Monday, 26 June 2017

What People Who Live to 100 Have in Common

A growing number of Americans are living to age 100. Nationwide, the centenarian population has grown 65.8 percent over the past three decades, from 32,194 people who were age 100 or older in 1980 to 53,364 centenarians in 2010, according to new Census Bureau data. In contrast, the total population has increased 36.3 percent over the same time period.
Centenarians in the United States are considerably different from the overall population. Here's a look at some of the characteristics of people who live to age 100:

Female Gender

It is overwhelmingly women who live to age 100. In 2010, 82.8 percent of centenarians were female. For every 100 females age 100 or older, there are only 20.7 males the same age. Females also make up 61.9 percent of those in their 80s and 72.2 percent of people in their 90s. "We know that women are more social than men. Other studies have found that staying socially connected predicts greater life expectancy," says Gary Small, a professor on aging and director of the UCLA Longevity Center in Los Angeles, who is not affiliated with the Census Bureau report. "If you are social, it may reduce stress levels because you can talk about your feelings and things that stress you out and it seems to help many people. If you need a ride to the doctor or you fall, they can take you to the hospital or help you find the best doctor."

Less Diversity

Centenarians are considerably less diverse than the overall U.S. population. In 2010, some 82.5 percent of centenarians were white, versus 72.4 percent of the total population. Black or African Americans were unique in that their proportion of the centenarian population (12.2 percent) is about the same as their percentage of the total population (12.6 percent). Asians made up 2.5 percent of the centenarian population, while they make up 4.8 percent of the total population. And Hispanics represent 5.8 percent of centenarians, but 16.3 percent of the population.

Living with Others

Just over a third of both female and male centenarians lived alone in their own home in 2010, but the majority of the oldest citizens live with others. "As people get older, things in life happen—like you might become a widow or you might have a disability, and because of those circumstances, living arrangements often change," says Amy Symens Smith, chief of the age and special populations branch at the Census Bureau. Centenarian females (35.2 percent) were more likely to live in a nursing home than males the same age (18.2 percent). Centenarian males are the most likely to be living with others in a household (43.5 percent), compared to just 28.5 percent of centenarian females.

City Living

A large majority of the oldest U.S. citizens live in urban areas. "As age increases, the percentage living in urban areas also increases," says Smith. Some 85.7 percent of centenarians lived in urban areas in 2010, compared with 84.2 percent of those in their 90s, 81.5 percent of those in their 80s, and 76.6 percent of those in their 70s. "Living in the city, you have a lot more mental stimulation and the symphony and better doctors and hospitals and more social networking," says Small. "There are more resources, and there is better transportation."

Located in the Northeast or Midwest

States with the largest populations generally have the most centenarians. California has the largest number of centenarians (5,921), followed by New York (4,605), Florida (4,090), and Texas (2,917). Alaska has the fewest residents age 100 and older (40). Wyoming (72), Vermont (133), and Delaware (146) are also among the states with the fewest centenarians.
The Northeast and Midwest have proportions of centenarians that are higher than the national average of 1.73 per 10,000 people, while the West and South have below-average proportions of centenarians. "There's a lot of stuff going on in local areas, including access to medical care, diet, exercise, the culture, risk-taking, and more smoking," says Linda Waite, a sociology professor and director of the Center on Aging at the University of Chicago. "People in the Northeast tend to be more highly educated, and education is associated with a longer life expectancy." North Dakota is the only state with more than 3 centenarians for every 10,000 people in the state. Other states where centenarians make up a relatively large portion of the population include South Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska. Three western states have less than one centenarian for every 10,000 people: Alaska, Utah, and Nevada.
The proportion of centenarians in the United States is smaller than that of many other developed countries. For example, for every 10,000 people, there are 1.92 centenarians in Sweden, 1.95 in the United Kingdom, and 2.70 in France. And Japan has 3.43 centenarians per 10,000 people, beating even our longest-lived state, North Dakota.

Trees Linked to Human Health

A recent study conducted by researchers associated the presence of trees with human health. For Geoffrey Donovan, a research forester at the Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station, and his colleagues, the loss of 100 million trees in the eastern and Midwestern United States was an unprecedented opportunity to study the impact of a major change in the natural environment on human health.

In an analysis of 18 years of data from 1,296 counties in 15 states, researchers found that Americans living in areas infested by the emerald ash borer, a beetle that kills ash trees, suffered from an additional 15,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease and 6,000 more deaths from lower respiratory disease when compared to uninfected areas.

