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What’s Happening in Health
Amazing-Solutions
Shop Contact Us JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2010
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Resolve to make 2010 a year of positive change. But not by depriving yourself of what you love. Getting healthy and feeling more attractive should be FUN. Read on and learn how it can be.

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This month’s articles:
Top 5 Most Fun New Year's Resolutions
It’s true: vacations, chocolate, sex, massage and good books are all scientifically linked to better health. Read more
Baby Carrots, Unfairly Maligned
Have you heard rumors that these munchies are bad for you? Not true! Read more
Why Men Never Eat as Many Cookies as Women
It’s not because of stronger willpower; instead, it’s all in the brain. Read more
Give Your Skin a New Best Friend: Milk
Try this inexpensive antidote to fine lines, wrinkles and puffiness. Read more
Hibiscus Tea Lowers High Blood Pressure
And it works best for those who need help most. Read more

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2010ís Most-Fun (& Healthy) New Yearís Resolutions
Why not get healthier and feel more attractive with New Year’s Resolutions you can enjoy? For example, solid scientific research data suggests the following…
Take More Vacations. Americans take fewer vacations than citizens of any other industrialized nation. Medical research warns against such Puritanism. Studies indicate that even short getaways can lower your blood pressure, heart rate and epinephrine (stress hormone) levels.  A recent collaboration between New York and Pennsylvania investigators finds that men who take regular vacations are 21 percent less likely to die of any cause, and 32 percent less likely to die of a heart attack. Unrelated research finds that women who take two annual vacations are eight times less likely to suffer from heart disease and only half as prone to depression.
Read More Books.  Researchers have known for years that a good brain workout, done regularly, reduces your risk of dementia. More recently, investigators found that good readers enjoy relatively better overall health. Now scientists suspect that reading actually helps the brain develop “cognitive reserves” which improve and protect neurologic function. Yale University researchers think that reading is healthy because it forces various parts of the brain to connect in a specific way that enhances cognitive ability. The best brain workout, they say, demands a lot from the reader, coaxing the mind to make subtle inferences. Still, experts agree that even gossip tabloids are better for you than television. Just processing the words boosts brain health.
Eat More (Dark) Chocolate.  Dark chocolate (at least 65% cocoa content) is a powerful antioxidant, protecting the body from heart disease. Research shows that it can lower your blood pressure and contribute to better cardiac function. By stimulating endorphin production, it promotes an overall sense of well-being and its serotonin works (at least temporarily) as a natural anti-depressant. Sadly, chocolate is a high-calorie, high-fat food. So eat just 1.5 ounces, a few times weekly, and compensate by consuming 200 fewer calories (and 8 grams less fat) from other foods that day. Finally, don’t mix dark chocolate with milk because it will disrupt your body’s ability to absorb the cocoa’s antioxidants.
Have More Sex. No joke: sex is good for your health. Several studies show that it lowers blood pressure. Others indicate that the oxytocin hormone that surges through the bloodstream before and during orgasm regenerates cells and accelerates healing. Orgasm has also been shown to provide powerful pain relief, increasing pain tolerance by 75 percent. For women, semen absorbed by vaginal tissue has been found to act as a natural antidepressant. Meanwhile, the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that more frequent ejaculation correlates to decreased risk of prostate cancer. Admittedly, research has not yet concluded that sex makes you healthier. But scientists do know that healthier people engage in more sexual activity. 
Have a Massage More Often. Investigators say that by boosting your immune system, massage helps ward off colds and flues. Also, according to the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, massage has been found to ease migraine and fibromyalgia pain, with benefits lasting up to a year after treatment.  A small clinical trial finds that massage can reduce water retention, pain and mood swings in women with severe PMS.  And several studies show that massage diminishes the body’s cortisol (stress hormone) while boosting serotonin and dopamine (feel-good hormones).
What’s the bottom line? Done properly, massage feels great and is good for you. Done incorrectly, it can certainly prove harmful. So before you get started, learn which techniques would be best for you at http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20307001_1,00.html

