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How Do You Use Cinnamon? (Poll)

A recent Q&A discussed cinnamon potentially posing a health risk: What's Wrong with Cinnamon? Check out the article and let us know how you typically use cinnamon.



5 Ways To Get More Aerobic Exercise

If you have made aerobic exercise part of your workout routine - congratulations! Walking, running, cycling and other continuous forms of aerobic activity are vital to the health of your heart and overall well-being. But if you find this type of exercise overwhelming or not enjoyable, there are some steps that can help you get back on track. Use these suggestions for making aerobic exercise an ongoing, safe and rewarding part of your life:

1. Any aerobic exercise is better than no aerobic exercise. Even a few minutes on a regular basis can be healthful, but if you want to experience all the benefits, aim for some continuous aerobic activity for thirty minutes a day, on average, five days a week.

2. Work up to this amount gradually and at your own pace, especially if you have not been exercising. Start with 10 minutes per day, then increase it to 15, and so on.

3. Do what you can, and don’t feel bad if you miss a day. I am recommending an average amount of activity over time. Feeling bad about missing exercise probably does you more harm than missing it.

4. In addition to aerobic workouts, find other ways to increase your daily activity, such as using the stairs, parking farther from your destination to walk more, and doing more physical work yourself instead of delegating it to others.

5. Competitive sports are not substitutes for aerobic activities such as walking, running and cycling. You want to aim for regular, continuous effort that tones your cardiovascular system, not sports that stop and go.


Cinnamon - Spices in the Kitchen (Video)

The health benefits of cinnamon are numerous, and it is well known as an anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial agent. The therapeutic powers of cinnamon come from its essential oils, which have been researched for their anti-clotting effects on blood platelets. Cinnamon has also been studied for blood sugar control; it appears to slow the rate at which the stomach empties after meals, which evens out blood sugar highs and lows.

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Dr. Weil Recommends: The Healthiest Carb

Carbohydrates are an essential part of a balanced, healthful diet. Instead of simply shunning carbs in your efforts to maintain a healthy weight, learn to make the right choices. Start by avoiding the more-refined carbohydrates, which rapidly convert into blood sugar, causing corresponding rises and falls in insulin levels, which can lead to overeating, weight gain and insulin resistance. Examples of refined carbohydrates include foods made principally of flour and sugar, sweetened (and particularly low-fat) dairy products, most snack foods and baked goods, and soft drinks. The latter is perhaps the worst - resolving to stop drinking sweetened beverages of any kind, including fruit juice is among the best moves you can make for health.

Instead, focus on healthy carbs such as those found in true whole grains. These minimally processed foods are digested more slowly than are refined carbs, and contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Dr. Weil defines true whole grains as those typically served with the grain intact or in large pieces - examples include barley, quinoa, basmati rice, bulgur wheat and millet. The body metabolizes large, intact grains more slowly, preventing blood sugar "spikes" that are followed by "lows." The result is a steady, productive energy that propels you through the day.

If whole grains seem intimidating to cook, don’t fear - check out this article on cooking with whole grains, where you can learn how to cook a variety of whole grains, from amaranth to wild rice!


Want Healthier Skin, Hair and Nails?

Certain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are important for healthy hair, nails and skin. In addition to eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as wild Alaskan salmon and freshly ground flaxseed, and taking care to use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 to avoid sunburn, consider taking these supplements. Each provides benefits for your hair, skin and nails:

1. Evening Primrose Oil - nourishes skin, hair and joints by supplying essential omega-6 fatty acids.

2. Omega-3 - provides the much-needed fatty acids EPA and DHA.

3. Vitamin D - supports bone and immune health.

4. Milk thistle - supports a healthy liver via its detoxification process and provides natural antioxidant capabilities.


What’s The Worst Injury You Have Suffered? (Poll)

A recent Q&A discussed whiplash and some natural remedies for treating the injury: What to Do About Whiplash? Check out the article and let us know what injury was the worst you have suffered.


Is “Hot Yoga” Healthy?

Bikram yoga was created in 1971 by Bikram Choudhury, an Indian entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. It is called "hot" for good reason: classes are held in rooms with the temperature set at 105 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity controlled at 60 percent. It consists of 26 yoga poses (asanas) designed to warm and stretch muscles, ligaments, and tendons in a specific order. Choudhury claims that the 26 poses work every part of the body, and provide internal organs and muscles with what they need to maintain optimum health. He maintains that the high heat is necessary for protection of muscles and allows for deeper stretching, detoxification of the body and other benefits.

While it's true that warmer muscles are more flexible and better able to stretch, I have concerns about exercising in high heat since it can be particularly stressful on the body - even for those who are very fit. It is also easier to overstretch muscles in a hot environment without being aware of it at the time, possibly resulting in muscle strains or even damage to joints.

If you decide to try Bikram yoga, be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the routine and pay close attention to how you feel. Take a break if you find the poses too strenuous and stop immediately if you feel dizzy, lightheaded, overheated or experience chest pain. In general, I suggest avoiding Bikram yoga if you're sensitive to heat and have experienced heat stroke or dehydration in the past. If you have arthritis or any type of joint problem or high (or low) blood pressure, be sure to check with your doctor before taking a Bikram yoga class. If you have heart disease or are pregnant, I advise you to choose other types of yoga.


Cayenne - Spices in the Kitchen (Video)

Cayenne pepper is known for its immune boosting potential: besides the anti-inflammatory effects of capsaicin, cayenne is also an excellent source of carotenoids, including beta carotene - a powerful antioxidant that can help prevent free radical damage. Its high levels of vitamin A (two teaspoons of cayenne pepper provide 47 percent of the daily value for vitamin A) support immune function as well.

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