Wednesday, July 30, 2008

How to Manage Stress During Tough Times

With news headlines all around us announcing economic changes for the worse, a lot of us are beginning to feel the twist of anxiety. When this stress response comes, the neurochemicals in our brain are thrown off balance.

Sustained periods of stress will affect your brain, leading to chemical imbalance. It will interfere with your memory, focus and concentration, making you feel agitated and unable to calm down. It is crucial for brain health and overall peace of mind that you learn to control your anxiety effectively. Read on to learn the ways to quell your anxiety and relax. As always, if you are undergoing serious anxiety, consult a healthcare professional.

1. Health in Mind = Health in Body
The average person has 60,000 thoughts a day, and nearly 80 percent of them are negative. Imagine what this is doing to your body! This negativity affects your thought patterns and behaviors subconsciously, and this has an unhealthy impact on your body.

Reframe the way you say things to yourself. You can actually change the response to anxiety with repeated affirmations, which will introduce a new positive pattern behavior in your thinking. Instead of being anxious, give empowering messages to yourself: I am strong, I am grateful, I can get through this. Repeat these positive affirmations throughout your day to transform the stress and change your attitude.

2. Cut Back on Stimulants
Stress, anxiety, insomnia, and a racing mind are byproducts of taking in too much caffeine, the central nervous system stimulator that works against your attempts to relax the body and calm the mind. To start, try cutting back for just week to see how fewer stimulants affect your overall stress level. Switch to decaf coffee, or better yet, drink herbal tea. Also, cut out sodas and other drinks that are packed with stimulants.

3. Deep Breathing Calms Anxiety
If you are in a stressful situation, you may have noticed that you breath very shallowly, up in your throat area. Unfortunately, many adults breathe this way all the time; somewhere along the way, we stopped breathing abdominally, as we did when we were babies. This habitual shallow breathing mimics the bodily actions of stress, which can actually induce your body to feel anxiety.

When you learn to breathe deeply all day - by breathing from your diaphragm - you will reduce general anxiety and gain other proven benefits, such as lowered blood pressure and heart rate. Also, it is estimated that 70 percent of the toxins and wastes in our bodies are eliminated through respiratory breathing. So start deep breathing!

Here's how: Make it part of your every day schedule to practice 20-30 minutes of deep breathing every day, and your body will respond by being relaxed all the time. To learn a method for proper breathing, click here. Also, look into stress-reducing mind-body disciplines such as tai chi, yoga, qigong, and meditation, which all incorporate breathing work into their routines.

4. Herbal Help for Anxiety
Valerian, sometimes called "nature's tranquilizer, is used to regulate the nervous system and relieve tension, irritability, nervous exhaustion and stress, and anxiety for centuries. As a sedative, valerian is non-addictive and relieves sleeplessness without the morning-after grogginess often associated with prescription sleep medications.

Schisandra berry has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine to revitalize the senses. It increases physical endurance and mental concentration, while at the same time soothing the nerves and taking the edge off anxiety. Take these herbs anytime during the day and before bed in tea or capsule form. Many of my patients have had remarkable results with Calm-Fort Elixir, an all-natural formulation of herbs to calm your spirit. For more information, click here.

5. Try the Nutrient GABA
A healthy brain needs a balance between neural chemicals that excite the nerves and those that calm the nerves. GABA (gamma amino butyric acid) is the primary neural transmitter for calming the transmission of nerve signals. It can help prevent anxiety-related messages from reaching the brain. Having levels of GABA that are too low can increase anxiety, insomnia, irritability, and depression. My suggestion is to eat a diet rich in GABA including fish, especially mackerel and wheat bran or to take 250-500 milligrams on a daily basis, along with vitamin B6.

6. Get Out of Your Head By Helping Others
Most of us could sit around all day agonizing in our heads about bad news and working our way into a negative inner dialogue. The way to get out of your own head is by doing something for others. Offer to help someone else and completely focus on his or her needs. Give a friend a hand with moving or planning an event. Volunteer for a charitable cause. It's amazing how taking the focus off yourself can reduce your stress and anxiety.

