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Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids are the brain-boosting, cholesterol-clearing good fats (monounsaturated). There are 3 basic forms of omega-3:

  • Alpha-linelenic acid (ALA) found in English walnuts and vegetable oils like flaxseed, soybean and olive which the body eventually, but in small quantities, converts to DHA.
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) found primarily in fish oil, this is the ultimate form of fatty acid in humans. Most people get far too little of this all-important fatty acid, especially since the conversion of ALA to DHA is slow and minimally yielding. Getting a daily dose of of DHA (600 to 1000 mg) from supplements is preferable to reap the health benefits. You have a choice of taking a fish oil supplement or one derived from algae or krill, a shrimp-like crustacean.
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is also found in fish oil, so it’s absorbed if you’re taking a daily dose of DHA omega-3.

What to look for when buying fish oil supplements:

  • Fish oil supplements vary in the amounts and ratios of DHA and EPA they contain. For example, salmon oil naturally contains more DHA than EPA; a supplement derived from algae may only contain DHA. Krill oil contains significant amounts of both EPA and DHA. Read the labels and remember whatever supplement you buy, it must have at least 600 mg of DHA.
  • Be aware that only about one-third of the oil from fish is rich in EPA and DHA. Many supplements also contain vitamin E or other antioxidants to stabilize the oils and prevent them from becoming rancid. If you choose to buy a fish oil supplement, check the label carefully to see if it recommends refrigeration to prevent spoiling.
  • Most brands of fish oil have been proven safe, free of detectable traces of mercury, and do not contain unsafe levels of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), a toxin and pollutant believed to pose various health threats. To avoid contaminants in an unrefined supplement, it’s best to choose a fish oil supplement made from small, oily fish like anchovy, sardines or menhaden.

Here’s how a daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids can improve and protect vital aspects of your body’s daily functioning:

  • Lubricates joints Helps provide the lubrication joints need to function at an effective level. By keeping joints lubed, you experience less grinding and less overall wear and tear – and thereby – less pain as you age.
  • Decreases inflammation in inflamed joints.
  • Fights wrinkles As we age, fat cells in our skin’s third layer thin out and tend to get a bit bumpier; omega-3s help make that layer thicker and smooth. The effect? Wrinkles go away and skin becomes fuller.
  • Protects Vision Our eyes’ retinas are a membranous structures and the whole eye is covered in a soft double layer of membranes, making your eyes’ health dependent on the liver (who knew?). The liver helps metabolize fat-soluble vitamins that feed and maintain those membranes. If you’re deficient in DHA, it affects how we see by delaying the system that converts light into neural energy in the retina.
  • Pumps the heart Where to begin?! Omega-3s reduce triglycerides, stabilize your heartbeat, make platelets “less sticky” and can even lower blood pressure. The EPA you get with your daily DHA dose helps prevent artery-blocking clots. In the Iowa Nurses Study (and 3 others), 1 ounce of nuts a day decreased the incidence of heart disease between 20 and 60%.
  • Attacks Acne It may surprise you to know that an inadequate intake of omega-3 fatty acids contributes to breakout-prone skin. Trade sugar (and meat) for avocados, walnuts, salmon or trout to help control acne.
  • Clears Cholesterol Boosts levels of HDL (the good cholesterol) and helps clear your arteries.
  • Boosts the Brain In keeping your arteries clear, you’re immediately improving brain function. They also alter your neurotransmitters to help reduce depression.
  • Enhances Fertility Improves fertility rates in both males and females by improving sperm’s swimming ability and the environment for implantation in women.
  • A Pregnancy Prerequisite Omega-3 fatty acids directly affect brain development, making it crucial for expectant mothers. Additionally, research indicates they decrease a mother’s risk of depression. When the mother doesn’t have enough of these essential fatty acids, the baby borrows from her. Some prenatal vitamins now include omega-3s, so be sure to check the label or grab a handful of walnuts each day.

by Dr. Oz

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Posted by on January 2, 2012 in Health Tips

 

Dr. Oz – The Owner’s Manual to Longevity

by Dr. Oz

Change Your Thinking About the Importance of Stress

Your thoughts play a crucial role in stress management. The brain is a key activator that, at both conscious and unconscious levels, disposes us to disease or tilts us toward health. The consequence of too much stress is wear and tear on the body. That in turn can play a role in the development of such conditions as obesity, type-2 diabetes, brain atrophy, heart disease, loss of sexual function, high blood pressure, loss of muscle and bone strength, suppression of the boy’s immune system, and depression. In many ways, de-stressing is as important as diet and exercise. The goal here is to reduce stressors in your life for health and longevity.

  1. I suggest you approach de-stressing this way:
  2. Think about a computer that’s overwhelmed by too many complex tasks at once; it will crash.
  3. Think about you under stress: Don’t you feel as if your effectiveness has frozen up, too?
  4. Find ways to reboot.

Stress Reducers

 Here are some different ways of thinking about our life.