When emerald ash borer comes into a community, city streets lined with ash trees become treeless.

The researchers analyzed demographic, human mortality, and forest health data at the county level between 1990 and 2007. The data came from counties in states with at least one confirmed case of the emerald ash borer in 2010.

The findings hold true after accounting for the influence of demographic differences, like income, race, and education.

"There's a natural tendency to see our findings and conclude that, surely, the higher mortality rates are because of some confounding variable, like income or education, and not the loss of trees," Donovan said.

"But we saw the same pattern repeated over and over in counties with very different demographic makeups," he said.

Although the study shows the association between loss of trees and human mortality from cardiovascular and lower respiratory disease, it did not prove a causal link. The reason for the association is yet to be determined.

The emerald ash borer was first discovered near Detroit, Michigan, in 2002. The borer attacks all 22 species of North American ash and kills virtually all of the trees it infests.

The study has been published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

11 Anti-Aging Drinks

Aging is inevitable. Sadly. And there are many variables involved in how long you live. But you can also add years to your life by making smarter food choices. Keep your mind razor-sharp and body finely honed with these 11 anti-aging drinks.

1. Pink Grapefruit Juice for Smoother Skin 
Pink grapefruit gets its pink-red hue from lycopene, a carotenoid that'll keep your skin smooth according to a study published in the European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics. Researchers found that of the 20 individuals studied, those who had higher skin concentrations of lycopene had smoother skin. 

2. Alcohol to Ward Off Alzheimer's Disease 
Drinking alcohol--moderately, which is one glass a day for women and two daily for men--may ward off dementia and Alzheimer's disease. As we age, brain cells die, leading to gaps that slow nerve transmission within the brain and between the brain and the rest of the body. Moderate drinking appears to somehow prevent these "potholes." (Scientists aren't sure why.) In high doses, however, alcohol kills brain cells, leading to brain damage that may manifest itself as permanent memory loss. 


3. Cocoa for a Healthier Heart 
The Kuna people of the San Blas islands, off the coast of Panama, have a rate of heart disease that is nine times less than that of mainland Panamanians. The reason? The Kuna drink plenty of a beverage made with generous proportions of cocoa, which is unusually rich in flavanols that help preserve the healthy function of blood vessels. Maintaining youthful blood vessels lowers risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and dementia.

4. Beet Juice to Beat Dementia 
Beets are rich in naturally occurring nitrates, which--unlike unhealthy artificial nitrates found in processed meat--may be beneficial. In a 2011 study in the journal Nitric Oxide, older adults who ate a nitrate-rich diet got a boost in blood flow to the frontal lobe of their brains--an area commonly associated with dementia. Poor blood flow contributes to age-related cognitive decline. Scientists think that the nitrates' nitric oxide, a compound that keeps blood vessels supple, helps increase brain blood flow. Cabbages and radishes also naturally contain nitrates.

5. Green Tea to Quell Inflammation 
Even if coffee is your beverage of choice, don't bag tea altogether--especially green tea. Green tea is full of potent antioxidants that help quell inflammation. (Chronic inflammation plays a significant role--as either a cause or effect--in many diseases, including type 2 diabetes, autoimmune diseases and the three top killers in the United States: heart disease, cancer and stroke.) In fact, researchers from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock recently found that green tea can inhibit oxidative stress and the potential inflammation that may result from it. "After 24 weeks, people who consumed 500 mg of green tea polyphenols daily--that's about 4 to 6 cups of tea--halved their oxidative stress levels," says Leslie Shen, Ph.D., the study's lead author. (The placebo group didn't see a single change.)

6. Soymilk for Firm Skin and Fewer Wrinkles 
The isoflavones in soymilk may help to preserve skin-firming collagen. In a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, mice fed isoflavones and exposed to UV radiation had fewer wrinkles and smoother skin than mice that were exposed to UV light but didn't get isoflavones. The researchers think that isoflavones help prevent collagen breakdown.

7. Milk to Build Muscle Mass and Strength 
Studies show that we lose 1/2 to 1 percent of our lean muscle mass each year, starting as early as our thirties. Muscle strength also declines by 12 to 15 percent per decade. The amino acids in protein are the building blocks of muscle--and one amino acid, called leucine, is particularly good at turning on your body's muscle-building machinery. Once that muscle-building switch is flipped--you need to do this at each meal--you're better able to take in the amino acids (of any type) from protein in your diet. Milk contains whey protein, which is an excellent source of leucine. Other dairy products, such as Greek yogurt, as well as lean meat, fish and soy, such as edamame and tofu, are also rich in this amino acid.