I hope you find the ways to check your anxiety! I invite you to visit often and share your own personal health and longevity tips with me.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

Source: Yahoo

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Nutritional Value of Vodka and Beer

Nutritional Value of Vodka

Vodka is one of the most popular alcoholic beverages. It is made by fermentation of wheat mash, corn mash, potato mash or rye mash.
Calorie Content of Vodka: Vodka is rich in calories. It contains about 228 calories every 100g serving. So if you are trying to lose weight, limit your intake of vodka.
Vitamin Content: Vodka is devoid of vitamins. It contains only traces of Vitamin B.
Nutrient Facts and Information of Vodka: So does vodka contain any minerals? Again, vodka is almost devoid of any minerals. It contains small quantities of phosphorus, potassium and sodium.
Health Benefits of Vodka: It is believed that vodka helps in treating heart problems and certain cancers. There are indicative scientific studies proving this; however, these studies are preliminary and no conclusion can be drawn based on this. Remember - excessive drinking affects your liver and your health is best maintained when you abstain from excessive intake of alcohol.
Nutritional Value of Beer

Beer is another popular alcoholic beverage.
Calorie Content of Beer: Beer is a good source of calories. It contains about 42 calories every 100g serving. So if you drink one bottle of beer which contains about 750 ml, your calorie intake will be about 340 calories. Normally people who drink 2-3 bottles of beer a day find that their weight has increased drastically after few days. This is due to the large amount of calories present in beer.
Vitamin Content: Like vodka, beer also contains traces of Vitamin B.
Nutrient Facts and Information Beer: Beer is not rich in any mineral. It contains small amounts of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and sodium.
Health Benefits of Beer: It is claimed that beer is beneficial in reducing stress, heart diseases, facilitating urination and inducing sleep. Of course all this is applicable when one drinks beer in limited amount.

Nutritional Value of Potato

The nutritional value of potato along with its taste and ease of cooking has made it the most popular vegetable in the entire world. Think of the day when you didn't eat even a single dish containing potatoes. Quite difficult, right?

It is said that on an average, an American consumes 62 kg of potatoes each year. We consume almost one spud of potato every day . No doubt, people consume so many potatoes because they are a good source of nutrition.

Natural potato is a good source of calories. In fact many people in poor countries, who cannot afford high-calorie diet such as milk products, meat and pulses, use potatoes as their prime source of calories. In the seveenth century potato became famous across Europe as a crop that could save people during famines. But did you know that it is also a good source of nutrients?

Given below are some nutrient facts, information and nutritional value of potatoes:

  • Mineral content: If you eat potatoes regularly, you ensure a good supply of water and ions in your body. This is because, potato is rich in potassium. The concentration being higher in the skin and just beneath it. So, eating the potato with its skin is always beneficial. Potato also contains calcium, iron, and phosphorus.
  • Vitamin content: Natural potatoes are known for the large amounts of Vitamin C present in them. Typically, 100 gm of potato will contain about 17 mg of Vitamin C. In addition to this, natural potato also contains Vitamin A, B and P.
  • Water content: Potato looks very big in size, but water accounts for about 70-80 percent of the weight of a potato. So the belief that you become fat by eating potatoes is a misconception. Of course if your potato servings contain large quantities of butter, or if you can't keep away from those high-in-fat-and-cholesterol French fries, you are bound to become overweight.
  • Starch content: Potato contains about 17% starch and it is one of the best natural sources of starch. Potato sprouting leads to conversion of starch into sugar and hence you should avoid eating sprouted potatoes.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, heart diseases, cholesterol levels, weight loss, kidney problems, digestion, metabolism, high blood pressure, immunity, dental care, diabetes, bone strength, HIV and cancer. These benefits of coconut oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and its properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, soothing, etc.
Brown CoconutThe human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which is claimed to help in dealing with viruses and bacteria causing diseases such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. It helps in fighting harmful bacteria such as listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia. As a result of these various health benefits of coconut oil, though its exact mechanism of action was unknown, it has been extensively used in Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicinal system.
Coconut oil is often preferred by athletes and body builders and by those who are dieting. The reason behind this being that coconut oil contains lesser calories than other oils, its fat content is easy converted into energy and it does not lead to accumulation of fat in the heart and arteries. Coconut oil helps in boosting energy and endurance, and enhances the performance of athletes.
Health benefits of coconut oil include the following:
  • Hair Care: Coconut oil is one of the best natural nutrition for hair. It helps in healthy growth of hair providing them a shinny complexion. Regular massage of head with coconut oil ensures that your scalp is free of dandruff, lice, and lice eggs, even if your scalp is dry. Coconut oil is extensively used in the Indian sub-continent for hair care. It is an excellent conditioner and helps in the re-growth of damaged air. It also provides the essential proteins required for nourishing damaged hair. It is therefore used as hair care oil and used in manufacturing various conditioners, and dandruff relief creams.
  • Stress Relief: Coconut oil is very soothing and hence it helps in removing stress. Applying coconut oil to the head helps in removing mental fatigue.
  • CoconutsSkin Care: Coconut oil is excellent massage oil for the skin as well. It acts as an effective moisturizer on all types including dry skin. The benefit of coconut oil on the skin is comparable to that of mineral oil. Further, unlike mineral oil, there is no chance of having any adverse side effects on the skin with the application of coconut oil. Coconut oil therefore is a safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of skin. It also delays wrinkles, and sagging of skin which normally become prominent with age. Coconut oil is also helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections. Therefore coconut oil forms the basic ingredient of various body care products such as soaps, lotions, creams, etc., used for skin care.
  • Premature Aging: Coconut oil helps in preventing premature aging and degenerative diseases due to its antioxidant properties.
  • Heart Diseases: There is a misconception spread among many people that coconut oil is not good for the heart. This is because it contains a large quantity of saturated fats. However, coconut oil is beneficial for the heart. It contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in preventing various heart problems including heart burns, high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. The saturated fats present in coconut oil are not harmful as it happens in case of other vegetables oils. It does not lead to increase in LDL and HDL levels. It also reduces the incidence of injury in arteries and therefore helps in preventing atherosclerosis.
  • Weight Loss: Coconut oil is very useful in reducing weight. It contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that help in taking off excessive weight. It is also easy to digest due as it helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and enzymes systems. Further, it increases the body metabolism by removing stress on pancreases, thereby burning out more energy and helping obese and overweight people reduce their weight. Hence, people living in tropical coastal areas, who eat coconut oil daily as their primary cooking oil, are not fat, obese or overweight.
  • Pancreatitis: Coconut oil is also useful in treating pancreatitis.
  • Digestion: Internal use of coconut oil occurs primarily as cooking oil. Coconut oil helps in improving the digestive system and thus prevents various stomach and digestion related problems including irritable bowel syndrome. The saturated fats present in coconut oil have anti microbial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc., that cause indigestion. Coconut oil also helps in absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
  • Immunity: Coconut oil is also good for the immune system. It strengthens the immune system as it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which is claimed to help in dealing with viruses and bacteria causing diseases such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. It helps in fighting harmful bacteria such as listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia.
  • Healing: When applied on infections, it forms a chemical layer which protects the infected body part from external dust, air, fungi, bacteria and virus. The curative properties of coconut oil are useful in healing as well. It speeds up the repairing of damaged tissues.
  • Infections: Coconut oil is very effective against a variety of infections due to its antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. According to the Coconut Research Center, coconut oil kills viruses that cause influenza, measles, hepatitis, herpes, SARS, etc. It also kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, etc. Coconut oil is also effective on fungi and yeast that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete's foot, thrush, diaper rash, etc.
  • Liver: The presence of medium chain triglycerides and fatty acids helps in preventing liver diseases as they substances are easily converted into energy when they reach the liver, thus reducing work load on the liver and also preventing accumulation of fat.
  • Kidney: Coconut oil helps in preventing kidney and gall bladder diseases. It also helps in dissolving kidney stones.
  • Diabetes: Coconut oil helps in controlling blood sugar, and improves the secretion of insulin. It also helps in effective utilization of blood glucose, thereby preventing and treating diabetes.
  • Bones: As mentioned earlier, coconut oil improves the ability of our body to absorb important minerals. These include calcium and magnesium which are necessary for development of bones. Thus coconut oil is very useful to women who are prone to osteoporosis after middle age.
  • Dental Care: Calcium is an important element present in teeth. Since coconut oil facilitates absorption of calcium by the body, it helps in getting strong teeth. Coconut oil also stops tooth decay.
  • HIV and Cancer: It is believed that coconut oil plays an instrumental role in reducing viral susceptibility of HIV and cancer patients.

Friday, July 25, 2008


Of all our meals, breakfast is the meal we're most likely to skip. Why? Who has extra time in the morning to make a meal? But unfortunately, the old adage is true: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This is not only true for us adults but also for our kids.

Starting your day with breakfast confers many benefits. Eating in the morning actually jump-starts your metabolism so you are able to burn more calories during the first part of your day. Studies have shown that people who eat breakfast eat less fat during the rest of the day and even have lower cholesterol levels than those who skip breakfast.

Research has also shown that kids who eat breakfast have better concentration and problem-solving skills at school, have healthier body weights, and take in more nutrients during the day. Kids who skip breakfast may even become more tired and irritable.

