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Category: Health Fitness Revolution

Top 5 Ways to Keep Your Mouth and Teeth Clean While Wearing Aligners

The journey to having the perfect set of teeth is not always an easy one, but the results are certainly worth it. For years, orthodontic braces were the primary option for straightening teeth, but now, the use of aligners has eliminated the embarrassing brace face look by providing a comfortable, discrete solution that can help you achieve your desired set of teeth. The importance of maintaining a clean mouth increases while using aligners, so we researched 5 tips to remember if you decide to straighten your teeth with this method.

  • Brush your teeth after meals

Your mouth can be a natural camping ground for bacteria if it is not brushed at least twice a day and after every meal if you are wearing aligners. When you don’t brush your teeth after eating and then replace your aligners in your mouth, you are trapping food between your teeth, which increases the chances of cavities, bacterial build-ups and staining. Research shows that by brushing your teeth after you eat, you eliminate chances of harmful bacteria attacking your teeth.

  • Floss often

Flossing is essential to removing food stuck between your teeth. When it comes to preventing tooth loss and protecting the gums, flossing is even more important than brushing your teeth. Despite the importance of flossing, only about 50% of Americans floss. There is no point in spending a large amount of money to get your teeth straight if you are not taking care of them and taking preventive measures to keep them healthy.

  • Avoid foods that stain

Many things can stain your teeth, especially when you are wearing aligners. Orthodontists advise only drinking water while wearing your aligners, and any colorful, carbonated or acidic drinks should be avoided. Teeth whitening kits are usually sent out with aligner kits or can be easily purchased online. Your aligners need to be treated like your teeth and cared for just the same to avoid being stained. When cleaning your aligners, it is important to follow the directions provided to you by your dentist or orthodontist.

  • Avoid candy or sweets

Having too much candy or sweets while wearing your aligners can increase your risk of developing gingivitis or cavities, especially if you are not frequently brushing your teeth. If it is sticky, hard or gooey, don’t eat it! These types of candies can stick to your teeth for a long time and cause major issues.

  • Clean your aligners

This seems like a no-brainer, but believe it or not a lot of people forget to clean their aligners. Always rinse them off with warm water every time you take them off to eat or drink. Wash them morning and night with clear antibacterial soap, not toothpaste. Aligner companies like Invisalign provide specialized cleaning crystals to soak your aligners for cleaning, but regular brushing of aligners is also ok.

The Importance of Good Posture

Everyone can remember their mother correcting them with “Stand up straight!” and “Don’t slouch!” And honestly, mom was right all along- there are medical reasons why good posture is so fundamental to good health.

 

Health Fitness Revolution did some research and here’s what we found:

 

  • Avoid Health Complications: Over time, slouching increases your chances of having a spinal disc slip, back pain, back aches, decreased blood circulation, and chest pressure.  Improper posture takes a toll on muscles and joints in nearly all areas of the body. It can cause pain and limited range of motion in your neck, shoulders, back and hips, and lead to or exacerbate problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome in your wrists.
  • Facilitates your Breathing:  There’s a reason pilates, yoga, and meditation exercises pay so much attention to posture- because it helps you breathe.  Close your eyes, slouch, and breathe.  Now consciously pull your shoulders back and breathe, there should be a noticeable difference in the amount of air your lungs take in.  Having good posture opens your airways and facilitates your respiratory organs in their task- which is good for your health.
  • Increases thinking power and concentration: Our brains require 20% oxygen to function properly.  Therefore, by increasing your posture, you facilitate your breathing and take more oxygen in.  Since oxygen is food for the brain, and you are providing more oxygen to it, you have more power for thoughts and ideas.
  • Feel Better About Yourself:  If you consciously adjust your posture now, we guarantee you will notice a difference in how you feel.  When you have good posture, you naturally have more self-confidence, which boosts feelings of self-worth, contentment, and happiness.
  • Improve your Image:  When you feel confident and happy, you portray an attractive image of yourself to others and make a good impression.  People with good posture are viewed as more confident, assertive, and intelligent.

