Congratulations Class of 2014

The month of May ushers new graduates from the class of 2014. While there are many speeches about hopes and dreams of better futures, the class of 2014 confronts challenges of a new century. What lies ahead?

Historians of every age say that history repeats itself over and over. The class of 2014 faces new challenges that classes of previous years and decades may not have dreamed. The eyes and minds of the class of 2014 can’t imagine what people of the class of 1974 or 1984 looked forward to. In the 19th century, the purported father of socialism, Karl Marx, wrote that history repeats itself – First as history, second as farce. I like George Bernard Shaw’s 20th century statement, “If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.” The class of 2014 are set to shape the history for their future generations. Will history continue to repeat itself?

Most of the college graduates of the class of 2014 were born to a society of computers, mobile phones, mobile music and video. Their reality doesn’t include any memories of what life was like )and how things moved) before personal computers. They grew in an age of microchip electronics. In a way, they are pitched to face an open era that is not much different than 1914.

In 1914, graduates faced a world of electricity. Many parts of the USA no longer had gas lighting. The world was free with opportunities to harness this energy for improving everyday living.

The phonograph and radio brought information and music that was virtually impossible to access before. Music changed to suit the masses instead of the few. Cars were replacing horses and walkers on streets. Any young adult that could attend college probably had parents that owned a Ford Model T motorcar. This gas powered vehicle replaced 20 horses and achieved a maximum speed of 45 miles per hour. This was impossible a decade earlier.

Vehicles went into the sky as airplanes. They helped replace steamships as faster ways of travel. They were able to treat plantings with particles to prevent insect and rodent infestation. They were able to fight and win wars. Many of the class of 2014 lived to see televisions replace radios at home and many saw black-&-white become color. Many saw the dreams of tomorrow exhibited in fairs around the world. 1914 boasted 11 such fairs.

In 1914, with greater mobility than ever, the first world war began. Compared to the 750,000 declared dead during the United States Civil War battles from 1861 to 1865 seemed tiny to the estimated 10 million military deaths of World War One from 1914 to 1919. Monarchies fell and Communism emerged in Russia. The class of 1914 survived two world wars.

At each generation born in the 20th century, the threat of USA war involvement was always present. While nuclear war is restrained to avoid an Armageddon, the threat of wars to keep the peace is ironically repeated. The numbers of dead and wounded escalate. Many of these were happy graduates. What war lies ahead for the class of 2014?

The 1950’s brought many affordable electric appliances from washers and dryers to toasters and gas or electric ovens that modernized every home. Household cleaners became more efficient. These were the products that were produced earlier by graduates of the class of 1914.

From 1900 to 1999, people got together in movie theaters, at home, at stadiums, at churches, and at rallies. It was a century of upheavals and the revisionist downfall of institutions and lifestyles that those from the class of 1914 may have held dearly. The dominating philosophy within the USA and the class of 1914 was to ensure that each USA working citizen had the opportunity to have money and service in times of unemployment, disability, retirement, and poverty.

Gone were the milkmen and bakeries that made home deliveries. The internet was beginning to replace paper and many sites were laying the foundations of social media. Google wasn’t yet around but search engines were just evolving. Many of those have fallen into the history books. Most of those books may be viewed on smartphones and tablets today.

Congratulations Class of 2014 is in order. As you seek opportunities to shape your lives and careers, your paths aren’t as clearly defined as you might have dreamed. Your dreams may come true or fade away. Things may occur beyond imagination.

Members of the Class of 2014 need only look at social media for interaction. Televisions might be replaced by tablets and tablets might be replaced by virtual-reality glasses. This is the era where money is abstract but consumable commodities are empowerments. Many more businesses and institutions are dying out as online services become mainstays instead of options.

Crime is moving beyond the streets into your hands when online, sharing, or downloading apps. No matter where you are, you will find yourself susceptible to crime against your identity. It won’t be because of race, ethnicity, or gender. It will attack your existence through greater online dependencies. Newfound mobility may backfire. You may find yourself one of many victimized. Is history reflected online?

Congratulations Class of 2014 and celebrate what is to come. Remember to fund your futures and find the paths that lead to happiness. The future holds many promises but reaching for them may require newer tools and perspectives. Like the class of 1914, live longer, better, and see how your future generations live in a world that you hope will be better than today.

In 1954, George Orwell’s 1984 was published and people read about a dreadful dystopian future where a dictator monitored your every move and each word. Recently, Edward Snowden revealed that this vision may not have been so far fetched. We have found that some Presidents secretly recorded their conversations. We hear that corporations and nations can tap into the content we present on our mobile devices. Was George Orwell’s vision somewhat accurate? Class of 2014 members, please don’t let the follies of the past repeat in your futures.