And breakfast doesn't have to take a lot of time. Use some of these quick meal ideas that can even be eaten on the run.
  • Scrambled eggs in a whole-wheat wrap
  • Whole-wheat toast with peanut butter
  • Crackers and cheese
  • Oatmeal cooked up with some dried fruit
  • Whole-grain cereal with sliced fruit and milk
  • Fruit and yogurt smoothie
  • Bran muffin and a piece of fruit
  • Lean lunch meat on a toasted English muffin
  • Pita bread with hummus
  • A mix of dried fruit, nuts, and dry cereal
  • Yogurt with cereal sprinkles and raisins
  • String cheese and whole-wheat toast
  • Snack bars — look for bars that are high in fiber and protein and lower in calories
If you keep some of these items on your grocery list, breakfast can be a no-brainer! And remember, if you eat breakfast, your kids will be more likely to eat breakfast.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

10 Biggest Brain Damaging Habits

1. No Breakfast - People who do not take breakfast are going to have a
lower blood sugar level. This leads to an insufficient supply of
nutrients to the brain causing brain degeneration.

2. Over-eating - It causes hardening of the brain arteries, leading to a
decrease in mental power.

3. Smoking - It causes multiple brain shrinkage and may lead to
Alzheimer disease.

4. High Sugar Consumption - Too much sugar will interrupt the absorption
of proteins and nutrients causing malnutrition and may interfere with
brain development.

5. Air Pollution - The brain is the largest oxygen consumer in our
body. Inhaling polluted air deceases the supply of oxygen to the brain,
bringing about a decrease in brain efficiency.

6. Sleep Deprivation - Sleep allows our brain to rest. Long term
deprivation from sleep will accelerate the death of brain cells.

7. Head covered while sleeping - Sleeping with the head covered,
increases the concentration of carbon dioxide and decrease concentration
of oxygen that may lead to brain damaging effects.

8. Working your brain during illness - Working hard or studying with
sickness may lead to a decrease in effectiveness of the brain as well as
damage the brain.

9. Lacking in stimulating thoughts - Thinking is the best way to train
our brain, lacking in brain stimulation thoughts may cause brain

10. Talking Rarely - Intellectual conversations will promote the
efficiency of the brain.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Self Management

You are responsible for everything that happens in your life. Learn to accept total responsibility for yourself. If you do not manage yourself, then you are letting others have control of your Life. These tips will help "you" manage "you."

Here is a list of things that help you in self management and which will in turn lead you to the path of success: -

-) Look at every new opportunity as an exciting and new-life experience.

-) Be a professional who exhibits self-confidence and self-assurance in your potential to complete any task.

-) Agree with yourself in advance that you will have a good attitude toward the upcoming task.

-) Frequently ask, "Is what I am doing right now moving me toward my goals?"

-) Do it right the first time and you will not have to take time later to fix it.

-) Accept responsibility for your job successes and failures. Do not look for a scapegoat.

-) Do not view things you do as a "job." View all activities as a challenge.
-) Use your subconscious mind by telling it to do what you do want. Instead of telling yourself, "I can't do that very well," say, "I can do this very well."-) Give yourself points for completing tasks on your "to-do" list in priority order. When you reach 10 points, reward yourself.

-) Practice your personal beliefs. It may be helpful each morning to take 15 minutes to gather your thoughts and say a prayer.

-) Make a commitment to show someone a specific accomplishment on a certain date. The added urgency will help you feel motivated to have it done.

-) Practice self-determination, wanting to do it for yourself.

-) Believe that you can be what you want to be.

-) Never criticize yourself as having a weakness. There is no such thing. You are only talking about a present undeveloped skill or part of yourself that if you so chose, you can change. You do not have any weakness, only untapped potential.

-) Be pleasant all the time-no matter what the situation.

-) Challenge yourself to do things differently than you have in the past. It provides new ideas and keeps you interested.

-) Talk to yourself. A self-talk using positive affirmation is something that is common among all great achievers. They convince themselves that they can accomplish their goals.

-) Create your own "motivation board" by putting up notes of things you need to do on a bulletin board or special wall space. It is an easily visible way to see what you need to work on. When an item is done, remove the note. Also keep your goals listed and pictured on your board.

-) Stay interested in what you are doing. Keep looking for what is interesting in your work. Change your perspective and look at it as someone outside your job would,

-) Establish personal incentives and rewards to help maintain your own high enthusiasm and performance level.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Juices for Good

Cabbage juice has ulcer-healing capabilities, but should be used in conjunction with a doctors prescribed therapy. However, patients with gas trouble should avoid it.

Cucumber juice cleanses your kidney, lowers high blood pressure and improves skin problems.

Beet juice cleanses the blood and strengthens the fall bladder and liver.

Carrot juice is an excellent source of beta-carotene, potassium, trace minerals, and anti-cancer nutrients, including phthalide and gluthathione (antioxidants)

Celery juice contains the anti-cancer nutrients phthalide and polyacetylene (antioxidants).It is rich in potassium and sodium and helps lower BP.

Garlic acts as a natural antibiotic and blood thinner and can reduce cholesterol levels. Add a clove to your vegetable mix.

Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and will also protect the stomach from irritation. Migraines and motion sickness can also be relieved by ginger juice.

Wheat grass juice is used as an enema. It helps detoxify the walls of the piles. It can be mized with spinach and lime.

Bitter gourd juice is used as an anti-diabetic medicine. It also helps in purifying the blood.

Bottle gourd juice is used in the treatment of stomach acidity, indigestion, ulcers, epilepsy and other nervous diseases.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

An egg

Eggs could protect against heart disease, cancer and eye problems, says a new study disapproving the assumption that eggs were bad for cholesterol levels.

Bruce Griffin of the University of Surrey analysed 30 egg studies and found that people who consumed one or more eggs a day were at no more risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease than non-egg eaters, reported the online edition of Daily Mail.

Egg yolks contain cholesterol, but nutritionists now know it is the saturated fats in food, not dietary cholesterol, that raises blood cholesterol levels, a risk factor for heart attacks.

"To view eggs solely in terms of their dietary cholesterol content is to ignore the potential benefits of eggs on coronary risk factors, including obesity and diabetes," Griffin says, describing eggs as super food.

One egg provides 13 essential nutrients, all in the yolks. It contains the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, which could help to prevent or even reverse the age-related eye problem macular degeneration (MD).

Egg whites contain albumen, an important source of protein, and no fat, the researchers say.

Eggs are an excellent source of B vitamins, which are needed for vital functions in the body, and also provide good quantities of vitamin A, essential for normal growth and development, the researchers said.

An egg's vitamin E content protects against heart disease and some cancers; there's also vitamin D, which promotes mineral absorption and good bone health.

Eggs are rich in iodine, for making thyroid hormones, and phosphorus, essential for healthy bones and teeth.

Girls who eat an egg a day in their teens may give themselves additional protection against breast cancer in later life.

It is the essential nutrients in eggs, such as amino acids, vitamins and minerals that may be responsible for this protection.

Eggs are also low in calories - a large egg contains only 75 calories and 5 grams of fat - and other research suggests they can help you lose weight.

Health experts used to recommend a maximum egg consumption of three a week to avoid a rise in blood cholesterol levels. But since evidence has shown that it is saturated fat intake that affects cholesterol, advice has changed.

Now Britain's government's Foods Standards Agency (FSA) says there is no limit as long as they form part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Eating Habits

The term eating habits (or food habits) refers to why and how people eat, which foods they eat, and with whom they eat, as well as the ways people obtain, store, use, and discard food. Individual, social, cultural, religious, economic, environmental, and political factors all influence people's eating habits.

Why and How People Eat

All humans eat to survive. They also eat to express appreciation, for a sense of belonging, as part of family customs, and for self-realization. For example, someone who is not hungry may eat a piece of cake that has been baked in his or her honor.

People eat according to learned behaviors regarding etiquette, meal and snack patterns, acceptable foods, food combinations, and portion sizes. Etiquette refers to acceptable behaviors. For example, for some groups it is acceptable to lick one's fingers while eating, while for other groups this is rude behavior. Etiquette and eating rituals also vary depending on whether the meal is formal, informal, or special (such as a meal on a birthday or religious holiday).

A meal is usually defined as the consumption of two or more foods in a structured setting at a set time. Snacks consist of a small amount of food or beverage eaten between meals. A common eating pattern is three meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) per day, with snacks between meals. The components of a meal vary across cultures, but generally include grains, such as rice or noodles; meat or a meat substitute, such as fish, beans, or tofu; and accompaniments, such as vegetables. Various food guides provide suggestions on foods to eat, portion sizes, and daily intake. However, personal preferences, habits, family customs, and social setting largely determine what a person consumes.

What and how people eat is determined by a variety of factors, including economic circumstances, cultural norms, and religious restrictions. Here, an Iranian family sits on the floor and eats from a cloth laden with regional delicacies. [Photograph by Earl and Nazima Kowall. Corbis. Reproduced by permission.]
What and how people eat is determined by a variety of factors, including economic circumstances, cultural norms, and religious restrictions. Here, an Iranian family sits on the floor and eats from a cloth laden with regional delicacies.
[Photograph by Earl and Nazima Kowall. Corbis. Reproduced by permission.]

What People Eat

In each culture there are both acceptable and unacceptable foods, though this is not determined by whether or not something is edible. For example, alligators exist in many parts of the world, but they are unacceptable as food by many persons. Likewise, horses, turtles, and dogs are eaten (and even considered a delicacy) in some cultures, though they are unacceptable food sources in other cultures. There are also rules concerning with whom it is appropriate to eat. For example, doctors in a health facility may eat in areas separate from patients or clients.

