Health for Women
Stretching is often overlooked, but when done can lead to a better posture, fewer aches and pains, a more positive outlook on life and a better body.
Stretching can help blood circulation for a healthier body and sends oxygen to your brain allowing you to think clearer and brighten up your mood.
Ever notice that no matter what you eat, you still seem to feel bloated? A potential explanation for living with this symptom could be an intolerance to gluten.
Often found in wheat, barley and rye, gluten can trigger autoimmune inefficiencies for those intolerant, which can also lead to a number of symptoms. Gluten disorders break down into three main categories: Allergic, autoimmune and immune medicated. Autoimmune is the most severe but rarest of the three, and side effects for allergic and immune medicated typically last for a few hours, but can increase over time if unregulated.
Approximately 18 million Americans suffer from gluten sensitivity, and are often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions, making it hard to distinguish what justifies being gluten intolerant. Here are five primary indicators that gluten may be drastically affecting your health:
Bloating, gas and indigestion
Experiencing digestive problems is one of the main symptoms of gluten intolerance. When digesting gluten, swelling in the abdomen may develop over time, resulting in extreme discomfort and gas. Upset stomachs and constipation are other common side effects of a gluten intolerance and reports show that switching to a gluten-free diet can help get rid of indigestion problems.
Itchy Skin Rashes
Another signal of severe gluten sensitivity is a skin rash that also can prompt itching or blisters. These often develop anywhere on the elbows, knees, back or neck. Symptoms of hives and dandruff are also reported with gluten sensitivity.
Fatigue and headaches
If you're constantly feeling groggy or dealing with spontaneous headaches at least three times per month, it may be due to your gluten intake. Chronic fatigue may also be a result of of the headaches and leave you feeling sluggish, having difficulty with concentrating and impact your short term memory. These symptoms are generally associated with disruptions to immune health caused by gluten intolerance.
If you are experiencing difficulty with conception, perhaps it's due to your body's lack of acquiring proper nutrients that's often associated with an overabundance of gluten . While further research needs to be conducted to officially link gluten intolerance and infertility, it still remains a condition that is often reported with gluten sensitivity.
Sadness and anxiety
While many adults struggle with sudden mood swings, feelings of hopelessness and abrupt sadness, people who have been diagnosed with gluten sensitivity have reported higher levels of these emotions and anxiety more than the general population. This could be due to a gluten intolerance that affects motor skills and mood swings.
Gluten allergies are susceptive to men and women of all ages and races, and the only known cure is establishing a gluten-free diet. If you're looking for a gluten alternative, try a soy meal replacement shake, packed with nutrients and antioxidants necessary to sustain a gluten-free lifestyle.
Many people think that wearing high heels frequently is worth the discomfort due to the excellent workout it provides. In fact, some gyms and studios have jumped on this idea by offering exercise classes where participants wear heels to tone and shape up. It's true that stilettos can make people look leaner by lengthening the legs and accentuating the calves, but the benefits of wearing heels to get fit are only surface-deep.
In fact, high heels seem to be more detrimental than good to the body! Here are multitudinous alarming things to know about wearing high heels frequently:
- A 2011 Danish study found that people who wore heels frequently were at higher risk of osteoarthritis in the future. One likely site for arthritis is the knees: The strain of walking with knees slightly bent, which iswhat we do when we wear heels, wears away cartilage in the knees.
- The height of this footwear puts strain on the shin muscles, potentially causing painful shin splints.
- Wearing high heels frequently causes tighter quads. Typically when people wear heels, their bodies are tipped forward due to arching their backs and bending their knees. This makes the quads work harder and puts a lot of stress on the stabilizing tendons in the knees.
- Calve muscles are one of the biggest casualties of high heel-wearing. When donning heels, our calf muscles are forced into a shortened position. Very frequent wearers sometimes have permanently shortened calves, which can cause a great deal of pain.
- The forward-leaning of wearing these shoes causes the Achilles tendon to shorten as well, leading to foot pain and putting stress on the biggest toe and the ball of the foot.
- Some health experts also suggest that, as high heels make people walk more slowly (and potentially less), they might actually burn fewer calories and gain weight in the long run.
