6 Healthy Reasons To Include More Oats In Your Diet

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By Monica Mendoza

oatsSimple they may be, but oats have a lot to offer beyond just being an easy-to-cook breakfast staple. In fact, there are many ways to incorporate more oats into your daily meals, like pancakes, salads, smoothies, muffins, and no-bake cookies and biscuits. You can even use oats to replace rice in various recipes, like congee or pilaf. If you have limited culinary skills or don’t have much time to cook, then there’s also ready-to-drink, delicious milked oats.

With the question of availability and variety out of the way, here now are several healthy reasons why you should start eating (and drinking) more oats.

Oats Have a Great Balance of Nutrients

Oats are among the healthiest, if not the healthiest, whole grain foods you can eat. They are a good source of healthy carbohydrates and contain about 17 grams of protein per 100-gram serving, which is higher than most kinds of grains. Dry oats also contain a variety of vitamins including vitamins E, B1, B5, folate, and minerals like manganese, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc.

One cup of oats also contains just 4 grams of fat and about 300 calories per cup. This makes it a good choice for weight loss since it can make you feel full even with a small serving.

Oats are Rich in Soluble Fiber

Oats contain about 11 grams of soluble fiber per 100 grams. This includes beta-glucan, a powerful fiber which reduces both LDL or “bad” cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It also contributes to the growth of good bacteria in the stomach and intestines, thus promoting better digestion and bowel movement.

Beta glucan and other fibers in oats also help make you feel fuller quickly and for longer, since it slows down your digestion. What’s more, beta-glucan has also been found to increase the production of cholecystokinin, a kind of hunger-fighting hormone. Both of these actions may help in the process of losing weight and decreasing the risk of obesity.

Oats are Rich in Antioxidants

In particular, whole oats have a high concentration of the polyphenol called avenanthramide, which helps lower blood pressure by increasing the body’s production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a gas molecule that dilates the blood vessels, which in turn results in better blood flow. Avenanthramide has also been proven to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Oats also contain vitamin E, which is scientifically proven to help strengthen the immune system. Vitamin E also helps keep the skin healthy, balancing its pH and at the same time keeping it soft and moisturized.

Oats are Gluten-Free

Those with celiac disease will be happy to know that oats are naturally gluten-free, so they can enjoy the nutritional benefits of these whole grains without worrying about aggravating their medical condition. To be on the safe side, check the labels to make sure that the oats you are buying aren’t made or processed using the same equipment as other non-gluten-free grains like wheat and barley.

Oats Reduce Risk Factors for CVD

Researchers have yet to arrive at conclusive evidence that oats and other whole grains can directly reduce the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular disorders. However, oats have already been proven to reduce risk factors for heart disease like high cholesterol levels, hypertension, and diabetes.

Oats can Help Boost Your Energy in a Healthy Way

Do you feel lazy during the mornings? Eating oats for breakfast might just be the ticket to feeling more energized. Oats are a good source of both good, slow-digesting carbohydrates and proteins, which helps energize your body and make you feel more alert. And because the natural sugars in oats are processed much slower compared to other kinds of sugar, your energy levels are more or less consistent until they are fully digested.

It’s a common enough food that we sometimes take it for granted. But with all of these health benefits, and possibly more that have yet to be discovered, it’s about time that we pay more attention to the humble oat!

Teaching Children To Be Road Conscious

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By Pauline Griggs

familywalk2Keeping your children safe all the time is not an easy task. You can’t be with them every minute of the day, and everywhere they go. As a parent, you can ensure the safety of your children when they’re at home. And you’re assured that when they’re at school, their teachers are responsible for taking care of them. But when they’re outside, who will keep them safe? Even if your children are old enough to take care of themselves, you should teach them how to stay safe while on the road. Follow these key tips on teaching your children to be more road conscious.

Accompany your children.

No matter how independent you think your children are, you need to guide them while they’re still developing. Walk or ride with them, until they’re old enough and are ready to do things on their own.

Put away any distraction.

When you’re driving or walking on the road, you shouldn’t use your mobile devices, so your children will follow your example. While on or near the road, take away the video games, headphones, and toys, to instill to them the significance of paying attention.

Choose low-speed roads where there’s less traffic.