Obtaining, Storing, Using, and Discarding Food

Humans acquire, store, and discard food using a variety of methods. People may grow, fish, or hunt some of their food, or they may purchase most of it from supermarkets or specialty stores. If there is limited access to energy sources, people may store small amounts of foods and get most of what they eat on a day-to-day basis. In homes with abundant space and energy, however, people purchase food in bulk and store it in freezers, refrigerators, and pantries. In either case there must also be proper disposal facilities to avoid environmental and health problems.

Exposure to Foods

There are innumerable flavors and food combinations. A liking for some flavors or food combinations is easily acceptable, but others must develop or be learned. Sweetness is a universally acceptable flavor, but a taste for salty, savory, spicy, tart, bitter, and hot flavors must be learned. The more a person is exposed to a food—and encouraged to eat it—the greater the chances that the food will be accepted. As the exposure to a food increases, the person becomes more familiar and less fearful of the food, and acceptance may develop. Some persons only eat specific foods and flavor combinations, while others like trying different foods and flavors.

Influences on Food Choices

There are many factors that determine what foods a person eats. In addition to personal preferences, there are cultural, social, religious, economic, environmental, and even political factors.

Individual Preferences.

Every individual has unique likes and dislikes concerning foods. These preferences develop over time, and are influenced by personal experiences such as encouragement to eat, exposure to a food, family customs and rituals, advertising, and personal values. For example, one person may not like frankfurters, despite the fact that they are a family favorite.

Cultural Influences.

A cultural group provides guidelines regarding acceptable foods, food combinations, eating patterns, and eating behaviors. Compliance with these guidelines creates a sense of identity and belonging for the individual. Within large cultural groups, subgroups exist that may practice variations of the group's eating behaviors, though they are still considered part of the larger group. For example, a hamburger, French fries, and a soda are considered a typical American meal. Vegetarians in the United

Someone who is repeatedly exposed to certain foods is less hesitant to eat them. For example, lobster traditionally was only available on the coasts, and is much more likely to be accepted as food by coastal dwellers. [AP/Wide World Photos. Reproduced by permission.]
Someone who is repeatedly exposed to certain foods is less hesitant to eat them. For example, lobster traditionally was only available on the coasts, and is much more likely to be accepted as food by coastal dwellers.
[AP/Wide World Photos. Reproduced by permission.]
States, however, eat "veggie-burgers" made from mashed beans, pureed vegetables, or soy, and people on diets may eat a burger made from lean turkey. In the United States these are appropriate cultural substitutions, but a burger made from horsemeat would be unacceptable.

Social Influences.

Members of a social group depend on each other, share a common culture, and influence each other's behaviors and values. A person's membership in particular peer, work, or community groups impacts food behaviors. For example, a young person at a basketball game may eat certain foods when accompanied by friends and other foods when accompanied by his or her teacher.

Religious Influences.

Religious proscriptions range from a few to many, from relaxed to highly restrictive. This will affect a follower's food choices and behaviors. For example, in some religions specific foods are prohibited, such as pork among Jewish and Muslim adherents. Within Christianity, the Seventh-day Adventists discourage "stimulating" beverages such as alcohol, which is not forbidden among Catholics.

Economic Influences.

Money, values, and consumer skills all affect what a person purchases. The price of a food, however, is not an indicator of its nutritional value. Cost is a complex combination of a food's availability, status, and demand.

Environmental Influences.

The influence of the environment on food habits derives from a composite of ecological and social factors. Foods that are commonly and easily grown within a specific region frequently become a part of the local cuisine. However, modern technology, agricultural practices, and transportation methods have increased the year-round availability of many foods, and many foods that were previously available only at certain seasons or in specific areas are now available almost anywhere, at any time.

Political Influences.

Political factors also influence food availability and trends. Food laws and trade agreements affect what is available within and across countries, and also affect food prices. Food labeling laws determine what consumers know about the food they purchase.

Eating habits are thus the result of both external factors, such as politics, and internal factors, such as values. These habits are formed, and may change, over a person's lifetime.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The dangers and benefits of vitamin C...

Ever since Linus Pauling advocated large doses as a cure for the common cold, the benefits of vitamin C have always been a controversial subject. Many of the claims Pauling made about vitamin C attracted attention because he won the coveted Nobel Prize in both chemistry and peace.
You'll often see vitamin C called ascorbic acid, a term that literally means "no scurvy". Some 250 years ago, a British physician found that sailors given citrus fruits were cured of scurvy (which is the result of a vitamin C deficiency).
Unfortunately, the British Navy waited 50 years until they acted on this information and required all its vessels to provide lime juice to every sailor. The term limey was given to British sailors because of this requirement.
Dehydroascorbic acid and ascorbic acid are the active forms of vitamin C found in food. Most supplements contain only ascorbic acid. Levels of ascorbic acid in the blood rise to the same degree following the consumption of both vitamin C containing foods and ascorbic acid.
Because of this, some have concluded that supplements offer the same benefit as food. However, this ignores the fact that dehydroascorbic acid (the other active form of vitamin C) may have positive effects other than that of raising ascorbic acid levels [19]. In fact, your body can absorb and use both forms of vitamin C [29].