Exercises and stretches for high heel wearing
So, it seems like there are plenty of reasons to ditch the heels in favor of something more comfortable and, frankly, healthier. But if you want to or need to wear stilettos, remember that moderation is key. Here are some stretches and exercises to do to relieve the pain caused by this footwear and prepare for heel-wearing:
- Stretch your Achilles tendons, which attach your calf muscles to your heels. You can get Achilles tendonitis by switching abruptly from regular high heel-wearing to wearing flats. But you can do some strengthening stretches to make this less likely. One good option is standing on a curb or step with your heels hanging over the edge. Rise up and down on your toes, holding for a count of two when rising up, to get a good stretch.
- If you're walking on especially small stiletto heels, you might be prone to a fall. But you can strengthen your ankles by doing lateral hops and using a resistance band to flex your feet.
- You already know how tired, strained and tight your calves can feel after wearing towering shoes. Make sure to stretch before and after to prep your calves and give them relief. Downward dog is a good stretch because it lengthens the calves.
- Work on building your core muscles, including those in your lower back. Wearing heels requires many muscles to engage to help you maintain balance. If your core muscles are weak, this puts a lot of strain on others as well as your lower back, which can exacerbate current back problems. Do some yoga moves to gain a better sense of balance and strong core muscles, like the one-legged tree pose. Another is to trace the letters of the alphabet with one foot, toe-pointed, while balancing on the other leg. This challenging and fun exercise strengthens the abs and the muscles around the ankles.
Men's bodies are different from women's and, thus, each sex has different nutritional requirements and needs that vary based on one's body type and fitness goals.
Post-workout nutrition is very important for repairing muscle and replenishing the body in the right way. After an intense workout, most people don't feel like eating a heavy meal. Instead, here are some post-workout drinks that are most beneficial for women:
Protein is important for every person to recover from a workout. Women generally need less protein per serving than men. One good option is whey protein-based shakes, such as Naturade 100% Whey, because whey is derived from milk and is thus high in calcium, which is important for women's bone health. Naturade's VeganSmart All-In-One Nutritional Shake is also a good option for women because it is high in vitamins B6, folic acid, iron and zinc, all of which are especially important for women.
Tart cherry juice
This might seem strange, but recent research has shown that tart cherries might have the highest anti-inflammatory properties of any foods. Inflammation is common in joints after workouts, especially for women who are prone to arthritis. So, sipping on tart cherry juice – in addition to some protein, of course – might be a good idea.
Homemade veggie juice
It's important to get protein after a workout, but women can also try making a homemade vegetable juice high in the nutrients and vitamins their bodies need. Use leafy greens like kale, collards, spinach and dandelion greens. They are all high in iron and many are high in vitamin B6. Blend the greens with sweet fruits like pineapples and bananas to make the vegetable juice more appetizing.
Cellulite: It's a nine-letter word that's almost unspeakable to most women. While men can have cellulite too, their bodies typically have less fat, especially on the thigh and buttocks areas, so it affects women the most. Cellulite happens when the collagen fibers in the skin stretch, pull tight or break down and fat cells bulge out, creating the dimpled effect that many of us fear and loathe. But an important thing to know about cellulite is that it isn't related to how much you weigh - it's more closely related to genetics, diet, lifestyle and hormone changes. Here are some things you can do to possibly avoid cellulite:
- Stay hydrated. Keep a water bottle with you at all times, because dehydration is bad for the cells, skin and other parts of the body.
- Avoid smoking.
- Eat plenty of fiber, veggies and fruits, and stay away from yo-yo dieting.
- Exercise frequently, especially if you have a sedentary job.
Cellulite-free cardio workout
Today, many of our jobs involve sitting in an office chair for eight hours per day. This is not good for circulation and could contribute to the development of cellulite. Thus, exercise is very important. Here's a quick cellulite-busting cardio routine:
- Romanian dead lifts, 10 repetitions: Grab some weights and, standing with your feet hip-width apart and slightly bent knees, hold the weights with your palms facing your body and slowly bend forward. Push your glutes out behind you, then tighten them and stand.
- Squat press with twist, five sets, two times each: With your feet hip-width apart and your weight lifted up by your shoulders with palms facing forward, do a squat. When you rise up, stretch your arms straight up and twist your torso to the right. Then do a set to the left.
- Around-the-clock lunges, three sets of 15: These lunges will work your hamstrings, quads, thighs and glutes – all of the areas most prone to cellulite formation. Put your hands on your hips and lunge forward – the 12 o'clock position. Then return to your standing position, before lunging to the right for 3 o'clock. Continue by lunging back to the 6 o'clock position and then to the side for 9 o'clock. Then switch to the left leg.
