Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Sunshine Vitamin

Are you getting enough Vitamin D? That is a difficult question. Some of us are not getting adequate doses of the sunshine vitamin. According to a Dr. Reinhold Vieth, a vitamin D booster and researcher for the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, who says "My prescription for a white person is to lie on your tummy for 10 minutes and then flip over on your back for another 10 minutes when the sun is reasonably high in the sky. That'll do it -- you'll make 10,000 units, your week's worth".
This I found in the Toronto Star newspaper recently.

The article continues:
Vieth is not advocating over-exposure to the sun -- he wears sunscreen if he's at the beach, but he joins many experts in thinking that our fear of the sun may be contributing to vitamin D deficiency -- itself a definite health hazard.
The relationship between sun exposure and skin cancer is complicated: Some research suggests that vitamin D protects skin cancers, but stronger research shows a connection between too much sun. The Vitamin D council notes that skin produces approx. 10,000 IU vitamin D in response to 20 to 30 minutes of summer sun exposure. That's 50 times more than the daily recommendation of 200 IU a day. (If you're over 50 the RDA goes to 400 IU.) Vitamin D advocates, including the Vitamin D Council in the U.S., infer that even 10,000 IU is not enough. In addition to suggesting sunbathing, the council's other controversial recommendations for ensuring that we get adequate levels of vitamin D include using a sun bed (avoiding sunburn) during winter months.

In Vieth's line of work, D does not stand for diet. To get enough vitamin D from food, he says, you'd have to consume about one pound of fish a day! "Even if you drank an extra glass of milk a day, it would only raise your blood vitamin D levels by 2.5 nM/L. Considering you'd want a level higher than 75, it's just absurd how much more milk you'd have to drink".
Are Canadians vitamin D deficient? At latitudes above 40 degrees north, the skin cannot produce adequate Vitamin D. Despite concerns about skin cancer, vitamin D is no only essential to health but may help to prevent a growing list of conditions and diseases. Canadians, especially those in the West, can be sorely deprived of the sunshine vitamin -- esp. during winter months. Research has shown that a lack of vitamin D raises the risk of the following:

  • Fractures
  • Several cancers
  • Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Some cardiovascular disease
  • Asthma
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Osteoporosis
  • Muscle weakness or wasting

Young and Old need D

One-third of urban Canadian toddlers don't get enough vitamin D, placing them at higher risk for problems including rickets, Type 1 diabetes, MS and certain types of cancers. Results of research released in May from Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children indicated that factors associated with lower levels of vitamin D in kids included lower milk intake, higher BMI and watching TV while snacking.

Meanwhile, researchers in Britain and China have shown an association between low vitamin D and metabolic syndrome (which increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and diabetes) in people aged 50 to 70. Seniors' bodies are less efficient at forming vitamin D and their diets may be D-deficient, say the researchers. Spending more time outdoors may be one way they can increase their D levels.

Myself, I'm not a sun-bather any longer, and while I slather myself with sunblock every time I take my dog for a walk, or before gardening, I never realized that I might be blocking out my consumption of proper dosages of Vitamin D.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Super foods

Did you know that Pineapple is a super food? I recently read in GLOW magazine, that one cup or this delightful tropical fruit satisfies 40% of your daily vitamin C needs and more than 100 % of your daily recommended intake for manganese (a mineral that helps antioxidants fight free radicals). It also boasts a protein-digesting enzyme called bromelain, which can aid digestion woes like bloating (good news for us menstruating women).

I have been thinking of eating more pineapple more often. I just bought one the other day, and I am almost salivating thinking of it's golden sweet fruit. I love mixing it in with yogurt and some granola for a satisfying morning or midday snack. Two slices (or one cup) of pineapple counts as one serving of fruit.

I have been eating more fruit as of late, usually 3-4 servings per day. Lately, the summer berries have been a very good price at the market, and I'm enjoying my cold whole grain cereal with blueberries and raspberries. I also have been eating a lot of mango's, kiwi's and oranges.

