Health & Wellness Blog

    

The Expense and Pain of Obesity

In the previous century, cases of obesity were uncommon and not many people suffered from obesity as compared today. Cases have rapidly increased and a lot of factors have contributed to this situation.

Obesity can cause pain and stress in many ways: physically, emotionally, financially, and socially. Although it is difficult to attribute factors of obesity to pain, there is scientific research that shows some correlation in being overweight and having to cope with certain stressors.

The Pain of Living With Obesity

The Scientific Research Society (SIGMA 11)1 conducted a six month research on nine hundred children at seven different U.S. headache centers. They found that the more obese a kid is, the more he or she complained about headaches. Additionally, the Scientific Research Society discovered that the more a kid lost weight, the lesser he or she noted issues about headaches.

Also an issue with obese individuals is the pain linked to other physical stressors on the body. Carrying around extra weight is hard on limbs and joints, making them more receptive to injury. This is common turning point when people begin to realize their need to change their lifestyle.

Obesity can also bring emotional pain, and in more ways then one. Being overweight can not only affect the individual but to also the people close to him or her.

Emotional pain and social pain are directly related. Obese individuals typically have lower self-esteem and often times have a negative perception about themselves. This can directly affected one's social life, because the individual may be less outgoing and unwilling to socialize and mingle with peers.

Other than emotional, physical, or social pain, obesity can cause also induce financial pain. This may come in two forms: the financial pain associated with excess spending and consumption on food, as well as investing in medical intervention to treat obesity. Treating the medical condition alone is not cheap and may lead to additional medical cost down the road.

Pulling the Root of the Cause

So what causes obesity? There are two major influences that have contributed to this epidemic.

One of the most prominent causes of obesity is that food has become so available and cheap for certain societies, enabling behaviors of overconsumption. In addition, the marketing and promotion of such food is so overwhelming that individuals are further tempted (and misled) into eating poor quality food.

The second cause of obesity is the depreciating level of exercise many people get. With the convenience of automobiles and other forms of transportation, the simple act of walking has become a chore for many individuals.

The risks and negative effects of obesity should be clearly relayed to everybody, from the elderly to youngsters. And measures to counteract obesity should be laid out as simple as possible:

  • Keep on moving - whether stretching, walking, running, or riding a bike, a body in motion is body burning calories
  • Know when you're hungry - don't be so quick to eat. Eat only when you really feel an empty stomach, and trying drinking water first - hungry is often confused with thirst.
  • Eat real food - most food that comes in a box has been process and manufactured. Start filling your shopping cart with the foods you love from the produce section.

If we can all keep these three points in mind, we can start to diminish the level of obesity that is plaguing our planet.

(citation1"Obesity is a Headache." American Scientist 96.6 (2008): 465. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 31 Jan. 2012. - www.sigmaxi.org)

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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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Cheap Ways to Eat Healthy

Cheap Ways to Eat HealthyMost people think it's cheaper to eat prepackaged convenience foods than it is to eat healthy food. "It's expensive to buy good food" is a common complaint. But is that really true?

Probably, if you're comparing cost per calorie, but if you're comparing cost per nutritional value, there's no contest. Healthy food is the better value every time and lets face it, most of us and our kids are not lacking in calorie intake, but getting all of the nutrition we need can be a challenge.

An Apple vs. a Peanut Butter Cookie

Let's compare two common snacks - a peanut butter cookie and an apple.

Let's say a single cookie and an apple bought in a convenience store both costs about a dollar. You get about 120 calories from the cookie and only 100 calories from the apple so it seems like you're getting a little more for your money with the cookie, right?

Not so fast. Let's compare the nutritional value.

The cookie provides zero vitamin A and zero vitamin C, less than a half a gram of fiber, about 6 grams of unhealthy fat and over 15 grams of added sugars for sweetening.

The apple, on the other hand, provides 75 IUs of vitamin A, 8 mgs of vitamin C, over a gram of fiber, less than half a gram of fat and about 20 grams of natural, healthy, energy-producing fruit sugar (among many other vitamins and nutrients).

