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LIVE WELL

Woman exercising on stairs

Switching Up Your Cardio Routine

In Dante’s Inferno, the Sixth Terrace of Purgatory is devoted to the gluttonous, or those who have spent their lives overindulging on food, drinks and comforts of the body. As punishment, they are starved in the presence of trees whose fruit they can never reach. Some would argue that a more apt punishment for these gluttons might be endless cardio. Many refer to cardio as the most monotonous form of exercise, comparing treadmills and stationary bikes to hamster wheels, yet few would ever argue its myriad of benefits. The American Heart Association suggests 40 minutes of aerobic exercise three to four times weekly to lower the risk of heart attack and stroke. So what can you do to switch up your cardio routine to keep things interesting?

Supersets
Supersets are great for combining weightlifting with cardio. Supersets usually consist of two or more exercises done in sequence with no rest in between. You might want to try, for example, a workout of 10 push ups, followed immediately with 10 squats, and then move onto shoulder presses, into bicep curls and ending with 10 trip extensions. You could consider his one set, and complete it three times, with a two to three minute rest in between. Certainly no hamster wheel there!

Cardio Rounds
Sure, you might get bored with the seemingly eternal sets on the elliptical, treadmill, and bike, but how about doing all three for a short amount of time, one after another? Pedal for a minute, run for a minute and use the elliptical for one minute. After five times, you should be anything but bored!

Stairs
Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator to earn some cardio points during the day. If you want an extra challenge, try taking them two at a time.

Take a Class
Sign up for a zumba, kickboxing, or hip-hop dance class. Muay Thai is a martial art from Thailand, similar to kickboxing and you can burn up to 1200 calories per class. Also, exercise in a group setting can raise motivation and improve performance while adding an element of camaraderie.

Do Cardio Between Sets
Try jumping rope or jogging between weight lifting sets or pilates routines to develop lean muscles and get your heart pumping and your blood flowing.

Timed Exercise
Another way to switch things up is by using the clock. Pick an exercise and give yourself 30 seconds to perform as many reps as you possibly can. Have a friend time you for an added incentive. See if you can increase your reps weekly or lengthen the set for some real calorie burn.

Still bored? One would think not. Let us know how you get through your cardio. We always love to hear from you!

Woman with vitamin D capsule

Vitamin D and Lowered Cancer Risk

Cancer cells can seem downright evil. While normal cells act to benefit their host, cancer cells have their own devious plan and that plan is to stay alive and keep dividing. And when cancer cells divide, they mutate and tumors result. Normal cells are designed to commit suicide when they are damaged, but not cancer cells. Cancer cells continue to thrive and, multiply and produce. So what can a body do to fight these demonic cells? It must use every weapon at its disposal. One of the most powerful of these is Vitamin D.

What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D helps the body to use phosphorous to make teeth and bones strong. While certain foods can be sources of Vitamin D, it is more commonly made when skin is exposed to sunshine. If you are looking for vitamin D from food sources, foods such as fish liver oil, eggs , and fatty fish, naturally contain the vitamin, while others, such as cereal, juices and milk, are fortified with vitamin D. It can also be obtained through supplements.

The Vitamin D Cancer Connection
Researchers are studying connections between vitamin D and lowered cancer risk based on early research that showed cancer rates to be lower among people living in the south, where levels of sunlight is high, as opposed to those living in northern areas. Because UV light from the sun is responsible for production of vitamin D, researchers speculated that the difference in vitamin D levels might account for the findings. According to a 2007 study, women experienced a 77 percent reduction in all cancers after being given enough Vitamin D to raise their serum levels to 40 mg/ml.

Breast Cancer and Vitamin D
Breast cancer has sometimes been referred to as “vitamin D deficiency syndrome.’ Dr. Cedric F. Garland of the University of California’s San Diego Moores cancer center is responsible for making the connection between cancer and vitamin D deficiency. If you don’t have enough vitamin D, the structure that makes up you epithelial cells comes apart and the cells begin to circulate and multiply. If this process becomes problematic, cancer can result. If breast cancer is in progress, vitamin D can slow cancer growth and allow your immune system to deal with them in smaller numbers.

Getting Your D
The best way to get vitamin D is through sun exposure. You should expose 40% of your body to the sun for about 20 minutes between 10 am and 2 pm, when the sun is stronger. If you are taking oral supplements, studies suggest adults get 8,000 IUs per day. However, keep in mind that oral vitamin D should be accompanied by vitamin K2 to prevent hardening of the arteries.