 

So stand up, look forward, pull your shoulders back and be healthy as you take on your day!

Health Benefits of Relaxing in Nature

It’s natural human instinct to pine for the outdoors, and it’s due to a primal instinct that is still ingrained in our psyche to yearn for the relief of the open.  But it comes down to more than just instinct, there are physical benefits to leaving the city lights and breathing fresh, clean air.

 

Research is increasingly illuminating the rich and measurable benefits of being in nature.  And the beauty of it is that nature has no set formula: some of us like to fish, hunt, hike, kayak, jog or simply take pictures of the perfect sunset.

 

  • Feel Better Emotionally: We all know how we feel when we do our favorite outdoor activity, exhilarated, calm, relaxed, fortified, and restored.
  • Feel Better Physically: Time spent in nature is associated with a decrease in blood pressure, sympathetic nerve activity, and heart rate.
  • Have a Better Workout:  Several studies have shown that having a “green” workout leaves subjects feeling increased energy, greater revitalization, less depression, and less anger when they exercised outdoors versus exercising indoors.
  • Feel Better Mentally:  Being outdoors replenishes voluntary attention, help those with ADHD, enhances brain connectivity for more efficient focus.

 

All the research also points to the fact that time in nature most powerfully nurtures us when we’re most “at risk” – of disease, depression, or desperation.

 

So whether you take an outdoor vacation, simply take an afternoon trip, or step outside your office for a lunch break in a public park, it’s important to expose yourself to the health benefits of nature on a regular basis.  Health Fitness Revolution recommends being outdoors at least twice a week for an hour to start noticing the benefits long-term.

 

New Breath Test detects Stomach Cancer

A quick and simple breath test can diagnose stomach cancer, study findings reveal.

 

Scientists from Israel and China found the test was 90% accurate at detecting and distinguishing cancers from other stomach complaints in 130 patients.

 

The British Journal of Cancer says the test could revolutionise and speed up the way this cancer is diagnosed.

 

About 7,000 UK people develop stomach cancer each year and most have an advanced stage of the disease.

 

Two-fifths of patients survive for at least a year, but only a fifth are still alive after five years, despite treatment.

 

Currently doctors diagnose stomach cancer by taking a biopsy of the stomach lining using a probe and a flexible camera passed via mouth and down the gullet.

 

The new test looks for chemical profiles in exhaled breath that are unique to patients with stomach cancer.

 

Cancer appears to give off a signature smell of volatile organic compounds that can be detected using the right technical medical kit – and perhaps even dogs.

 

The science behind the test itself is not new – many researchers have been working on the possibility of breath tests for a number of cancers, including lung.

 

But the work by Prof Hossam Haick, of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, suggests it is a good way to spot stomach cancer.

In the study, 37 of the patients had stomach cancer, 32 had stomach ulcers and 61 had other stomach complaints.

 

As well as accurately distinguishing between these conditions 90% of the time, the breath test could tell the difference between early and late-stage stomach cancers.

 

The team are now running a bigger study in more patients to validate their test.

 

Kate Law, director of clinical research at Cancer Research UK, said: “The results of this latest study are promising – although large scale trials will now be needed to confirm these findings.

 

“Only one in five people are able to have surgery as part of their treatment as most stomach cancers are diagnosed at stages that are too advanced for surgery. Any test that could help diagnose stomach cancers earlier would make a difference to patients’ long-term survival.”

 

As originally published on BBC News http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21671455

 

Health Benefits Of Including Your Dog In Fitness Workouts

Studies have continually shown that working out with a partner increases your motivation and the likelihood that you will actually stick to your training program. But finding a reliable, training partner who’ll motivate you consistently and never cancel is a challenge.  We know of a partner who will never come to you with “I’m tired”, “I’m busy”, “I’m not feeling well”… and that’s your very best friend – the family dog!

