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Monthly Archives: October 2016

5 Quick Health Facts for the Body

1. Skipping Breakfast Won’t Help You Lose Weight.

A health study from the University of Bath in the U.K. compared two groups of obese subjects over six weeks – one group ate every morning and the other fasted until noon. The fasting group tended to take in more food later in the day, meaning that both groups got about the same amount of calories overall. Neither group lost weight, but those who ate breakfast were more active in the the morning and could control their blood-sugar levels better.

2. Wearable Health Devices are Not Solutions.

Smartwatches, bands and other consumer gadgets that track health indicators like heart rate and sleeping patterns are popular these days. However, researchers at three British universities – Lancaster, West of England and Nottingham Trent – said that not all devices on the market provide reliable measurements. Two recent studies found error margins of up to 25 per cent between devices’ estimates and the actual number of steps taken or calories burned. If you want an accurate smartwatch, proceed with caution.

3. Quitting Driving Can be Bad for You.

For a variety of reasons ranging from Parkinson’s to poor vision, many seniors give up driving. Even when it’s the right decision, leaving your car behind can contribute to health problems like cognitive decline and depression, since driving often enables social interactions and personal freedom. A review published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society emphasized that people who anticipate they’ll have to stop driving should plan other ways to get around and keep connected.

4. Irrational Fears About Chemicals are Common.

According to a recent paper in Human and Experimental Toxicology, we spend too much time worrying about human-made chemicals. Investigating how synthetic substances affect our bodies is important, but making assumptions can lead to unhealthy choices. For instance, someone who is worried about the amount of pesticides on produce might not eat enough fruits and vegetables.

5. You Should Be Drinking More Water Than You Think.

The amount of water we need to be healthy varies according to factors like physical-activity levels, physiology and climate. As a rough guideline, the Dieticians of Canada suggest nine cups per day for women and 12 cups for men.

Compared to younger people, seniors must take extra care to get enough fluids. Older people also tend to have modest appetites, meaning they receive less fluid from food. And because of declining kidney function, their bodies aren’t as good at conserving the water they do get.

Things that You Don’t Know about Germs

1. Water temperature doesn’t matter to germs.

Scrubbing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is your simplest defence against harmful germs. But no need to bother with the hot faucet-warm water is no more effective than cold in removing bacteria from your hands.

2. Hand sanitizer is the next best thing to washing.

If water and soap aren’t available, use alcohol-based sanitizer. Jason Tetro, a Toronto-based microbiologist and the author of The Germ Code, says as long as the product contains 62 to 70 per cent alcohol, it will kill most of the germs on your skin.

3. Some germs are worth nurturing.

Tetro suggests consuming prebiotic-rich foods like bananas and asparagus. Unlike probiotics-live bacteria that improve digestion-prebiotics help nourish the good bacteria already present in your gut.

4. It pays to keep your fridge organized.

Harmful bacteria, such as salmonella, can be spread when ready-to-eat foods, like washed fruits and veggies, come into contact with potentially hazardous ones, like raw meats and their juices. Toronto Public Health’s Owen Chong suggests organizing your fridge with raw meats at the bottom, unwashed produce in the middle and ready-to-eat foods at the top in order to avoid cross-contamination.

5. Don’t wash your chicken before cooking.

If you rinse raw poultry, the bacteria can be carried by the water. To avoid food-borne illnesses during prep, use a separate cutting board and utensils for uncooked poultry, says Chong.

6. Reach for paper towels in public restrooms.

They may be eco-friendly, but hand dryers have one major drawback-they blast germs everywhere. In a 2014 University of Leeds study in England, microbiologists found that the concentration of airborne bacteria around jet air dispensers was 27 times higher than that found near paper towel dispensers.

7. Toilets aren’t the most dangerous thing in public bathroom.

The toilets in public washrooms aren’t necessarily where you’ll find the most germs. “The door handle and sink basin are more dangerous than the toilet itself,” says Tetro. He suggests using paper towel when opening bathroom doors.

8. Germs love toothbrushes.

If you can’t remember when you last changed your toothbrush, it’s time to toss it. An open toilet bowl can allow a biofilm of fecal coliforms to grow on your brush, says Tetro. Keep your lid down and rinse your toothbrush with hot water for five seconds before use.

5 Ways for a Better Sleep on the Road

As a busy entrepreneur growing two businesses, I travel for work on a weekly basis. After hours on planes, speaking on stage, or doing media interviews, it’s tough for me to wind down at the end of the day. However, I know how important it is that I get enough sleep when I’m staying in a hotel far away from home.

According to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than a third of adults don’t get enough sleep (at least seven hours each night), and this is linked to a host of diseases and other problems. Here are five tips I use to help power down and sleep better.

1. Avoid Screen Time Blues

If you want to settle into a restful sleep, avoid staring at screens before bed (up to an hour). This may not be realistic in all situations, so if you absolutely have to work on a device, try a program like f.lux, which can colour-shift your screen to minimize the amount of blue light emitted-the same approach used by Apple’s Night Shift and Amazon’s Blue Shade technology. Reducing the amount of blue light can help you get to sleep more easily by making the colours warmer and less like the light of the sun…which, you know, is a pretty big cue that you should be awake.

