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Don't Let a Headache Keep You Down


Millions of people visit their doctor for relief from common headaches. In fact, this is possibly the most prevalent reason for people to see their doctors. Headaches come in a variety of types, intensity, and duration. Some are hormonally driven for women in relationship to their monthly cycles. Other types of headache pain may stem from sinus problems, medication use, or even food allergies. Stress, caffeine, and alcohol consumption may trigger head pain. Your head may ache on one or both sides, at the crown, or even around the neck and shoulder areas. There is no single source of headache pain, and they may even occur in clusters and form migraine patterns, including blurred vision, odd scents, and dizziness.


So what can a person do for a bad headache? The best thing is to prevent one, if possible. Start by keeping a small diary of when your headaches come, the circumstances surrounding them, and how long they last. Take note also of the things that make them seem better or worse, along with any treatment you use that is successful. Some headaches are illness-borne and thus cannot be avoided, but many are due to lifestyle issues that can be successfully managed.


For example, if your diary suggests that you often get a headache after eating Chinese food, you might be sensitive to MSG, a common ingredient found in Chinese dishes that sometimes causes headaches or other disturbances in certain individuals. Or, if you experience a headache upon arising certain times of the year, especially when sleeping with the windows open, you may have a sinus-related condition that will benefit from closed windows or medication.


If stress is causing headaches, learn what your triggers are and take steps to avoid them. It may be that dealing with an argumentative coworker often brings on one of your spells. Take steps to avoid that person or play down the conflict. When the opportunity comes up, ask for a transfer to another department. Take similar steps to offset stressful situations in your life that can be downplayed in ways like this.


Your doctor may be able to recommend lifestyle changes that may reduce the frequency or intensity of your discomfort. For example, daily exercise may improve circulation and reduce stress, thereby helping to prevent headache pain. Eating healthier foods that contain few preservatives is another common recommendation that seems to help a lot of people. Keeping a journal and writing about negative events several times a week keeps you from bottling them up where they can play havoc with your nerve impulses and possibly contribute to the development of headaches.


When you take a proactive stance in identifying headache sources and learning how to head them off, you will soon feel better and experience fewer symptoms. Ask your doctor for more information on preventing or reducing headache pain.


www.articlehealthandfitness.com




Beating That Bulging Belly

By Mohammed Yahia

Editor - IslamOnline.net

 

Remember the time you looked in the mirror while brushing your teeth and realized that your belly was jiggling unusually? That was probably the first time you noticed that your belly was starting to bulge a little, or a lot. That was, and usually is, also the time when you decided that you need to hit the gym again.


A large tummy, sometimes called a beer belly, is one form of obesity. It is a result of increased fat disposition in the belly area. This is more common in men than in women. Women tend to have more fat in the hip and thigh areas. However, that does not mean that women cannot get beer bellies.


Losing the fat on the tummy is not just important for you to look good, but it is also important for you to be healthy. Obesity in general makes a person more susceptible to several diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. But localized obesity, such as beer bellies, makes a person even more susceptible to certain diseases.


Fat Myths


If you want to lose that extra fat on your tummy, you need to clear up some common misconceptions. First and foremost, there is no "magical pill" or "incredible device" that will allow you to burn the fat faster. It is a long process that requires commitment in order to achieve results.


The second thing to know is that no amount of sit-ups are going to make you lose the fat. You can be doing hundreds of sit-ups every day, but the end result will be rock-hard abs muscles hidden under layers and layers of fat. That is not what we want to achieve. That is not to say that exercise is not important, but alone, it is not enough.


The only way to lose fat is to burn more energy than you are eating. That is the only time the body will tap into the energy stored in fat cells. In order to achieve this, you will need to change several bad habits and make improvements to your lifestyle. If you can keep it up, you will be surprised at the positive results that a few small changes can achieve.


To make this task easier for you, here are several tips that you can follow to achieve the desired results.


Watch What You Eat


Evade foods rich in fats. You should also decrease your total caloric intake because, as we mentioned before, if you do not burn more than you eat, then you will never lose any fatty cells.


Try to divide your meals into five to six smaller meals instead of just three big ones. When the body does not receive food for prolonged periods, it enters into starvation mode. During this period, all body functions drastically decrease caloric burning. The regular food intake will increase metabolism since the body will never enter into starvation mode. This will help burn more fat throughout the day. Try to eat breakfast early, as soon as you wake up. This is to compensate for the long period of starvation while you are sleeping at night.


Eat larger meals in the morning and smaller meals toward bedtime. This is important because the food eaten in the morning will be used throughout the day to generate energy. However, if you eat heavy meals in the evening then most of it will be stored as fat while you are sleeping since it is not used up.


