Sunday, November 23, 2008

The 11 Best Foods You Aren’t Eating

Dr. Bowden, author of “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth,” to update his list with some favorite foods that are easy to find but don’t always find their way into our shopping carts. Here’s his advice.

1.Beets: Think of beets as red spinach, Dr. Bowden said, because they are a rich source of folate as well as natural red pigments that may be cancer fighters.
How to eat: Fresh, raw and grated to make a salad. Heating decreases the antioxidant power.




2.Cabbage: Loaded with nutrients like sulforaphane, a chemical said to boost cancer-fighting enzymes.
How to eat: Asian-style slaw or as a cr

unchy topping on burgers and sandwiches.

3.Swiss chard: A leafy green vegetable packed with carotenoids that protect aging eyes.
How to eat it: Chop and saute in olive oil.

4.Cinnamon: May help control blood sugar and cholesterol.
How to eat it: Sprinkle on coffee or oatmeal.


5.Pomegranate juice: Appears to lower blood pressure and loaded with antioxidants.
How to eat: Just drink it.






6.Dried plums: Okay, so they are really prunes, but they are packed with antioxidants.
How to eat: Wrapped in prosciutto and baked.






7.Pumpkin seeds: The most nutritious part of the pumpkin and packed with magnesium; high levels of the

mineral are associated with lower risk for early death.
How to eat: Roasted as a snack, or sprinkled on salad.

8.Sardines: It is a “health food in a can.” They are high in omega-3, contain virtually no mercury and are loaded with calcium. They also contain iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese as well as a full complement of B vitamins.
How to eat: Choose sardines packed in olive or sardine oil. Eat plain, mixed with salad, on toast, or mashed with dijon mustard and onions as a spread.

9.Turmeric: The “superstar of spices,” it may have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
How to eat: Mix with scrambled eggs or in any vegetable dish.

10.Frozen blueberries: Even though freezing can degrade some of the nutrients in fruits and vegetables, frozen blueberries are available year-round and don’t spoil; associated with better memory in animal studies.
How to eat: Blended with yogurt or chocolate soy milk and sprinkled with crushed almonds.

11.Canned pumpkin: A low-calorie vegetable that is high in fiber and immune-stimulating vitamin A; fills you up on very few calories.
How to eat: Mix with a little butter, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The 11 Best Foods You Aren’t Eating

Dr. Bowden, author of “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth,” to update his list with some favorite foods that are easy to find but don’t always find their way into our shopping carts. Here’s his advice.

  1. Beets: Think of beets as red spinach, Dr. Bowden said, because they are a rich source of folate as well as natural red pigments that may be cancer fighters.
    How to eat: Fresh, raw and grated to make a salad. Heating decreases the antioxidant power.

Cabbage: Loaded with nutrients like sulforaphane, a chemical said to boost cancer-fighting enzymes.How to eat: Asian-style slaw or as a crunchy topping on burgers and sandwiches.
  1. Swiss chard: A leafy green vegetable packed with carotenoids that protect aging eyes.
    How to eat it: Chop and saute in olive oil.
  2. Cinnamon: May help control blood sugar and cholesterol.
    How to eat it: Sprinkle on coffee or oatmeal.
  3. Pomegranate juice: Appears to lower blood pressure and loaded with antioxidants.
    How to eat: Just drink it.
  4. Dried plums: Okay, so they are really prunes, but they are packed with antioxidants.
    How to eat: Wrapped in prosciutto and baked.
  5. Pumpkin seeds: The most nutritious part of the pumpkin and packed with magnesium; high levels of the mineral are associated with lower risk for early death.
    How to eat: Roasted as a snack, or sprinkled on salad.
  6. Sardines: It is a “health food in a can.” They are high in omega-3, contain virtually no mercury and are loaded with calcium. They also contain iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese as well as a full complement of B vitamins.
    How to eat: Choose sardines packed in olive or sardine oil. Eat plain, mixed with salad, on toast, or mashed with dijon mustard and onions as a spread.
  7. Turmeric: The “superstar of spices,” it may have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
    How to eat: Mix with scrambled eggs or in any vegetable dish.
  8. Frozen blueberries: Even though freezing can degrade some of the nutrients in fruits and vegetables, frozen blueberries are available year-round and don’t spoil; associated with better memory in animal studies.
    How to eat: Blended with yogurt or chocolate soy milk and sprinkled with crushed almonds.
  9. Canned pumpkin: A low-calorie vegetable that is high in fiber and immune-stimulating vitamin A; fills you up on very few calories.
    How to eat: Mix with a little butter, cinnamon and nutmeg.


