Health Freedom Blog

Showing 1 to 3 of 45 (15 Pages)

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    Diabetics and prediabetics know that a key to managing their long-term health is managing their blood-sugar level. That usually entails discriminant consumption of sweets daily, among other healthful considerations such as exercise and medication. It is with some irony that one food item known for its sweet taste as a confection could be beneficial to people with high levels of blood sugar.

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    Mobility is something most of us take for granted. We learned to walk when we were very young, and from that point on it's been pretty much full speed ahead. We get up out of bed in the morning and walk to the bathroom without a thought, or we climb the stairs, or maybe we even get on a bike for a short ride or workout. For many elderly, however, even the simplest of tasks or pleasures that involve some sort of mobility no longer are a snap.

     

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    To go along with National Puppy Day, we thought we'd feature the experiences of a member of one of our unique groups of customers, owners of dogs identified with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency or EPI. Olesia Kennedy is the Executive President of the Epi4Dogs Foundation, Inc. and we asked her to share her story and experience with WonderLabs in the efforts of taking care of her own dogs with this disease.

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    For those of you reading this article on a laptop, smartphone or other handheld device such as a tablet, this article was written especially for you. March is Save Your Vision Month, and this year the American Optometric Association (AOA) has pegged digital eyestrain as its focus in promoting regular, comprehensive eye exams.

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    Maybe it's time to consider pouring a glass of red wine (or grape juice) and sitting down to enjoy a healthy snack of peanuts, grapes, dark chocolate, cranberries and blueberries along with a dash of cocoa. What do all these delectables have in common? They are sources of resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant that some experts have even touted as a potential fountain of youth.

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    Growing old is not a particularly fun thing for most of us. One of the drawbacks to the aging process is what it does to our physical appearance, namely our skin. Wrinkled, spotty, sagging skin is the result of normal aging. There's nothing wrong, however, with trying to make ourselves look younger, and often that starts with rejuvenating the skin.

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    Many of us have a low level of magnesium in our bodies, and we don't even know it. In fact, many of us don't even know that we are supposed to care. As a society, we are onboard with making sure we get enough calcium, Vitamin B12, potassium, etc., but let's admit it – we have overlooked magnesium at a time when studies show many of us are undersupplied with magnesium, termed the "master mineral" because it's a part of more than 300 metabolic processes in our bodies, per naturalsociety.com.

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    There may be no better time than now to recognize our brains for the great work they do, and to thank sleep for making the other 16 hours or so of the day that much more bearable. After all, March 13-19 is Brain Awareness Week and the entire month of March is Sleep Awareness Week. The brain and sleep – it’s nearly impossible to have one at peak performance without the other hitting on all cylinders, so it only makes sense we pay them their due respects at the same time.

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    Most of us, when we hear about detoxification, picture those fasts with icky-looking, yucky-tasting concoctions designed to clean out our digestive system. But that's not the type of detox we are talking about today. There's also the detoxification that involves ridding our bodies of excess free radicals, a mission greatly helped by our consumption of sources, namely healthy foods, rich in antioxidants.

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    Being fatigued is no fun, no matter what time of day it hits. It's also true that there are different degrees of fatigue, such as what you feel when you've finished a truly grueling workout. Or you enjoyed a big lunch, and now it's 3 p.m. and you've hit a wall back at the office. Or you've been under sustained pressure and you wonder how much longer you can hold your head together. Or after just a couple hours of spring cleaning (or even spring break), you're ready to crawl back into bed.

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    Every now and then it makes sense to push back from the dinner table and take a good, hard look at what you are eating. Is what you are putting into your mouth nutritious, and is it conducive to long-term good health? Just think of the benefits if we took such an inventory once a year; like, say, in March, and did something about it.

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    If waxing cars ("Wax on, wax off") can be great training and exercise for learning martial arts, then it makes sense that gardening out in your yard can be a great exercise for overall personal fitness. Think of it. Rake for a while; dig for a while. Heavy work, then light work. Standing, then bending, then crouching or kneeling, then doing it all again, over and over and over – over the course of an hour or so, day after day.

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    Most Americans have firsthand knowledge of acne, a certain level of expertise, in fact. That's because an estimated 85 percent of them have battled zits or pimples at one point in their lives. Acne is the most common skin condition experienced in the U.S., although separating fact from fiction can be tricky when it comes to identifying the causes of acne and proper treatments.

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    When it comes to bone mass and strong and healthy bones, we hit our peaks around age 30. Up to that point, our bodies create new bone faster than existing bone breaks down, giving us a net gain. All is not lost after age 30, however. The good news is that we have it within our reach to stave off or at least delay bone loss, take care of our bones, and maybe even strengthen them.

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    What to do about spring allergies? Spring is officially three weeks away, but in some parts of the country it seems to be arriving earlier than usual this year. We know this not just from the unseasonably and extended warm periods we’ve had in some regions of the country, but also because spring allergies are starting to hit many of us. As always, allergies raise the same nagging questions: what causes allergies, how long do allergies last, and how do we get rid of them or at least make allergies a more tolerable companion?

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    Information about eating disorders. How to deal with eating disorder. What causes eating disorders. How to help someone with an eating disorder. There are several myths and assumptions about eating disorders that have consumed health experts for years, and a few questions remain unanswered. For example, what is the root cause of eating disorders – there are several such illnesses – and how can eating disorders be treated if not cured?

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    For anyone who has ever been unfortunate enough to suffer from heavy-metal poisoning—not to be confused with loud rock music, chelation therapy is an effective antidote. For anyone who has ever been unfortunate enough to suffer from heavy-metal poisoning—not to be confused with loud rock music, chelation therapy is an effective antidote. Chelation therapy involves the use of EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid), a synthetic amino acid, which is injected into the bloodstream. Once there, and as it passes through the body, it binds to metals such as lead, mercury, copper, iron and arsenic, and then removes them through the bodily elimination of urine. Chelation therapy involves the use of EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid), a synthetic amino acid, which is injected into the bloodstream. Once there, and as it passes through the body, it binds to metals such as lead, mercury, copper, iron and arsenic, and then removes them through the bodily elimination of urine.

     

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    Superbugs are not superheroes; they are anything but. Superbugs are bacteria that can’t be killed even when multiple antibiotics are used. They have become resistant to antibiotics – infections once easily and effectively treated, such as strep throat or an ear infection – now are seen as potentially deadly.

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    Leaky gut syndrome is not an official diagnosis you will hear spoken in many, if any, med schools. It remains somewhat of a mystery to practicing physicians and other healthcare professions, although they are aware of leaky gut’s potentially detrimental effects on our health. Sufferers with stomach or digestive issues wonder, Do I have a leaky gut? Second item of concern: they want to know what it takes to fix a leaky gut.

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    What does it mean to detoxify your body, and how does detox work? Detox is all about cleansing the impurities out of your blood. That includes the blood in your liver, where toxins are processed for elimination. It also encompasses getting rid of the toxins through the lungs (via exhalation and expectoration), intestines (feces) and kidneys (urine), as well as the lymphatic system and even through the skin (sweat).

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    It is a common health question people ask themselves, and that includes those who haven’t yet been diagnosed with a related problem: How can I control, or even lower, my cholesterol naturally? In fact, How exactly do I lower cholesterol without using prescription medicine? and How quickly can I lower those cholesterol levels?

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    It happens each year around this time (between the holidays and March, mostly): people all around us—maybe ourselves included—get sick from the stomach bug, or what’s commonly referred to as “stomach flu.” It can be a miserable 24 to 48 hours or so. Symptoms typically include diarrhea, nausea/vomiting, abdominal pain or cramping and maybe even a smidgen of fever—accompanied by dehydration (tingling in the extremities anyone?) and loads of justifiable self-pity.

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    Mention obesity in America, and many questions come to mind. How obese is America? How many people are overweight? Are Americans fat? Is obesity considered an epidemic in the U.S.? In short, the answers are, a lot, a bunch, yes and heck yes. We are as a society fat, overweight and obese--there's no other way to put it. The latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that 68 percent of Americans are overweight or obese, and that number is expected to rise to 75 percent by 2020. Wallethub has declared fat as the new normal in America.

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    The National Institute of Health, the World Health Organization and others believe that people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes often lack adequate levels of many vitamins and minerals and that is a consequence of poor eating habits. Supplementation can correct some of these deficiencies and help restore normal blood sugar levels. They also complement a healthy diet and exercise. 7 supplements that have shown promising results for maintaining proper blood sugar levels: Berberine, chromium, resveratrol, alpha-lipoic acid, vitamin D, magnesium and silymarin milk thistle.

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    Despite all the warnings and the gruesome photos that for decades have depicted a longtime smoker’s lungs, millions of Americans continue to smoke tobacco products – mostly in the form of cigarettes. The American Heart Association reports that as of 2015, 46 million Americans were smokers: 23.1 percent of men smoke; 18.3 percent of women. Nearly a half million deaths a year are the direct result of smoking cigarettes.

     

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    Any time we get a chance to use a natural remedy sold over the counter in place of a prescribed pharmaceutical, and the former is as effective or nearly as effective as the latter, figure on the former as the preferred choice. Such is the case with berberine, a plant alkaloid that in supplement form packs a punch in fighting a fistful of risky health conditions.

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    Being overweight and having high blood-sugar levels often go together like peas and carrots—if only we could make that connection in our real lives. Think of it: if we could stick to a diet that made more use of peas and carrots (as well as other vegetables as well as fruits), chances are we would be at much less risk of being obese and having type 2 diabetes, assuming we aren't in that danger zone already.

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    We all want to be healthy and stay that way, manage our weight properly and keep our bodies operating with tiptop efficiency. In order to do that, we must stay hydrated. That means drinking plenty of water every day. How many times have we heard it: we should be sipping through at least eight glasses of water daily, no matter how tedious it can seem at times.

     

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    If you are diabetic or just want to stay ahead of the game you have probably asked some of the following questions: Can I reverse diabetes naturally? How do you get diabetes? How to reverse diabetes permanently? Is diabetes hereditary? Does race play a role in getting diabetes? These are some of the questions and the following are terms most of us and especially diabetics will hear over and over. Overweight, obese, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetic, type 2 diabetes and a few others are names for problems that have reached epidemic proportions in just a 30 year span. There’s hardly a person who isn’t affected by these conditions, either directly or indirectly. Yet as common as these conditions are, few people understand how closely they’re related to one another.

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    Although there is no known cure for cancer, we can still take an active role in increasing the awareness of cancer, collectively taking a stand worldwide to reach out and do whatever we can to reduce the global burden of cancer. That is the premise of World Cancer Day, which is being recognized February 4, this Saturday. This year’s theme is “We can. I can.”

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    AMPK and the role berberine plays in activating this all important enzyme. In order to understand Berberine, and why it is now vying for a position as one of the most powerful supplements in the world, it's important to understand adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase, or AMPK.

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    What causes dry eyes?

    How do I treat dry eyes?

    How do you get rid of dry eyes?

    Questions about dry eyes have one thing in common – they all refer to conditions in which tears are being produced, or at least implied, and that is a good thing to anyone who has ever experienced dry eye, or, more formally, dry eye syndrome

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    Having trouble sleeping at night? Looking for another source of energy for the big race? Allergies got you down? That nagging cough won't go away? On and on that list goes, and as you might have guessed, there is one substance out there that can tackle all those issues, and more, even if it takes its sweet time getting the work done.

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    With Valentine’s Day just two weeks away, chocolate is on the minds of millions of Americans. They can’t wait until it is in their mouths, too, when they get to celebrate love and romance with their loved ones by the traditional exchange of Valentine’s candy, much of it chocolate. Hey, it can be good for your health as well, in strict moderation, of course. But, it is safe to say chocolate has health benefits.

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    High blood pressure. It is one of the most commonly mentioned health issues in America, and for good reason: nearly a third of all Americans have high blood pressure and, according to healthline.com, another third have what's known as prehypertension. That's where blood pressure (BP) is higher than what's considered normal (a reading most often cited as 120/80) yet not quite high enough to be categorized as hypertension.

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    We hear a lot about lymph nodes these days, and often the context in which they are mentioned means bad news. How many times have we heard the dreaded phrase "The cancer has spread to the lymph nodes"? That's usually another way of saying that the afflicted person doesn't have long to live, or at the very least is facing another brutal regimen, maybe even a last-ditch effort, of chemotherapy.

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    So, it's late January – how are things going with that New Year's resolution; you know, the one about losing X number of pounds in 2017? Add these 19 various actions into your daily routine to help you bust those pounds and lose the weight you've been wanting to recently.

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    Throughout history, many different cultures have recognized the potential use of garlic for prevention and treatment of different diseases. Recent studies support the effects of garlic and its extracts in a wide range of applications. These studies raised the possibility of revival of garlic therapeutic values in different diseases. Different compounds in garlic are thought to reduce the risk for cardiovascular diseases, have anti-tumor and anti-microbial effects, and show benefit on high blood glucose concentration. However, the exact mechanism of all ingredients and their long-term effects are not fully understood. Further studies are needed to elucidate the pathophysiological mechanisms of action of garlic as well as its efficacy and safety in treatment of various diseases.

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    Vitamin K has been referred to as "the forgotten vitamin" because its major benefits tend to get ignored or not even acknowledged because other vitamins with "bigger names," such as Vitamins C and D, hog all the headlines and have gotten more press over the years. But if we take a closer look at all that Vitamin K – which has several forms – does for our body, it would be remiss to overlook it any further.

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    Every year about 13,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer. The good news is that over the last 30 years, the number of women dying from cervical cancer has dropped by more than 50 percent, and that's according to the American Cancer Society. Chalk that up to the increased use of screening tests, which are designed to find changes in the cervix before cancer develops, or at least early enough, when it's small and easier to cure.

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    It is small and shaped like a butterfly, but there's nothing trivial or flighty about the thyroid gland when it comes to our bodies. It has been called the body's engine, and from its location at the bottom front of our neck just below the Adam's apple, it plays a key role in producing a hormone that affects the function of numerous organs in our bodies, including the brain, heart, liver, kidneys and skin.

     

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    There are about four million people in America (and 60 million worldwide, per glaucoma.org) who have glaucoma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and about half of those that have it don't even know it. That could be you, which is why it's important to have your eyes thoroughly examined regularly by a properly certified healthcare professional, otherwise known as an eye doctor.

