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Breast Cancer Prevention and Awareness

Breast Cancer Prevention

  1. Limit alcohol

The more alcohol you drink, the greater the chance of developing breast cancer.

2. Do not smoke

Studies have shown there is a link between smoking and breast cancer risk.

3. Control your weight

Being overweight or obese increases the likelihood of developing breast cancer.

4. Be physically active

Being physically active will help you maintain a healthy weight, thus lowering the risk of breast cancer.

5. Breast-feed

Breast-feeding may play a role in preventing breast cancer. The longer you breast feed, the greater the protective effect.

6. Limit dose and duration of hormone therapy

Combination hormone therapy for more than three to five years increases the risk of breast cancer.

7. Avoid exposure to radiation and environmental pollution

Some research shows a link between breast cancer and cumulative
exposure to radiation over your lifetime.

Information provided by Mayo Clinic.

Breast Cancer may be linked to Alzheimer’s

Since 1994, it has been well known that mutations in the BRCA gene can contribute to higher risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. However, recently researchers say that the gene may also play a part in the nerve death that is responsible for Alzheimer’s. Studies have found that the BRCA1 gene not only affects cell growth, but also interferes with nerve cells’ ability to repair their DNA.

Information provided by TIME.

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10 tips on how to keep brain cells healthy!

  1. Mental Stimulation

Scientists have found that brainy activities stimulate new connections between nerve cells and may even help the brain generate new cells. Any mentally stimulating activity should help your brain. Examples of activities include: reading, taking courses, solving word problems, completing math problems, drawing, painting, and other crafts.  

2. Filling your body with lots of fruits and vegetables

 Filling your body with fruits and vegetables will allow antioxidants to help fight against free radicals. Every fruit and vegetable is very important and does different things for your body. For example, an apple is a very good source of boron, a trace mineral that affects the electrical activity of the brain, increasing mental alertness and boosting estrogen in postmenopausal women. It also helps reduce cholesterol and contains many cancer-fighting phytochemicals. As the saying says, an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

3. Physical Exercise

Studies have proved that using your muscles have a direct correlation to your mind. Exercise helps your mind. Scientists have found that animals who exercise regularly increase the number of tiny blood vessels that bring oxygen-rich blood to the region of the brain that is responsible for thought. Exercise is also found to increase the connections between brain cells, which are called synapses. Exercise also has lots of other benefits for your body, not just for your brain. It lowers blood pressure, improves cholesterol levels, helps blood sugar balance, and reduces mental stress.

4. Improve your diet

Improving your diet will help your mind and body. Studies have found that people that eat a Mediterranean style diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, and unsaturated oils like olive oil, and plant sources of proteins are less likely to develop cognitive impairment and dementia.

5. Improve your blood pressure

High blood pressure can increase the risk of cognitive decline in old age. Try to keep your blood pressure as low as possible. Stay fit, limit your alcohol intake, reduce stress, and eat right.

6. Improve your blood sugar

Diabetes has proven to be an important risk factor for dementia. By eating right and exercising daily, one can help prevent diabetes.

7. Improve your cholesterol

High levels of LDL, which is known as “bad” cholesterol, are associated with an increased risk of dementia. Managing your diet, exercising daily, and avoiding tobacco will help improve your cholesterol levels.

8. Stop excessive intake of alcohol

Excessive drinking is a major risk factor for dementia. If you chose to drink, limit yourself to two drinks a day.

9. Protect your head

Make sure to wear a helmet if using a bike or other vehicle that requires a helmet. Moderate to severe head injuries increase the risk of cognitive impairment.

10. Build strong social relationships

Studies have shown that strong social ties are associated
with a lower risk of dementia, lower blood pressure, and longer life
expectancy.

Information found by Harvard Health.

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Dr. Paul Milone was at our event last night!

Last night we had Dr. Paul Milone speak at our event. It was exceptional! The audience was so excited to hear about all the new information he provided. He explained that in our body we have over 30 billion cells that we need to keep healthy. Also, there are a lot of important factors to help prevent disease like eating lots of fruits and vegetables and finding ways to reduce stress levels such as through meditation. Thank you to Dr. Paul Milone for providing an abundant amount of useful information. Thank you to everyone that joined us last night!

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Alzheimer’s Awareness Day! June 21st!

