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meditating

Planning Your Daily Meditation

Katy Perry says she starts her day with Transcendental Meditation. Madonna can be seen with her foot behind her head practicing meditative yoga. Lena Dunham claims that all Type A women, she included, could benefit from meditation. Clint Eastwood says he’s been using Transcendental Meditation for almost 40 years. Talk show gurus Ellen DeGeneres and the great Oprah Winfrey both swear by meditation and, if that isn’t reason enough to start practicing your daily mantras, the lovely Nicole Kidman uses the meditation app on her phone that shows her a map of all the people who are meditating at the same time.

Meditation is a practice which involves self-regulation of the mind. It is used to ease high blood pressure and to combat depression and anxiety. It is known to improve the quality of life and health and help you make better choices. Here are some ways to work meditation into your day.

1. Find A Place Where You Can Meditate Regularly
Find a quiet spot and place a chair or meditation cushion there. Create a peaceful atmosphere that recalls the sacred purpose of meditation. You may choose to make an altar with flowers or sacred images.

2. Pick A Regular Time To Practice
If you love mornings, you might consider meditation before breakfast, schedule permitting. If you prefer evenings or have more time at night, try to meditate then. Start by sitting ten to twenty minutes a day and gradually increase the length of time and the number of sittings.

3. Pick A Posture
You want to be able to sit erectly without stiffness. Plant your body firmly and let your hands rest. Your eyes should be gently closed and your heart rate should be slow. Feel your body consciously releasing tension and let go of your thoughts.

4. Concentrate On Your Breathing
Take a few breaths to try and find the place from where you breath most easily. Feel the sensations of your breathing like the movement of your chest and belly. Relax with each breath, feeling the air entering and exiting your nose and throat.

5. Allow Your Mind To Wander
Your mind may slip away for a while. Allow yourself to return to the next breath and think about where you have been. You may want to use a word to name to yourself where you have been, such as “wandering” or “thinking” and say it to yourself silently. When you become more accustomed to meditation, you may be able to train your brain to return to the place it has been, but until that is possible, just use the word of acknowledgment and return on the next breath.

6. Sit, Letting Your Breath Change Rhythm
Relax into the rhythm of your breath allowing it to change from short to long, fast to slow, easy to rough. Concentrate gently.

As you progress, you should notice it will be easier to center and calm yourself. Meditation is a journey that needs to be ridden out, with some days more peaceful than others. If you stick with it, you will find that concentration on breathing helps to calm your mind and body.

woman sleeping

Maintaining A Healthy Sleep Routine

If you’re not overly motivated, a good night’s sleep may be your greatest accomplishment. After all, it is no small feat. From the various available products to the barrage of commercials and helpful apps and websites devoted to the subject, it is obvious that not everyone is capable of peaceful somnolence. So, if you’re one of the lucky ones who has just engaged in 8 or 9 hours of uninterrupted rest, pat yourself on the back! You are quite the achiever!

What You Accomplish During Sleep
The list of things your body does during sleep is quite lovely. During Stages 3 and 4 of sleep, our muscles relax and our blood pressure drops. There is an increase of blood supply to the muscles, repair, and growth of tissue takes place, the body experiences a restoration of energy, and the growth hormone is released. Sleep gives our brains and bodies energy and helps us to perform our daily activities. Plus, you have some really cool dreams!

Sleep Hygiene And Becoming A Successful Sleeper
Sleep hygiene is the term used to describe your habits associated with sleep. To maintain good sleep hygiene, you should:

  1. Keep your sleep schedule consistent. Try to set your body clock to waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day, even on your days off.
  2. Establish a bedtime ritual that helps you relax. Avoid bright lights excitement, sound, and stress. Reading can be incredibly sleep-inducing.
  3. If you are among the sleep deprived, try and curb your desire to nap. It may help get through the day, but it is equally as likely to make you less sleepy at night.
  4. Exercise every day, but not when you should be sleeping. Exercising lowers blood pressure and stress and makes sleep easier.
  5. Keep your sleeping environment comfortable, The optimum temperature for a good sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees. Make sure your room is dark. Blackout curtains can be very effective and very cool. The atmosphere should be free from disruption, If your spouse is snoring, gently push them off the bed. (only kidding)
  6. Make sure your mattress is comfortable. If it’s over 8, it’s time to replace. Consider throwing some nice fluffy pillows on your bed, make sure to avoid allergens, and don’t leave your heels where you might trip over them.
  7. The right amount of light is important in maintaining circadian rhythms. Get some sunlight in the morning and avoid it in the evening.
  8. No alcohol, spicy foods, and coffee before sleeping. If your feel hunger may keep you awake, you can allow yourself a nice light snack 45 minutes before turning in.
  9. Keep any stressful work-related devices and thoughts separate from your sleep routine. Light from electronic devices can stimulate the brain and keep you awake.
  10. If you are having a hard time slipping into a dream state, go into another room and engage in a relaxing activity until you feel tired.

And, to think, your mother told you-you would never accomplish anything!

woman sneezing in cold weather

Staying Well During Cold And Flu Season

It’s finally Fall! Season of the Pumpkin spice everything! Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice ice cream, hey, you even think you saw some pumpkin spice potato chips the other day! Not only that but fall also means you can let that bikini bod slide just a little bit, maybe relax the intensity on the treadmill a little, cut the routine from 5 times a week to 3. Trade in those Daisy Dukes for some classic fall sweaters and jackets. And, best of all, you get to cuddle with your new significant other while looking at decorative gourds.

There’s only one catch; you’re sick. Your throat hurts, your nose is stuffed and doesn’t feel like leaving your bed. Worst of all, the thought of pumpkin spice is turning your stomach. What can you do?

1.Flu shot
Get a flu shot. The flu shot is the most effective way of flu prevention. They are available at most pharmacies.

2.Wash your hands
There is no such thing as washing your hands too much. No matter what professional environment, you are in, you run the risk of being exposed to contagion. Doctors and nurses constantly keep soap and water in the close vicinity. To completely rid skin of viruses, scrub for at least 20 seconds. Dr. Alan Pocinki,MD recommends singing “The Birthday Song” twice while thoroughly washing under nails and between fingers, although you may get strange looks if you do this in public.

3. Hand Sanitizer
An alcohol-based hand sanitizer can kill germs from cold and flu.

4. Avoid Close Contact with Sick People
Tery Remy, MD, director of Medical Associates at Beauregard in Alexandria VA gives advice on how to politely turn down a handshake. “Just explain, ‘To keep transmission of colds and flu down, I’m not shaking hands. But hello! Nice to meet you!’ They understand.”

5. Keep Your Environment Clean
If you want to stay well, roll up those sleeves and get scrubbing! Paramedic Beth Geoghegan starts every day by cleaning her office with germ-killing soaps. If her day has included visits with flu bearing patients, she, “takes her uniform off the minute I get home, put it in the wash, and get right in the shower.” Geoghagan advises, “looking at your environment and thinking, ‘What could be contaminated? All it takes is a tiny droplet. It may already look clean, but it might not be.”

6.Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Keeping up a strong immune system is one of the most important ways to avoid sickness. Low protein diets can deplete your immune system. Stick to high protein options like fish, yogurt, and eggs. In addition, make sure to get enough rest, don’t smoke, and keep allergies under control. Allergies cause inflammation of the upper respiratory system which sets the body up for getting a virus.

