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Shape Up Your Health

toothpaste and tooth brushOur dental health is extremely important for our overall well being, as oral health hazards not only plague the mouth but can even have adverse effects on the heart, lungs and digestive system.

Hence, it is important to take care of our teeth and mouth for our overall health and a great smile. Dr CD Dwarakanath,  Indian Society of Periodontology shares with us 10 everyday tips for a healthy mouth and teeth.

  1. Brush your teeth twice a day for at least 3-5 minutes.
  2. Place the bristles along the gum line at a 45-degree angle. Gently brush the outer tooth surfaces of 2-3 teeth using a vibrating back and forth motion. Clean outer, inner and biting surfaces of teeth with scrubbing motion.
  3. Use an anti-microbial mouthwash to get 100% protection. Studies show an essential oil based mouthwash reduces plaque by 70% and gum problems by 36% over brushing alone.
  4. Recommended dosage…

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Maintaining Healthy Vitamin D Levels During Winter

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Did you know Vitamin D helps the intestine absorb nutrients, including calcium and phosphorus. This ensures strong bones and a strong immune system.  Vitamin D provides calcium balance in the body that prevents osteoporosis and arthritis.  It regulates blood pressure, reduces stress, relieves body aches by reducing muscle spasms, reduces respiratory infections, helps in differentiation of the cells, helps fight depression and improves overall skin health.  On top of that it is believed to help fight several diseases!  These are just a fraction of the health benefits, but the focus of this post is on how to obtain healthy levels of Vitamin D during the winter time when you lack exposure to the sun.

The best natural sources of Vitamin D other than sunlight being absorbed by your skin include the following:

  • Cod Liver Oil
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Tuna Fish
  • Sardines
  • Milk
  • Margarine
  • cereals
  • Eggs
  • Beef Liver
  • Swiss Cheese


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Tips to Eating Healthy on a Budget

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You’ve all heard the excuse or even said it yourself that, “eating healthy is too expensive”.  At times it can be more expensive yes, but there are ways to shop more efficiently and break even.  I’m going to provide you with some ideas and tips on how to save a couple bucks and keep to your routine budget while improving your diet at the same time.  Even if you were to go over your typical budget, keep in mind that thinking long-term you are more likely to stay healthy and as a result save money for cutting healthcare costs.  Not only that, you will look and feel better because at the end of the day you are what you eat!

1) Swap fresh berries for frozen berries.  Since they are frozen they hold the same nutritional value as fresh berries, they last longer, and you do not risk the chance of having to throw out rotten food.  Therefore, you reduce the chances of having to throw money away too.

2) Buy Quick Oats instead of Instant Oatmeal.  Not only will you save money but you also skip the unnecessary amounts added sugar included in most Instant Oatmeal packets

3) Forget potato chips or even veggie chips for that matter.  Just spray washed kale with cooking spray, season with sea salt, and bake at 350° for about 15 minutes. They taste just like potato chips and are less than 50 calories per cup.

4) Buy canned fish instead of fresh fish and you will still get your Omega-3s.

5) Instead of buying pricey Whey protein give Tofu a shot to keep your protein intake high.

6) Plan your meals for the week before going to the grocery store.

7) Check to see what you have at home before making a list of what items you need.

8) If an item you eat often is on sale then take advantage of it and stock up on it if possible.


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10 Surprisingly Healthy Packaged Foods

  1. Canned Beans. Canned beans pack an impressive amount of fiber and protein and can be a quick addition to many meals.
  2. Oats and Flaxseed. Prepare to have a heart-healthy breakfast by combining old-fashioned oats and ground flaxseed, both found packaged in either cartons or bags. One cup of cooked oatmeal with 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed will give you 8 grams of much needed fiber, as well as a dose of omega-3 fatty acids.
  3. Frozen Vegetables.These can be nearly as nutritious as fresh and are conveniently prewashed and chopped. Steam or microwave your veggies rather than boiling them to make sure you’re not losing water-soluble vitamins.
  4. Frozen Berries. Many frozen berries do not have added sugar, but some do. Double check that the ingredients list contains berries to make sure you’re not getting extra calories from refined sugars.
  5. Granola Bars. This one can be tricky, as not every granola bar is good for you. Shop carefully and read labels to pick out the healthiest option. Flip the products over and check out the ingredients.
  6. Soups. Soup that comes in a can or carton can be a healthy choice if you shop carefully. Many are packed with plenty of fat and added sodium, but some brands are lighter in both.
  7. Cereal. Breakfast cereal can be a toss-up. Either you’re eating an overdose of sugar or you’re getting a good amount of fiber and vitamins. Pick the right cereal, and you’ll be supporting your heart and intestinal health with each bite. Look for at least 5 grams of fiber per serving and keep in mind the amount of added sugar.
  8. Brown Rice. For a boxed fare that is both versatile and nutrient packed, pick up brown rice on your next grocery trip. This fiber-rich grain is a great side for nearly any meat, bean, and vegetable.
  9. Tuna Fish Packed in Water. When it comes to getting a bang for your buck out of canned food, this is almost as good as it gets. This convenient food is high in omega-3 fatty acids and protein, and also gives you a good amount of vitamins D and B-12, too.
  10. Yogurt. This tangy concoction found in the dairy aisle can be a great snack or breakfast staple. Many brands are advertising “natural” products that do not have artificial colors or sweeteners, but what you choose should depend on your own preferences and nutritional goals.


