Monday 31 December 2018

Chinese scientists make nano "Trojan horse" to strangle tumors!

Chinese scientists have folded DNA molecules in an origami-like process to make a nano "Trojan horse", which is thinner than 1/4000 of a hair and can release "killers" to fight cancer tumors.

Cancer cells need a lot of nutrition to multiply, but they don't produce nutrient substances, said lead researcher Nie Guangjun, of China's National Center for Nanoscience and Technology (NCNST).

All the blood, oxygen and energy are conveyed to cancer cells through blood vessels, so many scientists are trying to create blocks on the blood vessels feeding tumors.

Through precision control, researcher Ding Baoquan folded a single-strand DNA of a phage (a type of virus) into a rectangular sheet. Then he put four "killers" -- molecules of thrombin (a clotting enzyme in blood plasma) -- on the sheet and rolled them up.

At the interface, "locks" made by fragments of nucleolin protein DNA were installed, forming a tube-shaped nano "Trojan horse" or nanorobot, which is 90 nanometers long and has a diameter of 19 nanometers.

After injection, the "Trojan horse" travels in blood vessels and only tumors have the "key" to open the "locks." Once unlocked, the killer thrombin molecules are released, attracting platelets and fibrinogen protein to form a large thrombus, or clot, in the blood vessel within hours to cut off the blood supply and "starve" the tumor to death, Nie said.

The nanorobot can be cleared out of the body after it has finished its task.

Researchers have conducted controlled experiments on more than 200 mice with melanoma, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and primary lung cancer, and found the nanorobots are effective in strangling the tumors, Nie said.

In one experiment on eight mice with melanoma, the tumors in three mice totally disappeared. The average survival life of the mice was prolonged from 20.5 days to 45 days. No metastasis was found, according to Nie.

The incidence of malignant tumors has been rising in China in recent years, becoming a major health threat. Interventional embolization therapy has become the first therapeutic choice for patients with advanced liver cancer. About 600,000 to 800,000 Chinese with liver cancer receive interventional therapy every year.

However, patients face anesthetic risks in this therapy and doctors face exposure to X-ray radiation, so a safer, more effective and convenient treatment is a priority, and nanotechnology has opened new opportunities, Nie said.

The research began five years ago, when NCNST researchers first looked at cutting off the tumor blood supply by using DNA-based nano carriers.

Shi Quanwei, another member of the research team, said laboratory verification of the nanorobot idea has been completed, but industrial production and application of the nanorobot is still a long way off.

"We hope to attract investment to improve the production technique and enlarge the manufacturing scale of the nanorobot, and conduct further research on its effect and safety before application for clinical trials," Shi said.

"We need to make breakthroughs on technical bottlenecks, and hope to transform the basic research into practical therapy to benefit patients with tumors."

The research was recently selected as one of 30 winning projects at a contest of innovative future technologies in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province. The contest encouraged young Chinese scientists to conceive groundbreaking technologies and trigger innovation.

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This anxiety-reducing technique works better for poor people than rich people!

dreaming girl hopefully reducing anxiety
© Nicoleta Ionescu/Shutterstock

Lots of psychological techniques are all about reframing — looking on the bright side. Instead of focusing on a problem, argue many psychologists, find something positive to think about. When you're going through a break-up, focus on a new hobby. These techniques are becoming more and more popular. But do they actually work?
To find out, a group of scientists from Northwestern University conducted a laboratory study and looked at survey data from thousands of participants. The researchers found that finding a silver lining indeed makes people feel better than focusing in on the problem ... Particularly if those people are poor. People who made more than $35,000 a year didn't see as many benefits from reframing their situations.
“Individuals with lower incomes have less access to resources to directly change a stressful situation they may find themselves in,” said Claudia Haase, a human development professor who worked on the study. “They may find it more effective to deal with anxiety by reframing the situation.”
In other words, wealthier people can more easily change their situation. Poor people are more often stuck where they are and are better off trying to change how they think about their situation.I have mixed feelings about these results. Sure, focusing on the positive might make poor people feel less anxious, and it's a very useful strategy for everyday life. But on a bigger level, it encourages people to ignore a bad system rather than fight it.
Income inequality is growing throughout the country and world. Telling poor people to focus on the bright side is great for people in charge, but for the 99 percent, it means accepting the status quo. If you're upset about tigers going extinct, you might be more cheerful if you distract yourself by thinking about, say, how your favorite television show is producing a new season. But the tigers will keep on dying.
Maybe it's best to combine the strategies — using reframing as a tool in personal life, while taking on bigger problems head-on in larger society.

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Real cause of ME discovered—and, no, it's not all in your mind!

Real cause of ME discovered—and, no, it's not all in your mind image
Some doctors still quietly believe that chronic fatigue syndrome, or ME, is more in the mind of the sufferer—but new research has finally put paid to the theory. Instead, it's triggered by an overactive immune system, a discovery that fits with the stories of ME patients who noticed their symptoms started after an infection.
Researchers from King's College London studied 55 patients with hepatitis C who had been given the drug interferon-alpha that causes a similar response to a virus; 18 went on to develop ME-like symptoms, and they were also the ones who had the strongest reaction to the drug. They also had an overactive immune system before treatment started.

People who already have an overactive immune response are more likely to develop ME when they pick up a virus or other infection, the researchers say.

