Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Vitamin D, also known as the Sunshine Vitamin, plays essential roles in supporting our energy and balancing our moods. It also helps to build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, and teeth and supports the health of the thyroid gland. But, at this time of year, it is easy to develop a Vitamin D deficiency.
New evidence shows that people with higher levels of vitamin D experienced a decreased risk of Type II diabetes. Researchers at the US Department of Agriculture's Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University just released its study linking low levels of Vitamin D to diabetes in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The authors of the study concluded that maintaining optimal vitamin D levels in the blood may be a Type II diabetes prevention strategy.
Other research found that vitamin D plays a critical role in activating the body's immune system against infectious diseases like the flu. Researchers note that a deficiency in this important vitamin, which actually acts like a hormone in your body, may result in a greater risk of contracting flu viruses. Also, additional research linked low amounts of vitamin D to autoimmune disorders, cancer, depression, diabetes, and heart disease.
Many people incorrectly think that getting a bit of sunshine daily is sufficient to meet their vitamin D requirements. However, after your skin is exposed to sunlight, it takes about 48 hours to convert it into vitamin D. During that time, the sunlight-initiated precursors to vitamin D can be washed off with soap and water. So, if you scrub your skin with soap in the shower, your body will not convert most of your skin's sun exposure to vitamin D. I'm not suggesting that your stop showering after sun exposure, rather, that you primarily soap the areas that don't see the light of day and wash the sun-exposed ones with water only.
Getting enough sun exposure at this time of year can be difficult. Vitamin D is also found in foods such as fish and fish oils, and in smaller amounts in sweet potatoes, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, and many types of sprouts. People with low thyroid function (hypothyroidism) tend to have difficulty with vitamin D absorption and, as a result, tend to have higher needs for this nutrient. For most people 2000 to 4000 IU daily is the recommended supplementation but everyone's needs are different so it is best to work with a qualified natural health specialist.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Like many baby boomers, I've been noticing my memory isn't as sharp as it once was. Scientists call this "cognitive decline." I don't really like that expression, because other aspects of my cognitive functions are sharper than ever. For example, more often I can't remember where I put my car keys or I enter a room forgetting why I went there and have to retrace my steps back to where I started to remember. However, my problem-solving abilities and intuitive discernment are getting more keen and refined.
A recent CNN news report said cognitive decline begins around age forty. I've read other reports that say we are sharpest up to age 25-35. One thing these reports hardly ever discuss is how our emotions affect our cognitive functions and that we can improve our minds, not just by playing puzzles or going back to school, but by reducing our stress and increasing how much time we spend in positive emotional states.
Stressful emotions that we all experience at times, like anxiety or worry, anger and fear, invariably lead to stress and tend to cause a desynchronization in the activity in the brain and nervous system, which directly impairs cognitive functions. In fact, it's well established that ongoing stress is a major contributor to the decline of our cognitive functions. On the other hand, when we have a more positive outlook, when we're feeling hopeful, appreciative, caring and loving, it improves the way our brain and nervous system process information.
Monday, February 13, 2012
DO have it out face to face. This means truly face to face, not text to text or seething email to seething email.
DON'T avoid the fight. If something's been bugging you.....eventually, it'll come out. Choosing to let it out in a calm, constructive way will lead to a better outcome than waiting until you unleash on him in an inappropriate place.
DON'T state opinion as fact. Instead of saying matter-of-factly that your partner is disrespectful---a sure way to get them immediately defensive---pick an example and ease into it with an "I" statement.
DON'T pick a fight in public. You won't get anywhere when there's an audience around you, so save the drama for the stage, not your sister's engagement party or your significant other's office party. Wait until you get home---- or until you get to the car-----to bring up whatever's bothering you.
DO stay on topic. First you're fighting about your mother-in-law, and next thing you know, every fight from the past 15 years is on the table. Take a deep breath and bring it back to the source of the argument---and work together on solving just that one this time around. Save some fun for next week!
DON'T fight to win. Fight with the intention of meeting in the middle, not with the intention to crush the competition. "Winning" the argument may feel good in the moment, but it's compromise that will actually lead to fewer arguments about the same thing in the future.
DO end on the same page. Make the fight worth it by getting some real problem-solving done---and confirm with each other that you're going back to your corners with that same solution in mind.
Fight fair-------instead of fighting to the death!!!
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Forget what you've heard about death by chocolate. A new Harvard study shows that chocolate may be good for your heart. It's a great day for chocolate lovers everywhere.
Murray Mittleman and his colleagues at Harvard Medical School studied data on 31,823 middle-aged and elderly Swedish women to assess the relationship between chocolate and heart failure. The women who consumed an average of one to two servings (that's a fairly small amount) of high-quality, cocoa-rich chocolate per week had a 32% lower risk of experiencing heart failure. Those women who ate 1 to 3 servings a month had a 26% lower risk of heart failure.
The scientists noted that the high concentration of phytonutrients called flavonoids in dark chocolate are potent antioxidants that are likely responsible for the results.. The flavonoids are believed to lower blood pressure and reducing inflammation linked with heart failure.
Keep in mind that not just any chocolate will do. Forget the vast majority of candy bars on the market. The study results were achieved with high-quality, cocoa-rich chocolate. Read DARK chocolate. The darker the better. And, be sure the one you choose is low in sugar, has no trans or hydrogenated fats, and no artificial colors, flavors, or other synthetic ingredients.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Grandchildren are God's way of compensating us for growing old. Mary H. Waldrip
You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother. Proverb
An hour with your grandchildren can make you feel young again. Anything longer that that, and you start to age quickly. Gene Perret
The best baby-sitters, of course, are the baby's grandparents. You feel completely comfortable entrusting your baby to them for long periods, which is why most grandparents flee to Florida. Dave Barry
I wish I had the energy that my grandchildren have---if only for self-defense. Gene Perret
Grandmother/Grandchild relationships are simple. Grandmas are short on criticism and long on love. Author Unknown
Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do.....Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children. Alex Haley (Love it)
Grandmother---a wonderful mother with lots of practice. Author Unknown
A grandparent is old on the outside but young on the inside. Author Unknown
One of the most powerful handclasps is that of a new grandbaby around the finger of a grandfather. Joy Hargrove (When our grand-daughter was born, my husband was holding her and she wrapped her fingers around one of his. He looked down and tears rolled down his face.........and he NEVER cries.)
It's amazing how grandparents seem so young once you become one. Author Unknown
If your baby is "beautiful and perfect, never cries or fusses, sleeps on schedule and burps on demand, an angel all the time," you're the grandma. Teresa Bloomingdale
Grandparents are similar to a piece of string---handy to have around and easily wrapped around the fingers of their grandchildren. Author Unknown
What is it about grandparents that is so lovely? I'd like to say that grandparents are God's gifts to children. And if they can but see, hear and feel what these people have to give, they can mature at a fast rate. Bill Cosby
Grandchildren don't make a man feel old.....It's the knowledge that he's married to a grandmother. G. Norman Collie
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