Oil pulling as ayurvedic way to dental health

Dental care in the USA is very expensive in the course of a lifetime. Methods to control costs and reduce oral illnesses seem difficult to take hold. Asian countries use traditional methods bred into daily lifestyles. These are economical essentials that help keep teeth and gums well. When it comes to survival, freedom from the agony of dental pain has been seen as necessary survival techniques. Many aren’t scientifically proven but, in far less civilized areas that USA and Europe, oral care traditions seem to work.

If you were aware of ways to reduce the stress of visiting your dentist for cavity and gum issues, would you do them? There are many articles about dental health and wellness. There are many ways and means to foster routine oral hygiene. One of those may not be in your medicine cabinet. It’s usually in your kitchen pantry. It is oil. Using oil as a mouthwash might help reduce plaque and gum disease by pulling germs from your mouth. Why use mouthwash when you can clean your mouth with affordable oils? These are even Food Stamp approved!

Drinking a little red wine each day may be good for teeth, according to a recent study. Are we witnessing an amazing shift from ordinary chemical approaches to the use of plant derived sources for health? Are these approaches practical? Can they really work? Swishing sesame oil in your mouth for a few minutes is also reportedly good for teeth and gums. Would you do that?

Amazing things about human civilization are the eclectic and varied ways and methods people have used to survive at different times and in different areas. For all we hope to share, there are many differences. Dental health and care is vital to health. Beyond traditional dental approaches, Oil Pulling is an Ayurvedic approach to maintaining healthy teeth, gums, and overall oral hygiene. It uses an essential food ingredient to promote dental and facial health.

Ayurveda (often called Ayurvedic in the West) is an ancient traditional medicine developed in Asia. Ayurvedic medicine is one of the world’s oldest medical systems, emerging in India more than 3,000 years ago. Among people living in and around India, Ayurveda is considered a traditional health care system. The term “Ayurveda” combines the Sanskrit words ayur (life) and veda (science or knowledge). In western civilization, Ayurvedic approaches are frowned upon and few western scientific studies have been designed to effectively examine purported health benefits.

Ayurveda never was intended to focus on oral care but, as it evolved, practitioners believed that the condition of the mouth may influence the energy in the entire body. Ayurveda tends to recommend brushing, oil pulling and chewing sticks as ways to promote better oral health. Western dentists do associate dental health with certain vascular diseases. These may be heart attacks and strokes. Many ancient practices used in other countries are frowned upon in the USA because they lack scientific evidence. If your mouth’s condition is one path to wellness, does science always rule?

Considering that the current population of the Republic of India is estimated to be about 1,261,527,930 (approximately 4-times that of the United States 317 million people, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates). When adding the population of Europe in 2014 estimating about 741.2 million people, India has more people than Western civilization combined. While India has adopted more western medical technologies, Ayurvedic medicine dominated the India approach through the 1950’s. Ayurvedic medicine has been somewhat invalidated by the western countries but has been supportive of India’s population for over 30 centuries.

Oil pulling follows a simple premise. Oil pulls bacteria, fungi, and other particles from teeth and gums. The purpose behind the oil pulling is to take the toxins, bacteria, germs, and other bad stuff from the mouth and into the oil. The plaque from the teeth adheres to the oil and the oil actually turns a milky color as it swishes around through the mouth. Spitting this milky white oil means you have pulled many germs from your mouth.

According to Ayurvedic discipline, the best time to do this is early morning, before brushing teeth. Sesame is the traditional oil but extra virgin olive and coconut oils offer similar effects.

According to India Dental Journal study, “oil pulling therapy showed a reduction in the plaque index, modified gingival scores, and total colony count of aerobic microorganisms in the plaque of adolescents with plaque-induced gingivitis.” Another India study shows similar results. Samples are small and remain an Ayurvedic slant for oil pulling.

As a westerner, how palatable is it to swish oil in your mouth for a few minutes each morning?

Many Americans don’t brush properly and find flossing tortuous. Would they swish oil in lieu of ordinary mouthwash?

There are many that do oil pulling. There are enough to prompt the American Dental Association to not comment until further study.

Oil pulling is a conscientious approach to oral care and those that practice it as a routine may benefit but that “may” remains to be defined. Being conscientious is the first positive step. As a way to offer worldwide oral care these oils are plentiful in supply and can be distributed as a dental procedure.

If oil pulling is a way to help even a few Americans toward conscientious dental practices, oil pulling could be noted as an alternative. Yet how acceptable will the taste of oil be to the wider American audience? Of those I asked, they cringed at the thought of it. Is oil pulling something you want to add to your morning ablutions lifestyle?

