How to Stop a Snorer From Snoring

How to Stop a Snorer From Snoring

Skip the poking and prodding, it's not going to work. No matter how many times you nudge your bedmate, those sleep-breaking snores won’t stop.
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"Heading it off in the first place, and creating a situation where the snoring cannot happen is the real solution,” says Shawn Stevenson, author of Sleep Smarter and founder of The Model Health Show

The approach? Train the snorer. Aggravated bed partners, check out these snoring solutions:

Lifestyle

"It's different for everyone, but for the majority of cases, cyclically the person is overweight or has too much body fat,” Stevenson says. “As a result, their breathing pathways collapse when they're sleeping." Become a healthier version of yourself, and get the extra weight off your frame.
 
 

Hydrating

Make sure the snorer stays hydrated throughout the day, especially before bedtime to help ease the dryness of the throat.


Eating

Avoid eating too late at night, and especially skip eating cold foods and dairy, Stevenson recommends. These foods tend to create more mucus and close off the breathing pathways. Sorry, that means no ice cream before bed.
 
 
Position
Train your partner to sleep in the right positions. "Side sleepers snore radically less than people who sleep on their back or stomach," says Stevenson.
6 Things You Should Never Do Before Bed

6 Things You Should Never Do Before Bed

Sleep. We all need it, but we don't all do it well. While most people equate good sleep with getting 8 consecutive hours, a University of California at San Diego paper on sleep research and aging reviewed date from 1.1 million people and determined that there is no statistical reason to sleep longer than 6 1/2 hours per night. In fact, the people who slept 6 1/2 hours a night lived longer than the ones who slept 8!

Not to panic, getting 8 hours a night won't kill you. However, it does bring into focus what's really important: Your sleep quality. A lack of the right kind of sleep can increase your risk of heart disease and cancer, aid in weight gain, and even increase your risk of death.

It's just as important to avoid doing the wrong things before going to bed as it is doing the right ones. Here are the 6 most important things to avoid at night for the best sleep possible, adapted from The Bulletproof Diet:


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1. Bright lights

For at least a half hour before going to bed, try to avoid bright lights. Dim your office lights if you absolutely must be working this close to bedtime, and kill the unhealthy flourescent ones. This includes all those iDevices, too, including your phone, iPod, and even television. Why? Because even 5 minutes of white light from a screen suppresses melatonin levels, by more than 50 percent. Translation? Melatonin, otherwise known as the sleep hormone, levels in the blood rise sharply and you begin to feel less alert in the evening, and sleep becomes more inviting. If light is around, you'll have less of a natural inclination to hit the hay and stay sleeping.

SEE ALSO: 8 Biggest Sleep Myths



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2. Violence

Not all that surprising, scary things can mess with your mind before hitting the sheets. Watching graphic violence on TV might make it harder for you to fall and stay asleep.


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3. Exercise

You should not exercise for at least 2 hours before going to bed, unless you count restorative yoga and breathing exercises as exercise, says Asprey. Exercising in general, however, definitely helps sleep. A 2013 Sleep in America poll found that people who exercise at any time of day report sleeping better and feeling more rested than those who don't exercise.

RELATED: 10 Things That Happen When You Don't Get Enough Sleep



4. Caffeine

In general, don’t drink coffee after 2:00 p.m. or at least 8 hours before bedtime, whichever comes first. This will make sure you get all of the cognitive benefits of caffeine without sacrificing your sleep. Researchers at Michigan's Henry Ford Hospital's Sleep Disorders & Research Center and Wayne State College of Medicine found that caffeine consumed even six hours before bedtime resulted in significantly diminished sleep quality and sleep quantity. The best thing you can do? Keep track of your caffeine intake and sleep patterns to see how it affects you. 


5. Second wind

There is a window from 10:45 and 11:00 p.m. or so when you naturally get tired, that fluctuates based on season. According to Bulletproof Diet author Dave Asprey, if you don’t go to sleep then and choose to stay awake, you’ll get a cortisol-driven "second wind" that can keep you awake until 2:00 a.m. For some, that can be majorly detrimental to their overall productivity.  So what's the golden amount of sleep? Well, that's up for debate. One recent study found that sleeping 9 hours or more was just as harmful as sleeping 5 or less. Whereas cognitive performance peaked at about seven hours of sleep, according to date from Lumosity.


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6. Stress

Perhaps the most common reason people report not being able to sleep is that they don’t know how to clear their minds and stop worrying. For that, Asprey suggests deep-breathing exercises like Art of Living, pranayama yoga, and meditation, which can do wonders for helping your brain shut down, recuperate, and prepare for the next day.

How to Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally

How to Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally

Reducing sodium intake is the first step in the right direction, but you may not know why. Here's the dangerous mechanism: Sodium causes you to retain water in your blood, which adds volume and boosts pressure. Constant high pressure on your arteries, in turn, exposes you to a greater risk of heart attack, stroke, and even penis problems. That's why lowering BP through natural means makes a nifty DIY project for a lot of guys. How 'bout you?


1. Start with salt

You should consume about 1,500 milligrams of sodium daily. To reduce the amount, toss the saltshaker over your shoulder and start seasoning your food with spices, herbs, lemon, and salt-free seasoning blends. For the greatest impact, however, avoid processed foods, the source of most dietary sodium.

RELATED: 6 Mistakes That Keep You Fat


2. Tea up

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Australian researchers found that people who drank three cups of black tea every day for six months saw a two-point drop in both diastolic and systolic blood pressure. Tea flavonoids may reduce concentrations of endothelin-1, a protein that constricts blood vessels, the researchers report. Less than three cups a day may work too.


