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Ovarian Cancer – Know Your Symptoms

by Cindy Gray

Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer deaths in women, claiming over 14,000 lives each year, according to the American Cancer Society. Ovarian cancer is the most deadly of all the cancers that may affect the female reproductive system. It is more likely to occur in white women than African American women, and over half of those diagnosed with ovarian cancer symptoms are over the age of 63.

Do you know the 3 ovarian cancer symptoms to watch for?

Recently, the tragic death of Brittany Burns, (girlfriend to a noted Buffalo Bills football player) has recently brought this silent but deadly disease to the attention of the media.

Detecting Early Ovarian Cancer Symptoms Can Save Lives

Women who are diagnosed in the early stage of ovarian cancer have a 90% likelihood of survival. Sadly, a lack of general knowledge about ovarian cancer symptoms means that most women are not diagnosed until the disease is much further advanced.

Unfortunately, the early symptoms of ovarian cancer apply to many other less serious conditions, but if these symptoms persist on a daily basis for two to three weeks, it is essential to visit your doctor and have them checked out.

The four early symptoms of ovarian cancer, according to the Foundation for Women's Cancer, are:

  • Frequent bloating
  • Pain in the stomach or pelvis
  • Feeling full quickly or having problems eating
  • Urinating, or feeling the need to do so, more often than in the past

While all these symptoms may be experienced as part of everyday life at some stage, they are more likely to be ovarian cancer symptoms if they start suddenly, happen daily and continuously, and if feel differently to common menstrual aches and pains (for women of menstruating age.)

Related:  Perimenopause and Mood: Understanding the Connection

Additional symptoms of ovarian cancer, although alone these are not indicative of cancer, include:

  • Back pain
  • Indigestion
  • Pain with sexual intercourse
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Changes in menstrual cycle

Pass this information on to the women in your family and circle of friends. By making everyone aware of ovarian cancer symptoms, lives may be saved and the tragic death of Brittany Burns will not have been in vain.

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Does Green Tea Help Prevent Lung Cancer?

by IVL Products

In countries such as Japan, where green tea is widely drunk, the incidence of lung cancer is lower than elsewhere, even though the smoking rates may be comparable. This strongly suggests that green tea can help prevent lung cancer, according to oncology researcher, Masami Suganuma.

Green tea may help prevent lung cancer

A recent study into the side effects of drinking green tea followed 102 volunteers who drank 40 fluid ounces (five cups) of green tea daily (or took the equivalent amount of green tea extract supplements.) Several years later, the study showed that the smokers in the group developed lung cancer several years later than other people who drank less or no green tea.

Although the primary way to practice lung cancer prevention is by not smoking, it appears that green tea could help slow down or prevent lung cancer from developing.

Green Tea and Lung Cancer Prevention

Green tea comes from the camellia sinensis bush and the leaves are picked and steamed before they start to ferment and oxidize, as in black tea. This preserves the phytochemicals, ensuring a much higher level of antioxidants (catechins) in green tea.

Green tea may help prevent lung cancer along with other cancers as it contains several anti-carcinogenic substances. These include Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), Epicatechin, Epicatechin-3-sulfate and Epigallocatechin.

For a cell to become cancerous, it goes through a series of mutations in its DNA. Smoking appears to trigger this mutation process by causing oxidative damage to cell DNA. Antioxidants help neutralize harmful free-radicals that can cause DNA damage, so it is likely that green tea helps prevent lung cancer at this early stage.

This conclusion is backed up by a study on smokers who drank four cups of green tea daily. Their urine was measured for the compound 8-hydroxydeoxyguanozine (8-OHdG) which shows how much oxidative damage has taken place in the body. The smokers who drank green tea had 30% less oxidative damage than the non-tea drinkers.

Related:  Fight Colds and the Flu with Green Tea

EGCG May Help Prevent Lung Cancer

Other ways that green tea helps prevent lung cancer is the presence of EGCG. This component appears to stop cancer cells from dividing, arresting the possibility of cancer progression. However, EGCG does not affect cell division of normal healthy cells. Another benefit of this wonder substance is that it enhances the effectiveness of chemotherapy in those undergoing treatment.

Nicotine is known to stimulate angiogenesis (the creation of new blood vessels) that are necessary for cancer to thrive and spread. Once again, the EGCG is green tea appears to halt nicotine-induced angiogenesis, another way that green tea supports lung cancer prevention.

With so many positive benefits from drinking four or more cups of green tea each day, it can only benefit your health. However, it is best to make your own green tea from tea bags as ready-to-drink green tea has very low levels of EGCG and catechins, reducing the effectiveness of green tea for lung cancer prevention. 

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Do Adults Need Fluoride Treatment?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

There are major pros and cons for fluoride treatment, particularly for adults. On the one hand, the one percent of the U.S. population who have a fluoride sensitivity would definitely not benefit from fluoride treatment due to the debilitating side effects of fatigue, stomach pain and other issues.

Studies show that fluoride treatment helps prevent cavities

However, for the majority of the population there are considerable benefits in taking fluoride treatment later in life. This is illustrated in Ontario where residents of Stratford with fluoridated water have significantly lower tooth decay than those in nearby Woodstock, which does not have fluoride in the water. These results are supported by many other studies on fluoride.

The Benefits of Fluoride Treatment for Adults

Just like calcium, fluoride strengthens teeth by bonding to the tooth structure to create a hard substance that is resistant to cavities and decay. Although insurance companies stop funding topical fluoride treatment for those over the age of 18, fluoride can be important in adults too.

Adults in later life have teeth that are showing signs of wear and tear. Crowns may be developing leaky edges and some teeth may have exposed dentine. These areas can be prone to sensitivity to hot and cold foods and are more susceptible to tooth decay.

Fluoride treatment for adults can help in two ways. Fluoride re-mineralizes the enamel, providing long-term protection against tooth cavities and root decay, which is particularly important in weak areas. In addition, the continuous exposure to small amounts of fluoride present in the saliva from topical fluoride treatments provides a constant supply of fluoride ions that help fight against tooth decay.

Fluoride Treatment for Root Decay

In later life, adult teeth are susceptible to gum disease and root decay. The root of the tooth is softer than the harder exposed area of the tooth; and if decay sets in, it is much closer to the tooth’s nerve than the biting surface of teeth. This causes sensitivity and makes an expensive root canal more likely in later life.

These are all good reasons to consider a topical fluoride treatment, which can be applied by your dentist after cleaning. The fluoride is absorbed to strengthen the de-mineralized areas of tooth, minimizing the risk of tooth decay, cavities and root canal surgery.