- Standing calf raises, 10 repetitions: Stand on a step with your heels hanging over the edge. Lift up onto the balls of your feet and hold the position for two counts before lowering your feet until your heels are just below the step. For an extra challenge, stand on one leg at time.
Even though they’re solid, bones are dynamic, living tissue, made mostly from collagen and calcium phosphate, a mineral that hardens bone exterior. But as you age, existing bone breaks down faster than new bone is made, increasing risk of osteoporosis, a condition that reduces bone density and raises chance of fractures. Support your skeleton at any age with these expert suggestions.
Pump up protein
Collagen, a certain type of protein, forms bones’ scaffolding, enabling them to withstand stress. If you’re protein deficient, bones can become brittle, leading to breakage no matter how much calcium they contain because the body makes collagen from amino acids, protein’s building blocks. Get 15 percent to 25 percent of your daily calories from various protein sources. Good choices include organic, grass-fed buffalo; free-range eggs; and sprouted legumes, nuts, and seeds.
Limit acidic foods
Foods common in poor diets (pizza, white bread, potato chips, sweets) promote an acidic body environment. To achieve and maintain a healthy, neutral blood pH, your body will scavenge important minerals like calcium, phosphorus, zinc, and silica from more alkaline tissues, such as bone, which weakens them. Limit acidic foods like processed foods, sugar, grains, dairy, and caffeine or alcohol, and increase pH-balancing vegetables like zucchini and cucumber.
Watch calcium intake
Calcium isn’t the only player in bone density; in fact, many people actually have too much calcium in their bodies, which can contribute to kidney stones, joint pain, and possibly heart disease. Vitamin K2 regulates excess calcium deposits and supports bone integrity. Try 100 mcg vitamin K2 per day.
Weight-bearing exercises activate bone cells called osteoblasts, which form new bones. Climb stairs, hike, bike, or run for at least 30 minutes every day. Walking uphill is also a safe alternative if you cannot do high-impact activity. If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, exercise with a physical therapist’s guidance.
The hormones parathyroid, estrogen, progesterone, and cortisol all influence bone health. When one hormone is deficient, it causes a domino effect that imbalances other hormones, diminishing calcium absorption and deteriorating bones. If you’re a menopausal woman or a man with unusually low energy levels, work with an endocrinologist to get your hormone levels tested and develop a comprehensive hormone balance plan.[box]THE WRINKLES-BONES CONNECTION
Everyone gets wrinkles, whether from sun exposure, processed foods, or ageing. But research from the Yale School of Medicine shows deeper wrinkles may also indicate lower bone density, increasing fracture risk. Why? Skin and bones share the same building block proteins, including collagen, which keeps skin taut.
The Fix: Take 2,000 mg collagen (including types I and III) daily and eat foods containing lysine, an amino acid that helps your body build collagen and absorb calcium. Lysine-rich foods include fish, egg whites, and legumes. For overall skin health and wrinkle prevention, also opt for free radical-fighting fruits and vegetables, along with healthy oils such as alive oil and flaxseed oil.[/box] [hr]
Many people look forward to living a long life. But it’s hard to find someone who isn’t concerned with the physical symptoms that come with aging, from wrinkles to joint pain. In fact, a recent study found that habitual sunbathers are more likely to kick their habit at the threat of wrinkles than that of cancer. And as Baby Boomers reach their golden years, many are looking for ways to maintain their youthful appearance and lifestyle without undergoing injections and other invasive procedures. Shoppers seeking to naturally promote antiaging from the inside out have an ally in the supplement aisle: BioCell Collagen.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein found in the body, accounting for 30 percent of our total supply, and it mostly resides in connective tissues in the skin and joints such as cartilage, skin dermis, bones, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. When we’re young, collagen is abundant and allows us to move with ease, plus enables our skin to stretch and move without sagging or developing wrinkles. As we age, collagen production naturally slows and the overall amount depletes, which can result in undesirable wrinkles in the skin and painful stiffness in the joints.
Over 20 different types of collagen have been identified, but generally speaking, you’ll find two types in the supplement aisle: type I, which is abundant and found primarily in the hides, bones, and skin of animals, and type II, which is rarer because it is only found in cartilage where it naturally coexists with hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate in a blood-free environment.