The month of June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month!
On June 21st, which is known as the longest day, everyone will be
focused on bringing awareness to Alzheimer’s. Please join us in wearing purple
to spread awareness for this disease. Alzheimer’s is a slowly progressive
disease of the brain that affects one’s memory. Risk factors include age, genetics,
and possible estrogen. More research is being conducted to determine the role
of estrogen in Alzheimer’s disease. It is believed that this disease results
from an increase in the production or accumulation of a protein called
beta-amyloid that then leads to nerve cell death. Alzheimer’s affects more than
5 million Americans. Every 65 seconds, someone in the United States develops
this disease. Please help us spread awareness for this disease not only during
the month of June, but every month.  

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10 Tips for Healthy Aging!

Living a Healthy Lifestyle is vital for healthy aging! We
need to keep our bodies, our hearts and our minds healthy in order to live,
laugh and love longer. Here are 10 very simple yet important steps.

  1. EAT WELL.
    It is an undeniable fact that we live in a country with a plethora of
    everything. BUT a low fat diet, filled with fruits, vegetables and fiber is
    crucial.
  2. STAY
    ACTIVE – KEEP MOVING
    . Physical activity (even 30 to 40 minutes of walking)
    increases blood flow to the brain. It improves your mood and it positively
    impacts your overall well – being. Exercise is also important for brain health,
    a healthy heart rate, strength and flexibility.
  3. LEARN NEW
    THINGS
    . Challenge your brain by learning new things. Read an interesting
    book, start a foreign language, a new hobby. The more you learn, the more you
    keep your brain active and prevents its incline.
  4. GET
    ENOUGH SLEEP.
    Seven to eight hours of daily sleep are imperative for your
    overall health. Insomnia and sleep deprivation can have a negative effect on
    the immune system, on memory, concentration and thinking.
  5. STOP
    SMOKING AND LIMIT ALCOHOL
    . Smoking can increase the risk of a serious
    illness. Similarly, too much alcohol can also increase the risk of liver
    cirrhosis, it can impair judgement, alertness and potentially lead to
    accidents, crashes, falls and broken bones.
  6. STAY
    CONNECTED
    . Social interaction and an active social life are pivotal for
    brain health, cognitive stimulation and your overall mood. Humans are social
    beings and they need people around them. So invite your friends and family over
    for a dinner, a barbeque party, board games or just a “hang-out” coffee. You
    might want to organize a neighborhood event and get to know your community
    better. It will all work to your advantage and benefit your psychological and
    physical well-being.
  7. KNOW YOUR
    BLOOD PRESSURE
    . Check your blood pressure regularly and make sure that it
    is within the normal range. If at any point you feel like it is not, visit your
    doctor! Irregular blood pressure can be an indication of a heart issue which
    you would want to prevent and avoid. It can also impact cognitive function so
    GET TO IT!
  8. GET YOUR
    DOCTOR
    . It is really important to keep your doctor informed on all and any
    changes regarding your health. Get regular checkups and do not miss your
    doctor’s appointment.
  9. GET A
    MEMORY SCREENING
    . A memory screening test is a simple and safe tool that
    checks memory and other evaluation skills. It assesses memory, language skills,
    thinking ability and other intellectual functions.
  10. REDUCE
    STRESS.
    Unfortunately, we all get stressed and anxious more than a few
    times during the day. However, stress and anxiety have a very negative effect
    in our health. They can contribute to many health issues, among others, high blood
    pressure and heart disease. So aim to find active ways to reduce your stress
    since it will make you feel better!

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The 20 sec Quiz; How much do you really know?

  1. Starve a cold to get well faster.

Myth?                     Fact?

2. You are not contagious after the first few days, even if you are still sniffling.

Myth?                     Fact?

3. Bundling up in the winter will make you less likely to get sick.

Myth?                     Fact?

4. Megadose of vitamin C can stop a cold in its tracks.

Myth?                     Fact?

5. Green mucus means you have a bacterial infection.

Myth?                     Fact?

Most Americans come down with a cold several times during the year. So let’s see what’s true and what’s not, on what you know regarding a common cold.

1.MYTH. Not getting enough nutrients is never a smart idea! While fighting a cold you need to make sure that you get all the nutrients and vitamins your body needs to boost up your immune system! It might feel like you don’t have much of an appetite, so in that case just try and drink your way to them nutrients! Have yourself some nice fruit and vegetable juice, some broth, tea, water and fight that cold all the way out!

2. MYTH. While you are the most contagious when your symptoms are at their worst, at the same time, sneezing and coughing few days after that might indicate that you still have the bug.