8. Carrot Juice for Memory 
Carrots contain luteolin, a flavonoid believed to reduce inflammation that can lead to cognitive decline. In a 2010 The Journal of Nutrition study, mice that ate a diet that included luteolin had better spatial memory (e.g., how quickly they found a platform in a water maze) and less inflammation than mice that didn't get any luteolin. Luteolin is found in bell peppers, celery, rosemary and thyme.

9. Coffee to Protect Against Skin Cancer 
Drinking a single cup of coffee daily may lower your risk of developing skin cancer. In one study of more than 93,000 women, published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, those who drank 1 cup of caffeinated coffee a day reduced their risk of developing nonmelanoma skin cancer by about 10 percent. And the more they drank--up to about 6 cups or so per day--the lower their risk. Decaf didn't seem to offer the same protection. 


10. Water for Better Breath 
Water keeps your throat and lips moist and prevents your mouth from feeling dry. Dry mouth can cause bad breath and/or an unpleasant taste--and can even promote cavities. 


11. Orange Juice for Eye Health 
Studies show that people with low levels of antioxidants are more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD) than those with higher levels. (AMD is the leading cause of blindness in people over age 60.) Vitamin C--which is abundant in orange juice--is one antioxidant that seems to be especially protective against the disease. (Other antioxidants include vitamin E, lutein and zeaxanthin.) While it's not completely clear how antioxidants protect your eyes, it seems that they accumulate in the retina where they can mop up free radicals, compounds that damage cells by starving them of oxygen.

Sugar heals wounds faster than antibiotics

Pouring granulated sugar on wounds can help in healing faster than antibiotics, a new study has found.

New research shows folk medicine from Africa may hold the key to treating wounds that defy modern medicine. 

According to the study, sugar draws water from the wound into a dressing accelerating the healing process, the Daily Mail reported.

The study is headed by Moses Murandu, a senior lecturer in adult nursing at Wolverhampton University, who grew up in Zimbabwe where his father used sugar to heal wounds and reduce pain when he was a child.

Sugar draws water from the wound into a dressing - bacteria needs water to survive - which allows accelerates the healing process, or kick starts it where progress has stalled.

When Murandu moved to the UK he realised that sugar was not recognised as a traditional medicine that had something to offer.

One of the patients receiving treatment as part of the research is Alan Bayliss, from Birmingham, who was being treated at Moseley Hall Hospital`s amputee rehabilitation ward.

He underwent an above the knee amputation on his right leg due to an ulcer at the Queen Elizabeth (QE) Hospital Birmingham in January 2013, and as part of the surgery a vein was removed from his left leg.

For his post-surgery rehabilitation, Bayliss was moved to Moseley Hall Hospital where standard dressings were used but the left leg cavity wound was not healing effectively.

Nurses contacted Murandu and Bayliss was given the sugar treatment and within two weeks the wound had drastically reduced in size.

So far 35 patients receiving treatment have seen their condition improve, with no adverse effects reported.

Worth of Australia's Great Barrier Reef valued at US $42 billion, study says 'it's too big to fail'

The study, based on six months' analysis, comes as the reef suffers an unprecedented second straight year of coral bleaching due to warming sea temperatures linked to climate change with the problems compounded this year by a powerful cyclone pummelling the area. 

