Good World News

A+ A A-

Article from WebMD:

 

When it comes to healthy hair, it’s not just what you put on your tresses that count -- it’s what you put in your body, too.

 

"Lather, rinse, repeat" may be standard advice, but shampoo and conditioner alone won't give you the healthy hair you crave. For the most luxurious locks possible, you'll need to step out of the shower, and into the kitchen.

"Your hair grows about 1/4 to 1/2 inch every month, and the foundation of all of our new hair, skin, and nail growth is the nutrients we eat," says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, a Chicago-based dietitian. "If you eat a healthy diet, you will grow stronger and healthier cells throughout your entire body -- inside and out."

healthy hair

If you were born with fine, thin hair, you'll never have rope-thick tresses -- no matter what you eat -- but a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of growth-promoting protein and iron can make a difference, say nutritionand hair experts.

And beware of dietary supplements often marketed to thicken hair or make it grow faster. They may backfire.

"Even though you can find beauty supplementson the shelves of most stores, try to get the nutrients you need from foods whenever possible," Paradi Mirmirani, MD, a dermatologist in Vallejo, Calif., tells WebMD. "In rare instances, excess supplementation of certain nutrients, such as vitamin A, has been linked to hair loss."

Healthy Hair Food No. 1: Salmon

When it comes to foods that pack a beauty punch, it's hard to beat salmon. Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, this high-quality protein source is also filled with vitamin B-12 and iron.

"Essential omega-3 fatty acids are needed to support scalp health," says Andrea Giancoli, MPH, RD, a dietitian in Los Angeles and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "A deficiency can result in a dry scalp and thus hair, giving it a dull look."

Vegetarian? Include one or two tablespoons of ground flaxseed in your daily diet for some plant-based omega-3 fats.

Healthy Hair Food No. 2: Dark Green Vegetables

Popeye the Sailor Man didn't eat all that spinach for healthy hair, but he could have. Spinach, like broccoli and Swiss chard, is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, which your body needs to produce sebum. The oily substance, secreted by your hair follicles, is the body's natural hair conditioner.

Dark green vegetables also provide iron and calcium.

Healthy Hair Food No. 3: Beans

Beans, beans, they're good for your ... hair?

Yes, it's true. Legumes like kidney beans and lentils should be an important part of your hair-care diet. Not only do they provide plentiful protein to promote hair growth, but ample iron, zinc, and biotin. While rare, biotin deficiencies can result in brittle hair.

Blatner, who is also a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, recommends three or more cups of lentils or beans each week.

Healthy Hair Food No. 4: Nuts

Do you go nuts for thick, shiny hair? You should.

Brazil nuts are one of nature's best sources of selenium, an important mineral for the health of your scalp.

Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that may help condition your hair. They are also a terrific source of zinc, as are cashews, pecans, and almonds. A zinc deficiency can lead to hair shedding, so make sure nuts are a regular on your healthy hair menu.

 

Healthy Hair Food No. 5: Poultry

Chickens and turkeys may have feathers, but the high-quality protein they provide will help give you the healthy hair you crave.

"Without adequate protein or with low-quality protein, one can experience weak brittle hair, while a profound protein deficiency can result in loss of hair color," Giancoli tells WebMD.

Poultry also provides iron with a high degree of bioavailability, meaning your body can easily reap its benefits.

Healthy Hair Food No. 6: Eggs

When it comes to healthy hair, it doesn't matter whether you like your eggs scrambled, fried, or over easy. However they're served up, eggs are one of the best protein sources you can find.

They also contain biotin and vitamin B-12, which are important beauty nutrients.

Healthy Hair Food No. 7: Whole Grains

Sink your teeth into hearty whole grains, including whole-wheat bread and fortified whole-grain breakfast cereals, for a hair-healthy dose of zinc, iron, and B vitamins.

A whole-grain snack can also be a great go-to food when your energy is zapped halfway through the afternoon, and you've still got hours to go before dinner.

Healthy Hair Food No. 8: Oysters

Oysters may be better known for their reputation as an aphrodisiac, but they can also lead to healthy hair -- and who doesn't love that?

The key to their love and hair-boosting abilities is zinc -- a powerful antioxidant.

If oysters don't make a regular appearance on your dinner plate, don't despair. In addition to getting it from whole grains and nuts, you can also get zinc from beef and lamb.