How much sleep do you really need?

Probably a lot less than you think…….

Ask people whether they would like more sleep and the majority will say yes. But does this mean they are not getting enough? I don't believe so.

Thanks to oft-repeated assertions that our ancestors slept longer than we did, not to mention claims that a lack of shut-eye can cause high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, and it's easy to see why we think we are chronically deprived of sleep.

Wake up you sleepy head: Most people need less than 8 hours of sleep each night

The fact is, most of us are probably getting more sleep than we strictly need - we’ve just convinced ourselves we're sleep deprived.

It's nothing new. In 1894, the British Medical Journal ran an editorial warning that the 'hurry and excitement' of modern life was leading to an epidemic of insomnia.

But far from being chronically sleep-deprived, I believe things have never been better.

Unlike the typical worker from 150 years ago, who toiled for 14 hours a day, six days a week and went home to a crowded, flea-infested bed, most of us sleep perfectly adequately.

There have been several large studies over the past 40 years into how much sleep people actually get. The findings show that the average healthy adult sleeps for seven to seven-and-a-half hours a night.

Even today, this figure holds true for that age group - as the parents of any teenager will attest!

But adults do not need so much sleep. Some thrive on five hours a night, while others need seven.

The only part of your body that would be affected by a true lack of sleep - and that means several days without any sleep - is your brain.

Tests prove that there's no physiological difference in the muscles or organs of the body when you're asleep as opposed to when you're simply lying still and fully awake.

The brain however, is another matter. It needs sleep. Although it comprises only 2 per cent of your total body weight, it uses 20 per cent of the energy you consume in your body.

There are three main parts to the brain - the cortex, the mid-brain and the hind brain.

The mid and hind brain work flat out to control your motor functions, such as breathing, blood pressure, heart rate and liver function. They carry on working even when you're in deep sleep.

But the cortex, which controls thinking, speech, memory and perception needs time off - and that occurs when you go to sleep.

Without it, these functions deteriorate rapidly. After only one night without sleep, we are unable to deal with as much pressure, we get more irritable and we can't cope with disruption to our routine.

We forget things, we become like robots, unable to have conversations with people, unable to work out simple lists or sums.

Yet there are some parts of the cortex which are remarkably resilient.

In 1966, a 17-year-old high school student called Randy Gardner raised money for charity by staying awake for 11 days. It remains a record.

Four days into the experiment, he began to hallucinate. Towards the end he could barely converse with people or perceive what was going on around him.

But he could play pinball with remarkable ease. The part of the cortex which controls hand/eye coordination appears to be unaffected by lack of sleep.

There is a lot of fear-mongering about the so-called dangers of lack of sleep - but, in fact, the biggest danger of not having adequate sleep is having an accident, such as falling asleep at the wheel of a car.

Of course, I would never dismiss the distress that insomnia causes. But people who suffer from it tend to be very stressed - whether through work or bereavement - and it's the stress that wears down their immune system and makes them more susceptible to infection.

Yet despite the fact most of us do get enough sleep, a whole industry has emerged to help us with our 'sleep problem' and I warn: 'caveat emptor' - let the buyer beware.

Herbal preparations or drinks are a useful short-term crutch for those suffering from sleepless nights, in the sense that people feel reassured that by taking them they will have a good night's sleep.

Drugs are inadequate in the long term because insomnia is not a physiological problem - it's a psychological one, usually caused by stress.

The only way to treat a true insomniac is by tackling their problems while they're awake.

Once the waking problem is sorted, they will find it much easier to drift off - and get the hours of sleep they need, not some arbitrary 'ideal' based on misinterpretations of history.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Top 10 Things You Can Do to Reduce Global Warming

Burning fossil fuels such as natural gas, coal, oil and gasoline raises the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and carbon dioxide is a major contributor to the greenhouse effect and global warming.

You can help to reduce the demand for fossil fuels, which in turn reduces global warming, by using energy more wisely. Here are 10 simple actions you can take to help reduce global warming.

1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Do your part to reduce waste by choosing reusable products instead of disposables. Buying products with minimal packaging (including the economy size when that makes sense for you) will help to reduce waste. And whenever you can, recycle paper, plastic, newspaper, glass and aluminum cans. If there isn't a recycling program at your workplace, school, or in your community, ask about starting one. By recycling half of your household waste, you can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.

2. Use Less Heat and Air Conditioning

Adding insulation to your walls and attic, and installing weather stripping or caulking around doors and windows can lower your heating costs more than 25 percent, by reducing the amount of energy you need to heat and cool your home.