Australia's Great Barrier Reef is a 25-million-year-old ecosystem which stretches for over 1,400 miles long with up to 2,900 individual reefs and 1,050 islands.
Environment authorities in Australia, have been monitoring the Great Barrier Reef ever since the impact of climate change on the corals first came to the forefront.
In the past year, the world has seen the reef's coral treasure die due to bleaching and resurrect, however, it is still under pressure from climate change, along with farming run-off, development and the crown-of-thorns starfish.
However, a new study has stated that the Great Barrier Reef is is an asset worth Aus$56 billion (US$42 billion) and is 'too big to fail'.
The World Heritage-listed reef is the largest living structure on Earth and its economic and social value was calculated for the first time in the Deloitte Access Economics report commissioned by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.
Using economic modelling, it said the reef – bigger than Britain, Switzerland and the Netherlands combined – was worth Aus$29 billion to tourism, supporting 64,000 jobs.
The "indirect or non-use" value – people that have not yet visited the reef but know it exists – was estimated at Aus$24 billion, with recreational users such as boaters making up the rest.
The study, based on six months' analysis, comes as the reef suffers an unprecedented second straight year of coral bleaching due to warming sea temperatures linked to climate change with the problems compounded this year by a powerful cyclone pummelling the area.
Great Barrier Reef Foundation director Steve Sargent said the study showed that no single Australian asset contributed as much to international perceptions of "Brand Australia".
"At $56 billion, the reef is valued at more than 12 Sydney Opera Houses," he said.
"This report sends a clear message that the Great Barrier Reef – as an ecosystem, as an economic driver, as a global treasure – is too big to fail."
Commenting in the report, US presidential candidate turned conservationist Al Gore said the study was a "much needed, holistic view of the incredible economic value and opportunities provided by the Great Barrier Reef".
"Any failure to protect this indispensable natural resource would have profound impacts not only to Australia but around the world," he added.
The study included a survey of 1,500 Australian and international respondents from 10 countries that found people value the reef for a range of reasons – due to its importance for tourism but also the belief that Australia would not be the same without it.
Lead author, Deloitte Access's John O'Mahony, said it was clear the reef was "priceless and irreplaceable".
"But we've been able to look at it as an 'asset' that has incredible value on multiple fronts – from its biodiversity and job creating potential to its support for critical industries and standing among international visitors to Australia," he said.
Australia last month hosted a summit of more than 70 of the world's leading marine experts to work on a blueprint on how best to respond to the threats facing the reef.
Options explored included developing coral nurseries, strategies to boost culling of crown-of-thorns starfish, expanding monitoring systems and identifying priority sites for coral restoration.
Key to the talks was the need to slash greenhouse gas emissions to prevent warming sea temperatures.
Canberra in 2015 narrowly avoided UNESCO putting the reef on its endangered list, and has committed more than Aus$2.0 billion to protect it over the next decade.
But it has been criticised for backing a huge US$16 billion coal project by Indian mining giant Adani near the reef, which environmentalists warn would harm the natural wonder.
Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg insisted protecting the reef was a priority.
"It is critical for reefs worldwide, including the Great Barrier Reef, that international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are effective," he said in response to the study.
"Australia is taking strong action to address the global threat of climate change having ratified the Paris Agreement which will see Australia reduce its emissions by 26 to 28 percent on 2005."

George W. Bush, the Artist

A gallery of paintings by our 43rd President.















Frightening Facebook Live video shows just what happens when you overdose on heroin — “Do you have a pulse?”

Warning: this story contains video you might find disturbing. 

A Facebook Live video from Dorchester shows a couple in a car shooting up and the life and death struggle that follows.


Posted on Wednesday just before 5:30 p.m. in Dorchester, a man walks up to confront a couple about using drugs in his neighborhood.

A needle is visible, lying in the woman’s lap.



The woman wakes up as the resident confronts her, but the man in the passenger seat does not.
The couple in the video carry their own Narcan, according to the woman, and she retrieves it from the trunk. She then starts doing CPR.
The man who confronted them keeps filming and tries to help.
“Do you have a pulse?…The police are coming,” he can be heard saying.
The woman asks the man how long they had been sitting in the car.
“Ya’ll had been sitting here for a while and we could tell what ya’ll were up to,” he responded.
The woman, still performing CPR, thanks him.
A Boston Police officer arrives and shortly after the man begins to move, and then vomits.
“I’m glad you came back, man,” said the man filming the Facebook live.
The video has been shared more than 20,000 times and has more than 2 million views, capturing people’s attentions from around the country.
While it might be shocking to see, EMTS said these scenes are an every day occurrence.
“I’ll say almost once a shift now we’re doing overdoses,” said Debra Johnson with Brewster Ambulance.
In Boston so far this year, EMTs have responded to more than 1,300 overdose calls, which is on par with 2016. That’s about 7.5 calls a day.

The number of fatalities, however, has double from last year.
“A lot of the people that we find deceased that we refer to the Medical Examiner are somebody who maybe used alone,” said Chief Jim Hooley, a Boston EMT.

