How to Measure Your Own Health

Most people dread going to the doctor and undergoing a physical check up. Most times, people prolong their agonies and only visit the doctor’s clinic when the symptoms worsen. However, when it comes to our health, one must be his own advocate. It is important to pay attention to small warning signs that may indicate a bigger underlying health problem. And in any kind of illness, early intervention is important to a full recovery.

Here are a few warning signs that might indicate that you may need a thorough medical check up with your physician.

how to measure your own health

  • A warning sign of an underlying health problem is unintentional weight loss (AAFP). In the worse case scenario, unintentional weight loss may be an indication of onset of cancer (patient.co.uk), thus it is very important to pay attention to it, especially if one has lost more than 10 pounds in the last six months.
  • On the other hand, unexplained weight gain may also be a warning sign of a health problem (naturalnews.com / 3fatchicks.com).
  • Another warning sign is experiencing frequent abdominal pain or the feeling of being bloated or becoming full very quickly. It is important to take note of the frequency, location of the pain as well as the severity of the pain (mayoclinic.com)
  • Some people may have sudden craving for ice cubes or only wish to drink fluids and water, and often loses appetite. Additionally, if a person experiences change in his sense of taste, this might be an indication of a serious illness and the person should seek immediate medical attention (NY Times)
  • Additionally, if the person has unexplained bruises all over his body, this might also be a warning sign of illness such as leukaemia (wisegeek.com).
  • Another warning sign is the feeling of always being tired or feeling faint. He may also feel low in energy, loss of motivation and inability to focus. If a person experiences frequent headaches even after waking up in the morning, this might be a warning sign of a serious health condition (nhs.uk).
  • If a person misses bowel movement, this might indicate a problem with his digestive system. Regular bowel movements should be daily (lef.org) .
  • There are also other factors that might increase the susceptibility of a person to illnesses. If a person is a smoker or living with a smoker, this may increase the chance for him to develop lung cancer (hivehealthmedia.com)
  • If a person lives a sedentary lifestyle and exercises less than ninety minutes a week, this also increases his risk to illnesses such as hypertension and heart problems (healthhabits.ca / jarretmorrow.com)

These are just basic warning signs but can be a good gauge of a person’s health. One must pay attention to small warning signs so that further tests and diagnostics can be done in order to identify health conditions every before they worsen. Dismissing these small symptoms can prove to be very costly once the illness has become too severe which may later on cost one’s life. Furthermore, it is important to have regular check ups with your physician to prevent such illnesses.

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Compendium of Diet Hacks

Weight Loss Tips:

Weight Loss Supplements

Fat Burning Tips:

Holiday Weight Tips

Exercise For Weight Loss

10 Natural remedies for the common cold

If you’ve missed it, it’s now cold & flu season.  For most of us, this is just a general nuisance, but for others with weakened immune function, it can be more serious.

The common cold is causes by over 100 different viruses, but most often is caused by a rhinovirus.  Common symptoms of the cold include a low-grade fever, cough, sore throat, sneezing, runny nose, and headache.

Basic tips to beat the common cold:

If you’re looking to beat the common cold, you should always remember to wash your hands regularly.  It’s also important to limit your stress levels since they can affect your immune system.  Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Also, get regular sleep.

If it’s too late and you’re already sick, what can you do?

Here’s a list of cold and flu remedies that you should check out.

From this list of natural cold remedies, we can see that both Siberian as well as American Ginseng can be potentially helpful according to recent studies at reducing the duration of the common cold.

What’s more is that Andrographis Paniculata may also be effective–particularly at reducing some of the symptoms such as runny nose and nasal congestion associated with the common cold.

Even simple remedies such as drinking hot beverages or even chicken noodle soup have been shown to provide some temporary relief from cold symptoms.

Vitamin C and D may also play an important role in reducing the duration of colds.

For more information about cold weather and respiratory illness, follow the link.

Vitamin D Recommendations

Recently, the Institute of Medicine has released new recommended nutrient intake guidelines for vitamin D.  To some, the new recommendations represent only a modest increase over previous guidelines.

Already the new guidelines have met with some controversy and criticism as well.