Turn down the heat while you’re sleeping at night or away during the day, and keep temperatures moderate at all times. Setting your thermostat just 2 degrees lower in winter and higher in summer could save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.

3. Change a Light Bulb

Wherever practical, replace regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. Replacing just one 60-watt incandescent light bulb with a CFL will save you $30 over the life of the bulb. CFLs also last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, use two-thirds less energy, and give off 70 percent less heat.

4. Drive Less and Drive Smart

Less driving means fewer emissions. Besides saving gasoline, walking and biking are great forms of exercise. Explore your community’s mass transit system, and check out options for carpooling to work or school.

When you do drive, make sure your car is running efficiently. For example, keeping your tires properly inflated can improve your gas mileage by more than 3 percent. Every gallon of gas you save not only helps your budget, it also keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

5. Buy Energy-Efficient Products

When it's time to buy a new car, choose one that offers good gas mileage. Home appliances now come in a range of energy-efficient models, and compact florescent bulbs are designed to provide more natural-looking light while using far less energy than standard light bulbs.

Avoid products that come with excess packaging, especially molded plastic and other packaging that can't be recycled. If you reduce your household garbage by 10 percent, you can save 1,200 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.

6. Use Less Hot Water

Set your water heater at 120 degrees to save energy, and wrap it in an insulating blanket if it is more than 5 years old. Buy low-flow showerheads to save hot water and about 350 pounds of carbon dioxide yearly. Wash your clothes in warm or cold water to reduce your use of hot water and the energy required to produce it. That change alone can save at least 500 pounds of carbon dioxide annually in most households. Use the energy-saving settings on your dishwasher and let the dishes air-dry.

7. Use the "Off" Switch

Save electricity and reduce global warming by turning off lights when you leave a room, and using only as much light as you need. And remember to turn off your television, video player, stereo and computer when you're not using them.

It's also a good idea to turn off the water when you're not using it. While brushing your teeth, shampooing the dog or washing your car, turn off the water until you actually need it for rinsing. You'll reduce your water bill and help to conserve a vital resource.

8. Plant a Tree

If you have the means to plant a tree, start digging. During photosynthesis, trees and other plants absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. They are an integral part of the natural atmospheric exchange cycle here on Earth, but there are too few of them to fully counter the increases in carbon dioxide caused by automobile traffic, manufacturing and other human activities. A single tree will absorb approximately one ton of carbon dioxide during its lifetime.

9. Get a Report Card from Your Utility Company

Many utility companies provide free home energy audits to help consumers identify areas in their homes that may not be energy efficient. In addition, many utility companies offer rebate programs to help pay for the cost of energy-efficient upgrades.

10. Encourage Others to Conserve

Share information about recycling and energy conservation with your friends, neighbors and co-workers, and take opportunities to encourage public officials to establish programs and policies that are good for the environment.

These 10 steps will take you a long way toward reducing your energy use and your monthly budget. And less energy use means less dependence on the fossil fuels that create greenhouse gases and contribute to global warming.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dogs can read emotion in human faces

Dogs are the only animals that can read emotion in faces much like humans, cementing their position as man's best friend, claim scientists.

Research findings suggest that, like an understanding best friend, they can see at a glance if we are happy, sad, pleased or angry.

When humans look at a new face their eyes tend to wander left, falling on the right hand side of the person's face first.

This "left gaze bias" only occurs when we encounter faces and does not apply any other time, such as when inspecting animals or inanimate objects.

A possible reason for the tendency is that the right side of the human face is better at expressing emotional state.

Researchers have now shown that pet dogs also exhibit "left gaze bias", but only when looking at human faces. No other animal has been known to display this behaviour before.

A team led by Dr Kun Guo showed 17 dogs images of human, dog and monkey faces as well as inanimate objects.

Film of the dogs' eye and head movement revealed a strong left gaze bias when the animals were presented with human faces. But this did not occur when they were shown other images, including those of dogs.

"Guo suggests that over thousands of generations of association with humans, dogs may have evolved the left gaze bias as a way to gauge our emotions," New Scientist magazine reported.

"Recent studies show that the right side of our faces can express emotions more accurately and more intensely than the left, including anger. If true, then it makes sense for dogs - and humans - to inspect the right hand side of a face first."

Surprisingly, when the dogs in the study were shown an upside-down human face, they still looked left. In contrast, humans lose their left gaze bias altogether when shown an inverted face.

