Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Health care spending to double within 10 years

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If we think we're spending quite a bit on health care now, imagine that some estimates have health care spending doubling within 10 years from now. In other words, we'll be spending $4.1 trillion by 2017 on annual health care instead of the current $2.1 trillion we're spending now -- and that's just in the U.S.

It's shocking to see that nearly 20 cents of every dollar spent in 10 years will go toward health care. Of course, many will ask what the causes are. One of the biggies is an aging population, as the "leading edge of the baby boom generation becomes eligibl e for Medicare."

With the baby boomer generation at staggering levels (70 million+), it's easy to see why we'll be spending so much more on health care in 10 years. Add that to the fact that people are living longer (as what's been widely reported), and there are your spending increases.

Facial wrinkles can go away with low-energy plasma waves

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Are you into making your skin look as young and new as possible? A new study shows that many low-energy treatments with a plasma skin regeneration tool can give your skin that new appearance with better results instead of that one-time high-energy treatment.

The spirit of graduality seems to be coming into place here, since multiple small treatments may be better than a few high-energy treatments.

The good news, though, about multiple low-energy plasma generation treatment s is that there is quite less healing time since large, high-energy sessions take so much more time to heal. Combine that with the propensity for short-term psychological results and you just might have a winner.

Lying is great for your health

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If you're one of those people who plan to go to the gym, yet somehow talk yourself out of it before the end of the d ay ... you need to stop. Truth be told, we all get busy, we all get tired, and we all have a bazillion things to do. I'm positive the reason you planned to go the the gym, or wherever else it is you exercise, is because you know it's wonderful for you and you want the results. You probably even have a bag packed with exercise clothes in the trunk of your car. Use them!

The secret to getting past this self-defeating instinct is to trick yourself with really small goals. Instead of just bailing out, tell yourself you'll only walk for five minutes on the treadmill. Or plan to only do bicep curls. Odds are, once you get on the treadmill you're going to want to go a little further. You probably won't want to ditch the gym after doing just bicep curls either. Being in the gym just feels good, and the atmosphere will more than likely inspire you to do what you originally set out to do.

Have you ever finished a workout and thought, "Gosh, I wish I hadn't done that?" No! Nobody does that, because exercise feels great and the sense of accomplishment feels even better. And, even if you do just walk for five minutes, it's certainly better than nothing. I guess a little lying isn't always a bad thing.

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Is lean pork good or bad for you?

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Are you a fan for good, old-fashioned pork and bacon? There is quite a bit of research into the negatives of eating pork (and meat in general) due to hormones in the meat as well as too much fat.

On the flip side, there are positive reports on eating pork and other types of meat due to the higher levels of protein in meat. While meat is certainly not the only form of high protein available for consumption, it's one of the most popular.

A recent discussion centered in on protein and fat in animal-based foods playing a major role in keeping hunger satisfied while aiding in permanent weight loss. Sounds rather fishy, but th ere may be some truth to it. What do you think? Read the detail here.

Root vegetable recipes that are good and good for you

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If it is still chilly where you live and if you're family needs some warm comfort food after a long day, why not make a big bowl of root vegetables for dinner?

OK, OK, so the kids might not go for seconds of a heaping casserole of turnips. But you can certainly create a spiced up, delicious and healthy meal out of root vegetables for your winter menu.

Root vegetables - otherwise known as carrots, turnips, beets, radishes, parsnips, rutabagas and (our favorite) sweet potatoes - are dense, inexpensive and full of nutrients.

This article offers a quick primer on each of the seven root vegetables, tips for roasting root veggies to perfection and recipes that will satisfy your hunger and your taste buds.

If you haven't made a stew yet this season, now's the time to slow cook your way to veggie-beefy goodness (although I'd personally add a half-cup of red wine to this recipe). And if your kids still aren't down with an onslaught of root vegetables for dinner, maybe some sweet potato fries will change their minds.

How Many Calories... in concession stand nachos?

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Late winter, early spring - 'tis the season for indoor sporting events and weekend movie matinees in dreary weather. All that sitting on bleachers and walking down movie isles can work up an appetite (no, somehow it really can) but here's the problem: most concession stands don't offer many, if any, healthy choices. In the past I've justified buying the nachos since they seemed to be the closest thing to "real food" on the menu, compared to all the pop and candy. Sure, those two lonely pickles bobbing around in the massive jar of pickle juice could theoretically be categorized as a vegetable, but they aren't even appetizing.

