Chicago Anti-Aging Tips
Chicago Anti-Aging Tips
5 to 9 Fruits and Veggies a Day
The FDA just approved the new charts for eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables to help reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and low in calories so they keep you full longer and help cut out that sugar craving we all get. Fruits and vegetables come in a variety of colors and by choosing different colored groups, you will benefit from the different vitamins, minerals and antioxidants present.
Below is a list of the different colored groups of fruits and vegetables:
RED: Lycopene is the main antioxidant found in red and pink fruits and vegetables. Diets rich in lycopene help combat heart disease and some cancers. Some common fruits and vegetables include tomatoes, grapefruit, watermelons and papayas. (Link to Mediplex product)
GREEN: Phytochemicals are present in all green fruits and vegetables. Phytochemicals help keep your eyes and retina strong. Studies are being performed to see if phytochemicals reduce the risk of cancerous tumors. Green vegetables are also high in fiber. Some common fruits and vegetables include spinach, broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and turnips. (Link to Phytoplex)
ORANGE/YELLOW: Carotenoids are natural antioxidants that are the main component of Beta-carotene. This natural occurring antioxidant is being studied for its ability to enhance the immune system. Folate, a mineral that should be consumed by all women of child-bearing age and beyond, also can help reduce heart disease. Some common fruits and vegetables include sweet potatoes, corn, carrots, mangoes, oranges, pineapples and pears.
BLUE/PURPLE: Anthocyanins, another phytochemical, is the most health-beneficial antioxidant. It helps build the body’s defense mechanism to fight harmful carcinogens. The most popular blue fruits are blueberries, blackberries and red grapes.
WHITE: Allicin (another phytochemical) helps lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and helps the body’s ability to fight infections. Polyphenols also help reduce the risk of certain cancers. Some white fruits and vegetables include onions, leeks, garlic, shallots, pears, green grapes and cauliflower.
What is a Serving?
Portion-control is the easiest and most effective way to lose and maintain weight loss. Think of one serving of fruits and vegetables should fit in the palm of your hand, smaller than most people think. This portion-controlled way of eating makes it easier to consume 5 to 9 fruits and vegetables each day.
One serving equals:
· Small glass of 100% fruit or vegetable juice – ¾ cup or 6oz
· A medium sized piece of fruit – orange, small banana or medium-sized apple
· 1 cup raw salad greens
· ½ cup of cooked vegetables
· ½ cup of cut-up fruit or vegetables
· ¼ cup of dried fruit
· ½ cup of cooked beans or peas
Seven servings a day is as easy as 1 cup orange juice and 1 medium banana for breakfast, 2 cups salad and vegetables and 1 medium sized apple for lunch, and ½ sweet potato and ½ cup mixed fruit with dinner and you’ve just consumed the 7 servings needed for most women a day.
Do Nothing for 15 Minutes Each Day
The health and well-being of humans is becoming important to prevent disease pathology. Researchers agree there are three things which determine every pathological process that occurs in humans, genetics, psychological status, and Social environment. Human behavioral genetics seeks to understand what genetics and environmental effects have on individual variations in behavior. This goes hand in hand with social environment in determining how the environment shapes our thoughts and actions.
The psychological status, which is stress, is the worst that can happen to any individual and is the main cause of most of the serious diseases plaguing the civilized world today (which can be prevented and/or reversed by reducing levels of stress). Fifteen minutes a day of doing nothing is all you need to relieve stress from your body.
How does stress affect my health?
Both long and short-term stress affects your body and health. Stress triggers changes in our bodies and not only can cause us to feel ill, but it will enhance the health problems we already deal with. Here are some daily problems we suffer from stress:
1. Trouble sleeping
2. Headaches and Migraines
3. Constipation and/or Diarrhea
5. Lack of energy and concentration
6. Over-eating or Under-eating
7. Anger and sadness
8. Higher risk of asthma or arthritis flare-ups
10.Stomach cramping and bloating
12.Depression and anxiety
13.Weight gain or loss
15.High blood pressure
16.Irritable bowel syndrome
18.Neck and/or back pain
19.Less sexual desire
How can 15 minutes a day help reduce stress?