Related:  Six Simple Tips for Preventing Cavities Naturally

Those Most Likely to Benefit from Fluoride Treatment for Adults

For adults who are at high risk of developing cavities, fluoride treatment may be a recommended treatment. Those with receding gums, which exposes more of the tooth root, are good candidates for topical fluoride treatment as are adults who have crowns and bridges which can wear the tooth around the margins.

Some medications and radiation treatment for cancer can cause a dry mouth as a side effect. Lack of saliva tends to increase the risk of cavities, making it more important to take precautions such as fluoride treatment for adults.

If any of these conditions apply to you, then the next step is to ask your dentist whether a fluoride treatment would be beneficial for you.

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Nine Ways to Promote Brain Health & Help Avoid Brain Cancer

by Health News

According to Dr. Thomas A. Sellars, up to 70% of cancers can be avoided by a change of lifestyle. Diet, exercise and avoiding tobacco are the most obvious, but there are other ways to help prevent brain tumors and reduce the risk of brain cancer. How many of these practices do you currently do?

Lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of brain cancer

1.     Drink caffeine every day

A British study on coffee drinkers found that those who drank more than five cups of caffeinated coffee had a 40% lower risk of developing brain tumors than those who drank less caffeine, or tea. Caffeine also reduces the risk of mouth and throat cancers.

2.     Use Hands-free Cell Phone Devices

While no definitive connection between brain cancer and cell phone electromagnetic radiation has yet been identified, but several studies suggest there is a link. Use a hands-free device to put some distance between your brain and the radio frequency emitting from the cell phone as a sensible precaution for brain cancer prevention; or use the speaker whenever possible. 

3.     Filter tap water

According to the report from the President’s Anti-Cancer Panel, drinking filtered tap water is safer than bottled water. A simple water filter can reduce exposure to suspected carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals, and it’s easy to do.

Related:  Five Sunscreen Ingredients to Avoid

4.     Wear a Hat

Researchers at the University of North Carolina found that people with melanomas on the scalp, head or neck were twice as likely to develop cancer in other areas of the body.

5.     Don’t Top Your Tank

Pumping that last drop of gas into the gas tank after the nozzle clicks off can foil the vapor recovery system on the fuel pump, releasing toxic cancer-causing benzene into the air you are breathing. 

6.     Reduce Radiation to the Head

Every time your dentist x-rays your teeth, you are exposed to cancer-causing radiation. Keep x-rays of the head to a minimum to prevent brain cancer.

7.     Wash Fruit and Vegetables

While five-a-day portions of fruit and vegetables are intended to improve health, produce should always be thoroughly washed before consuming. Spray pesticides contain at least 40 known carcinogens which increase brain tumor risk factors.

8.     Marinate Grill Meats

Cancer-causing heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are formed when meat is charred or burned, exactly what happens when grilling meat. The advice from Dr. Cheryl Lyn Walk, Professor of Carcinogenesis at University of Texas is to marinate meat with rosemary and thyme. These antioxidant-rich herbs can reduce HCAs by up to 87%.

9.     Reduce Metastatic Brain Cancer Risk

Tumors formed in other organs can spread to the brain causing metastatic brain cancer. It’s wise to take precautions against all types of cancer by eating antioxidant-rich dark green vegetables, selenium-rich Brazil nuts and exercising daily. By reducing the general risk of cancer, you can help prevent brain tumors and reduce brain tumor risk factors.

Did you score full marks for brain cancer prevention? If not, you need to make these lifestyle changes to help reduce your risk of a brain tumor.

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The Best Seeds for Health: Super Seeds to Boost Your Salads

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Everyone knows having a salad on a regular basis is good for you. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vegetables for the average adult is three to five servings, after all.  If you are going to eat your greens why not add a little something extra to them now and then to boost their flavor and your health? Seeds make a great addition to many dishes especially salads. Read on to learn about the best seeds for your health.

The five best seeds for great health!

The Fantastic Five

1. Chia Seeds

There’s a whole lot of goodness packed into these tiny seeds that are native to South America.  The ancient Aztecs and Mayans relied on them as an important food source providing hydration and sustained energy.  Chia is actually the Mayan word for strength.  Despite being small chia seeds are mighty with:

  • 11 grams of fiber
  • 4 grams of protein
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Minerals like calcium, manganese, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus
  • Vitamins B3 (niacin), B1 (thiamine) and B2
  • The ability to hold twice their weight in liquid

Chia seeds are also loaded with antioxidants, and can help reduce your risk of heart disease, from developing Type 2 Diabetes, promote bone strength and even aid in your weight loss efforts.

2. Hemp Seeds

While hemp seeds are from the same species of the much more famous and notorious cannabis family (aka marijuana) but they only contain trace amounts of THC, the compound that has a drug-like effect.  They have been a part of Chinese diets and medicine for the past 3,000 years, so their health benefits have stood the test of time.

Hemp seeds are a great source of two very important nutrients, the fatty acids omega-6 and omega 3. They are also a very good source of protein, vitamin E and minerals like phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc.  Another nutrient from hemp seeds, amino acid arginine, has been linked to a reduced risk of developing heart disease. These bland looking little seeds have also shown in other studies to decrease inflammation in the body, help reduce blood pressure and decrease your risk of blood clots that can lead to a stroke.

3. Pumpkin Seeds

This year at Halloween when you and the kids carve your Jack-O-Lanterns don’t toss the seeds you scrape out of the pumpkin!  They are one of the best seeds for health and wellness.

Indigenous to the Americas (North, South and Central) ancient cultures called the flat green seeds pepitas. In Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean and much of India and Asia pumpkin seeds is a dietary staple.

Pumpkin seeds are recommended by the World Health Organization and for good reason.  They are a plentiful source of diverse antioxidants like vitamin E, phenolic acids and lignans, compounds linked to helping women reduce their risk of developing breast cancer.  Pumpkin seeds also contain a healthy dose of zinc, a mineral essential for healthy red blood cells.

Once you remove the seeds from your pumpkin clean them off and let them dry overnight, then roast them for about 20 minutes at a very low temperature like 160 to 190 degrees for the most flavor.

Related:  Here’s a Quick Way to Get Soy-Free Protein

4. Flax Seeds

If you are looking for one of the best seeds for health, here’s the flax you need to know. 