With little success, dental professional recommendations of routine brushing, flossing, and other practices may seem to fall on deaf ears. The USA Center of Disease Control cites that, despite a high level of dental visits, an average of 20% patients have untreated dental issues. Few people adhere to traditional oral care habits. Oil pulling is, in the USA, very non-traditional and not clinically approved. Yet, in an area like India, oral care is a significant part on the overall quality of life. While modern methods are taught and used, the oil pulling practice is part of a lifestyle following old traditions.

I have found that dunking a Q-tip into olive or sesame oil and following my gum line is more palatable than swishing oil in my mouth. Does it work? The oil and swab do become milky-white. Time will tell as I go to future dental maintenance visits. I’ll find out if oil pulling is helpful.

When it comes to wellness and life extension, often science is mixed with faith. Until western science or the FDA examines and approves oil pulling, then oil pulling will be perceived as faith in the USA. With FDA approval of oil pulling, watch the price of oil jump! Asking everyone to commit to a 15-minute rinsing routine each morning will not be easy. Oil pulling will be a tough sell in the USA.

Flossing habit saves teeth rids gum disease

Will routine dental flossing possibly save your life?

Everyone starts and stops dieting. People enter and exit food and drug rehabilitation centers. People are less conscientious about preserving their smiles but smile quality is often a significant part of the cover that people are judged by others. How is your smile? When was the last time you flossed it?

Most dentists suggest that brushing and flossing between routine dental visits will preserve your smile. Flossing will actually reduce costly cavities, gum disease, and loss of teeth. Unlike eating, smoking, and drinking, flossing appears to be a difficult habit to make. Gum disease treatment may be financially exhausting as you pay dentists lots of money. One way to assure that your finances are solid may be an investment in and frequent use of dental floss. It’s a habit that may be worth making.

The activity of keeping the mouth clean goes back thousands of years to Buddha, the God figure of Buddhism. Buddhism is believed to have originated 600 years before the common era. It has been recorded that he would use a “tooth stick” as part of his personal hygiene regimen. This may have been the first known toothpick!

The Greeks and Romans ate burned bread that helped remove food particles between teeth. Burning bread was used by soldiers as a means of preserving rations. There is no doubt the oral hygiene was less significant as they fought and expanded their empire. Could they have been so successful because of their oral hygiene?

Breath quality was one of the ways to distinguish classes. By the 1800’s, most upper-class people realized that fresh breath was socially proper and attractive. It was common to use herbs like mint, sage, clove and myrrh in a paste of honey to clean the mouth. Possibly unknown to most, honey may have abated cavity formation as bacteria are less likely to colonize in high sugar environments.

In the 1900’s toothbrushes became more common and powders and pastes were marketed by apothecaries and soap companies. The breath quality rift between classes was less distinct. Up until the 1960’s, advertising promoted that brushing teeth between meals helped brighten your smile and prevent cavities. In those days of slow drills and inadequate anesthetics, having cavities were associated with pain through getting them and treating them. Dentists were seen as monsters.

There still was a common misconception that aging was correlated with tooth loss. By the time you reached your 60’s, most of your teeth would have been gone. That belief has changed. The focus shifted from teeth to gum health. Dentists recommended that oral hygiene should include gum massage. Electric toothbrushes like Oral-B and Sonicare help users brush more thoroughly and gently massage the gum line, the line separating the gum from the exposed part of the tooth.

Going back to Buddha, the practice of toothpicks was also fairly common but less socially acceptable. Slippage could result in accidental gum lacerations. So in the 1800s, the silk thread used for stitching became popular with a few for removing particles between teeth. In 1900, Johnson & Johnson started to market this as floss. Eventually, nylon replaced silk as the material for dental floss. Nylon’s consistent texture and resistance to shredding were an improvement over the silk versions. New synthetic materials based on polyester and advanced materials such as Gore-Tex are used for flossing. Different textures such as spongy floss and soft floss, plus added flavors help make flossing easier. If you don’t find string floss easy to use, many pre-threaded floss sticks are available.

In the movies, especially color movies, the big-screen promoted a shiny white smile. Movie studios hired dentists to help whiten and correct smiles, often with crowns to cover stained or crooked teeth. All those great smiles were manufactured and marketed. If you want to be seen visually, your smile needs to be perfect.

Cosmetic dentistry is an elective procedure and, often, not covered by dental insurance. With today’s implant technology, a perfect smile could cost about $50,000 or more. When you hear the saying “100,000 dollar smile”, you are close to what it actually costs.

Yet, if those smiles are crowns over natural teeth (more economical), those foundations are subject to damage by gum disease. In many cases, those crowns may need replacement by more expensive implants.

With all the wisdom of preserving your teeth through old age and assuring your smiles through your life span, why is flossing a hard sell?

Dental floss is a very low-price product and not routinely advertised in the media. There may be a psychological block involved. Bad habits are hard to break. Good habits are hard to start.