  • Find quietude. The human body is better able to counter or reduce the ravages of excess stress if you find the opportunity to escape the tension for a time. Exercise seems to be doubly effective in reducing stress when it is paired with such relaxation techniques as deep breathing, self-hypnosis, yoga, meditation. While training sessions, books, and other forms of guidance are available to help body, but an engagement with family, friends, and community can be life enhancing for the very old, the old, or those of us wondering at the impact of aging.Borrowing from the life facts of Kirk Douglas’s career, think of your life you master specific techniques, you may already know how to find the calm you need. Once you identify it, take regular recourse to your personal place of escapeSet limits. Establish reasonable limits for work or other commitments; you cannot do it all. At the same time, allow for opportunities to pursue your own pleasures.Reframe. Look at your life through a different window. More than a few of the pressures you feel weighing on you are self-generated; rearranging your priorities may shift the burden. At times are you, metaphorically speaking, trying to move an object you know full well to be immovable? If you can’t move the cliff face, perhaps you can find a boulder to roll? Try to step back from the noise and clutter and look at things from another angle. You can find elements to change or eliminate that are not necessary and that are not making your life better.
  • Do not insist on perfection. Recognize that perfection is not always a reasonable or desirable goal either for you or those around you.
  • Keep a journal. This may be news to you, but, according to several recent studies, putting your thoughts and feelings on paper is good for you. People with asthma and rheumatoid arthritis have been found to experience a lessening in symptoms when they write about their stress; another study found measurable decreases of stress hormones and fewer doctor visits among journalers. You may not be able to make your frustrations go away, but thinking them through and confiding them to a diary delivers benefits. You do not have to worry about getting a grade; there are no minimums or maximums. One common approach is putting pen to paper (or fingers to the keyboard) for fifteen minutes, say, three times a week. Get it off your chest. Today’s problems, yesterday’s complaints, long-ago torments, and tomorrow’s worries are all fair game. You may find opportunities for change, but even if you do not, understanding and accepting are in themselves healthful.
  • Skip the caffeineLess caffeine means less stimulation of your central nervous system. Keep in mind that caffeine is found in a number of products, including coffee, cola, chocolate, some teas, and many over-the-counter medications and dietary supplements. There are many people who swear by herbal teas such as ginseng and chamomile, but avoid teas that are billed as energizers, such as those containing ephedra.
  • Relinquish control. As a control person, you know who you are.
  • Listen to music. Loud, up-tempo music may not be the way to go, but that does not mean you have to settle for elevator music. You know what sort of music gives you a sense of ease. Let it take you for a ride–to someplace other than the “I must, I can’t, I’m late, Oh, no!” world of the overstressed.
  • Get enough sleep. For most people, that should mean seven to eight hours a night.
  • Reduce multitasking. One of the great stress-inducers of modern times is the common compulsion to work, communicate (cell phone, text, e-mail), and manage your life all at once. You will be more efficient–and less stressed–if you segregate times and tasks.
 
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Posted by on January 2, 2012 in Health Tips

 

Dr. Oz answers: “What supplements do you take?”

by Dr. Oz

Unfortunately, there’s no one brand or pill that combines the recommended amount of every vitamin, mineral, and nutrient, but some are close and you can use a liquid or pill form. You’ll have to do a little digging yourself, but I want to make it as easy as possible. So here I’ve listed our recommendations of pills and supplements that will make your body and mind stronger, healthier, and younger.

I’d love you to get them from diet, but many have imperfect diets—so consider these recommendations as an insurance policy for an imperfect diet. All of these should be in divided doses: you can take half in the morning and half at night to keep constant levels in your blood during the day.

* Vitamin A: More than 2,500 IU is too much (unless you have an eye condition called wet macular degeneration).
* Vitamin B: Get at least the daily value (DV) of all the Bs plus a little more than daily value of these Bs:
o B1 (thiamin) 25 mg.
o B2 (riboflavin) 25 mg.
o B3 (niacin) At least 30 mg, and you can take lots more after speaking with your doctor if you have elevated lousy LDL cholesterol or triglycerides.
o B5 (pantothenic acid) 300 mg.
o B6 (pyridoxine) 4 mg.
o B9 (folic acid or folate) 400 mcg.
o B12 (cyanocobalamin) 800 mcg.
o Biotin 300 mcg.
* Vitamin C: 800 mg or 50 mg twice a day if you’re taking a statin drug.
* Vitamin D: 800 IU if under age 60; 1,000 if 60 or over.
* Vitamin E: 400 IU in the form of mixed tocopherols. Reduce to 100 IU from supplements if you’re taking a statin drug.
* Vitamin K: You should get enough in normal diet.
* Calcium: This comes from many sources, so total all of them up and get at least 1,600 total mg for women, 1,200 mg for men.
* Magnesium: 400 mg.
* Selenium: 200 mcg.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2012 in Health Tips

 
 
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