Thoughts To Live By…

Archive for March 24th, 2012

How to prevent premature ageing

If you think how well you age is all down to your genes, think again; there are actually many things you can do to help ward off wrinkles. To help keep your skin youthful and supple, check out these 7 ways to beat wrinkles and premature ageing.

Protect yourself from the sun

Premature ageing is often seen as unavoidable and a natural part of getting older; however, up to 90 per cent of the visible signs of ageing are caused by the sun, even though they may not show up until years after sun exposure has occurred. To help avoid premature ageing, wear an SPF of at least factor 15 every day (even on cloudy days as UV rays can penetrate clouds) and switch to a higher SPF when the sun is at its strongest.

Cut down on sugar

While the majority of premature ageing is caused by sun exposure, poor diets can also be to blame for wrinkles. Sugar is a staple of many people’s diets, yet is also a leading cause of skin ageing. When blood sugar levels are high a process called glycation occurs which damages the collagen in your skin. Once damaged, the collagen hardens, leading to wrinkles and sagging. To keep skin firm and smooth, make sure you check the sugar content of products and cut down on sugary foods.

Stop smoking

Smoking is not only notoriously bad for our health and a major cause of cancer and heart disease, it can also be disastrous for your appearance. Cigarette smoke can irritate the skin and deprive it of oxygen and nutrients, while the act of smoking can cause wrinkles to appear around the mouth. If you are a smoker, one of the best things you can do for your appearance and health is to try to break the habit now.

Keep skin well hydrated

In order to keep your skin supple and smooth, it is essential to keep it hydrated both inside and out. Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day to maintain your skin’s moisture levels, and eat foods such as fruit and vegetables which have a high water content. To moisturise the skin from the outside, use a moisturiser suitable for your skin type or hydrating oils such as vitamin E, avocado or almond oil. Also, it may be worth getting a humidifier to counteract the drying effects of central heating and air conditioning.

Get your eyes tested

The area around your eyes can be one of the first places to display signs of ageing such as fine lines and crow’s feet, and these can be exacerbated by unconscious frowning or squinting caused by poor eyesight. If you find yourself regularly squinting to see better, it is important for both your health and appearance to get your eyes checked and invest in some glasses or contact lenses if required.

Eat wrinkle-busting foods

To help ward off wrinkles, try to eat a diet full of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help to keep skin supple and nourished from within, preventing dehydration and dryness, while antioxidants help fight against the free radicals that cause wrinkles. Good foods to stock up on include oily fish, flax seeds and antioxidant-rich berries. Spinach is also a good source of lutein, which recent research has shown can prevent wrinkles by helping to retain the skin’s moisture and elasticity, increasing lipid levels and preventing damage caused by free radicals.

Avoid stress

You might not think that your state of mind has much to do with the state of your appearance, but this is not the case. In fact, a study has shown that chronic stress can actually accelerate cellular ageing, leading to wrinkles. To help keep your skin wrinkle-free, try experimenting with some stress-busting techniques to help cope with stressful situations, such as meditation, exercise or yoga.

http://www.realbuzz.com/articles/7-ways-to-beat-wrinkles/

Seven surprising health and fitness figures

From your BMI to your heart rate, healthy living often revolves around numbers. However, here are 7 surprising health statistics you may be unaware of.

One in 10 parents think cola counts as fruit

According to a survey of family eating habits by food company Green Giant, one in 10 parents in Britain believe that drinking cola counts towards their five recommended portions of fruit and veg. Not only that, one in 10 of those surveyed also believed that chips contributed to the 5-a-day health campaign, while one in five thought that fruit-flavoured sweets counted towards this target. Surprisingly, one in 20 of those questioned, did not however believe that oranges or bananas counted towards their portions of fruit and veg.

One in six women would rather be blind than fat

While many of us would pay good money for the perfect body, research by Arizona State University found that a lot of women would give up a great deal more if it meant being slim – including their eyesight. According to this survey, a surprising one in six women would rather be blind than be obese. Furthermore, many women stated they would prefer alcoholism or catching herpes to being overweight, while one in four would prefer to suffer from depression.

48 per cent of women want cosmetic surgery

Research findings published in the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery suggest that body satisfaction and confidence for women are at an all time low. According to this survey, a huge 48 per cent of women surveyed would be interested in having cosmetic surgery, while a further 23 per cent would possibly be interested. Although men’s interest in surgery was significantly lower, 23 per cent of men still claimed to be interested in surgery, while 17 per cent would potentially be.