All the media about obesity, drug abuse, smoking, fitness, and alcoholism usually fail to reach and shift their target audience. There are many social and internal mechanisms that make these habits complex. Flossing is simpler and instructed by most dentists. Intent to floss and habitually flossing are two different things. Most adults were raised to brush teeth. Few were exposed to flossing. That is one simple reason why flossing is a hard habit to integrate among the many habits you already follow.

Your teeth and gums are intimately related. What surrounds the teeth and keeps them in place is more than just the delicate pink flesh we call our gums. As a group, all these structures are called the periodontium. The treatment of gums and their diseases is called periodontics. The gingiva is the pink flesh we call our gums. It lies over the bones of the jaw and hugs the tooth tightly at its neck. The earliest stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. At this stage, gums can become red, inflamed and bleed easily. The later stages, when bone loss and possibly tooth loss can occur, are known as periodontitis. At that point, you need to see a dental specialist aptly called a periodontist. Flossing might have prevented this from happening.

Over 50% of adults had gingivitis on an average of 3 to 4 teeth. The most common cause is food particle buildup that attracts germs that forms into hard plaque deposits over time. Plaque deposits are cities of germs that use your gums and teeth as food sources. You don’t feel them and you don’t see them. They are there and they’re hungry. Food particles attract more of them. Brushing frequently helps reduce plaque buildup but flossing habitually after eating adds further protection against swarms of new germ immigrants and colonialists.

If you complain about dental costs and are susceptible to gingivitis (common form of gum disease), you may save thousands of dollars if you make flossing a habit. Flossing is the best way to save money and preserve dental health. Apart from cost, the treatment for gingivitis is often invasive surgery. Your dentist slices your gum apart to clean out infectious tissue and sometimes needs to add artificial fillers to rebuild lost foundations that are causing your teeth to loosen. This is exacting surgery with possibly painful after-effects.

The point is most dentists and dental hygienists caution patients about the importance of flossing at each cleaning or exam. A thorough dental office cleaning usually includes measurements of gum pockets between teeth. This is usually done by a dental probe at the front and rear of each tooth. The dental professional is measuring for soft pockets in millimeter gradients. If a pocket is 1 to 3 millimeters, you have healthy gums. If 4 or 5 millimeters, you are warned of a problem area. If more than 5 millimeters, you probably need gum disease treatment or surgery. The exam is usually done after the cleaning when gum pockets are tighter after Cavitron is used for procedure.

There are social stigmas that conflict with flossing away from home. Using floss picks are very convenient for use in office and restaurant bathrooms. Flossing picks include pre-threaded floss and a specially designed pick. They are pocketable. Using them for about a minute after a meal helps remove food particles stuck between teeth. At home, I usually use a floss pick while watching TV. It’s an activity suitable for most couch potatoes.

Is a floss pick more effective than floss string? Studies indicate that there is no significant difference between picks and strings, as far as performance is concerned. The key difference is that floss picks may be more convenient and easier to use than strings. If floss picks make flossing more handy for frequent use, frequency is always the preferred method.

Are there flossing alternatives? Many people use chewing gum as an alternative. The American Dental Association approves use of sugarless chewing gum as, perhaps, the most convenient way to clear food particles around teeth when away from home. They do caution that chewing gum should not replace brushing and flossing.

Probably more for home use, a Proxabrush is often an ideal alternative to flossing. You can even pack one in your suitcase when traveling. Some people enjoy the feel of the handle, much like a tooth brush. The tips are replaceable. The familiar feel of this instrument may help some people adapt to using it more often.

Then there are dental rubber tips as a popular alternative. Use these to stimulate the gum line between, front and rear of teeth. It may not be as thorough as flossing. Part of the problem with gum disease is the reduction of blood flow to the tissue. Using a rubber tip stimulator helps increase blood flow. If your gums are red and puffy, not only will flossing lower the puffiness so will the massaging. Your gums should come to a point and be light pink, as healthy gums should appear. Sometimes I use a gum stimulator while watching TV. It feels like I’m pampering my gums.

Some dentists suggest using an oral irrigator. An oral irrigator is a home care device that uses a stream of pulsating water to remove food particles and stimulate gum tissue. The concept is a good one. Most people that bought one generally can’t get into the habit of routine use. While most are cordless, many don’t become familiar with that splashy feel while bending over the sink. Some dentists say a thorough brushing is as (if not more) effective than an oral irrigator.

Most electric toothbrushes have a timer. Usually about 2-minutes, it allows you to thoroughly focus on teeth and gums one quadrant at a time. If you feel you need more time, please do indulge yourself. Do not rush through the process. Get your two minutes and try to do it (at least) in the morning and at night. Flossing and chewing gum may be great during the active away-from-home hours.