Here’s a summary of the new Vitamin D Recommendations:

  • Most people (1 – 70 years old):  600 IU per day
  • Elderly (>70 years old):  800 IU per day

Here’s the complete infographic for Vitamin D and Calcium intake recommendations:

*** Click to enlarge

Tips to enhance your cognitive abilities?

With the aging population in the world in which we live, many of us are looking for ways to maintain or enhance our cognitive abilities.  Many of us are already aware that Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia.  For some of us, we’re already at an increased risk or susceptibility through genetics, but let’s take a look at some things we can do to preserve our cognitive function.

Improve cognition:

  1. Vitamin D Supplementation – Though it’s not well-established yet how important supplementation with vitamin D is yet compared to natural sources such as diet and sunlight, Vitamin D levels and cognition has already been an established connection.
  2. Beta Carotene – Long-term supplementation with Beta Carotene may play a role in preventing age-ass0ciated memory loss.  Studies have looked at doses of 50 mg of beta carotene taken on alternate days.
  3. Abdominal obesity – A recent study demonstrated that abdominal obesity is associated with smaller brain volumes.  If you’re concerned about cognitive decline as you age, it’s important to maintain  a healthy body mass index to limit the effects of abdominal obesity on your brain health.
  4. Marijuana – Though a controversial topic in itself, marijuana use particularly in those under the age of 15 may affect how your brain develops.  In this case, the solution is simple by avoiding the use of marijuana, particularly at a young age, you can avert potential problems associated with its use on your brain.
  5. Physical activity – The importance of physical activity on cognitive function has been highlighted also in studies involving adolescents.  Exercise is associated with the release of brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF.
  6. Cardiopulmonary fitness – Not only is physical activity an important aspect of cognition in adolescents, but its importance is also present in those with cardiovascular disease.  Research suggests that cardiopulmonary fitness preserves cognitive function in those with cardiovascular disease.
  7. Resistance training – Other research suggests that it’s not just cardiovascular fitness that is important to preserve your cognitive function.  In a recent study involving elderly women, resistance training was found to result in cognitive improvements in elderly populations.
  8. Head circumference – Oddly enough, research continues to show that the size of your brain determines your susceptibility to dementia.   Having a larger head is considered a protective factor against dementia.
  9. Fish Oil – The importance of fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids is also present in maintain or preserving cognitive function.  Fish oil may help prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
  10. Creatine – That’s right.  Though mostly thought of for its role in enhancing athletic performance, creatine can also play a role in memory.  For those who’re vegetarians, their diet is often lower in creatine since it is mostly found in meat products.  Creatine supplementation improves memory for vegetarians according to recent studies.

Dietary Supplements to increase strength and muscle mass?

If you spent hours every week in the gym lifting weights, you’d probably like to be able to cut your body fat and increase your lean muscle mass.  Starting with a healthy diet and adequate daily protein intake, you may find that you eventually hit that inevitable ‘plateau.’  For some people, they can get over that plateau for packing on muscle either by favorable genetics or by modifying their workout routine.

For others, they turn to supplementation with products designed to help you pack on muscle and increase your strength.  Unfortunately, it’s difficult to decifer fact from fiction when it comes to bodybuilding supplements which are heavily promoted by marketing.

If you’re looking for supplements that have been well-researched, follow this link to find out which supplements help increase muscle mass and strength.

Here’s a peak at the list:

  • creatine monohydrate
  • whey protein
  • branched-chain amino acids
  • betaine
  • leucine
  • HMB

Also, while you’re at it, don’t miss these great protein shake recipes!

The Ryan Reynolds Workout plan?

It’s no secret that Ryan Reynolds has one of the top physiques among the Hollywood “A list” of actors.  If you’re trying to find out how you can go from skinny to muscular / ripped like Ryan Reynolds, here’s some great tips:

Ryan Reynolds Workout

So, I re-invented the Deadpool workout and spent the summer beta testing it on some willing victims up here in Toronto.

And, if I say so myself, I have come up with a seriously kick-ass training program.