7.Drink Tea
Ah, steaming tea with milk and honey. Just mention it and you start to feel better. Inhaling steam helps the cilia to move germs out of the nose more efficiently. Honey gets rid of bacteria and lemon helps to thin mucus. So, start getting better so you can join the pumpkin explosion!

girl doing exercise in gym

Avoiding Muscle Cramps During Exercise

So there’s this really cute guy at your gym. You feel emboldened because you just shed about 15 pounds and your new tank top reveals your newly flat belly. You see him on the treadmill. You give a little wave and smile. He waves and smiles back. Good sign. You maintain eye contact as you straddle the stationary bike. You feel his eyes on you as you start to pedal. And then…it happens! You are seized by a blinding shooting pain causing your leg muscles to spasm uncontrollably. Your face becomes a mask of agony. The cute guy looks away, horrified. You will never live this one down.
The most commonly accepted explanation for muscle cramps is dehydration, so most of us will try to combat a cramp with a glass of water. However, the reason for muscle cramps may be far more extensive and avoiding them may not be a simple as grabbing a glass of H2O.

Fluids
The jury on the effects of hydration on muscle cramps is still out. Some studies find there is no correlation between cramps and liquids, others show that fluids and electrolytes can be an effective way to avoid or delay muscle cramps. If dehydration is a cause of cramping, it would work something like this: When we don’t get enough to drink fluids outside our cells decrease and our nerve endings get crowded together, The result of this is a spontaneous discharge or a muscle twitch, leading to a muscle cramp. Proper hydration will prevent this from happening. So, to drink or not to drink? To drink of course. The benefits of staying hydrated during exercise are virtually never-ending, even if they don’t include the prevention of cramps. Experts agree that you let your thirst be your guide in determining the proper amount of fluid to drink and when to drink it.

Muscle Fatigue
Cramps are most common among beginner athletes and those who exercise too intensely because cramps are more likely to result from muscle fatigue. Exercisers should make sure to warm up muscles and pace their exercises to avoid strain. Adapting to heat may also cause cramps. When warmer weather arrives, take precautions to avoid starting workouts with too much intensity; don’t go from 0-100 too quickly.

Salt
Electrolytes are necessary for shifting fluids into and out of cells. Sodium is an electrolyte found in table salt. When it sweats, the body doesn’t just lose water, it loses sodium. Replacing the water without replacing the sodium can lead to dangerously low sodium levels, otherwise known as hyponatremia. This condition is most likely to occur during high endurance workouts which produce repeated sweating and can lead to painful cramping. Sodium can and should be replaced by snacking on salty foods or drinking sports drinks with high sodium levels.

Carbohydrates
Although some may claim they are the devil incarnate, carbs are still the main source of fuel for exercise. Carbohydrates are stored as glycogen in our muscles, and muscle cramps can set in when the store is exhausted. This is because our muscles use carbs to contract and also to relax. While exercise makes muscles contract, without enough fuel, muscle relaxation becomes impaired . If the muscle cannot relax, it can cramp.
Energy from carbs usually lasts through 60 to 90 minutes of exercise. Carbohydrates should be consumed if the workout exceeds that limit. Eat carbs before and during exercise, as needed.

So if you want to avoid those painful cramps, stick to these guidelines:

  1. Make sure to get appropriate training.
  2. Get used to the environment.
  3. Make sure your body gets enough fluids.
  4. Eat salty foods of high sodium sports drinks during, before and following exercise.
  5. Consume carbohydrates before working out and every 60 to 90 minutes thereafter.
latex gloves

Understanding Latex Sensitivity

Dustin Hoffman must have said it best. “There’s a new medical crisis. Doctors are reporting that many men are having allergic reactions to latex condoms. They say they cause severe swelling. So what’s the problem?”
Depending on your proclivities, the word latex brings up several associations. For the sexually inclined, thoughts immediately go to condoms and rubber clothing. For the less exotic, latex recalls rubber gloves and cleaning. If you are a dentist, you may recall catheters.
Naturally occurring rubber latex is derived from the sap of a rubber tree (of course!) otherwise known as Hevea Brasil ensues, which is found in Southeast Asia and Africa. Allergic reactions may occur when people who are sensitive to the proteins in natural rubber latex are exposed to products which contain the material.