References: (Source: Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2018; doi: org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2018.11.032)

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Saturday 29 December 2018

Plastic bag makers say their product isn't to blame for damaging the environment!

Image result for plastic bags
A plastic manufacturer says people are blaming plastic bags for wrecking the environment, instead of taking responsibility for their own wasteful behaviour.
The decision to phase out single-use plastic bags, announced last week, means Kiwi Plastics will close at the end of the year.
But company owner Angelus Tay said a lack of waste education was the real problem, not the bags. 
"The bag can't defend itself, so you blame the product."

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Does exercising before bedtime stop you from sleeping?

Does exercising before bedtime stop you from sleeping? image
It's another urban myth that can be put to bed (quite literally)—exercising a few hours before you call it a night doesn't affect your sleep.
If anything, exercising up to four hours before bed-time has a positive effect on sleep quality, although it's a very mild one. But it certainly doesn't stop you having a good night's sleep, say researchers at the Institute of Human Movement Sciences and Sport in Zurich.

They looked through 23 previously-published studies and discovered that people who had exercised or taken part in some sporting activity in the evening still enjoyed deep sleep for around one-fifth of the time they were sleeping. The deep-sleep period for people who hadn't exercised in the evening was slightly lower.

Although the differences were small—there were just a couple of percent points between the two—they were significant because deep sleep is vital for physical recovery.

The one exception is vigorous exercise just one hour before going to bed. Exercising so close to bedtime could affect the quality of sleep, but even here the evidence is not conclusive as it was based on just one study, the researchers say.

They reckon that late-night exercise doesn't give the body long enough time to recover; the hearts of the participants were still beating 20 beats per minute faster than their usual resting rate when they went to bed.

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Friday 28 December 2018

MMR raises autism risk in young black boys!

MMR raises autism risk in young black boys image

The controversial MMR-autism theory is back on the table after a medical journal has published research that suggests there is a strong link—especially for black boys vaccinated before their third birthday.
The group was excluded from a CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) study from 2004 that has been cited as one of the key pieces of research to demonstrate that the vaccine isn't triggering autism.

One of the CDC researchers, Dr William Thompson, had revealed the omission to Dr Brian Hooker, a professor of biology at Simpson University, which became the catalyst for the movie Vaxxed, directed by Andrew Wakefield, who was one of the first to suggest a link.

In his analysis of all the data sets—including those left out by the CDC researchers—Dr Hooker discovered that black American boys, who had their first MMR vaccination when they were three years old, were nearly four times more likely to develop autism.

Autism rates are around 28 per cent higher among black boys and Hooker believes the original CDC study was a "huge lost opportunity" to discover the impact of the MMR vaccine on the group.


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Holiday Cream “Teazecake” with Cranberry Glaze!

I also love the Holiday Teasecake I make on holidays.
Holiday Cream “Teasecake”
with Cranberry Glaze

Oak Nut Crust.
(I often increase the crust by 50% or double it)
1 cup pecans rinsed &. Drained
1 cup rolled oats(oatmeal)
3 tablespoons oil
( she called for corn oil, but now I’ve tried many other oils. Grapeseed oil is nice)
1 tablespoon Apple juice
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 350F, Prepare crust. Place nuts on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes or so. Stir. Toast 2 more minutes. Remove, cool and place in food processor with oats. Pulse to grind into a coarse meal. Add the oil, juice, salt, and maple syrup. Process quickly until just mixed. Press this mixture into an oiled 9 inch pie pan covering the bottom and coming up the sides about 1 1/2 inches. Bake for 10 minutes or so at 350 degrees . Remove and cool in pie pan as you finish preparing the filing. (I found it may take a little more than 10 minutes of cooking ).

Tofu Cream Pie Filling
1 1/2 pounds of firm tofu , fresh and water packed.
4 tablespoons raw tahini unroasted
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
Pinch sea salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
Place the tofu in a salad press or otherwise press out the excess water. Place drained tofu in a processor or blender along with all other ingredients. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender. Pour tofu mixture into the center of a cooled pre baked pie crust. Allowing the filling to radiate out from the center. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool and if you wish, spoon on any fruit topping as desired.

Cranberry topping
2 cups fresh cranberries,
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
2 tablespoons maple syrup
3/4 cup apple juice
Sort cranberries removing stems . Rinse. Place in saucepan with syrup and juice. Bring to boil, reduce heat , cover and simmer for 20 minutes or so, stir well. You may serve chunky berries or pass the berries through a sieve leaving only the pulp and the juice as a glaze. Simmer the juice until the consistency of honey. . Drizzle the glass decoratively on the dessert plat and over the teazecake.
(Jane Quincannon Stanchich is a macrobiotic philosophy and cooking teacher , chef , caterer)

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Thursday 27 December 2018

Gut microbiota’s effect on physical and mental health!