When you take the time and let your mind relax, 15 minutes can seem like an hour. In 15 minutes, you can unwind by sitting on the couch, with no TV or radio, sit out on your patio and listen to the birds or take a nice warm bath with soothing music. By taking 15 minutes to yourself and only to yourself, you will notice a sense of calmness and serenity when stressful situations arise. Take a 15-minute walk around your block and this will not only help your heart and help you control your weight, but you will feel better about yourself. Even meeting with a friend or family member for brisk walks once a day will keep you motivated. Recreational methods of “relaxation” (such as over consumption of alcohol, smoking, overeating and using prescription and recreational drugs) will cause more stress in the future.
How can deep breathing reduce stress?
Deep breathing relaxes your mind and body and is very easy to do. You can perform this exercise anywhere and at anytime, especially when stress becomes overwhelming.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Lie down or sit straight up in a chair
2. Rest your hands on your stomach
3. Slowly count to four and inhale through your nose. Feel your stomach rise and hold the breath for a second.
4. Slowly count to four while you exhale through your mouth. Purse your lips together, like you’re going to whistle, so you don’t exhale too quickly. Your stomach will slowly fall.
5. Repeat 5 – 10 times.
Obesity may begin in childhood and will be with you throughout your adulthood. Obesity is becoming the biggest disease in both children and adults. By helping our children while they’re still young, we will be preventing millions of cancers and other life-threatening diseases as they become adults. Obesity may be caused by overeating, which is the most common sense answer, but it is also hormone-related. Hormone deficiencies, especially human growth hormone deficiency, are made much worse if you are overweight. Obesity automatically lowers the amount of human growth hormone in your body. The more body fat you have, the less HGH you will have, even when you're young.
Obesity and Hormones
The Endocrine system is made up of glands and hormones to transfer information from one set of cells to another. Each hormone circulates throughout the bloodstream affecting the cells programmed to receive and respond to messages. Hormone levels can be thrown off balance by factors such as stress, infection, and changes of fluids and minerals in the bloodstream. This system works with the Nervous and Immune systems to help the body cope with stresses. When the hormones are deficient, the growth hormone, for example, may be predisposed to the deposit of fat. Leptin, the hormone produced by fat cells is secreted into the bloodstream; also called the “fat hormone.” Leptin reduces appetite by acting on specific centers in the brain to control hunger. This hormone also regulates how the body stores fat. Since Leptin is produced by fat, obese people tend to have higher levels of leptin stored in their bodies. Researchers are now trying to learn why leptin messages are not working properly by controlling the hunger signals in obese people.
Behavior and Obesity
Hormones are not the only cause to obesity. Sedentary lifestyles, including lack of exercise, improper diets, and stress are the main causes for obesity. These behaviors cause the signals to regulate appetites and body fat to cause excess weight gain. Crash dieting is a short-term disruption on the body and prevents the body from maintaining balance, which causes the extra weight gained after any diets. Long term changes, eating a healthy and nutritious diet and exercising can help the body learn to control appetite and leptin signals.
These behavioral symptoms may begin in childhood, for example, children who have behavior problems are more likely to be obese as an adult. Parents need to address the child’s well-being and mental states to help prevent them from “dealing” as an adult. Teachers should alert parents of these problems, such as alertness, study problems, emotional and physical, and inform parents to take action. Not allowing a child to get the proper amount of sleep can condition the child to continue with the habits into adulthood. Lack of sleep, which causes stress on the body raises cortisol levels and in turn, leads to weight gain and obesity.
Drinking Enough Water Makes Sense
Drinking lots of water is the key to a longer, healthier life. Water is the main component of all biological processes in our bodies and is important for health and vitality. Every body is composed of 75% water and 25% solid matter. Your body needs to stay hydrated to operate at peak performance. Not consuming enough water increases the aging process. As we age, our bodies require more water because our bodies become dehydrated a lot easier. Everyone should be drinking a minimum of 8 glasses of water a day.