Ancient Babylonians in the 8th century cultivated flaxseed for King Charlemagne who believed strongly in their health benefits.  Modern day research has shown consumption of flaxseeds is a good way to reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes, according to health authority WebMD.

Plant-based omega-3 fatty acids called ALA, which are abundant in flaxseeds, have been shown to inhibit tumor growth.  Like pumpkin seeds they contain lignans that have been linked to decreasing the risk of breast cancer and are potent against reducing inflammation in the body.  Eating flaxseeds regularly may also help you keep your cholesterol levels in check and blood sugar levels steady to ward off diabetes.

5. Sunflower Seeds

A sunflower is a tall herbaceous annual plant native to Middle America but has since spread across the globe as a commercial crop in countries like Russian, China, Argentina and the United States. 

Sunflower seeds are delicious and crunchy little powerhouses of healthy goodness. Packed with essential fatty acids, high quality amino acids, natural antioxidants like vitamin E and folic acid, just a handful a day will help keep the doctor away.  They help lower your LDL levels of cholesterol, and provide essential minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, selenium and copper to keep your bones and red blood cell production strong.

Next time you whip up a salad be sure to sprinkle one of the fantastic five best seeds for health on top and enjoy!

 

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F.A.S.T. - The Sudden Signs of Stroke

by Health News

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S.  A family history of stroke and lifestyle choices increases your risk. Knowing the F.A.S.T. stroke symptoms can help you avoid being severely disabled by a stroke since getting immediate medical attention is the key to a faster more complete recovery.

What Is F.A.S.T. Stroke Symptoms?

Symptoms can vary from person to person who experiences a stroke.  In general, however, these three symptoms, and what to do if you or someone you know has them, can save a life.

Fast stroke is an easy way to remember the signs to watch for.

F for Face drooping

When someone has a stroke it is common for one side of their face to droop.  When oxygen rich blood is cut off to the brain this can cause nerve and muscle damage. The muscles become weak and sag. If you see or experience this, call 911 immediately.

A for Arm weakness

A weakening of arm muscles on one side of the body is called hemiparesis.  The side of the brain and location of a stroke will determine where your body suddenly becomes weak.  If your right arm is numb and weakened the left side of your brain is most likely where the stroke has occurred.

S for Speech difficulties

Someone having a stroke may suddenly be unable to understand speech or have difficulty speaking.  Slurred or garbled speech is a big stroke warning sign.  Sometimes the person having a stroke may lose the ability to speak at all.

Related:  Does Higher Protein Intake Lower Stroke Risk?

T for Time to call 911

A stroke is a medical emergency, and that’s why the fast stroke protocol is so important.  Getting treatment immediately is crucial for a better recovery.  If you experience F, A, or S do not try to drive yourself to the hospital. You could lose your ability to see clearly, steer the car and even pass out. Call 911 and wait for help.

If you see anyone with F, A or S symptoms get them immediate medical attention. It’s best to call for an ambulance and let professionals care for your loved one rather than you trying to drive them to the hospital yourself. Their sirens will clear traffic and get the victim critical timely care to aid in recovery

 

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Brain Training: Fitness for Your Brain

by Cindy Gray

Like your muscles, the brain needs regular exercise or training to stay strong and functioning normally. Brain exercises or brain training can boost cognitive function and is especially important as we age. 

Brain Training: Fitness for Your Brain

Don’t Lose Your Mind

Move it or lose it is a phrase that applies to your brain as well as your body.  Studies show that certain good-old fashion common sense when it comes to diet, exercise and lifestyle are the key to keeping your brain healthy. 

Not smoking, limiting alcohol consumption and getting plenty of sleep are important, but so is regular physical activity that boosts circulation and blood flow to the brain.

There are several non-physical ways that also exercise your brain to keep it fit.  As it turns out, some specially designed computerized cognitive training is not particularly helpful in improving your cognitive abilities. So what is?  Real world activities!

Related:  Super Berries for Super Memory Enhancement for Older Adults

Novelty

When it comes to your brain’s physical fitness, change is good.  Challenging your brain regularly with something new has great benefits. It doesn’t have to be complex like solving a math algorithm either. Simply taking a new route home from the office, brushing your teeth or hair with your non-dominant hand or memorizing the lyrics to a new song can keep your noggin in tip top shape.

Real Challenges

To really boost your brain power, you can do simple challenges to going all out like learning a new language or taking up a new sport like golf, tennis or Karate. 

Other great ideas for brain fitness are:

  • Try to recall your grocery list an hour after you get home from the store.
  • Listen to music, or better yet, play it. Take piano or guitar lessons.
  • Balance your checkbook in your head.  Math is a strenuous brain workout when you don’t have pen and paper or a calculator.
  • Take a cooking class to create new or foreign cuisine. Cooking involves the five senses; smell, touch, sight and taste, all of which engage your brain in a meaningful way.
  • Take up a new hobby that demands good hand-eye skills like knitting or sewing, puzzles, drawing or painting.

You can exercise your brain regularly most anywhere. At the office make a conscious effort to block distractions and stay focused on one particular task until it’s complete.  The more you practice the better you will get at it. 

Just like your muscles, though, after a hard workout your brain needs time to recover.  Getting a good night’s sleep every night is one way to keep your mental faculties strong. Also, it’s not a bad idea to indulge in some mindless TV viewing once in awhile, especially watching something that makes you laugh. Meditation can also be very beneficial for letting your brain relax and rejuvenate.

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Are Fish Oil Supplements Good For The Skin?

by IVL Products

What you eat may be more important to the look and feel of your skin than what you put on it.  Research shows that what you put into your body in the form of nutrients has a big impact on how your skin looks and feels.  One critical nutrient found in foods like, walnuts, flaxseed, and olive oil but most abundantly in certain fish is omega-3 fatty acids.  More and more research is piling up to support the benefits of omega-3s from fish oil for skin.

Exploring the benefits of omega-3s from fish oil for skin

How Omega-3 Fatty Acids Promote Healthy Skin

Omega-3 fatty acids are called essential acids because the body needs them to maintain the health of the cell membrane, yet cannot produce it naturally.  Our bodies rely on getting essential acids solely from our diet.  Cell membranes not only act as a barrier to keep harmful substances out of the cell, but also to transport nutrients in and waste products out of it.  The membrane is also what enhances the cells ability to retain water so that you have moist, soft supple skin cells that are more resistant to wrinkles.

Another way omega-3 fatty acids, found most abundantly in fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, cod, and tuna (so called “oily” fish) are beneficial is to help reduce inflammation throughout the body.  Insulin spikes from eating sugary, highly processed starchy foods, sun exposure and environmental toxins like cigarette smoke induce inflammation in the skin making it dry, flaky and red.

