Fat Burning Vegetable Soup


Ingredients: (Yields 20 Servings)

6 large onions
2 green bell peppers
6 huge, ripe tomatoes or 1-2 large cans of tomatoes
1 bunch of celery with leaves
1/2 head white cabbage
4 carrots
1/2 big can of tomato juice
Salt and Pepper to taste

What you do:

now let's go boil this up!
Dice the vegetables and put them in a pot. Fill the pot with water and the tomato juice.



burn baby burn!
Boil for ten minutes, then simmer till the vegetables are tender.
Season as you go along.

Does it really burn fat? This soup helps you burn calories and flush out toxins. Some diets call for eating solely this soup for seven days. Nevertheless, make this soup a part of your meals for a healthy and hearty boost.

Courtesy of Wifely Steps

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

How to Live to 102 - Secret #33

Get regular check-ups. It is important to get regular medical and dental check-ups to catch illnesses before they become serious. This is especially true for silent killers such as hypertension and diabetes, which can both ravish your body before they show any identifiable symptoms.

Source: Tips For Good Health


Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

Berries Linked to Better Brain Function

A new study from the American Chemical Society shows that a berry-rich diet can activate the brain's cleaning process, removing toxins and inessential compounds that may interfere with brain function. This process is called autophagy where brain cells called microglia are responsible for cleaning up and recycling toxic proteins. When people age, the microglia becomes ineffective and toxic builds up. Foods with polyphenol like berries and nuts stimulate autophagy while inhibiting proteins that shut it down.

Berries have always been consistently considered one of those "miracle superfoods" has tremendous health benefits. They are low in calories, fat free, a great source of fibre and vitamins, and most importantly, full of polyphenol compounds that are linked to anti-aging and anti-cancer effects. In fact, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries have been shown to improve memory in aged animals by protecting the brain with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions.

There have been many other foods that have been linked to anti-aging. A large U.S. study showed that those with higher intakes of salad dressing, nuts, fish, chicken, tomatoes, fruit, cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens and low intakes of fatty dairy, red meat and butter were 38% less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. A similar report concluded that a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, nuts, beans and olive oil guarded against Alzheimer's as well.

Source: "Berries may help your brain clean house" The Globe and Mail. August 25, 2010 (L1)

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Top 10 Health Benefits of Lemon Water

Squeeze 1/2 lemon into a glass of water, twice daily.
Lemons are an incredible healthy and often delicious ingredient for many foods and beverages. Lemon juice consists of about 5% citric acid that is responsible for the tarty taste in lemons. Lemons are also a rich source of vitamin C, vitamin B, riboflavin and minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium as well as proteins and carbohydrates. There are enormous benefits of lemon juice and water in your everyday life. Lemon water makes a healthy drink that is incredibly refreshing in the morning. Daily consumption of lemon water provides a number of health benefits like:



1. Good for stomach

Lemons can help relieve many digestion problems when mixed with hot water. These include nausea, heartburn and parasites. Due to the digestive qualities of lemon juice, symptoms of indigestion such as heartburn, bloating and belching are relieved. By drinking lemon juice regularly, the bowels are aided in eliminating waste more efficiently. Lemon acts as a blood purifier and as a cleansing agent. The intake of lemon juice can cure constipation. It is even known to help relieve hiccups when consumed as a juice. Lemon juice acts as a liver tonic and helps you digest your food by helping your liver produce more bile. It decreases the amount of phlegm produced by your body. It is also thought to help dissolve gallstones.

2. Excellent for Skin Care

Lemon, being a natural antiseptic medicine, can participate to cure problems related to skin. Lemon is a vitamin C rich citrus fruit that enhances your beauty, by rejuvenating skin from within and thus bringing a glow on your face. Daily consumption of lemon water can make a huge difference in the appearance of your skin. It acts as an anti-aging remedy and can remove wrinkles and blackheads. Lemon water if applied on the areas of burns can fade the scars. As lemon is a cooling agent, it reduces the burning sensation on the skin.

3. Aids in Dental Care

Lemon water is used in dental care also. If fresh lemon juice is applied on the areas of toothache, it can assist in getting rid of the pain. The massages of lemon juice on gums can stop gum bleeding. It gives relief from bad smell and other problems related to gums.

4. Cures Throat Infections

Lemon is an excellent fruit that aids in fighting problems related to throat infections, sore throat and tonsillitis as it has an antibacterial property. For sore throat, dilute one-half lemon juice with one-half water and gargle frequently.

5. Good for Weight Loss

One of the major health benefits of drinking lemon water is that it paves way for losing weight faster, thus acting as a great weight loss remedy. If a person takes lemon juice mixed with lukewarm water and honey, it can reduce the body weight as well.

6. Controls High Blood Pressure

Lemon water works wonders for people having heart problem, owing to its high potassium content. It controls high blood pressure, dizziness, nausea as well as provides relaxation to mind and body. It also reduces mental stress and depression.

7. Assist in curing Respiratory Disorders

Lemon water assists in curing respiratory problems, along with breathing problems and revives a person suffering from asthma.

8. Good for treating Rheumatism

Lemon is also a diuretic and hence lemon water can treat rheumatism and arthritis. It helps to flush out bacteria and toxins out of the body.

9. Reduces Fever

Lemon water can treat a person who is suffering from cold, flu or fever. It helps to break fever by increasing perspiration.

10. Acts as a blood purifier

The diseases like cholera or malaria can be treated with lemon water as it can act as a blood purifier.


Courtesy of Life Mojo

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How to Live to 102 - Secret #32

When possible, walk instead of drive. Go to the park and play with your children when you can. Moving serves to not only improve your heart function and keep weight off, but also helps to relieve stress.

Courtesy of Ten Tips For Good Health


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How to Live to 102 - Secret #31

Drink lots of water: The body is made up mostly of water so develop a water habit. Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. If you are trying to lose weight up the amount of water you consume.