Dehydration is one of the biggest concerns for Americans, especially those who suffer from illnesses, obesity and elderly. Some effects of dehydration include: dry skin, fissured tongue, sunken facial structures, loss of skin elasticity and plumpness of the skin. Most Americans are dehydrated because we consume too much caffeine, (including coffee, teas and soda) which causes our bodies to lose water. Water is natural refreshment and is the main component of human bodies. Water is necessary for digestion, especially when consuming fiber. Most Americans are constipated from dehydration, poor diets and lack of exercise. Fiber cannot perform its job properly without the help of water. When you’re dehydrated, your blood becomes thickened, which forces your body to work harder to circulate blood. In turn, you find it difficult to concentrate and you feel easily fatigued.
Some ways in which water aids in avoiding the aging process:
1. Keeps blood volume high to distribute nutrients and oxygen throughout the body, by keeping young cells well-fed and vital.
2. Plumps up the vertebrae disks to ward off debilitating spinal problems, including herniated disks, humps, curved spine and the aches that come with these conditions.
3. Flushes toxins out of the body as well as aids in the digestive process.
4. Crucial to weight loss and maintenance. Burning calories is easily done by drinking cool water, which makes your body use calories to get the temperature back to 98.6oF. Your body compensates by burning fat.
Water is a natural appetite suppressant which will help you maintain a healthy weight. Most people suffer from hunger on a regular basis, but this clue can actually be your body telling you it’s suffering from dehydration. Drinking enough water flushes out your systems, reducing calcium in your urine, risk of kidney stone formation, and help it to prevent urinary tract infections in both men and women. Water may also prove as a weapon against illness and viruses by flushing toxins and invading substances from the body. Allergies may also become more controlled because when you’re dehydrated, thicker mucous and drainage may collect in your lungs and throat.
Water consumption and the dangers of dehydration:
1. 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated
2. 37% of Americans have thirst mechanisms so weak they mistake this for hunger
3. Mild dehydration will slow down one’s metabolism as much as 3%
4. One glass of water will shut down midnight hunger pangs for dieters
5. Lack of water is the #1 cause of daytime fatigue
6. 8 – 10 glasses of water a day can ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers
7. A 2% drop in body water weight can trigger short-term memory, trouble with basic math and difficulty focusing on a computer or paper
8. Drinking 5 glasses of water a day increases the risk of colon cancer by 45% and decreases the risk of breast cancer by 79% and bladder cancer by 50%
The Importance of Good Posture
As children, we are taught to stand up straight, not to slouch in our chairs, and chin up, feet flat on the floor. As we get older, stress takes over, our jobs require us to sit for long hours in front of the computer or in a car stuck in traffic. Over time, we begin to slouch and we learn poor posture. Poor posture sabotages your figure and health, making you appear older, unglamorous, unhappy and tired. Over time, this will develop into the popular dowager’s hump, double chin, pot belly and sway back. Internally your body will develop varicose veins, pinched nerves, heart and muscle strain. Putting your body back into proper alignment and you will regain a flat stomach, straight back, your buttocks will be tucked in, your neck will appear longer, and you will move gracefully. Having good posture will help you look and feel more glamorous, feel more alive and keep your body healthier!
How to stand straight:
1. Stand with feet a few inches apart, toes pointing straight ahead and arms hanging loosely at your sides.
2. Distribute weight evenly on both legs, pressing evenly on the balls of your feet and tighten your thigh muscles.
3. Slowly draw your buttocks tightly together.
4. Slowly stretch your spine upward while drawing your shoulder blades down and back. Be careful not to lift your shoulders or tilt your chin.
Start each day with these exercises and over time you will naturally have good posture and alignment. Try doing this with a friend or significant other, this way you can check each other to ensure proper posture together! Upright posture is considered to be a reflection of human dignity and integrity.
What is the Alexander Technique?
The Alexander Technique (www.thealexandertechnique.com) is a way of learning to rid your body of harmful tension and stress and discover new balance. This method helps to improve bad habits in our everyday lives and activities. This technique gives you improved movement, balance, support and coordination. Many people who use the Alexander technique experience a feeling of lightness through their bodies, feeling of calmness and happiness, which gives us greater ability to cope with the stresses that occur in our daily lives. By learning this technique, common ailments can be prevented, such as arthritis, neck and back pain, migraines, hypertension, sciatica, insomnia and depression.