SEE ALSO: The Facts About Teas And Weight Loss



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3. Grab a bunch of grapes

Men with metabolic syndrome (a set of conditions that can lead to heart disease) who ate the powder equivalent of about two cups of grapes daily for a month lowered their systolic blood pressure by 6 points, according to a study from the University of Connecticut. The polyphenols in grapes may help relax blood vessels and improve their function, the scientists say.

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4. Breathe slowly and deeply

Slow, deep breathing and meditative practices such as yoga decrease stress hormones, which elevate renin, a kidney enzyme that raises blood pressure. Try morning minutes in the morning and at night. You can even do it on your commute. Inhale deeply and expand your belly. Exhale and release tension.

SEE ALSO: 3 Important Reasons To Meditate Every Morning




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5. Breathe quickly and deeply

Three days a week, do a cardio workout at 60 to 65 percent of your maximum heart rate for 40 minutes. Exercise helps the heart use oxygen more efficiently, so it doesn't have to work as hard to pump blood. Does "workout" sound too much like work? Then walk. In a study, hypertensive patients who went for walks at a brisk pace lowered their pressure by almost 8 mm Hg over 6 mm Hg.




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6. LOL

Laughing at a funny movie causes blood vessels to dilate by 22 percent, according to a study from the University of Maryland. The physical act of laughing causes the tissue forming the inner lining of your blood vessels to expand, increasing blood flow and reducing blood pressure.


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7. Try a DASH

The acronym stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, a plan developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to provide guidelines for people wanting to lower their BP. It involves keeping total calories to 55 percent carbs, 27 percent fat, and 18 percent protein and your sodium intake under 2,300 milligrams a day. A typical DASH menu focuses on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and protein from poultry, fish, beans, and nuts while minimizing added sugars and salt. And it works. A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that it can lower systolic blood pressure by up to 16 points in 4 months in people with high BP.


Adapted from Better Man Project
Stop Back Pain Before It Starts

Stop Back Pain Before It Starts

You don't have back pain...yet. Want to keep it that way? Try these techniques to prevent the pain long before it begins.

Sit pretty

spinning-office-chair
You don’t need a fancy ergonomically designed office chair, but you should have one that provides good support so that your back is curved like an S, not a C, says Jeffrey Goldstein, MD, director of the spine service at the New York University Langone Medical Center.

Every half hour, get up and walk around for a few seconds to take some of the stress off your back.


See Also: 3 Yoga Moves That Ease Back Pain


Stand tall

Imagine a line coming down through your body from the ceiling, says physical therapist Renée Garrison.

Your ears, shoulders, hips, and knees should all stack up along that line, with your head stacked directly atop your neck, not jutting forward.


Wear soft soles

"If your shoe has little cushioning, every time your foot strikes concrete, you’ll jar the bones and muscles in your low back," says Raj Rao, MD, vice chairman of the department of orthopedic surgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin. (That holds true for flats as well as heels.)

Look for a shoe with a cushioned sole. When you’re at home, pad around in thick flip-flops or well-cushioned sneakers.

 

 See Also: 6 Amazing Teas For Arthritis Symptoms

Don’t smoke

A 2010 review of 40 studies found that smokers have more low back pain than nonsmokers, possibly because smoking reduces blood flow to the spine, says Dr. Rao.


Learn how to lift

woman-lifting-suitcase
You know to hoist heavy objects using your legs, not your back. But what about a very light object?

Answer: Lean over it, slightly bend one knee, and extend the other leg behind you. Hold onto a chair or table for support.


Downsize your pillows

"Sleeping with two or three pillows under your neck can strain your muscles," says Jessica Shellock, MD, an orthopedic spine surgeon at the Texas Back Institute.
From Health
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Why Your Random Eating Schedule Is Risky for Your Health


Do you ever postpone dinner because you’re in the middle of a project? Or skip breakfast because you overslept? As long as you avoid binging later on, it’s no big deal, right?

Well, maybe not.

Two new papers published in the Proceedings of the Nutrition Society suggest that it’s not just what you eat, but when you eat that affects your health. Having irregular meals may set you up for obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes—regardless of how many total calories you’re consuming.

RELATED: 5 Bad Eating Habits That Age You And Affect Your Health Negatively

One of the reviews examined international eating patterns and found a possible link between obesity and eating more calories in the evening. The other paper concluded that people who consistently ate six meals a day had better cholesterol and insulin levels than those who ate meals with variable frequency—in this case,
anywhere from three to nine meals a day.

“We found that adults consuming calories during regular meals—at similar times from one day to [the] next—were less obese than people who have irregular meals, despite consuming more calories overall,” says Gerda Pot, PhD, a visiting lecturer in the Diabetes and Nutritional Sciences Division at King’s College London who worked on both papers.

Really? While it doesn't seem to make sense that meal timing could affect your health that much, the studies are part of an emerging field called chrononutrition, in which researchers are exploring the link between metabolism and circadian rhythms.

Many metabolic processes in the body—such as appetite, digestion, and the metabolism of fat, cholesterol, and glucose—follow patterns that repeat every 24 hours, explains Pot. “Eating inconsistently may affect our internal body clock,” she says. And that disruption might lead to weight gain and other health risks.

​RELATED: Processed Foods May Kill Off Bugs that Keep You Thin

But just how significant is the effect of varying your meal times?

“This is a really important and valid question which we unfortunately cannot answer yet,” says Pot. “It would be of great interest to fully understand how much impact disruptions in our circadian rhythms could have on [our] obesity risk.”