This may be because the right side of a dog's brain, which processes information from the left visual field, is better adapted to interpreting human facial emotion than the left side, the scientists believe.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Solar power rises as fossils burn out

Solar panels are the way ahead, say big-spending world leaders

In the wake of the recent G8 summit in Japan and the reams of environmental reports and recommendations made there, one thing stood out – renewable energy is not just essential for the health of our planet; it's also one of the keys to economic sustainability.

Photovoltaic possibilities

Of the options available to us for replacing fossil fuels, one of the prime candidates for success is solar power generated by photovoltaic, or PV, cells.

According to the European Renewable Energy Council, by 2040 solar power will likely meet fully one quarter of worldwide energy demand, but where will that huge amount of energy – around 9 terawatt hours (TWh) – come from?

To find out, we spoke to two of the world's leading supplier of solar-cell equipment, Osaka-based Sharp and Sanyo.

Long history

We'll start with Sharp, an electronics giant that's far better known for its television sets and domestic appliances. But its most recent annual financial results show that ¥150 billion (£700 million), or 4.5 per cent of its business, came from solar cells and associated PV technology.

That shouldn't be too surprising to anyone familiar with the PV business. Based on International Energy Agency figures, Sharp has been responsible for 2 gigawatts (GW) of the 8GW-worth of solar equipment shipped worldwide to 2007 since the technology was invented in 1953.

While domestic solar panels account for a relatively small proportion of total sales, Sharp has kitted out almost 2,000 lighthouses and over 160 satellites with its various flavours of solar cell.

Complex technology

Given such diverse uses, it's obvious that the technology that goes into the PV business is complex, but for our purposes we can focus on the two main kinds of silicon-based solar cells.

Sharp's two 'PV pillars' are the currently dominant crystalline-type cells and the up-and-coming thin-film type. The former are suitable for use even in moderate climates, such as the UK, but use more of the increasingly precious silicon.

Conversely, thin-film cells use only 1 per cent as much silicon, but are only practical in countries where the Sun can be relied on to shine for much of the year.

Currently, crystalline PV accounts for 80 to 90 per cent of the world's output, but this is changing as silicon prices rise due to heavy demand from computer chip makers.

Huge increase

Sharp's existing plant in Nara churns out crystalline cells that can generate just over 700 megawatts (MW) of power per year. Come 2010, however, production will begin at a new thin-film plants that will ultimately deliver 1GW of power per annum.

One of these immense complexes, at Sakai in western Japan, will actually by partly powered by solar panels fixed to its own roof and walls.

Working with a local electricity company, the cells will deliver 18MW of power to the plant, meeting 5 per cent of its energy needs and underlining how important thin-film PV cells are to Sharp.

Throw in increasing government commitment to solar energy around the world and it's clear that change is afoot.

For example, the Japanese leadership has set a target usage capacity of 4.8GW of solar power by 2010. That's equivalent to five nuclear power plants.

Who cares anyway?

The numbers are clearly compelling, but what do they add up to for the end user – should the average person in then street really give a hoot?(Sharp is building a massive solar plant with one of Japan's biggest power companies, Solar panels are also perfect for powering orbiting satellites )

Sharp's Miyuki Nakayama explains that the company hopes to increase PV production with a very specific end-cost goal in mind – electricity coming out of wall sockets that costs no more than it does now:

"We believe that by reaching the cost target of ¥23 (10.7 pence)/KWh, which is equivalent to the cost of power generation using fossil fuel, will increase the market for more environmentally friendly solar systems."

More investment

Another firm with strong solar roots which is hoping that proves true is Sanyo. The newly eco-friendly company is best known in solar circles for its proprietary HIT (Heterojunction with Intrinsic Thin-layer) solar cells.

Like Sharp, Sanyo is also spending heavily to increase its PV production capabilities. Between now and 2010 it will have invested ¥70 billion (£325 million) in new facilities that will take its output of solar products to around 600MW per year.

Just next week, it will open a new plant at Shiga, also in western Japan, that will consolidate its HIT production lines in one place, while the Solar Ark we saw recently will soon house a new PV research facility.

Market forces

Of course, companies can do research and build solar plants to their hearts' contents, but getting solar panels in place atop a lot more houses around the world is another challenge.

Sharp's Nakayama explains how market forces will come into play here too: "We are confident that the various applications and product line-ups Sharp is proposing to consumers will speak for themselves."

In other words, the 'build it and they will come' model applies to getting the world using renewable energy just as well as it does to fictional baseball fields.

The only difference is, this isn't a movie set and if we get it wrong at the first attempt the chances for a retake are slim to none.

