Highlights: Learn more about what can benefit your health more and keep you living happier

Drinking Water is Beneficial for Health

How Drinking Water is Associated with Health Benefits

Water – The Life Giving Elixir

Sometimes it is the simplest and taken for granted activities of life that act as a much needed refresher for our life and prove to be beneficial. Drinking water is one such activity that has long been associated with health benefits. For most, it is just an activity to quench their thirst. But what they do not realize is that by doing so, they are also helping in the improvement of overall body health. Drinking water has all of a sudden become a fad and is now being touted for good skin, weight loss and treatment of many common ailments. In fact water therapy is something that has been in existence since ages and continues to be used in many nations like India, China and Japan. Surely when there is even a therapy based on water, there should definitely be some valid evidence and science behind all this.

Water and Human Body

Though the percentages may slightly vary this way or that, it is an accepted fact that the human body is mostly composed of water anywhere between 55 and 80 percent depending on one’s body size. We all have learnt in science that the human body is composed of cells and every cell needs water to function properly. You don’t need any science to tell you that drinking a glass of water when you are tired or exhausted can actually bring life back into your body and energize your mind.

Benefits of Drinking Water

  • Water helps to keep your body hydrated that is so necessary for the proper functioning of the vital organs.
  • Another established fact is that water helps in improving the functioning of your bowel system and prevents constipation.
  • Water is known to be an excellent detoxifier that helps in flushing out the toxins in your body in the form of sweat and urine.
  • Drinking water helps to keep your joints and muscles lubricated that in turn helps prevent cramps.
  • A well hydrated body helps improve blood flow and in turn makes your skin radiate and look healthier.
  • Drinking sufficient quantities of water help keep painful ailments like kidney stones and urinary infections away.
  • Water helps maintain your body temperature.

Water – The Unsung Hero

The benefits of drinking water have almost always gone unnoticed till it became a fad. Not for nothing do the doctors suggest you to drink sufficient quantities of water for treating many common ailments. We don’t realize the importance of a glass of water until and unless we find ourselves in a situation where we have no access to it. The very fact that the human body can survive without food, but not without water should tell us how important water is to our lives. It is said that most medicines work well when you have faith in its healing powers. So what stops us from thinking about the good things that our glass of water provides us every time we pick one up? That is certainly food for thought!!

Cortisol: How it Affects your Health

Cortisol: How it Affects your Health

The human body is cleverly designed to deal with stress by using the hormone cortisol to trigger an automatic reaction that helps us deal with the problem. A lot of media attention has surrounded cortisol, frequently called the stress hormone, and its role in weight gain, inflammation, and poor overall health. In order to counteract this over-active process, it is important to understand what cortisol is, how it functions, and how to reduce stress in a healthy manner that extracts you from its grip.

What is Cortisol?

This steroid hormone comes from the metabolism of cholesterol in the adrenal glands. Its association with the flight or fight response of the sympathetic nervous system makes it extremely important for your body to function properly in times of stress. This is excellent if you're being chased by a vicious dog or threatened by a mugger. It is not so great if you are under constant pressure from your boss, family, or self-imposed ideals.

Cortisol triggers your body to prepare for action. It increases blood glucose and inhibits insulin production, raises your blood pressure, reduces thyroid function, effects testosterone and reproductive systems, and increases gastric acid production. All of these things may sound unpleasant, but if your body needs extra energy and focus to escape a predator, all of them will help you survive.

The Negative Role Cortisol Plays

The reason cortisol is viewed negatively in these modern times is that humans very rarely needs to escape from danger or fight off predators. Instead, stress at work, family troubles, internal issues like self-doubt and guilt, and even an awful morning commute can maintain an elevated level of stress all the time. The cortisol keeps pumping and keeps affecting many other body systems negatively.

After so much stress-triggered cortisol production for so long, the automatic mechanism that should shut it off gets confused or damaged and no longer functions properly. All the physical changes that cortisol causes last too long and start perfecting other parts of your body.

Increased blood sugar and insulin production decrease can easily lead to insulin resistance or even diabetes. Reduced thyroid function can affect the same processes. Weight gain is nearly unavoidable. Most people recognize that they may reach for comfort food in times of stress. Cortisol may be the culprit.

