Thursday, January 28, 2010

Spinach and its amazing health benefits

Spinach originates from Asia or Persia where it grew in the wild, and has been cultivated in China for the past 2000 years.

Today China is the world’s largest producer of spinach, and the United States the second biggest commercial producer.

Health Benefits of Spinach:

Nutrients :
Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin K, carotenes, vitamin C, and folic acid. It’s a very good source of manganese, magnesium, iron, and vitamin B2. It’s a good source of vitamins B6, E, and B1.

Cancer :
Studies have demonstrated that diets high in dark green vegetables such as spinach are associated with a decreased risk of colon cancer. Researchers have identified at least thirteen different flavonoid compounds in spinach that function as antioxidants and as anticancer agents. Specialized spinach extracts have been created to be used in controlled studies, and these spinach extracts have been shown to slow down cell division in human stomach cancer cells. A study has also shown that higher intake of spinach is related to a lower incidence of breast cancer.

Eyesight :
Spinach is one of the richest dietary sources of lutien, a carotenoid that has been implicated as being protective against cataracts and other age related macular degeneration. In a study at Harvard Medical School in Boston, higher dietary intakes of lutein and vitamin E from food and supplements were associated with significantly decreased risks of cataract. Zeaxanthin is another carotenoid found in spinach, and in a study at Centre for Eye Research in Australia, it was found that high dietary lutein and zeaxanthin intake was associated with decreased prevalence of nuclear cataract.

Heart Disease :
Spinach is an excellent source of folate, which may decrease homocysteine, an amino acid found in blood. A high level of homocysteine is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, and studies have indicated that supplementation with B-vitamins, in particular with folic acid, is an efficient, safe, and inexpensive means to reduce an elevated homocysteine level.

Alkaline :
Spinach is an alkaline producing food, making it useful in helping to regulate body pH.

Improves Bone Health :
Spinach is considered to be an important vegetable for maintaining proper bone health. High content of calcium present in spinach helps in strengthening the bones. Vitamin K present in spinach prevents the activation of osteoclasts in excess. The osteoclast levels need to be kept in check because these are responsible for breaking of the bones. Vitamin K1 is converted into vitamin K2 by the intestinal bacteria. Vitamin K2 helps in activating a non-collagen protein called osteocalcin.

In fact the health benefits of spinach are not limited to the diseases mentioned above. They go far beyond that and help in preventing various diseases like anemia,obesity, nerve problems. It also helps to prevent and also treat diseases of the kidneys, bladder and liver.
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Health Benefits of Carrot

The health benefits of carrot include reduced cholesterol, prevention from heart attacks, warding off certain cancers and many others. Most of the benefits of carrot can be attributed to its beta carotene and fiber content. This root, which has a scientific name of Daucus Carota, is a good source of antioxidant agents as well.
Carrots are rich in vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and potassium.
Both adults and children like carrots because of its crunchy texture and sweet taste. Even though the color of original carrot is orange it grows in other colors including white, yellow, red or purple.

The health benefits of carrot include the following:

Prevents heart diseases:
In a study meant to reveal therapeutic value of carrots researchers at the Wolfson Gastrointestinal Laboratory in Edinburgh, Scotland revealed that cholesterol level reduces by 11 percent if seven ounces of raw carrots a day is taken for thee weeks. High cholesterol is a major factor for heart disease. Since regular consumption of carrots reduces cholesterol level it is good to prevent heart related problems. A group of Swedish scientists discovered that root vegetables can reduce the chances of having a heart attack. A study conducted at the Mario Negri Institute of Pharmacological Research in Italy found that those who ate more carrots had one third the risk of heart attack as compared with those who ate fewer carrots.

Prevents cancer:

Beta-carotene consumption has been linked to reduced risk of several cancers, notably lung cancer. British researchers discovered that increasing beta-carotene consumption from 1.7 to 2.7 milligrams a day reduced lung cancer risk more than 40 percent. The average carrot contains about three milligrams of Beta-carotene. In a study, researchers found that eating fiber rich carrots reduce the risk of colon cancer by as much as 24 percent. Another study shows that women who ate raw carrots were five to eight times less likely to develop breast cancer than women who did not eat carrots.

Macular degeneration:
This is a common eye disease of elderly. It impairs the macula. Researches found that people who ate the most Beta-carotene had a forty percent lower risk of macular degeneration compared with those who consumed the least.