Let’s all try and up our defenses against cancer and get all the Vitamin D we can! Just say “no” to cancer and let us know your favorite ways of getting your Vitamin D!

Woman sleeping in low-lit room

Fight Fatigue With Power Naps

If you have ever seen the Seinfeld episode entitled “The Nap,” you may know that no one knows the power of a good nap quite like George Constanza. When a glass window in his office prevents him from daytime slumber, George asks Jerry’s contractor to trick out the area underneath his desk with all the creature comforts required for a stress-free, uninterrupted nap, including a shelf for his alarm clock and a cup holder. Although this set up predictably backfires on George, one cannot fault him for his dogged pursuit of a good nap. Napping is a great way to fight fatigue and stay on top of things and research finds that they can also effectively reduce stress and risk of heart disease.

Naps Combat Sleep Deprivation
Sara C. Mednick, author of “Take A Nap! Change Your Life” says, “You can get incredible benefits from 15 to 20 minutes of napping. You reset the system and get a burst of alertness and increased motor performance. That’s what most people really need to stave off sleepiness and get an energy boost.” You also want to consider the length of your nap and the role it plays in its effect on the brain. A 20 minute nap, also referred to as the stage 2 nap, is recommended for remaining alert and sharpening motor learning skills like playing an instrument or typing. Longer naps help aid memory and improve creativity. Thirty to sixty minute naps-slow-wave sleep- enhance skills dealing with decision making and memorization of vocabulary or directions. REM sleep, which usually comes after 60 to 90 minutes of napping, helps the brain to form connections and solve creative problems.

Naps or Coffee
Who needs naps when you’ve got caffeine, right? Well, maybe not. Though a cup of java may improve alertness, caffeine can decrease your memory’s performance making you more likely to make mistakes and leave you cranky and unfocused.

Napping Tips
You may not put George Costanza- like strategy in planning your daily nap, but there are some tips to make the experience a little more beneficial.

Consistency
Schedule your naps. The best time for most people is in the middle of the day, between the hours of 1 and 3 p.m.

Speed
If you are not lucky enough to have a built in space for your alarm clock in your napping area, you can set your cell phone alarm clock to wake you up in 30 minutes or less. This will ensure you don’t wake up groggy.

Darkness
If you can’t nap in a dark room, you may want to wear an eye mask. Blocking light out will help you fall asleep more quickly.

Warmth
Body temperature drops when you sleep, so make sure you have a blanket handy if a snooze is on the agenda.

If you are a proud napper, we would love to hear all about your experiences. What is your favorite place to nap and what are your suggestions for a great nap? Let us know!

Woman having trouble sleeping

The Daily Challenges Of Night Owls

If one is really interested in the daily challenges of “night owls,” perhaps they should ask Gene Simmons. After all, it is he who is responsible for writing the iconic lyrics to Kiss’ 1970’s hit single, “Rock n Roll All Night,” the song responsible for turning the conservative world on its head. If it weren’t rebellious enough to wear six-inch platforms and model lewd facial expressions, Kiss added insult to injury by daring to challenge to concept of a 9-5 time schedule. As if by just staying up late, you too would gain rock star status and cause your parents to lose as much sleep as you. But, as with everything else that’s fun to do, staying up late does come with downsides.

It Starts with Chronotypes
Chronotype is the term researchers use to describe differences in when we prefer to be active. As a whole, we tend toward “morningness” in our early years, move toward “eveningness” in adolescence and then shift back toward “morningness” in later years. A study published in Pediatrics, polled 7th to 12th graders about alertness, sleepiness, planning and task completion. The study found that having the evening chronotype and greater daytime tiredness had a large impact on the child’s behavioral and emotional well being. It also found that the eveningness chronotype was more often associated with risk- taking behaviors, such as drug and alcohol use, and was also associated with health risks, like diabetes and mood disorders.

Can We Change This?
Even though we may have variations in the way our bodily clocks are set, the settings are not inalterable. Studies show that the body’s clock can be affected by its reaction to light and that light therapy and limiting and scheduling exposure to light can be very effective.

How?

Morning Sun
First thing in the morning is the best time to grab you some bright sunlight. Natural light early in the day can reset your circadian rhythm and get you in sync with the movements of the sun.