One third of all cancers are preventable

Cancer is the biggest premature killer, accounting for 40% of premature deaths. However, while experts are unclear about the causes of some forms of cancer, the World Health Organization has revealed that one third of all cancers can actually be prevented by careful lifestyle choices. Some of the main preventable causes of cancer include smoking, physical inactivity, obesity, alcohol, infection and environmental pollution.

Smokers lose one third of their everyday memory

While there are many shocking statistics related to smoking (such as that approximately every 6 seconds, someone dies due to tobacco) perhaps a less well known one is that, on top of many of the well publicised health effects of smoking, it can also cause smokers to lose one third of their everyday memory. According to the study by Northumbria University, smokers performed significantly worse in memory tests than those who did not smoke; however, they found that kicking the habit restored their ability to recollect information.

Only six per cent of Americans exercise for 30 minutes a day

The general recommendation for good health and fitness for adults is to get a minimum of 30 minutes daily exercise. However, according to a Cooking Light Insight survey, only six per cent of Americans meet this recommendation. Though a further 22 per cent claim to exercise three to four times per week, this still leaves a high percentage of people who are failing to exercise regularly and therefore increasing their risk of obesity and heart disease.

You could unknowingly eat 46 teaspoons of sugar a day

You may not think that your diet is too high in sugar, but even if you steer clear of desserts and chocolate, you could still be eating well over the recommended maximum sugar intake. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, food companies have been increasing the sugar content of processed foods to make them more appetising, meaning that many are unaware of how much they are eating. The study showed that some people are unknowingly eating up to 46 teaspoons a day, increasing their risk of health conditions including heart disease.

http://www.realbuzz.com/articles/7-shocking-health-statistics/

10 guilt-inducing activities that actually boost your health

Ever promised yourself that this year you were definitely going to give that bad habit the flick, only to give into your vice again after only a couple of hours? Well, the good news is that ‘bad’ habit may not actually be as harmful as you think. Here are 10 common ‘bad’ habits that are actually good for your health.

Gossiping

Most of us love a good gossip, whether we’re giggling over a colleague’s new romance or passing an opinion on someone’s outfit choice or behaviour, and the good news is that gossiping could actually be good for us. Not only does listening to gossip help us to learn more about the characters of those around us, bonding and having a laugh with your peers also releases feel-good hormones which help to relieve stress and anxiety.

Drinking coffee

Although drinking too much coffee can be detrimental to your health, in smaller quantities the popular hot drink can actually be good for you. When drunk in moderation (no more than three cups per day), caffeine can speed up your metabolism, boost exercise endurance and reduce your risk of gallstones and kidney stones. A study by the Harvard Medical School has also found that women who drink two or more cups of coffee a day are less likely to be depressed, while separate research has shown that drinking three cups cuts risk of age-related diabetes.

Fidgeting

It’s the bane of school teachers everywhere, yet research suggests that fidgeting may be no bad thing – at least in us adults. Research suggests that fidgeting can burn up to 350 extra calories a day, helping you to keep off those excess pounds. To further increase your calorie burn, try to squeeze in more incidental exercise, such as getting up to change the channel rather than using the remote control.

Swearing

Swearing: it’s not big and it’s not clever… but studies suggest that in certain situations it may actually be good for you. According to a study by the University of East Anglia, swearing at work could help employees cope with stress and maintain solidarity. Meanwhile, researchers at Keele University’s School of Psychology found that swearing can provide effective short-term relief from pain. However, the study also notes that swearing should be reserved for crises only, as the higher the daily swearing frequency was for participants, the less pain relief they experienced.

Skipping a shower

OK, so repeatedly missing showers may not win you any friends, but if you are ever tempted to skip a shower here and there, research suggests that you could be doing your health (and the environment) a favour. Daily washing not only strips your skin of the natural oils that keep it hydrated and supple, it could also strip your skin of good bacteria that help to prevent disease. If you do decide to skip a shower, just try to do it on a day when you won’t be vigorously working out!

Losing your temper

Many of us have been brought up to believe that losing our temper is the ultimate social faux pas. To an extent this is true (nobody wants to hang out with that person who is always losing their cool and shouting their mouth off), however research has found that losing your temper could actually be good for your health. Venting your emotions is believed to reduce the effects of stress, while a Swedish study found that men who bottled up their anger when unfairly treated at work doubled their risk of having a heart attack.

Sunbathing

In recent years, official advice has been that we should cover up in the sun at all times to protect ourselves from skin cancer. However, more recently experts have stated that actually little and frequent sun exposure is good for us. In the UK, where vitamin D deficiency is common, seven leading health groups and charities have issued a statement advising everyone to spend 10 minutes in the midday sun without sunblock in order to avoid rickets. Meanwhile, a US study has stated that the vitamin D produced by the sun could help ward off colds and flu. However, experts have stressed that people should cover up after 10 minutes, and skin should never be red at the end of the day.