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    A good night's sleep. It is something we all cherish, and yet it is something that proves elusive for millions of Americans. A consistent loss of sleep can hinder our productivity in the workplace, to say nothing of hindering our quality of life between the time we get up in the morning and when we go to bed at night (presumably at night).

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    Radon gas is the classic example of something that you can neither see, taste, or smell, and yet it can kill you. It is estimated that one in about 15 homes in America has a potentially dangerous level of the radioactive gas, which emanates from the ground beneath a house. That proverbial monster hiding under the bed? Now you get the picture.

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    Any sports-minded person who has grown up or otherwise lived a long time in a climate known for its abundance of snow and ice knows all about bundling up against the winter chill for months at a time as well as the rigors of shoveling an overnight dumping of snow on sidewalks and driveways. Yet such a life can provide a "winter wonderland" as well, where skiing, snowboarding, skating, ice hockey, sledding, tobogganing, snowmobiling, etc. can provide hours of sheer delight.

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    Rarely does a week go by that we don’t see or hear something about which vitamin or vitamins is most important to our health or overall well-being. It’s easy to get lost in alphabet soup when it comes to touts of Vitamin A or Vitamin D, or if we need more of Vitamin E for the good of our heart or Vitamin C for the good of our fighting a cold. And what are we to make of this Vitamin K which has emerged as a trending vitamin?

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    There's nothing like the discomfort and occasional embarrassment of gas and bloating to spoil the holidays, or any time of the year for that matter. At such times, most everyone loses: the sufferer might feel pain in the abdominal area in addition to general discomfort, and those in proximity stand a chance of suddenly being subject to scents of the distasteful variety.

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    When choosing what you are going to eat every day, and how and when you are going to eat it, think of your digestive system as a sort of assembly line. You want to be sure that your eating choices and habits will keep that assembly line humming right along, and that what comes out the other end—yes, we are talking about bowel movements—is what you want to have coming out. If there are any glitches or hang-ups along the way, that's when things can get dicey for you, and uncomfortable.

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    As if pain and discomfort that comes to us from "outside" sources, such as a fall on the pavement or back pain caused by heavy lifting, isn’t enough, there are times we must deal with the aches and pains of muscle tension, which can be the most troublesome of all. That’s because most muscle tension is self-induced—the physiological result of lingering stress we feel in the form of worry, anxiety, or fear.

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    The gingko tree is truly a marvel of nature. It epitomizes brains and brawn. The brains part comes from the gingko leaf's many purported medical properties, one of which—in capsule, tablet or liquid extract form—is believed to help with cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and memory loss, especially in older people, according to webmd.com.

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    Proteins are good, that much we know without much instruction needed. It's even a word that rolls nicely off the tongue—"PRO-teen." It has such a great sound of positivity to it. As it should.

    We hear about protein and see it mentioned a lot in advertising across all media, and many of us, especially those of us who work out a lot (pumping iron, anyone?), associate it with those delightful-looking shakes we see hard-bodied guys and gals pouring down the hatch. The stuff practically sells itself. As it should.

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    At first for the unwitting among us, it sounded like a fad cooked up to con masses of people into spending billions of dollars on a whole new category of food—gluten-free food that would be healthier and safer than anything else on the market. Healthier, that is, for anyone with celiac disease, whatever the heck that is, right? Well, yeah, except this has turned out to be no fad, and it addresses a disease with symptoms triggered when eating food with gluten in it.

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    There's nothing like a headache to spoil what otherwise was shaping up to be a nice day. When a headache hits, most or all conscious thought and action turns to doing what is necessary to get rid of the pain, or at least alleviate the symptoms enough so we can return to functional status. It's best to know how to deal with one before we have to deal with one.

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    Vitamin C's reputation as a popular weapon in the never-ending battle against the common cold dates back decades. What most of Vitamin's C loyalists and advocates might not realize, though, is that ascorbic acid—another name for C—has been a staunch fighter on our health's behalf going back centuries. That takes us back to the days when pirates and sailors had bigger fish to fry than a stuffy nose, sore throat and cough.

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    To think there was a time when soft drinks were considered harmless; something cold, sweet, fizzy and nonalcoholic to be enjoyed in front of the TV or at a party, ballgame or movie theater without need for a designated driver. This was before we all wised up about what’s actually in these sweet, carbonated drinks and the possibly harmful effects lurking inside each can, cup or bottle.

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    Sneezes are the funniest things, and not always of the humorous variety. Oh, sure, it can be funny when someone nearby tries unsuccessfully to stifle a sneeze, and the resulting gyrations and noise blast, even if muffled, elicit laughter all around. But it is no laughing matter when someone with a full sinus blasts out a sneeze—or a series of sneezes—without covering up. Shame on them.

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    Anyone who has ever been diagnosed with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis doesn't need to be made aware of the diseases; they already know all about it and get to experience it almost every day, unless they are in remission or undergoing a treatment plan that is working well and capably controlling the symptoms.

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    America is populated with millions of weekend warriors—aspiring, perspiring amateur athletes. They might have a bit of a paunch or some nagging aches and pains, or they just noticed a few more gray hairs when looking in the mirror this morning. Yet they still hold far-fetched fantasies of winning the next pickup game or tennis match, or lowering their PR in the next 10K. They want to be called 'athlete,' and crave any association with the word.

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    How many times have you been in a public rest room and noticed others who depart after doing their business without stopping to wash their hands? Disgusting, isn't it? What’s even more disgusting if it's you that's the guilty culprit, in such a hurry to leave that you can't stop for 30 seconds to clean your hands. Maybe that turns out to be the one time that meant catching a cold or coming down with the flu through germs transference.

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    Decades before writing books about chicken soup for the soul became a cottage industry, moms across America were, for real, serving up bowls of hot chicken soup to loved ones suffering from maladies of misery such as colds or the flu. It's an old wives' tale, passed down through generations (some reports say since the 12th century), that chicken soup is an elixir for what ails us, perhaps the closest thing there is to a cure for the common cold.

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    We all have had it at one time or another to one degree or another. We might not be aware of it, although anyone within 10 feet notices it and is perhaps repulsed by it. Pieces of food (i.e. lettuce) stuck in our unbrushed teeth? An ugly tie? No and no. For the purpose of this article, the culprit is body odor, commonly referred to as B.O.

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    November is Bladder Awareness Month, which is a good thing, but heightened awareness really isn’t necessary for anyone already suffering with incontinence or urinary tract infections (UTIs). They are already well aware they have a bladder, and nothing could be ‘badder’ than a bladder that isn’t functioning properly. It can be as embarrassing as it is painful.

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    Those of us who have never experienced an anxiety disorder might find it difficult to empathize with those who have suffered, some for almost their entire lives. Perhaps the doubters don't believe such disorders are for real or that the sufferer should just "suck it up and get over it." To those cynical about the genuine existence of anxiety disorders, you really don't want to walk a mile in the shoes of someone who has been diagnosed with one.

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    Thank goodness, Thanksgiving week is here. For many of us that’s our green light to pig out; after all, this is the one week of the year when many of us expect to stuff ourselves (without recrimination or stern lectures) in much the same way that Mom and/or Dad (or Grandma and Grandpa) stuff the turkey. So, you say you’re on a strict weight-loss diet? No excuses—all hands, and mouths, on deck.

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    With winter fast approaching, and you happen to look down on your shoulders and upper chest and notice the white flakes. An early snowfall? Not likely, especially if you are indoors. What you are looking at is most likely dandruff that has fallen from your hair, or scalp. The good news is that it's more an annoyance or nuisance than it is an actual health issue. An embarrassing issue, perhaps, but not a harmful one.

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    As the holidays approach and thoughts of Santa Claus dance in the heads of kids of all ages, three to 103, we think of the guy with the white beard and the big round belly that works better on him than it does on us.

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    November is National Healthy Skin Month, which is a reminder to all of us that maintaining good health also means spending part of the day going only skin deep with some of that care. Keeping our skin fresh, hydrated, and healthy year-round takes a 365-day-a-year commitment, and it's not something women or men can ignore until they are in their 30s or 40s.

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    You don't have to be a heavy smoker or a chewing-tobacco fanatic to be at risk for mouth cancer, otherwise known as oral cancer. While those are the two biggest risk factors for developing mouth/oral cancer, it is important to note that more than 25 percent of people who get mouth cancer do not smoke and if they drink alcohol, they do so only occasionally. Just something to keep in mind as we recognize November as Mouth Cancer Action Month.

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    If getting a sore throat feels like a true annoyance, it could be worse – the next step up the ladder of illnesses is strep throat, which, unfortunately, is usually as bad as it sounds. More common in children than it is in adults, strep throat has all the markings of a sore throat – such as pain, itchiness or irritation of the throat leading to difficulty in swallowing, but strep throat ratchets it up a few notches.

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    If the thought of someday developing dementia has you concerned, now is as good a time as any to add blueberries to your grocery list—if you haven’t already. Recent research has shown that regular snacking on blueberries, beginning in middle age or earlier, could prevent dementia from developing as you get older. This is what scientists reported in March 2016 at the National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), held in San Diego.

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    We typically perceive inflammation anywhere in our body as a bad thing, that it’s time to pay a visit to the medicine cabinet to take measures to make the bad thing go away. But the great unknown about inflammation is that, in itself, it is a good thing, that it represents our body’s first-responder mechanism to protect, repair or heal itself from stimuli that are harmful, whether they be damaged cells, irritants or pathogens.

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    Sometimes a topic for humor, menopause is likely no laughing matter for anyone who has ever been through it. And don’t be fooled by the “pause” portion of the word. The term “menopause” is derived from the Ancient Greek terms ‘mene’ (referring to ‘moon,’ think ‘month’) and ‘pauein’ (which means ‘stop,’ as opposed to pause). Menopause is a natural biological process that starts when a woman stops having menstrual periods and can therefore no longer bear children, typically occurring in her late 40s or early 50s.

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    Your furry friend might need your help.  Your own daily life can be stressful. You might worry about new projects at work, how your kids are doing in school, or whether or not you left the stove on at home. Stress is a normal part of our lives, but it isn’t limited to humans. Your pets also experience stress.  Yes, man’s best friend has more in common with you than you might think.

     

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    Dogs can’t fully be dogs unless they’re in motion. They want to run, jump, play, and wag their tails – it’s instinct, and it’s why we love them. But sometimes all this activity and the passage of time can prove too much for their joints. Arthritis in canines is actually one of the most prevalent health issues seen by veterinarians; whether it be rheumatoid or septic arthritis, abnormal joint cartilage development (osteochondritis dissecans or OCD), or spinal arthritis (spondylosis deformans).

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    Naming and knowing about the organs inside our body can be a tough task for those of us who didn’t major in pre-med or biology in college. Let’s see . . . there’s the heart, the abdomen, the liver, the pancreas, the brain (of course), the kidneys, the spleen, the intestines . . . on and on and so on and so forth. Then there’s something called the gall bladder, a small, pear-shaped organ connected to the liver and intestines, and vital to (although not indispensable to) the digestion of our food.

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    It’s an expression we’ve heard many times before: Open mouth, insert foot. Unfortunately for some people, every time they open their mouth, it smells like a stinky foot (with sock removed) has been there, even when it hasn’t. This is what’s known as bad breath—the clinical term is halitosis, and it’s been estimated that 25 to 30 percent of people have it.

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    Psoriasis is one of those fairly common but strange physical conditions most people have heard of but know very little about, other than it presents itself as flaky skin and is a major, irritating nuisance for sufferers.  It is somewhat of a mystery for healthcare professionals as well, because treating it remains on the hit-and-miss spectrum of strategies, and there is no known cure.

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    Look around you. You’re off to a good start, if you can do that easily and without pain. Most likely that means your eyesight is working fine, that your eyes are uninjured and that neither eye is hurting, stinging or otherwise in pain. Let’s talk about trying to keep it that way.

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    Hold on a sec and let’s get a grip . . . on that barbell or dumbbell. Here’s the skinny when it comes to fat and weight training: lifting weights can be a great way to lose weight and change the shape of your body in several places that will likely have you looking leaner.

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  • 

    You don't have to be a sports person to understand that when it comes to taking care of our bodies, germs are on offense, we the people are on defense. This is a daily circumstance, and our immune system is on call 24/7. This offense/defense dynamic is a competitive rivalry that never ends and which dates back to the beginning of time, long before there was March Madness, the World Series or a Super Bowl. The best things we can do for ourselves in staying a step ahead of the microscopic posse are to get plenty of sleep, eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and know what we can do to boost our immunity system.

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  • 

    Soon it will be Halloween, one of the few days of the year (think Valentine’s Day and Easter as well) when kids (and us kids at heart) can gorge on candy and other sweets and not worry about what others will think or say. Everyone’s doing it! It really is supposed to be a one-day thing, but between parties at school, trick or treating on October 31 and munching on store-bought candy in the days leading up and then properly ‘disposing’ of leftover sweets in the days that follow, well, it just turns into one long marathon sugar rush.

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  • 

    Are you sitting down? Not for long after you read this. If you haven’t heard about it before, welcome to a relatively new affliction known as “sitting disease.” No, this is not some anti-exotic name given to a debilitating condition caused by a mosquito bite or too much lounging around in the sun; it’s about spending too much time . . . sitting, the physical results of which can be devastating.

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  • 

    The good news about breast cancer is that in recent years the number of breast cancer-related deaths has been in decline, and the incidence rate in women 50 and over has been dropping as well. But that doesn’t change the sobering facts of breast cancer, which includes, among other stats according to nationalbreastcancer.org, that one in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer sometime in her life and that breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among women.

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  • 

    Good morning! You wake up bright and refreshed, feeling great, ready to tackle another day. You jump out of bed and head to the bathroom to begin your basic business, and that's when you notice it. You're walking across the hardwood floor, or even the carpet, but you can't hear your footsteps. You turn and glance back toward your bed and your significant other is looking at you, his or her lips moving, but you can barely hear what they are saying. Huh?

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  • 

    October is Dental Hygiene Month, meaning now is as good a time as any to dig out your toothbrush from whichever drawer you forgot you put it in. Next, find a tube of toothpaste with at least a smidgen of fluoride-laced toothpaste left in it. Then take a detour from your favorite social media page to go and Google 'flossing' so you can learn what it is and how it works.