Spray-on solar cells coming soon

Miniature organic polymers cells could power microscopic machines

Some of the smallest solar cells ever made have been successfully tested as a power source for even tinier microscopic machines.

Each cell is just over 1mm long - that's about a quarter the size of a lowercase 'o' in a standard 12-point font.

Unlike bulky, brittle silicon solar panels, the new cells are made from an organic polymer that can be dissolved and printed on to a flexible material.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Spend wisely to save Money

Have you ever noticed that the things you buy every week at the grocery and hardware stores go up a few cents between shopping trips? Not by much…just by a little each week but they continue to creep up and up.
All it takes for the price to jump up by a lot is a little hiccup in the world wide market, note the price of gasoline as it relates to world affairs.

There is a way that we can keep these price increases from impacting our personal finances so much and that is by buying in quantity and finding the best possible prices for the things we use and will continue to use everyday… things that will keep just as well on the shelves in our homes as it does on the shelves at the grocery store or hardware store.
For instance, dog food and cat food costs about 10% less when bought by the case than it does when bought at the single can price and if you wait for close out prices you save a lot more than that.

Set aside some space in your home and make a list of things that you use regularly which will not spoil. Any grain or grain products will need to be stored in airtight containers that rats can’t get into so keep that in mind.

Then set out to find the best prices you can get on quantity purchases of such things as bathroom items and dry and canned food.
You will be surprised at how much you can save by buying a twenty pound bag of rice as opposed to a one pound bag but don’t forget that it must be kept in a rat proof container.

You can buy some clothing items such as men’s socks and underwear because those styles don’t change, avoid buying children’s and women’s clothing, those styles change and sizes change too drastically.
Try to acquire and keep a two year supply of these items and you can save hundreds of dollars.

Rebates

Rebates have become increasingly popular in the last few years on a lot of items and certainly on electronic items and computers. Rebates of $20, $50 or $100 are not uncommon.
I’ve even seen items advertised as “free after rebate”. Do these rebates come under the heading of “too good to be true”? Some of them do and there are “catches” to watch out for but if you are careful, rebates can help you get some really good deals.

The way a rebate works is that you pay the listed price for an item then mail in a form and the bar code to the manufacturer and they send you a refund thus reducing the price of what you paid for the item except with a time delay of several weeks.

Rule 1 - Rebates from reputable companies are usually just fine.
You can be pretty sure you will get the promised rebate from Best Buy, Amazon or Dell but you should probably not count on getting one from a company you’ve never heard of. If you really want the product and are OK with paying the price listed then buy it but don’t count on actually getting the refund.

Rule 2 - Check rebate expiration dates.
Many times products will stay on the shelf of a retailer after the date for sending in the rebate offer has expired so check that date carefully.

Rule 3 - Be sure you have all the forms required to file for the rebate before you leave the
store.
Rebates will almost always require a form to be filled out, a receipt for the purchase and a bar code.

Rule 4 - Back up your rebate claim.
Make copies of everything you send in to get your rebate including the bar code. Stuff gets lost in the mail all the time and if the rebate is for $50 it’s worth the trouble to back up your claim.

Things Your Computer Person won’t Tell You

Best tips to protect your PC and how to fix common problems

1. Turn it off, turn it back on. Nine times out of ten, rebooting your computer and any equipment that connects to it will solve the problem.

2. Check the cables. People are always shocked that a cable came loose. Of course, everything that needs power is plugged into an outlet, right?

3. Keep it clean. On a PC, run Disk Cleanup and Disk Defragmenter at least once a month. This will store files more efficiently so your system doesn’t slow down.

4. Make sure you have current antivirus and anti-spyware protection, and set it to update at least once a day and run a full-system scan at least once a week.

5. Use “strong” passwords. Expert suggests combining letters and numbers but not your birth date-to create a “base” password, and adding a unique suffix for each site you use. If your base password is your spouse's initials and your anniversary date (say, SP061789), your Amazon password might be “SP061789AM.”

6. There's no free lunch. Downloading free music, movies, and games from file-sharing sites can open holes in your system for others to exploit. Play it safe and use established services like Rhapsody, iTunes, and Netflix.

7. Remember: Public Wi-Fi is public. If you don't have a compelling reason to check your e-mail or bank account while sipping a latte at the mall, don't do it. While you're on a public network, even one that's encrypted, a nearby hacker can capture your passwords.

8. Give it a rest. Turning off your computer when it's not in use saves energy and clears out the RAM, or temporary memory, which would otherwise slow your machine over time.