So for now, it seems like a good idea to eat at the same times every day if you can. But if you can't, there are plenty of other ways to stay healthy, too.


From Health
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8 Weird Things Killing Your Gut

8 Weird Things Killing Your Gut

canned corn
In a recent breakthrough study, U.S. scientists discovered that gut microorganisms not only influence immune cell function, but actually support the production of immune cells that form the first line of defense against infection. Your gut is your immune system—two-thirds of your immune system, to be exact.

In fact, the gut is so complex and regulates so many bodily functions it's often called the body's "second brain." About 80 percent of the neurotransmitter serotonin is produced in the gastrointestinal tract—not the brain. Since large quantities of neurotransmitters are manufactured in the gut, that means your GI tract is largely responsible for your general physical and mental wellbeing.

"The bacteria that are in our gut help regulate metabolism, they talk to our genes," explains Elizabeth Lipski, PhD, CCN, academic director of nutrition and integrative health programs at Maryland University of Integrative Health. "When that's in balance, we have energy and our brain works better."

See Also - What You're Eating May Be Jacking Up Your Face



A few other fun gut health facts:
• We have 10 times more bacteria in our digestive system than cells in our body.

• 99 percent of the DNA our bodies are made of bacterial DNA.

• As a result of the Human Genome Project, scientists discovered we have fewer genes than a fruit fly, carrot, or pineapple! Instead, the genes we have are always talking to the microbes in our gut.

• Your gut lining is only one cell thick—much thinner than your eyelid—and replaces itself every few days.

It's clear a healthy gut is essential for happiness and health. But as it stands, about one-third of people today have some sort of digestive problem on a weekly or monthly basis.  As it turns out, a lot of conveniences associated with modern date life are actually killing gut health.


New to Nature Foods

Foods developed in labs, like denatured, industrialized fats and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), are still somewhat of a mystery to our bodies. "Food is information. These new-to-nature foods give different information to our cells and microbiome," says Lipski, also author of Digestion Connection "Intuitively, we know that different foods have different effects on us; some make us feel energized, some drain us."

HFCS has been shown to require more energy for gut absorption, leading to possible gut leakage and widespread inflammation. Natural oils are important to build the structure of our cells, but denatured, industrial fats stripped of antioxidants and vitamins don't give cells the nutrients they need. "It's the life in food giving us life," Lipski says. "Most people are eating mostly dead foods."

Expert Tip: Eat organic to avoid HFCS, avoid industrial oils by avoiding processed and fast food as much as possible.

Related  - Processed Foods May Kill Off Bugs that Keep You Thin


Carrageenan

Carrageenan seems innocent enough. Derived from seaweed, it's commonly used as a thickening agent in ice cream, yogurt, soymilk, and sour cream—even organic versions. It's completely unnecessary for use in food and dietary doses have reliably caused inflammation in the GI tract, triggering an immune response similar to that your body has when invaded by pathogens like Salmonella.

Expert Tip: Carrageenan must, by law, appear on the ingredients list. Avoid it in both organic and nonorganic foods.
 
 
 

Wheat

There's emerging research suggesting that wheat is bad, especially for susceptible people. But even if you don't suffer from celiac disease, wheat could be triggering acid reflux, inflammatory bowel disease, and other ailments. Why? We're not eating the same wheat our grandmothers did. Wheat has been so intensely and unnaturally crossbred in the last 40 years that significant changes in amino acids and gliadin protein, which could be making you hungry and damaging your gut health.

Expert Tip: Try replacing pasta with quinoa, which is technically protein-rich seed, not grain.

 

NSAIDs

According to Lipski, taking nonsteroidal drugs (NSAIDs) like Advil, aspirin, and Motrin on a regular basis damage the gut lining, allowing microbes, partially digested food particles, and toxins to enter the bloodstream. (This is known as "leaky gut.")

NSAIDs block pain by blocking eicosanoids and cytokines that promote inflammation. "But they also indiscriminately block the ones that also promote healing," Lipski says. "By doing this, the body doesn't allow for the health maintenance, growth, and repair of gut cells."

Expert Tip: Lipski says NSAIDs are OK for occasional pain, but if you're suffering with chronic pain, look at the root causes. "Interestingly enough, leaky gut often plays a huge role in systemic pain in the body," she adds. "Many clients who have arthritis or autoimmune conditions, when they improve gut health or go on an elimination diet, often the pain just disappears, and often in just a couple of weeks."


Alcohol

Alcoholic drinks contain few nutrients but take many nutrients to metabolize. The most noteworthy of these are the B-complex vitamins. In fact, alcoholic beverages contain substances that are toxic to our cells. When alcohol is metabolized in the liver, the toxins are either broken down or stored by the body, according to Digestion Connection. Alcohol abuse puts a strain on the liver, which affects digestive competency, and also damages the intestinal tract.

More: Excess Consumption Of Alchohol In Middle Age Speeds Memory Decline

Expert Tip: Avoid drinking regularly, particularly if you're suffering from digestive symptoms.



Antibiotics

There's no denying that antibiotics have saved millions of lives. Still, they don't give your beneficial microbes a free pass when they enter your GI tract, so the drugs often kill off the "good bugs" in your gut, too, damaging your immune system and gut health.

Expert Tip: While you're on antibiotics, take a product containing saccharomyces Boulardii, and then continue for two weeks after ending antibiotics, Lipski suggests. It's a cousin to bread yeast and helps prevent yeast overgrown while re-establishing the gut microbiome. The end result? It helps reduce the risk of developing diarrhea and other complications arising from antibiotic use.