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  • 

    Autumn, especially early autumn, is a favorite time of year for many of us in many parts of the country. As we go deeper into October, we marvel at the colorful turning of the leaves, rake leaves into piles and jump into them, roam through pumpkin patches in search of the future jack-o'-lantern(s) to adorn the front porch, savor cooler temps at night that make for easier sleeping, and join friends for tailgaters or TV-watching parties with football in full swing.

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  • 

    For many decades and for many ill-informed people devoid of empathy, public awareness of mental illness has been characterized by profound ignorance at its most primitive level. Words of ridicule such as "retard," "loon," "sicko," "psycho," and "nutcase" were mindlessly tossed around indiscriminately. (Sometimes they still are.) This often was accompanied by derisive laughter, aimed at anyone whose mannerisms or demonstrations of deficient mental faculties didn't jibe with our definition of "normal." Schoolyards and hallways could be especially cruel.

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  • 

    Instead of reaching for energy drinks every couple of hours, many people are relying on 3 healthier standbys to get through their days — with enough energy to spare to finish up their evening routines. Better yet, these options could be easier on the budget.

    Take a look at these healthier alternatives to energy drinks. They could provide the extra boost needed to handle busy schedules that come with work, managing households, family, and other day-to-day activities.

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  • 

    Many people are already aware of the heart health benefits provided by Vitamin E. It has been attributed to lower the risk of heart attacks, which afflicts 720,000 Americans every year, according to the Heart Foundation.

    Based on those statistics alone, it’s clear that Vitamin E should be a priority for all Americans. However, there are other reasons for ensuring an adequate intake of the vitamin. Studies show that it encourages the growth of healthy hair as well.

    Researchers believe it works for hair health the same way it does for the heart. It is believed to enable capillary growth aiding in preventing hair loss and assisting in hair growth. When consumed regularly, vitamin E’s positive side effects on hair have been evident in various studies.

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  • 

    Just about everyone has heard that carrots are good for your eyes — an adage repeated by parents through the generations to get their children to eat up the orange vegetable.

    There’s truth to that recommendation — and it lies in the fact that carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which the body converts into Vitamin A. And there are plenty of benefits to making sure you get plenty of Vitamin A.

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  • 

    As a mineral, magnesium scores huge points for its essential role in helping the body function properly. Here are just a few things that make it an important part of a regular diet: It aids in regulating blood pressure, maintaining a steady heart rate, and promoting bone strength.

    However, most Americans of all ages are not getting enough magnesium to meet average requirements, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Lack of magnesium can manifest itself in numerous ways, including feelings of exhaustion and muscle cramps.

    A magnesium deficiency also can go undetected, with many people not experiencing symptoms yet experiencing the long-term effects.

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  • 

    Expensive ointments, diets and other formulas designed to improve a woman’s appearance — and the way she feels — have generated a multi-billion industry. However, the key to feeling and looking great could be as easy as regularly exercising, eating right and reaching for several important vitamins and nutrients.

    Take a look at the nutrients women should be including in their daily routines, whether through foods or as a supplement. 

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  • 

    Sometimes feelings of fatigue can simply be chalked up to an incredibly busy lifestyle — whether it’s a result of juggling family schedules, work, household chores and myriad other responsibilities. However, some symptoms may point to an iron deficiency, which is more common than many people realize.

    According to the World Health Organization, iron deficiency is one of the most common and widespread nutritional disorders in the world, affecting over 30 percent of the world’s population. Although it’s one of the most common conditions, an iron deficiency is easy to overlook. But left untreated, the symptoms can quickly worsen — leading to other complications.

    Here are some symptoms that could point to an iron deficiency or anemia, according to the World Health Organization.

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  • 

    The active ingredient in the plant turmeric, curcumin, is quickly gaining a reputation as a superfood, with some people even saying that it already has developed a cult-like following. But turmeric has been around for thousands of years — with cultures in Asia using it for seasoning and medicinal purposes on a daily basis.

    Turmeric, the main spice used in curry dishes, is gaining a lot of attention because of the turmeric root’s active ingredient curcumin and the possible health benefits.

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  • 

    If you’ve experienced leg cramps in the middle of the night, then you probably know what it means to have a restless, painful night.

    Leg cramps usually come without warning and can last for what seems like hours. It can be very difficult to go about your day or fall asleep once you start having them, and relief can feel unattainable. In fact, even painkillers have been considered ineffective in providing relief for leg cramps because they don’t act fast enough or don’t treat the root of the problem.

    Thankfully, there are ways to help prevent the onset of leg cramps that can help provide relief from sore and tormented muscles.

    Before we dive into those practices, let’s clarify what causes leg cramps, who experiences them, and how they can affect your daily life.

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  • 

    Scientists have been studying and researching turmeric for its ability to aid in relieving and preventing joint pain and many other ailments for some time. Studies are now being performed to see how the spice works at tackling disease.

    Turmeric was initially used as a dye in Asia. After discovering that it had the ability to preserve the freshness and nutritional value in foods, people started using it in curries to aid in preserving it for later use and export. Turmeric played a very important part in South Asia’s sustainability. It was supposedly valued more than gold and gemstones.

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  • 

    One billion. That’s the number of people worldwide who have a vitamin D deficiency, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. And a significant number of those people live in the United States. A study published in the Nutritional Journal put that number at 42 percent of American adults.

    So what are the symptoms a person should look for to find out if they are included in this number or not? A blood test may be able to inform someone, but first here are some things to look out for when deciding whether or not to get a blood test or speak with a physician regarding 

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  • 

    The human body’s ability to defend itself against harmful bacteria and microorganisms is a thing to behold. With a healthy immune system, it can protect people from germs, illnesses, and viruses. However, unhealthy lifestyle habits can compromise a person’s ability to ward off an attack.

    To ensure a healthy immune system, develop these healthy habits to help keep it working at optimal levels.

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  • 

    Some people subscribe to the idea that 50 is the new 30. It’s no wonder. Many people over the age of 50 are running marathons, starting new careers, and engaging in active lifestyles — with no thoughts of retiring to a more sedentary lifestyle.

    However, no matter how healthy and active a person may be, it’s important to check the personal intake of these five vitamins after turning 50.

    Many people may be accustomed to taking a multivitamin. However, beyond 50, it’s essential to take another look at some vitamins that may insufficiently absorbed into the body. They include Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, magnesium, and calcium — especially for women. Take a look at these vitamins and their benefits.

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  • 

    Sluggish, in the dumps, wiped out? While there are many ways to describe that lingering feeling of tiredness, there may be a need to take action beyond taking an invigorating cold shower, a few extra naps or numerous cups of caffeinated drinks.

    When feelings of fatigue are persistent, it’s not necessarily a cause for alarm. The underlying cause could be attributed to one of the following three common issues.

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  • 

    When a woman discovers that she is pregnant, it can be a wonderful — yet stressful — occasion. For many women, especially those who are experiencing pregnancy for the first time, there may be fears of issues or complications developing. While some of those concerns may be rooted in genetics, there are steps to take that will encourage a healthy pregnancy.

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  • 

    Whether a person is a vegan or not, everyone should be aware of the possibility of nutrient deficiencies. For vegans, a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, grains, beans and some seeds or nuts can help with including the appropriate amount of vitamins and nutrients needed to maintain a healthy balance. However, many vegans still don’t get the recommended amounts of some important nutrients including calcium, vitamin B12 and vitamin D.

    The University of Eastern Finland recently performed a study showing that vegans adhere to nutrition recommendations in varying degrees. The researchers say this evidence highlights the need of vegans to get nutrition guidance and to use recommended nutrient supplements. Moreover, closer attention should be paid to the intake of vitamin D and iodine among vegans.

    The following are some of the nutrient supplements that may assist vegans in staying healthy.

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  • 

    Lately, Vitamin B12 has been getting a lot of attention as one of the vitamins that are essential to the body’s ability to function properly. According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, people in California are lining up to get shots, supplements, or sprays that contain Vitamin B12.

    There’s reason for the interest, said Dr. Zhaoping Li, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, who was quoted by the newspaper. "B12 is essential for everyone," he said. It also is known for boosting energy.

    Here are six essential things everyone should know about Vitamin B12, including how to make sure it’s part of the daily diet.

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  • 

    Everyone gets tired at some point. Or they may experience weakness, a loss of appetite, or constipation. While these could be symptoms of a hectic schedule or various sorts of illnesses, including a virus or flu, they also could be a sign of a Vitamin B12 deficiency that can be easily treated.

    Recent news reports, including those featured in New York Times and History.com, First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln likely was among Americans who suffered from a severe form of Vitamin B12 deficiency — which, unfortunately, caused her to exhibit strange behavior, mood swings, and public outbursts. Only recently, decades after her death, have medical experts noted that she exhibited classic symptoms of pernicious anemia, a disease caused by a vitamin-B12 deficiency.

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  • 

    As much as the summer months are eagerly anticipated, they can pave the way to more injuries, aches and pains for many people — especially as outdoor activities pick up, including gardening, boating, mowing and swimming.

    A study performed by the University of Pittsburgh showed that women and men are more active in the summer than any other season. Statistics from the CDC also show that it’s the season when trips to the emergency room spike, from issues ranging from lawn mowing injuries to dehydration and aching feet.

    That doesn’t mean people have to lessen active time in the summer. There are ways to better enjoy those extra hours of daylight without running into muscle pains, cramps, and more serious injuries.

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  • 

    Pollen, smog, pets, dust… It doesn’t take much to get many of us sneezing, sniffling, coughing or rubbing our itchy, watery eyes. It turns out 55% of us in the U.S. test positive for one or more allergens according to WebMD, placing allergies among the top five chronic diseases in the nation.

    A growing number of sufferers who once reached for conventional allergy meds — your standard Benadryls, Zyrtecs and Claritins — are now turning to relief alternatives without harmful medication effects like drowsiness, mood swings, nose bleeds and trouble sleeping.

    Thankfully, natural allergy relief is within reach through easy tweaks to your home and habits.

    But before we get to those tweaks, let’s clarify what causes allergies, and how to discern it from its look-alike, the common cold.

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  • 

    While a new study was limited to 10 people, scientists are pointing to its results as evidence that people can see marked improvements in memory after following a lifestyle change protocol that includes exercise, a vitamin regimen, and a restricted diet.

    In numerous recent publishings, including a FoxNews article that claimed "This therapy may help reverse memory loss in people with early stages of Alzheimer's" the so-called MEND therapy involves taking vitamins D3, K2, CO-Q, thiamine, and pantothenic acid, as well as 30 minutes to 60 minutes of daily exercise and reducing stress.

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  • 

    Each day people come across a variety of bacteria, both good and bad. Human bodies are viewed as the perfect place to live and a great source of nutrients by these microorganisms. “Good” bacteria, found in the digestive system, in people’s mouths, and on skin, encourages healthy digestion and protection from “bad” bacteria. Contaminated foods, open sores, and everyday pollution allow bad bacteria into the human body.

    In recent years, studies have indicated potential benefits from consuming good bacteria through probiotics. Just recently, new research by the University of Copenhagen revealed that imbalances in bacteria can lead to insulin resistance — and, as a result, type 2 diabetes. The research supports previous studies that a daily dose of probiotics can help in the fight against disease.

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  • 

    Researchers at the John Hopkins School of Medicine are seeking participants for a study to determine if Vitamin D deficiencies could be a major contributor for falls among people 65 and older.

    John Hopkins already has published a pilot study that shows Vitamin D supplements could assist people with multiple sclerosis by regulating the body’s hyperactive immune response.

    According to some estimates, as many as 40 percent of Americans could have a Vitamin D deficiency, which John Hopkins linked to an increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis.

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  • 

    Migraines, one of the most prevalent illnesses in the world, could be caused by vitamin deficiencies, according to a study that was recently released at the 58th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Headache Society in San Diego.

    Researchers who presented at the meeting said that frequent migraines seemed to be related to mildly lower levels of Vitamin D, riboflavin (Vitamin B-2) and CoEnzyme Q10 among the people who suffered from the disabling headaches.

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  • 

    It's hard to enjoy life without a healthy heart. 

    EDTA, or Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, is a colorless, water-soluble solid that helps keep your heart healthy. At Wonder Labs, we call it "nature's plaque scrubber," an amino polycarboxylic acid that helps support healthy heart artery and blood vessel function. Additionally, it aids in:

    • Removing certain heavy metals
    • Chelation therapy

    In fact, since it can identify and remove certain unwanted metals, EDTA has been used to treat lead poisoning since the 1950s. 

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  • 

    For athletes, whether amateur or professional, performance is among the optimal goals for getting into the game. Being a winner can come down to pushing ahead for one or two seconds, or making an explosive move at just the right moment.

    That’s why a new study that shows the benefits of vitamin D may be of interest to athletes and active youth and adults. The University of Tulsa recently revealed that athletes with low levels of vitamin D are more likely to see declined performance.

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  • 

    There’s good news for Americans when it comes to life expectancy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average life expectancy is 78.8 years of age — a record high in this country. The report, which is based on 2012 records, also revealed that women have a higher life expectancy of 81.2 years compared to 76.4 years for men.

    However, the causes of death remained unchanged from the previous year. The top 10 leading causes of death were heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, unintentional injuries, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease and suicide. They accounted for 73.8 percent of all deaths.

    To combat those type of diseases as well as engage in an improved quality of life, many Americans are managing their weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise. Also, supplements can assist those who are unable to get all their nutrients through diet. Here are four vitamins and supplements worth considering for the 40 and older crowd.

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  • 

    Take them or not? That’s the question many Americans face when trying to decide whether to add an assortment of vitamins to their daily diet. The answer, as typical in these type of situations is, “It depends.”

    Gaining all the recommended nutrients through a healthy diet is not necessarily impossible, but it can be challenging. Even the most disciplined people can find it difficult to receive the optimal levels of nutrients, like Vitamin D, which is not found in most foods Americans commonly eat. Unlike most nutrients, Vitamin D is most commonly obtained from skin exposure to the sun.

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  • 

    At any given time, millions of Americans are reaching for a variety of products to combat  hair loss — including minoxidil and finasteride (like Rogaine and Propecia, respectively). Some are taking it a step further, undergoing surgical procedures to get a full head of hair.