Did you know we are almost more bacteria than human? There are over 100 trillion bacteria residing inside our large intestine, making up our gut microbiota.1 These bacteria encode over 100 times more genes than the human genome.
Our physical and mental health can be strongly affected by ‘our microbes’, or so to say, the small organisms (such as bacteria) which form the microbial ecosystem in our gut. This ecosystem is known as our gut microbiota. Disrupting that ecosystem (so-called 'dysbiosis’*) may be dangerous for our health. In fact, dysbiosis is associated with disorders like obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and mental diseases. But how exactly do these tiny ‘gut bugs’ control different body and brain functions and how can we use this knowledge to prevent diseases?
The EU-funded project MyNewGut has delved into the gut microbiota universe and tried to find an answer to these questions by:
  • Investigating the role of the gut microbiota and its specific components in metabolism and energy balance.
  • Identifying specific gut microbiota components and the metabolic functions that contribute to and predict obesity, eating and emotional disorders and associated conditions.
  • Understanding the influence of environmental factors on the gut microbiota, in pregnancy and during a baby’s development, and its impact on brain, immune and metabolic long-term health.
  • Developing new food ingredients and food prototypes, by collaborating with the EU food industry, that target the gut ecosystem and contribute to reducing the risks of metabolic- and mental-related disorders.
Over the last 5 years, the MyNewGut partners have published 45 papers with many more to come. The published papers include human, animal and in vitro studies, as well as extensive literature reviews. These studies have not only confirmed many existing hypotheses surrounding the role of the gut microbiota, but also produced various promising new discoveries. Let’s have a look at them in detail!

New gut bacteria may help fight obesity and mental disorders

Bacteria account for >90% of the microorganisms found in our gut.2 The MyNewGut project has discovered bacterial species and strains in healthy people that seem to be effective against obesity, metabolic and mood disorders. They do so by influencing the endocrine and immune pathways that have an impact on both our physical and mental health. For instance, the bacterial strain ‘Bacteroides uniformis CECT 7771’ has shown pre-clinical efficacy on metabolic and immune dysfunctions in obesity, reducing for example serum triglyceride levels, glucose intolerance and body weight gain.3,4 . Furthermore, the MyNewGut partners have also identified a Bifidobacterium longum bacteria strain, which had a positive impact on perceived stress, sleep quality and cortisol release. These strains could potentially be next generation probiotics that could in the future be used to help tackle obesity and stress-related disorders (e.g. impairments in cognitive task performance like reduced attention, learning ability; or mood disorders like depression).

How diet has an influence on our gut microbiota

Diet appears to be a major factor that influences the composition and function of the human gut microbiota.5,6 MyNewGut experts have conducted several human intervention trials to investigate dietary health effects potentially mediated by the microbiota and they are publishing a range of position papers that will show evidence on how we could inform future dietary recommendations. These position papers are based on both project results and other recent insights regarding the role of the gut microbiota and its interaction with the diet on health related outcomes. MyNewGut partners have specifically looked into the role played by proteins, fats and fibres on the gut microbiota.

How high intake of proteins or a high fat diet harm the gut microbiota

Protein intake benefits weight management and some aspects of metabolic health, but, unlike carbohydrates, high intake levels also seem to have negative effects. MyNewGut partners found out that high protein consumption, which increases protein fermentation in the large intestine, generates some of the toxic metabolites (products of amino acid metabolism) linked to diseases such as colorectal cancer. In the 3-week human high-protein dietary intervention by Beaumont and colleagues also the source of the protein (animal or plant) appeared to lead to significant differences in the metabolites that were generated.7 This makes protein source an important factor for future research particularly in relation to the possible different long-term effects of high protein diets on microbiota and derived metabolites. Wolters and colleagues concluded that a high fat diet, especially when rich in saturated fatty acids, may have negative effects on the gut microbiota, characterised by a lower number of microbes and a lower variety of microbial species. Diets rich in omega 3 or omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids do not seem to negatively affect the microbiota, whereas the effects of monounsaturated fatty acids are less consistent (submitted for publication).

Dietary fibres are the main fuel for our gut microbiota

Fibres are carbohydrates that are not digested by our digestive enzymes, and thus reach our large intestine intact. They get fermented by gut bacteria, which form short-chain fatty acids (SCFA: acetate, propionate and butyrate). These substances play an important role in gut health; for example, they help protect the cells lining our gut, they also trigger hormones involved in appetite and glucose metabolism and reduce inflammation.2 Carbohydrate fermentation is thus considered beneficial for overall gut health and beyond. Recent studies suggest that intake of fibre at levels above current dietary recommendations (25-30 g fibre/day) could be necessary to achieve some of the microbiome-related beneficial effects, such as reducing makers of gut inflammation.8

High fat or high fibre diets are oppositely associated with depression

The interaction between diet and gut microbiota has also been found to modulate the gut-brain axis in mice fed a high-fat diet, and ultimately negatively influence brain function.9 More precisely, studies conducted by MyNewGut partners showed that Western diets rich in saturated fat resulted not only in obesity, but also in depressive behaviour. We know that these effects are mediated by the gut microbiome, since they were reduced by antibiotic-treatment. These results are only a starting point, and new research would have to confirm the findings in humans.10 A review of other research shows that high fibre diets are also associated with fewer symptoms of depression, whereby prebiotic fibres shape microbiota composition which could influence behaviour.11

The role of the gut in metabolic health: mechanistic clues

Studies in animal models conducted by project partners have revealed new mechanisms whereby the microbiota could impact metabolic health. The consortium showed that peptidase activity (DPPIV) responsible for the degradation of enteroendocrine hormones produced in the gut, which regulate appetite and glucose homeostasis (like glucagon-like peptide I [GLP-I]), are of bacterial origin.12 This means that the presence of specific bacteria producing these new enzymes can influence appetite, food intake and body weight gain.