Source: Ten Tips For Good Health


Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

Canadians Fear Boomers Will Cripple Health System

A Canadian Medical Association poll, released on August 23, 1020, reveals that 75% of Canadian respondents fear that growing health costs will result in significant tax hikes and an inability of seniors to afford health care as they age. Furthermore, approximately 80% of respondents believe that aging baby boomers will cause reduced access and lower quality care in Canada. However, Canadians, particularly those born after 1966, are willing to buy private health insurance as a supplement to public health care. Of course, as the youngest and healthiest cohort of the public insurance pool this would do little to fix the problem of growing costs. To cover those costs, respondents born after 1966 said they would prefer going into debt and using retirement savings to pay for health care for their parents and themselves. A growing alternative that many Canadians are turning to is home health care for preventative care and treatment.

What we see...is a refreshing acknowledgement of reality. Canadians are not giving up on medicare but they're recognizing that medicare needs to be transformed to deal with current realities, demographic and otherwise. [Canadians] are being extremely realistic about the limits of medicare and so-called free health care" --Anne Doig, president, Canadian Medical Association
The CMA argues that the current system is unsustainable and cannot meet the future needs of aging baby boomers. Canadian health care costs in 2009 are estimated to be $183 billion according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. The report recommends significant changes to make health care most patient-centric such as a universal prescription drug plan, a charter of patient rights, an independent body to monitor health care spending and monetary incentives for hospitals and doctors to see more patients. Dr. Doig expressed concern that the baby boomers would be used as a scapegoat for rising health care costs.
I worry that the blaming will happen. We don't want intergenerational tensions, we want intergenerational fairness.
The poll is conducted annually by the CMA and this year Ipsos Reid polled 3,483 Canadians to answer questions about their views on the future of Canadian health care and to award the various levels of government in managing the system for the report. The scores have been relatively stable: 41% of respondents gave the federal government an A or B (versus 40% from 2009) and 41% of respondents have their provincial government an A or B (versus 42% from 2009).

Source: "Most fear boomers will cripple health system" The Globe and Mail, August 23, 2010 (A5)

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How to Live to 102 - Secret #30

Balance your Omega-3:Omega-6 ratio. There is mounting evidence that a diet high in omega-6 fatty acids (fats) increases your chance of cardiovascular disease and cancer. To improve your ratio, reduce your intake of omega-6 fats (especially canola, corn and nut oils) while increasing your intake of omega-3 fats from foods including fatty fish like salmon.


Source: Wikihow

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How to Live to 102 - Secret #29

Consider squatting to defecate, as it may greatly reduce your chance of getting potentially fatal colorectal cancer or hemorrhoids.


Source: Wikihow

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

How to Live to 102 - Secret #28

Replace your smoke detector. Up to 25 per cent of households have nonfunctioning smoke detectors.

Source: Canadian Living

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

How to Live to 102 - Secret #27

Keep your toothbrush clean. Prevent recurring infections, cold and gingivitis by changing your toothbrush at least once every three months.

Source: Canadian Living

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

Home Care After Hip Surgery May Aid Survival

Providing home care to elderly people after they've had hip surgery improves their chances of survival.

Canadian researchers looked at 11,326 men and women age 65 and older in Quebec who had partial hip surgery between 1997 and 2004. Those who received home care after leaving the hospital were 43 percent less likely to die within three months after their surgery than those who did not receive home care at all.

The study, published Aug. 16 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found that home care was given to less than 16 percent of the elderly patients who were discharged home after partial hip surgery.

Patients who received home care were younger; more likely to have been treated in teaching hospitals or lower volume hospitals; and more likely to have stayed more than seven days in the hospital. They were also more likely to have acute kidney failure and a heart rhythm condition called atrial fibrillation.

The study also found that men were more likely than women to die, and patients hospitalized longer had higher survival rates.

With the exception of atrial fibrillation and acute kidney failure, co-existing health conditions didn't seem to influence the chances of receiving home care, the researchers said in a news release from the publisher.
"This indicates perhaps that receiving this care may depend on availability, rather than need of the service," wrote Dr. Elham Rahme, a researcher in epidemiology at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center in Montreal, and colleagues in the release.
This finding has generated significant public health implications and will require further investigation.

Courtesy of MSN Health

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4 Treatments for Lower Back Pain

By Dr. Mehmet Oz, The Dr. Oz Show

Defining Lower Back Pain

About 80 percent of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their life. The physical connection isn't always clear since some people show no spinal abnormalities on an X-ray yet suffer excruciating pain. Here are the treatment options:

Chiropractic Treatment

Even when the pain is in the lower back, the problem tends to be with the entire spine, says Victor Meir Nazarian, a Los Angeles–based chiropractor. Chiropractors employ manipulation—adjustment of the vertebrae— to help align a patient's spine, and often prescribe regular visits. "People come in only when they're in pain," Nazarian says. "But we need to think of our spine the way we do our teeth, using preventive care to stay healthy."

Physical Therapy

The lower back must flex, extend, and rotate, says physical therapist Peggy Brill, author of two books on managing pain through exercise. Yet most of us sit immobile for hours at a time. That's why physical therapists prescribe walking and other gentle exercise, such as stretching and core strengthening, following a flare-up of back pain. Usually, patients will begin to feel better after 72 hours.

Stress Relief

Stress is the source of most low back pain, according to John Sarno, MD, professor of clinical rehabilitation medicine at New York University. Though Sarno doesn't dispute that the pain is real, he believes it stems from buried emotional issues that trigger tension in the body and ultimately deprive nerves and muscles of oxygen; relief comes through understanding this link and by learning to deal with negative emotions constructively.

Surgery

"Think of this as the last resort," says Paul McCormick, MD, a professor of neurological surgery at Columbia University. Surgery may be necessary in some cases such as changing the curvature of the spine, narrowing the cavity that surrounds spinal nerves, and nerve inflammation or disk degeneration —- but these conditions are rare, McCormick says: "Ninety-nine out of one hundred patients will recover without surgery."

