Health & Wellness Blog

    

Germ Exposure at Early Ages can Help Boost Immunity?

A recent study on mice has shown a correlation in kids who are exposed to germs in their early ages are more likely to have a stronger immunity and resistance to diseases. The immune system boost therefore means that kids exposed to germs are less susceptible to health complications and allergies, such as colitis and asthma. These details are according to a research carried out on March 22, 2012 by the Women's hospital located in Boston.Kids exposed to germs may have healthier, stronger immunity as they grow older

According to the contradicting hygiene hypothesis, exposure to microbes in the early life of a child significantly suppresses the immune system and therefore puts them at a greater risk of being affected by different types of diseases. The new study supports this whole idea and more so expounds on it so that you can better appreciate the relationship that exists between the immune system and the disease causing microbes. The researchers warn that the results of this research might not apply to each and every person mainly because the research was conducted using mice as the specimen.

Senior authors led this study from both the Women's Hospital and Brigham. Dr. Dennis Kasper is the director of the Channing laboratory of the Women's Hospital while Dr. Richard Blumberg is the senior manager at the Gastroenterology department at BWH. These two and their colleagues studied mice which are bred in more sterile environments without them being exposed to any germs and pathogen free mice that were raised in the normal controlled environment in the laboratory.

They then bred the two types of mice so as to develop asthma and bowel disease and then compared the two immune systems. They came to realize that the germ free mice developed more of invariant killer cells mainly in their lungs and bowel and therefore developed critical disease symptoms. In that case, the germ free mice cells accumulated and then increased morbidity in IBD models and asthma as compared to the specific pathogen free mice.

The germ free mice developed the so called iNKT cells which play a role in helping to fight infections but on the other hand can fight the body tissues. This therefore makes the germ free mice more susceptible to diseases and infections. This research also shows that exposure of germ free mice to germs did not lead to any noticeable development of the iNKT cells and more so these mice did not really develop severe symptoms that were seen in the other mice which were kept more germs free. It also proved that even by leaving the germ free mice in that state, they might not experience any kind of strange effects.

The conclusion after this study is that the best effects would only be realized if the mice were more of exposed before their adulthood. This is where the basis of having kids exposed to germs in their early days to develop immunity comes from. The germ free mice on the other hand were exposed to more germs in their early life and thus they developed immunity. The aim of the study was to show the importance of microbes and why exposure in early days in life might help to boost the immune system. The research is also intended to act as a basis for the understanding of the increase allergic reactions and autoimmune diseases mainly in the urban areas.

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Aspirin Linked to Reduced Risk of Cancer

Two new British studies suggest that taking an aspirin daily may lower patients' risk of getting certain types of cancer by up to 37 percent. Doctors are cautiously optimistic about these studies because aspirin's side effects may include gastrointestinal bleeding. More studies are needed to confirm results; however, it seems that aspirin may stop cancer from spreading to other organs or from developing in the first place.

Recent Studies on Aspirin

One study, conducted at the University of Oxford, looked at the cancer rates in both men and women who took an aspirin once a day for three years. This study found that after three years, patients who took a daily dose of aspirin were far less likely have cancer than people in a control group who did not take aspirin. After five years, the group that took aspirin's cancer risk was lower by 37 percent. could taking aspirin reduce the risks of cancer?

The other study, which analyzed the results of several British cancer studies, found that people who take aspirin once a day have a lower risk of metastatic cancer--25 percent--as well as a lower risk of colon cancer. In addition, patients who had esophagus or colorectal cancers had less risk of the cancer spreading to other organs in their body if they took aspirin. The study excluded the results of two other studies that showed that taking aspirin had no significant benefit for cancer patients; however, the excluded studies looked at the effects of taking aspirin several times a week instead of the effects of taking aspirin on a daily basis.

Tradeoffs in Taking Aspirin

The results of the current studies are significant because esophagus and colon cancers are among the most serious types of cancer and are often fatal. If aspirin can stop these cancers, as well as other types of cancer, from spreading to other organs, cancer patients will be less likely to become weak and die from their disease.

Cancer is one of the most common serious illnesses U.S. patients face, and cancer of the colon or of the prostate are especially common in men over the age of 50. About 30,000 people a year die from each of these cancers, and about 40,000 women a year die from breast cancer. For this reason, many people are excited about the possibility of preventing cancer or stopping its spread by taking an aspirin every day. However, doctors are not sure yet whether it is healthy for people to take aspirin every day. Long-term aspirin use has been linked to gastrointestinal bleeding; in addition, aspirin use may increase the patient's risk of having a stroke.

For this reason, most doctors don't recommend that healthy people take aspirin daily. In the past, cardiologists have recommended that people only take aspirin to prevent heart disease if their personal risk of disease outweighs the potential negative side effects of the aspirin. Similarly, most doctors are suggesting that only people who currently suffer from cancer or are highly likely to get cancer should take aspirin to try to prevent it. People who are healthy and have low risk of cancer may risk their health more by taking the drug, so doctors currently don't recommend that they do so.

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Somatic Education and Sensory-Motor Amnesia

Somatic education is a means of learning how to properly function and coordinate one's body through sensory motor awareness.