If tooth loss doesn’t seem to bother you, consider that gum disease may lead to cardiovascular problems that may be life threatening. A blood-test inflammatory indicator called C-Reactive Protein is an index marker for overall body inflammation. Gum disease and bleeding gum disease may contribute to this score. A very high score may be associated to an increased risk of heart attacks or strokes. Bear in mind, though, that high C-Reactive Protein may ne a symptom of rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and several other health conditions. The exact relationship of gum disease and cardiovascular incidents has not yet been fully studied for a solid determination.

Studies indicate that older people have the highest rates of periodontal disease. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that over 70% of Americans 65 and older have periodontitis. A very small study in Florida supposes an association of gum disease and dementia. Of course this is a tiny study measuring bacteria presence. There are many debated reasons for cognitive decline and dementia. One might want to add this to them but there is no way to generalize thos relationship. If, however, an older person is suffering from cardiovascular events, gum disease might factor in.

More people focus on clothes, hair, face, body appearance. They generally disregard what’s going on in their mouths. You may have a fantastic appearance but you may suffer from gum disease and tooth loss. Though there may be genetic links, treating gum disease can put a considerable dent in your budget and finances. If you can add flossing to your lists of must-do habits, you can control gum and tooth health. Routine dental exams are necessary but you are left with more money (and health) to enjoy personal indulgences toward happier living. Make flossing part of your life plan. Is your smile worth it?

Resveratrol life isn’t sweeter with wine

Praised Resveratrol nutritional supplements, touting wide health benefits, are being questioned by a new study. Back in the 1960’s, Linus Pauling endorsed mega-doses of Vitamin C might ward off the common cold. Doses of practically every vitamin have been tweaked to help support many health benefits, with multiple vitamins you can hardly swallow. A couple years back, Green Coffee Extract supplements touted rapid weight loss benefits. All these were supported by news and medical media. Practically all have faded from star status due to ill-gotten claims or noticed side effects. Star or starless, sales of nutritional supplements topped 11 billion dollars in 2012 USA sales. Are people gaining health benefits? Is it hype or faith? Do these behave like placebos producing a vast placebo-effect for those that believe in supplements as a lifestyle?

There’s an irony in research and often it’s hard to conjure any thoughts of conclusiveness. Just last month, the Scripps Institute released Resveratrol modulates the inflammatory response via an estrogen receptor-signal integration network. Just about two weeks later, a group from Johns Hopkins debunks Resveratrol’s effectiveness as a supplement. The disunity among science research may confuse the masses with ideas that are drawn from inconclusive conclusions. Is Resveratrol the elixir of love and life that many purport it to be? Is it possible that it may and may not, simultaneously?

People are told that a polyphenol called Resveratrol, found in red wine and chocolate, can prolong life. A recent study among Italians has found it has no effect on mortality rates. Resveratrol has attracted a lot of attention owing to its effects on inflammation, carcinogenesis, and longevity in various studies that spawned many Resveratrol supplements on store shelves.

This study, however, examined 2 villages in the Chianti area in a population-based sample of 783 community-dwelling men and women 65 years or older, from 1998 to 2009. In these regions, consumption of red wine each day is normal. In areas where red wine isn’t a staple, will Resveratrol reduce inflammation and add longevity. The researchers concluded that “resveratrol levels achieved with a Western diet did not have a substantial influence on health status and mortality risk of the population in this study.”

There are many other polyphenols in red wine and chocolate that serve as antioxidants. Supplementation may not offer the full benefits. In addition, few make lifestyle choices to continue supplementation. The areas of Tuscany are key wine production areas. The population consumes grapes and red wine routinely, often through several generations.

Popping pills is no alternative for the health benefits of a habitual diet of natural foods. Adding dark chocolate (70% or greater), wine, and grapes to your diet is likely more beneficial.

Chocolate has natural fats and grapes or wine have lots of natural carbohydrates. One can assume that the people of Tuscany are busy gathering grapes and manufacturing wine, both active chores. Whether the Resveratrol from grapes will effect life spans in more sedentary countries is still questionable. The study, however, does indicate that Resveratrol supplements themselves offer no measurable benefits.

I admit that I use two nutritional supplements for controlling my metabolic blood panel results. Due to other conditions, drugs offer wide side effects. I do accept that I am a guinea pig and monitor blood tests regularly. The results are generally successful. Do I see a wider population able to follow my lifestyle discipline? I don’t think so. My case is unique.

Less unique is the use of supplements in sports among competitive players. The Olympics and major sport franchises frown on this behavior. The problem seems to be growing and harsh penalties are dispensed. Do these supplements, then, really enhance performance?

Supplements are not drugs. They are legally viewed as food by the FDA but supplementation claims are not necessarily scientifically supported in the United States. Other countries may have designed studies, however.

