We know fiber is great for moving things through our digestive system, which is great, but what’s less well-known is what lifesaving benefits it may have and how much we should be consuming. Today, we may have an answer.

In a new study published in the Lancet, researchers found that people with a higher fiber intake had a 15 to 30 percent decrease in disease-related mortality, frequency of coronary heart disease and stroke, type 2 diabetes, and colon cancer. Those with a higher fiber intake also had lower body weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol compared to those with a low fiber intake.

The World Health Organization analyzed research from 185 studies, 58 clinical trials, and 4,635 participants to uncover some answers. The researchers were interested in determining the ideal carbohydrate to protect against chronic diseases like cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes mortality, and other risk factors. To do so, they compared several indicators of carbohydrate quality with these outcomes.

So how much fiber were these people consuming?

The results also showed that an intake of fiber between 25 grams and 29 grams daily was optimal for the largest reduced risk of developing the associated negative health outcomes.

This is not far off from The Institute of Medicine recommendations, which suggests females under the age of 50 consume 25 grams daily and 21 grams for females over 51. Males under 50 are recommended to consume 38 grams and for males over 51, 30 grams.

Unfortunately, it is likely Americans are not getting enough fiber in their diet, as a study in 2008 found that Americans were getting only about 16 grams of fiber a day.

Why do we need fiber?

There are many benefits to a high-fiber diet, one serious benefit being it could protect against cancer. It has to do with short-chain fatty acids that are produced when soluble fiber (found in many vegetables, fruit, chia seeds, nuts, and legumes) is fermented by gut bacteria in the large intestine. It’s also great for your heart health, as it is known to regulate blood sugar and decrease clogging of arteries.

We talk a lot about crowding out refined sugar and carbohydrates with plant-based, nutrient-dense food, and including more dietary fiber is a great way to do this. When fermented in the large intestine, it produces hormones that help reduce your hunger, which could lead to less refined carbohydrates in your diet.

We know a healthy microbiome supports our immune system, regulates inflammation, and can affect mood (the list goes on), and fiber is known to support a diverse microbiome as it populates healthy bacteria in the gut.

So, how can we get more fiber in our diet?

An easy way to start is to try out high-fiber foods like legumes (black beans, lentils, peas) in your soups and on your salads, artichokes (also a prebiotic) with some garlic and olive oil, broccoli in a stir fry, Brussels sprouts as a side, avocados with everything, chia seeds on your morning oatmeal, and kale in your smoothies. When beginning to incorporate more fiber into your diet, you’ll want to ease into increasing your fiber intake because if you’re not used to a lot, it could cause gas and bloating.

With this new research and some delicious high-fiber food options, we can’t wait to get fiber-filled!

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/eating-more-of-this-could-reduce-your-risk-of-disease-by-up-to-30-percent

Excessive thirst may be your body’s way of hinting at an underlying health problem, doctors explain.

When you feel the need to chug a ton of water, the reason why is usually clear: You haven’t been drinking enough of it.

If you go really hard at the gym or spend a ton of time sweating in the sun, you need to replenish the fluid you lose through sweat. Otherwise, you may experience a slew of unpleasant symptoms linked to dehydration, like fatigue and muscle cramps.

To fix that problem, most people should simply aim to drink water when thirst strikes—but what if your need for H2O becomes totally insatiable?

You shouldn’t ignore it, advises Laura M. Hahn, MD, a primary care physician at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. A mouth as dry as the Sahara may be your body’s way of hinting at an underlying health issue.

“Any condition that alters your water or salt balance in the body can trigger thirst,” says Dr. Hahn. If you follow good hydration practices, yet still feel dehydrated, you may want to check in with your doc to rule out these sneaky causes of excessive thirst.


Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can increase your risk of dehydration—especially if you’re not yet aware of it. When blood sugar levels are too high, your body peer-pressures your kidneys into producing more urine to get rid of the excess glucose, says Heather Rosen, MD, medical director of UPMC Urgent Care North Huntingdon in Pennsylvania. “Frequent urination, another common symptom, will bring on thirst,” she adds. “This leads to drinking more fluids, which compounds the problem.”