No Blue Light After Dinner
It may seem to be beyond possible to eliminate all artificial light from your nightly habitat, but studies show that even very brief exposure to blue light in the evening can lead to up to 30 minutes of sleep delay. Exposure to artificial light delays the body’s natural release of melatonin and also limits the supply to the body throughout the night, making us more susceptible to interrupted sleep. What can you do to prevent this without eliminating all activity after 6 pm? Sunglasses with orange lenses effectively filter our blue light, and look really cool as well. Could that be Bono’s secret?

No Electronic Devices After Dinner
A 2014 National Sleep Poll showed that electronic devices account for 50% of sleep disorders. Can’t resist the urge to check for that late night booty call? Use glasses designed to filter blue light or consider downloading apps which are designed to shield against blue light from iPads, computers, and smart phones.

Natural and Bright Light During the Day
If you don’t have the good fortune of working in a brightly lit space, try taking a walk during your lunch break to make sure your body maintains a healthy rhythm and gets some Vitamin D exposure. You can also purchase a blue light device for your office or place of employment.

Although Gene Simmons doesn’t seem to have lost any sleep over the issue, (pun intended) you may want to work on regulating your bodily clock. Let us know if you have made any attempts to do so and what works for you (or doesn’t.) We love to hear from all you insomniacs and otherwise.

Pregnant woman caressing tummy

Dealing with Morning Sickness

If you are experiencing, or have experienced, morning sickness, you will be no stranger to the ever present plastic bag in the purse, just in case. While morning sickness makes for funny stories, it is safe to say that the comedy element is hardly worth the discomfort and self effacement. If you are dealing with morning sickness, there may be a few ways of dealing with morning sickness more gracefully.

What Morning Sickness Means
While the exact causes are unclear, morning sickness is most popularly thought to be the result of the body’s reaction to human chorionic gonadotropin (hcg) otherwise known as the pregnancy hormone and is highest during the first trimester.

Although few sufferers would find it hard to label morning sickness as desirable, it may well be a good sign. Studies show that women with lower rates of morning sickness are more likely to miscarry. Dr. Jennifer Niebyl, head of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Iowa College of Medicine ,says that women with higher levels of hcg are at a lower risk for miscarriage.

Preventing Queasiness
It is well known that a sure way to fight cookie tossing is to lay off the cookies, or more literally, keeping and empty stomach. To prevent full blown nausea, it is best to eat small meals frequently rather than the usual three squares. You may want to munch some crackers as an alternative to a traditional breakfast, and if you find that taking prenatal vitamins on an empty stomach worsens your condition, try taking them at night.

Making the right food choices is equally as important. Anne Dubner, a registered dietician and nutrition consultant advises bland starches which are easily metabolized, like rice or pasta, for those dealing with morning sickness. She also suggests high protein foods, which takes longer to digest and remain in your system longer, Crackers with peanut butter and cheese may be the ideal snack for quelling queasiness, while spicy, greasy food and gassy veggies like cabbage might be less so. Says Elizabeth Ward, a registered Boston dietician, ” Don’t worry about not getting enough nutrition during the first trimester if you don’t have much of an appetite, either, because the nutritional needs of the fetus are still minimal.

Drinking fluids is also important because dehydration can be a serious consequence of morning sickness. Pregnant women are advised to drink a minimum of eight 8-oz glasses of liquid per day. If water doesn’t sit well, Dr. Miriam Erick, registered dietician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, recommends punch -packing carbonated drinks, such as Jamaican ginger beer and Schweppes. She also suggests red raspberry, spearmint, lemon, peach and chamomile herbal teas and says watermelon is a great “solid liquid” and may be effective as well.

Supplements
Ginger is another well known weapon again morning sickness. One study showed taking 250 mg ginger capsules 4 times a day was effective, but steeping ginger root in a cup of boiling water may be equally as helpful.

A study by Dr. Niebyl found that taking 25 mgs of vitamin B-6 thrice daily was helpful to a majority of women in helping to overcome moderate to sever morning sickness. Since the standard OTC B-6 vitamin contains a 50 mg dose, the doctor advises breaking it in half. Many women also swear by acupressure bands.

So what’s your go to for dealing with morning sickness? Eating right? Taking supplements? Or just keeping your Uggs handy? Please share your embarrassing morning sickness stories! We love to hear every cringe-worthy moment.