Recommendation

The research is positive on chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, and stress relief —- they all help ease back pain. (As Paul McCormick says, with rare exceptions, surgery is unnecessary.) The key is to get moving again as soon as possible after the pain hits, and then make sure you take steps to prevent a return. I see lower back pain as a warning about overall fitness: If you're active, your hips and back are flexible, your core strength is good, and you're coping well with the emotional challenges in your life, your back probably won't bother you. Overlook one of those areas, however, and your back will let you know. And while the emotional link to back pain is controversial, there's no question that stress can play a part in muscle tension, especially in the lower back and hips, leading to trouble.

Source: The Best of Dr. Oz

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6 Health Benefits of Having Pets

According to care2.com, scientists have recently discovered many health benefits that can be attributed to pets. Many people intuitively believe that pets have healing benefits, but there is now scientific proof for such beliefs:

1. Pets lessen the risk of allergies and asthma: Recent studies have found that children who grow up in homes with dogs are much less likely to have certain allergies, and are less likely to develop eczema later in life.

2. Pets reduce stress: A Mindlab International survey reported that 55% of people were more relaxed after spending time with their pets. Stress reduction is a novelty in today’s society and can greatly improve one’s mental and physical health.

3. Cats lower risk of fatal heart attack: Those who own cats have been found to have a 40% lower risk of heart attack, most likely due to the fact that owning a cat can reduce anxiety, which can lead to heart conditions.

4. Dogs lower blood pressure and cholesterol: The British Journal of Health Psychology reported this, and attributed it to the fact that dog owners generally engage in regular walks with their pet.

5. Pets can help people with serious illness: Physicians often encourage ailing patients to own a pet because it has been found that this can motivate people to take better care of themselves.

6. Dogs help with weight loss: A study from the University of Missouri found that people were much more likely to be motivated to walk when their walking partner was a dog rather than another human. It has been found that walking a dog for just 20 minutes a day could result in up to 14 pounds of weight-loss in a year.

Source: Home Care Blog

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

6 Tips For Preventing Skin Cancer

It may not be possible to avoid all types of cancer, but seniors can do a few things that will help to protect them from developing skin cancer. Most seniors enjoy being outside during the summer, but the rays from the sun can be damaging. Furthermore, sun protection is important all year round as ultraviolet (UV) rays can reach you even on cloudy and hazy days and can reflect off of surfaces like water, cement, sand, and snow. To avoid being at risk for skin cancer, the list below offers some useful tips for seniors during the summer months.

1.

Try to avoid exposure to the sun between 10 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon in the late spring and early summer. This is when the UV rays are the strongest.

2.

Always use a sunscreen (at least SPF 15 with both UVA and UVB protection) on all areas of the body that will be exposed to the sun. Put on another layer if you stay out in the sun for more than two hours, and after you swim or do things that make you sweat.

3.

Seniors should wear light and airy clothing that will protect their skin from the sun and keep arms and legs covered as much as possible. A wet T-shirt offers much less UV protection than a dry one. Darker colors may offer more protection than lighter colors.

4.

Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck. A tightly woven fabric, such as canvas, works best to protect your skin from UV rays. Avoid straw hats with holes that let sunlight through. A darker hat may offer more UV protection.

5.

Sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays can be beneficial. They also protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure and reduce the risk of cataracts. Wrap-around sunglasses work best because they block UV rays from sneaking in from the side.

6.

During the midday hours, seniors should try to stay in the shade under an umbrella, tree, or other shelter before you need relief from the sun. If seniors will be outside for a long period of time them they should be in the shade as much as possible.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Protection



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Type 2 Diabetes Linked to Income, Education

A Statistics Canada study released on Wednesday has found links between type 2 diabetes (T2D) and low levels of household income and education. The links, the study explains, are independent of other factors such as the well-established relationship between diabetes and excess weight.

The global prevalence of type 2 diabetes, estimated at 6.4% in 2010, is expected to reach approximately 8% by 2030. The increase in prevalence is thought to be due largely to population aging and rising rates of obesity and physical inactivity however the prevalence of T2D has also been shown to be strongly patterned by socioeconomic status, particularly among women. American data also suggest that the socioeconomic status gap in diabetes prevalence has widened over time.

Even allowing for the effects of obesity and ethno-cultural origin, the study found lower-income women were significantly more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than were their counterparts in high-income households.

It found no significant relationship between household income and the onset of diabetes in men when other factors were taken into account. Instead, the development of diabetes among men was related to being overweight or obese, and to the number of secondary behavioural factors they reported such as heavy drinking, smoking and physical inactivity.

The 15-year study is based on 12,333 respondents to the National Population Health Survey who were aged 18 or older.

Among those who had been free of diabetes in 1994-95, the study found 7.2 per cent of men and 6.3 per cent of women had either developed the disease or died from it by 2008-09.



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The Baby Boom in Yoga

While today’s magazines may show nothing but 20 or 30-something celebrities claiming the healing benefits of yoga, the largest growing demographic practicing yoga is actually the elderly. According to this article in the New York Times, many senior centers are implementing yoga classes into their daily schedules, and the results are astounding for the participants. Many of the seniors taking these yoga classes attribute their improved sleep and better eating habits to the practice of yoga, while others also claim relieved pain and youthful flexibility.

Researchers at several universities have been studying the health benefits of yoga on seniors, and perhaps the most important is the increased sense of balance, which can help reduce falls for seniors. The practice is modified so that participants can do the entire class while sitting in a chair so as not to injure themselves. While the practice can have many physical benefits, Ricardo Sisco, yoga instructor at a senior center in New York, believes that the most beneficial aspects of yoga occur in the minds of these seniors.

“People think to do yoga you have to be flexible, but the flexibility is not in the body. It’s in the mind. That’s why anyone can do it.” -- Ricardo Sisco
Source: Home Care Blog

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Seniors Dance to Stay Healthy




This video and short article from WWLP reports on a group of seniors in Springfield, Massachusetts who have discovered the secret to staying young: dance. From age 58 to 82, the Riverview Seniors Dancers have battled everything from depression, to cancer, to diabetes through their weekly dancing meetings at the Riverview Senior Center. These seniors lack nothing in energy or in happiness, and their greatest wish is that through their dancing and their performances, they can spread the happiness and the joy that they have been so lucky to find.