Having a lie-in

Feeling guilty about your weekend lie-in? Don’t be! Research has found that sleep can help you live longer, boost your memory and reduce stress, while not getting enough can lead to accidents, weight gain, and increased risk of heart disease. Furthermore, delaying your morning workout in favour of some shut-eye may have health benefits, as research from Brunel University found that heavy training sessions early in the morning can compromise the immune system.

Giving in to your cravings

Although constantly giving into junk food cravings is a sure-fire way to sabotage your healthy eating success, allowing yourself the odd treat will not only boost your happiness, it will also help you keep motivated to stay on track. Also, as many people crave the foods that they most attempt to resist, allowing yourself a little of what you fancy can actually help to reduce cravings. If you have imposed extreme restrictions on your diet and cut out entire food groups, cravings could also be a sign of a nutrient deficiency in your diet.

Daydreaming

Many of us view daydreaming as a sign of laziness or form of procrastination; however, researchers at the University of British Columbia have found that letting your mind wander can actually help boost your problem-solving abilities. The study found that when participants minds wandered, the parts of their brain associated with problem-solving became more active than when focused on routine tasks. So, while daydreaming can increase the time it takes to complete your present task, it can allow you to unconsciously sort through other important problems in your life

http://www.realbuzz.com/articles/10-bad-habits-that-are-good-for-you/#pagination-top

Drinking water

 

While we are probably all familiar with the advice to drink eight glasses of water a day, more recent research has suggested that there is actually no scientific evidence supporting this recommendation and that drinking excessive amounts of water can actually be dangerous by lowering the concentration of salt in your blood. Health-conscious water drinkers should also be wary of the trend for drinking bottled water, as studies have suggested that the chemicals (phthalates) from plastic bottles can leach into water and disrupt hormone levels.

Talking over your problems

Talking through your problems can be a great way to gain some perspective and get things off your chest. However, studies have suggested that, after a certain point, rehashing and dwelling on problems can actually be bad for your health. According to research, revisiting and analyzing the same problems with friends (“co-rumination”) can lead to anxiety, stress disorders and depression. Next time a problem arises, by all means talk it over with a friend, but try to focus on problem-solving rather than simply dwelling on the issue.

Sipping on mocktails

You may think that by swapping cocktails for mocktails you are doing your health a favour, but this may not actually be the case. While cutting down on alcohol is beneficial for your wellbeing, mocktails are often high in refined sugar which research suggests is just as damaging and addictive as alcohol. For a safer swap and a shot of nutrients, make sure you stick to mocktails made from pure fruit juices instead of those made from syrups.

Early morning workouts

While a daily workout is great for your health, studies suggest that getting up for early morning exercise may not be as ideal as it seems. A study by a researcher from Brunel University, Middlesex, found that heavy training sessions early in the morning can compromise the immune system and put athletes at increased risk of bacterial and viral infection. While a morning jog or gentle exercise session is unlikely to put you at risk, it may be better to save heavier workouts for later in the day.

Taking nutritional supplements

We all know that vitamins are good for us, but relying on nutritional supplements can actually be bad for your health. Separate studies have shown that high doses of vitamin supplements including iron, magnesium and vitamin B6 raise the death rate of older women, while taking vitamin E can increase men’s risk of prostate cancer. While certain people may be required to take vitamins (those with low levels of vitamin D, for example, or vegans who may be deficient in vitamin B12), for most people a better approach is to opt for a varied diet full of fruit and vegetables which will give you all the nutrients you need.

Slathering on sunscreen

Official advice for many years has warned about the dangers of skin cancer, causing many of us to take measures to cover up in the sun at all times. However, while it is extremely important to protect your skin, experts have more recently advised that little and frequent sun exposure is good for us, preventing vitamin D deficiency, which can lead to rickets, osteomalacia and depression. Official advice in the UK, where rickets has recently made a comeback, is to spend 10 minutes in the midday sun without sunblock each day before covering skin up.

Switching to low fat foods

When getting started in healthy eating, it is tempting to opt for low fat foods in order to help keep off excess pounds. However, cutting out ‘good’ fats such as omega-3 fatty acids could be detrimental to your health. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish, walnuts and flaxseeds, not only help to keep skin supple and wrinkle-free, they are also essential for good brain and heart health and can help prevent arthritis.

http://ph.she.yahoo.com/7-good-habits-bad-health-090000188.html


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