9. If you can't get online, call your Internet service provider first. Connection problems can often be checked and fixed-free.
10. Got neighbors? If you do, protect your home wireless network with a password. If a person knows what he’s doing, getting into a computer on a non-encrypted net-work is easy.

11. You backed up your data, right? External hard drives with lots of memory now sell for under $200, and automated programs like Cobian Backup or Apple’s Time Machine make regular backups a no-brainer. Secure online backup services save your data offsite should anything happen to your home.

12. If you travel with your laptop, get a lock. A 2007 survey by the Computer Security Institute found that 50 percent of respondents had a laptop or other mobile device stolen in the past year. A simple cable lock (starting at about $20) lets you physically secure your laptop anywhere you go.

13. Remember: If your company owns the computer, they own what’s on it, too even your email in some cases. Act accordingly.

Friday, November 7, 2008

10 Immunity Boosters




Tea/green tea
Studies show that green tea infused with the antioxidant EGCG reduces the risk of most types of cancer. The phytonutrients in tea also support the growth of intestinal bacteria.

"Specifically, they inhibit the growth of bad bacteria and leave the beneficial bacteria untouched. Why is this important?

Because up to 70 percent of your immune system is located in your digestive tract, Four cups a day will keep it functioning at its peak.

Chili peppers
Chilis stimulate the metabolism, act as a natural blood thinner, and help release endorphins. Plus, they're a great way to add flavor to food without increasing fat or calorie content. Chilis are also rich in beta-carotene, which turns into vitamin A in the blood and fights infections, as well as capsaicin, which inhibits neuropeptides (chemicals that cause inflammation). A recent study in the journal Cancer Research found that hot peppers even have anti-prostate-cancer properties. All this from half a chili pepper (or one tablespoon of chili flakes) every day.

Ginger
Contrary to popular belief, ginger—a piquant addition to so many Asian dishes—isn't a root, it's a stem, which means it contains living compounds that improve your health. Chief among them is gingerol, a cancer suppressor that studies have shown to be particularly effective against that of the colon. Chop ginger or grind it fresh and add it to soy-marinated fish or chicken as often as you can. The more you can handle, the better.


Blueberries
"This potent little fruit can help prevent a range of diseases from cancer to heart disease," says Ryan Andrews, the director of research at Precision Nutrition, in Toronto, Canada. One serving (3.5 ounces) contains more antioxidants than any other fruit. Drizzle with lemon juice and mix with strawberries for a disease-fighting super snack.



Cinnamon
Known for making desserts sweet and Indian food complex, cinnamon is rich in antioxidants that inhibit blood clotting and bacterial growth (including the bad-breath variety). Studies also suggest that it may help stabilize blood sugar, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. "What's more, it may help reduce bad cholesterol. Try half a teaspoon a day in yogurt or oatmeal."



Sweet potatoes
Often confused with yams, this tuber is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. In addition to countering the effects of secondhand smoke and preventing diabetes, sweet potatoes contain glutathione, an antioxidant that can enhance nutrient metabolism and immune-system health, as well as protect against Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, liver disease, cystic fibrosis.


Tomatoes
"I think of tomatoes as the 'fighting herpes helper' for the divorcé crowd," says Petersen. Their lycopene content can also help protect against degenerative diseases. "Cooked tomatoes and tomato paste work best," he says. Shoot for half a tomato, or 12 to 20 ounces of tomato juice, a day.



Figs
Packed with potassium, manganese, and antioxidants, this fruit also helps support proper pH levels in the body, making it more difficult for pathogens to invade. Plus, the fiber in figs can lower insulin and blood-sugar levels, reducing the risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Select figs with dark skins (they contain more nutrients) and eat them alone or add them to trail mix. Newman's Own Fig Newmans are also a quick and easy way to boost the immune system. Aim for four figs per week.

Mushrooms (reiki, shiitake, maitake)

Delicious when added to brown rice or quinoa, these mushrooms are rich in the antioxidant ergothioneine, which protects cells from abnormal growth and replication. "In short, they reduce the risk of cancer," says Bowerman, who recommends half a cup once or twice a week. "Cooking them in red wine, which contains the antioxidant resveratrol, magnifies their immunity-boosting power."

Pomegranates

The juice from the biblical fruit of many seeds can reduce your risk of most cancers, thanks to polyphenols called ellagitannins, which give the fruit its color. In fact, a recent study at UCLA found that pomegranate juice slows the growth of prostate cancer cells by a factor of six.

Friday, October 31, 2008

What is the Greenhouse Effect?

After 150 Years of Industrialization, Climate Change is Inevitable

The “greenhouse effect” often gets a bad rap because of its association with global warming, but the truth is we couldn’t live without it.