Of these types, collagen is either unhydrolyzed (also known as undenatured) or hydrolyzed. In its original, unhydrolyzed state, collagen molecules are very large and therefore not effectively absorbed by the body. Hydrolyzation breaks down the collagen into small molecular weight fragments to maximize absorption, explains Joosang Park, MD, vice president of scientific affairs at BioCell Technology, makers of BioCell Collagen—a patented ingredient comprised of naturally occurring hydrolyzed collagen type II, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid.
The science of BioCell Collagen
When it comes to skin care, studies show that BioCell Collagen can reduce skin dryness and wrinkles. In a study, a daily 1 gram dose of BioCell Collagen yielded a significant increase in the skin’s collagen (including types I and III) content after just six weeks; the study’s participants saw a visual difference in the skin—a 76 percent reduction in dryness and a 13 percent reduction in fine lines and wrinkles—after the full 12 weeks of treatment.
BioCell Collagen also was shown to offer relief to those suffering from joint discomfort. In a recent randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human study of 80 participants with a chronic history of joint pain, study participants experienced a significant reduction in pain and stiffness.
BioCell Collagen’s patented composition also delivers chondroitin sulfate, which provides shock-absorbing properties to joint cartilage, and hyaluronic acid (HA), which is critical to achieving lubricated joints and smooth, hydrated skin. In fact, in a human study, participants who took daily doses of BioCell Collagen saw hyaluronic acid levels increase 60-fold in their blood during the 28 days of the study period.
Furthermore, BioCell Collagen has been shown to inhibit hyaluronidase, the enzyme that destroys HA. Thus, BioCell Collagen packs an impressive dual HA mechanism to tackle aging-associated dehydration as well as replenish the loss of the various essential structural components of skin.
As a validation of the strong science, Canada’s Natural Health Products Directorate has approved BioCell Collagen to help relieve joint pain associated with osteoarthritis of the hip and knee and to help maintain healthy skin.
It’s impossible to turn back the clock on aging, but supplemental collagen can help stimulate the body’s own regenerative potential to achieve younger looking skin and more active joints … without going under the knife.
Look for BioCell Collagen in oral supplements such as Ultimate HA (Purity Products), BioCell Collagen (Health Logics), Jusuru Life Blend (Jusuru International), Hydroplenish (Nature’s Way) and Collagen Booster (Reserveage), and many other fine nutritional and skincare brands.
Are you getting enough quality sleep?
One of the biggest contributors to early aging is poor-quality sleep, according to Andrea Purcell, ND, Portal to Healing Naturopathic Clinic, Costa Mesa, CA.
“Many people go to bed with lights on or surrounded by ambient light, which can interfere with sleep schedules and quality.”
Stress prematurely compromises hormone production and, over time, your cells aren’t able to repair themselves. We age because stress and lifestyle factors such as improper sleep and hygiene cause hormone depletion. But by triggering the release of growth hormones, sleep helps rebuild healthy cells and decreases the aging process.
Fight it: Sleeping at the right times helps our bodies repair the damage done during the day. And you don’t need to get a full 10 hours; you just need to maximize your hormonal release by sleeping at the right time. Your brain releases the hormone melatonin in response to darkness, usually between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. This triggers the release of a hormone called prolactin between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.; which activates the human growth hormone (HGH) throughout the night and helps repair and replenish the body.
Too much fat and salt?
If you eat a high-fat diet and too many high-sodium processed foods, you are more likely to experience accelerated and worsened cardiovascular aging, according to Douglas Seals, PhD, professor at University of Colorado at Boulder. Such dietary habits can also lead to weight gain, especially in the abdominal area. As you age, you typically gain body fat—it’s where that weight accumulates that determines if it will affect your heart and cardiovascular system. Fat accumulated around the abdomen is a different kind of fat that secretes molecules that are harmful to your heart.
Fight it: Eat various fresh green vegetables for their antioxidants, which can help protect your brain and heart from free radicals and the development of oxidative stress. Do aerobic exercise at least three to four days a week and eat a healthy diet low in fat and sodium and high in fresh, nutrient-rich foods.
What about alcohol?
As you age, your body doesn’t process alcohol as efficiently as it does when you are younger, according to Avid Oslin, MD, associate professor at University of Pennsylvania. Alcohol consumption leads to a pattern of impaired executive functioning and impaired memory and interacts with many medications, particularly in older adults. For some medications, alcohol will change how much of the medication is needed to control the underlying condition, such as insulin regulation, which can result in an increase in side effects from the medication. For other medications, alcohol can interfere with how the medication works and thus make the medication less effective (for example, antibiotics and antidepressants).