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10 Foods For Your Brain

1. Apples: Eating an apple a day protects the brain from oxidative damage that causes neurodegenerative diseases such Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. This magical nutrient that acts as protection is quercetin, which is a phytonutrient

2. Asparagus: Asparagus is rich in folic acid, which is essential for the metabolism of the long chain fatty acids in your brain.

3. Lean Beef: Lean beef is rich in vitamin B12, iron and zinc. These vitamins and minerals have been shown to maintain a healthy neural tissue.

4. Blueberries and strawberries: Studies show that people who eat berries improve their memory and their motor skills. In addition, their antioxidant properties can protect your brain from the oxidative process.

5. Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate offers incredible concentration powers. It is a very powerful antioxidant containing natural stimulants that increase the production of feel-good endorphins. Trick: you need to find dark chocolate with less than 10 grams of sugar per serving for optimal benefits.

6. Salmon: Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which studies have shown to be essential for brain function.

7. Dried oregano: Certain spices have powerful antioxidant properties. In several studies, this powerful spice has shown to have 40 times more antioxidant properties than apples, 30 times more than potatoes, 12 times more than oranges, and 4 times more than that of blueberries or strawberries.

8. Walnuts: Walnuts are rich in protein and contain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins E and B6 which all promote healthy neural tissue.

9. Whole grains: Whole grains deliver fiber and vitamin E that help promote cardiovascular health, which helps improve the circulation to the brain.

10. Yogurt: Yogurt and other dairy foods are filled with protein and vitamin B that are essential to improve the communication between nerve cells.


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Patients With Online Access Increase In-Person Visits to Doctor

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A study published in the Nov. 21 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association found that  patients who had online access to their physicians and other health care professionals increased their use of in-person and telephone clinical services.8

Online access included communicating with physicians through e-mails and the authors wrote, “The presumption is if patients could look up health information such as their test results, request prescription refills, schedule appointments, and send secure e-mail to clinicians, then their use of clinical in-person and telephone calls may decrease.”

The findings were not what the authors were expecting, in fact they were the complete opposite.  They came up with a few hypotheses to support their findings.  Palen, the physician manager for clinical reporting at the Institute for Health Research at the Colorado Permanente Medical Group in Denver, said the team already had developed several hypotheses for further investigation.   “One is that perhaps patients with online access may be more engaged in their health care and therefore use more clinical services initially. We want to see if that leads to better health outcomes for these patients down the road.” Eventually, that scenario could mean a diminishing need for in-person clinical services by some patients.

The authors also considered that perhaps online users had more severe illnesses and therefore required more clinical care. Lastly, “Another hypothesis that deserves investigation is that perhaps those who signed up for the patient portal did so because they anticipated the need for more clinical care,” said Palen.

The authors Study authors called for further investigation to explain why access to patient portals would increase patient use of clinical services.


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5 Natural Cold Weather Cures

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Prevent chapped lips and wrinkles Omega-3 fatty acids, found in cold water fish such as salmon and tuna, help skin retain moisture. Berries, especially strawberries, contain vitamin C, which promotes moist, healthy skin. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating foods rich in vitamin C was associated with fewer wrinkles.

Hydrate nails and hair The human body consists of about 60% water. Indeed, water is essential to life and certainly staying hydrated is necessary to maintain good health. Drinking enough water—about eight 8-ounce glasses daily—not only helps move toxins through and out of the body quickly, it also keeps skin cells plump with moisture to prevent hair and nails from becoming dry and brittle.

Protect against sun and wind burn Eating dark chocolate can protect your skin from damage. In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, dark chocolate, which is rich in flavonoids, appears to promote healthy skin and even protect against skin cancer. In the study, women who added flavonoid-rich hot cocoa to their breakfast during a three-month period had 25% less skin reddening after UV light exposure and doubled the flow of blood in the skin, raising moisture levels and reducing dryness. Beta-Carotene, found in foods such as fish liver oil, meat, milk, cheese, eggs, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, apricots, and peaches, can also help prevent dry, flaky skin.

Relieve dry eyes To soothe achy, puffy eyes, eat more vegetables that have natural cooling properties. Cucumbers, celery, and even sliced zucchini all have high water content, which can help moisturize eyes while reducing puffiness. Citrus fruits and berries rich in vitamin C help reduce inflammation around the eyes.

Breakout busters The mineral zinc is known to be a powerful acne fighter, as it may prevent the hormonal imbalances that lead to outbreaks. Zinc is also important for protein synthesis and the formation of collagen, which is fundamental to healthy skin and oil control. Foods rich in zinc include: Red meat, poultry, salmon, shellfish, almonds, peanuts, cashews, and sunflower seeds.