More: How Oolong Tea Can Reboot Your Health

If you'd rather take probiotic supplements, make sure you take them in between antibiotic doses, not with them. (The antibiotics will immediately kill them off if you take at the same time.)


Chronic stress

Stress really is toxic. Chronic stress causes your body to produce less secretory IgA, one of the first lines of immune defense. It also eases up on producing DHEA, an antiaging, antistress adrenal hormone. Your body also responds to stress by slowing down digestion, which reduces blood flow to digestive organs and produces toxic metabolites.

More: Eating Fermented Foods Linked To Reduced Anxiety

Expert Tip: Meditation and guided imagery help beat back stress naturally.


Sleepless nights

Depriving yourself of sleep deprives your body of the repair time it needs. Lack of sleep leads to stress and higher cortisol levels, which has been linked to leaky gut. Getting less than 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night also deprives us of the parasympathetic/relaxation sleep cycle to fully repair high-energy gut tissue, Lipski says.

Expert Tip: Keep your bedroom at sleep-friendly temperatures. Without a nighttime cool-down process, the release of sleep hormones melatonin and growth hormone is disrupted. According to government surveys, most of us get one hour less sleep than is optimal. Add one more hour of sleep per night for 2 weeks and see if it makes a difference in how you feel.


From Rodale Wellness
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6 Healthiest Foods You Aren't Eating

6 Healthiest Foods You Aren't Eating


cheese varieties
The real secret to eating better? Fill your diet with healthy fare that tastes good.

Here are six foods to make that task easier than ever.

Pork chops

pork chops
Taste isn't the only great thing about the pig meat in your butcher's case. Compared with other meats, pork chops contain relatively high amounts of selenium, a mineral that's linked to lower risk of cancer. Per gram of protein, pork chops pack almost five times the selenium of beef, and more than twice that of chicken. They're also loaded with riboflavin and thiamin, B vitamins that help your body more efficiently convert carbs to energy. But perhaps most important, Purdue researchers found that a 6-ounce daily serving helped people preserve their muscle as they lost weight on very low-calorie diets.

See Also - 7 Natural Ways to Prevent Cancer



Mushrooms

 mushrooms
Never mind that these edible fungi are more than 90 percent water—at least 700 different species are known to have a medicinal effect. Credit their metabolites, by-products that are created when mushrooms are broken down during the digestion process. Researchers in the Netherlands recently reported that metabolites have been shown to boost immunity and prevent cancer growth.


Red-pepper flakes

Red-Pepper Flakes
These hot little numbers may help extinguish your appetite. Dutch researchers have discovered that consuming a gram of red pepper—about 1/2 teaspoon—30 minutes prior to a meal decreased total calorie intake by 14 percent. The scientists believe the appetite-reducing effect is due to capsaicin, the chemical compound that gives red peppers their heat. Emerging research suggests that capsaicin may also help kill cancer cells.

Related - Eat These Foods To Suppress Your Appetite Naturally

 
 

Full-fat cheese

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Besides enhancing the flavor of broccoli, healthy cheese is an excellent source of casein—a slow-digesting, high-quality protein that may be the best muscle-building nutrient you can eat. What's more, casein causes your body to utilize more of the bone-building calcium in cheese, according to a study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Worried about your cholesterol? Don't be. Danish researchers found that even when men ate between seven and ten 1-ounce servings of full-fat cheese daily for 2 weeks, their LDL ("bad") cholesterol didn't budge.
 
 

Vinegar

vinegar
Scientists in Sweden discovered that when people consumed two tablespoons of vinegar with a high-carb meal, their blood sugar was 23 percent lower than when they skipped the antioxidant-loaded liquid. They also felt fuller.Vinegar is packed with polyphenols, powerful chemicals that have been shown to improve cardiovascular health, report Arizona State University scientists. Besides combining it with olive oil for a  homemade salad dressing, you can use it to punch up your cooking: Add a splash of balsamic vinegar to mayonnaise before spreading it on a sandwich, drizzle a few tablespoons of red or white wine vinegar on a hot pan of sautéed vegetables (especially caramelized onions), or throw a shot of sherry vinegar into your next bowl of tomato soup.

Related - 11 Reasons Apple Cider Vinegar Is the Magic Portion You Need In Your Life

 
 

Chicken thighs

Chicken thighs
If you're bored with chicken breasts, try the thighs for a change. Sure, they have a little more fat, but that's why they taste so good. Nutritionally speaking, per ounce, thighs have just one more gram of fat and 11 more calories than breasts. Of course, if you judged all foods by calories per ounce, you'd end up on the celery diet. The key is portion size: If you like chicken thighs—or prime rib, for that matter—adjust the amount you eat so that it fits into your caloric budget. And don't forget that fat satisfies, so it may keep you full longer after your meal, causing you to eat less at your next.

From Rodale Wellness
Photo by Shutterstock
 
 
 

Why Fats Are Crucial for Good Health

Why Fats Are Crucial for Good Health

Although fats have been vilified for years, if you know the right ones to eat, you can lose abdominal or belly fat, decrease joint pain, lower your triglycerides, and even decrease your risk for breast cancer.
What's important to remember is that all fats are also very energy dense at 9 kilocalories per gram, whereas both carbohydrates and proteins are less so at 4 kilocalories per gram.

Proteins require more energy for your body to break down, so they are actually the least energy dense as well as being very good at keeping you feeling full for longer. It's important for you to understand why you need to remove certain fats from your diet, because it's going to be one of the most crucial components to reversing and preventing processes involved in genetic aging.

More: Can Olive Oil Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer?