7 Lies the Food Industry Sells Us

Don’t be fooled by packaging. Here are seven misleading words you’ll run into at restaurants and grocery stores … and how to find the truth behind the advertising.
The Lie: Healthy Fast Food
From salads to oatmeal to grilled chicken, plenty of fast food restaurants offer a handful of so-called healthy alternatives to the fried, cheesy, and bacon-y stuff. Turns out those healthy-sounding options aren’t necessarily even any healthier than the regular items on the menu. Take McDonald’s for example: the New York Times found that their oatmeal contains more sugar than a Snickers bar and only 10 fewer calories than their cheeseburger or Egg McMuffin. And the grilled chicken in their Premium Caesar Salad? Surprisingly, it contains rib meat, along with a bunch of additives.
Get the Truth: Always read nutrition labels and look up the ingredients and nutritional info when possible (readily available online when it comes to chain restaurants) before you chow down. If something as simple as grilled chicken has 11 ingredients you can’t pronounce, move along.
The Lie: All Natural
Plenty of food products, from soda to granola bars, have “natural” or “natural ingredients” on the label … and it definitely sounds healthy. But what does it actually mean? Unless it’s meat or poultry, whatever the company behind the product wants it to, for the most part.
Get the Truth: Unlike meat and poultry, which is regulated by the US Department of Agriculture, other products are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. And it turns out, the FDA has no official definition of the term “natural” or its derivatives. They only go so far as saying they don’t object to the use of the term “if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors or synthetic substances” which gives companies pretty generous leeway. Before being fooled by a food that’s labeled “natural,” ask yourself: can I make this in my own kitchen? If you can’t pronounce half of the ingredients on the label, let alone define or find them in a supermarket, they’re probably not as natural as the branding would like you to believe. 
The Lie: Whole Grain
Whole grains have been shown to reduce your risks of type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer, and cardiovascular disease. So bring on the whole-grain crackers, right? Not so fast. Some products labeled “whole grain” actually contain very little of it—and some contain none at all.
Get the Truth: Look on the packaging for stamps and certifications from third parties like the Whole Grain Council. And make sure a whole grain (like whole oats or whole barley flour) is listed first on the list of ingredients. Ingredients are always listed in a descending order, from greatest amount to least amount. If it’s second, it may make up as little as 1 percent of the product.
The Lie: Multi-Grain
Multi-grain is touted on food packaging as if it’s healthy for you, but all “multi-grain” means is that there are multiple kinds of grains in the product—often the unhealthy refined kind. And the kind of grain is more important than how many there are.
Get the Truth: Flip the package to see if whole grains are listed first in the list of ingredients to get the most health bang for your buck. And make sure “whole” is in front of every grain listed.
The Lie: Artisan
The “artisan” label evokes images of small-batch cooking and skilled chefs perusing farmer’s markets for fresh ingredients. But it’s a word not regulated by the FDA, which means anyone can use it any way they want, even with bulk quantities of frozen food. Case in point, an “artisan egg sandwich”… made by Wendy’s.
Get the Truth: Dig to find out how a food is made and what it’s made from. If it’s filled with artificial flavors, trans fats, and additives, cooked by microwave, and produced in mass quantities for huge chain restaurants and fast food place, there’s likely nothing “artisan” about it.
The Lie: Made With Real…
Cheesy crackers made with real cheese. Snack bars made with real fruit. Sure, they’re made with real cheese and fruit… and plenty of other stuff too. Take Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain raspberry bars—”real fruit” is on the label, and they even added “no high-fructose corn syrup” to make it sound healthier. But really, the “real fruit” is listed as raspberry puree concentrate…and it’s only third on the list, after invert sugar and corn syrup.
Get the Truth: Look at the ingredient list, not the packaging. And remember that even if the list does include real cheese or real whole fruit, it still may be sharing space with a whole bunch of junk. If a product has to cover its package in claims that it’s “real” food, be skeptical.
The Lie: Made with 100% real/pure…
But surely 100% real must mean something, right? Not really. Whether it’s sugary juice drinks made with 100% real fruit juice or a Betty Crocker casserole-in-a-box made with 100% real potatoes, the packaging doesn’t tell the whole story. The “made with 100% real” is a particularly deceptive kind of trickery, because it intentionally reads like the entire product is 100% made up of that ingredient. For things like fruit juice, that’s easy to buy into—until you read the label.
Get the Truth: Yep, I’m going to tell you—again—to read the list of ingredients! Take juice for example—the fruit juice inside may indeed be 100% fruit juice, but often it’s also mixed in with extra sugar, and the 100% real fruit juice only makes up 50% of what’ll end up in your drink. 