 

Here are the “Health Benefits Of Including Your Dog In Fitness Workouts” from HFR team and author of the book ReSYNC Your Life Samir Becic

 

  • You’re healthier for owning a dog:  Studies are now proving that dog owners are more likely to exercise regularly and to be fitter and healthier than their pooch-free peers. New research from Michigan State University reports that people with canine companions are 34% more likely to get the recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week than are folks with either other pets or none at all.
  • Dogs can do more for you than a treadmill: A big part of motivation is that when you interact with your dog, endorphins rise and stress levels fall. This emotional connection definitely gives an extra boost to your workout.
  • You’re more active because of your dog: Research shows that dog owners often log in twice as many workouts—they don’t see taking the dog out as a sweat session, so they still spin and lift.  A University of Missouri study found that overweight participants who walked dogs for 20 minutes five days a week for a year lost an average of 14 pounds.  If you include some light jogging, frisbee throwing, and tug of war, you can rev your metabolism up even more!
  • Your pooch will push you: You will never find anyone more excited to workout than your dog- so much so that studies reported that people who walked with their dogs increased their speed by 28 percent over 12 weeks, while those who strolled with a human friend got only 4 percent faster.  Your dog will never complain or be discouraged!
  • Dogs will keep you on a routine: Dogs are creatures of habit- which means that even if you try and forget to go on a regular morning run, you’re dog won’t, he will let you know in his way that it’s time to get off the couch.
  • Try new activities: Dogs love adventure, many will love to hike, bike, swim, or even watch you while you do bootcamp!
  • Borrow a dog: Even if you can’t own a dog because of where you live, or don’t want the responsibility, you can still get the health and emotional benefits by volunteering at a shelter and walking/playing with the dogs and fostering them on the weekends.
  • Listen to your dog: Some breeds are more active than others so it’s important to watch for sign of exhaustion in your dog and listen to his needs.  Try not to run on very hot black pavement and make sure he stays hydrated and happy!

 

Laughing is Healthy

We all know how we feel after a good laugh- let’s be honest, nothing balances us out and brings us back to a harmonious state than a good, real, hearty laugh.  It’s almost as if instantaneously, laughter dissipates all stress, pain, and conflict.  Laughter is so contagious that it can connect you to others, lighten your burdens, inspire your hopes, and keep you grounded, focused, and alert.  In case you’re wondering why laughter is so therapeutic, Health Fitness Revolution breaks it down:

 

  • Laughter Triggers Endorphins: which are the body’s natural feel-good chemicals.  They are known to give a sense of overall well-being and even temporarily relieve pain!  Endorphins curb anxiety, worry, fear, and stress.
  • Laughter Relaxes: laughter leaves your muscles relaxed for 45 mins afterwards, leading to less stress and physical tension.
  • Laughter is Good for your Heart:  laughter can help protect you from cardiovascular diseases and heart attacks by improving circulation, blood flow, and improving blood vessel function.
  • Laughter Boosts Immune System: Laughter improves the body’s resistance to diseases by increasing immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies while simultaneously decreasing stress hormones.
  • Laughter Lowers Blood Pressure
  • Laughter gives a Workout:  Have your abs ever been sore from laughing hard?  That’s because every time you laugh, your abdominals and diaphragm contract- giving you a mini-workout!
  • Laughing increases Learning and Memory:  in a John Hopkins Medical School study, results showed that laughter during learning led to higher test scores.
  • Lowers your Blood Sugar Levels:  One particular study tested a group of diabetics.  After a large meal, they were immediately subjected to a tedious lecture.  The next day, after the same large meal, they watched a comedy- and their blood sugar levels were significantly lower on the day they laughed after their meal.

