October 01, 2014

Mythical Places That Have Entrances In The Real World (5 pics)

Do you believe in folklore? Most stories are based on some sort of reality and if you look hard enough, you'll see that these 5 places have real world entrances.

Bulletproof Backpacks Are Now Common In Schools (2 pics)

It's sad that we live in a society where kids have to wear bulletproof backpacks, but it just goes to show, you can never be too safe.

9 Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

Not only are sweet potatoes readily available, inexpensive, and delicious, there are many other reasons to love these yummy vegetables. Here are 9:
1. They are high in vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 helps reduce the chemical homocysteine in our bodies. Homocysteine has been linked with degenerative diseases, including the prevention of heart attacks.
2. They are a good source of vitamin C. While most people know that vitamin C is important to help ward off cold and flu viruses, few people are aware that this crucial vitamin plays an important role in bone and tooth formation, digestion, and blood cell formation. It helps accelerate wound healing, produces collagen which helps maintain skin’s youthful elasticity, and is essential to helping us cope with stress. It even appears to help protect our body against toxins that may be linked to cancer.
3. They contain Vitamin D which is critical for immune system and overall health at this time of year. Both a vitamin and a hormone, vitamin D is primarily made in our bodies as a result of getting adequate sunlight. You may have heard about seasonal affective disorder (or SAD, as it is also called), which is linked to inadequate sunlight and therefore a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D plays an important role in our energy levels, moods, and helps to build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, and teeth, and it supports the thyroid gland.
4. Sweet potatoes contain iron. Most people are aware that we need the mineral iron to have adequate energy, but iron plays other important roles in our body, including red and white blood cell production, resistance to stress, proper immune functioning, and the metabolizing of protein, among other things.
5. Sweet potatoes are a good source of magnesium, which is the relaxation and anti-stress mineral. Magnesium is necessary for healthy artery, blood, bone, heart, muscle, and nerve function, yet experts estimate that approximately 80 percent of the population in North America may be deficient in this important mineral.
6. They are a source of potassium, one of the important electrolytes that help regulate heartbeat and nerve signals. Like the other electrolytes, potassium performs many essential functions, some of which include relaxing muscle contractions, reducing swelling, and protecting and controlling the activity of the kidneys.
7. Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet-tasting but their natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream, helping to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy, without the blood sugar spikes linked to fatigue and weight gain.
8. Their rich orange colour indicates that they are high in carotenoids like beta carotene and other carotenoids, which is the precursor to vitamin A in your body. Carotenoids help strengthen our eyesight and boost our immunity to disease, they are powerful antioxidants that help ward off cancer and protect against the effects of aging. Studies at Harvard University of more than 124,000 people showed a 32 percent reduction in risk of lung cancer in people who consumed a variety of carotenoid-rich foods as part of their regular diet. Another study of women who had completed treatment for early stage breast cancer conducted by researchers at Women’s Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) found that women with the highest blood concentrations of carotenoids had the least likelihood of cancer recurrence.
9. There are versatile. Try them roasted, puréed, steamed, baked, or grilled. You can add them to soups and stews, or grill and place on top of leafy greens for a delicious salad. I enjoy grilling them with onions and red peppers for amazing sandwich or wrap ingredients. Puree them and add to smoothies and baked goods.

Colorectal Cancer: Eating Fish, And 8 Other Things That Could Lower Your Risk

Getting more fish in your diet could lower your risk of developing colorectal cancer, according to a new review of studies.

Researchers from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School looked at the research to find that people who ate fish as part of their regular diets have a 12 percent lower chance of developing colorectal cancer, than people who don't eat much fish at all, Reuters reported.

The association was stronger for rectal cancer, but a "modest trend" was still seen for colon cancer, according to the study, published in the American Journal of Medicine.

But "if you eat fish very frequently, it's not clear whether your benefit continues to go up (by eating even more)," study researcher Dr. Michael Gochfeld told.

Earlier this year, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that eating at least three servings of fish a week can lower women's risk of some kinds of colon polyps -- which can turn into cancer.

Researchers of that study, from Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, said fish may work in this sense because the omega-3 fatty acids in fish can decrease inflammation, thereby lowering risk of colon polyp development.

Colorectal cancer is currently the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S., according to the CDC, but the number of new cases and deaths are both decreasing, due to better treatment and early detection. While more adults are being screened, one in three adults still isn't getting screened for colorectal cancer when they should be.