One of the main benefits of vitamin C is its function as an antioxidant.

If you leave an iron nail outside, it will rust. Slice an apple in half, and it turns brown. Both are examples of oxidation, defined as a chemical reaction that involves the loss of an electron from an atom. Dip a sliced apple in lemon juice, however, and the rate at which the apple turns brown is slowed. That's because the vitamin C in the lemon juice slows the rate of oxidative damage.
Free radicals are molecules with an unpaired electron. In this state, they're highly reactive and destructive to everything that gets in their way.
Although free radicals have been implicated in many diseases, including heart disease and cancer, they're actually a normal part of your body chemistry, and can help to keep you healthy. White blood cells, for example, use free radicals to "attack" viruses and bacteria.
Optimal health, however, requires a balance between free radical generation and antioxidant protection. One of the functions of an antioxidant is to "quench" these free radicals before they create too much damage.
However, there is research to show that vitamin C may act as a pro-oxidant [15]. In other words, vitamin C, under certain conditions anyway, may act in a manner that is opposite to its intended purpose. This has raised concern among thousands of people who supplement their diets with vitamin C because of its antioxidant benefits.

So, is vitamin C all it's cracked up to be? Does it really offer all the health benefits most of us believe in?

Vitamin C and other antioxidants are often recommended on the basis that they improve athletic performance.
And it's true that...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Health Benefits From Swimming

Swimming is considered to be a healthy and relaxing activity. It tones the body and provides an excellent cardiovascular workout as well. Moreover, it also strengthens your heart muscles and improves the delivery of oxygen to the different parts of the body.
Experts and trainers opine that this sport can be of extremely great help to your health and if included in the daily regimen, it is bound to yield marvelous results.

The Health benefits of swimming

According to the U.S. Water Fitness Association (USWFA), swimming provides individuals with several physical, social and mental benefits. Some of them include improved strength and flexibility, enhanced muscular stamina and balance, a stronger heart, and better physique or figure. Apart from this, swimming also works as a fast and effective remedy for healing muscles.

Swimming also helps in weight control and can relieve your mind from stress and tension, fueling your energy level to a large extent. This is will keep you in perfect shape, physically as well as mentally. Swimming can be very beneficial to your heart, lungs, and muscles. Regular swimming builds up muscle strength and stamina, and also improves posture and flexibility.

Swimming can particularly be quite helpful for individuals who are obese, or individuals suffering from leg or lower back problems. This activity offers some aerobic benefits and unlike other weight training programs, swimming does not put strain on connective tissues.
Swimming can be a wonderful recreational activity for individuals and families. This activity can gradually increase your heart rate and stimulate your muscle activity. Moreover, swimming improves blood circulation through your muscles to help them recover, and help you relax as you glide through the water.

Swimming is a great calorie burner

Swimming burns 3 calories a mile per pound of bodyweight. For instance if you weigh 150 lbs and it takes you roughly about 30 minutes to swim one mile, then you can expect to lose 900 calories in one hour. Swimming for fitness is quickly gaining a lot of popularity, as it can be a perfect activity for nearly anyone. This includes the most competitive athletes to the physically challenged individuals.

Research indicates that pregnant women benefit the most from swimming. It makes their abdominal muscles strong, which are most essential when carrying a baby. In addition, it strengthens the back and the muscles that help post-mastectomy women carry their weight more easily. According to experts, exercising in water can considerably reduce joint stiffness, high blood pressure, and discomfort, which is often associated with pregnancy.

Swimming is great for recovering after surgery

After a woman has just undergone a breast surgery, doctors often suggest swimming as part of the recovery process. This is considered to be an advantageous means of exercising all the major muscle groups. It is advisable that you consult a physician before commencing an exercise program. It is very important to talk to experts as they can confirm which swimming strokes are moderate and which can be strenuous.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Everyday ways to practice meditation

Here are some ways you can practice meditation on your own, whenever you choose. Take a few minutes or as much time as you like.