It's a bit daunting to cut open a pineapple, and a bit messy (they usually come with instructions on a tag), but it is so much worth the effort and mess, being so much nicer than canned pineapple. And fresher of course! Some Supermarkets cut them up in rings and sell them in a plastic container. I want to try grilling rings of them at my next BBQ. I hear they are delicious grilled and basted with maple syrup or honey and then served with vanilla ice cream. So pick up some pineapple the next time you're at the'll love it I'm sure!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The top 10 anti-aging superfoods

Rejuvenate your diet with these healthy choices.

by Dr. Joey Shulman DC, RNCP

From skin care to workouts, many of us will do whatever it takes to look and feel our best at any age.

Research shows that certain foods can help to dramatically reduce free radical damage (cellular damage) and slow the aging process. These "superfoods" pack a powerful nutritional punch and have a high anti-oxidant capacity.

In general, superfoods are whole foods that have not been refined, processed or preserved. Here are the top 10 anti-aging superfoods that can boost your health and reduce the impacts of aging.

1. Nuts
Almonds, walnuts, cashews and pecans are great on their own or as tasty additions to salads, yogurt and stir-fry recipes. Walnuts are especially high in desirable omega 3 fats. In fact, ¼ cup of walnuts contains just 163 calories and 2.3 grams of omega 3 fats – that's 91 per cent of your daily recommended intake for omega 3 fat. Walnuts are also rich in monounsaturated fat, which improves cardiovascular health. In general, 10-15 raw unsalted nuts each day will provide you with the health benefits without going overboard on fat and calories.

2. Berries
From the acai berry to blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries – all berries contain very powerful plant nutrients called flavonoids that have been shown to have anti-cancer and anti-aging effects.

3. Green vegetables
Green veg offers an abundant amount of phytochemicals – plant chemicals that protect against a variety of disease processes. Plus, broccoli, spinach and kale are all nutritional superstars that are loaded with fibre, calcium and vitamin E.

4. Green tea
Green tea contains high concentrations of catechin polyphenols. These compounds work in your body with other chemicals to heighten levels of fat oxidation and thermogenesis (a state created in the body by burning fat as fuel). Aim for three cups a day if you're trying to lose weight. Green tea has also been shown to be a preventative against cancer, heart disease and high cholesterol.

5. Garlic
Garlic's health benefits have been recognized for centuries. Garlic is also useful for decreasing blood pressure and cholesterol, removing heavy metals from the body, preventing cancer and acting as an antifungal and antiviral agent. Garlic contains vitamins A, B and C, selenium, iodine, potassium, iron, calcium, zinc and magnesium.

6. Wild salmon
Salmon is an excellent source of highly digestible, high quality protein that can help fill you up and keep you slim! In addition, this delicious fish is rich in anti-aging nutrients such as vitamins D and E. Salmon is also a great source of omega 3 fatty acids. In addition to being an anti-inflammatory and integral for heart health, omega 3 fats can also improve the look and feel of skin and reduce fine lines.

7. Plain yogurt
Low in calories, rich in protein and filled with friendly bacteria that promote digestive health, plain yogurt is a great addition to your dietary regime. Plain yogurt is also an excellent source of calcium, phosphorusm, riboflavin and vitamin B12. Avoid yogurt that's sweetened with artificial sugars or that is high in sugar.

8. Whole grains

Research shows that whole grains offer an optimal source of fiber. They're also a powerful way to reduce cardiovascular risk and a great tool to help you trim your waistline as you age. Opt for breads or pastas that are 100 per cent whole grain. Pre-biotic and sprouted grain breads are also widely available and offer numerous health benefits.

9. Water
The body thrives on proper hydration. Without proper water consumption, digestive capacity becomes compromised, lethargy can set in, mobility can suffer and an overall sense of "being unwell" can set in. In order to preserve your skin tone and to optimize digestion at any age, it is critical to drink a minimum of 1.5 litres of water each day.