 

Stretch Your Way to Better Health

Stretching is widely viewed as a part of fitness and fitness routines- pilates and yoga both combine stretching with strength training in a utilitarian way.  And while people will debate whether or not stretching prevents injury,  there is no doubt that stretching is good for health in many different ways:

 

  • Eases Stress:  Stress causes your muscles to contract, becoming tense. This muscle tension has negative effects on almost every part of your body. When this happens, it is important to stretch to relax the muscle and cause the release of endorphins, which not only boost your mood but also aid in stress elimination.
  • Increased Range of Motion:  Stretching regularly increases flexibility and range of motion in your joints, which promotes increased balance and motion throughout an entire lifetime.
  • Flexibility:  The 4 main measures of overall fitness are: aerobic, muscular, body composition and flexibility.  The way to increase flexibility is stretching- which becomes increasingly important as you age because your muscles become shorter and tighter.  Short and tight muscles cause restriction that make you more susceptible to tendon, muscle, and joint injuries.
  • Increase Blood Circulation:  Stretching increases blood flow to muscles, which bring an oxygenated supply of nutrients to muscles and cartilage.  This means, stretching reduces muscle soreness and accelerates muscle repair.
  • Eases Lower Back Pain: There are so many muscles that play a role in posture (quadriceps, hamstrings, lower back muscles and hip flexors), that stretching these muscles can greatly reduce or even eliminate the lower back pain that so many of us suffer from.

Tips for Stretching:

  • Ease in and hold for 10-15 seconds/ 30 seconds if you’re over 50
  • Breathe out as you go further into the stretch
  • Listen to your body, you should not be feeling sharp pain
  • Don’t bounce in your stretch, hold it- bouncing can lead to little muscle tears
  • Repeat- it is beneficial to do the same stretch 2 to 3 times
  • Don’t compare yourself to others and work at your own pace.  You will get more flexible with consistency and time.

 

Natural Remedies to Allergies

It’s that time of year, when you wake up with swollen eyes, sniffles, and dry coughs- it’s the time of year of allergies!  Since we never recommended you to develop dependencies to over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, we have made a list of natural ways to alleviate allergies:

  • Drink More Water:  Many allergy sufferers will feel some relief as soon as they drink 2 or more glasses of water at once.
  • Eat Simple:  Eat as minimally processed foods (in their most natural form) as often as possible.
  • Avoid Exercising Outside During Peak Pollen Times: It is often most high in the morning, so push that workout back to later in the day.
  • Eat More Omega-3 Foods:  A german study found that participants who ate  Omega-3 rich foods had less allergy symptoms.  Omega-3s help fight inflammation and can obtained by eating walnuts, cold-water fish, and flaxseed oil, as well as grass-fed meat and eggs.
  • Honey:  For centuries, the medicinal properties of honey has been used to alleviate allergy symptoms. Add to warm tea as warm liquids help with chest and nasal congestion. Make sure to purchase honey which is locally produced to get the best benefits of this amazing remedy!
  • Sleep:  Get 7-8 hours a night so that your body can heal itself and rest.  The more rest your body gets, the more efficient it becomes at fighting inflammation and mucus buildup from allergens.
  • Raw, Organic, Apple Cider Vinegar: Taking a tablespoon of raw, organic, apple cider vinegar (ACV) every morning (before going outside) blocks our body’s histamine reaction and it reduces inflammation.  For even more of a boost, mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar  in warm water with a tablespoon of raw honey.
  • Eat Probiotics: this will boost your immune system and make your body more efficient at combatting allergies.  Probiotics can be found in yogurt, kombucha, and supplements.
  • Essential Oils:  lavender, lemon balm (melissa), peppermint, blue tansy (or roman chamomile), lemongrass, and eucalyptus are great for relieving allergy symptoms.  They can either be diffused or mixed with coconut oil and applied to the body.
  • Don’t Line Dry Your Clothes: especially outside, this allows allergens and pollen to become imbedded in the fabric and worsens allergies.  If you need to line dry clothes, do so inside.
  • Sleep With Windows Closed: Placing in fan of an open windows pulls allergens and pollen into the house.
  • Invest In A Humidifier: Water droplets bind to the allergens, and they get heavy and fall to the floor so you don’t inhale them.
  • Netti Pot: Can be found in health food stores and is a natural way to cleanse your nasal passages from pollens, pollution, dust, and a variety of allergens.  Only for use in adults.