Healthy Hair Food No. 9: Low-Fat Dairy Products

Low-fat dairy products like skim milk and yogurt are great sources of calcium, an important mineral for hair growth. They also contain whey and casein, two high-quality protein sources.

For some healthy hair foods "to-go," try throwing a yogurt or cottage cheese cup in your bag when you head out in the morning to snack on later in the day. You can even boost their hair benefits by stirring in a couple of tablespoons of ground flaxseeds or walnuts for omega-3 fatty acids and zinc.

Healthy Hair Food No. 10: Carrots

Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, which promotes a healthy scalp along with good vision.

Since a healthy scalp is essential for a shiny, well-conditioned head of hair, you'd be wise to include carrots in your diet as snacks or toppings on your salad.

The Big Picture: A Balanced Diet for Healthy Hair

When it comes to foods for healthy hair and beauty, variety is the best way to go.

"An overall balanced diet of lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fatty fish like salmon and low-fat dairy will help keep hair healthy," Giancoli says.

If you're tempted to drop pounds fast with the latest fad diet, it could leave you with less-than-healthy hair -- along with a growling stomach. Low-calorie dietsare often low in some of the most important nutrients for healthy hair, including omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and vitamin A. In addition to stunting hair growth and leading to dullness, super-low calorie plans may even cause hair loss.

"Crash diets can affect the hair cycle," Mirmirani tells WebMD. "Losing a significant amount of weightin a short amount of time can affect that normal hair rhythm. Two to three months later, you might notice a significant increase in shedding. This is a temporary problem that you recover from with a well-rounded diet."

 

 

 

 

 

Parker, Hilary.  Reviewed by Louis Chang, MD.  "Top 10 foods for healthy hair". WebMD. Web. 

View original good news article at webmd.com:

http://www.webmd.com/healthy-beauty/features/top-10-foods-for-healthy-hair

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more...
The health benefits of sex extend well beyond the bedroom. Turns out sex is good for you in ways you may never have imagined.
 
 
 
 
 
When you're in the mood, it's a sure bet that the last thing on your mind is boosting your immune system or maintaining a healthy weight. Yet good sex offers those health benefits and more.

That's a surprise to many people, says Joy Davidson, PhD, a New York psychologist and sex therapist. "Of course, sex is everywhere in the media," she says. "But the idea that we are vital, sexual creatures is still looked at in some cases with disgust or in other cases a bit of embarrassment. So to really take a look at how our sexuality adds to our life and enhances our life and our health, both physical and psychological, is eye-opening for many people."

Sex does a body good in a number of ways, according to Davidson and other experts. The benefits aren't just anecdotal or hearsay -- each of these 10 health benefits of sex is backed by scientific scrutiny.

Among the benefits of healthy loving in a relationship:

 

 

1. Sex Relieves Stress

A big health benefit of sex is lower blood pressure and overall stress reduction, according to researchers from Scotland who reported their findings in the journalBiological Psychology. They studied 24 women and 22 men who kept records of their sexual activity. Then the researchers subjected them to stressful situations -- such as speaking in public and doing verbal arithmetic -- and noted their blood pressure response to stress.

Those who had intercourse had better responses to stress than those who engaged in other sexual behaviors or abstained.

Another study published in the same journal found that frequent intercourse was associated with lower diastolic blood pressure in cohabiting participants. Yet other research found a link between partner hugs and lower blood pressure in women.

 

 

2. Sex Boosts Immunity

Good sexual health may mean better physical health. Having sex once or twice a week has been linked with higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A or IgA, which can protect you from getting colds and other infections. Scientists at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., took samples of saliva, which contain IgA, from 112 college students who reported the frequency of sex they had.

Those in the "frequent" group -- once or twice a week -- had higher levels of IgA than those in the other three groups -- who reported being abstinent, having sex less than once a week, or having it very often, three or more times weekly.

3. Sex Burns Calories

Thirty minutes of sex burns 85 calories or more. It may not sound like much, but it adds up: 42 half-hour sessions will burn 3,570 calories, more than enough to lose a pound. Doubling up, you could drop that pound in 21 hour-long sessions.

"Sex is a great mode of exercise," says Patti Britton, PhD, a Los Angeles sexologist and president of the American Association of Sexuality Educators and Therapists. It takes work, from both a physical and psychological perspective, to do it well, she says.