If you want to make your children learn faster, use the least intimidating roads. They’ll be able to understand you when the environment is calmer and safer. Use residential streets and community roads when walking with them.

Wear colorful clothing.

When the surrounding is dark, it’s no doubt that the road is a scarier place. Make your children wear bright clothing, so they’ll be easily seen at night. Tell them that it’s more essential for them to follow traffic rules at night.

Explain street signs as much as you can.

Consistently point out street signs and explain their meanings to your children. Make it fun by asking them what each means and rewarding them for every question they’ll answer correctly. Regular reminders and rewards will help them remember it quickly.

Teach your children to stop and look both ways at all roads.

Teach your children that the road is not a playground; explain the danger of being on the road. Tell them to stop, look left and right and wait for the road to become clear before crossing the street.

Walk with your children facing the traffic when there’s no sidewalk.

Teach them that they should be able to see the incoming danger, and react to it. Tell them to keep their eyes on vehicles, and they can only do it when facing the traffic.

Walk on the side of the road when there’s no sidewalk.

Tell your kids that if they can’t see any sidewalk, they must go away from the road as soon as possible. Teach them that the safest way to avoid getting hit by a vehicle is by distancing themselves from the road.

Teach your children awareness of obstacles.

Driveways, alleys and street corners are particularly dangerous spots, even for adults like you. Remind your children that drivers can’t easily see in these blind places, and they need to be extra careful and be ready to respond quickly. Be sure that your children are also aware of ditches or flooded areas that may cause a slip and fall accident.

Keep your instructions short, precise and fun.

If you want to make your children remember everything that you’ve taught them about road consciousness, avoid giving long lectures. Make your time with them fun and turn your lessons into games. Making it fun will not only make them learn faster but will also make the time enjoyable for you and your children.

Teach by example.

familybikeridetogetherDo you know the expression, “Monkey see, monkey do?” The same principle applies when you’re teaching children, you need to teach them by being an example. Not following road safety will only show them that it’s okay to break road rules. If you want them to be road conscious, you should be road conscious as well.

Learn when to let them go.

Your children won’t always be kids; one of these days they’ll grow up and won’t need you as much as they needed you before. When this time comes, you should learn to let go. But always be ready to help and guide them when necessary.

Children tend to copy what they see in adults. This is why, you, as an adult, should be an excellent example to your children. Practice road safety in front of your children so that they will learn and grow. By being a good example, you’re ensuring the safety of your children outside of their school and your home. Make your children cautious, not scared, when on the road. Hopefully, whatever you’ll be telling them will help keep them safe.

– Pauline Griggs is an experienced law and automotive writer currently writing on another large project. Her know-how on the law for more than 10 years has allowed her to insert nuggets of useful wisdom for her readers. Pauline is not just a lawyer, she is also an artist. She loves painting nature when she has free time.

Bel Marra Health Reports: Eating More Yogurt Helps Prevent Diabetes

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diabeteswordWhat are your thoughts about this article from Bel Marra and PRWeb? Please share in the comments section below…..

Bel Marra Health, a company that offers high-quality, specially formulated vitamins and nutritional supplements, is reporting on a new study that shows that eating dairy—yogurt in particular—is a good prevention strategy against diabetes.

As Bel Marra Health reports in its article (http://www.belmarrahealth.com/eating-more-of-this-will-help-prevent-diabetes/), enjoying a daily dose of yogurt can prevent or lower a person’s chances of developing diabetes.

As the article, “Eating more of this will help prevent diabetes,” details, a new study by the Harvard School of Public Health, with funding from the National Institutes of Health, has discovered a strong link between yogurt consumption and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Researchers looked at data gathered from more than 193,000 Americans. Participants who were free from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer completed lifestyle questionnaires every two years, responding to questions on habits and dairy intake. Those who consumed at least a 28 g serving (two tablespoons) of yogurt a day had an 18% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

By the end of the follow-up, 15,000 cases of type 2 diabetes were spotted among those who did not consume yogurt on a daily basis. What’s more, those who consumed yogurt daily also received other benefits, such as calcium, vitamin D, and protein, all of which play a role in digestion and intestinal function.