Many foods, especially cereals and juices, have added nutritive supplements. Getting 100% allowances on 10 vitamins in some cereals mean they’ve added vitamins. Wheat, corn, or rice don’t have that nutrient supply. Raw cereals have few (if any) vitamins. Just read the ingredients beneath the nutrition panel.

The differences of these nutrients are bioavailability or how well these are absorbed by your body. In natural foods, naturally occurring polyphenols and phytochemicals aid in your body’s absorption of these nutrients. Processed foods may use processed nutrients that are not readily absorbed, if at all.

We are the descendants of countless generations who have survived on natural foods. These supplements were not around before the late 1800’s. Of course there have been incidences among sea voyagers developing diseases due to lack of available fruits. In extreme cases like this, supplements are necessary.

Nutrition is the products of the foods you eat. If your diet contains fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, meat and dairy, you should be getting what you need. If all you eat are burgers and shakes, a daily multivitamin might be fine. Blood tests often have panels to determine whether you are getting proper nutrition from your diet.

So when you read research that a compound in grapes, red wine could help treat multiple types of cancer, that the role of resveratrol may be a potential but isn’t a definite helper within a specific case. On the other hand, use of resveratrol supplements can worsen certain Multiple Sclerosis symptoms (in mice).

Resveratrol is in the eye of many researchers. Despite all the studies demonstrating pros and cons, resveratrol use from diet or supplementation needs more studying to offer solid evidence that it is a spectacular nutrient.

So far, resveratrol life isn’t sweeter with wine unless you lead an active life and follow a good diet. Nutritional fads come and go. Wellness often requires a marriage with nature and movement. Barring serious illnesses, the best methods of survival is relying on what your ancestors did. After all, you made it to where you are. Want a cup of wine?

Carbohydrates and Weight Loss

When it comes to weight loss, carbohydrates are often viewed as the bad guys. Yet, we are the descendants of people that have eaten carbohydrates as food staples. Why are carbohydrates getting such bad press? Can they actually help with weight loss? What should you know?

As you escalate upwards on clothing sizes and notice bulges where you don’t want them, it may be time to consider weight loss. Many diets over the past 10 years have been lashing out on those nasty carbohydrates (carbs) and are professing that minimizing carbs help lead to weight loss quickly. The problem is we love our carbs. We need our carbs.

Carbohydrates are sugars and starches that are naturally found in most foods, excluding meat and fish. Basically, if it’s a plant (fruit, vegetable, legume,grain), juice, or dairy product, there are naturally occurring sugars or starches. Foods high in carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet.

Historically, people had high carbohydrate breakfasts because these natural sugars and starches provide bursts of energy required to start the day. In those days, people worked on farms and ranches. There were no cars and more people walked where ever they needed to travel to or rode on horses (that required upkeep). Carbs were considered great for most times in human history and, currently, in most uncivilized areas.

In civilized countries, sedentary lives suffer from too much carbohydrate intake. People drive cars, work with personal computers, and all sorts of mobile devices. Physical activity is more of an option as many more people choose to go home and watch TV for a few hours. Is this you?

Carbohydrates provide the body with glucose, which is converted to energy used to support bodily functions and physical activity. Your brain requires carbs for thinking as do many cellular networks. Sedentary lifestyles, following traditional eating habits formed for thousands of years, find that their trim bodies grow larger and they can’t figure out why.

A key problem is in society itself. Many “bought” foods use processed grains and add sugars to make them more palatable. These carbs are fine if you plan to go running for fifteen minutes after eating. The reason is these are simplex carbohydrates. These have simple, easily digestible carbs that are quickly absorbed by the body.

Examples of these are:
◾Table sugar
◾Brown sugar (including raw and organic sugar)
◾Corn syrup
◾Honey
◾Maple syrup
◾Molasses
◾Jams, jellies
◾Fruit drinks
◾Soft drinks
◾Candy

Then there are complex carbohydrates that naturally occur in fruits and vegetables. The key difference between simple and complex carbs isn’t easily seen by your eye. It’s at microscopic levels. A carbohydrate is a molecule. Complex carbs have larger molecules than simple carbohydrates.

To understand this, you must be aware that our planet and everything on the planet and its atmosphere are made of atoms. There are many different types of atoms. When atoms are mixed together, you get molecules. For example, two hydrogen atoms meet one oxygen atom and, when they get together, the result is water. Zillions of these atomic bonds comprise our oceans. Carbohydrates are molecules, a group of atoms bonded together, representing the smallest fundamental unit of a chemical compound. There are many different carbohydrate molecules and those differences lie in what makes one better for you than others.

Foods containing the healthiest sources of carbohydrates—unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans—promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a host of important phytonutrients (nutritive molecules that help distinguish one food from another). Less healthy sources of carbohydrates include white bread, pastries, sodas, and other highly processed or refined foods. These items contain easily digested carbohydrates that may contribute to weight gain, interfere with weight loss, and promote diabetes and heart disease.