 

Avoiding Muscle Soreness

Musclesoreness after working out is a completely normal phenomenon that leads to greater stamina and strength as the muscles recover and build.  Although it can not be completely avoided, there are natural ways to alleviate some of the pain and discomfort during the time period of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS):

 

  • Get Adequate Nutrition after your Workout:  Drinking a protein shake right after a workout is good but eating a balanced meal within 2 hours of your workout is ideal.  There is so much research that points to the importance of getting nutrients after a workout!  We always advocate getting your vitamins and minerals through whole food sources rather than supplements.
  • Active Recovery:  Thought resting was best? Nope.  Moving around is actually better for you to reduce soreness. This is any form of light activity, such as jogging, body resistance exercises, or light weights.  Getting moving actually lessens muscle soreness because its breaks up the lactic acid buildup in the muscle fibers.
  • Take a Cold/Hot Shower:  Athletes often use this technique- alternate showering with cold water and hot water (not too hot) in 30 second intervals.  These contrast showers increase bloodflow and help get nutrients from your bloodstream to you muscles.
  • Take a Relaxing Epsom Salt Bath: Relaxing in a warm bath for 30 minutes will certainly ease some muscle soreness and reduce stress.  Epsom Salts should be added in because they are powerful at flushing toxins out of your muscles, decreasing muscle inflammation, and improving nerve function.
  • Stretch:  Stretching will help reduce muscle soreness by increasing blood flow in stretched areas.  Hold stretches for 15-20 seconds, repeat 3 times.
  • Ice your Muscles:  In severe cases of soreness, icing the muscle is beneficial because it reduces swelling and pain.  It does not accelerate the healing process though.
  • Get a Massage: Massages aid in muscle relaxation, pain reduction, and stress relief. Just make sure you go somewhere that is familiar with sports massages.
  • Sleep! Getting adequate sleep is paramount to allowing your body to heal.  Get 7-8 hours a night.

 

* Always listen to your body.  If you experience sharp or extremely severe pain after a workout, please seek professional help.

 

 

Is An Economic Crisis Good For Your Health?

One of the most common reactions to earnest recommendations that we overhaul our eating habits, from a diet based largely on red meat and highly processed foods to one more focused on vegetables, fruit and whole foods, is that we can never really be sure what’s good for us. “Just wait,” someone inevitably jokes. “Tomorrow they’ll tell us that broccoli will kill us.”

 

Well, science has yet to suggest that. But it has delivered proof of the positive effect a societal change in diet can have on citizens’ health.

 

The subjects of the study were the people of Cuba, who unknowingly took part in a large-scale study on the effect of lifestyle change during their country’s extended economic downturn in the 1990s.

 

The economy began to collapse after the government of its state sponsor, the Soviet Union, fell in 1989. The Russian republic that emerged from the former regime soon ended its subsidies of cheap oil for Cuba. As Richard Schiffman reports in a fascinating new article in The Atlantic, the shift sent Cuba “into an economic tailspin from which it would not recover for over half a decade.”

 

The effects were widespread. Most motorized agriculture and food distribution systems halted. The ongoing U.S. trade embargo, strengthened by Congress in 1996, further prevented the import of many drugs, manufactured goods and food products. “Cubans survived drinking sugared water and eating anything they could get their hands on,” Schiffman writes, “including domestic pets and the animals in the Havana Zoo.”

 

And yet the population’s health actually improved, in some ways dramatically, according to a study recently released by researchers working in Cuba, Spain and the United States and published by the medical journal BMJ.

 

Researchers tracking the health of about 6,000 residents and analyzing national data compiled by the Cuban Ministry of Public Health found that mortality in the island country dropped during the depression. Death from cardiovascular disease fell by a third, and from adult-onset Type 2 diabetes by half. The rate of strokes was reduced, too.