The study did not clearly outline which type of yogurt is best, but Greek yogurt offers added protein, according to Dr. Victor Marchione, spokesperson for Bel Marra Health.

The American Diabetes Association estimates that 25.8 million people in the United States have type 2 diabetes, with more than 10 million being adults age 65 and over. Statistics show Hispanics and African-Americans are more likely to have the disease than other ethnicities.

Worldwide, about 366 million have the disease; that number is expected to jump to 552 million by 2030. People with type 2 diabetes are also at greater risk of developing cardiovascular issues, such as stroke and coronary heart disease, says Dr. Marchione.

Dr. Marchione suggests incorporating more fermented milk products into one’s diet. He proposes using yogurt as a cooking and baking substitute for sour cream, for example, or serving it for a creamy dessert with a fresh fruit puree.

“Although Greek yogurt can be a little more expensive, it offers about double the protein of regular yogurt,” Dr. Marchione concludes. “It’s an excellent way to lower…risk of type 2 diabetes and get all the nutrient benefits of dairy.”

(SOURCE: Chen, M., et al., “Dairy consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: 3 cohorts of US adults and an updated meta-analysis,” Harvard University, November 2014, http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/12/215.)

Bel Marra Health is the maker of Gluco-Rescue, a high-quality nutritional supplement to help support and maintain blood sugar levels. All ingredients are backed with scientific evidence. Every product is tested for safety, quality and purity at every stage of the manufacturing process. Bel Marra Health products are produced only in Health Canada-approved facilities to ensure customers are getting top-quality products. For more information on Bel Marra Health, visit http://www.BelMarraHealth.com or call 1-866-531-0466.

5 Enjoyable Ways To Gain More Energy

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healthyheartIn our busy world, an extra boost of energy never hurts. This is especially true for the 10-15% of people who say they regularly feel run down. Usually it isn’t a singular issue that leads to exhaustion but rather several overlapping habits that are keeping your body from fully recovering from daily activity.

If you are trying to lose weight the healthy way, energy is important for both your willpower and wellbeing. Making a few enjoyable adjustments could be all you need to power through the day.

Eat Breakfast

Breakfast really is the most important meal because it revs up our engines, helps us fill up with fuel and keeps blood sugar levels in check. The latter point is much more important than many people realize. When you forgo breakfast you’re much more likely to experience spikes and drastic drops in blood sugar throughout the entire day. Spikes in blood sugar are met with a rush of insulin to control it, and this can cause your energy levels to crash.

A protein packed breakfast is the easiest way to keep blood sugar levels regulated. Follow it up with several small meals and snacks to feel energized all day.

Get Deep Sleep

Sleep is needed for the body to recharge. If you aren’t getting enough in general that’s a problem, but if your sleep is regularly interrupted that can also lower your energy levels. There are four stages of sleep that are cyclical. Deep sleep happens in the last two stages of sleeping, and it’s the most effective at warding off sleep drive during the day. It’s important to go through these stages multiple times in a night because the most impactful deep sleep happens within the first two cycles. If you are constantly waking up you may not be getting enough deep sleep even if you hit the sheets for 7-8 hours a night.

Guzzle Water

waterbottleDehydration is an instant energy zapper. Even mild dehydration will have you dragging your feet no matter how much you exercise. On top of that dehydration will also inhibit your ability to think clearly and affects your mood. How do you know you’re mildly dehydrated? If you feel thirsty your body is already dehydrated. You don’t necessarily have to drink eight glasses of water a day, but it is important to hydrate every few hours.

Get Out in the Sun

Artificial, fluorescent lighting could be draining your energy. Employers are paying attention to new studies that show artificial lighting can negatively affect productivity. A Swiss neurologist found that natural light has the opposite affect. Study participants that spent time out in the sunlight were more alert and less likely to feel sleepy in the late afternoon and early evening.

Meditate Each Morning

A little bit of relaxing me time never hurt anyone, and it can have a positive affect on your energy levels. Starting your day with just 5-10 minutes of meditation has many health benefits, including increased energy levels. The main reason meditation is so great at upping energy levels is because you’re more focused on breathing deeply. When you take shallow breaths you aren’t getting enough oxygen in your body. Deep breaths will flood the body with oxygen helping cells repair themselves, lowering the heart rate and increasing blood circulation – all of which can help you increase your energy.