I know that nacho cheese is a dieter's nightmare, but just how many calories and grams of fat are in an average serving of concession stand nachos?

A) 500 calories, 28 grams of fat
B) 750 calories, 37 grams of fat
C) 900 calories, 49 grams of fat
D) 1100 calories, 60 grams of fat

Continue reading How Many Calories... in concession stand nachos?

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Shrink those pores

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My nemesis ... the enlarged pore! Many women (and men, for that matter) deal everyday with pores that are larger than they'd like, and they're not only unsightly -- but prone to clogs and inflammation as well. So if you look at people with invisible pores with envy, take a proactive approach to your facial health and try these tips for minimizing large pores as much as possible:

"Polish" your face with a grainy cleanser. It's something you can do at home, and it helps slough off dead skins cells from the surface so your pores can do their job: breathe. Other at home solutions include avoiding foundation on areas of your face where p ores are enlarged (only makes them look bigger, and may contribute to clogging) and using products designed for smoothing the appearance of pores.

If you're up for going out for professional treatments, talk with your facialist about options such as getting a facial or a microdermabrasion treatment. Depending on your particular situation and skin type, they can best help you decide which direction to go.

The fluid of life

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Ever wonder what's in your water? Do you stay in the know with your local news alerts? I was shocked to find out three whole days later about a water boil alert in our area. So how can we protect ourselves from drinking contaminated water if our every day lives are too busy to st ay up to date with everything in our local news? And what is the best way to protect ourselves?

Installing a Reverse Osmosis System on your kitchen sink water supply is one of the best investments you can make for peace of mind and good clean healthy water. There are lots of brands out there on the market so be sure to read closely about the warranties, how often you have to change filters, the costs of the filters and how easy it is to change them, the speed in which the system filters your water and how large the holding tank is. And remember charcoal filters will remove odor from water and chlorine to make the taste better, but they do not take out all chemicals and nitrates in your water. Reverse Osmosis is the best and most cost efficient way to do this. Take it from someone who was in the utility business and has researched water thoroughly.

Boiling water will kill some bacteria but it only intensifies some chemicals and nitrates. Don't be fooled by bottled water either. There are very few regulations on bottled water and anyone can slap a label on a bottle of water and sell it. Read the fine print on where that water comes from and how it is filtered. Bottled water is the number one selling drink in the United States and nothing governs it to make sure it is completely safe. So take the steps to make it safe for you and read the labels on your water and do something to make sure that your home water supply is the healthiest and safest it can be.

So here's to drinking healthy and wisely. Water is the fluid of life. It is one of the the most essential things a body needs to operate totally functional. Cheers and bottoms up.
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Workplace Fitness: How to launch a wellness program

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So you've heard all about the benefits of a wellness program at work, how it can help employees not only stay healthier, but feel happier and less stressed, and therefore use less sick days and be more productive. But if your company doesn't have one, is it possible to start one up? Well, everything is possible, so maybe it's more realistic to ask how hard is it to start one up? What's all involved? And if you're going to go to all the effort, how can you mak e sure your work will pay off and the plan will be a success?

There's a book called Move It. Lose It. Live Healthy: Achieve a Healthier Workplace One Employee at a Time that is full of ideas on this very subject, but for a quick fix right now the author shares these five tips for starting your own wellness program at work:

Continue reading Workplace Fitness: How to launch a wellness program

Maintaining weight loss -- five easy steps

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Losing weight is hard, hard work and reaching your goal weight may feel like crossing a finish line. But once you hit your goal weight, a different kind of effort begins -- maintenance. Hanging on to that hard won goal weight requires discipline to keep from returning to your old habits and putting the weight right back on. This article from iVillage outlines fi ve easy steps for success in keeping that weight off -- for good.

The advice in this article is all sound, but the last tip is the one that makes the most sense to me. A diet can't be viewed as something you are "on" or "off," because you run the risk of being "done" and going back to your old ways that put on the pounds in the first place. Instead, as the article points out, create a new "normal" for yourself. Normal will never include downing a pint of Ben and Jerry's in a sitting, but it could include enjoying 1/4 cup serving of your favorite ice cream once or twice a week. Create a plan you can live with and make it your new "normal" way of eating.

