is it that makes methylcobalamin a superior health supplement? The two different B12 forms are very similar, and the only chemical difference between them comes down to one small part of the molecule, where the names give it away: where methylcobalamin has a methyl group (just carbon and hydrogen), cyanocobalamin has a cyanide group. And obviously cyanide isn’t something you normally expect or want to find lurking in your multivitamin. In fact, cyanocobalamin isn’t something nature ever intended your body to deal with – it exists only as a chemical synthesized in laboratories and doesn’t occur (Read More)

Vitamin B12: All Cobalamins Are Not Equal

Look at your multiple vitamin or B complex bottle. You’re probably taking cyanocobalamin, the stable and less expensive form of vitamin B12. Because it is stable, it has a longer shelf life. However, the active form of B12 is methylcobalamin and the two are NOT equal in effectiveness. If you have symptoms of GI disorders, lethargy, confusion, slow thought processes, heart rate variability, atherosclerosis, sleep disorders, or immune dysfunction, you may need the methyl as well as the cobalamin component. The two vitamin B12 coenzymes known to be metabolically active in humans are methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. Vitamin B12 is usually absorbed from the gut from the fermentation of intrinsic factor by intestinal flora. However, production can be disturbed by nutritional deficiencies, intrinsic factor deficiency, bacterial overgrowth, malabsorption, alcohol, and antibiotics. Nitrous oxide anesthesia in surgery and nitric acid from normal metabolism and inflammation also reduce our vitamin B12 levels. Cobalamins (Read More)