How can carbohydrates promote heart disease? Excess sugar in the bloodstream can contribute to plaque, arterial wall residue and releases a hormone called insulin from your pancreas. Carbohydrates (starches and sugars) raise blood sugar levels and trigger the release of insulin. Insulin helps leads in the reduction of excess sugars and starches in the bloodstream that would be thickening blood, in high amounts. Insulin helps convert those carbs into energy.

When there are problems with insulin production, thicker blood in arteries can result in plaque that could disrupt vascular flow to your heart, brain, or elsewhere. This may contribute to strokes, heart attacks, and issues throughout the body.

One of the problems that can occur over time, in previously healthy individuals, is the development of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body produces insulin but does not use it effectively. When people have insulin resistance, glucose builds up in the blood instead of being absorbed by the cells, leading to type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes. Type-2 diabetes is usually found among obese people. In insulin resistance, muscle, fat, and liver cells do not respond properly to insulin and thus cannot easily absorb glucose from the bloodstream. As a result, the body needs higher levels of insulin to help glucose enter cells. This is hyperglycemia, a condition of insulin resistance, where not enough insulin can be produced to deal with excessive carbohydrate consumption.

On the other side of the coin, there’s a hypoglycemia condition. Hypoglycemia may be a result that, when carbs are present in your bloodstream, excess insulin attacks them. Hypoglycemia is a condition characterized by an abnormally low level of blood sugar (glucose), your body’s main energy source. Normally, there are certain pancreatic beta cells that help bring carbs to the cells but the flow is disrupted. In many cases, hypoglycemia occurs after meals because the body produces more insulin than is needed.
For those with hypoglycemia, excessive simple carbs can result in confusion, sleepiness, and (in extreme cases) unconsciousness. Other possible symptoms may include:

•Heart palpitations
•Shakiness
•Anxiety
•Sweating
•Hunger

When hunger occurs, a hypoglycemic is not satisfied after eating a full meal and feels the need to eat more. Eating more helps lead to excess weight gain and, perhaps, a higher degree of exhaustion.

How does your body react to carbs? There’s a rather long, tedious blood test that illustrates what happens after high-carb intake. The glucose tolerance test acts as a guide for you and your physician to take proper steps.

Carbohydrate consumption and problems associated with it may often be genetically linked, inherited through familial generations. In some ways, this may account for body appearance, and energy levels throughout a life span. Often, it can go undetected for many years under routine medical care.

Considering weight loss with carbohydrates? It is possible. The United States Department of Agriculture or USDA provides an excellent website with tons of information and recipes for each meal. Carb lovers needn’t worry. Slight modifications to how and when you eat, and how much you physically move, may contribute to an enduring weight loss program.

Carbs may not necessarily be the evil behind weight gain. How you consume carbs, especially mixed with excess saturated fats, may contribute to excess pounds. Consider that when you down a 4 ounce bad of chips and a liter of soda while wat5ching TV.

Knowing and using appropriate carbs and moving more actively may just help you achieve weight loss over time. Carbs are part of our history and are very addictive. Adapting responsible carb intake into a sedentary lifestyle may not be an easy task. Total carb withdrawal can be dangerous. Finding the responsible path may require aid from a certified nutritionist. Over years, you may find that your excess pounds have shed and your energy has improved, if you understand the virtues and dangers of carbs. It’s a lifestyle adaptation for the new lifestyle. It is not a quick-fix!

Senior moments in memory

Ever experienced senior moments? You walk into the kitchen, open the refrigerator door, and forget what you wanted. Some people call that a senior moment. Everybody has these moments: Car keys go missing? You can’t retrieve a once-familiar name? Anybody, at any age, might experience this but if you are over 55, these incidents may become more frequent. These memory lapses are often referred as senior moments. Does this mean Alzheimer’s is setting in? Can other things be happening? Are senior moments dangerous?

Cognitive memory research delves into senior moments as possible precursors to Alzheimer Disease, a prevailing, degenerative memory condition often associated with aging. There are also incidents where Alzheimer’s may occur at younger ages. Yet research still hasn’t approached sure-fire ways of pinpointing the causes and treatments of this well publicized disease that might result in senior moments. Alzheimer’s Disease remains the most generally talked about cognitive disease, and one of the most feared.

Alzheimer’s Disease is the new name for dementia and is nicely classed into stages of memory decline. Among physicians, it’s easy to jump on senior moments as harbingers of memory decline. The diagnosis requires noticeable impairments of at least two of these categories:

•Memory
•Communication and language
•Ability to focus and pay attention
•Reasoning and judgment
•Visual perception

We will go over some of these possible symptoms. You may find that they may not be Alzheimer’s related. You may find that you can do something about them. Having many senior moments may be frightening but they may not be as threatening as you might think. They may just be very annoying.