If you experience excessive thirst and urination, as well as other symptoms like unexplained weight loss, fatigue, or irritability, your doc can carry out a blood glucose test to find out if you have diabetes.

Dry mouth (xerostomia)

Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is often mistaken for excessive thirst. “It’s an abnormal dryness of the mucous membranes in the mouth, due to a reduction of the flow or change in the composition of saliva,” says Dr. Rosen. If your glands aren’t making enough saliva, that can lead to other pesky symptoms like bad breath, trouble chewing, and thick, stringy saliva. Common causes of dry mouth include smoking tobacco or marijuana, stress, anxiety, or simply aging.

However, dry mouth can be a side effect of several prescription drugs (including antidepressants and blood pressure medications), allergy medicines (such as Benadryl or Claritin), and dizziness or motion sickness medications (like Antivert or Dramamine), says Dr. Hahn.

“There are also several diseases that can cause dry mouth, so this is always worth bringing up with your doctor,” Dr. Rosen adds, including diabetes and certain autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritislupus, or Sjörgren’s syndrome.

Your period

If you feel the urge to glug down water during your period, it’s totally normal. “Estrogen and progesterone levels can both affect fluid volume,” says Dr. Rosen. “Add to that blood loss from the cycle itself—especially if your periods are on the heavy side—and the result is a compensatory increase in thirst.” In other words, when you’re stranded in PMS Land, make sure you keep a bottle of water handy.

Thyroid problems

Your thyroid—the butterfly-shaped gland located at the bottom of your neck—is responsible for pumping out thyroid hormone, which helps regulate your appetite, energy, internal temperature, and other vital body functions.

However, thyroid problems are pretty common among women, says Prudence Hall, MD, founder and medical director of The Hall Center in Santa Monica, CA. In fact, an estimated 20 million Americans suffer from some form of thyroid disease. When the gland produces too much or too little hormone it can spur a variety of nonspecific symptoms, including abnormally heavy periods, anxiety, feeling hot, and dry mouth—all of which can lead to increased thirst.

What’s more, people suffering from hypothyroidism specifically are more likely to suffer from other thirst-inducing health conditions, such as type 1 diabetes, Sjörgren’s syndrome, and anemia due to B12 deficiency, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Chronic stress

Chronic stress causes our adrenal glands to under-function, which may result in low blood pressure when the stress is severe,” says Dr. Hall. “This can cause dizziness, depressionanxiety, and also extreme thirst.”

Thirst is your body’s way of adding more water to your blood, in an attempt to raise your blood pressure. Really, the only long-term solution for this is to decrease and better manage your stress levels.

Diuretic foods

“Foods that have a diuretic effect can make you thirsty because they cause you to urinate more,” says nutritionist and integrative health coach Jessica Cording, RD, CDN. This includes foods like celery, asparagus, beets, lemons, melons, ginger, and parsley.

“Although these foods have a lot of health benefits, consider this effect yet another reason to incorporate a wide variety of fruits and veggies into your diet: You’ll cover your nutritional bases and keep your thirst in check,” Cording says. You can also balance the scales by eating more fluid-rich foods, like oatmeal and brown rice, which soak up water during the cooking process.

Low-carb diets

Feeling thirsty is a common side effect of the keto diet, since the eating plan requires you to significantly slash your carbohydrate intake. Carbs absorb and hold onto more water than protein and fat, Becky Kerkenbush, RD, a clinical dietitian at Watertown Regional Medical Center recently told Prevention. As a result, you’ll have to pee more often, causing your thirst levels to spike.


There are several signs of pregnancy to watch for, including excessive thirst. Your blood volume increases during your first trimester, which forces your kidneys to create excess fluid that winds up in your bladder, according to the Mayo Clinic, meaning your trips to the bathroom may become more frequent. What’s more, the nausea and morning sickness that accompanies pregnancy can lead to a dip in hydration.

Excessive bleeding

Ongoing or sudden blood loss—thanks to issues like heavy periods and bleeding ulcers—can spike your thirst levels as your body aims to make up for the fluid loss. Excessive bleeding is also a common cause of anemia, a condition in which your body loses red blood cells faster than they can be replaced, says Dr. Rosen. A physical exam and blood test will determine if you have anemia, and the treatment you receive will depend on the type you’re diagnosed with.