Because not all fats are created equal, it's important to understand their differences so that you'll make the best dietary choices. Here's what you need to know:


olive oil

 

Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs)

Monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs, are a prime reason why olives are revered for their health benefits. Olive oil is an example of a plant-derived source of fat that's very rich in MUFAs, at around 75 percent. It's a good source of omega-9s, particularly oleic acid (also found in macadamia nuts), which helps lower LDL cholesterol.

Technically speaking, olives are a fruit. And the amount of MUFAs doesn't vary much among the three main grades of olive oil: extra-virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil, and olive oil. But there are very significant differences among them. Extra-virgin olive oil is considered the highest grade, and the lowest grade is simply called olive oil, which is in principle a seed oil, since it's derived from the olive pit.

More:  The Best Foods for Your Liver

Only extra-virgin olive oil is derived purely from the flesh of the olive without using any chemicals or heat. Because of that, when a bottle is labeled "virgin" or "olive oil," you are to avoid it. Another thing that differs significantly among the grades of olive oil is the amount of phytonutrients from the 230 different compounds that have been identified. These include phenolic compounds, triterpenes, and phytosterols. These phytonutrients are actually found in much higher concentrations within higher grades of olive oil and can lower elevated inflammatory markers that I mentioned earlier (IL-1B and IL-6), which is obviously very good for your genes and overall health.

But the level of phytonutrients can also vary among varieties of olives, where they're grown, and even between seasons from the exact same farm. As olive oil is increasingly processed, the quality of the oil itself decreases along with degrading the important phytonutrients it once contained.

More: Is Eating A High-Protein Diet Dangerous To Your Health?

To increase the amount of phytonutrients that reverse genetic aging for the same amount of energy or calories, go for only the best-quality extra-virgin olive oil. It's important to always store all of your oils away from extraneous light and air, so opt for opaque bottles that seal well to make sure your oil doesn't oxidize or become rancid, losing many of its health properties. And remember, paying more for a genetically healthful product is an investment in your genetic health for decades to come. It's so worth it.
MUFAs are also found in other foods such as certain nuts, as well as avocados and certain seed oils.


Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)

Polyunsaturated fatty acids, or PUFAs, such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) have a much better track record for improving your potential for genetic health, while other PUFAs, such as arachidonic acid (AA), promote genetic aging largely by increasing inflammation.
 chia omega 3
Your body cannot produce some PUFAs on its own, and these are called essential fatty acids. PUFAs play a very important role in both disease prevention and progression. Diets that are rich in certain omega-3 PUFAs such as ALA, DHA, and EPA have all been connected with lower incidences of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

More: The Secret to Sticking to a Healthy Diet Couldn’t Be Simpler

Omega-3s and omega-6s are not fixed end products, as your body has the genetics to use complex biochemistry to convert different PUFAs within the same family group because they all have somewhat different functions. An example of this would be linoleic acid (an omega-6 PUFA), which can be turned into arachidonic acid (another omega-6 PUFA) by the body. Linoleic acid was initially thought to be a cause of inflammation that's associated with cardiovascular disease, but that's now being questioned because many of the studies used linoleic acid sourced from trans fat margarine.

Even though your body can make DHA and EPA, it doesn't seem to be so great at it, which is why you should get as much as you can from your diet. The best source of DHA and EPA is often fish, which is why they're often called marine omega-3s.

More: Dietary Fats: The Shift in Expert Recommendations

But it's important to remember that both omega-3s and omega-6s are needed for your body to function optimally. Unfortunately, because so many of the farmed fish and animals people are consuming today are being fed diets that are high in omega-6s, when we eat them, we end up with an extra dose. That's too much omega-6!

An easy way to move the balance in the omega-3 direction is to use some ground flaxseed or its oil, since it's a great source of ALA as well.

Adapted from The DNA Restart
Photo by Shutterstock

How Oolong Tea Can Reboot Your Health

How Oolong Tea Can Reboot Your Health

tea
By drinking oolong tea every day, you will be joining millions of people who for thousands of years have recognized its health-promoting benefits. Cutting-edge science is only now beginning to understand and unravel that oolong is good for your DNA.

Oolong is considered by most tea manufacturers to be the most challenging type of tea to produce. It requires a really skilled tea artisan or master to get just right. The simple reason for this is that unlike green tea that is merely heated, or black tea that's allowed to completely oxidize, oolong is a finicky compromise between the two and requires many more careful, attentive steps along the way.

More: 14 Ways to Feel Slimmer by Tomorrow


There is also an artisanal, skillful balance required in the art of producing oolong. It can take anywhere from 36 to 48 consecutive hours of an impressively labor-intensive process to produce a good oolong. The reverence for the immaculate implementation of this time-honored tradition is exemplified in the Taiwanese saying
  "What is done in the processing of the fresh leaf is going to show up in the cup."

It is this very distinguished processing that gives oolong tea its unique chemical polyphenols and properties that are unlike every other tea. It's during the processing that new polyphenol compounds constantly emerge. Some of these naturally produced compounds have incredible potential health benefits for you.

 More: The Facts About Teas And Weight Loss

The first reason is that drinking certain types of oolong tea has the power to help you lose weight by stopping you from absorbing fat from your diet. I also believe that oolong tea has the power to get your DNA working for you as it specifically targets visceral, or the proverbial "belly-fat," weight. Oolong, like some other varieties of teas, has phytochemical compounds called catechins, that have the power to inhibit enzymes such as gastric and pancreatic lipases that help move fat from your gut into your body. And less body fat is something we all want.