Related:  Supplementing Children’s' Diets with Fish Oil

Additionally, according to a study published back in 2003 in “Carcinogenesis,” omega-3 fatty acids such as those in fish oil contain properties that protect the skin from the harmful effects of UVA and UVB rays from the sun.  EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), a compound in omega-3s, was shown to be especially beneficial in reducing sunburn and ultra-violet radiation induced skin breaks.

Best Way to Get the Most Out Of Fish Oil

One of the best ways to keep your skin healthy and glowing is to eat foods rich in the omega-3 compounds EPA, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ALA (alpha-linoleic acid).  A few of the foods that contain the largest amounts of these substances are:

  • Fish –the cold-water or oily kind
  • Flaxseeds and flaxseed oils
  • Chia seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and broccoli
  • Canola oil

Unfortunately it is difficult to get the amount of omega-3s needed for optimum health through food alone.  Taking a fish oil supplement is an easy way to get the most beneficial amounts of omega-3s into your diet.  

When shopping for a fish oil supplement be sure to read the label carefully and choose one with at least 30% EPA and DHA in it.  Also, look for the kind labeled “non-fishy” aftertaste.

The benefits of omega-3 fish oils for skin are numerous, plus they benefit many other parts of the body reducing your risk of cardiac disease, joint inflammation and can even aid in weigh loss.  Adding a fish oil supplement to your diet is a good idea if you would like to keep your skin looking and feeling younger and healthier. 

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Transient Ischemic Attack or TIA Stroke: Facts Causes Symptoms Tests

by Health News

It sounds like an alien invasion but a Transient Ischemic Attack is something far more serious.  A TIA Stroke is also known as a mini-stroke due to a clot obstructing blood flow to the brain temporarily.  This is a serious warning sign of a bigger more lethal stroke so knowing the facts about a TIA stroke, like the causes, symptoms and tests for it could save your life.

What is TIA stroke?

Facts about TIA Stroke

A TIA stroke can happen when a blood clot in another part of the body breaks free and travels to the brain, temporarily blocking blood flow.  Low blood flow through a narrow part of a major artery like the carotid artery that supplies blood to the brain can also cause a so-called mini-stroke or TIA.  Smaller blood vessels to the brain that become constricted or clogged with plaque (a fatty substance) floating around in your blood stream can also cause one, too.

Important facts to remember are:

  • Approximately 40% of people who have a TIA will have an actual stroke
  • Almost half of all strokes occur within a few days of a TIA
  • TIA symptoms are the same as a major stroke but less severe and temporary

Causes

Uncontrolled high blood pressure is the main cause of a TIA.  Other things that cause this kind of stroke are:

  • High cholesterol (which leads to plaque in the blood stream)
  • Narrow blood vessels that supply blood to the brain
  • Diabetes
  • Blood Clots

Symptoms

A TIA stroke has the same symptoms as a regular stroke but they are a lot less severe and usually don’t last very long, maybe for only a few minutes. That’s why they are often times dismissed by people, which is unfortunate because a bigger more destructive stroke is sure to follow.  Knowing the symptoms of a TIA stroke is critical to preventing that.

  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness in one arm or leg that comes and goes
  • Feeling dizzy for no reason
  • Suddenly feeling fatigued
  • Tingling throughout the body
  • Confusion and/or temporary memory loss
  • Difficulty speaking or garbled speech
  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • Vision problems
  • A sudden increase in blood pressure
  • An abrupt personality change
  • Passing out

Someone experiencing a TIA stroke may only experience a few of these symptoms and only very briefly.  No matter if you only have one symptom and it goes away quickly seek medical attention.

Related:  Oranges:  Can They Prevent a Stroke?

Tests

If you think you are having or had a TIA get to your doctor immediately for these tests:

  • A mental assessment
  • Eye range of motion
  • Listening to blood flow through the neck to detect narrow blood vessels
  • Heart rhythm examination
  • Examining legs and arms for tone, strength and sensation

If you doctor diagnosis you with a TIA you will probably undergo:

  • An EKG (electrocardiogram) to see if your heart beat is irregular
  • CT Scan (computerized tomography) to check for bleeding in the brain
  • CT Angiogram to evaluate your cerebral, carotid and vertebral arteries
  • Blood tests that check your for anemia and/or a lack of platelets
  • An echocardiogram to determine if the heart is the source of clots or debris in the blood

Any small sign of stroke even if it only lasts for a few minutes is reason for concern.  A TIA stroke or TIA mini-stroke is a wake-up call that your health, and possibly your life, is in danger so seek medical attention and ward off an actual stroke.

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Memory Problems and When to Seek Help

by Cindy Gray

We are all forgetful from time to time. Everybody has misplaced their car keys, forgotten to take their medicine or can’t remember a password.  As we age though, what these lapses in memory mean can be cause for concern.  What is normal age-related memory loss and what are memory problems?

What memory problems should you be concerned about?

Normal Age Related Memory Lapses

You may be telling someone about a great book you just finished and go completely blank on what the title is. Perhaps you find yourself in the garage with no idea what you went into it for, or suddenly can’t remember the street your friend lives on despite visiting her there for years.  While frustrating, these types of memory losses are part of normal aging and not cause for concern.

Minor memory lapses are not the same as dementia or the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.  Severe memory loss is not an inevitable part of aging either. Our brains can create new brain cells regardless of age.  In a way your brain is much like your muscles, if you don’t exercise and strengthen them they become weak.  Your brain needs to be regularly challenged to maintain cognitive skills through reading, doing crossword puzzles, playing card games and even with physical exercises like playing golf, swimming or doing Tai Chi.

Related:  How Aerobic Exercise Battles Cognitive Decline and Dementia

Abnormal Memory Problems

There are several signs and symptoms it is time to seek medical attention when memory problems become so severe and frequent that they interfere with daily life.  Symptoms of mild cognitive impairment or MCI are:

  • Difficulty recalling the names of new acquaintances
  • Losing or misplacing things regularly
  • Being unable to follow the flow of a conversation
  • Frequently forgetting important things like doctor appointment, or planned social outings

If this is you or a loved one, it is time to seek medical attention for diagnosis as to what may be causing the memory lapses.