Diabetes insipidus

Diabetes insipidus is a rare disorder that affects water absorption. It isn’t related to the diabetes we know and loathe, but it does share some of the same symptoms, such as dehydration and a busy bladder. Because you end up losing vast amounts of water through your urine, thirst strikes as your body tries to compensate for the fluid loss, says Dr. Hall. Since there are several types of diabetes insipidus and it can be caused by other conditions, your doctor will perform a variety of tests to determine which treatment option is best for you.

Source: https://www.prevention.com/health/a20488867/why-youre-always-thirsty/

The rate of people dying from cancer in the United States seems to have dropped steadily for 25 years, a new study says, but disparities remain between the rich and the poor.

The overall nationwide cancer death rate fell continuously from 1991 to 2016 by a total of 27%, according to a study by the American Cancer Society, published Tuesday in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
That translates to about 2.6 million fewer cancer deaths total than would have been expected if death rates stayed at their peak, which was seen in 1991, according to the study.
“The continued decline in the cancer death rate over the past 25 years is really good news and was a little bit of a surprise, only because the other leading causes of death in the US are starting to flatten. So we’ve been wondering if that’s going to happen for cancer as well, but so far it hasn’t,” said Rebecca Siegel, first author of the study and strategic director of surveillance information at the American Cancer Society.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on the latest data, the three leading causes of death in the United States in 2017 were heart disease, cancer and accidents or unintentional injuries.
Meanwhile, on a global scale, the number of people around the world who have cancer appears to be growing, according to the World Health Organization.
WHO report released in September estimated that there were 18.1 million new cancer cases and 9.6 million cancer deaths worldwide in 2018 alone. Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally.

A ‘surprising’ trend emerges

The American Cancer Society study was based on cancer incidence, mortality and survival data in the United States from sources including the National Center for Health Statistics; the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Rules Program; the National Program of Cancer Registries; and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries.
Some of the data date as far back to 1930, and the most recent data is from 2016.
The data showed that the nationwide cancer death rate climbed during most of the 20th century, largely driven by jumps in lung cancer deaths due to smoking and tobacco use.
But since its peak of 215.1 deaths per 100,000 people in 1991, the cancer death rate dropped steadily by about 1.5% per year to 156 per 100,000 people in 2016, an overall decline of 27%.
The data also showed that a disparity in death rates between black and white cancer patients appeared to be closing.
“The racial gap in cancer mortality is continuing to narrow — so it was that the cancer death rate in blacks was 33% higher than in whites in the mid-1990s, and the current data now indicate it’s 14% higher — so it’s still higher, but the gap is narrowing, which is really good news,” Siegel said.
However, the data also revealed a potentially troubling trend: a growing gap in death rates based on wealth.
“It was surprising to see that the disparities by socioeconomic status are actually widening,” Siegel said. “Wealth causes differences in exposure to risk factors and also access to high-quality cancer prevention, early detection and treatment.”
For instance, between 2012 and 2016, the overall cancer death rate was about 20% higher among people living in the poorest counties in the United States compared with those in the most affluent counties — and socioeconomic inequalities in cancer mortality widened over the past three decades overall, according to the study.
The American Cancer Society also annually estimates the numbers of new cancer cases and cancer deaths that could occur nationwide, based on the most recent data.
This year, 1,762,450 new cancer cases and 606,880 cancer deaths are projected to occur in the United States. That corresponds to more than 4,800 new cases and almost 1,700 deaths per day, according to the study.
The study had some limitations, including that the projections should be interpreted with caution because they were based on data from three to four years ago.
Yet “it gives us a touch point on what’s going on in cancer in the United States, because if we don’t know what the trends are and the populations that are most burdened by the disease, then we can’t do anything about it,” Siegel said.