These are just five easy ways you can start feeling more energized instantly. Tonight get a good night’s sleep, then tomorrow wake up and have a healthy breakfast after meditating for a few minutes. At work keep a bottle of water at your desk as a reminder to drink up, and take it with you on a short afternoon walk outside. You’ll be amazed at how much more energized you feel throughout the day.

Watching More TV As A Young Adult Predicts Obesity

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb and the University of Pittsburgh, please share your comments below…..

familytvSome people who watch more television than their peers are at increased risk for injuries, new University of Pittsburgh study finds.

The more hours young adults spend watching television each day, the greater the likelihood that they’ll have a higher body mass index and bigger waist circumference, a 15-year analysis by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health revealed.

The association did not hold in later years, indicating that young adulthood is an important time to intervene and promote less television viewing, according to the research published online in the journal SAGE Open.

“We were quite surprised to find that television viewing was associated with subsequent obesity for young adults, but not for the middle-aged,” said lead author Anthony Fabio, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of epidemiology at Pitt Public Health. “This suggests that middle-aged adults may differ from young adults in how they respond to the influence of TV viewing.”

Dr. Fabio and his colleagues analyzed data from 3,269 adults recruited from Birmingham, Ala., Chicago, Minneapolis, and Oakland, Calif., who participated in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study. For 15 years starting in 1990, the participants reported their television viewing habits and had their waist circumference measured and their body mass index (a measure of weight and height that can indicate obesity) calculated every five years.

The more time participants spent watching television when they were approximately 30 years old, the more likely they were to be obese five years later, compared to their peers who spent less time in front of the television. The team did not have data on younger ages.

Dr. Fabio and his team suspect many potential reasons for the association, including that young adults may be more likely to snack during television viewing and consume unhealthy food due to their greater susceptibility to the seduction of junk food advertising on television. In support of that hypothesis, the CARDIA study also found that participants were more likely to eat healthier foods as they aged.

The analysis found that 23 percent of the men and 20.6 percent of the women participating in the study watched four or more hours of television daily. Within that group of heavy TV watchers, 35.9 percent were black, and 8.6 percent were white; and 40.8 percent had a high school education or less, vs. 17.4 percent with an education beyond high school.

A lower family income and higher rates of smoking and drinking also were associated with more time spent watching television.

“Television viewing and obesity are both highly prevalent in many populations around the world,” said Dr. Fabio. “This means that even small reductions in television viewing could lead to vast public health improvements. Reducing sedentary time should be a healthy lifestyle guideline heavily promoted to the public. Our study indicates that the biggest bang for the buck would be in targeting young adults for interventions to reduce television viewing. Healthy lifestyle behaviors should start at early ages.”

Additional authors on this research are Chung-Yu Chen and Karen Matthews, Ph.D., of Pitt; Stephen Dearwater, M.S., of Jackson Memorial Hospital; David Jacobs, Ph.D., Darin Erickson, Ph.D., and Mark Pereira, Ph.D., of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health; Carlos Iribarren, M.D., Ph.D., and Stephen Sidney, M.D., M.P.H., of Kaiser Permanente Northern California.

This research was funded by in part by research grants from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) (R03AG028504) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U49-CE000764). The CARDIA study is supported by contracts HHSN268201300025C, HHSN268201300026C, HHSN268201300027C, HHSN268201300028C, HHSN268201300029C and HHSN268200900041C from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the Intramural Research Program of the NIA, and an intra-agency agreement between NIA and NHLBI (AG0005).

About the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

The University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, founded in 1948 and now one of the top-ranked schools of public health in the United States, conducts research on public health and medical care that improves the lives of millions of people around the world. Pitt Public Health is a leader in devising new methods to prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases, HIV/AIDS, cancer and other important public health problems. For more information about Pitt Public Health, visit the school’s Web site at http://www.publichealth.pitt.edu.

Moderate Exercise May Make Cancer Treatments More Effective

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News from Kansas State University

newsKansas State University kinesiology research offers encouraging information for cancer patients: A brisk walk or a slow jog on a regular basis may be the key to improved cancer treatments.