 

Despite its economic struggles, Cuba maintained an effective health-care system. But the study found that it was not the doctors that kept citizens healthy but the lifestyle changes poverty forced on them.

 

With public transportation largely idled by the gas crisis, more people walked and bicycled. Adults also ate less, losing an average 12 pounds as their daily calorie intake dropped from about 3,000 to between 1,400 and 2,400, according to the new research. Diets were transformed as well. Protein intake dropped an average of 40% as meat and dairy products became luxuries and families turned to de facto veganism, Schiffman reports, living off “what they could grow, catch and pick for themselves — including lots of high-fiber fresh produce and fruits, added to the increasingly hard-to-come-by staples of beans, corn and rice.”

 

Cuba had gone green, even if unintentionally. With limited access to agro-chemicals, “farmers returned to the machetes and oxen-drawn plows of their ancestors,” Schiffman notes. Community gardens flourished in major cities.

 

Cuba’s state-controlled economy regained some of its footing in the late 1990s, due in large part to the support of oil-rich Venezuela. And as soon as cheap access to oil was restored, Cubans began exercising less and eating more. By 2011, the researchers found, the nation’s obesity rate had almost tripled from its 1995 low. Diabetes and cardiovascular disease rates rose in lockstep with obesity and the national mortality rate returned to pre-downturn levels.

 

In an editorial accompanying the study in BMJ, Professor Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health wrote: “Although the hardships experienced by Cubans in the 1990s were unfortunate, the present findings add powerful evidence that major population-wide benefits will be obtained rapidly by reducing overweight and obesity. To achieve this is perhaps the major public health and societal challenge of this century.”

 

Schiffman joins Willett in wondering what the United States can learn from the Cuban experience as our own health care system struggles to manage soaring rates of Type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association’s chief medical officer, Dr. Robert Rattner, says 1 in 3 American adults could have the condition by 2050. Meanwhile, heart disease, which like diabetes is closely linked to a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet, remains the leading cause of death in the United States.

 

The authors of the Cuban study suggest that other countries seek to recreate the Caribbean nation’s experience — without the economic downturn — through public health campaigns, redesigned public spaces, limits on unhealthy food and drink, especially for children, and taxes on sugary and fatty foods. They acknowledge, though, a troubling reality: “No country or regional population has successfully reduced the distribution of body mass index or reduced the prevalence of obesity through public health campaigns or targeted treatment programs.”

 

In the absence of national initiative, it’s up to each of us to do what we can to improve our own health. What can you do? Here are some fundamental steps that could boost your health and prolong your life. If enough of us adopt them, we may see a reduction in our national rates of diabetes and heart disease, and we’ll ward off more cases of dementia, too:

 

  • Eat healthier. The Mediterranean diet has been shown to help prevent 30 percent of heart attacks and strokes for people at high risk of those conditions. It features olive oil, fish, fruits, vegetables and unrefined grains. Wine, eggs and low-fat dairy products are allowed in moderation. One key to the diet’s success is that it eschews highly processed snacks and prepared foods that are low on nutrients and high on additives. 
  • Try vegetarianism. We saw the impact a meat shortage had on Cubans’ health. Forgoing meat in this country is easier than ever as alternatives continue to improve and become more affordable. Becoming a vegan or vegetarian is no protection against obesity or metabolic syndrome if you continue to feast on processed foods low on fiber and loaded with fat and sugar. Focus on whole foods.
  • Get movingA sedentary lifestyle is one of the greatest health risks. Sitting for more than three hours a day can cut one’s life expectancy by two years and the effects are not entirely offset by regular exercise. C. Everett Koop, a former surgeon general, recommended a minimum of 10,000 steps a day — about five miles. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises all adults to get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week. Barely half of us do either.

 

The Cubans, in a way, had good health forced on them. The discouraging news is that when it was no longer economically necessary to live a healthier, more active lifestyle, the population basically dropped it. Clearly the challenge for our country — to make such changes voluntarily and stick with them — is even more daunting.

 

As published originally in Forbes