    According to statistics, 35 million American men suffer from hair loss compared to 21 million American women. Also, the problem steadily increases as men age — with 40 percent of men age 35 suffering noticeable hair. That number shifts to 65 percent by the age of 60, 70 percent by the age of 80, and 80 percent by the age of 85.

    Whether experiencing problems with hair loss, breakage or thinning hair, many people may find some benefits in consuming nutrients that have shown to lead to improvements. Here are some foods and supplements that could lead to healthier hair

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  • 

    Many Americans are already familiar with the lifestyle habits that will keep them healthy, including exercising and eating a nutrient-rich diet without excessive fats and processed foods.

    According to various studies, these 5 nutrients and foods also can contribute to a healthy brain.

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  • 

    It’s that time of year again. The kids are getting restless, the weather is great, and spending time outdoors is a healthy way to bring the family together and learn about nature at the same time.

    Not only does hiking give people a breath of fresh air, gorgeous scenery, and an amazing learning experience. It also encourages good blood circulation, healthy bones, and joints, and more. Hiking also promotes healthy weight management without being stuck at the gym on a treadmill.

    Before getting going on a hike, people need to make sure they have the necessities for a positive and healthy trip.

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  • 

    When it comes to essential basic cell function of the human body, Coenzyme Q10 is essential. It can be found naturally throughout the human body. That’s why researchers are finding that this antioxidant, which is regularly referred to as CoQ10, benefits the functioning of various parts of the body.

    Also, research studies have shown some promising results in using it as a treatment for people with high blood pressure, heart conditions, diabetes, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, HIV/AIDS and muscular dystrophies. People with these conditions, as well as those who are aging, typically have been shown to have lower levels of CoQ10.

    Other uses of CoQ10 as a supplement include asthma, chronic fatigue, high cholesterol and eye disease.

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  • 

    There’s an increasing demand for glucosamine — a supplement that has contributed to alleviating joint pain and strengthening cartilage. Researchers are now predicting that the demand for the supplement is expected to reach $1.2 billion by 2022.

    That demand has been attributed to a growing number of Americans who are dealing with arthritis, and other related conditions.

    Here are some things that consumers should know about glucosamine.

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  • 

    While the majority of American adults take dietary supplements, women outpace men. According to a survey conducted by the Council for Responsible Nutrition, 71 percent of U.S. adult women take dietary supplements compared to 65 percent of men. Here are five dietary supplements that can be beneficial for women.

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  • 

    Keeping a healthy heart can require exercising, eating more fruits and vegetables, or sticking to a high-fiber diet. According to researchers, supplements also may help encourage heart health. It’s important to understand what they are and how they might contribute along with diet and exercise. Here are five supplements and vitamins that could help.

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  • 

    According to the Arthritis Foundation, more than 50 million adults are living with doctor-diagnosed arthritis. That’s 1 in 5 people over the age of 18. The key word here is “living.” Life doesn’t have to end with an arthritis diagnosis. A few simple lifestyle changes can lessen arthritis-related pain, leading to a better quality of life. Consider adding these routines into your life to lessen your risks for arthritis.

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  • 

    Although cholesterol is necessary for many functions within the body including hormone production, excess cholesterol in the bloodstream can lead to cardiovascular diseases and heart attacks.

    While high-risk patients are likely to be prescribed medication to lower cholesterol, many people have found that simple dietary changes and exercise can lead to lower cholesterol without medication, according to health experts.

    Here are some tips to lowering cholesterol through diet.

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  • 

    Americans are spending a lot of time staring at screens — a smartphone screen, a tablet screen, a television screen, and mainly, a computer screen. According to Forbes magazine, teenagers are among the worst at these habits, spending a whopping 9 hours a day in front of one of those screens.

    That’s why there’s no better time to focus on supporting healthy vision. All that reading and viewing, even if it includes small print in books, newspapers, paperwork, and instructions, can cause stress on the eyes.

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  • 

    Sure… we all know that water is phenomenal, especially when in relation to our survival. After all, our bodies are made mostly of water (as if we don’t hear that fact enough). As humans, we need water to live. But did you ever take a deeper look into exactly why that is?

    Yes, we need water, but for what reasons? What miraculous things does water do once it enters our body and why are these functions so vital?

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  • 

    If you find yourself struggling to relax, low on energy, plagued with muscle aches and unable to sleep, chances are stress is the culprit.

    Nervous system ailments are more common than you’d think, and can put a real damper on everyday life.

    Stress is a natural reaction to certain situations, such as being startled during a horror movie. But constant exposure leaves you feeling trapped in a chronic stress cycle. And once you’re stuck in this state of regular stress, other symptoms — including depression, tense muscles, and inability to concentrate — can soon follow.

    Set yourself free from stress, naturally, by practicing three simple habits.

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  • 

    If you’ve ever struggled with insomnia, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about the natural supplement melatonin. People have been using the nutritional supplement melatonin for years to aid in a better full night’s sleep.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep. The CDC defines “enough sleep” as 7 hours each night.

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  • 

    Magnesium plays many vital roles in the body. WebMD says that diseases such as osteoporosis, clogged arteries, diabetes, stroke, and high blood pressure have been linked to low magnesium levels.

    A diet that includes foods such as fiber-rich vegetables is one way to get the recommended daily amount of magnesium. However, many people are not getting the proper amount of it daily. And that’s where magnesium supplements can help.

    Here are 7 benefits of getting the proper amount of magnesium.

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  • 

    If asked about how much water is required to stay healthy, most people would quickly respond with the answer, “8 glasses a day.” According to Aaron E. Carroll, a professor at Indiana University School of Medicine, that’s a myth … and it never seem to go away.

    In a New York Times article, Carroll said the eight glasses a day mantra probably gets its roots from a 1945 Food and Nutrition Board recommendation that people consume about 2.5 liters of water daily. However, he pointed out, they likely failed to notice the important sentence that followed: “Most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods.”

    While there are differing opinions on how much water is enough, it is important to note that water is essential to a properly functioning body. Here are three important facts to note about our need for water:

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  • 

    Millions of Americans have problems getting a good night’s rest. In fact, there’s actually a day dedicated to raising awareness about insomnia. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, at least 30 percent of adults will experience brief symptoms of insomnia (the inability to sleep), while 10 percent have had a chronic insomnia disorder which can last for at least three months.

    For those who are having problems sleeping, incorporating a few regular habits into the daily schedule can increase the likelihood of a good night’s rest. However, for chronic insomnia problems, a physician should be consulted.

    Here are 5 ways to ensure that sleep will come more easily.

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  • 

    Since 1962, Wonder Labs has been helping people live with wonder by offering natural nutritional products. Today, Wonder Labs is one of America’s top leaders in the nutritional field.

    As part of our mission for providing natural supplements, we are also dedicated to powering our facilities by using as much natural and solar energy as possible. On Earth Day, we especially remember this mission because we know we are protecting where we call home: Earth.

    What defines our company is not what we say, but what we actually do. It’s always been our belief that being in business means more than just selling nutrition. It also means taking care of the environment where we conduct our business. We are proud of what we have done so far to help achieve our goal of being 100% green.

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  • 

    Beauty comes from within — at least that’s what mothers have been telling daughters for centuries. Of course, there’s plenty of truth to that adage. Maintaining a clear complexion, shiny hair and keeping wrinkles at bay is not just about genetics. It has plenty to do with drinking plenty of water and ingesting the vitamins and minerals that keep the body healthy.

    When the diet fails to deliver, there’s always a line of vitamins, herbs, and minerals that can be stocked in the pantry to help keep skin, hair and nails looking healthy. Take a look at these five supplements that can help boost any daily beauty routine, as recommended by beauty expert and author Tracy Piper in Harper’s Bazaar.

    In addition to taking a multivitamin with Vitamin B-complex, which helps the hair, skin and nails grow, she includes the following on her list. 

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  • 

    When folks in Los Angeles are up to something, that typically means the rest of the nation will follow suit. And one of the latest health trends spreading in the city of celebrities is the vast array of ways to ingest Vitamin B12 — from injections to sprays and vitamins, according to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times.

    While the benefits of Vitamin B12 have been recognized by many Americans for some, it has been getting more attention recently. The number of companies releasing energy drinks with B12 and other vitamins has risen significantly, with some medical experts questioning whether the trend can be causing some people to consume too much Vitamin B12, as reported by the New York Times.

    Here’s a breakdown of several common questions about this wonder vitamin and why it appears to be getting so much renewed attention in its many forms.

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  • 

    Apparently, after years of bad news about the state of American’s health, things seem to be improving, according to a report by NBC News. The media outlet noted studies that revealed fewer Americans are smoking, new diabetes cases are on the decline, and people are drinking fewer sugary carbonated beverages.

    "We are looking at some progress we have been making in America," said American Heart Association spokesperson Dr. Gerald Fletcher, who also is a physician for Mayo Clinic.

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  • 

    A few years ago, when celiac disease became a frequent topic, many people did not initially grasp the facts. Some people of us assumed that celiac was nothing more than a wheat allergy. But actually, this genetic autoimmune disease can be very serious. If untreated, it may cause permanent damage to the small intestine while also depriving the body of necessary nutrients.

    According to Beyond Celiac, 1 in 33 Americans of both genders, all ages, and all races, has this diagnosis. But here’s an even more disturbing fact: 83 percent of Americans who also have this disease are either undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.

    With more than 300 symptoms which never appear the same in each patient, celiac disease is often a mystery. For example, the most common symptoms among children, such as stomach pain, diarrhea and vomiting can easily look like a bout with a stomach virus. Other symptoms, constipation, irritability, weight loss, dental issues, and ADHD can baffle even the most well-intentioned pediatrician.

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  • 

    How unhealthy are we? According to a recent study, most of us — nearly 100 percent in fact — are failing when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, according to an article in the Washington Post. Whatever happened to those new year’s resolutions we make every year — to live a healthier life in the coming year?

    It’s true, many of us make resolutions that can only materialize with a side order of miracles. Some of us shoot for the moon, hoping to look like the younger Arnold Schwarzenegger before year’s end. Others have visions of becoming the next Martha Stewart.

    If you’re among those, you have plenty of company, according to Statistic Brain. Their survey shows that 49 percent of us who make resolutions have infrequent success. Then there’s the 8 percent who actually make and refuse to break their goals.

    New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be completely out of reach with a dose of realism. Here are some ways you can stick to your resolutions — or get back on track if you happened to abandon them somewhere along the way.

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  • 

    That soreness and stiffness in your joints are not just signs that you may be getting up in years. Those types of arthritic symptoms, experienced by as many as 52.5 million Americans, can inflict children and adults alike, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

    And as many as 67 million Americans, age 18 and older, could receive a diagnosis of some type of arthritis by 2030, the CDC reports.

    The most commonly diagnosed arthritis is osteoarthritis, with symptoms ranging from mild to intense in various areas of the body. They can include swelling and pain in joints, grating sensation in the knees, pain and tenderness in fingers and toes, and swelling in ankles and feet.

    At times, these types of symptoms can interfere with everyday life. Picking up a child or grandchild may become difficult. Simply opening an envelope or a can of food may be painful or difficult. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, here are some steps you can take to help manage the pain and improve flexibility.

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  • 

    Does the prospect of selecting the right combination of vitamins and herbs fill you with a bit of dread? More than likely that’s the case if you’ve ever looked into a kitchen cabinet of one of your health-conscious friends — only to be faced with a dizzying array of bottles. 

    Figuring out what you should include as part of your daily vitamin routine can take some time. It can take time to understand the various symptoms you’re experiencing — sometimes requiring you to slow down enough to determine what’s normal and what’s abnormal. Do you have dry skin or low energy? Supplements could help.

    But first things first. Let’s start with the building blocks of a vitamin regimen that gets you started with a solid foundation. Also, remember that it’s important to include more nutrient-rich foods in your diet as a natural source for vitamins and minerals.

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  • 

    At some time or another, you may have heard someone suggest using probiotics to tame an upset stomach — or manage any number of digestive problems, such as constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. Or that they’re just good for overall health.

    If you’re not fully familiar with them, take a look at these five interesting traits and uses of probiotics.

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  • 

    Perhaps you’ve already heard about magnesium as a supplement; maybe a friend or a relative includes it in their daily regimen. But there’s a good chance that you should get even more familiar with magnesium. According to statistics, about 80 percent of Americans are considered deficient in magnesium, an essential mineral that assists in the function of our bodies.

    To make sure you’re in the know about magnesium, take a look at these four things you should know about this important mineral.

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  • 

    When it comes to supplements, Omega-3 often is considered among those with an array of benefits that far exceed its weight as a small tablet.

    This essential fatty acid, which is ideally consumed through Omega-3 rich foods like fatty fish (think salmon, mackerel, sardines, albacore tuna and herring), has been recommended by the American Heart Association as a way to reduce the risk of heart disease.

    Here are 5 other benefits of Omega-3.

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  • 

    When Viagra, scientifically known as sildenafil, first made its appearance in the late ’90s, the prescription drug was widely hailed as among the first groundbreaking treatments for erectile dysfunction. Since then, other variations have hit the market, including Cialis.

    However, for hundreds of years — thousands of years, actually — people have been using a natural herb called horny goat weed to treat those symptoms. Highly recommended by Chinese herbal practitioners, horny goat weed grows naturally throughout northern China as well as Korea.

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  • 

    As you know, the simple things you do every single day can lead to a lifetime of benefits, especially when it comes to your health. Specifically your heart health. With heart disease being the No. 1 killer of American adults, it’s worth making every effort to adopt a few daily habits to boost your heart health.

    It’s a matter of improving the way you eat, walk and breath. The basic stuff. Take a look at these 6 habits that can get you on the road to better living. 

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  • 

    For 4,000 years, Asians have been reaping the benefits of turmeric — a spice that’s known for its ability to turn basic dishes into flavorful cuisine. Thanks to Americans’ increasing enthusiasm for ethnic dishes as well as foods that promote natural healing, turmeric is now getting plenty of attention throughout the country.

    So, what’s so great about turmeric? And why are well practitioners interested in the spice’s benefit toward a healthier lifestyle? Because of its strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory impact, turmeric has been shown to be a positive addition to a daily diet.

    Take a look at these top 5 benefits of turmeric and its active ingredient curcumin, as revealed in recent studies. More than likely, you’ll be convinced to add it to your daily supplement routine in no time.