While cortisol begins to reduce system-wide inflammation, the chronic inflammation many people experience due to their diet or lifestyle triggers more cortisol production. This also affects the immune system, your ability to fight off cold and flu, and can increase the risk of developing allergies.

Whether you are primarily concerned with weight gain or digestive issues or want to decrease chances of developing diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer, understanding how cortisol works and what makes this natural process malfunction are important. This stress hormone performs important jobs that can help deal with unexpected stressors or danger. However, to keep it functioning normally, your everyday life must be as stress-free as possible. All the accepted methods for improving the types of problems excess cortisol can bring, healthy eating and exercise etc., also help prevent stress that causes its overproduction.

Water- A Source Of Body Hydration

Is Water A Good Source Of Hydration For The Body?

When it comes to maintaining proper hydration levels in your body, nothing achieves this goal better than pure, clean water. At various stages of life and circumstances, this life-giving liquid constitutes 60 to 75 percent of the human body. There is no way to deny that we need water in order to function properly. A person can live without water for about two days before succumbing to acute dehydration and death. Although that takes extreme circumstances, our day to day life is filled with enough physical activity and stress so that appropriate levels of water intake are essential to maximum health and well-being.

How Much Water Do We Need to Stay Hydrated?

Although there are many discussions about the exact volume of water necessary to maintain optimum health, the generally accepted idea is to get a minimum of eight cups or almost 2 liters of water each day.

When you look at hydration from another perspective, we should replace all the water we lose in a day due to normal metabolic processes, urination and elimination, sweating, and for any other reason. This amount varies widely. An athlete taking a jog in Arizona will lose a lot more water than a sedentary person sitting in a climate controlled office in Seattle. Even the two people of similar physiological ability in the same place during the same activity will lose different amounts of water.

Where Can You Get Enough Water?

Carrying around a water bottle all day or having a couple at your desk is always a great idea. However, if you'd rather not guzzle down water, you can get your fluid from other sources. Juices and even coffee and tea count toward your daily requirement. While sodas or soft drinks are made with water and to help rehydrate you, they also include a lot of sugar and other chemicals that can make the water difficult to process.

Some food has plenty of water as well. Fruits and vegetables are often very high in moisture, but things like soups and sauces can also help. This does not mean you can replace a couple of water with a cup of ketchup and call yourself well hydrated. Everything included with the pure water needs to be metabolized out before it can be used for your bodily functions.

What Happens If You Do Not Stay Hydrated?

As mentioned above, if you do not drink water or other water-containing foods or beverages for two days you may die of dehydration. People not in life-threatening situations can also suffer the effects of dehydration in a milder, but still dangerous way.

Consider first that every single process in your body requires water to function. If you do not have enough, things begin to malfunction. The initial symptoms include lack of urination, lack of sweat in the heat, dry mouth, and feeling very thirsty. If you do not take a drink soon, you may develop headaches, dizziness, and even mental confusion and loss of cognitive function. Long-term dehydration can affect your organs and body systems.

In order to avoid these problems, maintain ideal health, and feel and look your best, drinking water is the best way to stay hydrated.

High Blood Pressure and Your Health

High Blood Pressure and Your Health

A sedentary lifestyle and excess consumption of alcohol and fast food often proves dangerous. This can be concluded with the increase in the number of people suffering from hypertension. High blood pressure is one such disease often termed as “Silent Killer”, which is the result of unhealthy lifestyle and stress. The disease has become very common and it no longer comes with age. The disease often goes unnoticed by many, as there are no serious symptoms involved with it, but gradually it comes to the surface. The major damage occurs in the arteries and veins which clogs the smooth flow of blood in the body due to a consistent increase in the systolic and diastolic figures. The other parts of the body also face the pressure of a weak heart and can even result in disability.

Genetic High Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure and Hypertension is considered as the two sides of the same coin. The two together are affecting a large number of people. As this disease is also genetic, it is passed on from generation to generation, often because taste buds of people remain same. This means that the habit of eating rich diets with high salt content also remains intact, with little or no exercise and excessive drinking. This is the reason, that many families still carry the legacy of high blood pressure patients and increase in the number of heart attacks.