Gut microbiota: we are all different

The MyNewGut project has also explored innovative interventions, including Faecal Microbiota Transplants (FMT) for restoring dysbiosis-associated disorders. In FMT, the microbiota of a healthy donor is transferred to an individual suffering from some form of dysbiosis. In MyNewGut studies, the donor’s microbiota was transferred to human subjects with metabolic syndrome.5 In this study, the responsiveness to treatment depended on the individual’s gut microbiota profile, suggesting a need for personalised intervention strategies. This study also demonstrates that the individual’s microbiota directly impacts neural systems that could mediate the impact of food intake on metabolic health (paper in preparation).

The impact of early life microbial imbalance on health

MyNewGut has demonstrated how important it is to better understand the role of environmental factors and the diet on the gut microbiota at critical development periods, such as infancy and childhood. During these periods, different organs and systems are under development and maturation making it a crucial time for developing a diverse gut microbiota. Dietary changes that favourably influence the microbiota are thought to have a higher and longer-lasting effect during stages of development, emphasising the importance of diet during early life for long-term health in adulthood.2 MyNewGut partners specifically investigated whether effects of environmental factors in early life and childhood also impact health outcomes in later stages of life in humans. For example, they conducted a unique longitudinal study in children to determine the role of the microbiota, the lifestyle (diet, exercise, etc.) and other individual factors (immune and metabolic profile) in the development of overweight. The study revealed that specific microbiota configurations were indeed correlated to inflammatory markers and dietary patterns, and subsequently to the development of obesity. MyNewGut’s partners have also showed that the type of birth, a factor that influences the maturation of the microbiota early in life and may contribute to health programming, also influences vulnerability to stress in young adulthood in humans. Birth by caesarean section adversely impacts inflammatory markers and stress response.

What’s next for gut health research?

To conclude, the MyNewGut project findings have demonstrated that our gut ‘has a mind of its own’ and that further research is needed to understand how it functions and influences our health. The project has provided precious insights into the role of our gut microbiota both in metabolic and mental health. The MyNewGut findings will play a fundamental role in the future development of more effective interventions targeting the gut - to fight obesity, metabolic syndrome, and behavioural disorders, like eating and mood/emotional disorders. In three words: mind your gut!

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Staying healthy during the holidays!

Staying healthy during the holidays can be tough.
"During the holidays it's tempting to overeat and sometimes over drink," says Tommy Parrish, the Director of the LifeStyle Centre at Covenant Health. "You have Christmas parties and family coming in. A lot of time it's just self control."
And Parrish says that self control starts at home.
"Make your portions smaller and be active as much as you can," Parrish explained. "Get out and walk, come up to the fitness facility, get on the treadmill, do your strength training."
Add steps in wherever you can, even when you're doing your holiday shopping. 
"Park a little ways further away from the door," Parrish explained. "That's always a simple way of getting extra steps in." 
Parrish says every little bit helps and adds up quickly.
"We need to move our muscles," explained Parrish. "When you move, you're burning calories. It might be a few or a lot but we want to make sure we're moving as much as we can."
And don't wait until New Year's Day. 
Today is just as good as any day to jump start into a healthier you.
"Start today is the biggest thing you can say," Parrish said.
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Friday 21 December 2018

Schizophrenia linked to vitamin D deficiency at birth!

Schizophrenia linked to vitamin D deficiency at birth image
Schizophrenia isn't 'all in the head'. It could be triggered by a vitamin D deficiency that happened years earlier when you were born.
Newborns with the deficiency are 44 per cent more likely to suffer from schizophrenia when they are adults, say researchers from the University of Queensland.

The researchers think schizophrenia could have its roots in the womb when the developing baby is totally reliant on the mothers' own vitamin D stores. Making sure pregnant women have adequate levels of the vitamin—either by supplementing, eating foods rich in vitamin D—such as beef liver, cheese and eggs—or sunbathing.

The researchers analysed data on 2,602 people, born between 1981 and 2000 when their vitamin D levels were measured, who went on to develop schizophrenia. Neonatal levels of the vitamin were also measured among a similar group who didn't develop schizophrenia.

The risk is greater in northern countries that have less sunshine than Australia, the researchers say, and so ensuring high vitamin D levels, especially in pregnant women, is paramount.

The researchers now want to test if low vitamin D levels in women are also contributing to the autism epidemic.
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Thursday 20 December 2018

Bacopa is a little-known herb that can improve memory and brain health

Image: Bacopa is a little-known herb that can improve memory and brain health
(Natural News) Let’s face it: The hectic pace of modern life means we could all use a little extra help remembering the mountain of things we need to get through in any given day. And, as we get older, remembering where we put the keys and which day of the week we need to take the car in to be repaired gets harder and harder.
Fortunately, help is at hand. Bacopa monnieri, a nootropic herb that has been a staple of Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, could be just what you need to enhance your memory and protect your brain health as you get older.
What is bacopa? Also known as brahmi or water hyssop, this herb has an established history as a potent memory aid and general brain health enhancer. A creeping perennial plant native to India, Asia, Australia, Europe, Africa and the Americas, bacopa is such a potent memory aid that, as reported by Natural Health 365, shamans in India used it to enable them to memorize texts that were more than 900 pages long.
More recently, peer-reviewed studies have confirmed bacopa’s amazing memory and concentration enhancing abilities, as well as its beneficial effects on information recall, retention of knowledge and visual processing speed. It has also been found to improve emotional well-being, providing relief for depression and anxiety. And it has shown great promise as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Modern studies back up what Indian herbalists have known for thousands of years

