Tag Archives: Health

10 Vices and Indulgences that do a Body Good.

30 Oct

chris-hemsworth-covers-details-november-2013In the latest issue of details magazine, the one with Chris Hemsworth on the cover, there is an article that talks about how many of our vices and indulgences may actually have health benefits. Check out the article below, and if you like it please comment and share!

 

 

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When it comes to matters of health, it seems that everything you do—or at least want to do—is bad for you. But recent research is calling into question exactly how bad our biggest vices truly are.

It turns out these so-called health offenders can actually strengthen your muscles, up your gym performance, boost your immune system, fight flab, and even prevent chronic diseases. Not bad for “unhealthy” habits, eh?

Here, 10 vices you can finally embrace guilt-free.

Sleeping In

Go ahead—hit the snooze. Or just break the damn thing altogether. According to a recent study from the University of Munich, people who wake up to an alarm rather than according to their body’s internal clock are three times more likely to be overweight. Waking up before your body is ready messes up your circadian rhythms, leading you to feel perpetually jet lagged and eat when your body isn’t primed to absorb nutrients, slowing your metabolism considerably.

Smoking Marijuana

“Medical” marijuana is bit of a misnomer. Every dooby comes with health benefits. A 2013 study published in The American Journal of Medicine found that regular pot smokers have 16 percent lower fasting insulin levels and smaller waist circumferences compared to marijuana virgins, dramatically lowering their risk of diabetes. Researchers don’t yet know why marijuana has the effect, but who cares? We’re heading to Colorado.

Snacking on Candy

Grab some gummies on your way through the checkout line. People who eat candy have lower BMIs, smaller waists, and less health-wrecking inflammation than those who skip sugary treats, per findings published in Nutrition Research. Sound counterintuitive? While candy is a veritable sugar bomb, it’s low in saturated fat and calories when compared to other desserts, making it a pretty good way to curb your sweet tooth and avoid devouring a whole cheesecake when your willpower finally relents.

Biting Your Nails

Gnawing on your nails isn’t exactly a turn-on, but it does have legitimate health benefits. Ingesting the germs that live on fingernails can potentially strengthen the immune system, according to Hilary Longhurst, Ph.D., a consultant clinical immunologist at Barts Health and the London NHS Trust. Nail biting exposes your body to relatively small amounts of bacteria so that when your immune system meets them again, its already equipped with the weapons that will annihilate them.

Drinking Alcohol

Next to diet and exercise (we know, we know) the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has ID’ed moderate alcohol consumption as one of the key behaviors that can lead to a longer life. A healthy happy hour habit lowers your risk of heart disease and wards off Alzheimer’s and other chronic illnesses, according to the CDC’s research. Keep it to two drinks a day, though. Any more than that and you can actually reverse alcohol’s good-for-you effects.

Going on Vacation

Put those PTO days to good use. In one study of 13,000 men, researchers from the State University of New York found that taking even one vacation a year reduces your risk of dying—from pretty much anything. And when it comes to men’s No 1. killer (that would be you, heart disease), one week away annually for just five years can reduce your risk by 30 percent.

Eating Chocolate

That bottle of chocolate syrup in your fridge is good for more than making sundaes. Cacao’s flavonoids lower blood pressure, slash stress hormones, and even fire up alertness and performance by increasing blood flow to the brain and heart. One Italian study found that participants who ate dark chocolate every day for 15 days cut their risk of insulin resistance by nearly half, thanks to chocolate’s high-powered flavonols. Snack smart: Bars with at least 70 percent cacao blend the greatest amount of antioxidants with the least amount of sugar.

Having Lots of Sex

As if you really needed a reason to get it on, sex can improve your immunity, help you sleep better, and—get this—look younger. As described in his book, Superyoung: The Proven Way to Stay Young Forever, neuropsychologist David Weeks kept tabs for 10 years on thousands of men and women who looked significantly younger than their years. What did they have in common? Active sex lives. (That’s at least two to three romps per week.) Apart from the aforementioned health boosters, sex keeps you looking young by triggering the release of human growth hormone, which promotes skin elasticity and prevents wrinkles, Weeks says.

Guzzling Coffee

Perk up! People who drink four cups of coffee each day are about 10 percent less likely to get depressed, according to a 2013 study from the National Institute of Health. One possible explanation: Coffee beans are ridiculously rich in antioxidants, among them chlorogenic acid (CGA). When consumed in moderate doses, the polyphenol has a major anti-inflammatory effect and is linked with reduced blood pressure, improved insulin response, reduced risk of Alzheimer’s, and even weight loss.