Source: WWLP.com

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Almost 40% of All Dementia Cases Could Be Avoided

Dr.Kathy Johnson, PhD, CMC

According to a recent article from The Guardian, doctors are now reporting that banishing diabetes and depression, prolonging education, and eating more fruits and vegetables would greatly lower that amount of people suffering from dementia.

At Home Care Assistance we train all of our caregivers in The Balanced Care Method, a proprietary lifestyle program that focus on a variety of factors, one of which is healthy eating and which foods to incorporate in your daily diet to help decrease risk of Alzheimer’s, Dementia and other chronic diseases.

Reducing diabetes and depression are clearly the two more difficult factors in this situation. In knowing that diabetes and dementia are linked, doctors are now striving to succeed in earlier detection and better, more effective treatments for those with diabetes. Diabetes has also been linked to depression, so any strides made in the field of diabetes could affect both depression and dementia. Eating fruits and vegetables also tie into the diabetes effect, and more education increases crystallized intelligence, whose presence is thought to ward off dementia. The most important thing that doctors are focusing on now is earlier detection of dementia and Alzheimer’s.


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How to Live to 102 - Secret #26

Have Purpose. Many people over the age of 100 claim a reason behind their life, and suggest that their reason has helped them reach such ages. Some reasons for living can be as practical as providing food for others, or even as abstract as providing inspiration.

Source: Wikihow

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A Healthy Heart Equals A Healthy Mind

A study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association looked at 1,504 people of the decades-long Framingham Offspring Cohort study to examine brain and heart MRI information. The participants, who ranged from 34 – 84 years old, displayed signs that their brains began to shrink as they age. Brain atrophy has long been considered a sign of aging, and is more severe in people with dementia.
"The results are interesting in that they suggest cardiac index and brain health are related," Angela L. Jefferson, Ph.D., the study's lead author and associate professor of neurology at the Boston University School of Medicine, “The association cannot be attributed to cardiovascular disease because the relationship also was seen when we removed those participants with known cardiovascular disease from our analyses."
But participants with a poorer Cardiac index -- a measure of heart health -- and whose hearts pumped less blood had brains that appeared an average of two years older than those with normal cardiac output. This was true even for healthy people with no indications of cardiovascular disease but who had more 'sluggish' hearts. This link was found both in younger people (in their 30s) who did not have heart disease, as well as older participants who did. Yet the exact cause for a link between heart function and brain volume is still not fully understood.
"There are several theories for why reduced cardiac index might affect brain health. For instance, a lower volume of blood pumping from the heart might reduce blood flow to the brain, providing less oxygen and fewer nutrients needed for brain cells. It is too early to dole out health advice based on this one finding but it does suggest that heart and brain health go hand in hand." -- Angela Jefferson
So if a youthful brain goes hand in hand with a healthy heart, what are the best ways to keep both in shape? Although we can do little change some risk factors such as family history or age, The Mayo Clinic provides a few tips to preventing cardiovascular disease.

Don't smoke

Smoking or using other tobacco products is one of the biggest risk factors for developing heart disease. Tobacco smoke contains more than 4,800 chemicals, many of which can damage your heart and blood vessels, making them more vulnerable to narrowing of the arteries -- which can ultimately lead to a heart attack.

The nicotine in cigarettes also causes the heart to work harder by narrowing blood vessels and increasing heart rate and blood pressure. Cigarette smoke also contains carbon monoxide, and this replaces some of the oxygen in your blood -- which in turn increases your blood pressure by forcing your heart to work harder to supply enough oxygen. Even "social smokers" -- who only smoke while at a bar or restaurant with friends -- face an increased risk of heart disease.

The good news? Once you quit smoking -- no matter how long or how much you smoked -- your risk of heart disease drops dramatically within just one year of quitting.

Get moving

Regular exercise not only reduces risk of fatal heart disease, but it also helps to control your weight and reduce chances of developing other conditions that can strain the heart such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Exercise also reduces stress, which is thought to be a factor in heart disease.

How much exercise is enough? Current guidelines recommend at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderately intense physical activity most days of the week. However, even shorter amounts of exercise offer heart benefits and activities like gardening, housekeeping, taking the stairs and walking the dog all count toward a healthier heart.

Eat heart-friendly foods

To enhance heart health, choose foods are those that are low in fat, cholesterol and salt. Think of fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Legumes, low-fat dairy and low-fat sources of protein and certain types of fish also can reduce risk of heart disease.

Omega-3 fatty acids -- a type of polyunsaturated fat -- are another component of a heart-friendly diet. They can decrease risk of heart attack, protect against irregular heartbeats and lower blood pressure. Some fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are a good natural source of omega-3s. Other sources include flaxseed oil, walnut oil, soybean oil and canola oil, and they can also be found in supplements.

Saturated and trans fat, on the other hand, increase the risk of coronary artery disease by raising blood cholesterol levels. Major sources of saturated fat include beef, butter, cheese, milk, and coconut and palm oils.

Trans fat may be even worse than saturated fat. This is because unlike saturated fat, it both raises your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad," cholesterol, and lowers your high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good," cholesterol. Sources of trans fat include some deep-fried fast foods, bakery products, packaged snack foods, margarines and crackers. Look at the label for the term "partially hydrogenated" to avoid trans fat.

Watch your weight

It's been widely reported that obesity rates are on the rise in North America among both adults and children. These extra pounds (especially around the mid-section) can take a toll on your health – but keep in mind that even small reductions in weight can produce big benefits. Reducing your weight by just 10 per cent can decrease blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol level and reduce risk of diabetes.

Get regular health screenings

Be sure to stay on top of your numbers: High blood pressure and high cholesterol cause damage to your heart and blood vessels. But without regular testing, you won't know if you have these conditions or if you need to take action.