Dementia is a definite possibility if you or someone you know experiences:

  • Problems with finding the right words to express themselves
  • Mood changes like frequent anger, or the opposite, apathy or feeling depressed
  • Inability to perform normal everyday tasks like balancing their checkbook, figuring out how to run the dishwasher or unable to remember how to play a simple game like checkers
  • Frequent bouts of confusion about where they are, what day it is, who a loved one is, or where they normally sit at the dinner table
  • Repetitive behaviors like asking the same question over and over or obsessively collecting items they don’t need or bathing several times a day

A diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is grim news and is much more important than just run of the mill memory problems. The person who is suffering from either will need a lot of support and encouragement at first, and eventually round the clock care.  There is no cure for dementia or Alzheimer’s but a doctor may prescribe certain drugs to try and slow down the progression of the symptoms. Staying active and socially engaged will help to ward off depression and relieve symptoms temporarily.

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How Fish Oil Increases Joint Mobility

by IVL Products

Many Americans take fish oil supplements because they are known to help prevent heart disease, enhance the look and health of skin and hair and even bring relief from the symptoms of depression.  Another good reason to pop those pills is the benefits of omega-3 fish oils for joints.

What are the benefits of omega 3 fish oil for joints?

What Is Omega-3?

Omega-3 fatty acids are called essential fats because the body cannot make them and must rely on getting them from diet. Omega-3 fats are special because they are an integral part of cell membranes throughout the body. They affect the function of cell receptors in these membranes and provide essential compounds for making hormones that regulate blood clotting, the contraction and relaxation of artery walls and help to control inflammation. They are also crucial to the binding of receptors in cells that regulate genetic function.  This is what makes them helpful in preventing heart disease, stroke, keeping your eyes moist, your skin soft and supple and your hair strong and shiny.

The key compounds in omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and are found in several types of foods. They are most abundant in fish, specifically cold-water “oily fish” like:

  • Mackerel
  • Salmon
  • Herring
  • Tuna
  • Halibut
  • Cod
  • Trout

Other foods with omega-3 fatty acids include walnuts, flax seeds, olive oil and green leafy vegetables.

Related:  Could Fish Oil One Day Take the Place of Statin Drugs?

The Benefits of Omega-3 Fish Oils for Joints

Joint pain is largely caused by inflammation of the cartilage and tissue in the joint, leading to stiffness and decreased range of motion.  EPA and DHA have been shown in clinical studies to reduce inflammation, and to a lesser degree ALA, by decreasing the presence of inflammatory markers like IL-10 and TGF beta.

In petri dish studies, when omega-3 fatty acids were incorporated into the cartilage cell membranes of joints they appeared to decrease the enzymes that degrade cartilage and inflammatory cytokines. An “over expression of cytokines” by the immune system causes inflammation to the body beyond what is needed, essentially attacking healthy cells and destroying them.

Fish Oil Supplements

It is difficult to get enough omega-3 fatty acids through diet alone. Taking a fish oil supplements is an easy way to incorporate enough into your daily diet so you don’t get burned out eating fish for every meal.

For adults choose a fish oil supplement with 30% or more EPA and DHA in addition to eating fish and plant foods rich in omega-3s. Be sure to consult with your doctor before adding any new supplements to your diet to avoid unfavorable drug interactions.  Then you’ll be on your way to enjoying the benefits of omega 3 fish oil for joints!

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Signs of Stroke in Women: What You Need to Know

by Health News

Women owe it to themselves and their families to know the signs of stroke in women and then act on that information. There are few health goals as important as avoiding strokes. Strokes are debilitating and their health impacts can last for years or even a lifetime. Let’s look at some of the most common signs of stroke in women. Please note that these symptoms can vary from person to person and are therefore not in any specific order of commonality or importance.

Signs of Stroke in Women: What You Need to Know

#1:  Problems with Speech and/or Confusion

Problems with speech or confusion are both common warning signs of a potential stroke. If you or a loved one suddenly experiences problems with speech or confusion please realize that these are serious symptoms, which must be addressed by a medical professional immediately.

#2:  Sudden Loss of Strength or Coordination

If you suddenly and without explanation lose strength or coordination, then there is a real need for concern. Losing strength due to a specific injury such as falling and spraining an ankle is a much different situation from an unexplained loss of strength or coordination. So please take these kinds of symptoms very seriously.

#3:  Problems with Vision

Blurred vision or dimness of vision is another one of the major sings of stroke in women. Blurred vision or dimness of vision can have many explanations and do not in and of themselves indicate you are having a stroke; however, like all the signs of stroke these are serious symptoms regardless of their root cause and must be addressed by a medical professional.

#4:  Dizziness, Fainting or Loss of Consciousness

Like so many of the other symptoms of stroke listed in this article, the root causes of dizziness, fainting or a loss of consciousness are potentially varied. That stated, fainting or the loss of consciousness has to be treated with the utmost seriousness. If you are a loved one are experiencing these symptoms, then immediate evaluation by a medical professional is a must.

RelatedDoes Higher Protein Intake Lower Stroke Risk?

#5:  Numbness or Tingling

Numbness in any part of the body or problems moving body parts is another sign of stroke. Numbness can occur anywhere including the face or extremities.

There are many factors that can increase a woman’s risk of strokes. Many of these factors are quite unexpected and range from taking birth control pills to migraine headaches. Being aware of these risks and the symptoms of a stroke can help you avoid the extreme dangers of a stroke.

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10 Best Brain Games to Improve Your Memory

by Health News

You just can’t build your brain as you get older, right? The more scientists study the brain the more impressed they become. The brain is capable of growth and development throughout life. One of the best ways to improve overall brain health and improve memory is to challenge yourself through brain games. In this article we will examine 10 of the best ways to enhance your memory.

Chess is one of the top brain games.

#1:  Chess

Chess has endured for centuries and for good reason. Not only is chess one of the more complicated of brain games, but it also forces players to think ahead and remember a variety of possible moves; this also helps to make chess one of the top memory improvement games.

#2:  Action Based Video Games

Video games such as “shooters” and other action based video games might not seem like most people’s first pick for improving memory, but these kinds of games require players to remember where enemies are and respond quickly. The end result is a serious memory and reaction time workout.

#3:  Puzzle Based Video Games

Puzzle based video games such as the famous Tetris will definitely increase your reaction time and help boost your memory. For example, having to remember and instantly recall the shape of previous placed pieces is sure to help you give your memory a workout. There are literally endless puzzle based video games and the trick is to find the ones that are demanding and enjoyable.

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#4:Scrabble

Scrabble certainly has a lot of fans and as it turns out Scrabble is uniquely good at helping players exercise their memories and their vocabulary. Scrabble is fun and helps build one’s memory by exercising word recall.