Where Is Natural Rubber Latex Found?
Latex is common in dental and medical supplies like intravenous tubing, disposable gloves, stethoscopes, syringes, catheters, and bandages. As for consumer products, latex is found in handbags, athletic shoes, underwear leg and waist bands balloons, tools, tires, and, of course, condoms. Latex can also be found in baby products, such as baby bottles, pacifiers, nipples and rubber toys.

Triggers
Allergic reactions occur when latex allergy sufferers come into contact with latex. Some of the more common, and less embarrassing, ways of incurring these reactions are blowing up a balloon or undergoing a dental or medical procedure in which the doctors are wearing latex gloves.

Food Triggers
People with latex allergies can have food allergies as well. If you have latex allergies, you may also be adversely affected by apples, potatoes, bananas, papaya, melons, celery, carrots, kiwi, chestnuts and avocado.

Symptoms
Usually, allergy symptoms do not occur right away. In most cases, it takes several exposures for the signs to reveal themselves. (Virgins rejoice!) However, once they develop, symptoms include itching, hives, and runny or stuffy nose. Asthma- like symptoms, such as wheezing and tightening of the chest, may develop. Reactions will appear within minutes after coming into contact with latex. Anaphylaxis is the most serious result of a latex allergy and is characterized by breathing difficulty and drop in blood pressure.
If you wear rubber gloves, you may be in contact with chemicals that cause “allergic contact dermatitis.” This can cause blisters on the back of hands and eczema occurring 1to 3 days after wearing gloves.
And perhaps most distressingly: You don’t even have to come into contact with latex products to develop a reaction, Asthmatic reactions and anaphylactic can be caused just by inhaling proteins in the air caused by the powder contained in latex gloves and aerosols.

Treatment And Management
Sufferers of latex allergies should avoid coming into contact with anything containing latex and avoid consuming potentially risky foods. Doctors and dentists should always be informed of allergy before performing the treatment. Clinics and hospitals have increasingly begun to feature latex-safe areas and to use non-latex and low protein latex gloves.
Those with a latex allergy should wear a medical alert ID and carry an epinephrine auto-injector in case of emergencies. Allergists can provide additional information and recommendations for those affected by latex allergies.

doctor checking on patient's skin

Skin Appearances That Might Be Signs Of Cancer

Normally, when one thinks of nudist colonies, one thinks of images of nature, free love, lack of inhibitions and a return to innocence. What they may not think of is skin cancer. Cancer of the skin is the most common type of cancer. According to the American Cancer society, about 76,380 melanomas will be diagnosed in 2016.

There are two types of skin cancers: melanoma and non-melanoma. Melanoma is the most dangerous form and is likely to spread other parts of the body. It begins in the deepest layer of the skin. Non-melanoma is less dangerous and can usually be surgically treated. It is found in the upper and middle layers of the skin.

Melanoma Signs
The first sign of melanoma is typically a growth on the skin or a change in a mole that you have had for a while. While normal moles tend to arrive at an early age and remain unchanged, it is quite a different story with melanoma. They are more likely to appear suddenly and change rapidly.

The ABCDE
The Melanoma Research Foundation suggests that you use the ABCDE method to classify and identify melanoma.

A- Asymmetrical Shape: While benign moles tend to be symmetrical, melanoma moles are usually shaped irregularly.
B- Border: Melanoma lesions tend to have unclear borders and blurred outlines, whereas non-malignant ones have smooth, well- defined borders.
C-Color: Melanoma lesions are often characterized by several unevenly distributed colors, usually blue, tan or black.
D- Diameter: Melanoma lesions often measure more the 6 millimeters in diameter.
E-Evolution: The most telling sign that your lesion is cancerous is its evolution, If you notice the mole changing in size and color, contact your dermatologist.

