Monday, October 25, 2010


Senility--memory loss, forgetfulness, and an inability to reason properly--is a scary word.

Well, instead of being scared of senility, you should think about what you can do now (before old age) to keep your mental batteries fully charged.

The secret, say scientists, is to take good care of an organ you probably don't think much about: Your brain. If you keep it healthy now, it will have a better chance of going the distance without faltering.

Of course, there are no guarantees that you can prevent senility. In fact, medical researchers are still arguing about its cause. But while some scientists debate over how the brain breaks down, others have focused on maintenance. And perhaps the most important element they have found to keep your brain fine-tuned is diet.

Research shows, for instance, that the brain needs B-complex vitamins to preserve memory and clear thinking. Also it was found out that a zinc deficiency contributes to senility.

Exercise, continues the research findings, should be the central element of your anti-senility plan.

"What the scientific research on the influence of exercise on aging indicates is that when you do long-term aerobic exercise, your brain cells don't age as quickly. Exercise oxygenates the cells and keeps them healthier," says Dr. John Young of the Kentland Institute of Preventive Medicine in Indiana, USA.

Lastly, do not forget that getting seven to eight hours of sleep nightly will make your brain function at its optimum capacity.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Health-Giving Fruits

As Filipino health buffs, we can consider ourselves as blessed for having a variety of delicious and nutritious fruits all year round.

Consider the papaya, called the “melon that grows on a tree” by Americans. In an issue of Organic Consumer Report, a health publication, this nutritious fruit was featured and from the facts presented in the article, we should eat as much of papaya as we can. Here are the reasons:

Papaya is rich in vitamins and minerals and low in calories—truly the fruit of health. It is the source of an important digestive ferment called papain, an enzyme. This enzyme possesses the power of digesting protein materials such as meat, egg white, milk curd, etc.

And take note: Papaya has a higher vitamin C content than apples, pineapple, grapefruit, oranges and many other popular fruits; an excellent source of vitamin A, it has a higher content of this vitamin than carrots and an appreciable amount of vitamin B.

It is well-recognized that those consuming fresh, raw vegetable juices, and a large percent of their total food intake in the form of raw vegetables, especially green leaves and root vegetables, often experience relief from stiff joints and other miseries. Without identifying the exact nutritional factor to be credited—which is not necessary because nutrients work together—it appears that what is now called stigmasterol plays an important part.

Here’s something interesting from Organic Consumer. Your body is a six-million-year-old healer that has a lot of wisdom if you will listen to it: Headaches, the body’s warning that you are tired, over-worked, or hungry. Or they can signal something more serious such as stroke, concussion, brain disorder, constipation or glaucoma. Try to understand the cause and eliminate it. Backaches usually mean too little exercise or putting unnecessary strain on your back by poor posture or lifting things the wrong way, or a pinched nerve. Heartburn is often a symptom you’re eating or drinking something you shouldn’t—coffee, cola drinks, alcohol, can trigger it…the acid/alkaline balance is off. Sneezing indicates the body is trying to get rid of something it can’t tolerate. Earaches are frequently caused either by blowing the nose too hard or not enough. They can also signal meningitis, but this probably isn’t present if you can touch your chin to your chest without pain.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Can Arthritis Be Prevented?

The right kind of exercise may postpone or prevent osteoarthritis, the most common kind of arthritis, reports Prevention Magazine, a publication for better health.

By strengthening the muscles around the joint, exercise makes the joint work better. Stronger muscles mean less wear and tear on cartilage and bone—and the chance of the deterioration of osteoarthritis. Other investigators have proposed that exercise insures the health of the cartilage by keeping it well-nourished.

The kind of exercise you do probably matters less than how you do it. If you exercise improperly, you can hasten the development of the disease. In particular, avoid exercising without a thorough warm-up: when muscles are tight, the joints move unnaturally, producing damaging strains.

Whether you run, swim, play golf or play tennis, make sure you do it right. ‘Correct’ tennis and golf strokes—using your body in a natural way—not only means a better game: It means less strain.

How about running and jogging? Some experts take a dim view, noting that they tax the weight-bearing joints (hips and knees) where osteoarthritis often develops. However, as long as sensible precautions are taken—a smooth surface that “gives” good shoes, and scrupulous attention to stretching and warm-up exercises, there is nothing wrong with these activities.

Still on jogging...Researchers at Purdue University report that jogging may be good for your pocketbook as well as for your emotional stability. Professor A.H. Ismail and his two colleagues compared the physical and mental well-being of men who are regular exercisers with another group of similar men who remained inactive. Over a four-year period, the active men incurred fewer severe illnesses and accidents—they saved on average of $1000 each year in lower medical costs. Professor Ismail observed: “When people who are perpetual exercisers become ill, the illness is less and, consequently, less expensive.”

The researchers found that the active men were also more emotionally stable than their sedentary counterparts, and that the active ones tended to become “non-neurotic, non-psychotic, and non-depressive.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Healthy Heart

A heart that is kept healthy through exercise maintains clear coronary arteries.

On the contrary, when the arteries become blocked through lack of exercise, the blood supply is reduced and a section of the heart muscle stops functioning, resulting in a heart attack or even in death.

And how does exercise help the heart? It does so through use. It also needs oxygen. Exercise enables the lungs to operate more efficiently, thereby delivering more oxygen through the coronary arteries to the heart.. The supply of oxygen enables the heart to function at a lower blood pressure without having to work as hard.

One of the more widely reported effects of physical activity on heart function is the development of extra circulation routes when the main coronary artery branches become blocked.

According to Dr. William B. Kannel of Harvard University, “Persons who have an important degree of blockage of the coronary artery, but continues being physically active, can reasonably be expected to develop more collateral circulation than those with comparable coronary involvement who remain inactive.”

It comes as no surprise that exercise may protect against heart disease by preventing the accumulation of excess weight. But how many people know about studies which indicate that exercise lowers blood levels of cholesterol, a fatty acid which is believed to lead to the formation of plaques which clog arteries in atherosclerosis? Atherosclerosis is the thickening of, and loss of elasticity in, the inner walls of arteries.

Do you know that the link between exercise and heart disease was first suspected in 1854? However, it was not until 1951 that English physician Dr. Percy Stocks reported that coronary heart disease accounted for 15 percent of the deaths among laborers and 40 percent of the deaths among sedentary workers. From all over the globe, unshakeable evidence suggests that exercise will prevent heart disease.