#5:  Go

The ancient strategy game of Go really gives one’s mind a real work out. It is a strategy game that is very different than chess and requires players to work to acquire as much of the board as possible.

#6:  Sudoku

If you’ve never tried Sudoku, then you are in for a real treat. Sudoku gives your brain a workout but does so in a way that most people find quite new. Filling in the Sudoku boxes might seem simple at first but there is no doubt that Sudoku represents a true brain challenge.

#7:  Card Games

Remember the card matching games of childhood? Think that they are just for childhood? Think again, if you are looking for ways to proven memory improvement games then you’ll have a tough time topping what memory matching card games can offer.

#8:  Board Games

Board games are another way to boost your memory. In fact some of history’s most popular board games such as Battleship require players to remember the location of player’s fleets. Like chess, Battleship is another way to develop your logical and strategic side.

#9: Games Specifically Designed for Brain Building

There are several companies who have created games specifically designed to build one’s brain. One of the most popular is Lumosity, but there are others. There is some controversy as to how well these games work but many feel that these kinds of games can enhance memory.

#10:  The Games You’ll Play

The most important brain game is, of course, the ones you’ll play. If you are not enjoying a brain game, then simply keep trying new ones until you find the right fit!

These 10 brain game options offer something different for everyone. No matter what kind of games you like, this list should have something for you.

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Seven Lifestyle-Based Ways to Improve Your Memory

by Cindy Gray

How you live impacts how you feel and how well your brain functions. In this article, we will take a closer look at seven lifestyle changes that you can make. We’ll cover everything from ways to improve memory and memory improvement tips to tricks and tips such as the use of mnemonic devices.

Puzzles are one of the best ways to improve memory

Tip #1:  Great Sleep

Without a doubt one of the single most important steps you can take to improve your memory, your mood, your immune system and your overall health is to invest in better sleep. The choice to use the word “sleep” is no accident, as great sleep has been proven to help build great brains.

Tip #2:  Consume Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish such as wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, chia seeds, walnuts and more. The brain is essentially 3 pounds of fat and it needs healthy fat, like omega-3s to stay healthy. The bottom line is that if you want to enhance your memory, your body needs omega-3s.

Related:  Five Tips to Avoiding Memory Loss

Tip #3:  Invest in a Healthy Diet

The food you eat will impact your mood, the health of your body and, of course, your brain health and memory. Poor food choices weaken the immune system, can lead to disease, increase inflammation throughout the body and can leave one simply feeling sluggish. If you want excellent recall, then invest in a healthy diet consisting largely of fruits and vegetables as well as healthy protein sources such as nuts, seeds and organically raised lean cuts of meat.

Tip #4: Exercise

Studies have shown that those who exercise actually build and maintain healthier brains that those who do not and this does make sense as exercising increases blood flow to the brain. When selecting any type of exercise whether it is resistance training or aerobic conditioning, your number one priority is to perform all exercises correctly and safely. Remember if you are injured, you can’t work out, and that means no brain benefits!

Tip #5: Skip the Multitasking

Multitasking is unpleasant, your brain hates it and it can negatively impact your memory. It takes focus to build a great memory and that focus can’t be achieved while multitasking. Also, for most people multitasking is stressful. Increased stress means increased stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Prolonged exposure to stress hormones will negatively impact your health, so skip the multitasking!

Tip #6:  Brain Games

The best brain games are the ones you love. There are many different ways that you can use brain games to improve your memory. Playing just a few minutes of brain games per week can help you see improvements. Games such as chess, even puzzle and action video games can all be used to help you build your memory.

Tip #7:  Mnemonic Devices

Simply stated, mnemonic devices work! A mnemonic device is any tool that helps you remember something better and with greater recall. Some famous mnemonic is ROY G BIV which is used to remember the colors of the rainbow. Try adapting the strategy of mnemonics in your own life and you’ll see that you can remember and recall a great deal of information.

Together these seven memory improvement tips will help you boost your memory. When you improve your health you’ll enjoy greater mental clarity and focus. Armed with this clarity and focus you can expect to enjoy a significant improvement in overall memory and recall.

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The Six Best Brain Foods

by IVL Products

Is it possible that some foods are better for your brain than others? Are some foods truly “brain foods?” The simple answer is yes, but the topic of brain health and nutrition is much more complicated than simply selecting the right foods. 

Those looking to gain the mental edge will want to try brain foods such as Wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, and nuts and seeds packed with omega-3 fatty acids.

In order to have a truly healthy brain, it is also necessary to avoid foods such as trans fats and reduce process food intake as much as possible. Processed foods contain brain and DNA damaging compounds such as artificial colors, preservatives, pesticides, sugar, artificial sweeteners and more. Avoiding harmful foods is the foundation of good brain health and good overall health. Let’s take a look at six amazing brain foods!

#1:  Wild Alaskan Salmon

Generally, what is good for the heart is also viewed as being a healthy choice for the brain. One of the healthiest brain and heart healthy options out there comes in the form of wild Alaskan salmon. The reason is that wild Alaskan salmon is packed with brain health boosting omega-3 fatty acids. It is vitally important to remember that the brain consists of fat and it needs the right kinds of fat to be healthy.

When selecting salmon, only opt for wild salmon and preferably wild Alaskan salmon, as it is generally seen as being the healthiest option. You should completely avoid farmed raised salmon, as farm raised salmon typically contains elevated levels of harmful chemicals.

Related20 Simple Self-Care Practices for a Healthy Mind, Body and Soul

#2:  Sardines

Our second pick is also another fish. Sardines are true natural wonders. These small fish are low on the food chain and that means they bio-accumulate less heavy metals than larger fish such as salmon. Additionally, like salmon, sardines are packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Sardines are also low in calories and high in minerals such as calcium. In short, sardines are a true standout and one of the world’s top brain foods.

#3: Purified Fish Oil

Yes, our third brain booster is another fish product. Fish oil can be very high in important brain boosting compounds such as DHA and EPA; however, you should only consume fish oil that has been purified. Un-purified cod liver oil for example can harbor high levels of mercury and other heavy metals. In short, un-purified fish oil should be avoided. Purified wild salmon oil and sardine and anchovy oil is an excellent pick.

#4:  Walnuts

If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, don’t worry, as there are plenty of good brain boosting foods for you as well. At the very top of the list are walnuts. Walnuts are an excellent source of protein but that is only the beginning. Walnuts are also high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and omega-3 fatty acids.

