What are processed foods, exactly?

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a processed food has undergone a transformation to extend shelf life or to make it more palatable. Examples include dehydrated fruits, frozen vegetables, and sausages. Frozen produce would be considered “minimally” processed, while the sausage, especially if it is filled with nitrates and flavorings, fits our more common perception of processed food.

Diabetes and low magnesium go hand in hand

Diabetes and low magnesium levels: Two common health problems affecting millions of people. But did you know that they are related? Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, according to the CDC. And most people, in general, aren’t getting enough magnesium on a daily basis. It turns out, low magnesium may make you worse off for developing diabetes, and having diabetes may in turn deplete your existing magnesium levels. Magnesium depletion affects at least 30 percent of diabetics. It’s a cycle that needs to be broken, and it starts with education. Let’s take a look at the relationship between this mineral and diabetes.

Why did you pass out during the blood draw?

Fainting – It can happen to otherwise healthy people! You may feel faint and light-headed and then suddenly lose consciousness or pass out. The most common cause of fainting (especially among children and young adults) is neurally mediated syncope, which is also commonly referred to as vasovagal syncope or a vasovagal response. In a vasovagal response, your blood pressure drops and the heart does not pump a normal amount of oxygen to the brain. The response is often triggered by anxiety or emotional distress, sometimes even from the sight of blood during a blood draw. This type of fainting can lead to minor injuries, like cuts or bruises from falling, but it is considered to be relatively harmless in most cases.

What is metabolic syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome, also called syndrome X, insulin resistance syndrome or dysmetabolic syndrome, is a “cluster of conditions” that increase your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes (Mayo Clinic). Having just one of the conditions does not mean you have metabolic syndrome; typically, it is defined as having three or more of the five common traits: large waist circumference, high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol and elevated fasting blood sugar.

Diabetes: What’s your ‘type’?

Diabetes is described as a metabolic disorder in which the body cannot properly store and use glucose (a type of sugar) used by the body for energy. To use glucose, the body needs insulin. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas. Insulin stimulates the removal of glucose from the blood and its uptake into muscle, liver and fat cells where it can be stored for energy. In other words, insulin is important for regulating blood glucose levels.

Why print books are better for your health

E-readers like Kindles and Nooks are portable and can store thousands of books. Other than being dependent on electrical power, e-readers seemed ready to replace print books completely when they debuted in 1998. But recent research suggests that print still rules, health-wise.

Douse inflammation by keeping infections under control

Your body constantly fights off a multitude of minor infections, but some still persist. And when they do, they may cause you problems. There’s increasing evidence that chronic low-grade infections may cause inflammation affecting the whole body. This is because inflammation is the body’s attempt to protect itself and remove the harmful issues. Let’s look at the heart for example. There appears to be a link between infections and heart disease. In certain cases, chronic infections may cause inflammation such as arteriosclerosis (“narrowing of the arteries caused by a buildup of plaque”) in your heart and make your heart age prematurely. Infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses or even parasites.

I spy with my little eye: Clues about your health!

You are visiting a general doctor’s office. You are sitting down and having a brief chat with the doctor. Unexpectedly, your doctor asks if have a particular ailment such as heart, kidney, liver or thyroid disease. This takes you by surprise because you didn't realize the doctor was examining you yet. But perhaps the exam began at your first “hello.” Why? Because doctors can detect clues about your health just by looking at your eyes.

Sweating it out in a sauna? There may be some health benefits!

The body’s response to the gentle, persistent heat of a sauna is well-documented and proven day in and out by people all over the world. This is why more and more doctors are recommending its purifying benefits.

Be proactive about your pancreas: What you can do now to keep it in tip-top shape

If you are like most people, you probably think of the pancreas as the organ that produces insulin – the critical hormone necessary to prevent diabetes. But the pancreas has another important function and that is to produce digestive enzymes. Digestive enzymes are proteins that break up food into particles small enough to allow your body to digest it.

Live long and prosper

Life expectancy is one way to assess the overall health of different countries and populations. In the U.S., for example, life expectancy has been increasing over the years, according to the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control. The latest numbers are age 81 for females and 76 for males. The overall age for life expectancy in the U.S. is around 78. Many people can also attest that they know people well into their 80s and even 90s. But even still, we may be lagging behind.

‘Stand up’ for your life!

If your co-workers are asking for standing desks and eating their lunches while walking around the parking lot, they’ve probably heard the latest medical news — that sitting can kill you.

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