Brad Behnke, associate professor of exercise physiology, and collaborators have shown that moderate exercise on a regular basis enhances tumor oxygenation, which may improve treatments in cancer patients. Now Behnke is using a $750,000 American Cancer Society grant to study moderate exercise as a way to make radiation treatments more effective, especially for difficult-to-treat tumors.

“If we can increase the efficacy of radiation treatment, then the patient’s prognosis is enhanced,” Behnke said. “An intervention like exercise has almost universally positive side effects versus other treatments that can have deleterious side effects. Exercise is a type of therapy that benefits multiple systems in the body, and may permanently alter the environment within the tumor.”

The National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health recommends exercise for cancer patients and cancer survivors, but little research shows what happens within the tumors during such exercise. That prompted Behnke to combine his expertise in integrative physiology with cancer research. He also has received support from the university’s Johnson Cancer Research Center.

“I became interested in finding out what happens within the tumor during and after exercise as a means to enhance treatment outcomes,” Behnke said.

For the latest research, Behnke is using prostate cancer tumor models to find ways to enhance oxygen delivery to tumors. When a tumor is hypoxic, or has low oxygen, it is often very aggressive, Behnke said. Because oxygen is a “radiosensitizer,” it helps destroy cancer cells. As a result, low-oxygen tumors often are resistant to traditional cancer therapies, such as radiation therapy, and interventions, such as concentrated oxygen breathing, are used to get more oxygen to the tumor before treatment.

“If we manipulate all the systems in the body — the lungs, the heart and the blood vessels — with exercise, we can take advantage of the dysfunctional vasculature in the tumor and enhance blood flow to the tumor,” Behnke said. “The tumor becomes the path of least resistance for the elevated cardiac output of exercise, which results in a substantial increase in tumor oxygenation during and after exercise.”

But the key is moderate exercise, said Behnke. Too little exercise may have no effect, but too much exercise may have a negative effect and may shut down blood flow to the tumor region or impair the immune system.

Moderate exercise is an activity that uses 30 to 60 percent of someone’s aerobic capacity, Behnke said. The activity is nonstrenuous and is something that most people can perform, such as a brisk walk or a slow jog.

Research also has shown that moderate exercise can help cancer patients counteract some of the side effects of treatment — such as low blood count, fatigue, cachexia and lost muscle mass — which has led to many researchers labeling this as “aerobic exercise therapy” for patients with cancer, Behnke said.

“There really aren’t any negative side effects of moderate-intensity exercise,” Behnke said. “Exercise is often prescribed to improve the side effects of cancer and treatment, but what exercise is doing within the tumor itself is likely beneficial as well.”

Behnke and collaborators have published their exercise and cancer research in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

At Kansas State University, Behnke is collaborating with Mary Lynn Higginbotham, assistant professor of clinical sciences; Katie Heinrich, assistant professor of kinesiology; and David Poole, professor of kinesiology. The American Cancer Society grant, “Modulation of tumor oxygenation to enhance radiotherapy,” also involves University of Florida researchers in tumor microenvironment biology.

Caring For More Than Physical Health Of Elderly Relatives

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Submitted by the Baylor College of Medicine

seniormanWhile visiting elderly relatives over the holidays, be on the lookout for some tell-tale signs of declining health, said a Baylor College of Medicine geriatric expert.

These signs encompass all aspects of health – physical, mental and even fiscal, said Dr. Robert Roush, director of the Texas Consortium Geriatrics Education Center at Baylor’s Huffington Center on Aging.

“Fiscal health is just as important as physical health,” he said.

The No. 1 physical change to look for in aging people is frailty. He noted that frailty is the precursor for almost everything that can go wrong as people age.

Frailty is defined as the presence of at least three of the following:

* Weight loss
* Weakness
* Self-reported exhaustion
* Gait (slower walking speed)
* Low physical activity

Incorporating resistance weight training and any other type of physical activity into daily routines is a way to avoid frailty.

“It’s important to remember everyone ages differently,” Roush said. “We shouldn’t define age by years but rather by functional age.”

Other health changes such as eyesight decline, hair color changes and hearing loss are normal and usually do not indicate serious health decline.

Roush said a decline in self-care, such as a change in appearance and attitude and poor hygiene, can be a sign that health, both physical and mental, is deteriorating.