  • Breathe deeply. This technique is good for beginners because breathing is a natural function. Focus all attention on your breathing. Concentrate on feeling and listening as you inhale and exhale through your nostrils. Breathe deeply and slowly. When you feel your attention wander, gently return your focus to your breathing.
  • Scan your body. When using this technique, focus attention on different parts of your body. Become aware of your body's various sensations, whether that's pain, tension, warmth or relaxation. Combine body scanning with breathing exercises and imagine breathing heat or relaxation into and out of different parts of your body.
  • Repeat a sacred name or phrase. A mantra is the name of a sacred deity or a sacred phrase that you repeat silently or aloud. You can create your own mantra. Mantras are the building blocks of transcendental meditation. Examples of religious mantras include a Jesus prayer in the Christian tradition, the holy name of God in Judaism, or the Om mantra of Hinduism, Buddhism and other Eastern religions.
  • Walking meditation. Combining a walk with meditation is an efficient and healthy way to relax. You can use this technique anywhere you're walking — in a tranquil forest, on a city sidewalk or at the mall. When you use this method, slow down the pace of walking so that you can focus on each movement of your legs or feet. Don't focus on a particular destination. Concentrate on your legs and feet, repeating action words in your mind such as lifting, moving and placing as you lift each foot, move your leg forward and place your foot on the ground.
  • Engage in prayer. Prayer is the best known and most widely practiced example of meditation. Spoken and written prayers are found in most faith traditions. You can pray using your own words or read prayers written by others. Check the self-help or 12-step-recovery section of your local bookstore for examples. Talk with your rabbi, priest, pastor or other spiritual leader about resources.
  • Read or listen and take time to reflect. Many people report that they benefit from reading poems or sacred texts silently or aloud, and taking a few moments to quietly reflect on the meaning that the words bring to mind. You can listen to sacred music, spoken words or any music you find relaxing or inspiring. You may want to write your reflections in a journal or discuss them with a friend or spiritual leader.
  • Focus your love and gratitude. In this type of meditation, you focus your attention on a sacred object or being, weaving feelings of love and gratitude into your thoughts. You can also close your eyes and use your imagination or gaze at representations of the object.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Health Benefits of Cashew Nuts

Cashew is a bean shaped nut that grows on a tropical evergreen tree. The casher tree is related to poison ivy and the shell of the cashew nuts contains an irritating poison. People who touch the shell sometimes develop skin rashes / blisters. Roasting removes all poison from the nuts.
Vitamins and Minerals content :
  • Vitamin B
  • Thiamine
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Fat
  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Calories
Cashew Nuts is Beneficial for :
  1. Body Building
  2. Emaciation
  3. Problems with teeth and gums
  4. Lack of vitality

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Ten Ways to Beat a Cold

There is still no way to cure a common cold. The best that over-the-counter cold remedies can do is to mask the symptoms and help you function, though some of the side effects, particularly drowsiness, can leave you feeling worse. As most of the symptoms of a cold help your body fight the viral infection, supressing them may actually prolong the agony. So instead of reaching for the Night Nurse try the following measures and natural remedies to help your body deal with the viral onslaught.


1. Wash your hands regularly. Your mother always told you...
In particular avoid touching your eyes or nose unless you've just washed your hands, as these are the main ways that the virus enters your body.

2. Boost your immune system with Echinacea. A few drops in some water three times a day will help build up your natural defences. Although you should not take it continuously for more than eight weeks at a time, if all around are starting to sneeze, start taking it as a preventative measure.

3. Now the central heating has gone back on, don't let the air in your home or office get too try. A dry atmosphere will dehydrate your nasal passage, making it more susceptible to a passing virus. If you haven't got a humidifier, leave a small bowl of water on top of the radiator.

First Signs

4. Research suggests that taking zinc from the first onset of symptoms can shorten the duration of a cold or sore throat.

5. Garlic has excellent anti-viral properties and is another immune-system booster. The bad news is that it is most effective in its raw state (four cloves should do it - well you weren't thinking of going anywhere with that cold anyway, were you?). Otherwise use a couple of bulbs (yes bulbs, not cloves) to make a soup.

6. A few brazil nuts will help boost your body's levels of selenium.


7. Menthol and eucaplytus oils are old-established friends of the cold sufferer. The best way to use them to relieve nasal congestion or ease a sore throat or cough is to inhale. Try a few drops of esssential oil in a hot bath or vapouriser, or add to a bowl of steaming water and place your head under a towel to inhale the steam.

8. Chicken soup: known as "Jewish Pencillin". Highly digestible and nourishing, it will make you feel better even if we can't work out why.

9. If you're making a soup try spicing it up with ginger, lots black pepper or cayenne, and of course garlic. Not exactly mother's recipe but all of these are used in Ayurvedic medicine to help your respiratory track.

10. Drink lots of fluids, especially water and fruit juices. It can be helpful to add a few drops of grapefruit seed extract (GSE) or Citricidal.

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