Getting a Massage

It does more than feel good. It does good, too. Regular Swedish massages (the ones that go deep) reduce the adrenal gland’s secretion of stress hormones, according to one recent study from researchers at Emory University School of Medicine. As those hormones are known to suppress the immune system, spur inflammation, and degrade muscle cells, getting rubdowns on the regular may combat a whole host of chronic diseases. A previous study from the same researchers found that even a single massage session is enough to bolster the immune system.

Read More http://www.details.com/blogs/daily-details/2013/10/10-vices-that-do-a-body-good.html#ixzz2jDhjGbeo

10 Secrets to a Low Calorie Lifestyle

17 Oct

I can hear the complaints already. Ok…yes, this is a manly blog. Yes, we like to report on everything masculine, manly and all-together XX (vs XY – mind out of the gutter). But something that is becoming all-together socially acceptable for men is the topic of being more healthy in terms of diet. We here at IaMW have decided to embrace this trend and run with it. So here are 10 secrets to a low-calorie lifestyle, as told in the latest issue of GQ:

1. Reduce!
When you’re young—in your twenties, say—it’s easy to think that no matter how many pounds you put on, you’ll always be able to starve and exercise yourself back into fighting shape. Here’s some bad news: Weight gain is self-reinforcing. As your weight climbs, your body’s metabolism adjusts to maintain your new girth.

The solution? Don’t let yourself slip in the first place. Maintaining a low weight over the course of your entire life is about more than looking good; it’ll preserve your overall health. By being vigilant about how much you eat—no matter how old you are—you’ll save yourself from a lifetime of fending off weight gain and the health problems that accompany it.

2. “Low Fat”? No Thanks
If you grew up in the ’80s, the notion that fat is evil is probably lodged deep inside your brain. But remember: It’s calories you’re concerned about, and you needn’t obsess over where they’re coming from. Certain low-fat foods replace fat with sugar and can actually end up containing more calories: Low-fat yogurt, for example, can contribute more to your daily caloric intake than the richer, creamier (and tastier) full-fat stuff.

3. Learn Your Portions
Even though you’re eating the right mix of things, you’re almost certainly eating way too much of everything. According to Walter Willett, chair of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, for an adult male, a healthy portion of meat is “about the size of the palm of your hand and as thick as a deck of cards.” The more fat or sugar an item has—i.e., the more it resembles dessert—the smaller the serving size. You probably have a good feel for it already; test yourself on these items:

1. An average serving of peanut butter should be the size of:
(a) a Ping-Pong ball, (b) a pea, (c) a tennis ball.

2. A serving of cheese should be the size of:
(a) a wheel of Brie, (b) your fist, (c) a stack of Post-it notes.

3. A serving of pasta, rice, or potatoes should be the size of:
(a) your netbook, (b) your cupped hand, (c) a travel tube of toothpaste.

(Answers: 1.a; 2.c; 3.b.)

4. Starting Now: Less Meat
Want to know where most of your calories are coming from? Follow the lead of two anonymous GQ editors—one a fish-eating vegetarian, one a barbecue fan—and record what you eat for a few days.

Vegetarian
29% Non-meat protein
18% Grains
10% Alcohol
16% Snacks
14% Dairy
5% Fruits/veggies
8% Seafood
Total calories: 10,472

Carnivore
26% Meat
31% Grains
16% Alcohol
12% Snacks
7% Dairy
8% Fruits/veggies
Total calories: 13,126

5. You Can (Almost) Never Go Wrong With Fruits and Vegetables
As a general rule, you can eat them until you’re full. One of the great triumphs of modern supermarket shopping is the sheer variety of produce on offer—half a dozen kinds of apples, a few kinds of pears, kiwis, mangoes, papayas—and you’ll improve your chances of keeping a healthy amount of fruit in your diet by cycling through different varieties. For veggies, avoid steaming and boiling; they may be the lowest- cal options, but you’ll be bored to death within days—and return to your old, higher-calorie way of eating. Instead, sauté, roast, or grill them.