Source: 50plus.com

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Cool Cucumber Recipes

Creamy Cucumber Salad
Cooked Curried Cucumbers
Iranian Tomato and Cucumber Salad
Halibut With Cucumbers and Dill
Cucumbers Vinaigrette



Creamy Cucumber Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 long European cucumber or 2 regular cucumbers, peeled if waxed
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup small-curd low-fat cottage cheese
  • 2 cups low-fat plain Greek-style yogurt
  • Lots of freshly ground pepper

Preparation

1. If using regular cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Dice very small (1/4 inch or smaller). If using a European cucumber, you don’t need to peel. Optional: sprinkle with salt and allow to drain for 15 minutes in a colander. Draining is not necessary if you don’t use salt; if you do, draining will prevent the dish from becoming watery later.

2. In a food processor, blend together the cottage cheese and yogurt until smooth. (Alternatively, put the cottage cheese through a fine strainer and whisk with the yogurt.) Transfer to a bowl. The mixture should have a creamy consistency. Stir in the cucumber and lots of pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Chill until ready to serve. Serve with toasted bread or as a salad.

Yield: Serves six.

Cooked Curried Cucumber

Ingredients

  • 4 medium cucumbers, peeled if waxed, or 2 European cucumbers
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced across the grain
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder (more to taste)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives or cilantro

Preparation

1. If using regular cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Slice on the diagonal about 1/4 inch thick. If using long European cucumbers, peel, if desired, and slice on the diagonal about 1/4 inch thick.

2. Heat the oil in a large lidded skillet or saucepan over medium heat, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about five minutes. Add a pinch of salt and the curry powder, and stir together for another minute. Add the cucumber, and cook, stirring, for three minutes. Stir in the wine, and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer 15 minutes. Uncover, raise the heat and cook until the liquid evaporates. Season to taste with salt, remove from the heat and stir in the chives or cilantro. Serve hot, at room temperature or cold.

Yield: Serves four to six.

Iranian Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 Persian cucumbers, or 1 long European cucumber (or if neither is available, 2 regular cucumbers)
  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 garlic clove, mashed to a puree with 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Preparation

1. If using seedless cucumbers (Persian or European), cut in 3/4-inch dice. If using regular cucumbers, peel, if waxed, and cut in half lengthwise. Using a small spoon, scrape out the seeds and discard. Cut the cucumbers into 3/4-inch dice. Place in a large bowl with the tomatoes.

2. Whisk together the lime juice, garlic, pepper and olive oil. Toss with the cucumbers and tomatoes. Add the remaining ingredients, and toss everything together thoroughly. Taste, adjust seasonings and serve.

Yield: Serves four.

Halibut With Cucumbers and Dill

Ingredients

  • 2 medium cucumbers, peeled if waxed, or 1 European seedless cucumber
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds Pacific halibut fillets or sand dabs
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 or 2 shallots, minced (optional)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine

Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. If using regular cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and slice thin. If using a European cucumber, just slice thin. Oil a baking dish large enough to accommodate the fish fillets in one layer. Cut a piece of parchment the size of the baking dish, and set it aside. Line the baking dish with half of the cucumber slices. Sprinkle on 1 tablespoon of the dill and salt and pepper lightly.

2. Rinse the fish fillets, and pat dry. With the tip of a sharp knife, score them on the diagonal a few times (this prevents them from curling when they cook). Lay on top of the cucumbers. Salt and pepper lightly, and sprinkle on the garlic and shallot. Sprinkle with another tablespoon of the dill, and drizzle on half the lemon juice and the olive oil. Top with the remaining cucumbers. Add the remaining lemon juice, and sprinkle the remaining dill over the top layer of cucumbers. Add the white wine, and cover with the parchment. Cover the dish tightly with foil, and place in the oven. Bake 10 to 15 minutes until the fish is opaque and pulls apart when stuck with a fork.

3. Remove from the oven, let sit for a few minutes and then serve from the baking dish, spooning some of the liquid from the baking dish over the top.

Yield: Serves four.

Cucumbers Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds cucumbers, peeled if waxed and sliced very thin
  • 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (more to taste)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Optional: finely chopped fresh parsley, dill or chives
  • 1 shallot, minced

Preparation

1. If using regular cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a small spoon. Slice paper-thin. (English cucumbers and Persian cucumbers can just be sliced paper-thin without removing the seeds.) Place the cucumbers in a bowl.

2. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper and whisk together. Whisk in the canola oil and the olive oil. Toss with the cucumbers, along with any of the optional ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve right away, or refrigerate for up to 30 minutes and serve.

Yield: Serves six.

Source: New York Times

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

9 Healthy Iced Tea Recipes

Minty Iced Green Tea
Peach and Mint Iced Tea
Blueberry-Lemon Iced Tea
Iced Lavender Green Tea
Bubble Milk Tea
Slightly Sweet Tea
Spiced Iced Tea
Moroccan Mint Tea
Green Tea and Honeydew Granita



Minty Iced Green Tea

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves, washed
  • 3-4 green tea bags
  • Ice
  • Honey or agave, fresh lavender leaves (optional)

Preparation

Place mint leaves in a large glass or BPA-free plastic pitcher. Crush gently with clean hands. Add tea bags, and pour hot water over top, leaving a few inches of room. Cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours. Remove tea bags; serve over ice. Add honey or agave to sweeten and a few fresh lavender leaves, if you have them on hand.

Peach and Mint Iced Tea

Ingredients

  • 8 cups boiling water
  • 8 tea bags
  • 4 ripe peaches, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 small bunch fresh mint sprigs
  • Sugar, to taste (if desired)

Preparation

Pour the water into a heat-resistant pitcher. Add the tea bags and let steep for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the bags and allow the tea to cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Add the peaches, mint, and sugar (if using). Strain, if desired. Pour over ice. Makes 8 Servings.