Over 3 months, my 4 scrawny test subjects:

  • Gained between 5 and 14 lbs of muscle
  • Increased their max strength between 55 & 197% (Front Squat)
  • Saw their speed, power & anaerobic endurance go through the roof (Hill Sprints)
  • And, oh yeah, they also lost a ton of baby-fat in the process.
  • The average body-fat percentage at the beginning of the test was 21%.
  • At the end of the 3 months, the average body-fat was down to 9% (a Bod-Pod was used to measure BF%)

Healthy Lunch Ideas

For many of us, we don’t plan our meals ahead of time.  The common and inevitable end result is that we eat whatever we feel like when ever it suits us.  Obviously, this diet approach will only lead to one probably outcome:  obesity.

If you’re looking to shed some pounds or just lose that muffin top, one of the best things you can do is to plan your meals ahead of time.

Though it may take a little more time to plan your meals in advance, once completed, you’ll be on your way to eating a healthier diet.

Healthy Lunch Ideas for Work:

  1. Soup and sandwich
  2. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich PB&J
  3. Leftovers
  4. Frozen meals such as Lean Cuisine
  5. Salad – easy on the dressing
  6. Freeze-dried food

Benefits of the Gluten-Free Diet

One of the more popular diets over the past few years has been the Gluten-Free Diet.  For those with Celiac Disease, the gluten-free diet is a medical necessity, yet others are choosing to go gluten-free to benefit from the health advantages.

Gluten hasn’t historically been a normal component of our diet from an evolutionary perspective.  Some people suggest that they suffer from a whole host of health complaints that are related to consuming gluten.  In turn, they often choose to eliminate gluten from their diet.

If you’re thinking of going gluten-free yourself, here are some of the possible health benefits of the gluten-free diet.

Potential health benefits of the gluten-free diet:

  1. Improve digestion
  2. Improve energy levels
  3. Improve your skin (for those with hyperkeratosis pilaris)
  4. Lower your cholesterol levels

10 Healthy Living Tips

Here’s a collection of healthy living tips that our readers may find helpful.  If you’re looking to get fit, lose weight, and eat a healthy diet, these tips should give you a head start.

1.  Healthy Lunch Ideas –  While many of us don’t have much time to eat lunch at work, it’s best to plan ahead to eat healthy rather than trying to find something that’s healthier to eat on the fly.  This post has six healthy lunch ideas to get you started planning for a low calorie lunch.

2. Gluten Free Diet – Though this diet is a medical requirement for those with Celiac Disease, it’s becoming more popular among the general population.  Find out if we were meant to consume gluten from an evolutionary diet perspective.

3. Do Carbs Cause Atherosclerosis? Carbs or carbohydrates are necessary in our diet to provide needed energy particularly for the brain and heart.  However, many of us consume more carbs than we actually need.  Does this excessive consumption lead to heart disease?

4. Jillian Michaels under attack? Jillian Michaels is a source of inspiration for many who’re trying to lose weight.  She’s known as a celebrity fitness instructor from her role on the television show, The Biggest Loser.  Is Jillian providing sound advice for her clients?

5. World Obesity Statistics 2010 –  Obesity incidence continues to rise in what many refer to as the obesity epidemic.  Find out which countries have the biggest problem with obesity.

6. Primal Recipes – The paleo or paleolithic diet is another popular diet which focuses on eating from an evolutionary perspective.  Modern man did not evolve eating the foods that he consumes today.  Find out how you can cook with paleo.

7. Power Poses – New emerging research suggests that how you site or maintain your posture and body language can actually have physiological effects.  In particular, certain poses can actually help to elevate your testosterone levels.

8. Jackie Warner – Jackie’s another celebrity fitness trainer who’s recently launched a new online weight loss program.  It includes personal contact with a certified personal trainer who provides diet and exercise tips.

9. Erectile Dysfunction in Young Men – Commonly referred to by the euphemism, ED, it’s no laughing matter apparently even in younger males.  Find out why you may have problems when the moment is right…

10. Water and Weight Loss – People often wonder if drinking water really can help you to shed pounds and lose weight.  Find out the latest research on water and weight loss.