‘A real critical issue in the cancer world’

The new study does a “very good job” summarizing those trends, said Dr. Walter Curran, executive director of the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta, who was not involved in the study.
“The encouraging point is that cancer mortality continues to go down, particularly for men, but the tough part is, we’re still seeing over 600,000 Americans dying of cancer every year,” he said. “The good news is that we see fewer racial disparities in cancer mortality than in the past, but the bad news is, we see socioeconomic disparities in cancer mortality.”
Dr. Dan Theodorescu, director of the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, said he read the results of this annual study on cancer statistics each year.
“I would say that this is the best data out there for the oncology community and those concerned with healthcare in America,” said Theodorescu, who was not involved in the study.
The reasons for the steady decline in cancer deaths could include nationwide reductions in smoking, improvements in detecting cancer and “revolutionary advances” in treating cancer, he said.
Still, disparities may persist because “socioeconomic status plays a pivotal role in cancer incidence and survival,” Theodorescu said.
“Poverty has been a relentless obstacle to receiving cancer care because of lack of, or low insurance coverage. Getting to the oncologist often takes longer and options may be more limited,” he said. “No insurance or low-coverage insurance also reduces the incentive to visit the doctor for symptoms and even more for preventive health practices, such as smoking cessation, yearly physicals, and immunizations against cancer-causing viruses.”
Some of the counties with the highest poverty are in rural areas of south Georgia, and “this is something that we’ve become aware of here at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University,” Curran said.
“What you see is a tragedy of increasing rates of obesity, which is now a risk for certain types of cancer; more clearly identified higher rates of tobacco use; and issues with access to cancer screening and prevention strategies and probably issues with access to diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to cancer,” he added. “So it’s a multi-factorial issue that we view as a real critical issue in the cancer world right now.”
Source: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/01/08/health/cancer-death-rate-decline-us-study/index.html

Too Few Women Up To Date On Cervical Cancer Screening, Study Finds

The number of women in the United States who are getting the recommended screenings for cervical cancer is “unacceptably low,” researchers say.

In 2016, just over half of U.S. women aged 21 to 29 and less than two-thirds of women aged 30 to 65 were up-to-date with cervical cancer screenings, according to a new report.

Those rates are well below the 81 percent self-reported rate in the 2015 U.S. National Health Interview Survey, said study author Dr. Kathy MacLaughlin, and her colleagues. MacLaughlin is a family medicine specialist at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minn.

“Routine screening every three years with a Pap test or every five years with a Pap-HPV co-test [the current guidelines for average-risk women] ensures precancerous changes are caught early and may be followed more closely or treated,” MacLaughlin explained in a Mayo Clinic news release.

The study also found significant racial differences in cervical cancer screening rates.

“African-American women were 50 percent less likely to be up-to-date on cervical cancer screening than white women in 2016. Asian women were nearly 30 percent less likely than white women to be current on screening. These racial disparities are especially concerning,” MacLaughlin said.

For their study, the researchers analyzed data gathered from more than 47,000 women in Olmsted County, Minn., from 2005 to 2016.

MacLaughlin said the findings show the need for new ways to increase cervical cancer screening rates, such as Pap clinics with evening and Saturday hours, offering cervical cancer screenings at urgent care clinics, and at-home testing kits for HPV (human papillomavirus), the virus that causes most cervical cancers.

“We, as clinicians, must start thinking outside the box on how best to reach these women and ensure they are receiving these effective and potentially lifesaving screening tests,” she said.

The findings were published Jan. 7 in the Journal of Women’s Health.

About 13,240 new cases of invasive cervical cancer were diagnosed in the United States in 2018, according to the American Cancer Society. January is Cervical Health Awareness Month.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more on cervical cancer screening.

SOURCE: Mayo Clinic, news release, Jan. 7, 2019

Source: https://consumer.healthday.com/cancer-information-5/cervical-cancer-news-95/too-few-women-are-getting-cervical-cancer-screening-741259.html

De-slick your oily hair with these simple solutions.

Whether you got extra sweaty during your workout or went just a day too long without a wash, you’ve probably experienced greasy-feeling hair. But for some of us, that extra shine isn’t just a “now and then” sort of thing, but more of an uninvited visitor that’s seemed to have moved in permanently on our scalps. It’s true: “Some women naturally produce more oils than others,” says Amanda Doyle, MD, a dermatologist at Russak Dermatology Clinic in New York.