The second important reason for drinking oolong every day is that it has the power to help shift your microbiome in a beneficial direction—by promoting microbes that favor health over obesity. Abnormal changes in your microbiome can lead to increased inflammation and instances of "leaky gut," which can damage your DNA. By lowering inflammation, oolong can help with that. It's also thought that teas like oolong have the ability to shift the microbiome toward being populated by the more beneficial types of microbes, which will certainly positively impact your health.

More: These Tips Will Help You Lose Weight Faster - Yet Safely

However, the third and most important aspect is that you can potentially get all of these important benefits, including the ability to reduce oxidative stress, without adding any additional calories. There's no other food or beverage on Earth that's known today that can deliver that to you. Did I mention that oolong can be delicious and is a pleasure to drink? Sounds like a win-win to me.

Adapted from The DNA Restart

9 Ways to Soothe a Sore Throat

 
A sore throat can be the first sign of a cold, a side effect of strained vocal cords, or an indication of something more serious (like strep throat). Regardless of the cause, your immediate concern when soreness strikes is how to get relief, fast. You may be tempted to run to your doctor, but some of the best treatments are home remedies and over-the-counter meds, says Jeffrey Linder, M.D., an internist at Brigham and Women's Hospital, in Boston.

Here are 9 to try the next time you're feeling scratchy, hoarse, or just plain sick.

Anti-inflammatories

One of the most effective treatments for sore throat is probably already in your medicine cabinet: an over-the-counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibruprofen. "These medicines are combination pain relievers and anti-inflammatories, so they'll make you feel better and they'll also reduce some of the swelling associated with a sore throat," Dr. Linder says. "If you have a fever that's also contributing to your symptoms, they can help reduce that as well."

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Saltwater gargle

Several studies have found that gargling several times a day with warm salt water can reduce swelling in the throat and loosen mucus, helping to flush out irritants or bacteria.

Doctors generally recommend dissolving half a teaspoon of salt in one cup of water. If the salty taste is too unpleasant for you, try adding a small amount of honey to sweeten the mixture slightly. (Just remember to spit the water out after gargling, rather than swallowing!)


Cough syrup

Even if you don't have a cough (yet), over-the-counter cough syrups can help ease soreness. Like drops and sprays, they coat the throat and provide temporary pain relief.

If you're headed to work, be sure to choose a non-drowsy formula. But if you're having trouble sleeping due to a sore throat, a nighttime formula can relieve pain and help you get some shuteye.


Fluids

"Staying hydrated is very important, especially when you're sick and your throat is irritated or inflamed," Dr. Linder says. "You should be drinking enough fluid so that your urine is light yellow or clear. This keeps your mucous membranes moist and better able to combat bacteria and irritants like allergens, and makes your body better able to fight back against other cold symptoms. What you drink is up to you, Linder adds. Water always works (ice cubes, too!), but you can also change it up with something slightly sugary, like a watered-down fruit juice, or something salty, like chicken broth.
 

Tea

Tired of drinking water? A warm cup of herbal tea can offer immediate, soothing relief for a sore throat. What's more, non-herbal teas—whether they're made with black, green, or white leaves—contain antioxidants that are thought to strengthen immunity and ward off infection. For an extra boost, add a teaspoon of honey. It'll help the "medicine" go down, and it has antibacterial properties that may help you heal faster.

See Also - THE "COLD" FIGHTING DIET PLAN


Chicken soup

An age-old home remedy for colds, chicken soup can help soothe a sore throat, as well. "The sodium in the broth may actually have anti-inflammatory properties, and it can feel good going down," Dr. Linder says. Soup has an added benefit when you're sick: Eating can be painful and difficult with a swollen or very sore throat, so sipping some liquid nourishment will ensure that you're getting the nutrients you need to fight off your infection.


Marshmallows

Although there's no hard evidence that it works, sap from the marshmallow plant has been used for hundreds of years—usually in tea form—to treat coughs, colds, and sore throats. And while real marshmallow bears little relation to the puffy campfire treats that took its name, both may have sore throat-fighting properties. According to anecdotal reports, modern-day marshmallows can help ease sore throat pain, possibly because the gelatin coats and soothes. "It's not the wackiest thing in the world," Dr. Linder says. "If your throat is really swollen and it really hurts to swallow anything, I can see how something slippery and sweet like marshmallows might provide some relief."


Rest

It may not be the quickest solution, but getting some rest is probably the best thing you can do to battle the infection that caused your sore throat in the first place, Dr. Linder says. "The vast majority of sore throats are caused by cold viruses, and we know that there's very little we can do to cure a cold once we've got it," he says. "Making sure your body is well rested will at least help it fight off the virus so you can get better sooner."


Antibiotics

Every once and a while—about 10% of the time in adults—a sore throat will be caused by a bacterial infection such as Streptococcus pyogenes. If, and only if, you test positive for strep throat or another bacterial infection, your doctor should prescribe an antibiotic. (Taking antibiotics for a sore throat caused by a virus will not be effective.) Always take the full course of medicine, even if you feel better after a few days.

From Health
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The Secret to Sticking to a Healthy Diet Couldn’t Be Simpler


Think of it as the "carrot" approach to a healthy diet, as opposed to the "stick" approach—as long as you like carrots. New research in the journal Psychology & Marketing finds that people who focus on eating healthy foods they actually like are more successful at revamping their eating patterns than people who fixate on the misery of avoiding unhealthy dishes they adore (cue bacon cravings and rocky road daydreams).
"Focusing on what you can have, and can do, and should have more of is a better strategy," says co-author Kelly Haws, PhD, an associate professor of marketing at Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management in Nashville. Food lists and advice framed in absolute terms ("never eat chocolate") can be a recipe for failure, she adds.