5 Drinks that Will Give You a Healthy Heart

There has been a recent influx of Americans trying to take control of their health. The biggest concern on everyone's minds these days is heart health. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and while that can sound staggering, there are a number of ways to avoid heart disease and the complications that come with it. We all know the age-old rules of exercising more, avoiding fatty food, and not smoking, but there are also slightly more alternative ways to help improve your cardiovascular health, including a few drinks with heart-healthy benefits.

While it may not be common knowledge, over the last 10 to 15 years there have been many instances of drink companies reducing the calorie and sugar counts in their drinks in order to create "healthier" beverages. We've seen more and more companies head toward the "diet" route and use sweeteners like stevia and aspartame to maintain their good flavor. Drinks like Sparkling Ice, Snapple, and Coca-Cola have developed products that appeal to the masses who are attempting to gain control over their health and weight issues.

But there are some drinks out there that can be good for your heart on their own. The next time you consider a night in, grab a glass of red wine. There have been numerous studies that show drinking a glass of red wine in a night could drastically reduce your risk of heart disease. While this has been proven, we like to remind readers that drinking alcohol in moderation is the best way to seek these results, and if you're not already a drinker, it's best to maintain your sobriety for additional health benefits. If you want to avoid alcohol, grab a pomegranate or grape juice from your local grocery store (or even juice them yourself!), which are fantastic alternatives to wine and add great flavor to any orange juice, which is also high in vitamin C.

If you're thinking about get your heart health under control before the holiday season, what with its fatty foods and plethora of celebration drinking, consider doing something in addition to exercising and eating healthy by trying these eight drinks that could help keep the doctor away.

Soy Milk
Soy milk is a great way to get your dose of soy in a beverage. The Mayo Clinic reported that soy protein has been linked to benefits that reduce the consumer's risk of cardiovascular disease. Soy can also help to reduce the symptoms of menopause, assist in weight loss, and help with improving exercise performance. 

Cranberry Juice
Cranberry juice has been linked to many health benefits, but who knew it was also linked to heart health? Cranberry juice has high concentrations of flavonoids, which, like red wine, help to promote circulation and prevent cardiovascular disease.

Tomato Juice
Tomato juice tends to be high in sodium because it's savory. But if you purchase a low-sodium tomato juice you will be doing your heart health a favor. New Health Guide informed us that "Tomatoes also help prevent and manage heart disease because of their niacin, potassium, folate, and vitamin B6 content. Tomatoes improve homocysteine  

Grape Juice 

Grapes are high in antioxidants and have been shown to help prevent damage to blood vessels as well as reduce the risk of blood clots. It's probably best to eat whole grapes, but grape juice is just as delicious and is easier to drink on the go!

Black Tea
Another item on our list that is high in antioxidants, black tea has been linked to the prevention of heart attacks and can even help prevent headaches and tooth decay! The drink also contains anywhere from 2 to 4 percent caffeine, which means there are added benefits besides heart health - like alertness. 