#5:  Nuts and Seeds

In addition to walnuts, all nuts and seeds have brain-boosting benefits. Nuts and seeds are high in vitamins and minerals, as well as compounds that boost overall brain health. Just remember that all most nuts and seeds, while packed with goodness are also packed with calories.

#6:  Blueberries

The fact that blueberries make the list often surprises many, but the simple blueberry is quite the winner. Blueberries work wonders for improving brain health and reducing oxidative stress. Studies have shown that blueberries are something of a superfood when it comes to protecting the brain. Don’t skip blueberries.

Besides, blueberries are super easy to add to any diet. A handful can quickly and easily be tossed into one’s morning cereal, oatmeal, shakes, smoothies and more.

Together these five brain boosters can help you guard your brain health and maybe even improve brain function. Our aging population is becoming increasingly concerned about neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s diseases. Luckily, nature has some great options for helping us protect brain health now and in the future.

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Five Reasons You Can’t Concentrate

by Institute for Vibrant Living

The bottom line is that if you can’t concentrate, you simply can’t accomplish. There is no success without being able to concentrate. In this article we will explore five of the best ways to boost concentration.  If you are experiencing an inability to focus, as this article will help you focus and achieve more.

What can you do about an inability to focus?

#1:  Sleep

A lack of sleep isn’t just tough on the body. Scientific research has shown that the human body goes through a great deal of stress when it is unable to sleep. Inefficient sleep leads to an increase in the production of stress hormones, which trigger inflammation. This is critically important, as inflammation is the mechanism through which many diseases spread including cancer.

Poor sleep can lead to a weakened immune system and also increase one’s inability to focus. If you want to achieve greater focus, then adequate, high-quality sleep is the place to begin.

#2:  A Poor Diet

Just as a lack of sleep triggers inflammation, weakens the immune system and can hamper one’s ability to focus, the same holds true for a poor diet. While a nutritious wholesome diet can boost one’s health, conversely a poor diet can have serious, negative implications.

Improving your concentration means improving your diet. By opting for a diet that mostly consists of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, low-fat proteins and healthy grains, your body will see positive results. You’ll feel better and enjoy greater sleep. A healthy diet, rich in whole foods and vitamins and minerals is one that fights inflammation and boosts overall health.

Related:  Link Between Poor Quality Sleep and Inflammation

#3:  Needless Distractions

It is no shock that distractions can prevent you from achieving greater levels of concentration. However, much of what leads to an inability to focus is centered on needless distractions. Social media overuse, keeping one’s phone on around the clock and excessive media consumption can all lead to significant focusing problems and issues. So turn off your gadgets and step away from the computer.

#4:  You’re Over-committed

Feel like you have too much on your plate? You are, of course, not alone, but feeling as though you have too much on your plate also means you are likely to be distracted. Multitasking is difficult and requires a great deal from the brain. A better option is to focus on one task at a time until completed as often as possible. Follow this simple rule and you’ll see your concentration levels soar!

#5:  You Need Practice

Achieving greater concentration is like many other things in life. The more you practice improving your concentration the more likely it is that your concentration levels will improve. Meditation is an excellent place to begin improving your concentration levels. Additionally, studies show that meditation can boost the immune system, improve one’s mood and even improve brain function and memory.

By putting these five tips into action you will see your concentration levels improve. Greater concentration is about more than simply pushing yourself. Ultimately, it is about taking great care of both your body and your mind.

 

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Five Ways to Burn More Fat

by Health News

There are no magic ways to burn fat, although scientists are working hard to find some! In the meantime we are left with the cold hard fact – the only way to burn fat deposits is through metabolism. However, there are some ways to burn fat faster or more effectively by increasing the metabolic rate. Here are a few tips that can trick your body into burning more fat at a faster rate.

There are many different ways to burn fat besides exercise

1. Carb Cycling

Carb cycling is one of the top ways to burn fat. It involves having three low-carb days followed by two high-carb days, which provides the body with just the right amount of carbs for burning and then allows it to replenish its glycogen. On your highest day you should eat 1-1.5g carbs per pound of bodyweight, so a person weighing 200 pounds should eat:

  • Day 1   150 grams
  • Day 2   100 grams
  • Day 3   50 grams
  • Day 4   125 grams
  • Day 5   200 grams

Repeat throughout the diet to enhance the fat burning process.

2. Cardio Intervals

Intense interval training is a more effective way of burning fat than a steady jog as the body remains in the fat-burning zone, with the heart rate between 50-65%, for the intense exercise period and for up to four hours after. Interval cardio session also train the body to store more carbs as glycogen in the muscles and liver rather than as fat, providing easily accessible energy. The muscle stores raise your basal metabolic rate so that you burn more energy, even when you are not in intensive training.

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3. Fish Oil and Exercise

Studies focusing on omega-3 fish oil show that it can assist with weight loss. This is one of the easiest ways to burn fat simply and healthily. Results of tests published in the American Journal of Nutrition show that exercise and fish oil can each contribute to weight loss. However, when combined, the fish oil appears to increase fat metabolism and weight loss when exercise is performed. It also appears that the DHA in fish oil stops the body from converting pre-fat cells into fat.

4. Eat More Protein

Although eating protein does not burn fat, it does take more calories to digest protein than either carbohydrates or fats. Protein takes longer to digest in the stomach, making you feel full for longer, which also helps you eat less.

5. Eat More Dairy Foods

A study into dairy-rich vs. low-dairy diets showed that obese adults who ate a high-dairy diet lost more weight (and burned more fat) than those who ate the same number of calories from a low-dairy diet. Researcher Michael Zemel, PhD says, "Calcium is a critical factor in controlling what your body does with calories, and dairy is an even more critical factor. Without changing how many calories we take away, we can alter how much weight and fat you lose." These results were also confirmed by a dairy-rich diet trial by Isfahan University of Medical Sciences.

So, if you are looking for ways to burn fat more effectively, try these scientifically-proven tricks.

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Five Fun Ways to Connect With Your Partner

by Cindy Gray

Life for most couples is busy as they juggle work, raising a family and maintaining a home with sports, church, hobbies and other commitments. It’s easy to lose sight of your priorities and neglect your partner as you live life at full speed. Here are some ways to connect with your spouse and keep your relationship fresh and loving.

Impulsive treats are good ways to connect with your spouse

Sharing Food Pleasures

There are plenty of ways to share time and food together and add to the quality of your relationship with your partner or spouse. Try meeting for lunch occasionally. It need not be a restaurant – sharing a brown bag lunch in the park can be a great way to connect with your spouse, just like you did when you were courting!