U.S. and Australian studies found that after just three weeks of supplementation study participants were able to process information more quickly and retain it for longer.
Natural Health 365 reported:
A 1996 study presented at the International Brain Research Conference showed bacopa could cut the time required for learning a new task in half. A rigorous 2001 study involving a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled experiment out of Victoria, Australia showed subjects that took bacopa scored higher on cognitive processing tests after 12 weeks.
These results were substantiated by a study out of the University of Wollongong in Australia’s psychology department, which showed that taking bacopa increases both memory and recall substantially.
These findings were further substantiated by a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, which found that when seniors were given 300mg of bacopa daily, their cognitive functioning was better than that of others of their age who were not receiving the supplement. They demonstrated significant improvements in both attention span and the ability to process verbal information.
Natural News previously reported:
[A] similar study – conducted in 2012 by researchers at Khon Kaen University in Thailand – proved that participants who took bacopa for a 12-week period scored far better in mental processing tests than those who took the placebo.

The best way to reap the rewards of bacopa monnieri

Bacopa is quite inexpensive and is freely available at most health food stores. It can be purchased in tablet or capsule form, and some people enjoy drinking it as a tea. Experts advise taking 150mg three times a day, but nothing less than 225mg a day should be taken, and some people may find that they need to take up to three times as much to reap the benefits.
It is important to realize that bacopa – like most herbs – will not provide instant results. It can take up to three months for the effects of this amazing herb to really kick in, but be patient: The rewards in terms of cognitive functioning and memory enhancement will be well worth the wait!
Discover more of nature’s secrets at
Sources include:
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Wednesday 19 December 2018

Prepare for the Smart Home Fitness Revolution!

“Keep coming back to the mirror,” Armond said to me. “Keep crushing it.” He froze for a split second, then ghosted without saying goodbye. I was alone with my reflection, sweating, trying to decide whether “Keep coming back to the mirror” was encouraging, ominous, or oddly metaphysical.
That’s what working out with this full-length, internet-connected mirror—simply called Mirror—is like. For $1,495 up front and a $39-per-month subscription fee, you can stream both live and on-demand classes like yoga, boxing, and cardio or barre workouts, all led by certified instructors like Armond. You simultaneously watch these instructors floating in space on the Mirror and assess your own form. They stand in some faraway studio, looking at your screen name and shouting instructions into a microphone.
If wearable tech quantified fitness and Instagram glossified it, then internet-connected fitness systems are bringing it home. Whether it’s Mirror, a Peloton stationary bike with a tablet screen, or Tonal’s new “smart” weight-training system, these new products bring convenience to working out. Place one of these machines between the bed and the coffee maker, and you really have no excuse not to exercise.
But, wait! You might be thinking, doesn’t a “dumb” treadmill or stationary bike provide the same level of at-home convenience? And if I need another human to tell me how to position my hip in Trikonasana, can’t I just follow along to a (free) yoga video on YouTube? It does, and you can.
But what this new wave of products promises is a feedback loop between you and the fitness gurus who grunt and flex and crunch before you. Peloton instructors give shout-outs during live classes to screen names they see performing well. Mirror studies your personal data to build customized weekly workouts. Bum knee? Mirror will adjust your program. Tonal, a $2,995 wall-mounted display with arms and cables, can personalize its “digital weight” system, automatically adjusting the resistance if you’re struggling.
Connected fitness started out with apps, says Tonal founder and CEO Aly Orady. “Then we went to trackers, and then connected cardio equipment. We’re focused on the next layer, and that’s intelligence.”
These devices also simulate a sense of togetherness you can’t get from a video. Hop on the Peloton bike and you’re not just slogging through a workout, you’re joining a full-fledged party led by Alex or Cody or Jenn. One of them might ask a DJ to play records during their spin class. Another might wish you a happy birthday, or even send you a bouquet of flowers if you mention the recent passing of a loved one. (Yes, that actually happened.)
Peloton’s instructors have become micro-celebrities—Jane Fondas of the digital fitness world. The company’s promotional efforts include slickly produced videos, Facebook fan pages, and real-life instructor meet-and-greets. Mirror positions its instructors similarly, sharing their bios in its mobile app and making their personalities as much of a draw as the product itself. “We’re a content business,” says Mirror founder and CEO Brynn Putnam. “We’re a media company.”