Blueberry-Lemon Iced Tea

Ingredients

  • 1 (16-oz.) package frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 family-size tea bags
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Preparation

Bring 1 (16-oz.) package frozen blueberries and 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and pour through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl, using back of a spoon to squeeze out juice. Discard solids. Wipe saucepan clean. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in same saucepan; add 3 family-size tea bags, and let stand 5 minutes. Remove and discard tea bags. Stir in 3/4 cup sugar and blueberry juice mixture. Pour into a pitcher; cover and chill 1 hour. Serve over ice. Makes 5 cups.

Iced Lavender Green Tea

Ingredients

  • 4 green-tea bags
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lavender blossoms or 3/4 tsp. dried lavender
  • Lavender sprigs (optional)

Preparation

Heat 1 qt. water in a medium saucepan until it just begins to simmer. Remove from heat and add tea and lavender. Steep for 5 minutes. Strain into a heatproof pitcher or bowl. Let cool. Pour into ice-filled glasses and garnish with lavender sprigs if you like. Makes 4 servings.

Bubble Milk Tea

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup brewed tea (such as black, green, chai, or jasmine)
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 2 tablespoons Sugar Syrup (more or less to taste; see recipe)
  • 1/2 cup milk (or soy, almond, or rice milk)
  • 1/4 cup Tapioca Pearls (see recipe)

Preparation

Combine the tea, ice, syrup, and milk in a blender or cocktail shaker; blend or shake until frothy. Place pearls in a tall glass. Pour tea mixture over pearls, and serve with a fat straw.

Slightly Sweet Tea

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • 7 green tea bags
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 1 navel orange, cut into wedges
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Preparation

Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan; add tea bags. Boil 1 minute; remove from heat. Cover and steep 10 minutes. Remove and discard tea bags. Stir in honey. Pour into a 2-qt. pitcher; stir in 4 cups cold water and orange and lime wedges. Serve over ice. Makes 2 qt.

Spiced Iced Tea

Ingredients

  • 10 whole cloves
  • 4 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 1 2-inch-long thin strip lemon zest
  • 8 herbal tea bags
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Preparation

Wrap cloves, cinnamon and zest in a piece of rinsed cheesecloth. Gather into a bundle; tie with kitchen string. Bring 8 cups water to a boil in a pan. Add spice bundle and tea bags. Remove from heat; cover and steep for 10 minutes. Remove and discard spice bundle and tea bags. Stir in sugar until dissolved; let cool. Cover and chill for 2 hours. Serve over ice, garnished with lemon slices, if desired. Makes 8 cups.

Moroccan Mint Tea

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons loose Chinese gunpowder green tea or green tea
  • 6 mint leaves, crushed

Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl; cover and steep 5 minutes. Strain tea mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl; discard solids.  

Note: When you get loose tea from tea bags, one regular green tea bag will yield 1 teaspoon loose tea leaves.
 

Green Tea and Honeydew Granita

Preparation

Boil 3/4 cup water in small saucepan. Remove from heat. Add 4 green tea bags. Rip open an additional tea bag, and add tea leaves to water. Let stand 6 minutes. Remove bags from the pan, squeezing any liquid into pan; discard bags. Return pan to medium-high heat. Add 2/3 cup sugar; stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, and cool (about 15 to 20 minutes). Combine tea mixture, 4 cups cubed honeydew melon, 6 tablespoons melon-flavored liqueur (such as Midori), and 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice in a food processor; process until smooth. Pour into 11- x 7-inch baking dish. Freeze 30 minutes or until edges are frozen and center is slushy. Stir granita with a fork, scraping frozen edges into the center; freeze 20 more minutes. Repeat this step every 20 minutes until completely frozen into light, icy crystals (about 2-2 1/2 hours). Scrape into 6 glasses to serve.

Source: Health.com

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

How to Live to 102 - Secret #25

Attend yearly physicals. Identifying potentially deadly health problems early can result in their prevention and eradication.

Source: Wikihow


Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

Prescription Produce Address Obesity Problems

In a study by Health Affairs, the cost of childhood obesity in the United States is $14.1 billion annually in direct health expenses like prescription drugs and visits to doctors and emergency rooms while treating obesity-related illness in adults costs an estimated $147 billion annually.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away and happy.
In an effort to fight obesity, doctors in Massachusetts are advising patients to eat "prescription produce" from local farmer's markets with $1 coupons for any member of the patients' family.
“A lot of these kids have a very limited range of fruits and vegetables that are acceptable and familiar to them. Potentially, they will try more,” said Dr. Suki Tepperberg, a family physician at Codman Square Health Center in Dorchester, “The goal is to get them to increase their consumption of fruit and vegetables by one serving a day.”
While doctors hope that patients will become healthier as a result of a more natural diet, farmers hope that the healthy movement will be a boon to their business. According to the United States Agriculture Department, farmers' markets generate more than $1 billion in sales annually.

Thomas Menino
Thomas M. Menino, the mayor of Boston, said he believed the new children’s program, in which doctors write vegetable “prescriptions” to be filled at farmers’ markets, was the first of its kind. Massachusetts was one of the first states to promote farmers' markets as vital to preventive health. In the 1980s the state began issuing coupons for farmers’ markets to low-income women who were pregnant or breast-feeding or for young children at risk for malnourishment. Now, 36 states have such farmers’ market nutrition programs aimed at women and young children. Supporters of the veggie voucher program hope that physician intervention will spur young people to adopt the kind of behavioral changes that can help forestall lifelong obesity. Recently, Menino has appointed a well-known chef as food policy director to promote local foods in schools and market gardens in the city.
“Can we help people in low-income areas, who shop in the center of supermarkets for low-cost empty-calorie food, to shop at farmers’ markets by making fruit and vegetables more affordable?” said Gus Schumacher, the chairman of Wholesome Wave, a nonprofit group in Bridgeport, Conn.
Doctors will track participants to determine how the program affects their eating patterns and to monitor their health indicators like weight and body mass index. The pilot project plans to enroll up to 50 families in health centres that already have specialized children's programs called healthy weight clinics. The program is to run until the end of the farmers’ market season in late fall.
“When I go to work in the morning, I see kids standing at the bus stop eating chips and drinking a soda. I hope this will help them change their eating habits and lead to a healthier lifestyle.” - Thomas Menino, Mayor of Boston
Some nutrition researchers hope that the Massachusetts project has a good chance of improving eating habits in the short term. But, they added, a vegetable prescription program in isolation may not have a long-term influence on reducing obesity. Families may revert to their former habits in the winter when the farmers’ markets are closed, these researchers said, or they may not be able to afford fresh produce after the voucher program ends. Unless people curtail excessive consumption of salty and sugary snacks behavioral changes like eating more fruit and vegetables will have limited effect on obesity. In a recent study, people in southern Louisiana typically exceeded guidelines for eating salty and sugary foods by 120 percent in the course of a day. Early feedback have been positive. Leslie-Ann Ogiste, a certified nursing assistant in Boston, and her 9-year-old son, Makael Constance have lost a combined four pounds in one month. As Ms. Ogiste and her son started shopping at the farmers’ market and eating more fresh produce they also cut back on junk food, she said.
“We have stopped the snacks. We are drinking more water and less soda and less juice too,” Ms. Ogiste said. “All of that helped.”