It's a feeling others in the nutrition field share. "Food lists are not effective," agrees Lauri Wright, PhD, RDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "People may look at those lists and think, 'Those are my favorite foods that you're saying don't [eat] so I'm not going to even try.' Or they try, then eat something [unhealthy], then beat themselves up. The more of a dichotomy we set up, the more a sense of failure, then the more people stop the plan."


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The researchers worked on the assumption that people with high "self-control" make better choices than people with low self-control. In this context, self-control means how impulsive you are, and how able you are to delay immediate gratification for the sake of future goals. 

The study consisted of two separate experiments. In the first, 176 undergraduates were divided into two groups. Individuals in one group made a list of foods they thought were good for dieting. The other listed foods that they considered bad for dieting. They then rated how much they liked each item in their lists. Researchers also measured where each participant fell on an accepted scale of self-control.

As predicted, people with greater self-control were more likely to list foods they liked in their healthy-foods column, and foods they didn't really like anyway ended up in the "avoid" category. People with low self-control were the opposite: More likely to list foods they enjoyed in the "don't eat" column, and more likely to list foods they didn't enjoy in their "do eat" column.

The second study, which involved 200 undergraduates, confirmed these findings and added a second feature: Participants were given a list of 16 snack items, some healthy and some not, then asked to list their top five choices. People who had focused on avoiding foods they liked tended to choose the less healthy snacks. Meanwhile people who had focused on eating healthy foods they liked picked healthier snacks. 

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It's almost as if people who are "good" at self-control naturally set themselves up to succeed: Think of it as the Power of Positive Thinking, nutrition style. 

"We are more successful at sticking to our healthy eating plans when we think about healthy foods being attractive and exciting than when we dwell on avoiding unhealthy foods," says Pam Koch, RD, executive director of the Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy at Teachers College Columbia University in New York City. "Thinking 'Yes, I can' gets us further than thinking, 'I better not.'"

And a healthy diet doesn't have to be one-size-fits-all plan. In fact, the more tailored your diet is to your personal palate, the better: "Individualizing a diet pattern and lifestyle choices helps individuals make those healthier choices," says Wright, who is also assistant professor of nutrition at the University of South Florida College of Public Health in Tampa. "You can still have a nutritionally healthy diet but [include] foods that are acceptable and taste good to that individual." 

From Health 
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The Thicker Your Smoothie, the More Full You’ll Feel, Study Suggests

The Thicker Your Smoothie, the More Full You’ll Feel, Study Suggests

smoothie-thick-juice
The thicker the shake, the thinner your waistline. That at least seems like a good bet given new data showing that a drink thickened with fiber makes you feel fuller. In fact, participants in the study, which appears in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, reported feeling fuller after drinking a thick shake with only 100 calories than after drinking a thin shake with five times as many calories.

Other research has correlated feeling fuller with eating less; and eating less, as we all know, helps keep our figures trim. But as nutritionist Keri Gans, RDN, author of The Small Change Diet, points out, the current study included only 15 individuals. "We can't really draw major conclusions when we're looking at such a sample size," she says. (The participants were young men, all healthy and lean.)

The researchers, from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, asked participants to drink one of four dairy-based shakes which differed in viscosity (some were thick, some thin, due to varying amounts of fiber) and calorie content (100 calories or 500 calories). All drinks were 50% carb, 20% protein, and 30% fat.

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Participants fasted for three hours prior to the experiment, then drank through a straw, without knowing which drink they were consuming. Immediately after, they had their stomachs scanned every 10 minutes for the next 90 minutes in an MRI scanner. They also rated their appetite levels every 10 minutes.

The thin, 100-calorie shake had the lowest "gastric emptying" time, meaning it left the stomach faster than any of the other shakes (in about 30 minutes). Next was the thick, 100-calorie shake (about 40 minutes), followed by the thin, 500-calorie shake (about 70 minutes). The thick, 500-calorie shake was the slowest. It took about 82 minutes to leave the stomach.

Thickness and thinness had very little effect on gastric emptying time, the researchers determined. But viscosity did account for feelings of fullness, what the researchers call "phantom fullness." So even though the thick, 100-calorie shake left the stomach quickly, it still left participants feeling fuller than the thin, 500-calorie shake. That means there may only be a weak link between gastric emptying time and feelings of satiety. 

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The findings really don't change advice on what we should and should not be consuming, says Gans. "A smoothie is great if you put the right ingredients in [it]," she says. In addition to thickening your drink with fiber (bananas and avocado are good options), try adding Greek yogurt or peanut butter. They have the added advantage of providing lots of protein, which also contributes to feeling full. 

From Health
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How to stay healthy if you're sitting at your desk all day

How to stay healthy if you're sitting at your desk all day

exercise-sit-hour-stretch

Sitting for eight hours a day doesn’t seem to raise your risk for dying early, according to a new analysis of previous studies—but only if you get at least an hour of exercise daily. The results, published in the Lancet, may be reassuring for people stuck behind a desk all day, say health experts, but it should also serve as an important reminder: If you have to sit for long periods, your daily workout is vital to your well-being. 

The connection between sitting and dying has been studied extensively, and has inspired many scary headlines in the media. And while this research didn’t actually look at any new data, it did combine information from 16 previous studies in a way than hadn’t been done before.

Using this data, researchers were able to directly compare death rates over a certain period of time between people with different levels of sitting time and physical activity. “Examining the joint effects of these two behaviors is important,” they wrote, “because most people engage in both behaviors every day.”