4. Sex Improves Heart Health

While some older folks may worry that the efforts expended during sex could cause a stroke, that's not so, according to researchers from England. In a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, scientists found frequency of sex was not associated with stroke in the 914 men they followed for 20 years.

And the heart health benefits of sex don't end there. The researchers also found that having sex twice or more a week reduced the risk of fatal heart attack by half for the men, compared with those who had sex less than once a month.

5. Sex Boosts Self-Esteem

Boosting self-esteem was one of 237 reasons people have sex, collected by University of Texas researchers and published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.

That finding makes sense to Gina Ogden, PhD, a sex therapist and marriage and family therapist in Cambridge, Mass., although she finds that those who already have self-esteem say they sometimes have sex to feel even better. "One of the reasons people say they have sex is to feel good about themselves," she tells WebMD. "Great sex begins with self-esteem, and it raises it. If the sex is loving, connected, and what you want, it raises it."

 

6. Sex Improves Intimacy

Having sex and orgasms increases levels of the hormone oxytocin, the so-called love hormone, which helps us bond and build trust. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of North Carolina evaluated 59 premenopausal women before and after warm contact with their husbands and partners ending with hugs. They found that the more contact, the higher the oxytocin levels.

"Oxytocin allows us to feel the urge to nurture and to bond," Britton says.

Higher oxytocin has also been linked with a feeling of generosity. So if you're feeling suddenly more generous toward your partner than usual, credit the love hormone.

7. Sex Reduces Pain

As the hormone oxytocin surges, endorphins increase, and pain declines. So if your headache, arthritis pain, or PMS symptoms seem to improve after sex, you can thank those higher oxytocin levels.

In a study published in the Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine, 48 volunteers who inhaled oxytocin vapor and then had their fingers pricked lowered their pain threshold by more than half.

 

8. Sex Reduces Prostate Cancer Risk

Frequent ejaculations, especially in 20-something men, may reduce the risk of prostate cancer later in life, Australian researchers reported in the British Journal of Urology International. When they followed men diagnosed with prostate cancer and those without, they found no association of prostate cancer with the number of sexual partners as the men reached their 30s, 40s, and 50s.

But they found men who had five or more ejaculations weekly while in their 20s reduced their risk of getting prostate cancer later by a third.

Another study, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that frequent ejaculations, 21 or more a month, were linked to lower prostate cancer risk in older men, as well, compared with less frequent ejaculations of four to seven monthly.

9. Sex Strengthens Pelvic Floor Muscles

For women, doing a few pelvic floor muscle exercises known as Kegels during sex offers a couple of benefits. You will enjoy more pleasure, and you'll also strengthen the area and help to minimize the risk of incontinence later in life.

To do a basic Kegel exercise, tighten the muscles of your pelvic floor, as if you're trying to stop the flow of urine. Count to three, then release.

10. Sex Helps You Sleep Better

The oxytocin released during orgasm also promotes sleep, according to research.

And getting enough sleep has been linked with a host of other good things, such as maintaining a healthy weight and blood pressure. Something to think about, especially if you've been wondering why your guy can be active one minute and snoring the next.

By 
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Marina Katz, MD

 

 

Doheny, Kathleen.  "10 Surprising Health Benefits of Sex". WebMD. Web. 

View original good news article at webmd.com:

http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/features/10-surprising-health-benefits-of-sex

Read more...
Experts say dozens of easy-to-find 'superfoods' can help ward off heart disease, cancer, cholesterol, and more.
Imagine a superfood -- not a drug -- powerful enough to help you lower your cholesterol, reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, and, for an added bonus, put you in a better mood. Did we mention that there are no side effects? You'd surely stock up on a lifetime supply. Guess what? These life-altering superfoods are available right now in your local supermarket.

"The effect that diet can have on how you feel today and in the future is astounding," says nutritionist Elizabeth Somer, author of Nutrition for a Healthy PregnancyFood & Mood, and The Essential Guide to Vitamins and Minerals.

"Even people who are healthy can make a few tweaks and the impact will be amazing," Somer says. "I'd say that 50% to 70% of suffering could be eliminated by what people eat and how they move: heart disease, diabetes, cancer,hypertension can all be impacted."