Improves eyesight:
Deficiency of vitamin A can cause some difficulty seeing in dim light. Since carrot is rich in vitamin A it is good for improving eyesight.


A carrot a day reduces stroke risk by 68 percent. Many studies have strengthened the “carrot effect” on brain. Studies conducted on stroke patients revealed that those with highest levels of Beta carotene have the best survival rate.

Carrot is good for blood sugar regulation because of the presence of carotenoids in carrot. Carotenoids inversely affect insulin resistance and thus lower blood sugar.

Carrots have antiseptic qualities and therefore, can be used as laxative, vermicide and as remedy for liver conditions. Carrot oil is good for dry skin. It makes the skin softer, smoother and firmer. Carrot juice improves stomach and gastrointestinal health.

Thus, carrots, as raw fruits juice or in cooked form, are good for your health
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Monday, January 25, 2010

Five Fruits That Will Energize Your Body and Spirit

Strawberries, avocados, kiwi, watermelon, and plums are among favorites for many people.
The health benefits of these five fresh fruits are as follows.

Strawberries have excellent sources of fiber, more vitamin than an orange, and can maintain normal blood sugar levels by just eating one cup.
Strawberries also can clean out harmful toxin in the blood, and remove tartar from teeth, plus strengthen the gum.

Avocados supply lots of cancer fighting antioxidants. If you think they are loaded with fat then you are right, but the fat are monounsaturated fat, which are good for you fat.
Avocado has been used to aid people with sexual problems, help with digestive and circulatory problem.

Kiwi can help reduce blood clotting, which can contribute to heart attacks. Two or three kiwi a day equals a daily dose of an aspirin. Best of all, kiwi is all natural, and gives no side-effect. Kiwi is also high in fiber which helps protect from heart disease, diabetes, and colon cancer.
Kiwi is also known for uses in treating wheezing, and coughing.

Watermelon contains a good source of potassium, vitamins A and C. Just two cups of watermelon provides 18 milligrams of cancer-fighting antioxidant lycopene, more than in a medium tomato.
It is also advised to keep watermelon at room temperature since they have much higher levels of antioxidants (beta-carotene and lycopene) than those that keep in the refrigerator. They are even better than freshly picked melons.

Plums come in many different colors, and provide a good source of vitamin C, A, B2, beta-carotene, and potassium. Plums are also a great source of dietary fiber.
Plums help to reduce and protect the symptom of cold, flu, asthma, heart disease, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer. It also helps absorb iron in the body, and a great natural laxative.

Stock up on these fresh fruits and eat them as often as you can. Most of these fruits are small in sizes, so eating two or three servings a day is possible. Healthy mind, healthy body, and healthy spirit will yield a better life.
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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Health is Wealth

Take steps every day to live a safe and healthy life.

Eat healthy.
  • Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains every day.
  • Limit foods and drinks high in calories, sugar, salt, fat, and alcohol.
  • Eat a balanced diet to help keep a healthy weight.
Be active.
  • Be active for at least 2½ hours a week. Include activities that raise your breathing and heart rates and that strengthen your muscles.
  • Help kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour a day. Include activities that raise their breathing and heart rates and that strengthen their muscles and bones.
Protect yourself.
  • Wear helmets, seat belts, sunscreen, and insect repellent.
  • Wash hands to stop the spread of germs.
  • Avoid smoking and breathing other people’s smoke.
  • Build safe and healthy relationships with family and friends.
  • Be ready for emergencies. Make a supply kit. Make a plan. Be informed.
Manage stress.
  • Balance work, home, and play.
  • Get support from family and friends.
  • Stay positive.
  • Take time to relax.
  • Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Make sure kids get more, based on their age.
  • Get help or counseling if needed.
Get check-ups.
  • Ask your doctor or nurse how you can lower your chances for health problems based on your lifestyle and personal and family health histories.
  • Find out what exams, tests, and shots you need and when to get them.
  • See your doctor or nurse as often as he or she says to do so. See him or her sooner if you feel sick, have pain, notice changes, or have problems with medicine.
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Top 10 tips for leading a healthy, balanced life

It may not always be easy to strike that delicate life/work balance but the fundamentals are simple:

1. Laughter!
It's true that laughter is the best medicine. It's free, readily available and the benefits are instantaneous. Laughter is so beneficial that you can actually join laughter workshops to trigger those 'happy hormones' (endorphins) and induce that warm glow of well-being.

