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Big Benefits of Cinnamon

Because good health can taste great!

Beloved by foodies from the beginning of time, cinnamon has an illustrious history few spices can match. Used for thousands of years to flavor foods, treat various conditions, and even embalm the dead, it has now been relegated to a position alongside salt and pepper shakers. But there’s something special about cinnamon. Something that may give you the healthy life you seek.

While it’s not a good idea to down a tablespoon of cinnamon at once (Google “Cinnamon Challenge” for proof), a regular dab or cinnamon may help you deal with an array of potential health issues. While research continues and some is inconclusive, here are a few of the ways cinnamon has been used to improve the lives of people just like you.

Sugar Levels Lowered

Unless you live a lonely life, you probably know someone living with diabetes. Or maybe you have the condition yourself. Well, there’s good news! Because while other perks of cinnamon intake have not been as rigorously tested, diabetes management has become substantially easier thanks to cinnamon.

The way it works is simple. Ingest a little bit of cinnamon each day, and allow the cinnamon to do its work of managing insulin sensitivity, reducing inflammation, and transporting glucose. In one study, researchers found regular cinnamon intake to mimic the effects of diabetes medication. So if you prefer cinnamon to swallowing pills, this could be your ticket to freedom!

Cholesterol in Check

One of the most serious threats to your health, high cholesterol levels put you at risk for heart attack, stroke, and other serious health problems. But just a little bit of cinnamon—between half a teaspoon and three teaspoons—was found to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides. In other words, lowering your cholesterol levels doesn’t requiring eating foods that taste like cardboard.

Better Blood Pressure

Though research has only taken place among dogs and guinea pigs, there is some indication that cinnamon could provide a substantial improvement in blood pressure. Researchers are unsure why it happened, but the creatures studied had significant drops in blood pressure when given regular dosages of cinnamon. Could you eventually trade in your blood pressure medication for a sprinkling of cinnamon? Possibly. In the meantime, there’s no reason to not add some cinnamon to your diet.

Dementia Deterrent

For years, we’ve known and touted the antioxidant properties of blueberries, red wine, and to the world’s delight, dark chocolate. But you may not know that cinnamon is also among this illustrious group of foods. Thanks to the beloved antioxidant epicatechin, cinnamon helps protect your body against the negative effects of free radicals. In addition to protecting against cancer and heart disease, antioxidants like epicatechin are known to fend off dementia. That means if you toss a little bit of cinnamon on top of your oatmeal or mix it into your next batch of muffins, you may be helping your brain stay sharp for years to come as a result.

Which Cinnamon?

If you’re thinking of upping your cinnamon intake, you should know the cinnamon in your house is likely not the most beneficial. Cassia cinnamon, commonly produced in China and Indonesia, has a strong flavor and is most commonly found in households. For best results, you’ll need Sri Lankan cinnamon, known as Ceylon cinnamon. While more expensive, this sweeter, milder cinnamon is your best bet for cinnamon-enhanced health. And before giving up medication of any sort for cinnamon, consult your physician to ensure your good health.

© 2009-2010 Empire Systems, Inc. 
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The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. 
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Wonder why you’re gaining weight? It may be an underlying medical condition.

Is a medical conditioning the reason behind your slow fat loss?

You’re eating the same and getting your normal amount of exercise, but you just keep gaining weight. Any weight gain is frustrating, but it’s especially annoying when you’re eating healthy and staying active. Just like unexplained weight loss, unexplained weight gain may be attributed to a medical problem. Treat the condition and you’ll likely stop gaining or losing weight.

If the scale is going up for no apparent reason, make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible, because one of these health conditions may be to blame.

Gainer 1: Hypothyroidism

Unintentional weight gain is often traced back to a hormone imbalance. One hormone that affects weight is your thyroid hormone.
When your thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormones, you may feel cold, tired, and weak and notice dry skin, thinning hair, and painful joints.

Because your thyroid hormone helps regulate your metabolism, a decrease in thyroid hormone may lead to a slowed metabolism and weight gain. An underactive thyroid is called hypothyroidism, a condition older women are most at risk for experiencing. Hormone replacement therapy can help treat hypothyroidism and reverse the weight gain.

Gainer 2: Cushing’s Syndrome

Extreme, prolonged stress may develop into Cushing’s syndrome, a condition that exposes your body to high amounts of cortisol, a hormone that contributes to weight gain. Cushing’s syndrome can also be caused by overactive adrenal glands that produce too much cortisol, a tumor, or from long-term steroid treatment. Weight gain from cortisol is found most often around the neck, face, waist, and chest.

Gainer 3: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Women may be able to blame unexplained weight gain on polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). When the ovaries fail to keep hormones balanced, women may experience weight gain, irregular periods, acne, and excess hair growth. 
PCOS increases resistance to insulin. As you gain weight, you produce more insulin. This insulin increase leads to more weight gain, particularly round the belly. This cycle is difficult to overcome, but regular exercise, diet, and medication can help restore balance.