Laugh Your Way to Better Health
The sound of laughter is more contagious than yawning and can cause joy and amusement to the moodiest of people. Laughter relaxes the body and reduces health problems, such as high blood pressure, strokes, arthritis and ulcers. Some research is proving laughter also reduces the risk of heart disease. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases antibodies to prevent infections. It also improves our appearance. Laughter is a great workout for your abdominal area, including the diaphragm, respiratory tract, and facial, leg and back muscles. It also benefits the digestive process. A good, hearty laugh can burn enough calories equivalent to several minutes on the exercise bike. Laughter stimulates the part of the brain that enhances learning by easing muscle tension and psychological stress to keep the brain alert and retain more information. Humor can improve mental and emotional health by lowering stress and dissolving anger. Humor elevates your mood by laughing at yourself and finding humor in tough times, especially the little annoyances that can put us and everyone surrounding us down and depressed. Humor can help us shift the way we think and even makes things seem less overwhelming.
Here are some things we can do to improve our mood and mental health:
Attempt of laugh at certain situations instead of getting angry
Laugh to release pent-up feelings of anger or frustration
Laugh to reduce tension
Lower anxiety by envisioning a humorous situation
What is laughter?
Laughter is the psychological response to humor. There are two parts to laughter, gestures and the production of sound. When we laugh, both of these parts come together and healthy changes occur in our bodies. The purpose of laughter is to make and strengthen human connections. Laughter is more likely to occur when people are comfortable with one another. Laughter is a way of bonding within a group of people, which is why laughter seems to be contagious. Laughter can also be a sign of social behavior, a kind of “social signal” given that people are more likely to laugh in a group of people than when alone and not stimulated by human contact, both physical and emotional. Researchers are finding that certain parts of the brain are stimulated when laughing. The Limbic system has also been found to be stimulated during laughter.
Why do we laugh?
Laughter is most likely triggered when we find something humorous. Different age groups find different things to be more amusing at different stages of life. Infants and children seem to find everything funny. They are still learning about the world and the new environment that surrounds them. Pre-teen and teenagers usually laugh to avoid tension and awkward situations. This is the most insecure time in their life and humor can help teenagers cope as well as feel superior.
Importance of Sleep
Adopt a regular sleeping pattern so you get 7 – 8 hours a night for optimal health and well-being. Sleeping helps to restore your body’s physical and mental energy. There are many studies proving that those who sleep enough every night live significantly longer than those who don’t sleep enough.
Many things in life are affected by lack of sleep, including:
Emotional – Easier to become upset, frustrated and irritable
Social – Relationships become more difficult to maintain
Cognitive – Inability to learn
Productivity – Less initiative and longer to perform tasks
Safety – More accident-prone, less alertness and your judgment becomes impaired
Health – Immune system becomes more prone to illness and diseases and become bothered by stress, tension, headaches become more prominent, fatigue and digestive problems occur
Adequate sleep is vital for our bodies to repair and heal damage caused by everyday stresses. When we sleep, our immune system repairs the cells needed to fight illness and diseases as well as replenish blood supply to our muscles. Americans are the most stressed people in the world. Because of this, we do not sleep adequately. Our sleep cycles, or lack thereof, are influenced by stress and lack of physical activity. This in turn depletes our bodies of energy, reduces our concentration and prevents our bodies from healing properly. Chronic sleep deprivation leads to premature development of Type 2 Diabetes, High blood pressure, Obesity and Memory Loss.
Tips for a Good night sleep:
Keep your bedroom quiet, cool and dark. Keep TV’s and computers out of your bedroom, this minimizes distractions.
Keep any stressful activities out of the bedroom, especially while in bed.
Find ways to unwind before bed, such as a warm bath, listen to relaxing music, or reading.
Avoid any stimulants before bed, such as alcohol, tobacco and caffeine, which over-stimulate your body and interfere with your sleep cycle.
Avoid exercise 4-6 hours before bedtime.