6. Eat Protein, Curb Hunger
Protein—especially the sort found in lean meats and dairy—is another great way to trick your body into satiety. When digested, it causes the release of a hormone called CCK that makes you feel full. Combine lean protein and fruit—say, yogurt and strawberries—and there’s a perfect breakfast.

7. A Lower-Calorie Night Out
First the bad news: Alcohol is calorie-dense, and a few drinks add up quickly. But by having a glass of water with each drink, you’ll wind up ordering fewer of them (and have less of a hangover the next morning, too). Per serving, wine has the fewest calories, then beer, then cocktails.

8. Keep It Simple
Instead, try focusing on just a few basic ways of cutting back—a salad instead of a burger and fries for lunch (800 calories less) or the petite portion of steak when you’re out for dinner (200 calories less)—and once you’re doing that consistently, adopt another, like buying smaller dinner plates to use at home (you’ll put less food on them).

9. It’s Okay to Indulge—Every Once In Awhile
You will slip up and help yourself to a coma-inducing plate of nachos every now and then—don’t let that derail you. “This is not all or nothing,” says Harvey Simon, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “It’s not a question of changing everything all at once. That doesn’t work.”

10. Stock Your Low-Cal Pantry
We went grocery shopping with Mark Bittman—bestselling cookbook author, New York Times columnist, and with his latest book, Food Matters, vocal booster of low-calorie eating—to find out how to stock our shelves. Wheat berries? In. Snackwell’s cookies? “Those,” says Bittman, “are the death of America.”

• Olives: For snacking.
• Whole-grain crackers: “Kavli, Wasa, Ryvita, Ak-Mak—they have real guts.”
• Hummus and avocados: For the crackers.
• Popcorn: “Put a fourth of a cup of popcorn in a paper bag and throw it in the microwave. Add lime, salt, and hot sauce like sriracha.”
• Cooked, peeled, vacuum-packed beets: For salads, snacks.
• Olive oil, vinegar (balsamic, white wine, apple cider), and Dijon mustard: For salad dressing.
• A bag of lemons: “Lemons add zest to baked fish, salad dressings, chicken dishes, whatever.”
• Steel-cut oats: For breakfast.
• Wheat berries, bulgur, quinoa, barley, millet: “They’re cheap, they keep forever, and they’re lower in calories than processed grains.”

OJ: Pulp Up the Jam

11 Nov

Punny titles aside, the November 2010 issue of Men’s Health Magazine (the issue with True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten on the cover) teaches us that it is much healthier to drink orange juice that has pulp in it than juice that does not.  In responding to a reader-asked question on the topic, Men’s Health tells us that those tiny bits of fruit flesh do more than just add texture – they’re packed with disease-fighting phytonutrients.  Specifically, juice with pulp contains 30 percent more anti-inflammatory flavonoids and cancer-fighting limonoids than OJ that’s been strained, according to Jairam Vanamala, PhD, an assistant professor of food science and nutrition at Colorado State University. He says that its most healthy to eat fruit in its natural state, so 100 percent orange juice with pulp is the next best thing to a whole orange.

The Easy 4 Day Detox

9 Jan

Thank you, Details Magazine.  There is an article in their “Health and Grooming” section in the January 2010 issue that discusses this post-holiday must:

Who says all that end-of-the-year gluttony requires months of penance? You may think you’re doomed to nibble kale until the Fourth of July, but you’re wrong. “All you need is four days to get back on track,” says New York dietitian Keri Glassman, author of The O2 Diet. “That’s enough time to reset your body.” Follow these simple tips and you’ll get rid of the bloat and maybe even find yourself thinking about fruit and vegetables instead of cheeseburger sliders.

Eat Early, Eat Often
You should have a good breakfast—no-brainer, right?—but the key is to be eating within one hour of waking. If you wait until you’re at your desk, you’re more likely to overindulge. When should you stop eating? That’s where things get interesting. Despite what your girlfriend says, it’s okay to keep feeding right up until you go to bed. “The goal is to be eating consistently,” Glassman says. “If you’re on a schedule where you have dinner at 9, that’s not so bad. By munching throughout the day, your body’s always burning calories at its best. It’s like throwing twigs onto a fire.”

[Read More: The Best Breakfast in America]

Take a Sabbatical from Sugar and Salt
Although one Oreo cookie is fine in theory, it’s hard to stop there. Sweets and alcohol often make you crave more sugar, putting your noble efforts at self-control in peril. Sodium prompts your body to retain water. It’s not enough to put down the salt shaker; beware the lunchtime deli run, too. Pickles, sliced meats, and split-pea soup are all known to pump you full of H2O.