It's easy to see the apple provides a lot more nutrition and a lot less unhealthy fat and sugar than the peanut butter cookie, for the same amount of money. And, the apple will provide just as much, if not more, relief from hunger pangs.

Healthy Snacks Are a Much Better Value

Healthy snacks, such as fresh fruits and vegetables or unsalted nuts and seeds, bought in bulk and divided into convenient snack portion sizes make great nutritional and financial sense. Just store them in your refrigerator and pack them into reusable cotton snack bags to take with you whenever you venture away from home.

Buying in bulk saves you money. Doing your own preparation and packaging of snacks saves you money. Packing snacks in reusable snack bags saves a small fortune in plastic baggies and helps to also protect the environment. But that's not all.

Being Healthy Also Saves Money

According to the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health, the standard American diet of fast, fat and fried foods is responsible for killing three out of every four Americans every year. The American junk food diet greatly contributes to our national epidemic of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, heart disease and certain forms of cancer.

By packing healthy snacks for your eco-friendly lunch products, you'll be taking care of your own health and pocketbook while also contributing to lower health care costs for you and your family well into in the future.

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Is Too Much Screen Time Bad for Your Health?

Too Much Screen TimeThe phrase "screen time" denotes the activities that are done in front of a digital screen. Whether it be watching TV, working on the computer, playing video games, or using mobile phones and iPods, screen time is never a healthy endeavor (aside from learning something.) In fact, too much screen time, particularly in kids, can be bad for one's health.

Screen time is regarded as a sedentary time because very little energy is spent when you are physically inactive. Hence too much screen time combined with a sedentary lifestyle can definitely take a toll on your child’s overall well-being. Yes, excessive screen time, whether from the TV or iPod, can result in a wide array of problems – from physical conditions like obesity to mental issues like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Health Affects of Too Much Screen Time

So before you or kid overuses their computer or iPod beyond repair, be aware of some of the health side effects of too much screen time. Some of the following problems can associated with too much screen time.

1. Obesity: Various studies evidence that children who watch TV for more than two hours in a day are prone to be obese than others. This is because they sit inactive for hours, often snacking unhealthy food items. Obesity is dangerous as it is a major risk factor for numerous health problems. Moreover obesity in children can also lead to a feeling of isolation and inadequacy.

2. Irregular sleep patterns: Similarly a child who watches TV for more than two hours is likely to suffer from irregular sleep patterns accompanied by strange nightmares and dreams. If your child spends a lot of time playing games in the computer the self-luminous back lit display in the computer can cause the melatonin levels to drop making him/her difficult to sleep.

3. Behavioral problems: Viewing TV for more than two hours can lead to behavioral problems and poor social skills. Excessive watching of TV, or obsessively reaching for an iPod or smartphone, can also pave the way for anti-social behavior. Spending too much time in front of the computers can cause physical changes in the brain and lead to attention and behavioral issues. Too much video gaming can also permanently or temporarily deactivate certain nerves in the brain.

4. Impaired academic performance and less time for play: Excessive TV time has also been linked with other negative outcomes like poor academic performance and less physical play. Too much screen time leaves less time for creative and active play which is indispensable for the growth of the child.

5. Emotional problems: Too much time spent in front of the screen can cause emotional problems such as depression and anxiety in children. Moreover, children who spend more time in front of the TV or computer have reduced levels of self-worth, self-esteem and happiness.

6. Violence and fear: Exposure to excess doses of violence can also make them more aggressive and less sympathetic towards people. Excess TV viewing can also trigger feelings of fear when they watch scary things.

7. Other problems: Excessive use of phones and tablets can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, eye strain, frequent headaches, neck pain and back pain too. Research studies also depict that too much computer time or sitting glued to the TV may also hurt your heart and shorten your life span.

To limit screen time it is best to keep TV’s and computers out of bedroom. Moreover children should not be allowed to eat in front of the screen as it can lead to mindless munching, which paves the way for obesity. Involving them in alternative activities can prevent them from spending too much time in front of the screen. Most of all we have to set a good example by restricting our screen time.

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