Sleep is as essential as food, air and water. Changes in your life, will help you ensure a better nights sleep. There are two main stages of sleep, REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM sleep or NREM. NREM sleep, the first stage of sleep, happens when your brainwaves become slower and less regular. This occurs for about 1 ½ hours, when the waves become more active, even though you’re still asleep. This brings you into REM sleep, the deep sleep when dreaming occurs. The best sleep is when you go from NREM to REM over several patterns through the night. This leaves us feeling rested and refreshed the next day. For many people, this feeling doesn’t occur because most people only go through one pattern of NREM and REM sleep.
Children and sleep patterns:
Nearly 70% of children experience some sort of sleep disruption, which diminishes sleep quality as they develop into adults. We live in a world where children are spoiled by having TV’s, computers, video games available to them in their bedrooms. Kids are consuming more caffeine and other stimulants more so now than they did years ago. Lack of sleeping is another reason for childhood obesity. These sleep disruption patterns can begin as an infant. Babies are now sleeping only 12 hours a day, as opposed to 15 hours several years ago. Growing into children, they are getting 3.5 hours less sleep a week.
Tips for parents to help your children sleep better:
Establish a regular bedtime and stick with it, this reinforces a child’s biological clock, making it easier to rest easily and awake feeling rested and refreshed.
Eliminate distractions in their bedrooms; make a special room for TV and computer and this room becomes off-limits after bedtime.
Avoid feeding your child a big meal before bedtime; this can keep a child up at night.
Avoid caffeine more than six hours before bedtime; this can interfere with a good night’s sleep.
Establish a “quiet time” before bed; create a quiet-time ritual, such as taking a bath or reading them a book to help them relax.
Make sure their room is dark and quiet and their bed is comfortable, you may use a nightlight if they are scared of the dark.
Maintain a comfortable temperature in their bedroom, a room that is too hot or cold or uncomfortable pajamas, prevent your child from relaxing and getting a good night’s sleep.
Sleep – your body deserves it!
Use Time Wisely
Time is a paradox for everyone. It’s an absolute, equal for everyone, yet time seems to work better for some people, but not for others. Those with more time seem to learn how to manage their assets around time better. Time is a priceless treasure! Appreciate every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one. Utilize time the best you can and don’t let it slip through your fingers. Lost time cannot be replaced, bought or saved - it can only be spent and then it’s gone!
Tips to cherish time wisely:
1. Prioritize – Determine what’s important to you and schedule those activities first, then schedule your other priorities according to your schedule. Avoid canceling activities you truly enjoy over necessary activities.
2. Plan – This step is crucial when trying to accomplish something. This is the first thing to forget when you’re busy and stressed. Life is simple and easy when you have a plan, plus you become more productive when you have direction.
3. Delegate – Anything you do can be handled by someone else. Look at how much your time is worth and you may be able to justify delegating more tasks and chores. You will notice more free time and energy for your top priorities.
4. Set Goals – Set daily goals to help you achieve what you want in the time allotted and set targeted goals to help you achieve them regularly. This also helps raise self-confidence and increasing your performance levels. Goals help you maintain high motivation levels.
5. Structure Your Day – Keep track and take notes on when your most productive time of the day is. This peak performance time is different for everyone. Arrange your day accordingly to maximize your greatest productivity time. Begin to understand and honor your work style to help you become more efficient.
6. Value Your Time – Demonstrate that your words, actions and commitments that your time is valuable. Others will recognize and show you more respect in turn. If you don’t value you’re time, don’t expect anyone else to. This makes you value yourself more and earn more respect from others.
7. Replicate Yourself – Find someone who is just as good at your work as you are. Get into a routine to systemize some of your routine tasks. Replication causes you to increase your results without wasting extra time and energy and in turn becoming more effective.
8. Get Organized – Find a place for everything in your home and office, this way you won’t waste time searching for things in clutter which causes extra stress. Studies show that people who are surrounded by clutter spend 1.5 hours per day searching for something or becoming distracted. Create a list of what you need to achieve each day and distinguish what is and is not attainable. Focus on a certain amount of activities a day you know you can accomplish and keep your list manageable.
9. Become Focused in the Moment – Focus on what you’re working on and you will become absorbed in your work to increase your creativity and relax more. This free flowing momentum causes you to get tasks done faster and easier. Make each task perfect with all your energy instead of splitting your attention.