If you both enjoy cooking, prepare a meal together. It’s fun to be in the kitchen sharing tips and chatting as you create something together. Develop your teamwork skills, or each take responsibility for a separate dish. Try new recipes then sit down and eat together. If one partner does not like to cook, they can participate by opening wine and preparing the table, complete with candlelight and soft music. As Shakespeare said: “If music be the food of love, play on.”

Play Games

Have a night without the TV. Get out a favorite board game, play cards, challenge your partner to a word game, or do a giant crossword together. It’s a great chance to communicate, laugh together and have fun as a new way to connect with your spouse.

Go on a Picnic

A change of routine can be great for relationships that are getting a little predictable and boring. Plan a romantic picnic, perhaps as a surprise for your partner. Pack a few of their favorite foods and head off to a beauty spot that you have always intended to visit, or perhaps a place that has a special significance in your relationship. A picnic provides time to talk without distractions as you share romantic moments together.

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Ask Each Other Questions

Communicating is an all-important way to connect with your spouse. Make time to ask each other questions, and listen carefully and quietly to the answers. It can be a special time to learn what your partner really thinks about you, your future or perhaps pursue a special dream together.

Share Happy Memories

Every couple shares happy memories that can only be appreciated by the other partner. Cuddle close and share old photographs as you recall when you met, when he proposed, your wedding day, birth of a child or special vacation. Happy memories build happy futures, making this the best possible way to connect with your spouse.

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Three Protein-Rich Breakfasts

by IVL Products

There are many good reasons why you should start the day with protein. A protein-rich breakfast can boost metabolism and increase fat-burning so you’ll have plenty of energy right from the start. Protein reduces the appetite as it is digested slowly, making you feel full until lunchtime. As well as being a good choice for weightwatchers, protein builds muscle and bone. 

Start each day with a protein rich breakfast

Here are some great recipes for protein-rich breakfasts you won’t want to skip.

Protein Pancakes

By substituting high-protein ingredients for the usual flour, you can quickly whip up satisfying and tasty protein pancakes in next to no time. Combine two egg whites with equal parts rolled oats and low-fat cottage cheese in a blender with a pinch of salt. Pour into a pre-oiled frying pan and cook until brown, turning halfway through if it’s really thick. This will give you two pancakes of 17 grams protein each.

Powdered whey is another good pancake ingredient. Mix 2 tablespoons flavored whey protein with 2 egg whites and one ounce almond milk to make a thick batter, and then fry pancakes as usual. This recipe delivers 31 grams of protein for a top protein-rich breakfast in chocolate, strawberry, or whatever flavor protein whey powder you choose.

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Oats, Milk and Berries

Oats, milk and berries make a well-balanced protein-rich breakfast, but if you don’t like oatmeal unless it’s smothered in brown sugar, try making a berry-oats smoothie. Whisk ½ cup quick oats with 2 cups water and whisk over heat until boiling then set aside to cool. Blend a banana with ½ cup blueberries, ¼ cup raspberries, ¼ cup yogurt, ¼ cup almond milk, 3 tablespoons honey or agave nectar, ¾ cup crushed ice and the cooled oats. Protein content is 18 grams per serving.

Omelette

Egg-based omelettes are a delicious protein-rich breakfast dish, and you can increase the protein by adding sausage, ham or bacon. A three-egg omelette with 3 tablespoons milk and ½ cup chopped meat can provide a hearty 34 grams protein to keep you going. If you substitute the whole eggs for egg whites to reduce calories and cholesterol, you will still have around 27 grams protein or substitute eggs with eggbeaters and enjoy 31 grams of tasty protein on your plate.

Protein-rich breakfasts never looked or tasted so good, and the kids will love them!

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Three Delicious Crock Pot Dinner Recipes

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Having a collection of tried-and-tested crock pot dinner recipes can be a wonderful way to feed the family inexpensively and easily without spending hours in the kitchen. The key to successful crock pot meals is being organized. You need to make sure the meat is defrosted before you start, and that you have all the ingredients to hand, ready to combine them in the crock pot to cook. Ideal for busy families, or even for entertaining, cooking in a crock pot has the added advantage of welcoming you home with mouthwatering aromas. 

Crock pot dinner recipes can be wholesome and tasty

Here are a few favorite crock pot dinner recipes, adapted to slow cooking:

Family Meat Loaf for 8

Mix together 2 pounds ground beef , one chopped green pepper, one large onion, 1½ tsp salt,  2 eggs, 1 cup Ritz cracker crumbs and 1 cup tomato sauce or ketchup. Mold into a loaf with your hands then place into a crock pot lined with aluminum foil spritzed with non-stick spray.

Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours. Top with ¾ cup ketchup mixed with ¼ cup brown sugar and 1 tsp. mustard and cook for a further 15 minutes. Cool, slice and serve with a selection of green vegetables and mashed potato.

Tasty Beef Stew for 8

No one would guess that the secret to one of my top crock pot dinner recipes is a can of condensed tomato soup!

Toss 2 pounds cubed beef chuck roast in a bag of seasoned all-purpose flour. Shake off the surplus flour and fry quickly in oil to brown. Add to the crock pot with 6 white onions (peeled and quartered), 4 medium potatoes (thickly sliced), 3 carrots (sliced), 12 mushrooms, 2 sticks celery (sliced), 1 can condensed tomato soup (undiluted), 1 cup red wine, 2 reduced sodium beef bouillon cubes and 3 tsp Italian herb seasoning. Cover and cook on LOW for 4-5 hours. Serve with crusty whole grain bread for a healthy, tasty meal.

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Crock Pot Peach Cobbler for 4-6

Crock pot dinner recipes don’t have to be savory! Try this delicious dessert of peaches and rolled oats.

In a bowl mix together 1 cup flour, 1 cup rolled oats, ¾ cup dark brown sugar, ½ tsp each of baking powder, nutmeg and allspice. Work in ¼ cup butter or margarine with your fingertips to form crumbs. Finally, fold in 20 ounces frozen peach slices.

Butter the base and sides of a 3-quart crock pot, add the mixture and cook on LOW for 3½ hours. Serve warm and wait for the compliments!

We hope you enjoy these crock pot dinner recipes as part of a healthy lifestyle, largely avoiding processed foods and including some of your 5-a-day fruit and vegetables, organic meats and heart-healthy grains.