Want to take action against colorectal cancer? Check out this foods and behaviors that are linked with a decreased risk of colorectal cancer, or its risk factors:

Eat Fiber From Whole Grains

Researchers from Britain and the Netherlands found that the more total dietary fiber and cereal fiber people consumed, the lower their colorectal cancer risk. For example, people who consumed an extra 90 grams of whole grains a day also had a 20 percent lower risk of colorectal cancer, according to the British Medical Journal review.

However, that same study didn't show a link between eating fiber from fruits and vegetables and a lowered colorectal cancer risk, meaning there may be something else in whole grains at work, too.

Take Aspirin

Researchers from the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands found that people who take aspirin once a day have a 30 percent decreased risk of dying from colorectal cancer, if taken for at least a nine-month period.

And, the benefit extended to after a person had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer. The researchers found that people who had already been diagnosed and who took aspirin had a 23 percent decreased risk of dying from the disease, compared with people who didn't take it at all.

Eat Chocolate (Maybe)

The Daily Mail reported on a study in mice, published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, showing that rats exposed to a carcinogen developed fewer colon cancer lesions than rats if they consumed high-cocoa diets.

"Being exposed to different poisons in the diet like toxins, mutagens and procarcinogens, the intestinal mucus is very susceptible to pathologies," study researcher Maria Angeles Martin Arribas, a researcher at the Institute of Food Science and Technology and Nutrition, said in a statement. "Foods like cocoa, which is rich in polyphenols, seems to play an important role in protecting against disease."

However, it's important to note that this effect was tested only on mice.

Consume Ginger Root

Research published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research showed that taking 2 grams of ginger root supplement every day might have colon cancer-preventing powers. The researchers from the University of Michigan Medical School found that taking ginger root supplements helped to minimize signs of inflammation of the colon, which has been connected to colon cancer.

Go To A Classical Music-Loving Doctor

A study from the University of Texas Health Science Center showed that doctors who conduct colonoscopies while listening to Mozart are more likely to find polyps, which can lead to colon cancer, ABC News reported. The study showed that polyp-detection increased to 36.7 percent from 27.16 percent when the doctors listened to Mozart.

Exercise Regularly

A study in the journal Cancer Causes & Control showed that people who exercise or play sports five or more times a week can lower their risk of developing colorectal cancer, compared with those who don't exercise regularly (or at all), Johns Hopkins University reported.

Why exercise might reduce colon cancer risk isn't well understood. It may be because exercise enhances the immune system or because it reduces levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factors, all of which have been associated with colon cancer risk.

Enjoy Some Berries (Maybe)

A study in mice showed that compounds called anthocyanins, found in black raspberries, seem to have powers at anti-colorectal cancer powers, MyHealthNewsDaily reported.

The berries may help to prevent cancer because of their "high antioxidant activity," study researcher Gary Stoner, of the College of Medicine at Ohio State University, told MyHealthNewsDaily; those antioxidants work to fight against DNA-damaging free radicals in the body.

September 28, 2014

Top 10 Migraine Triggers

Headaches might just be the most oppressive common malady there is. About 40 percent of us routinely suffer ordinary tension-type headaches, which range from the sensation of a tightening band to outright pounding around the head. Ninety-three percent have these headaches at least once or twice a year.
It gets worse for the additional 50 million Americans who endure migraines, which pulse and throb relentlessly on one side of the brain. Accompanied by nausea, dizziness, numbness, neck pain and a host of other physical symptoms — even hallucinations — migraines can be mild or can grind life to a halt for hours or days at a time. The most severe migraines keep people home, in darkened bedrooms, and unable to drive, withstand the light of day, work or care for their kids. About 6 million people suffer migraines every day of their lives.
A perfect cure for headaches may not be within our grasp anytime soon. But by embracing the wide range of treatments available now — from avoiding triggers and taking supplements to trying medical interventions when warranted — all but the most intractable headaches can be controlled.

Dietary Triggers: Top 10 List
David Buchholz, MD, of Johns Hopkins University, points to the top 10 migraine triggers found in food:
Caffeine. Found in coffee, tea, colas and certain other sodas. Going off caffeine suddenly can also trigger headaches.
Chocolate. Anything with cocoa. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, which may cause blood vessels to expand and contract.

Nuts. From almonds to pistachios, they can all be culprits, as can nut butters.
Monosodium glutamate. Famously found in Chinese food, but also in seasoned salt, salty snacks, prepared soups, many low-fat and low-cal foods, and even veggie burgers. Steer clear of hydrolyzed vegetable, soy or plant proteins, which can contain similar compounds.