What Causes the Greenhouse Effect?
Life on earth depends on energy from the sun. About 30 percent of the sunlight that beams toward Earth is deflected by the outer atmosphere and scattered back into space. The rest reaches the planet’s surface and is reflected upward again as a type of slow-moving energy called infrared radiation.


As it rises, infrared radiation is absorbed by “greenhouse gases” such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, ozone and methane, which slows its escape from the atmosphere.

Although greenhouse gases make up only about 1 percent of the Earth’s atmosphere, they regulate our climate by trapping heat and holding it in a kind of warm-air blanket that surrounds the planet.


This phenomenon is what scientists call the "greenhouse effect." Without it, scientists estimate that the average temperature on Earth would be colder by approximately 30 degrees Celsius (54 degrees Fahrenheit), far too cold to sustain our current ecosystem.

How Do Humans Contribute to the Greenhouse Effect?
While the greenhouse effect is an essential environmental prerequisite for life on Earth, there really can be too much of a good thing.

The problems begin when human activities distort and accelerate the natural process by creating more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere than are necessary to warm the planet to an ideal temperature.

  • Burning natural gas, coal and oil —including gasoline for automobile engines—raises the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  • Some farming practices and land-use changes increase the levels of methane and nitrous oxide.
  • Many factories produce long-lasting industrial gases that do not occur naturally, yet contribute significantly to the enhanced greenhouse effect and “global warming” that is currently under way.
  • Deforestation also contributes to global warming. Trees use carbon dioxide and give off oxygen in its place, which helps to create the optimal balance of gases in the atmosphere. As more forests are logged for timber or cut down to make way for farming, however, there are fewer trees to perform this critical function.

  • Population growth is another factor in global warming, because as more people use fossil fuels for heat, transportation and manufacturing the level of greenhouse gases continues to increase. As more farming occurs to feed millions of new people, more greenhouse gases enter the atmosphere.

Ultimately, more greenhouse gases means more infrared radiation trapped and held, which gradually increases the temperature of the Earth’s surface and the air in the lower atmosphere.

Carbon Dioxide Emissions are the Biggest Problem
Currently, carbon dioxide accounts for more than 60 percent of the enhanced greenhouse effect caused by the increase of greenhouse gases, and the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing by more than 10 percent every 20 years.

If emissions of carbon dioxide continue to grow at current rates, then the level of the gas in the atmosphere will likely double, or possibly even triple, from pre-industrial levels during the 21st century.

Climate Changes are Inevitable
According to the United Nations, some climate change is already inevitable because of emissions that have occurred since the dawn of the Industrial Age.

While the Earth’s climate does not respond quickly to external changes, many scientists believe that global warming already has significant momentum due to 150 years of industrialization in many countries around the world. As a result, global warming will continue to affect life on Earth for hundreds of years, even if greenhouse gas emissions are reduced and the increase in atmospheric levels halted.

Monday, October 27, 2008

10 Ways to Boost Your Memory

Have you ever lost your reading glasses and then found them on top of your head? Have you ever gotten your kids off to school, only to find their lunches still in the refrigerator?

If so,……. you're not alone. According to experts, many of us have minor problems with recall as we age.

The good news?..... The brain, like a muscle, can be "flexed" and enhanced through regular activity. To get started, incorporate these simple activities into your daily routine. You'll be fighting forgetfulness, sharpening your memory, and boosting your brainpower in no time.

1. Play Mind Games

When planning a busy day, tie all of your tasks together through creative visualization. If you're worried you'll forget to buy a loaf of Italian bread, visualize yourself slicing it before that big spaghetti dinner. Crossword puzzles, word searches, and Sudoku are also great ways to keep your brain healthy.

2. Exercise Your Eyes

Scan a room for at least 30 seconds before making your entrance. In a recent study, British researchers found that this exercise helped subjects to retain words, including names, that they were about to hear. The horizontal movement of the eyes causes the brain's hemispheres to interact, triggering memory retrieval.

3. Meditate

Studies show that meditating for at least 10 minutes before a big meeting or lecture can significantly increase your attention span and memory. Simply sit or lie on the floor in a dark room, place your hands on your stomach, and focus on your breathing.

4. Get Your Z's

Get a good night's rest, and your brain will thank you. Research shows that the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls speed and accuracy, is especially active following a full eight-hour slumber.

5. Mix It Up

Try brushing your teeth with the opposite hand, or take a new route to work. Making small changes to vary your routine stimulates nerve cell growth in the braingrowth that's essential to memory retention.