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

How to Live to 102 - Secret #24

Develop a sleep schedule. It is not as important to get a certain amount of sleep as it is to get the same amount of sleep, at the same time, day in and day out. Sleep gives your body a chance to heal and regenerate; having a stable sleeping routine will help your body take care of itself more easily.


Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

Is Longevity Genetic?

Living to be 100 may seem nearly impossible, but some Americans do, and scientists may now be able to tell, through your genes, if you will be a centenarian.

According to Dr. Thomas Perls, director of the New England Centenarian Study, centenarians actually tend to be the vision of health in that about “90 percent of centenarians are disability-free until around age 93.” The study looked at a little over 1,000 Caucasian centenarians in the United States and found several common DNA sequences.

According to this research, about 15% of Americans should be predisposed to live to 100. This is not the case, however, as there is only one centenarian per 6,000 people in the U.S. today. Researchers attribute this to the fact that at the time when most centenarians (or would-be centenarians) were born and raised, medicine was not as advanced as it is now, proving that environment and lifestyle play a role in healthy aging as well. Lifestyle factors can be further stressed when researchers found that very few who live to be 100 smoke or are obese, and many have very healthy diets and exercise regularly. Researchers also discovered that healthy aging may be attributed to a wide range of genetic variants protecting people from all sorts of diseases. Drugs are now being tested using information from these tests to improve quality of life.

“Our goal is not to make people live to 100,” says Dr. Nir Barzilai, director of the Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, “the goal is to have good quality of life at the end of their life.”
Happy to 102: The Best Kept Secrets of a Long and Happy Life, co-authored by Home Care Assistance Founders Dr. Kathy and Jim Johnson as well Lily Sarafan, COO, addresses Dr. Barzilai’s goal in regards to quality of life in our later years and how to achieve this effectively.


Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

Happiness Protects Your Heart


"We desperately need rigorous clinical trials in this area. If the trials support our findings, then these results will be incredibly important in describing specifically what clinicians and/or patients could do to improve health," - Karina Davidson
According to Columbia University researchers, happy, enthusiastic people are less likely to develop heart disease than those who are generally discontent. Over 10 years, Karina Davidson, director of the Columbia Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health and her team followed 1,739 men and women who were taking part in a large health survey in Canada. Davidson believes that these findings have reasons that are both physical and psychological. Davidson's team said one possible reason for the link between happiness and heart risk could be that people who are happier tend to have longer periods of rest or relaxation, and may recover more quickly from stressful events and not spend as much time "re-living" them which also allows them to sleep better. While there are several more studies that need to be done on this subject, Davidson says that regardless, it is important for us, as Canadians, to engage in activities that make us happy, not just for our physical health, but for our mental health and our general well-being as well.

Heart disease is the leading killer of men and women in Europe, the United States and most industrialized countries. Together with diabetes, cardiovascular diseases accounted for 32 percent of all deaths around the world in 2005, according to the World Health Organization.


Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

How to Live to 102 - Secret #23

Drink one glass of red wine a day. Red wine contains substances called polyphenols which maintain the elasticity of the artery walls and also act as antioxidants - thus helping maintain a healthy heart and slowing down aging.

Source: Wikihow


Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

The Link Between Relationships and Longevity

By Libby Znaimer, The Boomer Report
Your social relationships can predict your odds of living or dying.
Here's more evidence on how important family and friends are for your health. New research from Brigham Young University suggests that social relationships can predict a person's odds of living or dying. The researchers found that social connections can improve the odds of survival by 50 per cent.

They combined the results of 148 studies that followed more than 300,000 people around the world for seven years. They concluded that adults with strong personal relationships may live an average of almost four years longer than those with weaker social ties.

And social isolation can be as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or being an alcoholic. The researchers also suggest it does more damage than not exercising -- and is twice as harmful as obesity.

The study authors figure that when someone is connected to a group and feels responsibility for other people, that sense of purpose and meaning translates to taking better care of themselves and taking fewer risks. Relationships also reduce stress and boost the immune system.

They also say the challenge now is to put this information to good use. The Globe and Mail ran an editorial calling on the government to stage a public health campaign – a war on friendlessness and social isolation akin to the war on smoking or obesity. It's an interesting idea!

Source: 50plus.com

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

How to Live to 102 - Secret #22

Eat dark chocolate. One piece of dark chocolate a day can benefit the heart as cocoa solids have a beneficial effect of the heart and arteries. Dark chocolate has more antioxidants than other kinds of chocolate.

Source: Wikihow


Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

How to Live to 102 - Secret #21

Avoid simple carbohydrates. Carbohydrates cause your insulin levels to rise, which has been associated with increased incidence of breast cancer in menopausal women.

Source: Wikihow


Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

New Tea on the Block: Pu-erh

Pu-erh (Pronounced pew-er:) tea may be new to most North Americans, but it isn't actually "new." It's been grown and cured in the Yunnan province of China for over 2000 years and its distinguishing characteristic is, in fact, its age.