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  • 

    In most cases, you already know what it takes to live a heart-healthy lifestyle. Chances are you’ll immediately think of exercising, eating more veggies and less processed foods, giving up smoking, and managing your stress as key things you can do to ensure you’re doing great things for your body.

    But, as most Americans can attest, it can be difficult to stick to those healthy habits day after day — especially when you have a demanding work and home schedule, and you’re constantly bombarded by unhealthy foods in grocery aisles, restaurants, and well-meaning friends and relatives.

    Indeed, you have your work cut out for you. But it’s so worth it. Here are a few tips to get you adopting healthy habits that actually stick. The main goal is to take it one day at a time. According to a study published by the British Journal of General Practice, it takes about 66 days for you to turn a certain behavior into a habit.

    Now try these 4 additional tips for better heart health.

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  • 

    Maybe your New Year’s resolutions have been long forgotten. If you already dropped the diet and haven’t spent much time in a workout facility, don’t despair. Maybe you were overthinking it.

    Here are 2 bad habits to drop, and 3 really good ones to pick up to get on the path to a lifestyle that keeps your heart healthy. If you only tackle one at a time — whether it’s dropping a bad habit or picking up a new one, you’ll be one step closer to guarding yourself against heart disease — the No. 1 killer of American adults.

    Let’s get started!

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  • 

    When we talk about discovering the fountain of youth, too many of us immediately think of the potions that will reduce the appearance of wrinkles and other outward signs of aging. How about guarding yourself against the No. 1 killer of American adults — heart disease?

    Fortunately, there is no discovery necessary to find the keys to a healthy heart. Study after study has revealed that we can do a lot to reduce the risks of heart disease by eating a healthy diet, keeping stress under control, and exercising regularly — taking great care of our bodies.

    While these areas are essential in boosting heart health, research also shows that supplements can be beneficial in helping lower cholesterol and maintain a healthy blood pressure — areas that are related to preventing heart attacks and strokes.

    Take a look at these 4 supplements that can boost heart health.

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  • 

    If you were told that there was a secret to a longer life, there’s no question that you’d want to hear about it. Well, as it turns out, the secret is not so secret. Taking steps to boost your heart health is one of the keys to longevity. Reduce your risk of this No. 1 cause of death among American adults, and you’re off to a good start.

    One of the most significant steps you can take is changing up your daily diet. Diet, along with exercise, tackles many of the issues that can cause heart disease and stroke, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

    Here are 5 ways that you can start eating your way to a healthier heart.

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  • 

    It’s been more than 40 years since the first anti-smoking campaigns got underway, with studies clearly showing that the habit can lead to diseases like lung cancer. Along the way, research also showed the connection between smoking and heart disease.

    In recent years, a new campaign has gotten underway to promote another bad habit that could lead to premature death. Unfortunately, it’s a habit that’s shared by millions of Americans — sitting. Whether you’re sitting behind a desk, in front of the television, or anywhere else, the simple act of sitting for hours on end could be shaving years off your life, according to research.

    Numerous media outlets, including CNN, have been reporting on the deadly effects of sitting. According to a study published by the American Heart Association, people who don’t move enough and sit for five hours or more each day have double the risk of heart failure. And other studies show that the vast majority of Americans are sitting anywhere from 7 hours to 15 hours a day.

    Take the test by JustStand.org to see how you measure up. Are you sitting way too much? Then it’s time for a change.

    So, how do you get moving for better heart health? Try to break up your days of sitting by following these ten tips.

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  • 

    Reducing your risk for heart disease — the No. 1 cause of death among both American men and women — doesn’t have to be a massive undertaking. By making changes in your daily routine, you can start eliminating the factors that lead to heart disease. While some changes may be more challenging than others, they all can be significant in contributing to your overall heart health — and your longevity.

    Make a commitment to adopting these habits as part of your daily routine.

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  • 

    No matter how many blogs, magazine articles and books you read about maintaining a healthy diet, it can take a lot of discipline to get all of your required vitamins and minerals on a day-to-day basis. Add to that the challenge of our hectic lifestyles, it’s no wonder many of us grab meals at a drive-through window.

    That challenge is reflected in a study that showed that 87 percent of Americans aren’t eating the 2 to 3 servings of vegetables recommended by the federal government on a daily basis.  And that fast food? According to one study by Do Something, one out of every four Americans is eating fast food every day. 

    Some of the nutrients your diet most likely are missing include calcium, magnesium, fiber, Vitamin D, iron, folic acid, Vitamin A and potassium.

    So, what does a healthy diet look like? 

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  • 

    Never heard of turmeric? Chances are you may be more familiar with it than you realize. If you’ve ever had curry, the fragrant spice is one of the core ingredients that give the Indian dish its wonderful flavor. Or you probably added mustard to your hot dogs and hamburgers recently. If so, you’ve encountered curry … it’s the ingredient that gives the condiment its yellow color.

    Yet, based on extensive research and studies, it turns out that turmeric, which is the dried root of the plant Curcuma longa, has many more benefits beyond its flavor. Turmeric has been found to be beneficial as a healing property for these health conditions.

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  • 

    No matter when it hits, constipation can make our lives simply miserable. Unfortunately, it seems to attack many of us at the most inopportune times — vacations, professional events, and excursions. When it happens to us, all that seems to be at the top of our minds is getting relief. And fast. 

    When dealing with this uncomfortable condition, you’re faced with a number of symptoms — from difficulty with having a bowel movement and bloating to hard stools and abdominal pain. Not at all pleasant. 

    Here are 5 ways you can alleviate or prevent constipation issues.

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  • 

    This essential mineral, which can be found in foods like dark leafy greens, sunflower seeds, cashews, fish, soybeans, avocados and bananas, helps our bodies convert food to fuel. Magnesium also keeps the liver functioning properly, as well as supports thyroid function, hair growth and bone structure. To put it simply, all of your organs — including your heart, kidneys and muscles — require magnesium. This wonder mineral also enables us to better adapt to stress.

    So, if we come up short with our intake of magnesium, we can face long-term issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and metabolic syndrome.

    Here are 10 signs you may not be getting enough magnesium.

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  • 

    Headaches, back pain, tense muscles, lack of focus, restlessness … these symptoms all can be indicators of stress. And they all can be symptoms that you’re in need of more relaxation in your life. Whether your stress is brought on by a hectic work schedule or other factors, such as sleeplessness or stressful events, like a relocation or death in the family, you need to tackle the issue.

    Stress, which can be brought on by anxiety, tension or anger, can wreak havoc on your body — causing an increase in blood pressure, shallow breathing, digestive problems and tense muscles.

    When you have symptoms that are interfering with your ability to relax, take steps to overcome them. Here are 5 steps to a more relaxing lifestyle.

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  • 

    Leg cramps in the middle of the night? When you’re dealing with one, there’s a good chance you will soon find yourself dealing with a sleepless night as well. Leg cramps, which typically occur in your calves and hamstrings, can feel like a spasm — the muscles contract on their own.

    There can be a number of culprits behind leg cramps, from overworking or straining your muscles during exercise or other activities, dehydration, or inadequate levels of minerals which work by helping your muscles function. Leg cramps not caused by strenuous activity could be an indicator of other medical issues, including diabetes or hypothyroidism. 

    Here are 5 things you should know about managing leg cramps and, possibly, preventing them.

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  • 

    What’s your body’s largest organ? If you’re guessing the heart, the stomach or the liver, you guessed wrong. Actually, it’s your skin — the largest by far. And, of course, it’s the most exposed.

    When you’re good to your skin, you can step out with a more glowing complexion. It’s not that difficult. Besides keeping your skin clean, maintaining a healthy diet, and bypassing the cigarettes, try these 5 essential tips for keeping your skin healthy.

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  • 

    If you’re fairly new to exploring the benefits of supplementing your diet with vitamins, the almighty Vitamin B may be one of the most confusing supplements you’ll navigate on your journey to better health.

    At times, it may seem like Vitamin B is an alphabet soup assortment of options, with the likelihood of you running into everything from B-1 to B-12 as you determine the best choices for your needs.

    To simplify things a bit, here are 9 things you should know about Vitamin B.

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  • 

    Do you know how many muscles you have? According to scientists, that number comes in at around 650 to 700 — all enabling you to walk, run, jump, lift, reach, hug, and perform thousands of actions throughout the day. Pretty important stuff. Unfortunately, many of us will lose up to 30 percent of our muscle mass during our lifetime as a natural part of aging. However, there are steps we can take to slow that progression.

    Check the following tips on maintaining muscle mass, strength and overall health.

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  • 

    When you think of cinnamon, do you immediately think about your favorite baked goods? Cinnamon rolls? A freshly baked pie? Snickerdoodle cookies? The properties of cinnamon bark have made it a mainstay in households around the world — but for much more than baking.

    The oils from cinnamon bark have been used for centuries to ease the symptoms of numerous ailments, including spasms, gas (flatulence) and indigestion. It also is believed to stimulate the appetite, increase blow flood and, possibly, control cholesterol.

    Here are 3 other things you should know about cinnamon bark.

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  • 

    With the average American’s rushed schedule and inadequate diet, it’s no wonder that many of us are lacking many of the vitamins and nutrients considered essential to maintaining healthy bodies. In fact, most of us aren’t consuming enough vitamin D, vitamin C, calcium and iron, according to numerous studies. Even worse, we’re eating too much of the bad stuff — including saturated fat and sodium.

    In many cases, our bodies are giving off signals to let us know when we’re deficient in certain vitamins. Here are 5 signs to help you detect whether you may have a vitamin deficiency.

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  • 

    Depending upon how much you’ve studied about minerals and vitamins, your knowledge about the properties of magnesium may be inadequate — keeping you in the dark about how this mineral can contribute to your overall well-being and health. If you’re only familiar with milk of magnesia to treat an upset stomach or heartburn, read on.

    Let’s start with the natural properties of magnesium. While magnesium is important for all your body’s functions, it’s particularly important in keeping your bones strong, normalizing your blood pressure, and keeping your heart rhythm steady. It also is beneficial in promoting relaxation and a restful sleep. Here are four answers to common questions to questions about magnesium.

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  • 

    Heavy metal could be your choice of music, but it’s never okay to have too much of it running through your body. While heavy metals — such as copper, iron, zinc, chromium and manganese — are important to keep the body functionally properly, it becomes a problem when they reach toxic levels.

    Many of us have heard about the dangers of lead, arsenic and mercury, including lead poisoning resulting from paint and pipe fittings that were frequently used in homes decades ago. Poisoning from heavy metals also can be result from exposure to toxins released from various industries into the environment. 

    Other sources of exposure to heavy metals can come from polluted water, pesticides, steel and other everyday sources. If these metals exceed small amounts, you can be exhibit various symptoms of toxicity — including fatigue, nausea, and vomiting, and more serious health complications. 

    Here are a few natural ways to detox the body of heavy metal toxins.

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  • 

    In recent years, scientists, health gurus and plenty of regular people have been exploring the wonders of coconut oil. You could call it a wonder food, skin moisturizer hair care regimen, and all-around handy product. Keep it on your shelf. Chances are you’ll find plenty of more uses beyond the 5 listed here.

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  • 

    Just about everywhere you turn, you’ll run into tips on how to maintain a healthy heart. With heart disease ranking as one of the leading causes of death, it’s understandable that this organ gets plenty of attention. However, taking care of your liver is also essential to having a quality productive life.

    Liver disease kills nearly 40,000 Americans a year, yet it is one of the most avoidable diseases if you take care of this vital organ. First of all, it’s important to understand the function of the liver. It’s an essential part of your digestive system, processing the foods you eat, cleaning your blood and breaking down fat by creating a liquid called bile. All very important work when it comes to the proper functioning of your body. Much like a healthy lifestyle helps keep your heart healthy, so do the same habits keep your liver healthy and reduce the risks of cirrhosis and other liver diseases.

    Here are some tips to keep in mind to keep your liver healthy. Hint: They’re all just simply good rules for living healthy.

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  • 

    When you need a boost of energy, do you automatically refill your coffee cup? Or grab an energy-boosting shot or drink? Perhaps a chocolate bar gives you the sugar boost to help you make it through the rest of the day. However, these energy boosters can sometimes leave you crashing when the effects wear off.

    Try boosting your energy naturally with these 3 tips.

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  • 

    Vitamin B-12, B-6 with Folic Acid is a supplement that can help you maintain an energetic lifestyle. The primary ingredient, B-12, is essential in the formation of red blood cells, which play the important role of transporting oxygen throughout your body in exchange for carbon monoxide — which is then carried to and eliminated by the lungs. People who experience a deficiency in B-12 are at risk for anemia, which includes symptoms like tiredness and feeling cold.

    Vitamin B-12 also has been used for decades to help promote memory and concentration, facilitate energy, and to enhance mood.

    As a whole, the family of B vitamins (8 in all) helps promote healthy skin, eyes, hair and liver. Part of their function is to help the body convert carbohydrates into glucose — the fuel that helps us have energy. They also aid in metabolizing fats and protein, and help to keep our nervous systems functioning.

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  • 

    ValerinWhy You Should Consider Taking Valerin, a Natural. Homeopathic Relaxant

    Feeling overworked? Stressed? Tense? Or just having difficulty relaxing? Instead of reaching for prescriptions or aspirin, consider taking a natural, homeopathic relaxant that can help you decompress and feel better.

    Valerin, which consists of 6 parts Valerian Root, 3 parts Passiflora and 1 part Magnesium Carbonate, has been used by consumers for decades to help calm the nervous system and muscles, and help promote relaxation and rest. When taken as directed, it’s also 100% safe without the risk of nasty side effects.

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  • 

    Feeling tired? Tense? Or just having difficulty relaxing and sleeping? If you’re regularly dealing with any of these issues, chances are stress is the culprit. And you’re definitely not alone.

    According to a recent poll by Cosmopolitan magazine, about 71 percent of women said they have experienced an anxiety or panic attack. And 40 percent said that anxiety due to stress prompted them to seek medical help.

    A survey by the American Psychological Association also revealed that 49 percent of women said they have lain awake at night in the previous month because of stress. It also showed that 39 percent of men were fatigued because of stress, as well as 41 percent of women.

    While stress is a natural reaction to certain situations — such as being startled during a horror movie, other factors can lead to chronic stress and those feelings of fatigue, tension, and restlessness. Stress also can lead to other varied symptoms, including depression, tense muscles and an inability to concentrate.