Cut down on junk food. Switch to nutritious, healthy foods. Junk food is one of the leading causes of obesity around the world. Also, try to cut down on refined sugars and processed food. You also need to develop the most important habit; stop eating when you are full. Do not overeat and stuff yourself. It is unhealthy, increases the fats in your body, and gives you stomachaches!


Watch What You Drink


Quit drinking beer. If you drink alcohol, now would be a great time to quit. There is, after all, a reason belly fat is called a "beer belly." There is no clear understanding of how beer can increase fat around the tummy. However, most doctors agree there is a strong relationship between drinking beer and increased belly fat. This could be due to the fact that beer is very high on caloric value.


Do not drink soft drinks either. They have a caloric value of around 150 per can. Count how many you drink every week, do the math, and you will realize they add up to thousands of calories. Diet soft drinks, while low on calories, have other health problems. It is best to evade them altogether. Go for fresh juices instead. They taste great and are a much healthier option. They act as a fun and filling snack between meals.


Try to drink a lot of water throughout the day, especially when you wake up and before you sleep. Water is king. That is the golden rule. Water helps streamline the fat burning process as well as detoxify the body. If your body is low on water at anytime during the day, the body reduces energy burning. This translates into lower fat loss. If you are exercising, make sure you are well hydrated because you will lose a lot of water to sweat.


Try green tea. Green tea is also a great substitute for coffee or black tea. It is rich in substances called catechins. A study published in 2005 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates that catechins may trigger weight loss by stimulating the body to burn calories and decreasing body fat. Green tea also has antioxidant, antiviral, and anticancer properties.


Implement Activity Into Your Life


Try to take the stairs rather than the elevator or escalator. Think of it as an exercise that needs neither special equipment nor dedicated time.


Get in the habit of a brisk walk every day, may be by parking your car a few blocks away from work in the morning. If you usually take public transportation, get off a station or two away from your target and walk the remaining distance. Besides being refreshing, it will burn some energy. Coupled with lower calories intake, this will lead the body to burn fat cells.


Exercise the Right Way


As mentioned before, sit-ups and crouches are the biggest belly fat loss myth. To lose fat, you have to work up a sweat. Cardiovascular exercises, also called aerobic exercises, are the best way to do that. These include a vast array of workouts such as running, power walking, swimming, cycling, and rope jumping. There are also trendy new options such as aerobic dancing, which can be fun and exciting besides helping you lose weight.


Most experts recommend aerobic exercising for 20 to 50 minutes three to five times a week. Besides raising your metabolism, and thus burning more calories to release energy, cardio exercises have great health benefits such as reducing cardiovascular diseases, which is the leading cause of death around the world.


Anaerobic exercises, such as weight-lifting, can have a beneficial effect by raising your basal metabolic rate (BMR). Simply put, this refers to the amount of energy your body burns when not exercising to maintain its functions. Anaerobic exercises increase your muscle mass, which require more energy uptake. Raising your BMR means that your body will constantly be burning more calories, which will lead to reducing fat deposits all over.


Activate your core. This term refers to one of the most effective yet simple ways of having a flat tummy. All you have to do is draw your bellybutton into your spine and hold it there while breathing naturally. See how long you can hold, and try to better your time every day. The best thing about this is that you can do it while sitting at your computer, standing, or walking. Try to set alarms on your computer or phone several times throughout the day to remind you to "activate your core."


Mental State


While this may all sound too overwhelming, it is not impossible to be able to achieve these changes in your lifestyle if you have the right mindset. By time, you will be able to naturally know what foods are not good for you. Even better, you will not be craving them anymore.


Incorporating exercise into our busy lifestyles can be tricky. But if you try to make exercise a fun family activity, or a friends get-together activity, then it will be much easier to maintain on the long run.


And the secret lies in the idea of the long run. You have to take the decision that losing belly fat is going to take time. There is no easy way or shortcut. However, the gradual change in your life will ensure that you are able to keep your new lifestyle. And this will eventually improve the quality of life for you. And in less than 10 weeks, you are bound to see signs of your stomach fat receding. And you will be wearing those clothes that you stuffed in the back of the closet in no time!


www.islamonline.net



The Pros And Cons Of Caffeine Consumption

By : Scott White


In order to optimize health and fitness, an individual needs to monitor their diet while maintaining an exercise regimen. Of course, the usual suspects need to be monitored, including fats, carbohydrates, sugars and proteins. Often though, one of the things not monitored is caffeine intake. According to experts, there are pros and cons to consuming caffeine. Consuming caffeine can be an unwilling act because not only does coffee have caffeine, but so do many sodas, energy drinks, and anything containing chocolate.