Deli meats and fish. If it has been aged, canned, cured, fermented, marinated, smoked or tenderized, it may trigger headaches, says Buchholz. Preservation with nitrites or nitrates is a no-no. Avoid beef livers and chicken livers, as well.
Dairy products, especially cheese. This includes all kinds of hard cheeses and foods prepared with cheese. The more aged the cheese, the worse the trigger. White cheeses, including cottage cheese, ricotta and cream cheese, have not been implicated, but yogurt has.

Red wine. Too much red wine or any dark alcohol can stack the decks against you. Of all drinking alcohols, vodka is tolerated best. Also avoid vinegar; balsamic is the most problematic, but white should be OK.
Certain fruits and vegetables.   Among the problematic fruits: citrus fruits and fruit juices, bananas, raisins and other dried fruits preserved with sulfites, raspberries, red plums, papayas, passion fruit, figs, dates, and avocados. Vegetable culprits include sauerkraut, pea pods and beans (from fava to navy to lentils). The worst vegetable offender may be onions, though baby onions are OK.

Freshly baked breads risen with yeast. Especially problematic is sourdough. Also look out for bagels, doughnuts, pizza dough and soft pretzels less than 24 hours out of the oven.
Aspartame. Found in many diet soft drinks and artificial sweeteners, aspartame contains excitotoxins known to affect nerve cells.

 Natural Cures and Easy Fixes Worth Trying
Natural Cures
Eager to prevent your headaches before they start? These are the top five most effective and scientifically validated supplements:

Riboflavin, otherwise known as vitamin B2. Two hundred milligrams of B2 twice a day has been shown to help a significant subset of patients with migraines, says neurologist Richard Lipton, MD, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. The key to success, experts say, is taking the vitamin every day, whether you have a headache or not.

Butterbur, a root extract from the plant Petasites hybridus. Researchers compared butterbur with a placebo in 245 headache patients. Over the course of four months, migraine attack frequency was reduced by 68 percent for those receiving 75 milligrams of the supplement twice a day.

Magnesium. Crucial for many cellular processes. When magnesium is deficient, a headache may result. Numerous studies show that patients taking magnesium supplements have significantly fewer migraine attacks, lose fewer days to pain, and can greatly reduce the amount of medication they take for migraines. Neurologist Alexander Mauskop, MD, director of the New York Headache Center, recommends daily doses of up to 600 milligrams.

Coenzyme Q10. European researchers compared migraine sufferers treated with this antioxidant with a placebo group. After three months of treatment, half of the migraine patients had fewer attacks and less nausea than the control group. The recommended dose is 300 milligrams, three times a day.

Feverfew, made from the plant Tanacetum parthenium, has long been used for headaches. The active ingredient, parthenolide, prevents blood vessel constriction, a leading cause of headaches. At the same time, parthenolide inhibits two headache triggers implicated in the inflammatory process: arachidonic acid and prostaglandins. Mauskop recommends a dose of 100 milligrams, taken up to four times a day.
Not every supplement will work for every patient, notes Mauskop. He recommends mixing these preventives for the best effect. Though the formula varies by patient, his favorite supplement cocktail tends to include�50 milligrams of feverfew, 200 milligrams of riboflavin, 150 milligrams of coenzyme Q10 and 200 milligrams of magnesium, taken twice a day with food. As with any treatment regimen, you should consult with your healthcare provider before proceeding.

 Easy Fixes Worth Trying
Easy Fixes Worth Trying
  • Avoid caffeine drinks and chocolate.
  • Eliminate diet soda and other products with aspartame.
  • See an acupuncturist.
  • Try biofeedback.
  • Eat breakfast and schedule regular meals.
  • Stop wearing perfume and avoid scented products.
  • Don’t oversleep or undersleep.
  • Stay away from MSG (monosodium glutamate) and remember that many diet products are loaded with it.
  • Get regular aerobic exercise.
  • Check your home for fumes.
  • Embrace stress-management techniques like yoga, meditation or deep breathing.
  • Identify and eliminate food to which you have intolerances or sensitivities.

The 8 foods everyone over 40 should eat


Top grain: Oats help reduce cholesterol
WHY? Oats contain beta-glucans, a soluble fibre that can help lower the unwanted form of cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Avenanthramides – antioxidants unique to oats – protect against atherosclerosis (the build-up of plaque on artery walls), so giving oats an advantage over other grains.