    When you’re feeling that stress is getting the best of you, tame your stress levels by following these 4 tips.

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  • 

    There's nothing like a good night's sleep, uninterrupted and peaceful, to help us wake up the next morning refreshed and ready for the challenges of a new day. Regardless of how many hours a day you think you need, we all need our sleep and relish those nights where we can awaken the next day feeling better than we did the night before

    There is, however, at least one other important factor in determining how good a night's sleep we had and what benefits those hours gave us. Something happened during that time of self-imposed unconsciousness, and they are called dreams. They are as much a part of life as eating breakfast or reading our e-mail, but dreams also comprise a universal mystery expressed in one of the great two-part questions of our time, What exactly are dreams, and why do we have them?

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  • 

    Football season is here, and that means there is a lot of hitting going on. Hard hitting. The kind of hard hitting where strong, fast, muscular, highly-motivated young men, many weighing in excess of 200 pounds, crash into each other at high speeds. If an opposing player's thundering shiver arm to the noggin doesn't get you, the midair flip leading to a headfirst landing after your feet have been taken out from under you will.

    In popular football parlance, this is what's known as getting your bell rung. Such high-impact drama often elicits roars from enthused crowds and a proud papa's friendly pokes to the ribs of fans seated next to him – fans more shocked than thrilled at what they just witnessed.

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  • 

    Are you up for a simple blood test? If you are among the millions of Americans born between 1945 and 1965 (think Baby Boomers), or if you received a pre-1987 blood product designed for clotting problems, or if you got a body piercing or tattoo made with non-sterile equipment, but in any of those cases you don't have the time or inclination to bother with getting a certain blood test, you might want to think twice.

    Listen up: if you belong to any of those groups of people listed above, you might be at increased risk of having been infected with hepatitis C. If that's the case, consider a hepatitis C blood test. Otherwise, ponder the possibilities of being infected with the virus and what that can lead to, mindful there is no known vaccine to prevent hepatitis C, although it can be treated, provided you know you have it. If the disease goes untreated for many years, webmd.com says, "It can damage your liver. It can also lead to liver cancer, liver failure or scarring of the liver (cirrhosis)."

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  • 

    It is one of the great debates regarding female athletes, and yet it is one issue few people are willing to discuss in public. It is the question of whether a female athlete's menstrual cycle can affect – read hinder – her ability to compete at an optimal level depending on the time of the month.

    Even if she knows related symptoms had a negative effect on her performance, perhaps in the form of headaches, joint and muscle pain, and/or low energy, how can a girl or woman athlete ever admit that in public without being accused of making excuses?

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  • 

    And you thought charcoal was meant just for firing up the barbecue to grill some hotdogs, burgers, steaks and seasoned salmon to feed the famished. Now we get word that charcoal – or, more specifically activated charcoal, has become the latest detox rage, used by those convinced, or conned into, it as an effective means to clean out toxins of their bodies, as if our bodies were unable to do this on their own.

    Also going by such names as animal charcoal, vegetable charcoal, gas black, medicinal charcoal and, for some added French panache, noir de lampe, activated charcoal, according to webmd.com, is common charcoal that is manufactured in "the presence of a gas that causes the charcoal to develop lots of internal spaces or 'pores.' These pores help activated charcoal 'trap' chemicals."

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  • 

    If you want to talk shop with endurance athletes such as distance runners and triathletes, or for that matter football and soccer players giving it all in extreme heat, you need to know how to discuss electrolytes. As in, "Be sure you replenish your electrolytes when you start to become dehydrated; otherwise you risk wreaking havoc on your body."

    In many sports that involve a whole lot of heavy sweating, it's all about "electrolytes this" and "electrolytes that." That would be all well and good, if anyone really knew what the heck they were talking about. Next time some smug, smart-aleck jock starts spouting off about electrolytes like they are some sort of health expert insider, look them straight in the eye and say something like, "Okay, pal, explain to me exactly what are those electrolytes you keep talking about and what is it they do in terms of keeping us healthy." Silence. There's a whole lot of talk going on about a subject that few people actually know well, other than the fact that your body needs them.

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  • 

    Any time you can keep a straight face while working 'whale blubber' into the discussion, you know you might be on to something. And anyone who has ever reaped health benefits from the omega-3's present in fish oil realizes they might be on to something when it comes to choosing effective nutritional supplements off the shelf.

    According to webmd.com, fish oil supplements are typically made from an assortment of fish types, including mackerel, herring, tuna, halibut, salmon, cod liver and, yes, whale blubber with some seal blubber thrown in. Don't take that to mean that taking a modest dose of fish oil a day means running a risk of excessively expanding that mass just above your beltline. This isn't about blubber, no sirrreee, but about ingesting what some health experts claim can be helpful to our well-being.

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  • 

    For those of us who have ever suffered from a really bad stomach ache or worse (who hasn't?), the thought of intentionally ingesting bacteria for the sake of our health might itself sound like a stomach turner. Think again. Some types of bacteria are good for our gut, such as probiotics.

    Probiotics are live bacteria, also known as friendly, good or helpful bacteria, that can promote good health, especially when it comes to our digestive system. Some are found naturally in our bodies; some are available in some foods and nutritional supplements.

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  • 

    The name conjures up bizarre images of thin rectangular panels of asphalt, wood or slate hanging from your skin, looking as unsightly as they are painful. The truth, however, is that shingles in terms of a skin condition look nothing like a patch of the roof atop your house, but they are indeed unsightly and quite painful, even to the touch.

    As described on mayoclinic.org, shingles is a viral infection accompanied by a distressing rash in the form of a strip of blisters that can pop up anywhere on your body, but most often on the left or right side of the torso. It can also show up around one eye or on one side of the neck or face.

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  • 

    A day without stress or anxiety is, for many, the definition of true happiness, but is that what we really want in life? For those of us who have ever been saddled with chronic stress or stuck in a seemingly endless rut of high anxiety, a life without either or both can seem like a panacea, albeit a seemingly unreachable one when we are in the throes of a chronic condition.

    Stress and anxiety are not one and the same, even though all of us experience one or the other at some point(s) in our lives. As defined by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), stress is a response to a threat in a given circumstance, while anxiety is a reaction to the stress.

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  • 

    When it comes to the psychedelic world of 'mind expansion,' 'cosmic consciousness' and all that sort of stuff, certain mushrooms have long been a go-to choice among free spirits in search of hallucinogenic substances.

    'Magic mushrooms,' as they are known, have their share of devoted consumers, whose main goal in life obviously isn't good nutrition. Don't lose heart about mushrooms, though. When it comes to healthy eating and health benefits, many species of mushrooms are available (and safe), with the choices in grocery stores and supermarkets now plentiful if you are willing to shop around some.

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  • 

    At this time of year, with another school year blasting off across America, parents and students are scurrying around on a scavenger hunt for school supplies, shopping for new clothes, getting sports physicals and updating immunizations. Languishing in fifth place, or worse, on that list is a thorough eye examination, which is ironic, because without properly administered eye care, students can get lost in a visually-focused classroom.

    School technology keeps changing in order to stay current with society, but the need for good eyesight free from lazy eye (amblyopia), crossed eyes (strabismus), color deficiency (color blindness) and refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism), as described by hap.org (Health Alliance Plan, Michigan) doesn't change.

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  • 

    Getting a shot in the arm is not for the squeamish, but it is a given at almost every school in America. Students are required to receive certain prescribed vaccinations, as much for their own good as for the good of other students around them.

    Guidelines for school immunizations are not made at the federal level, per se, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Instead, it is up to each state to determine which vaccines will be administered at which grade level, although individual exceptions are granted such that the needs of the many don't always outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.

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  • 

    Those of you who are movie buffs (and, yes, we number in the millions) have most likely seen the 1959 version of the classic film Ben-Hur, starring Charlton Heston. For many of us, that flick marked our introduction to – and maybe to this day our only source on the subject -- of leprosy, a potentially debilitating disease.

    Who can forget Judah Ben-Hur's two visits to the Valley of the Lepers, first to search for his afflicted mom and sister, and the second time to carry them out of there at the apparent imperilment of his own health? It was incredible filmmaking: you can essentially smell and breathe in the stench of rotting flesh emanating out of the rocky, barren colony that was home to dying cave dwellers. The disease of death polluted the Old Testament air, and it took a miracle from God to heal the mother and daughter.

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  • 

    Getting old can at times be a bummer for most anyone, and men are not immune from the physical, psychological and even emotional downturns that come with age.

    Some of these are the same guys who perhaps a few years earlier joked (very discreetly, we hope for their sake) about the trials and tribulations women dealt with going through menopause. But as many of us now know so well in 2015, once a man turns 45 or 50, it's his turn to look in the mirror and search for that lost smile, realizing that even if his days of steadily diminished "manhood" aren’t here yet, they likely aren't far away.

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  • 

    A long-held belief about diabetes is that anyone who has any form of the disease should avoid sweets at all costs and in every circumstance; it's bad for them and would increase the already-elevated levels of glucose floating around in the bloodstream. More recent research, however, says that sweets eaten in moderation are okay, as long as the diabetic person carefully follows a healthy, well-balanced diet that consists of several carbohydrates (fruits, veggies, beans, etc.), protein (poultry, fish, dairy products and some meats) and a limited amount of fat. It should also be low in cholesterol, salt and added sugar, according to familydoctor.org.

    Take heed, though, diabetes sufferers: this is not license for you to chase a healthy, low-cal and leafy lunch salad with a triple-scoop sundae smothered in hot fudge and a box full of melt-in-your-mouth glazed donuts hot from Krispy Kreme. It does, however, crack open a door behind which diabetics for years have punished themselves with a self-imposed sweets moratorium without an end in sight.

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    It has long been known as something good for what ails you, something to sip or slowly spoon from a bowl whether you are nursing a nasty cold, battling back from a bout with energy-sapping stomach flu or just in need of something to calm the nerves without creating bodily chaos when trying to crawl out of bed the next morning.

    We're speaking, of course, about that age-old elixir, broth, which it seems has been around since the beginning of time, our moms using it as part of their TLC to get our juices reflowing in the right direction. Various forms of broth, also known as stock, bouillon or consommé, actually have been around for hundreds of years, a form of which – bone broth – has emerged in the last year as the newest "re-innovation," reportedly even rivaling the likes of Starbucks as being on the cutting edge of honest-to-goodness hip.

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    Back in the good ol' days of high school football, say, around 2005, coaches hustled their players onto the practice field for August two-a-days and then ran them ragged in the hot sun and stifling humidity. It was all a part of "toughening up" the kiddoes for the big season ahead. If you could survive several weeks of several hours a day of rock-'em-sock-'em football with the heat index cranked up to 100 or higher, the "thinking" went, then you could survive anything.

    Well, not anything. According to a 2005 white paper published by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), between 1995 and 2001 twenty-one young football players reportedly died from heat stroke in the United States. Ten years later, the numbers are no better. In August 2014 the Washington Post reported that the total number of such football deaths since 1995 had grown to 52 – to include 31 more dying from 2002-2014. Of those 52, forty-one were competing at the high school level.

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    Mothers of newborns have a choice when it comes to feeding their babies, and the benefits of breastfeeding vs. formula out of a bottle are numerous. In fact, the pluses of breastfeeding are almost overwhelming as we explore the subject as part of World Breast Feeding Week, which was started by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action.

    According to webmd.com, as well as other health care authorities, breast milk provides the proper nutrition for infants, with a nearly ideal mix of vitamins, protein and fat, all of which your baby needs for proper growth. Not only is breast milk more digestible than formula, which typically comes from cow's milk, it also comes readymade with various antibodies. These help the child fend off viruses and bacteria while reducing the chances of asthma or allergies in later years.

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    Liver smothered in onions might not be your first choice of a meal at dinnertime (more yucky than yummy?), even if that's the image that jumps to mind at the mention of the word 'liver.' So for the purpose of this discussion, delete that sight from your mental hard drive, and let's instead talk about the liver inside your body, that wonderful mass of machinery that performs so many life-enhancing functions yet gets relegated to second or third fiddle behind organs such as the heart and brain in anatomical conversation.

    The liver inside our body weighs in at about three pounds in adult form as a massive, meaty, reddish-brown organ. It is about four or five times the size of your fist and resides in the upper part of the abdomen, tucked away under the right side of the rib cage, as described in hpblondon.com. For further details about the liver's physical traits, feel free to click on the links embedded in this article, but meanwhile let's cut to the chase in visiting and touting the many things that make your liver such a valuable part of your daily existence and a recipient of our everlasting TLC.

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    For too long the elderly have taken it on the chin, being on the receiving end of one-liners poking fun at their diminishing cognitive abilities. Not only has the teasing shown a lack of empathy for our elders, it also has revealed insufficient popular awareness about the true nature of debilitating diseases that affect cognition, such as Alzheimer's.

    Heads up, folks: While Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia are typically diagnosed in those 65 and over, more cases are coming to light of people in their 40s and 50s showing early signs of the disease. Case in point is former University of Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt, the winningest Division I coach, male or female, at the time of her retirement less than a year after she announced at age 59 she had early early-onset (aka younger-onset) Alzheimer's.

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    Perhaps the best gift a person turning 50 can give himself or herself is a different form of a selfie: an appointment with their personal physician to discuss and, presumably, arrange a colon-screening procedure commonly known as a colonoscopy. While it's nowhere near as much fun as blowing out candles on a birthday cake or opening cards and presents from loved ones, a colonoscopy can help increase the odds of you still being around to celebrate many more birthdays.

    Colon cancer, most often found in men and women over the age of 50, and knowing no preference for any particular racial or ethnic group, is, according to the Colon Cancer Alliance, the third most common cancer in America, behind lung and prostate cancers for men and lung and breast cancers in women. Although it also is the second-leading cause of cancer death, treatment often leads to a cure if caught at an early age, with an estimated 80 percent of colon cancer deaths preventable with a regular screening test.

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    A woman has a lot to think about when planning a pregnancy and having a baby. There's the usual stuff such as career considerations and taking time off from work, crossing alcohol off the grocery list, window shopping cribs, buying new clothes to accommodate her own gradual growth of girth, and picking out boy's and girl's names to have at the ready to discuss with her husband.