And that oil is ultimately what contributes to greasy hair. “Similar to the skin on our face, our scalps contain sebaceous glands that produce an oily substance called sebum,” says Jennifer David, DO, a dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in Northfield, New Jersey. “Sebaceous glands connect to the hair follicles beneath our scalp and release sebum onto the hair shaft, forming a protective coat of natural oil that repels water and prevents hair from drying out.”

So although those oils are a good, natural thing, it is possible for your sebaceous glands to produce excess sebum and for your hair to get greasier as a result.

One culprit? Hormones. “Hormonal fluctuations are a common cause of over stimulated sebaceous glands, thus making adolescent and menopausal women most prone to noticing these changes in oil production,” says Dr. David.

But it’s also possible to point fingers at things like a dirty hair brush, humidity, a vitamin B deficiency, over-washing your hair, or simply just using the wrong products, says Annie Chiu, MD, a dermatologist at The Derm Institute in Manhattan Beach, California. “Buildup of products or using the wrong products can cause irritation or trap oil at the roots of hair,” she explains.

So in order to ditch that greasy look once and for all, start with these 15 at-home oily hair remedies.

Apply apple cider vinegar

Yes, the cooking staple can now be used to de-slick your greasy hair, too. “Apple cider vinegar has astringent properties that help remove excess oil from the skin,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

But apple cider vinegar has other benefits for your scalp, too. “When properly diluted, an apple cider vinegar hair rinse may help balance the pH of the scalp, prevent hair product buildup, and maintain proper oil balance,” says Marnie Nussbaum, MD, a New York-based dermatologist.

To try it, says Dr. David, mix three tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of warm water. After washing and rinsing your hair with a mild cleanser, apply the vinegar solution to the hair and scalp. Then, let sit for 5 to 10 minutes and rinse with cold water. Repeat the rinse 3 to 4 times per week for the best results.

Only condition the ends of your hair

General rule of thumb? Never apply conditioner to your scalp, as that will only increase product buildup, which will, in turn, make your hair oily. “The conditioner is for the hair, and the shampoo is really for the scalp,” says Emily Newsom, MD, a dermatologist at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

Don’t overbrush (and clean your brush often)

Young woman brushing her hair

Although it can be tempting to brush when you feel that thick grease in your hair, avoid doing so too often. “It can produce more oil by spreading the scalp oils through the hair,” says Dr. Nussbaum.

Plus, a dirty brush is a common cause of an oily scalp. “The buildup of dust, old product, and bacteria will transfer to clean hair and cause it to look greasy,” says Dr. Chiu. Start cleaning your brush regularly.

Avoid products that promise shiny hair

Sure, shine serums might make your hair look beautiful for a little while, but if you suffer from greasy hair, it’s best to avoid them. If you do still want to incorporate some shine to your hair, though, don’t use them right at the scalp. “Start at the middle of the hair strand, and wash them off; the buildup can also cause greasy hair,” says Dr. Chiu. The same goes for your shampoo—anything touting “shiny hair” as a benefit is not the best option if your hair is naturally oily already.

Find your shampoo sweet spot

Not sure how often you should wash your hair? A good rule of thumb is about every other day, says Dr. Newsom. The important thing is to strike that happy balance between over-washing and under-washing it—which will be different for everyone. “If you’re over-washing, that can actually stimulate the oil glands to keep producing more and more oil,” says Dr. Newsom.

But if you’re washing every other day and you’re still facing an oily scalp, it’s okay to boost up to washing once per day. “Washing once per day is enough for most people to treat an oily scalp,” says Dr. Zeichner.

Search for natural oil-fighting ingredients

If you prefer a shampoo with more natural ingredients, look for one that contains tea tree oil, which has anti-inflammatory properties, says Dr. Newsom.

Seaweed extract is also helpful, since it will work to remove excess oil from the skin, adds Dr. Zeichner.

Try a dandruff shampoo

If you have more oil production, you’re also more likely to be prone to dandruff, says Dr. Newsom. That’s because a buildup of oil at the scalp can lead to the overgrowth of a natural yeast called malassezia. And although malassezia is found in small amounts on all of our hair follicles, an overproduction of it can lead to symptoms like itching, tenderness, and thick, greasy flakes, says Dr. David.