THE EVIDENCE: Researchers conclude that eating just 3g of oats daily is enough to reduce total cholesterol by five to ten per cent.
It is estimated that the risk of developing heart disease drops by two per cent for every one per cent reduction in total cholesterol.
This is a must for the 50-plus group, as it is in this decade that heart-disease risk shoots up.

HOW TO EAT: Either as porridge or by adding a heaped tablespoon to plain yogurt.

WHY? Cherries are useful in combating several conditions common in middle age, including gout and arthritis. They are a rich source of the antioxidant anthocyanin.

THE EVIDENCE: Gout, which affects mainly men, is linked to raised levels of uric acid, forming crystals within the small joints. In a trial, researchers gave healthy participants 200g of cherries at breakfast. They noted that the rate at which uric acid was excreted increased by 60 per cent.

HOW TO EAT: Eat a dozen cherries or drink a glass of unsweetened juice three or four times a week. Eat fresh with yogurt or seeds to ensure absorption of the beneficial vitamins.

WHY? Benefits range from improved blood-sugar levels to reducing cholesterol.

THE EVIDENCE: A study revealed that 20 adults eating 60g of almonds daily for four weeks showed a nine per cent reduction in blood-sugar, suggesting almonds could offer protection against cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Another study took 22 adults and replaced about a third of their usual sources of fat with almonds. After six weeks they noted a six per cent reduction in ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, while their ‘good’ HDL cholesterol increased by six per cent.

HOW TO EAT: Choose plain varieties as excess salt can lead to raised blood pressure.

WHY? Omega 3 fats in these fish can help lower heart rate and blood pressure, and reduce the risk of irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia).

THE EVIDENCE: The best sources of omega 3 fats are salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines and herring. A trial found that women who ate oily fish on a regular basis experienced the lowest incidence of strokes. Fish must be eaten at least four times a week for optimal benefits.

HOW TO EAT: Omega 3 fats are sensitive to high temperatures, so cook on a low heat or steam lightly. Eating raw fish such as sashimi will protect the beneficial fats.

WHY? Isoflavones in soy beans have been linked to lowering cholesterol, increasing bone density in post-menopausal women and improving male fertility.

THE EVIDENCE: In a study, 42 post-menopausal women over the age of 50 were given three 30g servings of soy beans daily.
After 12 weeks it was noted that high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the good type of cholesterol, had increased by 3.7 per cent while total cholesterol had reduced by 5.5 per cent.
Levels of the protein osteocalcin also increased in the blood, benefiting bone density.

HOW TO EAT: Consume fresh edamame beans or soy beans in cans.
They should be eaten twice or three times a week.
Soy can influence hormone levels and over-consumption is not recommended for pre-menopausal women without the advice of an endocrinologist.
In men, the isoflavones can have a mild effect on testosterone.


WHY? Tomatoes are an excellent source of the antioxidant lycopene. They offer a degree of protection against the formation and spread of cancer cells as well as protecting arteries from atherosclerosis.

THE EVIDENCE: Research has shown that drinking 150ml of tomato juice after 20 minutes of exercise offers protection against prostate, lung and stomach cancers and heart disease.

HOW TO EAT: Lycopene is more easily absorbed by the body when the sources are cooked, so cooked tomato, in its many forms, is the most convenient way to benefit from lycopene. Look for juice, passata, puree or sauce (fresh, not sweetened).

WHY? Full-fat milk can help combat the reduction in muscle mass associated with getting older, especially after the age of 50.

THE EVIDENCE: A 2006 study found that drinking full-fat milk after exercise helped ensure that muscle mass was enhanced.
Whole milk contains 118mg of calcium per 100ml, which is essential for bone health as well as assisting blood-clotting.
The daily recommended intake of calcium is about 1,000mg for men and 1,200mg for women. Eating green vegetables, nuts and seeds in addition to whole milk is an effective way to achieve this.

HOW TO EAT: Whole milk can be added to porridge, cereals, tea, coffee and smoothies. Get professional advice before taking a calcium supplement – for example, taking too much can increase prostate cancer risk in men.

WHY? This is a great source of protein – one 200g skinless breast provides 60g. Helps contribute to effective weight-management and muscle-building.

THE EVIDENCE: A study in 2010 revealed that a ‘moderate increase in protein’ resulted in maintenance of weight loss compared with higher-carbohydrate diets.
Chicken soup might also be able to combat the common cold. As a skinless chicken breast contains only 1g of saturated fat, it is a useful alternative to red meat.

HOW TO EAT: Cut the fat content by removing the skin (breast is 17 per cent fat with skin on, and about two per cent without). The leg, even with the skin off, contains six per cent fat.