2. Exercise
There are no shortcuts to a healthy lifestyle without exercise. It strengthens the body and can help to clear the mind. Above all, it's enjoyable and entirely portable, so there's no reason not to get involved!

3. Eat fresh
Try replacing your daily caffeine fix with a freshly-squeezed juice occasionally; why not also try different combinations of fruit and/ or vegetable in your juices

4. Indulge yourself occasionally
Life should be joyful, not a guilt trip and the occasional indulgence is ok. Take the phone off the hook and soak in a deep bath, treat yourself to a massage or your favourite chocolate bikkies without getting the ‘guilts'. Organise a babysitter for the kids and enjoy a date with your spouse or partner without needing an occasion to celebrate.

5. Exercise calm
Life can't always slow its pace but you can. If your mind is constantly skipping ahead to anticipate or fret about that next phone call/deadline/relationship issue then try simple mental exercises to bring your awareness back into the present. Feel the weight of your body on the ground and turn your hearing out to listen to the sounds that are actually there (not the busy narrative in your head). This entire process can take three seconds or three minutes but it just may help you to feel refreshed and calmer afterwards.

6. Take time out
Stepping off the treadmill is essential to maintaining a healthy mind. It doesn't have to cost anything; it may simply be allowing yourself time to do whatever it is that recharges your batteries. Potter in the garden, read a book, listen to music or simply sit and think. Take a drive and immerse yourself in nature to pare back some of the slickness of city life and fall back into the slower rhythms of the natural world.

7. Check your priorities
Have you ever lifted your head up from the daily grind and wondered when living became surviving? Keep issues in context by examining them in relation to what you truly value, whether it's family, your social network or your own sense of integrity. Ask yourself where your priorities lie and whether your actions are in line with them.

8. Keep learning
Keep your mind sharp by engaging your interest; try learning a new language or take up a new hobby.

9. Give something back
Giving back could be a simple as listening to a friend who needs a sounding board or as involved as volunteering for a cause. Either way it's a valuable contribution and it also helps to shed some perspective on your own life.

10. Positive attitude
Attitude is everything. Thoughts are energy and your motivation propels them. If you maintain a positive attitude, chances are you'll attract positive, upbeat people, face challenges in good humour and keep your goals in sight.
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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Achieving pact on health care is not easy

Understanding the problem is half the solution. But how can consensus be achieved when the health care system is little understood? Amid the confusion, a glimpse at the system may add some clarity.

The system generally consists of the following major components: Medicare for the elderly and disabled; Medicaid (known as Medi-Cal in California) for those eligible; County programs for indigents who do not qualify for Medi-Cal; private insurance; and private (or no) pay. Medicare generally pays less than private insurance, although some insurance companies reimburse at or below Medicare rates.

Under certain circumstances Medicare can be purchased by persons not otherwise eligible for it. Like Social Security, there is concern that Medicare will go bankrupt. In recent years, the federal government has imposed ever increasing cost controls. Medicare auditors who deny claims for lack of medical necessity are paid a percentage of the savings. There is a complex appeal process for providers. A number of hospitals are now paid more if they implement certain treatments deemed more effective and cost-efficient.

Medicaid is the federal-state matching funds program for eligible indigents. Rates paid are typically well below the cost of the services.

For indigents who do not qualify for Medi-Cal, California law requires counties to pick up the slack. This is why Fresno County owned and operated Valley Medical Center for decades and why it has a 30-year contract with Community Medical Centers. Private insurance and private pay cover the rest of the population.

Federal and California law requires hospitals that operate full-service 24-hour emergency rooms to treat any person's "emergency" medical condition, without first asking questions about payment. The use of ERs for debatable "emergencies" is well-known. An important question is whether, even if government provided direct support for these patients' care in an effort to limit use of ERs, there are enough primary care doctors available to treat them outside the ER.

"Medical necessity" confounds consensus on health care reform. Everyone wants the best care available, and politicians want to give it to them. If a person complains to his doctor about a neck strain, should the doctor order an immediate x-ray or should he prescribe aspirin and see if the patient improves before ordering more expensive procedures? Medicare will have the benefit of hindsight to declare the x-ray was not necessary, leaving the health care provider unpaid. But what if the doctor elects not to order the x-ray, and the patient in fact has a slipped cervical disk that causes permanent major weakness in the right arm? Enter the patient's attorney.