10 Reasons to Give Up Diet Soda

When taken at face value, diet soda seems like a health-conscious choice. It saves you the 140-plus calories you'd find in a sugary soft drink while still satisfying your urge for something sweet with artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose. But there's more to this chemical cocktail than meets the eye.
It confuses your body
Artificial sweeteners have more intense flavor than real sugar, so over time products like diet soda dull our senses to naturally sweet foods like fruit, says Dr. Brooke Alpert, author of The Sugar Detox. Even more troubling, these sugar stand-ins have been shown to have the same effect on your body as sugar. "Artificial sweeteners trigger insulin, which sends your body into fat storage mode and leads to weight gain," Alpert says. 
It could lead to weight gain, not weight loss
Diet soda is calorie-free, but it won't necessarily help you lose weight. Researchers from the University of Texas found that over the course of about a decade, diet soda drinkers had a 70 percent greater increase in waist circumference compared with non-drinkers. And get this: participants who slurped down two or more sodas a day experienced a 500 percent greater increase. The way artificial sweeteners confuse the body may play a part, but another reason might be psychological, says Minnesota-based dietitian Cassie Bjork. When you know you're not consuming any liquid calories, it might be easier to justify that double cheeseburger or extra slice of pizza.
It's associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes
Drinking one diet soda a day was associated with a 36 percent increased risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes in a University of Minnesota study. Metabolic syndrome describes a cluster of conditions (including high blood pressure, elevated glucose levels, raised cholesterol, and large waist circumference) that put people at high risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, Bjork explains. 
It has no nutritional value
When you drink diet soda, you're not taking in any calories—but you're also not swallowing anything that does your body any good, either. The best no-calorie beverage? Plain old water, says Bjork. "Water is essential for many of our bodily processes, so replacing it with diet soda is a negative thing," she says. If it's the fizziness you crave, try sparkling water.
Its sweetener is linked to headaches
Early studies on aspartame and anecdotal evidence suggests that this artificial sweetener may trigger headaches in some people. "I have several clients who used to suffer from migraines and pinpointed their cause to diet soda," Bjork says. 
It'll ruin your smile over time
Excessive soda drinking could leave you looking like a Breaking Bad extra, according to a case study published in the journal General Dentistry. The research compared the mouths of a cocaine-user, a methamphetamine-user, and a habitual diet-soda drinker, and found the same level of tooth erosion in each of them. The culprit here is citric acid, which weakens and destroys tooth enamel over time.
It makes drinking more dangerous
Using diet soda as a low-calorie cocktail mixer has the dangerous effect of getting you drunk faster than sugar-sweetened beverages, according to research from Northern Kentucky University. The study revealed that participants who consumed cocktails mixed with diet drinks had a higher breath alcohol concentration than those who drank alcohol blended with sugared beverages. The researchers believe this is because our bloodstream is able to absorb artificial sweetener more quickly than sugar. 
It's associated with depression
A recent study presented at a the American Academy of Neurology meeting found that over the course of 10 years, people who drank more than four cups or cans of soda a day were 30 percent more likely to develop depression than those who steered clear of sugary drinks. The correlation held true for both regular and diet drinks, but researchers were sure to note that the risk appeared to be greater for those who primarily drank diet sodas and fruit punches. Although this type of study can't prove cause and effect, its findings are worth considering.
It may be bad for your bones
Women over 60 are already at a greater risk for osteoporosis than men, and Tufts University researchers found that drinking soda, including diet soda, compounds the problem. They discovered that female cola drinkers had nearly 4 percent lower bone mineral density in their hips than women who didn't drink soda. The research even controlled for the participants' calcium and vitamin D intake. Additionally, a 2006 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that cola intake (all kinds, not just diet) was associated with low bone-mineral density in women. 
It may hurt your heart
Just one diet soft drink a day could boost your risk of having a vascular event such as stroke, heart attack or vascular death, according to researchers from the University of Miami and Columbia University. Their study found that diet soda devotees were 43 percent more likely to have experienced a vascular event than those who drank none. Regular soda drinkers did not appear to have an increased risk of vascular events. Researchers say more studies need to be conducted before definitive conclusions can be made about diet soda's effects on health.

Coconut Oil isn’t Healthy? Has it Ever Been?

A recent USA Today article states that coconut oil isn’t healthy and has never been. It quotes the American Heart Association recently released report which advises against the use of coconut oil,
  
“Because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, a cause of CVD [cardiovascular disease], and has no known offsetting favorable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil,” the American Heart Association said in the Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease advisory.
  
Nothing could be further from the truth! And should we really trust the American Heart Association whose dietary advise is consistently confusing?
It’s important to remember  that the AHA played a huge role in telling people to start using margarine and other trans fat products. Saturated fats were falsely demonized and those lies were believed by many.

   
Many recent review studies found that there really is no link between saturated fat consumption and heart disease. A meta-analysis published last year, which pooled data from 21 studies and included nearly 348,000 adults, found no difference in the risks of heart disease and stroke between people with the lowest and highest intakes of saturated fat.
Dr Mercola put together a list of studies that debunk saturated fat myth:
The Oslo Study (1968): A study of 412 men, aged 30-64 years, found eating a diet low in saturated fats and high in polyunsaturated fats had no influence on rates of sudden death.
L.A. Veterans Study (1969): A study of 850 elderly men that lasted for six years and is widely used to support the diet-heart hypothesis. No significant difference was found in rates of sudden death or heart attack among men eating a mostly animal-foods diet and those eating a high-vegetable-oil diet. However, more non-cardiac deaths, including from cancer, were seen in the vegetable-oil group.
London Soybean Oil Trial (1968): A study of nearly 400 men that lasted for two to seven years. No difference in heart attack rate was found between men following a diet low in saturated fats and high in soybean oil and those following an ordinary diet.
The U.S. Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial (MRFIT): Sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, this is another study that is highly misleading. It compared mortality rates and eating habits of over 12,000 men, and the finding that was widely publicized was that people who ate a low saturated fat and low-cholesterol diet had a marginal reduction in coronary heart disease. However, their mortality from all causes was higher.
Your Body NEEDS Saturated Fat for Optimal Function. It cannot function without saturated fats! Saturated fats are needed for the proper function of your cell membranes, heart, bones, liver, lungs hormones, immune system, genetic regulation and much more.
But please… understand that coconut oil is fine! 
Despite coconut oil being more than 90 percent saturated fat, most of which are medium chain triglycerides, the lauric acid is the chief contributor to its assimilation. It also is rich in linoleic acid, oleic acid, poly-phenols, which are responsible for its fragrance and taste, vitamin E, vitamin K, iron, and organic sulfur.
In fact, for heart disease, despite its high saturated fat content, the lauric acid helps in preventing heart problems including high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The saturated fats in coconut oil are not harmful and does not increase LDL (bad cholesterol) levels) and in reducing injuries in the arteries is effective in preventing atherosclerosis.