When You Should Worry About A Pre-existing Mole
Moles are common and are usually the result of a normal reaction to the sun. However, you may consider having a mole checked out if you experience:

  • Crusting, scabbing,bleeding
  • Itchiness of tenderness
  • Swelling or increasing size

Non-melanoma Skin Cancer
The Uk National Health Service Reports that, “The main symptom of non-melanoma skin cancer is the appearance of a lump or discolored patch on the skin that won’t heal.'”The most common types are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

Basal Cell Carcinoma
Although it is not known to spread to other areas of the body, basal cell carcinoma can result in disfigurement if it is not cared for properly. It can be identified by:

  • a pearly bump in which you can see blood cells
  • an irritated scaly patches on the back or chest
  • a bleeding open sore that becomes crusty
  • a white lesion resembling a scar
  • a pink mole with a light dent in the middle

Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Usually caused by overexposure to the sun, squamous cell carcinoma can spread to other areas of your skin, although widespread carcinoma is unlikely. Look out for:

  • Crusty, wart-like bumps
  • Scaly patches with a tendency to bleed
  • Open sores that bleed or form crusts
  • red nodules

So, if you want to take your clothes off in the sun, just remember to keep your sunblock on and if you notice any changes in your skin, please go see a dermatologist asap!

doctor checking a patient for thyroids

Thyroid Deficiencies And Your Skin

You walk into your doctor’s office. You tell him you are concerned because lately you notice your skin has become dry and wrinkled, your nails break easily, and you are losing hair from your head and eyebrows. He suggests that you balance your diet and get more vitamins.

According to the Thyroid Federation International, there are up to 300 million people in the world with thyroid dysfunction and, of that number, over half are presumed to not know it. Due to incomplete or outmoded testing methods and failure to recognize symptoms, hypothyroidism is one of the most commonly misdiagnosed or undiagnosed health problems in the world.

The thyroid gland produces hormones that help to balance your metabolism and keep your body weight and temperature regulated. According to Dr. Broda Barnes, author of “Hypothyroidism: the Unsuspected Illness”, “When thyroid function is low, circulation is reduced. In advanced cases of hypothyroidism, the skin, in fact, may receive as little as one fourth to one fifth the normal blood supply.” As a result, hypothyroidism , or under- active thyroid, can cause your skin to retain fluids, it may create bags under the eyes and bloating in your legs, ankles, and fingers as well as cracked heels, colorless skin, and eczema.

Myxodema
Myxodema is skin swelling caused by deposits of sugar called glucosaminoglycans. It is a result of insufficient production of hormones by the thyroid gland, which is also responsible for regulation of metabolism. Myxodema is most likely to occur when hypothyroidism goes without treatment for an extended period and can have serious complications. The condition can be treated with thyroid replacement hormones which will help alleviate the symptoms.

Vitiglio
Vitiglio is a pigmentation disorder that is frequently associated with autoimmune thyroid disease. Its symptoms include white patches on the skin, hair and eyebrows, and in severe cases, may result in the total loss of color from the skin. It usually precedes thyroid disfunction by many years, which makes it necessary for those with the skin disorder to be screened before hyperthyroidism develops.It can be treated medically with creams, oral medications, ultraviolet light, and removing color from other areas of skin so tone appears more even. It can be treated surgically with skin grafting and tattooing.

Hyperthyrhoidism
Hyperthyrhoidism is cause by too much thyroid hormone. It can make skin smooth and moist and prone to flushing and redness. Skin may become thin in some areas, whereas it may become thick and hyper pigmented (darker) in others, and may become extremely dry. Pretibal myxedema is another skin condition caused by hyperthyroidism which effects the front of the legs. Symptoms include hives and itching based on the increased action of hormones metabolizing carbohydrates, proteins and fats. These conditions can be treated with hypoallergenics.

If you have any of these symptoms, it is important that you tell your doctor you need to be tested for hormone imbalance. Early detection can prevent severe symptoms from occurring.

woman trying to pop a pimple

Common Skin Symptoms Triggered By Auto- Immune Disease

Vitiligo is just one of the skin symptoms triggered by an autoimmune disorder. It affect not only the health and daily lives of the sufferers but also their self-esteem. An autoimmune disorder occurs when the body’s immune system fails to distinguish between healthy cells and harmful ones (antigens) and begins to destroy healthy tissue. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, joint pain and rashes. It is important to have an awareness of these skin disorders in order to recognize and understand them in ourselves and others and to ensure public support.