Gainer 4: Insomnia

Have trouble sleeping at night? Then you shouldn’t be surprised if you begin gaining weight. As with some other causes of weight gain, your hormones are to blame here. That’s because the amount of sleep you get has a direct effect on the hormones that regulate appetite. Lack of sleep can lead to unhealthy food cravings, impulsive food choices, increased appetite, and a slowed metabolism. Getting just one less hour each night can contribute to weight gain, even if you’re eating the same amount of calories.

Gainer 5: Perimenopause and Menopause

As many women know, the hormonal changes of perimenopause and menopause can lead to weight gain. Typically beginning in a woman’s 40s, estrogen levels rise and fall. These fluctuations cause weight gain, irregular periods, mood swings, and hot flashes. Combined with the normal affects of aging (increased body fat and a loss of muscle mass), hormonal changes can pile on the pounds. Continue to stay active and talk with your doctor about possible treatments.

Gainer 6: Medications

A medical condition may not be directly causing your weight gain, but the medication you take to treat a medical condition may be to blame. While helping you deal with other medical conditions, many over-the-counter and prescription medications come with the possible side effect of weight gain.

Common weight-gaining culprits include anti-depressants, psychiatric medications to treat bipolar disorder, beta blocker drugs that treat high blood pressure, insulin and other drugs used to manage diabetes, seizure medications, drugs used to relieve migraines, allergy medications, and steroids that help control inflammation in conditions such as lupus, asthma, and arthritis.

© 2009-2010 Empire Systems, Inc. 

Powered by FitPro Magazine™Terms of Service | Legal Disclaimer
The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. 
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Snoring is more than annoying loud breathing. It can be a sign of a more serious health condition.

It’s estimated that nearly half of all adults snore at some point during the night. You may have been told that you snore or maybe you live with someone who snores. Some snoring is just heavy, loud breathing, while other snoring sounds like a train coming down the hall. Snoring not only prevents family members from getting a good night’s rest, but it interferes with your quality of sleep as well. Depending on the severity of snoring, it may even signal an underlying health problem.

Keep reading to learn the dangers of snoring and what can be done about it.

Air Flow Obstruction

So why do you snore? Normal, quiet breathing means air is flowing in and out of your nose and mouth unobstructed. When you snore, airflow is partially blocked. For some people, this only happens when they have a cold or allergies. Others have large tonsils, a long uvula or soft palate, or weak throat and tongue muscles that relax during sleep and block airflow. Any of these can cause regular snoring.

Because a narrower airway restricts breathing, snoring is more common in overweight people with excessive fatty tissue around the throat. When airflow is restricted, snoring becomes louder and louder.

More than a Nuisance

Three out of four people who snore have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). With this condition, breathing ceases for short periods during sleep. This serious health problem puts you at an increased risk for heart disease. Not everyone who snores has OSA, but make an appointment to see your doctor if you snore and have any the typical symptoms of OSA.

Signs of OSA include pauses of breathing while sleeping, waking in the night gasping or choking, a headache or sore throat when you wake in the morning, sleepiness during the day, irritability, trouble concentrating, fitful sleep, chest pain, or high blood pressure. Children with OSA may have behavioral issues or problems focusing during school.

To diagnose OSA, your doctor may order imaging tests to scan for structural abnormalities in your nose and throat or have you undergo a sleep study.

Find the Right Treatment

You and your family can sleep in peace and quiet again with the right treatment. Mild or occasional snoring that’s not caused by sleep apnea can often be treated with lifestyle changes and home remedies. A good first step is to lose weight. This will reduce the amount of fat around your throat and subsequently reduce your snoring. It’s also a good idea to not drink alcohol before bed and to stop smoking. For better protection against snoring, plan to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night (teens and kids need even more). If you deal with chronic nasal congestion due to allergies or frequent colds, medications to treat congestion and a hot shower before bed can help limit your snoring.

If the problem is in your nose, nasal strips or nasal dilators can help open up airways to improve breathing. And while you may prefer sleeping on your back, you’re more likely to snore and snore loudly in that position. While on your back, your tongue relaxes back in your throat and obstructs airflow. Sleep on your side and you may find you snore less.

When home remedies aren’t enough, the most common, effective treatment for snoring and sleep apnea is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. With a CPAP, a continuous flow of air helps keep your throat open and reduces apnea and snoring symptoms. In rare cases, some people may need surgery to open narrow airways.

Wash Up

Allergies can contribute to snoring. If your congestion is worse at night, you may be suffering from an allergy to dust mites found in your bedding, mattress, or pillow. Cover your mattress and pillow in dust mite-proof encasements and regularly wash your bedding in hot water.

© 2009-2010 Empire Systems, Inc. 
Powered by FitPro Magazine™Terms of Service | Legal Disclaimer
The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. 
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.