    All of that is the easy stuff that can be handled sometime today, tomorrow or next week, but there is one item on the to-do list that she cannot do without, and it calls for immediate action. If she isn't already doing so, it's time to supplement her regular eating plan with a daily dose of folic acid. It is something that moms-to-be can't afford to be without.

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    As a pet lover, what a joy it has always been for me to have pets involved in my professional long term care career. I honestly cannot imagine directing a facility that was anything but pet friendly, and this isn't just because I personally love animals. It is also because seniors involved with pets reap many rewards. With vaccinated, healthy, well- behaved animals being welcome to visit and/or reside in a long term care environment, one can't help but notice the inevitable benefits that pets bring to seniors.

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    Nighttime snoring is no laughing matter, even though that's how it's often depicted in movies and on TV. When the Skipper's loud snoring kept disturbing bunkmate Gilligan's sleep, we laughed along with the laugh track, knowing that the Skipper's little buddy was doomed to endless nights of interrupted sleep until they got off that island.

    Loud snoring can be a telltale sign of sleep apnea, a sleep disorder characterized by breathing that stops and starts, over and over. It disrupts the sleep of the sufferer as well as anyone else within earshot patiently begging for a good night's shuteye. Experts at the Cleveland Clinic say such sleep interruptions can occur hundreds of times a night, each one lasting 10 to 30 seconds and routinely followed by a snort when breathing resumes.

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    Chia seeds are a relatively new nutritional craze, or so you thought. What many folks might not know is that these edible seeds, which come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, found in abundance in southern Mexico, have been around for several thousand years, dating back to the ancient Mayan and Aztec cultures. The small black and white seeds were consumed for their energy-boosting qualities, which makes sense when you realize that these little buggers contain healthy doses of omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants and calcium.

    Clearly, chia seeds epitomize the notion that good things come in small packages. According to NutritionData.com, a one-ounce serving (137 calories, 72 from fat) provides a full 42 percent of the recommended daily value (RDV) of dietary fiber as well as 18 percent of the RDV for calcium. High-fiber diets have been shown to not only decrease pressure and inflammation in the colon while promoting regularity for a healthy digestive tract, it also could aid in weight loss by helping you to feel full longer.

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    Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the produce section at the grocery store, word comes of a potential link between citrus fruit and malignant melanoma of the skin, as reported in late June 2015 by various media.

    This isn't exactly shark-in-the-water stuff that begs closing down the beaches (or the produce section), but it is something to be concerned about until, and if, we ever get the all-clear signal.

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    We are a nation that loves our ice cream. According to the International Dairy Foods Association, more than 10 percent of all the milk U.S. dairy farmers are producing goes into making ice cream, in turn making ice cream beri, beri good for business. In some ways, ice cream can be beneficial to our health, as long as we eat it in moderation – hint, a big bowl filled to the brim with scooped ice cream, whether it be plain vanilla or one of Ben and Jerry's creatively-named concoctions, goes well beyond moderation.

    Here's the good nutritional news for ice cream lovers: A Sharecare editors' blog posted at blog.doctoroz.com says that women who consumed a daily helping of full-fat dairy products, to include ice cream, gained less weight than those who didn't (source: the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition). The blog also references a Harvard study, as reported in a publication titled Human Reproduction, that women eating full-fat ice cream at least twice a week were 38 percent less likely to have ovulation-related infertility.

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    Thanks to social media icons such as Facebook, many of us are hooked on sentimentality, digging out and posting old photos from decades ago. Our newfound fascination with nostalgia has given birth to Throwback Thursdays and Flashback Fridays; presumably, Sentimental Saturdays and Sundays can't be far behind.

    Chuckles abound as we admire these old photos and show them off to cyberspace citizens, giving glimpses of what we looked like with a head full of hair and a belly as relatively flat as a pancake; our tastes in fashion jumping from cut-offs and bell bottoms to sandals and high-top sneakers.

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    Proper picnicking requires prudent preparation and plenty of precision, especially when it comes to serving food that won't make people sick.

    Maybe that's not what you want to hear when impulse leads you to declare a gorgeous summer day as the perfect opportunity for a scrumptious picnic with family and/or friends. Then again, the last thing you want are unwanted guests showing up in the form of eensie-weensie bacteria determined to wreak havoc on human digestive systems.

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    It's July, it's hot, and it's a great time to be outside. That's true whether your summertime pleasure is lying on a sandy beach soaking up rays or knocking out a strenuous workout that could include swimming, biking or running, or even a combination of all three as you prep for that upcoming triathlon. If your idea of summertime fun is something in between, like a round of golf or a leisurely jog on the local greenway, then by all means go for it.

    In doing so, however, stay alert and pay attention – to yourself and not just your surroundings, although that is important, too. This is the time of year you need to be eagle-eyed aware of the possible hazards of hot times in the city, and elsewhere. This isn't just about fending off mosquitoes or protecting your skin from the sun's damaging rays – those have been discussed in this space earlier – it's about employing measures to safeguard yourself from heat injury.

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    Tell others you are starting a 'diet,' and watch them roll their eyes. Where have they heard that before? Substitute the word 'cleansing,' or 'detox,' into your declaration of self-improvement, though, and watch their eyes light up in amazement as you earn their undivided attention and newfound admiration.

    Cleansing and detoxification regimens are trending hot and further boosting an already-booming U.S. diet industry, which, according to the The Wall Street Journal, passed $60 billion in sales in 2013. "The promises of liquid cleanses and other techniques have attracted legions of followers, celebrity endorsers and millions in venture capital funds. … It has also made carrying gunky green juice a status symbol in fitness circles," states wsj.com.

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    Choosing which kind of milk to buy can be as tricky as buying a car for the first time. You go into the store (or onto the lot) thinking you know exactly what you want, until you see all the choices and start having second (and third and fourth) thoughts.

    This isn't like the old days where milk was milk, from the cow and pasteurized, and it magically appeared in bottles left on your front porch by the truck-driving, uniformed milkman. Those were the days; today, it's just a daze, trying to pick the right milk fit for you and your particular health or diet considerations.

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    It often begins with seemingly unrelated symptoms such as constipation, hyperactivity, neck stiffness and/or uncontrollable yawning. Then it typically progresses into an aura stage often accompanied by visual disturbances such as flashes of light or issues related to touch, movement or speech. After that comes the actual onslaught of a full-blown headache or series of headaches lasting four to 72 hours.

    Say howdy to a migraine headache, which, according to mayoclinic.org, "can cause intense throbbing or a pulsing sensation in one area of the head and is commonly accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound." Translated, that's a whole lot of misery, more intense and longer-lasting than your garden-variety headache from a cold or, a hangover treatable with pain relievers such as aspirin or ibuprofen along with rest.

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    One of the biggest sporting events of the year took place over the Fourth of July weekend, and a new champion was crowned, ending the eight-year reign of a legendary competitor who many consider to be the sport's greatest hot dogger of all time.

    No, this isn't about Serena Williams at Wimbledon or Jordan Spieth capturing yet another major golf championship. We're talking about Joey Chestnut, whose eight-year streak of winning the Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest in New York came to an end at the hands – and mouth and stomach – of Matthew "Megatoad" Stonie, who crammed in and gulped down 62 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes, two more than Chestnut was able to inhale.

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    Count cinnamon among those rare consumables that defy the adage that says for anything to be good for you, it has to taste awful, or at best not very good. Cinnamon is one of those spices that for thousands of years has been identified and embraced as beneficial to our bodies in many ways. Plus, it adds a nice touch when sprinkled on coffee or lattes, toast and donuts, a combination which for many of us, including, we assume, some police officers, constitutes a breakfast of champions.

    Chinese botanical textbooks, according to foodfacts.mercola.com, have made mention of cinnamon dating back more than 4,700 years, and its biblical references are numerous as well. Found on the branches of wild trees growing in areas such as the Caribbean, South America and Southeast Asia, cinnamon's bark is not only good for our bite (mostly in powdered form), it serves a multitude of medicinal purposes as well. In medieval times among physicians, those benefits included providing relief for coughs, arthritis and sore throats.

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    Anyone who watched the second round of the men's U.S. Open golf tournament this past June witnessed a disturbing scene in a sport where the only real contact is club head against ball and where on-course mishaps are usually nothing worse than an errant shot's watery splashdown or an ego-bruising double bogey.

    That Friday afternoon, though, onlookers saw a scary scene when Australian golfer Jason Day, 27, a physically fit golfing dynamo who smacks 300-yard drives as one of the world's best golfers, was strolling along a slightly sloping fairway between shots when he suddenly tumbled to the ground. At first it was thought that maybe Day had tripped over his own feet or twisted an ankle before losing his balance. It was only when paramedics arrived on the scene with Day still on the ground, eventually to rise slowly and groggily finish his round – he happened to be on his last hole of the day – did we know that something more grievous was involved.

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    In recent weeks in this space we've made mention of summertime fun at the beach, on the golf course or at some other familiar playground. Let's not limit ourselves, however; there are different types of things we can do to get the most out of the hazy, lazy days of summer. Like picking (and eating) berries, for instance.

    Who among us at some point hasn't come across patches of raspberries, strawberries or blackberries, and then gone and retrieved a basket for picking and collecting them? Maybe we can't resist the impulse and gobble them down right away, or we take them home to be served later that day as a vanilla yogurt-covered dessert, or perhaps they get baked in a pie by Mom or Grandma to be served at the dinner table.

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    It's mid-morning on a Monday, a fresh new work week, and already you're having trouble focusing. You’ve been at your desk about two hours, and you're slaving away on your computer. A half-dozen distractions are pulling at you, however, and none have anything to do with work productivity.

    Your work email inbox is filling up, you're dying to check the notifications on your Facebook page, it's been 15 minutes since you let that personal phone call go to voicemail, that restless night of so-called sleep has drained your gas tank, the boss just dropped by to tell you she has moved up the weekly status meeting by 30 minutes and your stomach is growling. All things considered, your concentration level is kaput and your mind is in disarray.

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    All eyes will be on fireworks displays accompanying Fourth of July celebrations across America this week. The hope is that all those eyes will be intact and unharmed by the end of the countless fireworks displays – professional and homebound – that will dazzle millions weaned on and wowed over the years by bottle rockets, Roman candles, sparklers and firecrackers.

    Watching professionally-engineered fireworks from a distance is safe, for the most part; the danger comes in buying your own fireworks to shoot off in your backyard, on a porch or patio, on the front lawn or even out in the street. According to preventblindness.org, fireworks-related injuries accounted for 11,400 emergency-room visits in 2013. There also were eight non-occupational fireworks-related deaths in the same year, based on U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission data.

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    They usually arrive without warning; their causes include a shortage of key minerals in the bloodstream, overuse of muscles, exposure to cold, standing on a hard surface or sitting for a long time. And that's only scratching the surface. Many factors out there can lead to leg cramps, or muscle cramps, which can be as debilitating as they are dumbfounding.

    A muscle cramp is described by webmd.com as a "strong, painful contraction or tightening of a muscle that comes on suddenly and lasts from a few seconds to several minutes." On its website, the Mayo Clinic says that while most muscle cramps are harmless, they could be a sign of an underlying medical condition such as inadequate blood supply or nerve compression.

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    With summer officially here, this is a great time to take quick inventory of the do's and don'ts for this season of sunshine and warmer temps. Some of it is old hat: use sunscreen, never go swimming without at least one other person present, wear life preservers when boating, keep on the marked trail when hiking, stay hydrated, and get the heck off the golf course when lightning is anywhere in the vicinity.

    Then there's the stuff that might not be on your short list of summertime concerns, but which you wish had been there before something bad happened, as in the case of a "tick-ing" time bomb. Ticks are tiny, spiderlike insects (arachnids) that feed on the blood of mammals (humans included), birds and other animals by attaching themselves to the skin and biting (which you likely won't feel). Tick bites, according to webmd.com, "occur most often during early spring to late summer and in areas where there are many wild animals and birds."

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    Perhaps the hottest thing going in the world of strength and conditioning is CrossFit, one of those classic "overnight success" stories borne out of an entrepreneurial spirit that took years to incubate. CrossFit is designed in such a way that almost anybody can do it, yet it’s not for everyone. And, yes, that deserves an explanation.

    On its website, CrossFit says its aim is to "forge a broad, general and inclusive fitness." Founder Greg Glassman, a former gymnast who started out with a single gym in Santa Cruz, Calif. (the company's Facebook page says it was founded in 1974, although other sources reference the 1990's) sums up the CrossFit philosophy with the equation CVFM @ HI + Communal Environment = Health. Translated, it's a regimen of "constantly varied (CV), functional movements (FM), performed at high intensity (@HI) in a communal environment (that) leads to health and fitness."

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    Every year it seems more and more people are discovering echinacea via word of mouth for its perceived ability to stave off oncoming assaults of the common cold and other upper-respiratory ailments. Then there are the herb's purported healing qualities aimed at dozens of other health issues. No question, echinacea has achieved acclaim as a sort of wonder herb, a modern-day marvel even, that only now is capturing the world's fancy.

    Except for one thing, though: echinacea has actually been around a long, long time, even though millions of people are just now hearing about it. Listen closely: this might be the comeback of the century for the 21st century. For much of the first half of the 1900's, echinacea was formally recognized in the U.S. National Formulary, according to webmd.com, before it faded into oblivion, at least in the United States, with the emergence of antibiotics and a lack of scientific evidence confirming echinacea's medicinal powers.

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    As the old saying goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. The same could be said of at least one other such wonder fruit: bananas. A banana a day provides its tasty share of health benefits in helping our bodies ward off illnesses and other pesky annoyances, meaning bananas deserve a spot alongside apples in the fruit hall of fame.

    Bananas can be as good as gold whether your main concern is controlling blood pressure, finding a yummy late-night snack to help make you sleepy or devising a sensible dietary regimen to help you lose weight. And that's just for starters.

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    In just a few years, electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, have gone from being a public curiosity to a billion-dollar industry on track to outsell tobacco products within a decade, according to a recent WebMD article.

    That's bad news for smoking opponents, who for the better part of five decades have been able to applaud a gradual decrease in cigarette use. This is in the wake of a federal ban about 45 years ago on TV and radio cigarette advertising, and the required posting of a U.S. Surgeon General's warning about smoking on all cigarette packaging.

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    Summertime means simmer time for many of us as rising temperatures and (hopefully) abundant sunshine entice us to the beach, the pool, the golf course or wherever you choose to best enjoy the great outdoors.