Other advice includes weighing yourself each day to quickly catch any pounds sneaking back on. A friend once told me that she wears her tightest jeans at least once a week. Jeans are rarely forgiving and you'll notice if they start to get snug! Exercise to keep your metabolism revved up, and stick to all of your diet rituals even if you're "done" dieting.

What kinds of things do you do to keep the weight off now that you've lost it? Any tips to share with our readers?

Is Anorexia genetic? Research says yes

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Anorexia is no small matter, as the eating disorder can lead to a very unhealthy state for many sufferers of it. It's been widely publicized that anorexia is brought on by societal factors (notably: the media), but for one of the first times I can recall, new research is stating that anorexia may be caused by genetic factors.

A decade-long study into anorexia nervosa by a Tulsa, Oklahoma researcher has led to the conclusion that a genetic predisposition to the condition may exist in some people.

The study involved eight cities in North America i addition to two European cities. The overall conclusion? Researcher Craig Johnson says that there is a 12X possibility of someone developing anorexia nervosa if it has been seen in a family member. Johnson went on to add that "Genetics loads the gun. Environment pulls the trigger."

Cocoa found to improve brain blood flow

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Are you a fan of cocoa? Now, I am not talking about sugar-infused hot chocolate, but cocoa for baking in recipes and the like? If so, it'll do your mind good to know that eating cocoa regularly will improve the brain's blood flow, according to new research.

As old age becomes prevalent and people live longer, scientists are looking for a way to make brains function better with age, without dementia and other side effects of an aging brain. One of those areas deals with improving blood flow to the brain. Count in flavanols, an antioxidant found in cocoa beans that can increase blood flow to the brain.

Researchers said this past Sunday that among the women given drinks of cocoa high in flavanols, there was a significant increase in blood flow to the brain. This, in turn, brings up the possibility of using flavanols in the treatment of dementia as well as maintaining overall cardiovascular health, according to the researchers.

Mushrooms recalled in E. coli scare

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Mushroom packages from BJ's Wholesale Club, Inc are being recalled due to the suspected presence of the deadly E. coli bacteria.

Anyone who purchased Wellsley Farms brand fresh mushrooms between February 11 and February 19 should not eat them, and can return the product for a refund. You can call 1-800-BJS-CLUB with any additional questions.

As of yet, there are no reported illnesses linked to the mushrooms, and the company says the recall is merely a precaution.

This comes on the back of a December outbreak from contaminated lettuce used by the Taco Bell restaurant chain, and an even more infectious September outbreak, in which 158 people were affected.

E-mail addicts use 12-step program

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Earlier this week I commented on a "discrimination" case in which a fired IBM employee claimed he was an Internet addict. Questions remain about the validity of such an addiction, but nevertheless, Reuters reports today that there is now a 12-step program for those addicted to e-mail.

Real or not, employees' obsession with their electronic messages is feared to be costing businesses millions of dollars in lost productivity. It's estimated that the interruption from receiving and reading a new e-mail disrupts productive work for an average of 4 minutes.

The program, developed by executive coach Martha Egan, includes steps like: "admit that email is managing you. Let go of your need to check e-mail every 10 minutes," and "deal immediately with any e-mail that can be handled in two minutes or less but create a file for mails that will take longer."

I'll admit, some of the symptoms Egan describes sound a little familiar, but does that make me an addict? Is the first step to recovery admitting that I have a problem? What about you? Do you need a 12-step program to break free from your inbox?

Tip: get a bone density test soon

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If you don't get enough elemental calcium (hint: more than and from a better source than milk) and you've easily broken bones before, you may want to invest in a bone density test in the near future to see just how strong or brittle your bones are.

Osteoporosis is probably the best-known condition for weak bones, but you want to see if your bone condition is strong or weak before the damage has been done, and an easy bone density test can accomplish this.

If anything, a bone density test can point to lifestyle changes that need to be made, as in eating the correct foods and strengthening those bones through resistive exercises on a regular basis. After all, those bones will be holding you up for a lifetime.