Psoriasis
Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition that results from the overactivity of skin cells. The skin cells of a psoriasis sufferer form too quickly and the old skin cannot be shed quickly enough to accommodate it. The results are silvery scales or red itchy patches on the elbows, lower back, and scalp. It is treatable with prescription creams, phototherapy, and oral and injectable medicines.

Vitiligo
Vitiligo causes the body to destroy melanocytes, which are cells that produce pigment. This causes patches of skin to lighten. These lightened patches can appear on the inside of the mouth, the hair and the eyes. In severe cases of vitiligo, skin loses all of its pigment and becomes completely white.
While there is no known cure for vitiligo , treatments are available to restore pigment and even out skin tone. They range from foundation and cover-up to topical medications. Tattooing and skin grafting are other treatment options.

Lupus
Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks tissues and organs causing inflammation. Its most common symptom is a butterfly-shaped rash across the cheeks and nose. Lesions may form after sun exposure. Lupus can be treated with immunosuppressants, antimalarial drugs, corticosteroids and anti -inflammatories.

 

Dermatomyositis
Another inflammatory disease, dermatomyositis causes a rash on the eyelids and face, shoulders, back and upper chest and knuckles. Symptoms include trouble breathing, muscle weakness, and difficulty swallowing. It most commonly affects children between 5 and 15 and adults between 40 and 60. It can be treated with corticosteroids and immunosuppressants. While in children, the symptoms may completely disappear, the disorder may be a sign of an additional underlying disease and could lead to lung failure.

Pernicious Anemia
In cases of pernicious anemia, the cells of the body attack the stomach cells and make it hard for the intestines to get the vitamin B12 necessary for the formation of red blood cells. The result is extremely pale skin, bleeding gums, a swollen tongue, loss of appetite and fatigue. It usually responds successfully to Vitamin B12 shots and supplements.

If any of these symptoms seem familiar to you, see the dermatologist to determine whether it is just a skin condition or a symptom of something else. We also invite you to share your experiences and raise awareness about the effects of autoimmune disease.

Asthma

Can Prebiotics Help Asthma?

Stewart Brand, best known for his work as editor of the Whole Earth catalog once said, “If you don’t like bacteria, you’re on the wrong planet.”  It is true that, to most of us, bacteria has a negative connotation, but  lately, we are learning that the certain bacteria may be extremely beneficial.

You may have heard the terms prebiotic and probiotic being tossed around lately.  You may also know that they’re typically found in dairy products like milk and yoghurt.  But what are they?

About 100 years ago,the pioneering Dr. Matternick found that bacteria in yogurt could improve digestion.  He postulated that this ‘good bacteria’ could take the place of ‘bad bacteria’ in the human stomach.  Probiotics are now defined by the FAO/WHO as ” live microorganisms which ….confer a health benefit on the host,” and are most noted as a digestive health aid. Prebiotics are nondigestable carbohydrates.  They are the fuel of probiotics and are usually found in milk and plants and are needed to ensure optimum function of probiotics.   Recent evidence shows that consuming foods that contain prebiotics can also help relieve asthma.  Let’s look at the evidence.

Asthma
There is little doubt that asthma is a big problem in the United States.  It affects about 17.7 million adults and 6.3 million children.  Its symptoms include tightening of the chest muscles, coughing, loss of breath and wheezing caused by inflammation of the airways.

There are two kinds of asthma. Allergic asthma is caused by allergens, like dust, mold, and pollen.  Non allergic asthma is caused by illness, exercise, medications, and stress.  It is this second type of asthma that has become the focus of the new findings.

How Does this Work?
You may have noticed a relationship between the words antibiotic and probiotic.  While antibiotics cure by preventing life, probiotics cure by promote life.  The theory is that  by promoting probiotic activity in the human  body, we strengthen our immune system and enhance our health.