As health declines, individuals may not be able to make sound financial decisions and, because of this, aging adults in America are targets for financial scams.

“Elderly adults are always targets for investment fraud and financial exploitation, but during the holidays these scams are usually in full swing,” said Roush, also associate professor of geriatrics at Baylor.

If it is out of the ordinary to find any of the following items at a relative’s home, they may be a victim of financial exploitation.

* Excess lottery tickets
* Magazine subscriptions for giveaways
* Bus tickets to cities with casinos

Additionally, if relatives are not sure how much money they have or what their financial investor is doing with their money, they could be vulnerable to investment fraud.

In some cases, Roush said, having a new power of attorney or will drawn up without informing close, immediate family is a sign that someone could be a victim of financial exploitation.

“This issue is just as important as physical health because financial health impacts overall health,” he added. “Financial loss impacts available food, medication and other health services.”

Menopausal Women Should Visit Dentist More Often

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By Dr. Piero

womanarmupMore is not always better, but in the case of professional dental cleanings and menopausal women, visiting the dentist four times a year may assist in keeping bones healthy.

Women who are going through or have completed menopause are more at risk for osteoporosis. A recent study reported in Menopause – The Journal of the North American Menopause Society found that those at risk of osteoporosis are also at risk of periodontal disease. The word osteoporosis means porous bones. As aging occurs, the body loses minerals, especially calcium. The bones become weaker and are more susceptible to breaking. Although osteoporosis is usually associated with backs, hips and wrists, the jaw is also a bone affected by osteoporosis.

Bone anchors the teeth and there is a loss of bone density with aging. With osteoporosis, loss of bone density may affect the bone surrounding teeth causing them to become loose. Osteoporosis is only one factor in healthy jaws. Menopausal women, according to the study, showed abnormal dental plaque (a precursor to periodontal disease).

Periodontal disease is another factor in healthy jaws. The cause of periodontal disease stems from the plaque-producing bacteria, found among the almost 500 species of bacteria in the mouth. The body recognizes the bacteria in the mouth as a chronic infection. The body sends blood cells via capillaries to the infected area and cytokines are released which in turn causes the body to produce more blood cells to physically fight the infection. Chronic infection results in messages or cytokines being continuously sent out and blood cells being continuously produced. This is stress on your entire body, taxing your immune system and now an association has been found with cytokines and osteoporosis.

dentistThe premise of the study in Menopause magazine was that the cytokines stimulate osteoclasts which degrade bone. The cytokines in periodontal disease are degrading the bone. So if you can treat the periodontal disease, this will lower the cytokines and slow down osteoporosis.

In the presence of cytokines in the blood stream a red flag should go up for physicians that there is an infection somewhere in the body. It has been now known for some time that this marker is as important for heart disease as cholesterol. This new study highlights the importance of cytokines and how it affects bone density.

Treating osteoporosis with long-term bisphosphonate seems to protect against some of the bone loss in the body including the jaw. And getting professional dental cleaning four times a year may be a good combination for keeping jaws and teeth healthy, especially for postmenopausal women.

– Dr. Piero, a Holland, MI dentist for over thirty years, is the inventor of Dental Air Force®. Articles published are on periodontal health related to heart disease, respiratory health, diabetes, strokes, and other systemic diseases. He is the Executive Editor for Journal of Experimental Dental Science, a contributing author to Hospital Infection Control: Clinical Guidelines

Is Your Sunscreen Doing More Harm Than Good? – Part 2

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By Sharon Gnatt Epel

familyContinued from part 1 of this article…..

* Oxybenzone (a derivative of benzophenone) – is another chemical that has been implicated in causing hormonal disruption to the body. It can penetrate the skin and be absorbed by the body. The FDA has long approved its use as a broad spectrum SPF (blocking both UVA and UVB radiation) for anyone older than 6 months. But many toxicologists and consumer protection agencies like the Environmental Working Group and the European equivalent of the FDA disagree. In fact, in Europe, any product containing more than 0.5% of this chemical must display a warning label telling consumers that it “Contains oxybenzone.”

* Retinyl palmitate is another chemical that has recently come under scrutiny. A form of Vitamin A, research has shown that retinyl palmitate can potentially increase the risk of skin cancer (tumors) when exposed directly to the sun. This makes it all right for use in a night cream, but a questionable if not downright risky choice for use in a sunscreen.