While the term "Somatic" refers to an individual's ability to sense his or her inner processes, education in this practice reflects the learning and increased ability to sense oneself from within. The underlying connection to Somatic Education is mind-body integration, which in turn enhances natural control of the body's muscular system. This can provide more efficiency as well as flow of energy through improved physiological functioning.

The video above is from Somatics.com. It was created by Lawrence Gold, a Hanna Somatic practitioner.

In numerous cases the Somatic education approach has been useful in overcoming chronic pain, as well as improving physical performance. One of the chronic conditions alleviated through this approach is the Sensory-Motor Amnesia (SMA).

What is Sensory-Motor Amnesia?

Sensory-motor amnesia is a state under which we lose our sense of muscular activity and control due to habituated movements. The amnesia occurs as certain muscles take more control of others, causing the inactive muscle to be less effective, and often times tight and sometimes painful.

With Sensory-Motor Amnesia, one is left with a sensation of pain and stiffness in a part of the body without the sense of the action of the muscles causing it. The remedy to this condition is to learn how to sense the muscular actions causing the pain and consequently learning how to control those muscular actions.

Prevalence of Sensory-Motor Amnesia

It is not uncommon for an individual during his or her lifetime to lose a certain degree of awareness in certain muscles. This is often times because we subconsciously hold muscles tight, without being fully aware of it.

However what we are aware of is the pain or soreness, as well as skewed bodily movement. Somatics seeks to overcome that unawareness, and train our minds to recognize those muscles that are being held tight. 

Role of Somatic Education for SMA

Somatics is essentially a method of mind-body training that aids in overcoming common health difficulties that would otherwise be remedied through physical therapy, chiropractic, osteopathy, massage therapy among other treatments.

In the case of Sensory-Motor Amnesia, Somatic education supersedes the traditional physical therapy approaches of stretching and strengthening of muscles to alleviate muscular spasticity. Unlike the standard physical therapies that accentuate strength and flexibility, Somatic education puts an emphasis on control and release of muscular tension.

In addition, while most therapies will use stretching, Somatic education helps one learn to relax which translates to longer lasting and greater freedom of movement.

Practicing Somatics

There are many techniques that have been proven for Somatic education. Body-mind centering is a Somatic approach that relies on experiential anatomy, breathing, use of movement, and our perceptions. Many techniques of somatic education focus to train people on how to make habit changes while using your body with more ease and freedom.

A process of learn-by-doing making various techniques based on movement and sensation is employed during Somatic training. This enhances a sense of awareness to the body parts to feel more intensely thus encouraging a more clearly defined and voluntary control of the muscles. The results of Somatic training is actually self-perpetuating and improves with continuous practice.

Somatics greatly depends on an individual's self-awareness and thus ability to better control his or her muscular control. To learn more about Somatic education, visit Somatics.com.

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Metabolism Booster Foods for Weight Loss

Gaining weight means that you are actually taking in more calories than you actually burning in a day. In today's world, it's not easy counting calories and estimating caloric expenditure. However there are some mind-sets or approaches to our diets that can help overcome excess calorie intake.

One of the best approaches to losing weight is avoiding refined carbohydrates (starchy breads, white grains, etc.) with metabolism-boosting, fat-burning foods. These types of foods are more whole and natural, meaning that that they have not been processed in a factory and infused with chemicals and additives.

Below are some of the top metabolism boosting foods that can help you on your way to shedding the pounds.

Lean Proteins

lean protein is a great metabolim boosting food for weight loss

Proteins are important in any weight loss effort. Quantity and quality play a significant role in influencing your metabolic rate through high protein foods. Protein helps sustain and influence muscle fitness during weight loss, which is responsible for using most of our calorie intake. Losing muscle could hinder losing fat. 

You should eat lean meats and organic forms of tofu as you protein source. White meats, such as fish and poultry, are considered some of the best nutritional options, for these proteins are low in fat and will help you stay more full.

Green Tea and Coffee

Both green tea and coffee contain caffeine, which speeds up you your heart. This in turn boosts your metabolism. Of course, you moderate caffeine intake throughout the day is key. But for a quick jolt to metabolism to get your fat burning system turned up, drink a cup or two of green tea or coffee. Green tea in particular contains Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) which is one of the most powerful metabolism boosters.

High Fiber Veggies

veggies are must for weight loss foodsFiber rich foods are one of the best foods for weight loss. These foods not only keep your colon clean, but also flush out toxins from your body. Vegetables such as celery, cauliflower, zucchini are quite rich in fiber content. You can also enjoy vegetables by making salads that contain all of your favorite veggies.

Hot Peppers

Try adding some hot peppers to some of your recipes for heating up things. Jalapeno peppers and cayenne peppers possess thermagenic properties that increase your body temperature and boost metabolism. Spicing up your foods can help you in burning more calories.

Fruits

Most fruits are nutrient dense and have a good amount of fiber. Therefore, your body has to work harder to digest and extract those valuable nutrients. This helps in burning more calories and you lose weight fast.