6. Get Moving

A recent Columbia University study found that exercise triggers neuron growth in a region of the brain associated with normal, age-related memory loss. It doesn't have to be a rigorous routine; just 30 minutes of brisk walking three times a week will do the trick.

7. Take Memory-Enhancing Minerals

Studies are shown that a reduced iron intake can have a detrimental effect on IQ levels and cognitive function. A lack of iron causes low hemoglobin levels, which lowers the supply of oxygen to the brain. To avoid these unfavorable effects, add an iron supplement to your daily vitamin regimen.

8. Drink Coffee

Researchers found that older adults who drank one cup of coffee prior to a memory test performed better than those who drank decaffeinated coffee. That said, the benefits may be limited to regular coffee drinkers; others could suffer side effects such as shakiness, anxiety, or impaired concentration.

9. Chew Gum

Japanese researchers have found that activity in the hippocampus, an important area of the brain for memory, increases while we chew. Recent research suggests that insulin receptors in the brain may also be involved. As we chew, our bodies release insulin in preparation for the food we'll soon be digesting.

10. Take Ginkgo Biloba

The ginkgo is the world's oldest tree and has been used for memory enhancement in Eastern cultures for thousands of years. Studies show that gingko improves blood circulation to the brain by dilating blood vessels and increasing oxygen supply. Gingko is also known for its ability to wipe out harmful compounds known as free radicals, which are thought to damage brain cells. The advised supplement dose is 120mg a day.

How to Make a Great First Impression

First impressions can be quite important.
Everyone stereotypes everyone on first impression, even if we are reluctant to do it. We all get a first impression of a new person that creates a mental image of his or her personality in our minds.
That image of you often lasts and can affect the relationship that follows.

Another thing is that we often play different roles in relationships. With our parents we play one role, with friends another, with someone we are interested in/in love with a third, when shopping for clothes in a store a fourth. And so on.

A good or great first impression can create a positive role in the minds of the new people we meet. When we meet them again, we are often drawn back into this role. Sometimes it happens almost unconsciously until you after a few minutes notice that you have fallen into your old role - like when you meet friends you haven’t seen in years - in that dynamic once again. You may not always be drawn into that role. But if you do it sure is better to have a positive than a negative role saved for you.


Act as if you are meeting a good friend


If you just imagine that the person you have just met and are talking to is one of your best friends you’ll probably adjust unconsciously and start to smile, open up your body-language to a very friendly and warm position and reduce any nervousness or weirdness in your tone of voice and body-language. Don’t overdo it though, you might not want to hug and kiss right away.

The nice thing about this is that you may also start to feel positive feelings towards this new person, just as you do with your friend when you meet him/her. This is a pretty good starting-point for getting them to reciprocate and for developing a good relationship.


Keep you body language open


Smile. Don’t cross your arms or legs. Turn your body towards the people you’re are shaking hands with or talking to so that your body language is friendly and open. Make relaxed eye contact – don’t stare – when talking or listening. Don’t look the person in the eye all the time. When you break eye-contact try to do it kinda slow, don’t let your eyes just dart away. Making eye-contact can be a bit hard or scary but if you work at it you’ll get used to it.

Stand up straight
Keeping a good posture certainly improves on the impression one makes. Don’t slouch. Sit or stand up straight.


Be positive
Sometimes you can go in all positive in a first meeting. Sometimes it may not be the best approach to go in too positive as it can be seen as bit abrasive or inappropriate. A better way to convey a positive attitude in a first meeting can then be to read the mood of person(s) before you start talking – by just watching them - and then match it for a short while. Then - when you have an emotional connection and the other person feels you are similar to him/her - you can let your positivity arise a bit more.

Regardless if you start out positive from the get-go or a short, short while into the meeting, be sure to positive. If you, for instance, start a first meeting by complaining, there’s a big chance the people you meet will mentally label you as a complainer or a negative person.


Don’t think too much
Try, as much as possible, to stay outside of your head and focus on the people you are talking to rather than focusing on yourself.


Mentally rehearse before you even enter the room

Visualize how great the events will unfold - see and hear it - and also how great will you feel at this meeting.

See yourself smiling, being positive, open and having a great time. See the excellent outcome in your mind. Then release by visualizing that it has already happened, that the meeting is over with the desired result. This is surprisingly effective and will get you into a great and relaxed mood before even stepping into the first, second or twentieth meeting.


Also, as long as you try to use the first and the last point it doesn’t really matter too much what word or phrase you use to start the conversation.

The words are only 7 percent of your communication. 93 percent is in your tone of voice and your body-language.