According to researchers, too much caffeine ingestion can lead to gastrointestinal problems including stomach problems like ulcers, and impaired digestion due to raised acidity levels in the stomach. Some individuals have also experienced heartburn as a result of too much caffeine being consumed. Even decaffeinated beverages have been proven to cause the same effects as caffeinated beverages. Though, the biggest contributor to the aforementioned effects is coffee.


Research studies show that coffee is addictive, and causes numerous adverse conditions to the body. Coffee has been shown to reduce the production of DHEA as well as other anti-aging hormones in the body. Thus, an individual who ingests more coffee than the average individual ages more quickly. Also, scientific research is beginning to show that coffee drinkers are more at risk for having a heart attack. Research has also determined that coffee contains a compound known as Torpedoed, which is known to increase cholesterol levels in the body. To make matters worse, once an individual has developed an addiction to coffee, it is very difficult to alleviate the addiction, and withdrawal symptoms are wicked. Symptoms include constipation, depression, drowsiness, headaches, moodiness, loss of appetite, and in some cases nausea and vomiting. To make matters even worse, long-term exposure to caffeine can lead to sterility. Scientific research has made a correlation with consumption of too much caffeine, and in some cases, specifically coffee, to reduced sperm counts in males, as well as development of defective sperm by males.


Having said all of that, there are actually some positive attributes associated with consuming moderate amounts of caffeine. Caffeine is an excellent stimulant, and very useful in providing a quick jolt of energy. Used infrequently as a stimulant every now and again, caffeinated beverages including coffee can be used to "burn the midnight oil" at work, or can be helpful in cramming during finals week.


Scientific studies have also indicated that caffeine, and more specifically, coffee, can lower the risk for men to develop prostate cancer. Although studies are still in the preliminary stages, a link between coffee, boron, one of the nutrients found in coffee, and lower rates of prostate cancer have been established. According to the research, men who consume higher percentages of boron than the average man have a 64% less likely chance of developing prostate cancer. Incidentally, boron occurs naturally in wine, almonds, and almond flavored coffees.


So, what's the bottom line? Overall, drinking a cup or two of coffee every week is probably OK for you, and will not likely lead to difficulties. However, if you're stopping at Starbucks at least once daily, having a Red Bull for your workout, and then having a chocolate bar after your lunch, you're probably consuming a bit too much caffeine, and are putting yourself at risk.


www.articlehealthandfitness.com



The Health Benefits of Fasting

Will Carroll


There has been much contention in the scientific field about whether or not fasting is beneficial to one's health. Fasting is an integral part of many of the major religions including Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Many are dubious as to whether the physiological effects are as beneficial as the spiritual promoted by these religions. There is a significant community of alternative healers who believe that fasting can do wonders for the human body. This paper will look at the arguments presented by these healers in an attempt to raise awareness of the possible physiological benefits that may result from fasting.



Fasting technically commences within the first twelve to twenty-four hours of the fast. A fast does not chemically begin until the carbohydrate stores in the body begin to be used as an energy source. The fast will continue as long as fat and carbohydrate stores are used for energy, as opposed to protein stores. Once protein stores begin to be depleted for energy (resulting in loss of muscle mass) a person is technically starving.



The benefits of fasting must be preceded by a look at the body's progression when deprived of food. Due to the lack of incoming energy, the body must turn to its own resources, a function called autolysis. Autolysis is the breaking down of fat stores in the body in order to produce energy. The liver is in charge of converting the fats into a chemical called a ketone body, "the metabolic substances acetoacetic acid and beta-hydroxybutyric acid" , and then distributing these bodies throughout the body via the blood stream. "When this fat utilization occurs, free fatty acids are released into the blood stream and are used by the liver for energy." The less one eats, the more the body turns to these stored fats and creates these ketone bodies, the accumulation of which is referred to as ketosis.



Detoxification is the foremost argument presented by advocates of fasting. "Detoxification is a normal body process of eliminating or neutralizing toxins through the colon, liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph glands, and skin." . This process is precipitated by fasting because when food is no longer entering the body, the body turns to fat reserves for energy. "Human fat is valued at 3,500 calories per pound," a number that would lead one to believe that surviving on one pound of fat every day would provide a body with enough energy to function normally. These fat reserves were created when excess glucose and carbohydrates were not used for energy or growth, not excreted, and therefore converted into fat. When the fat reserves are used for energy during a fast, it releases the chemicals from the fatty acids into the system which are then eliminated through the aforementioned organs. Chemicals not found in food but absorbed from one's environment, such as DDT, are also stored in fat reserves that may be released during a fast. One fasting advocate tested his own urine, feces and sweat during an extended fast and found traces of DDT in each.