Liability of High Blood Pressure

The intensity of the disease being fatal can be calculated based on the number of risks involved in the long run and short run. First and foremost the damage is done to the artery walls, which gets torn and starts accumulating excess cholesterol and fats which limits the outflow of blood. High blood pressure also results in strokes due to the clogging of the blood vessels in the heart. As the heart and kidney stand interconnected, the harm done to the kidneys cannot be avoided. The kidneys often fail to remove the toxins from the bodies due to damaged arteries, eventually leading to kidney failure. The eyes also lose their vision due to high blood pressure. The optic nerve swells up which leads to poor vision.

Detecting High Blood Pressure

The symptoms of blood pressure are highly understated, but still if one remains alert, early detection is possible. Early symptoms include persistent dull headaches, dizziness and bleeding from the nose. In case of an emergency outbreak, the indications can be severe headache accompanied by anxiety or breathlessness and nose bleeding.

The Interception of the Disease

As it is rightly said “Prevention is better than Cure”- one can combat the ill effects of high blood pressure by making some minor changes to their existing lifestyle. Regular walking and exercising considerably reduces the pressure on the heart. Being obese should be a big no, as obesity increases blood pressure. Inclusion of fruits and vegetables like apples, oranges, bananas, broccoli, legumes and fishes rich in omega -3 fatty acids is highly recommended. Foods that have high sugar content should be strictly avoided. Alcohol and red meat are equally deadly and should be removed from the diet plan. Keeping the mind stress free is most important as it results in a healthy heart and controlled blood pressure, so stress should be avoided at all costs.

The Health Benefits of Beans and Legumes

The Health Benefits of Beans and Legumes

Most persons have a love or hate relationship with beans, however personally I can’t get enough of them. With a range of options to choose from for example peas, lentils, alfalfa, peanuts I find myself using them in many different dishes. Beans and legumes are extremely versatile and can be eaten cold in salads or as a perfect substitute for hot meat dishes like in chili. Here are a few reasons why beans are a regular item in my pantry:

  • Packed with protein – Probably one of the top reasons I find myself going back to beans is because they are a great source of protein. A half a cup of beans contains 6-8g of protein which makes it a suitable alternative of protein for vegetarians and vegans a like. Compared with other plant based forms of protein it is one of the most easily accessible and inexpensive option which makes it an unbeatable plant based addition to your diet. Protein is an important part of your diet as it helps which many brain and bodily functioning therefore ensuring that you get the correct daily intake of protein is crucial for proper development.
  • Low in fat – Most beans contain 2-3 percent of fat and also have no cholesterol (cholesterol is found in animal products not plant based foods) which makes it ideal for persons trying to reduce cholesterol levels. If you are trying to lose weight, beans are also a perfect option because they are packed with nutrients but have none of the additional high amounts of sugars or fats.
  • Beans keep you satiated – Beans and legumes contain natural soluble fiber that helps regulate for digestive system. Beans are also a complex carbohydrate than blends protein and carbohydrate which metabolize slowly in the body and help you to stay fuller for longer. This is especially beneficial when you consider the fact that beans are low in calories. Therefore you can chow down on these super foods without being overly concerned about your caloric intake.
  • They have lots of nutrients - Aside from the numerous benefits listed already; beans are packed with nutrient, vitamins and minerals including iron, folate, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium and zinc. For most persons, staying on top of your daily intake of nutrients can be difficult and it is easy to register a nutrient deficient if you are not careful. Therefore beans and legumes are a great way to ensure that your diet includes essentials nutrients that aid in your growth and development.

The nutrients in beans make them a no-brainer when it comes to incorporating them in your diet. They are a low-cost alternative to more expensive health products and can be used in a variety of ways. If you are not fond of the taste, try experimenting with different recipes and flavors, my personal favorite way to use beans are in Indian recipes like curry, or maybe even in a meal like chili. Beans and legumes are without a doubt one of the most inexpensive ways to start incorporating more healthy food in your diet. Give them another try today, you may find yourself hooked!

Can Smoking Damage your DNA?

Can Smoking Damage your DNA?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that cigarette smoking is responsible for about half a million deaths in the United States every year. The figure rises to an astonishing six million people annually if the entire planet is considered. Smoking has been implicated in many diseases of the human body, and its effects leave no cell of the body unscathed. New information gleaned from conducting scientific research on the effects of smoking have revealed that smoking has a long arm that can reach DNA, the hallowed genetic code that holds the secret to all life on earth.