You don't need specific foods for specific ailments. A healthy diet incorporating a variety of the following superfoods will help you maintain your weight, fight disease, and live longer. One thing they all have in common: "Every superfood is going to be a 'real' (unprocessed) food," Somer points out. "You don't find fortified potato chips in the superfood category."

 

Top Superfoods Offering Super Health Protection

 

  • Beans
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Oats
  • Oranges
  • Pumpkin
  • Salmon
  • Soy
  • Spinach
  • Tea (green or black)
  • Tomatoes
  • Turkey
  • Walnuts
  • Yogurt

Blueberries -- Antioxidant Superfood

Packed with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids, these berries are also high in potassium and vitamin C, making them the top choice of doctors and nutritionists. Not only can they lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, they are also anti-inflammatory.

"Inflammation is a key driver of all chronic diseases, so blueberries have a host of benefits," says Ann Kulze, MD, of Charleston, S.C., author of Dr. Ann's 10-Step Diet, A Simple Plan for Permanent Weight Loss & Lifelong Vitality. When selecting berries, note that the darker they are, the more anti-oxidants they have. "I tell everyone to have a serving (about 1/2 cup) every day," Dr. Kulze says. "Frozen are just as good as fresh." Be sure to include lots of other fruits and vegetables in your diet as well. Remember too that, in general, the more color they have, the more antioxidants.

Omega 3-Rich Fish -- Superfoods for the Heart, Joints, and Memory

"We know that the omega 3s you get in fish lower heart disease risk, help arthritis, and may possibly help with memory loss and Alzheimer's," Somer says. "There is some evidence to show that it reduces depression as well."

Omega-3s are most prevalent in fatty, cold-water fish: Look for wild (not farmed) salmon, herring, sardines, and mackerel. Aim for two-to-three servings a week. Other forms of omega 3s are available in fortified eggs, flax seed, and walnuts. These superfoods have the added benefit of being high in monounsaturated fats, which can lower cholesterol.

Soy -- Superfood to Lower Cholesterol

A study reported in The Journal of the American Medical Association (2003) showed that a diet of soy fiber, protein from oats and barley, almonds, and margarine from plant sterols lowered cholesterol as much as statins, the most widely prescribed cholesterol medicine. "Look for tofu, soy milk, or edamame -- not soy powder," says Somer. In other words, soy sauce won't do the trick. One caveat: If you have a family history of breast cancer it is not recommended that you eat extra soy.

Fiber -- Superfood Aids Weight Loss and Checks Cholesterol

A diet high in fiber will help you maintain healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels. As a bonus, because fiber helps you feel full longer, it's a great tool in weight management. Whole grains, beans, fruit, and vegetables are all good sources. Try throwing some beans in your salad, recommends Kulze. "Fresh, frozen, or dried are the best. You can use canned, but they tend to be higher in sodium," Kulze warns.

Tea -- Superfood for Lowering Cholesterol and Inhibiting Cancer

"The overall antioxidant power of black tea is the same as green tea," says Kulze, "but green tea does have ECGC, a powerful antioxidant that we really do think is quite special." A recent Japanese study on green tea found that men who drank green tea regularly had lower cholesterol than those who didn't. Researchers in Spain and the United Kingdom have also shown that ECGC can inhibit the growth of cancer cells. For a double health whammy, replace sugary sodas with tea.

Calcium

OK, OK, you know the drill: Calcium helps build strong bones and prevents osteoporosis. Look for it in dairy products or supplements. Added bonus: Some studies show that calcium helps with weight loss. Here are the calcium levels recommended for adults by the USDA:

  • Age 9 to 18 -- 1,300 mg
  • Age 19 to 50 -- 1,000 mg
  • Age 51 and over -- 1,200 mg

And Finally, the Yummiest Superfood Yet ... Dark Chocolate

New research has shown that dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants and can lower blood pressure. Kulze recommends that you look for chocolate with 60% or higher cocoa content; the darker, the better. In addition, the darker it is, the lower the fat and sugar content. Now that's our kind of health food!

 

By Susan Seliger
WebMD Feature

Seliger, Susan. "'Superfoods' Everyone Needs". WebMD. February 2007. Web. 

View original article at webmd.com:

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/superfoods-everyone-needs

Read more...
Good World News © 2013