Based on this clinical indicator, there are approximately 5.2 million Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2014, including some under 65. Of these, nearly twice as many women are affected as men. According to the Alzheimer Association prediction, Alzheimer’s disease will soar from 5 million to 13.8 million by 2050. Those are a lot of senior moments!

Needless to say, these astounding numbers and a rapidly aging population, ignite many pharmaceutical companies to deliver Alzheimer-prevention drugs that might fend off the effects. Yet, with the very exception of some mild cases (which may or may not have Alzheimer’s), drugs may rarely help the condition.

Some of the reasons may be due to the debating probabilities of what lies behind why only some people get Alzheimer’s and many don’t. The obvious theory is genetics – it runs in the family. While certain genes and proteins have been isolated, much more research is needed. While genetics is often theorized, the vagueness of the hereditary links confound research results. That is often why genetic diseases like muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis are difficult to cure.

For many years, sleep research has shown evidence that sleep, particularly dreams and sleep, improve long-term memory and emotions. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter often used with skeletal muscle movement. Yet, as you dream, acetylcholine rushes up your midbrain and helps “code” memory tracts. This shift is often associated with normal sleep paralysis as the neurotransmitter moves from muscles to the frontal areas of your brain. Failure of this process may be involved in poor memory retention and organization.

In the last decade, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has identified that patients with deposits of amyloid plaque in brain areas may be the cause of cognitive irregularities in Alzheimer patients. As MRI becomes more sensitive further trials aim to see the connections. A recent Duke University study indicates plaque may lead to forms of cognitive impairment. Small MRI research has also shown that there may be other factors at play in predicting cognitive dysfunction issues. The problem of relying on MRI research is that this important tool is very expensive and large studies can’t be performed to see if these deposits might be associated with those senior moments.

One indicator of senior moments may be time and passivity. Think about games like Trivial Pursuits. Cognition often links to rich associations. That’s why most people with senior moments can still perform well at work, driving, athletics, and general life. These rich associations almost become like instinctual memories. The use of Gestalt dynamics of working memory help imprint more associations to familiar and interesting events that create attentive impressions. Is it possible that focus and attention may somehow be diffused when activity and social interactions are compromised? Can this be associated with senior moments?

More new research is revealing some exciting insights for memory enhancement but these are still at mouse level. One study, just published in Cell Journal, highlights a hormone factor that may enhance memories for life extension.

Barring other diseases, the brains plasticity grows stronger with physical activity, particularly small amounts of aerobic exercise.

Cognitive decline has been shown to slow with active social integration with friends, family, and communities. Social involvement of any kind may excite the senses that contribute to associative memory.

Maintaining creativity may also help reduce cognitive decline. Whether you are active in arts, crafts, or other things, it helps add plasticity to your brain.

The role of conscious awareness is a significant factor in reducing cognitive decline. One theory of Alzheimer’s is that a deterioration occurs in the pre-frontal cortex that reduces access to the midbrain’s memory storage called the limbic system. This area is associated with emotion and most memories are stored through likes and dislikes. These are important associations. Being consciously aware is significant at using those emotions to access memories.

Brainwashing often occurs as a means of sensory deprivation. When it comes to noticing more senior moments in life, seek out stimulation. Staying stimulated and directed may be an important tool to help avoid senior moments. Playing games on a computer or smartphone and accepting new challenges is associated with synaptic growth in neural networks. That helps memory retention.

Little known, is how many senior moments may be micro-size transient ischemic attacks or strokes that can affect parts of your brain throughout your lifespan. They may not be consciously felt but can be responsible for some senior moments. The result of these very tiny strokes over time may lead to Alzheimer symptoms. This shows that memory decline may be vascular in nature.

Few people realize that visual and hearing loss may play roles in memory decline. Possible retinopathy and other visual diseases may impair senses and contribute to memory loss. Studies also indicate the importance of hearing (listening) and learning. Having a loss of hearing may be associated with decline in memory functioning. It is one possible symptom of Alzheimer’s but may not be Alzheimer-related.

These are theories and so many other factors can help enhance or stabilize memory. When you begin noticing a higher rate of senior moments, check with your doctor. My recommendation is to seek out a major neurocognitive health facility. The depth of cognitive research and coping with preventing memory decline may offer some promising therapies. It may not be due to Alzheimer’s Disease. Not all cognitive declines may be associated with Alzheimer’s.

Senior moments and memory lapses are normal and may be found at different ages. Reasons may not be known. Hopefully, we’ll have possible treatments soon. Meanwhile, stay active and remember. Got an occasional senior moment? Don’t worry, it may be normal. Alzheimer Disease may be over-diagnosed but frequent senior moments can be very disturbing.