High Blood Pressure? 22 Foods You Should Avoid as Much as Possible


High blood pressure is a common health issue, and one that requires active management. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three U.S. adults has high blood pressure. Surprisingly, only about half of these people have it under control. And some folks might not even know their blood pressure is problematic if it’s been a while since they’ve visited the doctor.
Known as “the silent killer,” uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to serious health risks and even death, the American Heart Association says. There are even complications you’ve probably never considered, including loss of vision and kidney failure. What this means is it’s time to start taking high blood pressure seriously, and that begins with knowing your numbers.
While your doctor may be the first one to spot it, it’s up to you to stay on top of keeping your blood pressure where it needs to be by exercising and eating right. You’re your own best wellness advocate, so knowing what’s helping, and harming, your overall health is key. If your doctor has determined you have high blood pressure, here are 22 foods you should limit, or avoid.

Sodium and salt


If you have high blood pressure, you need to be particularly mindful of how much sodium you consume on a daily basis. Why? The AHA explains water is pulled into the blood vessels when you have excess sodium in your system, increasing the amount of blood and, ultimately, causing your blood pressure to increase. The same story adds about 77% of sodium consumed comes from packaged, prepared, and restaurant food.
What’s even more frightening is another 12% comes from foods that naturally contain sodium, which still doesn’t account for your salt shaker. To help people limit their salt intake, the AHA created a list of foods that add the most sodium to our diets, so you definitely want to limit them.
  1. Breads and rolls: One piece can contain 230 milligrams.
  2. Cold cuts and cured meats: Pre-packaged turkey can contain 1,050 milligrams of sodium per serving.
  3. Pizza: One slice can contain 760 milligrams.
  4. Poultry: Three ounces of frozen and breaded nuggets can contain 600 milligrams.
  5. Soup: One cup of canned chicken noodle soup can contain 940 milligrams.
  6. Sandwiches: All in, your sandwich can easily surpass 1,500 milligrams.

Saturated fats

Saturated fats raise the cholesterol in your blood, which can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. So, it’s important for those with high blood pressure to be aware of how much they’re eating. The AHA recommends getting no more than 6% of your daily calories from saturated fat. This means you’ll want to cut back on these six foods.
  1. Fatty beef
  2. Lamb
  3. Pork
  4. Lard and cream
  5. Butter
  6. Cheese

Sweets and added sugars

Sugar has long been known to contribute to obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Interestingly, some research shows sugar can impact a person’s blood pressure directly, independent of weight gain. Consider this one more reason to pass on those office doughnuts. Here are five sweet treats you should limit.
  1. Sugar-sweetened beverages
  2. Candy
  3. Grain-based desserts like cakes, cookies, and pies
  4. Fruit drinks
  5. Dairy desserts and milk products like ice cream and sweetened yogurt

Trans fat and partially hydrogenated oils

More often than not, trans fat is found in processed foods, which is bad news for people who’ve been following a typical American diet their whole lives. According to the AHA, “Trans fats raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lowers your good (HDL) cholesterol levels. Eating trans fats increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. It’s also associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.” Clearly, everyone should limit this unhealthy fat.

Because some processed foods can be sneaky about how they label their trans fat, it’s important to have a discerning eye. Reader’s Digest says you should be wary of these five foods.
  1. Nondairy coffee creamer
  2. Peanut butter
  3. Popcorn
  4. Frozen pizza
  5. Margarine
High blood pressure is certainly nothing to mess around with, which is why a heart-healthy diet is a key factor in maintaining your overall health and well-being. Skip this stuff and go for more nutritious foods instead.