Xiaguan Te Ji (Special grade) raw tuo cha
Broad leaf tea leaves are fermented, pressed, and aged to make pu-erh tea (some versions are made without fermenting the tea first). All pu-erh tea used to be aged for decades, some are even aged as long as a century. Modern tea producers have found ways to speed up that process for most commercially available pu-erh tea.

Chinese medicine uses pu-erh tea to flush out toxins, treat dysentery, improve digestive function, facilitate weight loss, and improve blood circulation.

Modern scientific studies have found that pu-erh tea can lower blood pressure, reduce free radicals, and aid weight loss. It has also been shown to lower blood sugar levels and promote healthy bacterial flora in the intestines, thus, as traditional Chinese medicine proclaims, promoting healthy digestion. One Chinese study found that the fungi and bacteria that increase in pu-erh tea as it ages and give the tea its unique flavor are also those that develop polyphenols and cancer-fighting properties.

For as cure-all as this can start to sound, most striking are the studies that point to pu-erh tea's ability to lower cholesterol levels.

All tea – whether black, oolong, green, or pu-erh – contains antioxidants and polyphenols. Several studies have found that pu-erh tea is particularly effective at lowering bad cholesterol. A 2005 study at the Wun-Shan Branch Tea Research and Extension Station in Taipei, Taiwan looked at the cholesterol-lowering properties of all four types of tea and found that while they all decreased LDL-C (bad cholesterol), only pu-erh tea did not also lower HDL-C (good cholesterol) to some extent. When it comes to cholesterol, pu-erh tea takes the bad while leaving the good.

The same study found that pu-erh and oolong teas lowered triglycerides more than did black or green teas. All teas improved the activity of an important antioxidant enzyme.

An earlier French study found that subjects with high blood lipid levels experienced a 22% reduction in those levels when they were given three servings of pu-erh tea daily. The control group showed no change.

A similar study at Kunming Medical College in China found that subjects with hypertension or coronary heart disease (all of whom were admitted to the hospital for these conditions) who were given three servings of pu-erh tea daily showed a 64% reduction in blood lipid levels as compared to a 67% reduction in subjects who were given standard cholesterol-reducing drugs.

The Balanced Care Method™ recommends drinking several cups of tea daily because of the significant levels of antioxidants and flavonoids. Okinawan elders – the longest and healthiest lived population on earth – regularly drink large amounts of tea, keeping them hydrated and full of health-enhancing antioxidants and flavonoids.

Hydration is an important health benefit of tea. Sipping tea, including pu-erh tea, helps people stay hydrated. Unlike sodas and juices, tea provides water without empty calories or high levels of simple sugars. Dehydration in seniors can lead to symptoms that mimic serious conditions, even dementia. Symptoms of dehydration can include fatigue, headache, dry mouth, little or no urination, muscle weakness, dizziness, confusion, forgetfulness, rapid breathing, and even an increased heart rate.

Aim for a total of eight glasses of water or the equivalent every day. More may be necessary if taking medications that have diuretic or laxative effects. To avoid dehydration:
• Drink before you feel thirsty
• Have water or tea nearby for sipping throughout the day
• Drink water or tea before eating food at meals

Many American tea companies are starting to carry pu-erh teas in their lines. For the best quality, look for pu-erh teas from Yunnan province. Note that the older pu-erh teas will be more expensive.

Pu-erh teas are more forgiving when it comes to brewing than other types of tea. They are hard to over-brew. Brew pu-erh teas with boiling water and let steep about three minutes. Sweeten or add lemon to taste.

Source: CareNotes Newsletter (Volume 3, Number 3)

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

The Life-Saving Effects of Music Making

A pastor playing a Yamaha Clavinova.

Barry Bitman, MD, the president and CEO of the Yamaha Music and Wellness Institute is currently leading some of the most extensive research to date on the health benefits of playing music. His research team has found that music can lead to reduced stress and a stronger immune system. Recreational music-making modulates natural killer cell activity in the body, a marker of immune response and has been shown to reverse stress at the DNA level according to the Medical Science Monitor. Recreational music-making is defined, by Yamaha, by music-based activities that unite people of all ages and music experience. According to Dr. Bittman, only 7.6% of adults in the U.S. play a musical instrument, and it is his wish that playing instruments be encouraged among adults and in health care settings. Recreational music-making provides exercise, social support, spirituality, intellectual stimulation, and unites the body, mind and spirit. This could especially be beneficial for seniors, as playing an instrument has also been found to “improve mood, lower blood pressure, and affect the course of many diseases including cancer and heart disease.”

Dr. Bittman began his career as a mainstream neurologist but has taken on a more collaborative and holistic approach to helping people. In the early 1990s, he studied laughter's effects on the immune system and since then has focused on ways people can take a more active role in their health and well-being. Dr. Bittman's first study into music and wellness was in 2001 when he identified drumming's positive effects on natural killer cell activity.

The goal is not to teach music but rather to enable non-music players to play music without much prior experience. Yamaha's Clavinova is a digital piano that samples sounds from actual instruments allowing users to recreate full orchestras complete with flutes, trumpets, and saxophones. In a study observing the usage of the Clavinova, researchers found a positive impact on attentiveness, active participation, socialization, positive mood, contentment, and meaningful self-expression in 550 seniors living in long-term care centres. Even with stressed students, the Clavinova demonstrated reduced burnout, improved mood states, and decreased attrition in 75 first-year nursing students. In this case, each acute care hospital saved a projected #322,000 for a combined $1.5 billion annually for the health-care industry.

Currently, the Yamaha Music and Wellness Institute is evaluating the impact of recreational music on cardiovascular disease such as cancer and heart disease while analyzing the entire human genome. Dr. Bittman also hopes to learn more about the role of music as an effective stress reducer for people facing life-threatening illnesses. He believes that everyone is innately musical and that we should all realize our capacity for making music at some point in our lives.

Source: ThirdAge.com


Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon) and Hamilton.

 
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