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After crunching the numbers, the international team of researchers found that a sedentary lifestyle was indeed associated with an increased risk of death over the next decade. But the more people were active when they weren’t sitting, the more their risk went down. And for people who got the most daily exercise—at least 60 to 75 minutes of moderate physical activity—the increased risk disappeared completely.

In fact, those who sat for at least eight hours a day but were also in the highest exercise group actually had a lower risk of dying than those who sat for four hours or less but who reported the lowest amount of daily exercise (about five minutes a day). The researchers also looked specifically at studies on television watching, rather than just sitting. Once again, they found that too much sedentary time—in these cases, at least five hours a day of TV viewing—was linked to early death.

But they also found one significant difference: In these studies, getting lots of exercise only seemed to lessen the risk of dying—not eliminate it completely. (The researchers don’t know why, but they speculate that TV watching may also involve snacking as well as sitting, making its harmful effects harder to counteract with exercise alone.)


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Co-author Ulf Ekelund, PhD, professor of sports medicine at the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences in Norway, says that an hour a day of moderate physical activity is a good goal for many people. He points out, however, that exercise recommendations shouldn’t be the same across the board.

“I can’t stress enough that lower amounts of activity are also beneficial,” he says. And for people who are already getting an hour of exercise a day, they shouldn’t necessarily stop there—or use it as an excuse to be sedentary the rest of the time. “The results suggest that the less you sit (or watch TV) and the more you are active the better,” he says. “The take-home message is ‘Sit less, move more—and the more the better.’” 

That doesn't necessarily mean you have to live at the gym, adds Pam Peeke, MD, a national spokesperson for the American College of Sports Medicine and author of Fit to Live. Your physical activity can spread out throughout the day. "Get up for 5 to 10 minutes per hour when you're stuck at a desk," she suggests. "Go up and down stairs. Walk and talk on the phone using a headset." And when you can, schedule more deliberate exercise time, like a yoga class or a morning run with a friend. "It all countsand will save your life."

From Health.com
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Why Do Guys Get Sleepy After Sex?


For many women, the correlation between sex and snoring is one of those annoying facts of life: no matter when passionate encounters occur, men always seem to fall asleep immediately afterwards. Dave Zinczenko, the author of "Men, Love and Sex: The Complete User Guide For Women," explained the phenomenon to Huffington Post writer Arianna Huffington this way: “Men go to sleep because women don’t turn into a pizza.”

I doubt I am ever going to become a pizza, and I’ll never have the foresight to order one beforehand. So in lieu of a cure, a better explanation will have to do. Although women sometimes feel sleepy after sex, the phenomenon does seem more pronounced in men. What is it, then, that spirals them into the land of nod?

First, the obvious reasons for sex’s somnolent sway: the act frequently takes place at night, in a bed, and is, after all, physically exhausting (often more so for the man than the woman, although this certainly varies). So when sex is over, it’s natural for a guy to feel sleepy.

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Secondly, research using positron emission tomography (PET) scans has shown that in order for a person to reach orgasm, a primary requirement is to let go of “all fear and anxiety.” Doing so also tends to be relaxing and might explain the tendency to snooze.

Then there is the biochemistry of the orgasm itself. Research shows that during ejaculation, men release a cocktail of brain chemicals, including norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin, vasopressin, nitric oxide (NO), and the hormone prolactin. The release of prolactin is linked to the feeling of sexual satisfaction, and it also mediates the “recovery time” that men are well aware of—the time a guy must wait before “giving it another go.” Studies have also shown that men deficient in prolactin have faster recovery times.

Prolactin levels are naturally higher during sleep, and animals injected with the chemical become tired immediately. This suggests a strong link between prolactin and sleep, so it’s likely that the hormone’s release during orgasm causes men to feel sleepy.
(Side note: prolactin also explains why men are sleepier after intercourse than after masturbation. For unknown reasons, intercourse orgasms release four times more prolactin than masturbatory orgasms, according to a recent study.)

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Oxytocin and vasopressin, two other chemicals released during orgasm, are also associated with sleep. Their release frequently accompanies that of melatonin, the primary hormone that regulates our body clocks. Oxytocin is also thought to reduce stress levels, which again could lead to relaxation and sleepiness.
What about the evolutionary reasons for post-sex sleepiness? This is trickier to explain. Evolutionarily speaking, a man’s primary goal is to produce as many offspring as possible, and sleeping doesn’t exactly help in his quest. But perhaps since he cannot immediately run off with another woman anyway — damn that recovery time! — re-energizing himself via sleep may be the best use of his time.

And although there is conflicting information as to whether women feel sleepy after sex, a woman often falls asleep with the man anyway (or uses it for some key cuddling time), which is good news for him: it means she is not off finding another mate. When the man wakes up and she’s still there, he just might be ready to go again.

It’s also possible that sleepiness is just a “side effect” associated with a more evolutionarily important reason for the release of oxytocin and vasopressin. In addition to being associated with sleep, both chemicals are also intimately involved in what is called “pair bonding,” the social attachment human mates commonly share.


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The release of these brain chemicals during orgasm heightens feelings of bonding and trust between sexual partners, which may partially explain the link between sex and emotional attachment. This bond is favorable should the couple have a baby, as cooperative child rearing maximizes the young one’s chances for survival.
The bottom line is this: There are many potential biochemical and evolutionary reasons for post-sex sleepiness, some direct and some indirect — but no one has yet pinpointed the exact causes. One thing, however, is certain: we females better get used to it, because it doesn’t look likely to change anytime soon.



This answer is provided by Scienceline, a project of New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program.
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