A second prescribed benefit of fasting is the healing process that begins in the body during a fast. During a fast energy is diverted away from the digestive system due to its lack of use and towards the metabolism and immune system. The healing process during a fast is precipitated by the body's search for energy sources. Abnormal growths within the body, tumors and the like, do not have the full support of the body's supplies and therefore are more susceptible to autolysis. Furthermore, "production of protein for replacement of damaged cells (protein synthesis) occurs more efficiently because fewer 'mistakes' are made by the DNA/RNA genetic controls which govern this process." A higher efficiency in protein synthesis results in healthier cells, tissues and organs. This is one reason that animals stop eating when they are wounded, and why humans lose hunger during influenza. Hunger has been proven absent in illnesses such as gastritis, tonsillitis and colds. Therefore, when one is fasting, the person is consciously diverting energy from the digestive system to the immune system.



In addition, there is a reduction in core body temperature. This is a direct result of the slower metabolic rate and general bodily functions. Following a drop in blood sugar level and using the reserves of glucose found in liver glycogen, the basal metabolic rate (BMR) is reduced in order to conserve as much energy within the body as can be provided. Growth hormones are also released during a fast, due to the greater efficiency in hormone production.



Finally, the most scientifically proven advantage to fasting is the feeling of rejuvenation and extended life expectancy. Part of this phenomenon is caused by a number of the benefits mentioned above. A slower metabolic rate, more efficient protein production, an improved immune system, and the increased production of hormones contributes to this long-term benefit of fasting. In addition to the Human Growth Hormone that is released more frequently during a fast, an anti-aging hormone is also produced more efficiently. "The only reliable way to extend the lifespan of a mammal is under-nutrition without malnutrition." A study was performed on earthworms that demonstrated the extension of life due to fasting. The experiment was performed in the 1930s by isolating one worm and putting it on a cycle of fasting and feeding. The isolated worm outlasted its relatives by 19 generations, while still maintaining its youthful physiological traits. The worm was able to survive on its own tissue for months. Once the size of the worm began to decrease, the scientists would resume feeding it at which point it showed great vigor and energy. "The life-span extension of these worms was the equivalent of keeping a man alive for 600 to 700 years."



In conclusion, it seems that there are many reasons to consider fasting as a benefit to one's health. The body rids itself of the toxins that have built up in our fat stores throughout the years. The body heals itself, repairs all the damaged organs during a fast. And finally there is good evidence to show that regulated fasting contributes to longer life. However, many doctors warn against fasting for extended periods of time without supervision. There are still many doctors today who deny all of these points and claim that fasting is detrimental to one's health and have evidence to back their statements. The idea of depriving a body of what society has come to view as so essential to our survival in order to heal continues to be a topic of controversy.


www.ummah.com


It's a myth that huqqah or sheeshah smoking is safer than smoking cigarettes. The tobacco is no less toxic. Huqqah smokers actually inhale more tobacco smoke than do cigarette smokers because of the massive volume of smoke they inhale. Huqqah is a water pipe. It has a growing popularity among teens and young adults in the west. The trend of huqqah smoking has doctors and public health experts concerned because - despite claims to the contrary by many users - smoking from a huqqah is just as dangerous as smoking cigarettes.

The huqqah device:

  • A base, or smoke chamber, which is partially filled with water;

  • A bowl, which contains tobacco and the heating source;

  • A pipe that connects the bowl to the base and dips into the water in the base;

  • A hose, a second tube in the pipe that does not dip into the water but opens into air in the base and allows users to inhale the huqqah smoke.

When a smoker inhales through the tube, a pressure difference forces air past the heating source and heats the tobacco, which gives off smoke. The smoke is pulled away from the tobacco and passes through the water and into the smoke chamber — from which it is inhaled by the smoker.

Harms of Egypt’s national addiction

Egypt is trying to combat its population's huqqah habit. Dr Fatima al-Awa of World Health Organisation's (WHO) regional office says, "One hour with a sheeshah is equal to 100-200 cigarettes." She added that for a similar nicotine intake a sheeshah exposes users to more smoke than cigarettes. A WHO study found that the regular waterpipe smoker is exposed to larger amounts of nicotine, carbon monoxide and some other toxins than the typical cigarette smoker. It points out that the force needed to pull the air through the hose allows the smoke to reach much deeper into the lungs.

It's a myth that huqqah or sheeshah smoking is safer than smoking cigarettes. The tobacco is no less toxic. Huqqah smokers actually inhale more tobacco smoke than do cigarette smokers because of the massive volume of smoke they inhale. Huqqah is a water pipe. It has a growing popularity among teens and young adults in the west. The trend of huqqah smoking has doctors and public health experts concerned because - despite claims to the contrary by many users - smoking from a huqqah is just as dangerous as smoking cigarettes.

www.sanha.org.za

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