    With such freedom of activity, however, comes the personal obligation of taking care of ourselves. That starts with deciding on what to use for protection from the sun's potentially searing UVA and UVB rays, which together can cause sunburn and premature skin damage and aging.

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    For decades it has been a disorder, primarily among children, with a name best known by its acronym. It is something that has long bedeviled parents and teachers, and health care professionals and professional counselors, and we might just as well toss church childcare and daycare leaders onto the pile while we're at it.

    We are referring of course to what was once known as ADD, which about 20 years ago was officially updated and expanded to ADHD, the better-known abbreviated form of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Dr. Andrew Weil, the renowned natural health expert, defines it as "the diagnostic term for a group of related conditions that affect a person's ability to sit still, focus, pay attention, finish a task and control impulses."

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    Until the 21st century rolled around, 'gluten' was one of those obscure terms that occasionally popped up in health-related literature and left readers scratching their head. We had a vague notion it had something to do with eating and nutrition, but for all we knew it might have had something to do with glucose or gluttony.

    Many of us now know the truth because gluten's mention has been shoved in front of our faces countless times via print, online and TV. Gluten is a protein that, when ingested, can damage the small intestines of people genetically predisposed to celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that is estimated to affect one out of every 100 people worldwide. The Celiac Disease Foundation claims that two and a half million Americans unwittingly have the condition while diagnosed.

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    In laymen's terms we call it comfort food, those delectable edibles that can turn a sad day into a glad day by providing us a respite, even a brief one, when things otherwise aren't going our way. Chocolate, for instance. Who in a moment of stress or anxiety hasn't craved a big bowl of chocolate ice cream or a sinful piece of chocolate cake with the frosting dripping off your fork? Even a chocolate bar will do in a pinch.

    Good thinking! Actually, a plain chocolate bar, especially one made from dark chocolate, isn't such a bad idea for a needed mood swing. Science, and good taste, are on our side. According to Woman'sDay, a recent Swiss study found that a 1.4-ounce piece of dark chocolate can lower the levels of cortisol and catecholamines – stress hormones – in our body. That reduces feelings of anxiety, giving us a chance to bounce back from going a couple of rounds with an angry boss or whoever.

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  • 

    We've all seen the photo in advertisements: a smiling, smug-looking 65-ish guy in snug blue jeans with wire rims and balding head perched on top of a shirtless, Adonis-like torso impeccably tanned and sculpted. The older guy comes complete with six-pack abs that must merit the envy of any much-younger stud kicking sand at Muscle Beach. No joke: his name reportedly is Dr. Jeffrey Life, for real, and one can only imagine what Life's social life must be like, no pun intended, even though he's now in his 70's and still incredibly buff and, he insists, stronger than he's ever been.

    But here comes the caveat: Life didn't get his freakishly fit physique only through proper diet, exercise and weight training. He told the Los Angeles Times that since 2003 he also has followed a regimen – not in any way endorsed by this website – of daily human growth hormone (HGH) shots and weekly testosterone injections, all at a monthly cost of $1,500 to help make him who his photos portray him to be. If nothing else, though, Life's iconic picture makes him an inspiration for men and women 60 and over who want to look good while maintaining a better level of fitness, strength and quality of life.

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  • 

    Proper nutrition, physical fitness and taking care of our health in general is so much about being proactive and doing the right things, that we sometimes forget it's just as important to avoid doing the wrong things that can hinder us, harm us, or even kill us. Welcome to National Safety Month, which is designated for and promoted each June by the National Safety Council (NSC) as a reminder to all of us to take our time and be careful.

    Being strong, fit, active, properly nourished, well-rested and overall healthy is almost meaningless if we are negligent in how we drive, store combustible materials, deal with cluttered stairways, utilize ladders, swim unsupervised, secure and safeguard weapons, cross the street, etc., etc., on and on. There are countless opportunities out there waiting for us to mess up and leave us in a spot where inconvenience doesn't quite describe our newfound predicament – the result of carelessness.

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  • 

    All fish are not created equal, and some are healthier to eat than others. That's something to keep in mind when contemplating cuisine consisting of water dwellers.

    Many Americans weaned on traditional staples such as red meat and poultry (i.e., chicken) are now looking at fish as a dietary alternative presumably lighter on calories and leaning to good cardiovascular health. Eating and enjoying seafood can be an acquired taste for many, but one they got hooked on fish, fish enthusiasts are as eager to whip up a tasty fish-centered recipe at home as to dine out for the convenience of gobbling down a plate of mustard-broiled salmon or grilled trout almandine.

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    Those of us on the high side of 50 can remember back to gym class in school, the ultimate Throwback Thursdays and Flashback Fridays. The phys. ed. teacher would have us do a few toe touches, windmills and trunk twisters to get us loosened up and flexible regardless of what exercise activity was to come next.

    Sometimes it would be a game of kickball, a dreaded day on the trampoline or perhaps eight laps encompassing 32 ninety-degree left turns around the basketball court for the 600-yard run portion of the annual President's Physical Fitness Test. That pre-workout stretching routine was what we were taught, and that's the "warmup" many of us were still doing years later when we joined the running craze of the 1970's and beyond.

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  • 

    As soon as their strenuous workout is over, the first thing many exercise enthusiasts do is reach for their bottled water or water bottle, and who can blame them? Athletes do this almost without thinking, as a reflex. They know to do this not only to quench the thirst right now, but also to rehydrate the body as a first step toward post-workout recovery.

    Almost all of us drink water during the day without really thinking about it. We get thirsty; we drink water – not much thought given. Water is a lot like late comedian Rodney Dangerfield: it doesn't get a whole lot of respect. It's not the first thing you are holding to your lips when washing down pizza, or clinking glasses together as a toast while enjoying fancy cuisine at a white-tablecloth restaurant, or when you're in the stands at a Bears-Packers game, your face painted green and gold, while you guzzle from a cold one in between yells at the officials.

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    Those of us of a certain age don’t have fond memories of as kids coerced into eating spinach, especially when it meant staring at that icky, yucky green stuff passed off as hot lunch in schools decades ago. All that started to change, though, once we were exposed to its positive attributes via the superhuman exploits of a squinty-eyed, canned-spinach-guzzling cartoon sailor man by the name of Popeye.

    Now that we reside in the ultra-health-conscious 21st century, spinach in its various cooked or raw states not only has become edible to us overgrown kids, it has emerged as a dietary superstar. This is in a world where terms such as iron; vitamins K, A, C and D2; folic acid, manganese and magnesium – all found in spinach – ring familiar to health-savvy parents, health care professionals and nutritionists alike.

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    Finally, you're headed out the door on that long-awaited vacation to a bucket-list destination. Plane tickets, wallet/purse, keys and phone in hand? Check. Rental car and hotel/cabana reservations? Check. Clothes, toiletries and phone charger are packed; mail delivery is on hold; several house lights are left on; and the security system is armed. Miraculously, everyone else is set and ready to go, too.

    All is going well until you get a day or two into the trip and it dawns on you that you haven't, to put it delicately, been to the bathroom outside of No. 1 for a long time. You feel bloated, perhaps cramping around the waistline, generally feeling out of sorts. You realize you have constipation, and chances are you aren't alone.

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    Ask the kids what kind of cereal they want from the grocery store, and their answers will include almost every concoction of sugar-coated morsels imaginable.

    The last thing you want to do when shopping is make the wrong choice(s), although there is one right choice that is a healthier alternative, even if the young ’uns won’t see it that way at first. Think about reaching across the cereal aisle and buying one of those big canisters of oatmeal, the kind where you can pour bowl after bowl each morning without fretting over the amount of sugar and corn syrup being pumped into their growing bodies.

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  • 

    Soon it will be June, and that means time to break out the beach umbrellas, stock up on sunscreen and tackle that unsightly body flab before you even think about squeezing back into a bathing suit; to be seen in public, no less.

    Full-fledged summer vacation season is just weeks away, but there's still time to shed a few pounds and tone that physique a bit before you hit the sand under the unforgiving bright sunlight of summer. While most springtime weight-loss talk focuses on women and bikinis, let's not forget the guys, complete with beer guts and the elastic vs. drawstrings debate when it comes to swim trunks. Listen up guys (and gals): rushed and reckless is no way to perform a crash course in weight loss. Dropping a dumbbell on your foot or passing out from an ill-advised starvation diet could ruin your Summer of 2015.

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    Aerobic gardening? Or ever hear of this -- a warmup and stretching routine before going outside to work in the garden? You cannot be serious.

    What's next: selling the exercise equipment and canceling the gym membership to pursue a new and improved fitness regimen that involves digging in the dirt as you produce your new oasis of homegrown vegetables or impeccably landscaped flower beds?

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    We all know how consuming carrots is supposed to be good for our eyesight. We also can be fairly confident we won't turn orange by eating carrots, especially lots of carrots, which deserve a pat on the back for how good a snack they make. Even better news is knowing that plenty of edibles other than carrots also deserve a mention for their visual-health properties, which is a timely eye opener considering that May is Vision Health Month.

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    Here's something to keep you awake at night: Insufficient sleep on a sustained basis can be detrimental to your health in more ways than you might have imagined. Consider it a good time to be thinking about a good night's sleep because May is Better Sleep Month.

    A consistent shortage of shut-eye at night has been linked to numerous health-related issues ranging from physical to psychological. Chronic sleep deprivation has been shown to increase susceptibility to colds, flu, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and other physical ailments as well as impaired cognition and decision-making, such as when driving a car or performing work at the office.

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    April showers bring May flowers, as well as weeks of discomfort for spring allergy sufferers.

    Experts have estimated that more than 35 million Americans annually suffer from seasonal allergies, also referred to as hay fever or the more technical term, allergic rhinitis. Several weeks or more of springtime misery in the forms of stuffy and runny nose, sneezing, itchy, watery eyes and even a pesky cough can make anyone feel like a fat-headed rhino yearning for a safe and healthy fix.

    So the question becomes, what to do about it?

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    The old saying, "You can't have your cake and eat it, too," was probably concocted by someone unaware of coconut oil's many reported health benefits. Coconut cake, anyone? Once a cooking delicacy embraced by savvy shoppers who had cracked the code of health food stores, coconut oil has made its way onto the shelves of your friendly neighboring grocery stores. It's priced somewhat higher than its olive oil and vegetable oil rivals, but a few extra dollars for a big jar of the stuff is a small price to pay, according to believers sold on the sweet confection's many benefits.

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    Wonder Labs has a robust lineup of the nutritional supplements you need for every day health and wellness. We carry all of the vitamins and herbs you're familiar with and use regularly. We also offer a long list of products you may be less familiar with, but offer dynamic benefits. For this month's product spotlight, we'll focus on Curcumin, Valerin, and Probiotics.

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    You may consider the orange to be the iconic fruit when it comes to Vitamin C, but in reality, there are many other foods that contain a greater number of milligrams of the nutrient when compared side by side. For example, when compared to the nearly 70 milligrams of vitamin C in an orange, chili peppers have 107.8 mg, red peppers have a whopping 190 mg, kale has 90.4 mg. in a single cup, and broccoli has 132 mg, according to Health.com.

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    Positive habits that support mouth and gum health start at an early age. Children learn how and when to brush and floss from parents and caregivers, so starting off on the right foot at an early age is important for a lifetime of dental health.

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    Gluten is found in wheat, rye, and barley, and according to experts, there are millions of Americans who have some degree of sensitivity or allergy to the protein. In worse situations, those who are gluten intolerant suffer from celiac disease, an autoimmune disease that affects the small intestine and blocks the proper absorption of nutrients. Approximately 1 percent of the population has celiac disease, according to the National Foundation for Celiac Disorders (NFCD).

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    The foods you eat and the bad habits you avoid make a significant impact on your heart health. But are you doing enough to ensure the healthy beat goes on and on? Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States - but a majority of heart conditions can be avoided with the right lifestyle and mind set.

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    Vitamin B-12 is a key nutrient in the creation of your personal DNA, and it plays a vital role in cellular health, but most people correlate B-12 as a magic weapon for fighting fatigue. In reality, a deficiency in B-12 is what can lead to fatigue and weakness, according to information from the National Institutes of Health, and the organization estimates that between 1.5 percent and 15 percent of Americans have a B-12 deficiency.

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    If you live in an area with winter snow, or where it's cold enough to engage in winter sports, then you've got one up over those Southern sun birds! While cold weather ushers in plenty of unwanted opportunities for viruses and illnesses to invade your good times, you can promote winter wellness with a few tips from Wonder Labs.

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    How much do you know about the role vitamin D plays in health and wellness? For the body, Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium, a mineral everyone needs for bone growth, strength, and protection from diseases like osteoporosis. Vitamin D is found in diary, eggs, and fish, and is absorbed in the skin when exposed to sunlight. Healthy people under the age of 70 need about 600 IU of Vitamin D daily, and Liquid Calcium Softgels with Natural Vitamin D3 (item #6203) provides the recommended amount when taken daily.

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    As we age, we tend to focus on wrinkles and gray hairs, or listen more carefully to creaky joints and tired muscles. Eye health is often something we think about only if there's a noticeable change: the fine print is fuzzy or road signs are harder to see. Many people, even those with a history of 20/20 eyesight, experience changes in their vision or find they need corrective lenses once they enter their 30s and 40s.

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    Our definition of splurge is turned upside down during the holidays. This is the time when we spend a little more on the ones we love, pay it forward in bigger ways to honor others, bend the rules to let the kids have one more cookie or stay up a little later, and indulge in all things delicious, from baked goods to chocolate and candies.

    While this time of year is the perfect reason to celebrate, we have a few tips to help you stay near the track instead of getting off of it completely!

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    Colds, flu, and other immune-related ailments are at their peak in the colder months, creating the ever-growing need for individuals of all ages to take precautions against becoming sick. The best way to stave off illness is with a mindset that puts you on the offense rather than the defense. This means making healthy choices.

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    Americans have a steadfast confidence in the role vitamins and nutritional supplements play in our daily health and wellness goals. Experts estimate that by year end, Americans will have spent $32.8 billion on these items, and billions more by 2017. With such an abundance of products to choose, how do you know if the products you're selecting are the right ones for your needs? How do you know if what you're purchasing actually represents the ingredients listed on the label, and adheres to the standards for potency and efficacy?

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