During a recent Mirror workout, a yoga instructor named Rachel (“calm and nurturing,” according to her bio) told me her son was learning to walk. OK, she wasn’t telling me; she was speaking to the group of us taking the class. Did Rachel know I was there? I don’t know, but I think we’re best friends now. If I catch Rachel’s next live class, I’ll send her an emoji through the Mirror mobile app.
Peloton first started selling its bikes in 2013 and deserves much of the credit for driving (pedaling?) the trend. Now it’s centering its efforts around the most dreadful piece of home exercise equipment: the treadmill.
During a demo of the $3,995 Peloton Tread, an instructor named Chase appeared on a giant touchscreen display to guide me through a portion of a 45-minute live run. He gave shout-outs to JohnnyRunsNY (not me) and Charlie1992 (also not me) for working their way to the top of the sparse leader­board. It was fun, but also, I was running on a treadmill. Peloton CEO John Foley says the company is experimenting with different social interactions to keep users engaged. “It’s performance theater versus just watching a movie,” Foley says. “You’re integrated. You’re a part of the experience.”
But Peloton Tread might just be the sum of all the challenges that exist in the digital fitness market. It’s expensive, and as with Mirror and Tonal, that hefty price tag comes with a monthly media subscription. If you can afford it, however, you gain the convenience of sweating in your own living room—and you won’t feel like you’re suffering alone.
Styling by Audrey Taylor
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Screen time is hard on your eyes: Here’s how to protect them!

 We rely on our visual system to help us perceive the world around us through visual cues that are then sent to the brain for interpretation. These cues include colour, shapes, size, distance, depth, movement and temperature. The eyes process tons of information every day, and these information mostly come from digital screens at home or at work. People no longer leave their home without smartphones, and so many of us use computers at work that digital eye strain has become a major job-related issue. When your vision becomes progressively blurred, it can affect most of your activities.
If you’re staring at a screen all day, you may develop other vision-related ailments, such as eye fatigue, dry eyes, sore eyes, and double vision. Long periods of screen exposure not only affect the eyesight, but other parts of your body as well. For instance, headaches can be caused by blurred vision. Protect your eyes from strain with the following tips: (h/t to
  • Practice good phone and computer habits – These days, you won’t find anyone who isn’t looking into some sort of screen, be it a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. The significant amount of time spent exposing your eyes to artificial blue light is a major driver of blurred or impaired vision. It’s important to take frequent breaks by blinking more often and looking away from the screen for two to three minutes for every 15 to 20 minutes of screen time. In addition, you can adjust the brightness, text size, and color temperature of your phone or laptop to become less intense and glaring to the eyes.  You may also upgrade the display to a clear resolution to help avoid eye strain.
  • Adjust your lifestyle habits – What you do to your eyes every day will ultimately affect their performance. When you’re outside, your eyes may be exposed to harmful rays of sunlight. Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses, or you can opt for eyeglasses with anti-glare lenses. When indoors, be sure to have proper lighting for when you’re reading or writing.
  • Eat foods that are good for the eyes – Carotenoids such as zeaxanthin, lutein, and astaxanthin are compounds that promote eye and vision health. They can be found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and broccoli, as well as red, yellow or orange ones like carrots, peppers, tomatoes, and corn. Astaxanthin is a natural red pigment that can even be found in some seafood such as salmon and shrimp.
  • Get a comprehensive eye exam – Just as you need to routinely visit your dentist to keep your teeth healthy, it is important to have a routine eye checkup, especially if you have a job that requires you to look into a computer screen for hours, to determine if your eyes are still in optimal health. You can also ask your healthcare professional on how you can further take care of your eyes and vision. (Related: 3 simple ways to naturally support your vision and shock your eye doctor with the results.)
Did you know that smoking is bad for the eyes as well? Cigarette-smoking produces cyanide, which can be damaging to the eyes.
The eyes are our windows to the world. Learn more about other unhealthy habits that can affect your eyes and how to avoid them at
Sources include:
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5 ways by which drumming helps you keep up your health!

Drummers, it is time for you to rejoice and enjoy a healthy life. Find out 5 reasons why you should not stop playing or listening to drums for the sake your health and mind.

Drum therapy
Health benefits of drum therapy © Shutterstock
In case you like drumming or love listening to drummers, you are at an upper hand health wise. This is because you are at a lower risk of several ailments. You may be surprised but drum therapy is an ancient alternative therapy that has been used for thousands of years for creating and maintaining physical, mental and spiritual health, say experts. A recent study has shown that drumming for an hour every day brings effective improvement in aptitude, ability, concentration power and communication skill of an autistic child. Here we have come up with a list of therapeutic benefits of drumming, also known as drum therapy or rhythm therapy.
It checks chronic plain: If you are wondering how drumming can help in controlling chronic pain condition, here is the answer for you. A study has shown that drumming acts as a distraction from pain and grief. Not just that, drumming helps in enhanced production of endorphins and endogenous opiates, your body’s own natural morphine-like painkillers which can work wonder in reducing the pain and controlling it.
Lowers tension, anxiety and stress: Drumming brings in deep relaxation, curbs blood pressure and stress. As per current medical research, stress results in a majority of diseases and is the primary risk factor of several fatal conditions like heart attacks, strokes and weakening of immune system. Drumming plays a vital role in addressing the stress factor and relieving you from stress related anxiety and any other disorders.
It amps up your immune system: Did you know that drumming can be an effective booster of your body immunity? A recent study led by cancer expert Barry Bittman shows that drumming can increase the number of cancer killing cells that help your body fight cancer and other viruses including AIDS. According to experts, drumming helps your body initiate its own healing process when your body is hit with some infection causing germ.
It generates natural altered states of consciousness: Natural altered state of consciousness has been known for a wide variety of therapeutic applications and guess what, drumming generates this state of mind. A short drumming session can kick off your alpha brain wave activity, thereby remarkably reducing stress. It also helps in producing feelings of euphoria and well-being, say experts. It can also keep your mind in a high and happy state, naturally.
Drumming can reach out to your entire brain: Even if there is a significant damage in some part of the brain, the sound of drumming produces dynamic neuronal connections across the entire brain including the damaged parts. Hence, it is of great help for people with attention deficit disorder (ADD). Michael Thaut, director of Center for Biomedical Research in Music, Colorado State University, reportedly said: “Rhythmic cues can help retrain the brain after a stroke or other neurological impairment, as with Parkinson’s patients.”