[Read More: Ice Cream Sandwiches are Back]

Don’t Overdo the Juice Fast
Liquid diets can help you feel lighter in the short term, but maintain them for any longer than three days and you’re setting yourself up for nutrient deficiencies, fatigue, and failure. Juicers often start bingeing right after swallowing their last sip, warns dietitian Keri Gans of the American Dietetic Association. “If you’re going to try it,” she says, “don’t think you can just drink juice and then go to McDonald’s.”

[Read More: A Details Classic: Manorexics]

Give Up the Shredded Wheat
According to New York nutritionist Oz Garcia, the wheat-based starches you find in breakfast cereals are trouble. “Many men, as they move toward a better diet, think whole wheat is good for them,” he says. “But it triggers appetite and water retention. It also contributes to gaining weight around the gut and developing man boobs.” Try oats or grains like quinoa or millet instead—or get your carbs from vegetables like yams, squashes, and pumpkins.

[Read More: A User’s Guide to Man Boobs]

Bring On the Artichoke
A plate of fiber-rich lentils or chickpeas will fill you up, but so will the often overlooked—and decidely delicious—artichoke. Glassman suggests having one every afternoon. “It’s low-calorie,” she says, “and it takes a while to eat.”

[Read More: The Pills You Should Be Popping]

Don’t Be Too Spartan
When Bradley Cooper had to shed a few pounds for his upcoming role in The A-Team, he ate mostly boiled chicken, broccoli, and brown rice. Channing Tatum has streamlined his physique with the same regimen. Glassman says it’s a good plan, though a bit too ascetic. Boiling the chicken adds no fat or calories. But grilling it with a little nonstick spray and some herbs and spices adds about two calories and lots more flavor.

[Read More: Bradley Cooper Has Hollywood by the Balls]

Bite Your Tongue
As a topic of conversation, your diet restrictions are about as interesting as a grocery list. Unless your name is Oprah, no one cares that you’d kill for some lardo on wheat bread. So be a champ and keep your virtue to yourself.

[Read More: O-Face or Oprah Face?]

Turn Up the Heat
No less an expert on overindulgence than John Belushi would head to the sauna after a wild night. The Animal House star was crazy, yes, but he was no fool. One 20-minute session can improve your mood and your appearance. The heat raises your outer body temperature, boosting your circulation and making you feel euphoric, and the sweat flushes debris from your pores. “It mimics the effects of running the Central Park loop,” Oz Garcia says. Try saying that about wheatgrass.

[Read More: Find the Right Massage]

Need Motivation: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

StickK.com lets you bet against your weak, impulsive self. If you lose the wager, you fork the cash over to a friend, an enemy, or even a cause you despise—like, say, Sarah Palin 2012.

Fatbet.net—founded by two buddies trying to drop 10 pounds each—helps you set up weight-loss competitions with friends and chart the results. Those who meet their goals split the winnings.

[Read More: The Slacker Workout]

Put Down the Protein Shake
Put down the whey powder. Dr. Jeffrey Morrison, a New York weight-loss specialist, recommends breakfast shakes made from rice protein, which is less rough on the stomach. Mix two scoops of protein powder, two tablespoons of flaxseed fiber, eight ounces of water, and ice in a blender. Consume with the morning paper.

[Read More: Meal-Replacement Shakes]

The Sports Drink Myth
“Coconut water is what Gatorade wishes it was,” Oz Garcia says. It has the potassium and the sugar you need to feel restored after a workout but none of the artificial ingredients or the food coloring.

[Read More: Alex Rodriguez: Confessions of a Damned Yankee]

The Hangover Remedy
Forget hair of the dog. Come the morning after, try rehydrating with this: Fill one half of a glass with apple juice, the other half with water, and add a pinch of sea salt. “As a cure, it works,” Morrison says.

[Read More: The Best way to Drink Tequilla—Hangover Not Included]

Cubicle Culture – The Best Plants for Your Office

7 Jan

In the January 2010 issue of Men’s Health magazine, the one with Vampire Diaries’ Sean Faris on the cover, there is an article discussing which plant would best keep a man company in the comfort of his own cubicle.  The answers are interesting – isn’t learning fun?  Hopefully you take these words to heard and bring a leafy friend into your workspace – if for nothing else but to impress your coworkers with your knowledge of everything flora.