Woman exercising in gym

Optimal Brain Function Is The Key to Long Life

When songstress Grace Slick debuted her 1967 psychedelic rock masterpiece, “White Rabbit,” there was little doubt in the minds of her intended audience as to what she meant when she belted the infamous lyric: “feed your head.” Some 50 years later, things have certainly come full circle. Although to say many things have changed in the past 50 years is a bit of an understatement, we are still focused on expanding the mind, albeit with a healthier goal: longevity. Perhaps, we should take a closer look at the newer ways to “feed your head,” optimize brain function, and prolong your life.

Exercise
There’s nothing like a good walk for generating new ideas. Exercise gets your brain working at maximum capacity by increasing the level of nerve cells in your brain and protecting them from damage. Exercising also increases blood flow to the brain and decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease. A 2010 Neuroscience study showed that monkeys who exercised learned tasks two times as quickly as those who did not. Those are some smart chimps!

Omega-3 Fats
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fat which makes up 25% of the portion of the brain that is made up of fats and is a crucial component of your retina. It is also a structural ingredient in breast milk, which is thought to be the reason breast-fed babies score tend to score higher on IQ tests than those fed on formula. One study found that by taking 800 mgs of DHA a day for four months resulted in increased verbal fluency and can help reduce psychiatric illness and brain disorders.

Coconut Oil
Ketone bodies or ketoacids are substances which can renew and restore your brain’s nerve function after it has been damaged. Coconut oil has been shown to contain about 66% of the primary source of ketone bodies. According to research, just over 2 tablespoons of coconut oil could prevent neurological diseases and treat those that are already established.

Woman sleeping

Sleep
Sleep helps the brain to remove mind blocks, help you get a new perspective on problems, and enhance creativity. Harvard research shows that directly after sleeping, people are 33% more likely to make connections between ideas than before sleep. Sleep has also been shown to enhance memory and improve skill performance. In fact, as little as four to six hours of sleep can have a big impact on your clear thinking ability the following day, and we all could use that.

Gut Flora
Neurons in your gut produce neurotransmitters like serotonin, which are also found in the brain and influence mood. Therefore, gut health can have an impact on your psyche, behavior and brain function.Healthy gut bacteria depends on your diet. If your diet consists of processed foods, your gut flora bacteria are likely not to perform as well. The best way to keep your gut flora at an optimal level is to limit processed food and sugar and take probiotic supplements.

It just goes to show, the more things change the more they stay the same. Let us know what you think. We love to hear from you! Really!

Stressed woman rubbing eyes at work desk

Stress, Lack Of Sleep, and Overeating

Well, the holidays are upon us again, and it is time for silent nights and visions of sugar plums and all that good stuff. Time for senses are assailed with images of Santa riding around on his sleigh coming to the houses of good children and rewarding them with treasure and eating their cookies. Surely, this couldn’t be too good. Firstly, he must be super stressed, and, secondly, those hours couldn’t possibly be healthy. No wonder he’s eating all those cookies. Do you catch yourself with the hand in the cookie jar late at night, even after a big meal? If you do you’re likely to gain weight and even develop health problems. If your find yourself a sleepless, stressed out, and overeating, it may be caused by a hormone imbalance.

Hormones
According to Dr. Mark Hyman, the underlying cause of night eating is biology. He believes it is caused by an imbalance in the hormones that regulate appetite and speculates that the key to ending your late night cravings lies within understanding how to balance them.

  • Insulin: Insulin is produced to process sugar. If insulin spikes and then crashes after eating, it makes you hungry, even if your meal is relatively healthful.
  • Leptin: Leptin is the hormone that sends a signal to your brain letting you know that you are full. If you eat a lot of sugar, flour, or processed food, your brain may become leptin resistant and not know when to put the brakes on your appetite.
  • Ghrelin: This is the hunger hormone which tells your brain to eat.
  • Peptide YY: This hormone is produced in your intestines and also sends signals to your brain when you’re full.
  • Cortisol: Also known as the stress hormone, cortisol can cause your blood sugar and insulin to rise making you hungrier and setting the stage for insulin resistance or pre- diabetes.

Woman eating breakfast

What Can You Do?

Eat Breakfast
If you’re binging at night, you probably won’t want to eat a good breakfast because you wake up full. If you’re are going to break the cycle, start the day with a high protein breakfast to keep your blood sugar even throughout the day.

Soothe the Stress
Stress causes overeating. Learn which methods of stress reduction work best for you. Deep breathing, exercise and yoga can all be effective relaxation techniques. They help to balance hormones, stop cravings, and maintain good sleeping habits.