Fight it: Stick to moderate alcohol intake only; no more than one drink per night and try to make it red wine, which contains antioxidants. Remember: a 70-year-old who consumes the same amount of alcohol as a 40-year-old will have a higher blood alcohol level and will show more impairment. Also, your brain doesn’t tolerate as much alcohol as you age. Thus moderation is always the key.
Whether she's playing svelte Quorra in the "Tron" film series or the secretive-but-sexy Dr. Thirteen in "House M.D.," others look to Olivia Wilde for tips on how she stays healthy and fit.
It's a well-known fact that Olivia is a fully committed vegan. In fact, she was named PETA's Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrity in 2010. In an interview published in the January/February 2011 edition of Women's Health Magazine, she and the interviewer spent some time at a vegan macrobiotic hut on Venice Beach. Though one can't speculate what Olivia eats, a vegan diet is typically much lower in fat and cholesterol than that of meat-eaters, and it includes several other health benefits: it can lower cholesterol and blood pressure and decrease one's risk for cancer and heart disease. Olivia said she likes to experiment with leafy greens and other veggies she finds at the farmers' markets.
In the same article, Olivia also reveals that she has a varied and active workout routine, including biking, hiking, taking ballet and modern dance classes, doing yoga and attending spin classes. She said that to fit into her snug and sexy cat suit for "Tron" she did 45 minutes of cardio per day and added in martial arts, weights and cross training to get her fabulous muscles. Olivia revealed that, though it was fun, being muscular is not a priority – at least not until the next film.
"It's not my natural resting state," she told the magazine, "Striving for physical perfection takes a lot of energy."
Tips from her "Tron" Trainer
But if you liked Olivia's look in "Tron", you can get her results. After the first film, Olivia's trainer, Patrick Murphy, revealed to Self magazine that Quorra's role required a demanding combination of strength, balance, stability and grace, all of which Wilde perfected with a specially designed routine. He said that many of his celebrity clients use his circuit workout:
"These multi-dimensional, compound exercises help many of my clients gain muscle and burn mass calories, giving them the lean look that they strive for," Murphy told the source.
The regimen includes 5 to 10 minutes of cardio, followed by a circuit of various lunges, squats, bicep curls, shoulder presses, rows and pushups. This routine is very similar to the one Olivia used for her role.
Yoga and Pilates both focus on flexibility and strength training of the entire body, as well as breathing, and they both have benefits ranging from heart to immune system health. However, yoga and Pilates are different in that yoga is often more spiritual – it's about the union of the mind and body - while Pilates is an exercise routine focused on precise movements to target particular areas. Here are the basics of both types of exercise along with an overview of their respective fitness foci:
Most people don't realize that pilates was actually developed by a man named Joseph Pilates in the 1920s, though it didn't become popular until the 1980s. This exercise program focuses on strength, flexibility and balance through controlled movements based on dynamic tension – exercising muscle against muscle for self-resistance. You need very little equipment to practice Pilates – a majority of the exercises can be done on a mat.
Pilates exercises often require repetitive, quick and controlled movements for the best results. The most basic Pilates exercises are the hundred, the roll-up, the one-leg circle and the saw.
The practice of yoga has a much longer tradition than Pilates and is more focused on achieving the unison of mind and body in a meditative state. There is evidence of yoga in remnant Shamanistic texts dating back to 3000 B.C. Yoga is also deeply connected to Buddhism and the sought after goal of attaining self-enlightenment. Today, there are more than 100 schools of yoga, though all are based on meditation, breathing, relaxation, and proper diet and exercise.
The most common form of yoga practiced in the U.S. is Hatha yoga. Another popular practice is Bikram yoga, or hot yoga, were a series of 26 postures are performed in a room that is 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 40 percent humidity. Many people like Bikram because it raises your heart rate and tires your muscles with demanding poses. However, exercising in such high temperatures can be dangerous so people are encouraged to check with their doctors before practicing.
Some basic and popular yoga poses for beginners include cat, cow, downward dog, tree, lotus, and warrior one and two. Advanced practitioners of yoga may be able to complete demanding poses like crow, peacock and standing split – all of which require supreme balance, strength and flexibility.