The Study
Investigative research was conducted by the SHAPE Department Research center at Nottingham.  It involved 18 people, 10 with EIU ( exercise induced asthma) and 8 subjects who were asthma free.  They were all given a prebiotic supplement (B-GOS) for 3 weeks, followed by no  treatment for two weeks ,and then were given a placebo for three additional weeks.  These individuals with EIU showed an improvement in lung function after taking the B-GOS as compared with the results of the placebo.

Says Dr. Williams, study leader, says, “Importantly, the level of improvement in lung function that appears after the prebiotic is perceivable by the patient and therefore clinically relevant.”

Prebiotic Foods
In light of the fact that prebiotic foods are known primarily as a digestive aid, it may not be surprising to learn of their high fiber content.  Prebiotic foods include:

  • Raw chicory root:  While available as a supplement in health food stores and pharmacies, raw chicory root can also be found in certain breakfast bars, cereal and breads.
  • Raw Jerusalem Artichoke:  Sometimes know as the artichoke, due to its high fiber content, the only resemblance the Jerusalem artichoke has to the artichokes we are familiar with is the flavor.  It actually most closely resembles ginger  Besides being a great prebiotic, it is also a source of potassium and iron.
  • Cooked Onions:  A slightly less exotic options, cooked onions are a delicious addition to soups and sandwiches and can be sautéed, fried or even caramelized!
  • Raw Garlic:   Not recommended for a first date, raw garlic has almost half the required amount of daily fiber.  Put it is hummus, pasta, or with veggies.
Family Playing On Sofa At Home

The Power Of Family And Anti-Aging

You come home after a long day. Your daughter has just broken her brother’s gaming console and she is threatening to smash his cell phone over his head. Your husband is asleep in your room, the dishes haven’t been done and the tv and air conditioning are both on. You collapse on the sofa, sure that your family is going to be responsible for your premature death and possible loss of sanity. But, according to some studies, the opposite is more likely.

Having More Children Keeps You Younger
According to a recent study done at Simon Fraser University, more children equals long telemores! Confused? Telemores are protective tips located at the end of DNA strands used in the replication of cells. The study found that the number of children a woman gives birth to is directly related to the length of the telemores, hence, the greater the length of the telemores, the greater the longevity of the cells. In short, the cells of women who bore multiple children age at a slower rate! Good news Mommies! The study leader, Pablo Nepomnashy believes that estrogen is responsible. He says, ” The slower pace of telomere shortening found in the study participants who have more children, however, may be attributed to the dramatic increase in estrogen, a hormone produced during pregnancy.”

Marriage Keeps You Younger

Heart
More good reasons to get hitched! A recent study at NYU’s Langone Medical Center found that women and men who were married had a 5% decreased chance of getting cardiovascular disease than their single peers. Doctors speculate that the emotional support offered in marriage may lead to lower blood pressure.

Mind
Robin Simon, sociology professor at Wake Forest University, says that, “hundreds of studies document a robust relationship between marriage and improved mental health.” He goes on to point out that marrieds report being less depressed and are less likely to participate in substance abuse.

Longevity
Having a family seems to be a motivating factor in living a long life. Husbands especially, fare better in the life span department than bachelors. They have a smaller chance of death by suicide and, thanks to their wife’s  attentions, are more likely to get check- ups, stop drinking, and take medications.

Here’s One (or two) For The Singles
In case reading this article has made put you in mind of “Bridget Jones’ Diary” and her descriptions of the “smug marrieds,” listen to this. Marriage isn’t all that glamorous. Married people are more likely to suffer from obesity that bachelors and bachelorettes. A study found that single people exercise more than married people and married men were 25% more likely to be overweight. Talk about, “letting yourself go!” So before you run to the altar and toss out the birth control, remember, people in bad marriages are more prone to bad heart and mental health than those in good marriages. As for the heart and mental health, exercise and eating right will keep your heart in shape and an active social life will keep you happy and balanced. Quality of life takes precedence over all.

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