Indeed, because there can be wide disagreement among physicians as to what needs to be done, and because as technology improves there is an ever-increasing number of things that can be done, lawsuits against health care providers will not go away. To control the rising cost of medical malpractice insurance premiums, California enacted "tort reform" that, among other things, limited the amount of "noneconomic" damages a victim of medical negligence could receive to $250,000. So, one who is rendered a paraplegic by a physician who runs a stoplight can ask for million of dollars in "noneconomic" damages, but the same person injured by the physician's medical negligence is limited to $250,000.

National "tort reform" will be debated against the backdrop of ever increasing pressure for health care providers to control costs.

Consensus on health care is elusive without a thorough understanding of the present system.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Things To Be Known For Effectively Distinguishing Individual Health Insurance Plans

There are various types of individual health insurance plans. Thus,it is important to know about fee-for-service, PPO and HMO health insurance policies...

Types Of Health Insurances:

If you want to secure your very own health insurance policy because you are self employed, you have to start the search for the most appropriate and suitable product to you now. You would find that the search could be confusing because there are just too many options and choices available. You may already have encountered phrases and terms like fee-for-service, PPO, and HMO. These are the most common types of individual health insurance plans available in the health insurance market.

1)Fee-for-Service Health Insurance Plans:
Fee-for-service health insurance plans for individuals are often called indemnity plans. In this type, the insurance firm pays for the health services you avail. You would have more freedom and flexibility to choose the doctor to attend to you or the hospital where you would seek medical attention. The only setback is that you would be required to pay the services for the meantime and then file to claim a refund of your medical expenses from the insurer later. If flexibility and freedom is what you are after, this type is for you. If you are not comfortable with the refund or reimbursement arrangement (probably because you are afraid of the legwork in completing and submitting claim forms), you should drop this type from your list.

2)Health Maintenance Organizations or HMOs:
Health maintenance organizations or HMOs could be considered as prepaid individual health insurance plans wherein you would be required to pay monthly, quarterly or annual premium so you could avail the health benefits and coverage provided. The striking difference from the fee-for-service is that you do not have the liberty and flexibility to choose a doctor or a hospital. You would be assigned to consult doctors that are HMO participants. The advantage is that you would not have to pay any dime when you avail of the medical coverage, provided that you do not exceed the set limit.

3)Preferred Provided Organizations or PPOs:
Lastly, preferred provided organizations or PPOs are considered hybrids of HMO and fee-for-service. It is similar to HMO in that doctors and medical facilities are assigned (usually participant PPOs, also known as in-network providers). In-network providers are preferred because they incur least expense. Just like HMO, you could also visit other doctors or hospitals of your choice provided no in-network provider is available in the area or in the period the need arises.

When comparing individual health insurance plans, start with features that are most needed and important to you. If you prefer to consult with your own choice of doctors, an HMO is not for you. If you are most concerned about costs, HMO could be your best option. If you want greatest flexibility, fee-for-service plans should be selected and bought. Make an informed and wise decision.

To Learn more about such types of health insurance policies visit the website
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Saturday, January 9, 2010

People without Health Insurance Coverage, by event and Ethnicity

After adjusting for age and sex, the percentage of uninsured persons at the moment of interviewed 30.4% Hispanic, 9.9% non-Hispanic white, and 17.0% non-Hispanic black. Hispanic persons were most likely to survive uninsured at the time of interview, followed by non-Hispanic black persons and non-Hispanic white persons.

A person was defined as uninsured if he or she did not include any private health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), state-sponsored or other government-sponsored health plan, or military plan on the time of the interview.

A person was also defined as uninsured if he or she had only Indian Health Service exposure or had only a private plan that paid for one type of service such as accidents or dental care. Estimates are age-sex adjusted using the projected 2000 US population as the normal population and using three age groups: under 18 years, 18–64 years, and 65 years and over.
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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Options of Medicare-approved private plans

Beneficiaries will have a choice of Medicare-approved private plans from which accept their benefit. Plans will be given subsidies from Medicare that will help them keep premiums and cost-sharing low, guard next to higher than expected drug costs, and encourage them to participate across the country. There are also extra subsidies that will be paid to employers to preserve retiree health benefits for millions of seniors.

The legislation provides added coverage for millions of Medicare beneficiaries of limited means and with incomes below 150 percent of poverty. Those beneficiaries with incomes below 135 percent of poverty will pay no monthly quality, no deductible and only $1 to $5 per prescription in cost-sharing. Beneficiaries with incomes between 135 and 150 percent of poverty would pay reduced premiums, a considerably reduced deductible of $50, and cost-sharing of just 15 percent.
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