10. Honey
Honey contains vitamins B6, C, thiamin, niacin and calcium and is rich in anti-oxidants. Preliminary research also indicates that honey can help combat memory decline and anxiety.

Turn back the clock the natural way by using the simple steps and you will soon look and feel your very best!

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I'm going away for a week and a bit...will post later this month. Thanks for stopping by!

If you want to read about how chocolate is good for your heart read here. and


Saturday, January 31, 2009

a cuppa joe is the way ta go

I'm going to continue with more information on the brain, only because i just read another couple of articles in the paper about some new findings.

I'll start with a scary statistic from The Toronto Star:

"By age 80, 30 to 50 per cent of Canadians ( don't know about other countries) will develop dementia, the most common form of Alzheimer's disease" (YIKES!) according to Dr. Jennifer Ingram. The symptoms include loss of memory, judgment and reasoning and decline in mood, behaviour and ability to communicate.

Now i really want to do anything I can to help prevent that, we all do of course!! I already take about 8 vitamin and mineral supplements per day, including Vitamins B Complex, C and D, Lecithin (great for your brain) Calcium and Magnesium, Evening Primrose Oil (for PMS symptoms) and lets see, i know their is one, need more Lecithin i see! I'll think of it later. I saw on Oprah the other day, Suzanne Somers was on chatting about Hormones and her healthy lifestyle. They showed her in the morning at her home, downing about 80 vitamins and minerals with a fruit smoothie made by her hubby. She was scarfing down 80!!!!! She had all the pills lined up in a long row on the kitchen table. She is a vitamin junkie, if i ever saw one!! They also showed her doing yoga and other things around the house. I used to do yoga but stopped about 3 yrs ago. I wish i could get back into yoga again. I also saw on The View (yep, I AM a talk show junkie) where Shari was trying out 'anti-gravity yoga' (click here to see her demo) where you are suspended from a sheet tied up on either side of a large contraption. It is the new wave of yoga i guess. It looked very interesting, and you use the sheet rope in different ways, which looked like a good way to do yoga! I don't' think Whitby Ontario is up with it yet though, i would guess.

Anyhoo, enough about the brain for now. I think I've given enough info already. But I will leave you with just one more bit of info i read about how drinking coffee can help stave off dementia. We all know that coffee can help improve mental alertness and stimulate your brain in the morning....i know i need a half pot to get me going....but here is a blurb of the article i read the other day:

"Researchers from Finland, followed a group of 1,400 middle-aged people over a period of 20 years (that's a looong study folks) and found that people who drank three to five cups of coffee a day had lower risks of developing Alzheimer's disease. The reasons for this effect are not established, but they felt it may have to do with the antioxidants found in coffee or possibly the effects that caffeine has in stimulating brain activity".

That's great news for myself and those of you who also drink loads of coffee every day! Starbucks here we come! Oh but wait a minute, there is a catch here:

"Just a week earlier, however, another study suggested that drinking more than seven cups of coffee a day can make you more likely to hallucinate."

Now, seven cups of coffee is a lot of coffee for one person to consume and I do think that this study underlines the importance of moderation! So people, be warned or you will start hallucinating and may end up wandering around your neighbour hood in your underwear, while singing show tunes to your


This is bizarre -- after you find the guy -- it's so obvious. Once you find him -- it's embarrassing, and you think, Why didn't I see him immediately?
Doctors have concluded that if you find the man in the coffee beans in 3 seconds, the right half ! of your brain is better developed than most people. If you find the man between 3 seconds and 1 minute, the right half of the brain is developed normally. If you find the man between 1 minute and 3 minutes, then the right half of your brain is functioning slowly and you need to eat more protein. If you have not found the man after 3 minutes, the advice is to look for more of this type of exercise to make that part of the brain stronger!!! How long did it take you? Let me know in the comments.