2. Set the Mood

While not everyone likes to sleep in total silence, eliminating distracting noises can help you get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. Depending on your environment, try noise-cancelling headphones or download a white noise app to drift off into dreamland. You definitely want to shut off any alerts that might pop up in the middle of the night too, so put your smartphone in Do Not Disturb mode when you hit the sack. Finally, a high-quality pillow can make all the difference when it comes time to unwind. Holiday Inn Express, for instance, offers the choice of firm or soft pillows, so be sure to check if your hotel has a pillow menu to help ensure a restful and comfortable sleep.

3. Brain Dump and Blank Out

A lot of us have trouble sleeping because we can’t stop thinking about what we have to do in the future (what I would give for a switch to just turn my brain off at the end of the day!). For taking the stress out of travel, try the IHG app. You can make reservations on-the-go and it’s easy to manage your stays with all of your travel details saved in the app. Another helpful technique is to write down all the things you have on your mind so that you can be confident they’re listed and ready to be addressed in the morning (which means you don’t have to think about them anymore that night). Just make sure you don’t do this immediately before lying down to sleep, as you’ll probably wind your brain up more than winding it down. If you need a good note-taking and taskmaster app, try

4. Work Out Your Worries

Another thing you don’t want to do immediately before going to sleep, but is hugely helpful if you can fit it in earlier in the day, is to grab a quick work out. Jog on a treadmill, do a few laps in the pool, or lift some weights. In fact, it’s been shown that exercising (again, not too close to bedtime) can really help you get to sleep at night. If you’ve left it too late then maybe squeeze in some hotel room yoga before bed so that you can relax a bit without getting your heart rate racing.

5. Turn the Clock Around

This may be difficult for some of you, but my brother swears by it. When you go to bed, set your alarm and then keep that clock face out of view. How many times do you wake up in the middle of the night and check the clock? The next thing you probably do is either figure out how long you’ve been in bed or how much longer it is until you have to get up, right? Call me crazy, but I don’t think doing math in the middle of the night is helping you rest. If you’re really worried about missing your wake-up, then set the alarm on both your clock and your phone. In addition, I always call the front desk at my hotel to request a wake-up call.

As a busy mom, I know that I need to come back from a business trip refreshed and ready to enjoy my personal time with my family. Getting to sleep faster and better while travelling is a worthy goal for all of us in our sleep-challenged society. In other words, power down properly so you’re ready to power up when you need it most.

5 Essential Nutrients for the body

1. Fill Your Plate with Fruits, Veggies and Whole Grains

Nutrition experts say that eating at least five servings of produce daily could decrease overall cancer risk by up to 20 per cent. A serving is a half-cup (125 milligrams) of cooked veggies, one cup (250 milligrams) of raw veggies, chopped fruit or a medium-sized piece of whole fruit. Fiber, minerals, vitamins and plant chemicals in these foods may help prevent the development and growth of various cancers.

Reserve two-thirds of your plate for produce, grains and beans, and one third or less for animal proteins. To get as many beneficial plant chemicals as possible, aim for a rainbow of colours – red tomatoes, orange squash, blueberries, etc. When eating canned veggies like beans, rinse thoroughly to remove sodium.

2. Cut Back on Fat

According to a study of 2,500 breast cancer survivors, eating lean can cut the risk of cancer recurrence by up to 42 per cent. Women in the study lowered their fat intake by making simple switches, like eating plain popcorn instead of potato chips.

Another smart idea: switch from foods rich in saturated fats, such as cheese and fatty meats, to those rich in unsaturated fats, such as fish, flaxseed, avocados and nuts. Replace fatty cooking oils like corn and sunflower with olive and canola oil.

In studies, cutting fat protected women with estrogen-receptor negative breast cancer – the type that will ultimately affect one in three post-menopausal women, according to the American Cancer Society. Other research shows that cutting back on red meat could lower the risk of colon cancer by up to 70 per cent.

3. Eat in Moderation

According to University of California-San Diego scientists, being overweight may decrease your odds of survival after breast cancer. And an American Cancer Society study of 900,000 cancer patients found that death rates were 52 per cent higher for the heaviest men and 62 per cent higher for the heaviest women, compared to mortality rates for people of average weight.

Being overweight appears to increase the risk for developing certain cancers, including pancreas, uterus, kidney and ovary. Once you’ve recovered from cancer therapy, seek out tips on smart food choices, portion control, and moderate exercise to control your weight – and if needed, slowly nudge it toward a healthier range.

4. Shun Refined Carbohydrates

Eating foods like sugar and white flour can raise your blood sugar and insulin levels. In turn, high insulin levels could raise your risk for a quick recurrence of breast and prostate cancer, says researchers from Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. Researchers have a hunch that insulin acts like a growth factor, so too much might stimulate the growth of tumours.

Lower your blood insulin levels by controlling your weight (especially belly fat), exercising regularly and eating a diet low in refined carbohydrates. That means choosing oatmeal and fresh fruit instead of pancakes and syrup, or wholewheat bread instead of white.

5. Grill Cautiously

Cooking meat, poultry and fish at very high temperatures, especially over an open flame, can promote the formation of cancer-promoting compounds. To make grilling safer, follow these techniques: add lemon juice or vinegar to meat marinades, remove all visible fat, flip meats frequently, or put foil or pan on the grill and cook on that. Baking your meat is the far safer option, and if you must grill, cook vegetables instead.