The best fruits to eat when trying to lose weight are strawberries, apples and oranges. While eating oranges, you should avoid removing their white membrane off as it contains highest fiber content. Apples are also one of the best foods for weight loss as they not only have high fiber content, but also contain both soluble and insoluble fibers.

Whole Grains

While choosing pastas, cereals, and breads, you should opt for choices made from whole grains. As a complex carbohydrate, whole grain is high in fiber content, and boost metabolism while slowing down the release of insulin. Whole grain options are becoming much more popular in food stores, so choosing this alternative is ideal for a successful weight loss strategy.

Water

Water, especially ice cold water is important for obese people who want to shed some weight. Cold water lowers the body's temperature so the body must compensate by burning more fat. It also helps in filling you up fast thereby reducing any urge to eat more and add more calories in your body.

Can you think of any other metabolism booster weight loss foods? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Lower Triglyceride Levels by Spicing Up Foods

In today's world, with so many Americans facing obesity, there are a tons of people suffering from cardiovascular disease. This chronic disease is known to be correlated to high levels of fat compounds called triglycerides, which circulate in the bloodstream. Triglycerides are compounds composed of fatty acids and are very dangerous in high levels. spice up foods for better health and wellness

Lowing triglyceride levels can be difficult, and many people have a difficult time lowering their levels through the traditional methods of diet and exercise. However, studies in this area are showing unconventional yet effective methods for lowering triglyceride levels through the foods we eat.

In a recent research study done at Penn State, researchers began studying the role of spices (such as curry, cinnamon, turmeric, and other spices) and their role in the body. They fed participants heavily spiced curry chicken and other dishes and measured their pre and post meal triglyceride levels. The team discovered that the group which had eaten the spicy meal had decreased triglyceride level by a third, which was a notably dramatic decrease.

While the exact reasons why levels were decreased are not known, this experiment was a breakthrough in the field of cardiovascular research. The study also found that the spicy dishes helped to enhance the antioxidant activity and helped to stabilize insulin levels in the blood after a meal. The heavy spices worked on several different mechanisms in the body, all producing positive responses. The antioxidant activity of spices is also a method that can be used to treat many chronic disease states naturally and improve overall health.

This study yielded surprising results. While more research is needed to determine if the effects of spicy foods are viable for long-term health, researchers are hopeful that their work will lead to better understanding of triglycerides and heart disease. Overall, the research team made a breakthrough in the area of heart disease.

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5 Benefits of Barefoot Running

More and more runners are going shoeless and embracing the barefoot running culture. Although barefoot running is not new, it has recently came in to spotlight after lot of research and exploration on the concept.

According to a study on barefoot running by Daniel E. Lieberman, a Harvard Professor, it was found that people wearing running shoes are more prone to strike the ground with their heel first. This results in tremendous impact on knee and ankle joints. Whereas in barefoot runners, they are more prone to strike the ground with mid-foot or front foot, which avoids forceful impacts on the joints.

Check out Lieberman's video on the science of barefoot running below:

Shoes a Modern Day Menace to Runners?

With the invention of running shoes, millions of heel strikers have evolved. This has lead to a high potential of getting injured from running.

In barefoot running, strides not only become more efficient (and less impactful), but barefoot runners tend to use tiny muscles of the legs and feet, which helps in keeping critical running muscles well-toned and well-shaped.

Advantages of Barefoot Running

For those considering making the switch from sneakers to barefoot running, there are many advantages that can be gained. Below are 5 benefits of barefoot running.

Increase running efficiency

Research has shown that running efficiency is increased by 4% when you run barefoot. This is due to the unrestricted function of the foot without wearing supportive footwear. Running barefoot allows you to expand your foot and toes naturally, making your foot a strong base that can sustain all of your movements.

Today's modern running shoes consist of thick, padded base that cause a unnatural stride resulting in heel strike movement. Barefoot running shoes are available that can help you in running barefoot.

Minimize the chances of injury

While you are running without your shoes, you have greater awareness of your foot position on the ground and increased leverage, which reduces the risk of getting ankle sprains and injuries. For example, while you are running barefoot on hard surfaces, your feet automatically give the response of plantar-flexing, which gives a softer landing. This helps in preventing shin splints. It also reduces the risk of getting bunions that occur when the big toe is trapped in tight, padded shoes.

Improve stability and balance

Barefoot running improves balance and coordination by activating smaller muscles in your ankles, feet and legs. You can feel the texture, the irregularities and the temperature of the ground and your feet suits itself to the circumstances, which makes them strong and agile.

Strengthen muscles, ligaments and tendons

Running bare foot will stretch and strengthen the calf muscle and Achilles tendon, which further reduces the risk of Achilles tendonitis and calf pulls.

Feel free and primitive

Apart from the physical health benefits that you get by running barefoot, you can also experience the fun and feel of every step you make on the ground. You can feel dew, sand, asphalt on your feet and enjoy the nature in its best form. 

Nowadays, many shoe companies are manufacturing barefoot style running shoes that enable the function and experience of running barefoot, while also protect your feet from outside harmful elements. It is a new alternative for those who want to avoid high impact injuries.

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