Prioritize Sleep
Not sleeping drives up grehlin (the hunger hormone) and drives down PYY (the ‘I’m full’ hormone.) This means if you don’t sleep, you’ll be hungry, especially for sugar and carbs. Late night eating leads to bad food choices, so try to make sleep your number one late night activity.

Eat Regularly
Make sure to eat on a regular schedule, including three square meals. You can snack in between, but, remember, the body is a hormonal clock and needs a rhythm to keep it balanced.

We hope those visions of sugarplums aren’t keeping you up at night. Let us know your sleep and stress issues! We love to hear from you! Send comments and suggestions.

Doctor taking blood pressure

Foods That Help Regulate Blood Pressure

Fitness guru Jack Lalanne once said, “High blood pressure is from all this high-fat eating. Would you get your dog up in the morning of a cup of coffee and a donut? Probably millions of Americans got up this morning with a cup of coffee and a donut. No wonder they are sick and fouled up.” Lalanne really knew a thing or two about keeping healthy and regulating high blood pressure. The link between diet and high blood pressure is very real. If you’re dealing with hypertension, you may know that the DASH diet, which consists of foods low in sodium and high in calcium, magnesium, and potassium, is recommended to normalize and prevent high blood pressure, but there are also some specific foods have a healthy effect.

Dairy
Studies published in the Journal of Human Hypertension reported that Australian researchers found a connection between reduced risk of high blood pressure and low fat dairy foods with low fat yogurt and milk as the strongest players in the field. Although calcium content may contribute, it is more likely that other components, such as peptides, real eased in the digestion process, are responsible. It is uncertain why high fat dairy does not have the same effect, but the saturated fat may have something to do with it, or it is possible that low fat dairy eaters simply have a healthier lifestyle overall.

Flaxseed
A 2013 study published in the journal “Hypertension” found that flaxseed was among a variety of foods capable of reducing both diastolic (relaxation of the heart) and systolic (contraction of the heart) blood pressure. Why the flaxseed causes the blood pressure reduction is unclear, but it may be due to food’s levels of the compounds alpha linolenic acid, lignans, peptides. and fiber.

Olive Oil
A 2012 study which ran in the American Journal of Hypertension showed that young women with slightly high blood pressure levels might benefit from olive oil. Spanish researchers found a connection between the polyphenol rich oil and drops in diastolic and systolic blood pressure.

Woman eating chocolate

Chocolate
If you must consume those breakfast donuts, at least try to make sure it is of the devil’s food variety. A 2010 BMC meta-analysis showed that dark chocolate and cocoa products with flavanols were linked to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure among hypertension patients. Other research shows that the polyphenols in chocolate can help to form nitric oxide which widens blood pressure and eases blood flow.

Beets
Have you got the beets? According to a 2013 study published in Nutrition Journal, Australian researchers found that healthy men and women who drank beet juice plus apple juice had lower systolic blood pressure that those who drank plain apple juice. The reason? Beets contain nitrates, which naturally ease blood pressure.

Pistachios
A 2013 “Hypertension” journals study found that participants who ate one serving of pistachios for four weeks saw a reduction in systolic blood pressure. However, those who ate 2 servings did not see as much of a reduction. The reason for the difference in results was not clear, but it may be due to an increase in the amount of blood pumped from the heart caused by the higher nut dosage.

So, there’s the lineup. We hope that you found something on the list that gets your blood unpumping. Let us know what works for your hypertension and if any do the above did the trick, we love to hear from you.

Woman doing chair yoga

Ease Into Exercise With Chair Yoga

Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic Arizona State University Obesity Solutions has been credited with coining the expression, “Sitting is the new smoking,” adding that, “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people that HIV, and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.” Pretty scary stuff! While this may sound a bit dramatic to some, Levine’s words do seem to hold some water. Researchers have found, and are still finding evidence proving that sitting can increase the risk of heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. However, there is a healthy activity that you can engage in without leaving your chair. Welcome to the world of chair yoga.

Benefits of Chair Yoga

Greater Strength and Flexibility
If mobility is an issue, chair yoga can increase body strength and help withstand falls while sustaining fewer injuries. This means you can better continue daily activities and hobbies. Also greater flexibility will mean greater ease when it comes to tying shoes and bending to pick things up.