* Avobenzone is one of the most popular sunscreens on the market and considered one of the less harmful SPFs. However, it is a free radical generator. Free radicals, you may recall, are atoms that have an odd number of electrons (unpaired) in their outer shell making them essentially unstable. They actively seek out other molecules from whom they can “steal” electrons, setting off a chain reaction that causes damage to the molecule and the cell that it is in. Free radicals are thought to be a major cause of degenerative disease and premature aging.

So what’s a responsible, health-conscious adult to do?

The answer may lie in seeking out safer, more natural alternatives.

One easy way to avoid sunburn is to don protective clothing. Specialty manufacturers now make broad-rimmed hats, shirts, jackets, gloves and socks that have an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF). Unlike SPFs which generally protect against UVA only, the UPF number indicates the effectiveness of the garment against both UVB and UVA ultraviolet rays. Just like SPF ratings, UPF scores range from low to high as an indicator of their efficacy. I am a fan of this clothing because it is light, comfortable, and perfect for children and adults who live in areas of high-elevation. It is also very helpful to those of us who are involved in water sports since water magnifies the sun’s rays and increases the risk of sunburn. You can Google “sun protection clothing” for links to companies that carry these types of garments.

Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are two safer sunscreen ingredient options that have been around for a long time and worth pursuing. That is, unless they have been micronized – oops! – a process also known as nanotechnology, that reduces the size of a molecule so drastically that it can pass through the layers of the skin and find its way into the bloodstream. This process was originally devised to reduce the amount of white residue left behind by zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that looked unsightly and tended to settle in people’s wrinkles.

The Environmental Working Group’s 2013 Guide to Sunscreens contains a list of safer alternatives, and other interesting information about sunscreen, high SPFs (are they really longer lasting?), the inclusion of SPFs in lip balms and cosmetics, and the latest research about their potential risk to your health.

In the meantime, please take precautions and use common sense when being outdoors for long periods of time. Remember: a sunburn may not hurt for very long, but the damage it causes will last forever.

– Copyright August 2013 by Sharon Gnatt Epel for La Isha Natural Skin Care

– Sharon Gnatt Epel is the CEO/Founder, La Isha Natural & Organic Skincare.

Is Your Sunscreen Doing More Harm Than Good? – Part 1

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By Sharon Gnatt Epel

sunUnless you live under a rock or in a dense rainforest, there’s a good chance that you are aware of the importance of shielding your skin from the harmful rays of the sun. UV rays are the leading cause of skin cancer in the U.S., and the number one cause of premature aging.

But did you know that some unfiltered sun exposure is actually necessary for good health? In addition to making us feel good and putting extra spring in our step, exposure to UVB rays causes our skin to produce Vitamin D3, which helps regulate the calcium and phosphate levels in our bodies (translating into healthy bones and teeth). D3 is also involved in an assortment of other important biological functions, including bolstering the body’s defense system against the onslaught of microbes, and helping the body assimilate and absorb other vitamins. Only 10 minutes a day of exposure during the early morning hours can be very helpful to our health and overall well-being.

However, longer sun exposure times require the use of an SPF in order to avoid sunburn and blistering. Unfortunately most of the sunscreens available today contain harmful synthetic ingredients that have been linked to hormonal imbalances and increased cancer rates. Here are some of the worst offenders that you should consider before you buy your next bottle of sunscreen:

* Octinoxate (octyl methoxycinnamate) – is one of the most common ingredients found in today’s sunscreens and cosmetics. It functions by absorbing UV-B rays. Classified as an estrogenic chemical, it has been linked to hormonal imbalance and increased rates of cancer. Women who are pregnant should not use products that contain Octinoxate because of the estrogen-like effects it has on the body.

This chemical has also been shown to linger in a person’s body for several years after exposure to it. It can cause liver damage. It is best to keep sunscreens that contain this ingredient away from children.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article shortly…..

– Copyright August 2013 by Sharon Gnatt Epel for La Isha Natural Skin Care

– Sharon Gnatt Epel is the CEO/Founder, La Isha Natural & Organic Skincare.