3.MYTH. The truth is that you might get the cold during the winter regardless of how heavily you layer up. Due to the fact that during them cold days people stay indoors for a long amount of time, it is easier for the bugs to spread in closed spaces.

4.MYTH. Vitamin C does boost your immune system and it helps in preventing a cold BUT when you already have the cold, an increased amount will not stop it. It might even cause minor stomach disturbances.

5.MYTH. Mucus usually changes color as the cold progresses but that is not an indication of whether someone has caught a bacterial or a viral infection.

At the same time remember to;

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use a non-alcohol based sanitizer.
  • Move more
    since exercising has been proven to help fight off an illness.
  • Cut out stress
    since it lowers the body’s levels of white blood cells, which are the main
    fighters of your immune system!
  • Get enough sleep. While you are sleeping, your body releases a certain kind of proteins
    called cytokines, which protect you against infections and inflammations.

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The Benefits of Meditation

Meditation is defined as an action where an individual
engages in practices such as mindfulness or focusing their mind in a particular
object which aims at training their attention, awareness and achieves an
emotionally clear, calm and stable state. It has been used since 500 BCE and it
has been part of so many different religions all over the world like Judaism,
Taoism, Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism and Christianity. The Rosary for example,
is a devotion for the meditation of the mysteries of Jesus and Mary. Extensive
research and clinical studies have indicated the health benefits of meditation
in the general population and in seniors too.

Some of the benefits of meditation is the fact that it increases immune function, decreases inflammation at a cellular level and pain. To be more specific, a study conducted by the Institute of Seattle indicated that it relieves chronic back pain, something that elders often suffer from. Researchers compared cognitive behavioral therapy, meditation and pain meds. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on reframing the way in which the participants thought of pain. It tries to turn the perception of it being something horrible to something manageable. At the same time meditation was conducted in the form of a mindfulness based stress reduction session. What they concluded is that out of the 229 adult participants, 47% of the people who practiced meditation indicated a less disabling back pain. At the same time, 52 % of the CBT group reported less disabling pain after an 8-weeks period. On the other hand, only 35 % of the group who were administered a pain med experienced an improvement.

Meditation in the form of a mindfulness-based stress reduction technique focuses on both emotional and physical feelings, like pain. It helps the individual handle the way they interpret, process and react to pain. The reason behind it is that it alters activity in those regions of the brain related to attention and emotion. It has also been noted that it can improve additional types of pain such as shoulder pain, arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Surprisingly enough, research suggests that meditation plays an important role in slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s and dementia. It increases cortical thickness and grey matter, both of which are associated to decision making and memory. Thus, it slows down the aging process of the brain. It also improves mental alertness and the processing of negative emotions which are associated to Alzheimer’s and dementia (especially feelings of depression, confusion, stress and anxiety). Furthermore, it decreases the levels of cortisol (a stress hormone), which has been linked to the risk of developing dementia.

Truth is that none of us can control what happens outside,
what life throws at us. But what we do have control over is our mind. And
meditation is a medium that helps achieve all that. Not only does it help in
memory, attention, emotion regulation and self-control. Not only does it
decrease pain, depression, anxiety and stress but it also helps gain control of
our mind, of our emotions (whether physical or psychological). It improves our
well-being, holistically, from the inside out! So in case you haven’t tried it
yet, incorporating a 20 min meditation session in your daily routine could make
a big difference!

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Take Care of Your Heart; Do Not Let It Fall Apart!

February is eventually here and is designated as the American Heart Month! Unfortunately, heart diseases are the leading causes of death in the United States. According to a report published by the American Heart Association (AHA) 121.5 million adults in the U.S. have some kind of a cardiovascular disease. By heart disease we imply all those conditions that affect your heart such as impaired blood vessels, coronary artery disease, arrhythmias or congenital heart defects. The term “cardiovascular disease” is used alternatively to “heart disease” and refers to conditions related to narrowed or blocked blood vessels. Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) could lead to a heart attack, stroke or chest pain. But which are the causes leading to a cardiovascular disease?

To begin with, cholesterol (bad LDL), can ‘clog up’ the arteries that feed your heart and brain. By ‘clogging-up’ we mean the build-up of fatty plaques in your arteries (atherosclerosis). These plaques harden and narrow the inner lining of the arteries making it harder for the blood to flow by restricting normal blood flow. As the plaques build up, they form a bump on the arterial wall known as a blood clot. Blood clots are dangerous since they cause blood blockage which in turn can lead to a stroke, arterial rupture or additional heart problems. It should be noted that apart from cholesterol, smoking and high blood pressure are also leading factors for CVD.