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Monday 17 December 2018

Half of UK consumers expected to ditch meat if chlorinated chicken imports allowed!

 Image result for chicken
The UK could allow imports of chlorinated chicken and beef post-Brexit, and half of UK consumers are expected to ditch meat as a result.
The US uses a chlorine-based solution to wash chicken and allows hormone-treated beef, both of which are currently illegal under EU law. A poll conducted by YouGov ( for the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), found that four out of five consumers would change the way they shop if such imports were allowed into UK supermarkets.
The survey conducted spoke to 1,007 respondents, more than half of which said they would buy less chicken and beef if such meat products became available. This news comes at a time where Brexit holds uncertainty, for both consumers and businesses.
However, the meat replacements market is booming, and the views of the UK public on chlorinated meat drums up more need for plant-based products.
The ethics of the meat industry is one of many reasons why people choose to go vegan, and this extra chemical process might be enough to make people choose meat alternatives.
A new report issued by Planet Market Reports has found that the meat alternatives market is growing at CAGR of 6.3 per cent from 2017 to 2025. In 2016, the meat alternatives market was valued at $4.05 billion, and is expected to be worth $7.02 billion by 2025.
The report recognises that the growing concerns surrounding meat are driving factors for consumers who choose plant-based alternatives – this further supports the survey and predicted amount of consumers who might ditch meat should chlorinated chicken and hormone controlled beef be made available in the UK.
The continued growth of veganism is also accounted for in the report, and the expansion of retail chains in the future is expected to encourage further consumption. The report names big brands in the meat alternatives market, such as Quorn, Beyond Meat, Gardein and Amy’s Kitchen.
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How To Fix Your Vagina Odor Naturally!

Vaginas can be a touchy subject — even though all of us ladies have ‘em. When you suspect that something may be wrong, it can be challenging to seek advice. Of course, the Internet has been a saving grace in many ways, but it’s also a double-edged sword. The plethora of information available isn’t always the most accurate.
Some will head to Google to self-diagnose, only to end up having a panic attack when they see some symptoms that match their own. Before we dive into the wonderful world of vaginas, I just want to remind you that doctors, and more specifically gynecologists, have seen a whole lot of “lady parts” in their day. You may be embarrassed, but for them, it’s just another day at the office. Please, if you are worried that something is abnormal — go get it checked out. Don’t put these things off.
Now that we have that out-of-the-way, I want to focus on something that many of you may be thinking, does my vagina smell normal? Yes, we’re going to go there. Here is what you should know and what you can do about it.

Vaginal odor: what’s normal?

Let’s start off by saying, ladies, we all have our own scent. And yes, your vagina is supposed to have a smell. Although there are a number of factors that increase the intensity, some women just naturally have a stronger odor. Here are a few fast facts to know:
  • Depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle, vaginal odor can differ.
  • Anything from heavily sweating to changing your diet can affect how you smell.
  • A consistent, mild scent is generally a sign that your vagina is healthy and has a properly balanced pH. It’s when this scent changes that you need to be more concerned. These changes can represent a short-term issue or may be a sign that something more serious is going on.

My vagina smells a bit funky

If your vagina is smelling a bit funky, it may be due to a range of possible reasons. From a vaginal yeast infection to an overgrowth of bacteria, an unpleasant scent can be both worrisome and embarrassing. Although these issues are fairly common, it’s imperative that you figure out the root cause.
While focusing on bacterial vaginosis (BV), for instance, although you may feel alone and anxious, know that around 29 percent of American women (nearly one in three) experience this overgrowth of bacteria. Basically, when the normal pH of one’s vagina is off, this encourages bacterial growth.
Although douching is a clear risk factor, diet is also an area in which women can focus on as an effective preventative measure. Within one study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers observed the link between BV and key dietary factors. It was found that both glycemic load and a low “Naturally Nutrient Rich” score were associated with greater BV prevalence and persistence.
Although you need to listen to your body, abnormal vaginal conditions typically lead to a foul smell, such as a fishy odor. More often than not, if there’s an issue such as an infection, you will also experience other key symptoms — itching, burning, increased discharge and irritation.

How can I remedy my vaginal odor?

If you’re in the clear with your doctor but are still noticing a fairly strong scent (especially after sex or during your menstrual cycle), you can target this issue without reaching for any toxic feminine hygiene products. For some women, they can even tackle infections in the comfort of their home — here’s how.

1. Take an apple cider vinegar bath

An apple cider vinegar bath can help with vagina odor
Remember, in many cases, the smell you’re noticing is due to an imbalanced pH. Normally, a vagina’s pH is anywhere between 3.8 to 4.5 — meaning, it’s acidic. Once the pH begins to creep up, this is when your lady parts are more prone to infection and bacterial overgrowth.
Apple cider vinegar is often praised and for good reason. Offering both antiseptic and antibacterial properties, apple cider vinegar can help restore the acidity of your vaginal flora. To improve numerous aspects of your health, drink a diluted glass of apple cider vinegar (around one to two tablespoons) daily.
Even better, try an apple cider vinegar bath right before you go to bed. Here’s how to do it: Draw a warm bath and pour one to two cups of apple cider vinegar into the water. Next, soak for 20 to 30 minutes. When you’re done, rinse off with a quick cold shower to remove any apple cider vinegar on your skin.