  1. Areca Palm – Thanks to its huge fronds (which can reach 6 ft in height and feature 60 leaflets), this palm is especially effective in filtering airborne particles.
  2. Peppermint – Sniffing mint can increase your alertness and enhance your memory, according to a study in the International Journal of Neuroscience.  Bonus: it can also help suppress your appetite.
  3. English Ivy – Tests at the University of Georgia show that English Ivy is particularly efficient at absorbing volatile organic compounds, airborne pollutants spewed by office machinery, that cause headaches and nausea.
  4. Lemon Balm – Researchers at Ohio State University found that the scent of lemon improved peoples’ moods and raised levels of norepinephrine, a brain chemical linked to mood and behavior.
  5. Golden Pothos – This hardy vine reduces indoor ozone, Penn State researchers found.  Exposure to low ozone levels can cause chest pain and throat irritation.
  6. Gardenia – It’s like a long-acting anti-depressant.  A gardenia can live for 25 years, and every time you smell its flowers, your emotional outlook improves…according to research from Rutgers.

Screw the Holiday Blues

14 Dec

The December/January issue of Men’s Fitness magazine, with Ben Roethlisberger on the cover, has a 7-step plan to give that foul holiday mood a serious beat-down.  “Happy holidays?  Bah, humbug.  For some guys, December is actually the darkest month, says Andrew Weil, M.D. ‘There’s a contradiction between expectations of joy and reality.’ he says. (The sucky economy doesn’t help.) Conquer the problem with these simple all natural mood boosters:

1. Get your ass to the gym. It’s still the best way to prevent the holiday funk.  A 2008 study backs this up: subjects who were most fit were also the least likely to experience depression.  Now that’s “lifting” your spirits.

2.  Strike a pose. Who knew “downward dog” would do more than simply make you think of sexy time?  Yoga is also an effective treatment for depression because it helps hike up levels of the same chemicals in the brain that are targeted by many antidepressants.

3.  “Wort” off the blues. Although St. John’s has not yet been proven effective against major depression, the over-the-counter herb can help minor depression.  It’s sold as a capsule, tea, or liquid extract.

4.  Let her (or him) tickle you. Maybe laughter is the best medicine.  According to a recent study, watching a funny flick may increase your body’s production of beta-endorphins, the family of chemicals that alleviate depression.

5.  Step into the light. Soak in as much bright light during the day as possible. Or invest in a light-therapy box, which mimics natural outdoor light, causing a biochemical change that lifts your mood.

6.  Go Fish. Depressed patients have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are primarily found in fish.  Weil says that just 2 to 3 grams of fish oil a day can leave you happier.

7.  Ho, Ho, Hold on to your wallet. Even if you’re one of the lucky ones still working, this isn’t the time to splurge.  Watch your spending for the rest of the month or you may feel anxious about that monstrous credit card bill coming in January.

Aloe: Power Plant

27 Nov

This little gem came from the UK edition of Men’s Health magazine.  Most major magazines have a UK edition.  They are a bit more expensive, but it allows you to get 24 issues a year versus 12, and you get to have fun converting punds and euros into US Dollars!  Who could ask for more?  In the November 2009 issue of Men’s Health’s UK magazine, in the Health Bulletin, there is a snippet about the Aloe Vera plant.  “You can drink it, brush your teeth with it, even cure burns with it. Is aloe the most versatile medicinal plant of all?”  Here are the magazine’s featured uses of this power plant:

Teeth – “According to a study published in General Dentistry, aloe vera tooth gel is as effective as regular toothpaste in preventing cavities.  It also helps soothe sore and irritated gums. Try Aloe Dent for a change from fluoride.”

Diabetes – “A study in the Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin reported that phytosterols, substances which are contained within aloe vera, have been found to help control blood glucose levels in people suffering from type-2 diabetes.”

Skin Disorders – “A study undertaken by Kaen University researchers in Thailand found that aloe vera gel was an effective anti-inflammatory when applied to the skin to treat psoriasis, a disorder that is characterized by itchy, red, scaly skin.”

Minor Burns – “Researchers from Iran’s Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences compared the healing of second-degree burns using either aloe vera or silver sulfadiazine (a topical burn cream), and found that aloe was more effective and faster working.”