High blood pressure is a ‘silent killer’ since it does not have any evident symptoms. At the same time, it is a risk factor for a heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure and premature cardiovascular death. Shockingly, according to the AHA, 116.4 million of U.S. adults are estimated to have hypertension and by 2035 more than 130 million adults (45.1 % of the population) are estimated to have some form of CVD.

Similarly, smoking can have detrimental consequences on heart health. According to reports, 1 in 6 males and 1 in 7 females in the U.S. are current smokers. Although tobacco use among adults seems to have decreased, e-cigarette use has increased among adolescents, which is equally worrisome. Stress, diabetes, obesity and lack of exercise are risk factors for atherosclerosis and CVD too. According to research, 80% of Americans fail to meet recommended amounts of exercise. The Federal Health and Human Services Department suggests that adults should be getting at least two hours of aerobic physical activity weekly while the children from 7 to 17 years old at least 60 minutes of moderate vigorous physical activity daily.

The good news is that all the risk factors for heart disease have the same denominator; they can be minimized and controlled. Health specialists and scientists suggest that a healthy diet, more regular exercise, abstaining from tobacco products, reducing and managing stress are vital for CDV prevention. In any case, it is important to remember that to feel good from your head to your feet, you should be keeping a healthy heart beat!

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Don’t Forget To Get Your Fiber!

Fiber is one of the most important nutrients of a diet, which often seems to be neglected. Scientists have long known and proven that eating fiber is good for your health. It helps stave off heart disease, cancer, digestive problems while at the same time it is helping control cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Most people get overwhelmed with counting calories, carbohydrates, fats, added sugars that forget to eat enough fiber. Fiber along with adequate liquid intake moves quickly and easily through your digestive track and helps it function properly. The daily intake for women is estimated between 21-25 grams while for men between 30-38 grams. According to additional studies from Mayo Clinic, it decreases obesity, heart disease, colorectal cancer, knee arthritis and type 2 diabetes.

Andrew Reynolds and his team conducted a large meta-analytic study analyzing over 180 observational studies and 50 clinical trials from the past four decades which indicated that people who included fiber in their daily diet, demonstrated a 15% to 30% reduced risk of death and chronic diseases compared to those who did not. Similarly, researchers suggested that Ugandans who ate high vegetable diets, avoided many diseases common amongst Europeans and Americans.
The good news is that it is not hard to add fiber to your daily nutrition. Any increase in dietary fiber will have better health benefits than no increase! Below we will be listing the foods with highest fiber content, per category (according to Mayo Clinic’s reviews).

Fruits; raspberries, pear, apple with skin, banana, orange
Vegetables; boiled green peas, broccoli, turnip greens, Brussel sprouts
Grains; spaghetti (whole wheat), barley, bran flakes, quinoa
Legumes, nuts, seeds; split peas, lentils, black beans, chia seeds

So next time you have breakfast add some bran flakes, some almonds, some raspberries, chia seeds and you will be ready to go!

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The “Magic” Properties of Turmeric

I am sure that you have all heard about it, cooked with it, tasted it; TURMERIC! Although you have most probably used it in its powder form,-as a spice-, it is a plant of the ginger family, whose roots we use in cooking. In Asia and India they have been using it for thousands of years as a medicine, dye and food supplement. What is so interesting about turmeric is that it contains 5% to 10% curcumin, a bright yellow chemical – “super nutrient”.

Curcumin is a super nutrient because it belongs to the group of natural phenols, which are micronutrients packed with antioxidants and many health benefits.
To begin with, its anti-inflammatory properties fight the foreign invaders in the body repairing the damage and improve the function of the endothelium (inner lining) of the blood vessels. Both of these functions lower the risk of a heart disease. Most importantly however, it boosts the brain delivered neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which is responsible for neurogenesis (the formation of new neurons and neuronal connections). As a result, it decreases the risk of a brain disease since most of them are due to neuronal degeneration. For example, decreased levels of BDNF might lead to depression and Alzheimer’s.

This non-toxic treatment however, not only prevents age-related memory decline but appears to have a variety of benefits such as significant improvement in memory, attention, depression, decision making and anxiety. A study at UCLA confirmed all these benefits and suggested that curcumin reduces the deposits of pathological proteins in our bodies and aids digestion as well. So while cooking during these festive days don’t forget to use your turmeric and enjoy your meals!

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