10.Eliminate Time Wasters – Interruptions, distractions, poor planning, over-commitments, ineffective attitudes and behaviors are known to get in the way. Rather than letting time control you, take control of your time. Take responsibility to create stronger boundaries and communicate to others around you.
Why can I never find enough time in a day?
People tend to believe that in one month, time and money will seem to be more available then it is today. By thinking too far in advance, people forget about the demands that suddenly occur. We look to the future as ideal - free of worries and with plenty of time to do everything we ever wished for. This is known as responsibility overload which causes extra stress in people who are poor stress managers. We need to learn how to say no to certain commitments and responsibilities. We need to look at how busy we are in the present moment before we think about committing to any other responsibilities.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before committing to more responsibilities:
1. Would I have time to spend on this today?
2. What kind of feelings would I associate with this responsibility or commitment?
3. If I want to do this, where can I cut back to make time for it?
4. Am I doing this for me or someone else’s expectation?
Steroids Are Bad
Steroids are man-made substances related to male hormones to enhance muscle building and masculine characteristics. These drugs are illegal, but still used by many athletes and body builders and even coaches of high schools enforce use of athletic teens. Over time, these drugs cause serious health problems and many are irreversible. These drugs are taken a period of time, called cycling. This process involves taking multiple doses over a specific period of time, stopping for a period and starting up again.
What are the side-effects of Steroid use?
Aggression, uncontrollable mood-swings, and psychiatric side effects are the most common side effects of steroids. Many people feel good when using steroids but continuous use may lead to violence and manic-like symptoms. Depression is seen when use of the steroids is stopped, which is why most users become dependant on steroids. Steroid users suffer from irritability, delusions, jealously, paranoia, and impaired judgment on others. Some steroid users begin turning to other dangerous drugs, such as heroin and opiates, to deal with the pain of steroid use.
There are some gender-specific side effects as well:
1. Male users – Shrinking of the testicles, infertility due to low sperm count, baldness, breasts increase in size and increased risk for prostate cancer.
2. Female users – Facial hair growth, male-patterned baldness, menstrual cycle becomes unpredictable, enlargement of clitoris and deeper voice.
3. Teenage users – Growth becomes halted, accelerated puberty which could cause teenagers to remain short from premature skeletal maturation if taken before their adolescent growth spurt.
Continued steroid abuse can pose harmful health risks as well, including a great chance of contracting HIV from needle injections. Users can inject intramuscularly or ingest them in liquid or pill form, as well as absorb through topical creams. More health risks including suffering from a stroke, liver failure or heart attack.
Take A Vacation
Everyone has a busy schedule, between meeting goals, achieving agendas, trying to please everyone. Taking a vacation once in awhile is not only beneficial to help relieve stress, but is also very necessary for your health. All too often, people keep delaying it, pushing it off and coming up with reasons for not taking vacations. This is a big mistake!
Stress is one of the worst things that can happen to people and can be prevented or reversed through a reduction of stress levels. Many studies support the positive effects of taking a “time-out” or going on vacation. Turn off your cell phone, computer, get your job off your mind and sit back, relax and enjoy a stress-free week once in awhile!
Why do I need a vacation?
We all need vacations. Vacations recharge us and make us more efficient at our everyday work and life. Americans are the hardest working of all societies. We work an average of 100 more hours than the Japanese and three months more than Europeans. The average paid vacation for an American is 3-4 days a year and most Americans don’t take any vacations each year. The problem is we don’t allow ourselves enough time. Humans need at least two weeks rest for your body to rebound. We live in a society that works us extra hours. We perform multiple jobs with less pay and less vacation time. We practically have to beg our employers to give us a week, let alone two weeks. Most of our vacation time is without pay, which can cause its own stress.
Working more than 40 hours a week doubles stress load and ultimately leads to heart disease. Europeans on the other hand are more productive, getting more done in less time. The most productive European countries are Belgium, France, The Netherlands and Norway; these countries employ better management techniques and require longer vacation time.
Some suggestions to recharge yourself:
1. Target your passions and build your vacation around things you like to do.
2. Wander, learn to rediscover and re-explore with no purpose.
3. Linger with a friend or family members over an extended dinner.
4. Be like a kid, go out and play!