 

Baby Carrots Get a Bum Wrap
These healthy snacks, packed in convenient plastic bags, are sometimes accused of having unhealthy white spots because they’re washed in chlorine. Unfair! That “white blush,” explains Environmental Nutrition newsletter, happens because these munch-size edibles aren’t really “babies” at all. They’re just cut out of full-size carrots that are too knobby or twisted to be visually appealing. After cutting, they’re washed with a dilute solution of chlorine to kill bacteria, just like all ready-to-eat vegetables (including bagged salad). The white discoloration is due to abrasion and loss of moisture from the cutting and peeling. It doesn’t affect taste or signal spoilage. Amazing-Health Tip: You can temporarily remove the blush by soaking carrots in cool water for 10 minutes.

 

Men Are Better at Curbing Cravings

Is eating a gender-based issue? Based on their study of brain response to food craving, researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory suspect that men actually may be less neurologically compelled to eat. In a recent study, the team asked women and men to name their favorite foods—burgers, chocolate cake, cinnamon rolls or pizza—and then asked them to fast overnight. The next day they underwent brain scans while being presented with their personal food favorite.  Both men and women claimed that a cognitive-inhibition technique they’d been taught decreased their hunger; but only the men’s brains actually showed a decrease in hunger signals. Women said they were less hungry, but their brains showed strong activity in all regions that control the drive to eat.  Amazing-Health Tip: Grapefruit and peppermint are great appetite suppressants. Chew them. Drink them. Or use their essential oils as aromatherapy in Suppress.

 

Home Remedy for Fine Lines & Wrinkles
Achieve the look of younger, smoother skin simply by reaching for the milk carton in your refrigerator. First of all, the lactic acid in milk acts as a natural exfoliant, gently sloughing off dead surface cells. Vitamins A and D provide skin with vital nutrients. Milk also reduces the appearance of red splotches, puffiness, fine lines and wrinkles. Morning and night, apply milk to your face and neck with cotton balls. Reapply 2-3 times, letting it dry between applications. Then rinse with warm water. Also: if you add cosmetic-grade almond oil to hot milk and let it cool, you’ll create a wonderful (and lightly fragrant) facial & neck moisturizer.   Amazing-Health Tip: Itís best to use full-fat milk because fat is one of the milkís nourishing properties.

 

Hibiscus Tea Lowers High Blood Pressure

Results from a study at Tufts University point to this fruity-flavored, caffeine-free tea as a potentially all-natural way to lower high blood pressure.  A group of 65 participants with mild high blood pressure were enrolled in the study. Half drank three cups of hibiscus tea daily for six weeks; the other half received a placebo beverage containing artificial hibiscus flavoring and color. All were told to follow their usual diet and physical activities, and their blood pressure was measured weekly. Those who drank real hibiscus tea averaged a 7-point drop in systolic blood pressure (seven times the decrease observed in the placebo group). And those with the highest initial reading showed the most significant reductions: an average drop of 13 points.  Amazing-Health Tip: Tea that goes into teabags is generally not as high quality as loose leaves. So look for bulk hibiscus tea, available in most health food stores and online.  

 

 

 

The Recipe Box
Baked Apple


Baked Apples

■ 4 large baking apples
■ ½ c. brown sugar
■ 1 tsp cinnamon
■ ½ c. chopped dried fruit*

■ 1 tbsp firm butter

■ ¾ c. boiling water

  1. Wash apples, core and place in baking pan.  (Make holes 1 inch wide.  Cut down close to bottom.)
  2. Combine sugar, cinnamon & dried fruit.  Fill each apple & top with butter.
  3. Add boiling water to pan.  Bake at 375° for 30-40 minutes, until tender but not mushy.
  4. Remove from oven and baste apples several times with pan juices.
  5. Serve warm.

* Any combination of dried coconut, apricots, cherries, mango, pineapple or raisins.

 

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