The scientific study was conducted by scientists and researchers led by Roby Joehanese, a research scientist at Harvard Medical School and the Hebrew SeniorLife Institute for Aging Research. In their study, which examined blood samples from about sixteen thousand people, signatures in DNA resulting from tobacco use were identified and contributed to diseases such as heart disease and lung cancer.

The area of focus that the study was limited to was in DNA methylation and its effects in inducing cancer and other diseases in the body. DNA methylation is important because it is one of the ways in which the gene expression is controlled. Gene expression can be likened to military orders issued to field commanders from army headquarters. If gene expression is altered, cells that should have stopped growing and multiplying may continue to do so, thus triggering neoplasia. Neoplasia is the mechanism behind the development and spread of cancer in human beings.

By interfering with DNA methylation, smoking predisposes the individual to developing smoking-related diseases such as lung cancer. The study discovered that about one-third of known genes in smokers were altered in some way related to alterations in DNA methylation. What is even more surprising is the fact that most of these genes would retain these changes for at least five years. Other genes, for instance, the TIAM2 gene that has been associated with lymphoma (a cancerous disease of the lymph nodes and bone marrow that interferes with blood cell production) take as long as thirty years in order to return to normal.

As one of the biggest causes of preventable death all over the world, smoking has direct effects on multiple organs and organ systems in the human body. In the brain, cigarette smoking causes nicotine addiction, which is the principal reason why many people are unable to shake off their smoking habit. Tobacco use can lead to loss of hearing, loss of vision and oral problems such as sores and ulcers that will negatively affect your oral hygiene goals. By increasing cholesterol levels in blood, smoking will also cause undue pressure and stress on the heart, leading to increased blood pressure as well as coronary artery disease (itself a leading cause of death the world over).

The silver lining in the study that confirmed smoking’s effect on DNA is that the affected genes can be targeted for preventive and curative therapies for smoking-related diseases.

Can Yoga Improve your Posture ?

Can Yoga Improve your Posture?

Tired of looking like you have a humpback? Research has shown that one of the best ways to improve your posture is to perform Yoga related exercises. This is because Yoga helps improve your strength support, which is known as your spine. It is important to keep your body healthy, especially the spine so that you do not suffer from other health issues like scoliosis. Just doing 20-45 minutes of Yoga a day may help improve your overall health and posture.

Yoga is all about relaxation of your mind and body including the breath control, body balance, physical development, spiritual development, mental stress release and adoption of specific bodily postures. Yoga originated in India and is now practiced in many parts of the world. The primary objective of yoga is to relax the body and mind of the participants through rhythmic body movements and concentration. Many researchers and studies carried out recently has proved that yoga can improve the body balance as well as the posture that will also enable the user to lead a healthy and a balanced life. Following are some of the ways that yoga can improve your posture.

Yoga practicing enables to strengthen the core and lengthens the spine which is the most important part of your body. The spine also known as the spinal code is what hold the entire body all day long. Therefore proper care should be taken in maintaining the healthiness of the spinal code. Yoga can help you to maintain a healthy spinal code and will also teach you good postures on standing, sitting, walking, running as well as sleeping. Doctors recommend yoga for patients with spinal code issues especially as a result of the practice of bad postures.

Yoga is all about rhythmic movements of your body that will also relax your muscles and tissues, reduce stress and make you balance mentally as well as physically. Many people who practice yoga has been able to discover the correct postures for a healthy life after they get in to yoga training. Most of them mentioned the fact that they did not know the correct postures of standing, sitting, sleeping, walking and running before they started practicing yoga. It also helps you to keep you going no matter the stress and pressure levels are especially at office or at hard times of your life. Sometimes you may be required to sit in front of the computer in your office desk for longer periods of time in performing your duties. In this case the correct posture will be very important and critical as you spend lot of time of your day like this. Yoga teaches these correct postures and it teaches how to perform complex tasks or activities in a simple way. Concentration and rhythmic movements that allows your body to perform with less effort is the key considerations here.

As mentioned above yoga can derive you lot of benefits especially as far as the postures and healthy body is concerned. Therefore why not give some time off your busy schedules for yoga? You just need 10-15 minutes per day and you can also learn yoga through the web for example through YouTube videos that are also interesting. It will remove your stress to a greater extent and will make you enjoy what you are doing. It will also add color to your life and will make you mentally and physically fit. Thus Practice yoga for the improvement of your posture where lot of additional benefits too will flow to you.