And yes! He really is there!!
(Darnit, I couldn't find him in 3 seconds. I found him in less than 10 seconds, not too bad i guess. My brain is normal,not brilliant...sigh.!)

Friday, January 23, 2009

How assertive are YOU?

Scroll down to the bottom of my blog and you will find a test on 'How assertive are you'. Surprisingly, I found out i am fairly assertive. Well, I think now that am I older I've learned to be more assertive. A lot more than I used to be say in my 20's or 30's.

Monday, January 19, 2009

22 Ways to Live Healthier in 2009

  1. Catnap. Take a 20-minute power nap to rejuvenate yourself when you feel tired, which is better than sleeping extra hours at night. It will keep your nervous or depressed emotions in check and reduce stress. Sleep in a sitting position if possible, which helps avoid a groggy feeling upon waking.
  2. Chew your food. If you don't you won't absorb your nutrients well and you'll get gas.
  3. Count your drinking. You need eight glasses of hydrating fluids a day (caffeinated and alcoholic beverages don't count). For each dehydrating drink you consume, drink a hydrating beverages such as water, milk or pure juice.
  4. Crunch. You can avoid a high percentage of lower-back problems if you build abdominal muscles.
  5. Delegate. Stress is the main contributor to depression, and too many activities can cause us to overload. Say no when people make requests that will overburden your schedule.
  6. Don't type hard. If you pound the keyboard or keep a tight grip on your mouse, you risk getting a repetitive strain injury.
  7. Drink in the afternoon. If you drink at least three big glasses of water between lunch and when you finish work you'll be combating the most common cause of fatigue: hypo hydration, or a dearth of body fluids.
  8. Drink more water in winter. Bowel irregularity and other symptoms due to diverticular disease of the colon are aggravated by the dehydrating effects of cold, dry weather.
  9. Eat carrots and spinach. Orange and dark green vegetables contain beta-carotene, which may enhance your immune system.
  10. Eat fish. Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids which may protect against heart disease.
  11. Eat meat. If you're under a lot of stress, eat low-fat, high protein foods such as lean meats or fish.
  12. Eat peanuts. Like olive oil, peanuts contain unsaturated fats that may reduce bad cholesterol.
  13. Get rid of carpeting in your home. Carpet is a haven for molds, bacteria and bugs.
  14. Have fun with a pet. Playing with a pet can lower your blood pressure and raise your spirits.
  15. If you're sick, sleep. Resting gives the body a chance to fight the bug.
  16. Jump up and down. You might feel ridiculous but your bones will love you for it!
  17. Laugh. It increases oxygen intake, thereby replenishing and invigorating body cells. It also increases the pain threshold, boosts immunity and relieves stress.
  18. Put your toothbrush in the dishwasher. The high heat will disinfect it.
  19. Stretch like a cat. Frequent bursts of feline like stretching will reduce muscle tension and pain.
  20. Take a tablespoon of ground flax daily. (Grind it up since the body can't digest whole flax.) Alternatively, take a Flax seed oil supplement. Flax is high in fibre and may reduce cholesterol levels.
  21. Use a drinking straw, especially with soda or juices. A straw decreases the amount of contact your teeth have with sugary beverages.
  22. Walk. A good walk clears your mind, relieves stress and can reduce headaches.
I found this list in my file folder that I save clippings on health and wellness. It's actually a list of 59 ways to Live Healthier in '99! I've saved this clipping for ten years, and now I get to share it with you. I went over the list and decided it was way too long to type out, so I just highlighted the best tips, since some of them were too vague or too specific for certain conditions.
I hope you've found this post helpful and have found some information that you may not have heard yet. For myself, I have found some good info to maintain and improve my health. Next post, I'm not sure what I will reporting, but if you have any suggestion for any kind of health/wellness topic, please feel free to post in the comments section.

p.s. I got a call from my sister who told me about this test from Dr. Oz, a real age test (click here) to find out your 'true age' according to the results of the test. Thanks Carol! I'm going to take my test now.