2. Use tea tree oil

Throughout history, tea tree oil has been used based on its potent anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Within one study, at 300 milligrams per milliliter, tea tree oil was able to kill all cells of Trichomonas vaginalis — a sexually transmitted infection caused by a one-celled protozoan organism.
Whether you have a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis, source quality, organic tea tree oil. You can apply it one of two ways. First, you can add 10 to 15 drops to a warm bath and sit in this solution for at least half an hour. Or, you can add a couple diluted drops to an organic tampon. Since your vaginal lining is quite sensitive, dilute the tea tree oil in a little coconut oil prior to insertion.

3. Consume more probiotics

Probiotics can help with vagina odor
Although your doctor will more than likely prescribe antibiotics, this can cause a vaginal infection to actually come back with a vengeance. Sure, you’ll be killing harmful bacteria, but you’ll also wipe out friendly bacteria, encouraging an overgrowth of “bad” bacteria once again.
Instead, start taking probiotics to encourage optimal balance and positive health. When you suffer from BV, for instance, your vagina is out of equilibrium and Lactobacillus numbers are reduced. While studying the effect of probiotics, researchers found that oral administration helped restore a woman’s vagina to normal levels.
By taking probiotic capsules, this “friendly” bacteria recolonized the vagina’s microbiome, leading to a Lactobacillus-dominated state in 64 percent of the experimental group, in comparison to 13 percent of the placebo group. To increase your intake, you can also consume foods such as miso, kefir, yogurt, tempeh, microalgae, sauerkraut, pickles and other probiotic-rich options.

Pay attention to what you’re eating

It’s also important to note, that when aiming to change your vaginal odor, pay attention to what you’re eating on a regular basis. Although certain milk products, meat and alcohol can cause short-term varying vaginal odors upon metabolism, it’s sugar that you want to watch out for.
It’s well understood that sugar is detrimental to our health. But in terms of vaginal odor and bacteria, it is also a key food source. Whether you are suffering from a bacterial or fungal infection, a high intake of sugar can essentially provide nourishment. This can worsen symptoms.
So ladies, there you have it — a little light vagina talk to end the week. The above suggestions are great to target odor and the severity of some infections. However, you must listen to your body. If you notice that symptoms worsen or are unaffected by some of the suggested methods above, it’s imperative that you take a little trip to the doctor.
Just like your heart or liver, you only have one vagina — so take care of it!
— Krista Hillis
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Sunday 16 December 2018

Ten Ingredient Alkalizing Green Soup!

These healthy vegan winter soup recipes are delicious, nutritious, easy to make, and can be enjoyed by everyone. Whether you’re looking for immune-boosting soup ideas, detox soup recipes, or something to comfort and nourish you, these plant-based soups are sure to please.
Mmm, soup — the perfect nourishing meal for chilly days. Soup can be a soothing and comforting way to get through the long winter months. But finding healthy soup ideas that you and your family enjoy can be challenging.
The healthy vegan winter soup recipes listed below will warm you up on a blustery day, and they’ll also boost your immune system during cold and flu season.
Each recipe is made from whole plant foods and features a rainbow of vegetables, which is important for optimal health. These recipes can be enjoyed by everyone, whether they’re vegan or not — and they won’t miss the animal products!
Some of these soup ideas contain protein and fibre-rich beans, while others feature antioxidant-rich spices. Each one is full of flavor. Which one will you try first?

An Alkalizing Green Soup to Help You Detox

bowl of alkalizing soup
Green soup is the perfect cleansing food for January after a holiday season of indulgences.
This gorgeous, healing detox soup recipe comes from the brilliant recipe creator and photographer Heidi Swanson.
Anna Thomas, the author of Love Soup, is the creator of the original green soup — a basic, flavorful green elixir you can use as a template to create your own version, using kale, collard greens, chard, spinach, or whatever leafy greens you have on hand.
Be sure to rinse/wash all your greens well prior to using. You can make a chunky, alternative version of this soup by adding the split peas after pureeing the rest of the ingredients.
  • 1 cup cooked split green peas
  • 2 ounces (2 handfuls) spinach, de-stemmed
  • 1 large celery stalk
  • 1 ounce parsley leaves (1 handful)
  • 1 ounce cilantro leaves (1 handful)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon miso
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons coconut cream*
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • Toppings: any/all of the following: shaved watermelon radish (I like to soak in salt water), toasted almonds, celery &/or cilantro leaves
  1. Combine the split peas, spinach, celery, parsley, cilantro, garlic, miso, nutritional yeast, 1 tablespoon of the coconut cream, and the water. Puree until silky smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan, and (if desired) heat gently until hot but not simmering. Taste, and adjust with a bit of salt or more miso, if needed. 
  2. Serve topped with a drizzle of the remaining cream, and whatever toppings you have on hand.
*I use the thick coconut cream from the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk.
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
10 mins

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