Improved Bodily Control
Proprioception is the ability to know where your body is in relation to space and accurately coordinating movement. By improving bodily control, chair yoga can help people with disabilities such as MS which interfere with this skill.

Improved Mental Clarity and Reduction of Stress
Chair yoga can relieve the impact of pain and chronic illness and can help replace stress caused by feelings of helplessness and isolation with feelings of relaxation and tranquility.

Chair Yoga Poses

Chair Cat Cow Stretch
Sit on the chair with your spine long and feet flat on the floor. Put hands on the top of your thighs or knees. Inhale, arching your spine and rolling your shoulders back and down, bringing your shoulder blades into your back, You are now in cow position. Exhale, rounding your spine and dropping you chin to your chest, allowing the shoulder and head to come forward. You are now in cat position. Continue to move from cow to cat positions for five breaths.

Chair Raised Hands Pose
Inhale, raising your arms upward. Let your shoulder blades slide down your back as you reach toward the ceiling with your finger tips. Push your sit bones into the seat of your chair and lift from there.

Chair Forward Bend
Exhale, coming into a forward bend over your legs. Rest your hands on the floor, letting your head hang heavily, Inhale, raising your arms back up over your head. Continue to switch between the raised arm position and forward fold, moving with each breath.

Chair Extended Side Angle
Bend forward and bring your left hand’s fingertips to the floor outside your left foot. Opening your chest, inhale and twist to the right, bringing your right arm and lifting your face upward. Hold for several breaths and exhale bringing the right arm down.

Chair Eagle
You can achieve the eagle pose by crossing your right thigh over your left. If you are able, try to wrap your right foot around your left calf. Cross you left arm over your right at the elbow. Bend your elbows and bring your palms together. Lift your elbows while dropping your shoulders. Hold for three to five breaths and repeat on other side.

If you tried chair yoga and liked it, we would love to hear all about it! Please send us your comments and suggestions. We love to hear from you.

Woman eating healthy

You Should Be Thinking About Your Liver

If you ever Google the words, “Dear Liver,” you will find a lot of sad sacks apologizing for the havoc they have visited or are about to visit on their liver this or this past weekend. Poor livers! What have our livers done to deserve such shameful treatment? The liver is one of the hardest working organs in your body, processing everything you eat and drink and dutifully repackaging it for use or eliminating it. Why, we shouldn’t be taking these precious organs for granted, but rather we should be doing everything in our powers to protect them and treat them with the respect that they have surely earned! So how can you keep your liver healthy?

Eat Well
According to Timothy T. Nostrant, MD, one of the most important things you can do for your liver is to eat healthy. “Because the liver stores most of out nutrients‚Ķ anything bad you consume will be associated with potential for damage.” The best diet for your liver consists of protein from plant based sources, and natural foods that are low in fat. Some of the most liver friendly foods include beans, lentil and legumes. Try not to eat too much meat and load up on fruits, veggies and whole grains instead. Aim for mono saturated and polyunsaturated fats as opposed to trans fats. Good sources of healthy fats include fatty fish, avocados, nuts, and pumpkin seeds. Limit your fat intake to 20% of your diet.

Exercise
Nostrant says, ” Obesity is linked to fatty liver disease,” which can cause scarring or cirrhosis of the liver, as well as liver cancer and liver failure. Exercise is an important part of keeping your weight under control. Nostrant advises those with weight problems to set a goal to lose 20% of their weight. Your liver will thank you.

Drinking too much
Limit Alcohol
Don’t give yourself a reason to apologize tomorrow. Even former drinkers are susceptible to liver damage showing up years after eliminating alcohol. G. Anton Decker, MD, advises cutting down to one drink a day for women and two for men. Also, beware of the over the counter pain reliever acetaminophen which can cause damage if taken in large quantities over a small amount of time. Avoid using IV drugs, having multiple sexual partners, abusing IV drugs and getting a tattoo or body piercing with unsterilized needles which have all been associated with hepatitis C.

Warning Signs
If your liver is not working correctly, fatigue is the most common symptom. Other signs include vomiting, loss of appetite, jaundice, nausea and decreased appetite.

Treatment Options
The most common liver diseases are fatty liver, viral hepatitis and genetic disease. If managed properly, however, they can be handled with a minimum of negative outcomes. Viral hepatitis is especially responsive to treatment and some people may be able to eliminate it entirely from their bodies.

If you are hurting your liver, you know who you are! Send in your confessions and New Year’s resolutions! We love to hear from you.