That’s why if you struggle with greasy hair, it’s best to start using a dandruff shampoo to work into your scalp. “The issue with oily hair and dandruff is more of a scalp issue than a true hair issue,” says Dr. Zeichner, who recommends Dove Dermacare dandruff shampoo. “Anti-dandruff shampoos contain ingredients like zinc pyrithione, which do not directly decrease oil but decrease levels of yeast to reduce dandruff levels.”

Then, once you’ve applied the dandruff shampoo to your scalp, let it sit long enough for you to sing the alphabet. “It needs contact time on the scalp for it to do its job,” says Dr. Zeichner.

Blow dry your hair instead of letting it air dry

You don’t want to over-dry your hair, but blow drying can be helpful if you want to get rid of greasy hair. “Blow drying hair helps eliminate oil as the heat absorbs the scalp’s oils,” says Dr. Nussbaum. “I always recommend drying the hair at the root as it can plump the hair follicle which can, in turn, absorb oil.”

If you do choose to blow dry, make sure you use the lowest heat setting possible to avoid heat damage, says Dr. David. That goes for other heated hair products like flat irons and curling irons, too.

Stop touching your hair

Another quick way to prevent greasy hair? Get those hands out of your tresses. “Over-touching your hair can stimulate more sebum production,” says Nazanin Saedi, MD, director of laser surgery and cosmetic dermatology at Thomas Jefferson University. “Also, similar to touching your face too much, you are transferring more oil from your fingers, too.”

Let your hair down

If you’ve constantly got your hair in a bun or ponytail, try keeping it down more often to reduce greasiness. “Natural oils become trapped and concentrated at the scalp when you always wear your hair in a ponytail,” says Dr. Chiu. “Oils don’t move down the hair shaft. You develop an oily scalp and dry and split ends.”

Combine aloe vera and lemon juice

Drink with aloe vera and lemons

Try this easy oily hair remedy at home: Mix aloe vera and lemon juice together, which acts as an astringent to help control sebum production and make your hair softer, says Dr. David.

To make it, add one to two teaspoons of aloe vera gel to a tablespoon of lemon juice, then add a cup of water to the mixture and mix well. Use the mixture to rinse your hair, preferably after shampooing, says Dr. David. Leave it on for a few minutes and wash off with cold water. Repeat weekly.

Avoid putting any oils on your scalp

Since our scalps already make their own oils naturally, adding any other oils into the mix can really just create a buildup and, therefore, greasiness. “My general rule of thumb when educating patients is to tell them to avoid applying oils—including olive oil, coconut oil, argan oil, and jojoba oil—directly to the scalp,” says Dr. David.

Plus, if you struggle with dandruff, these added oils can exacerbate that problem. Even though they may tout nourishing benefits, it’s best to avoid them altogether, says Dr. David.

Use a clarifying shampoo

If regular or dandruff shampoos don’t seem to be enough to calm the oiliness, try incorporating a clarifying shampoo every now and then. “Clarifying shampoos remove buildup from hair products and mineral deposits from hard water,” says Dr. David.

Just be careful if you have sensitive skin or color-treated hair, as these shampoos can be harsher than regular shampoos and alter the color of your hair, says Dr. Zeichner.

Use a clarifying shampoo about once or twice a month, says Dr. David, who recommends Bumble and Bumble Sunday, Neutrogena Anti-Residue, or Paul Mitchell Clarifying Shampoo, which are gentle enough for color-treated hair.

Sprinkle on some baking soda

Baking soda can actually help remove oil and product buildup, says Dr. David. Bonus? It works great as a substitute dry shampoo.

To use it, sprinkle a small amount (about half a teaspoon) into your scalp and brush it to spread it out. Or, if you’d rather try it while washing your hair, mix 2 tablespoons with ¼ cup of warm water and apply into wet hair, says Dr. David. Then rinse after letting it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat 1 to 2 times per week to avoid overuse. “Don’t use too often or its alkaline properties can damage your hair cuticles and cause dry, frizzy hair,” says Dr. David.

Add epsom salts to your wash routine

Epsom salts make for another easy at-home solution. “The magnesium salts reduce inflammation and reduce product buildup,” says Dr. David. Mix 1 tablespoon of salt crystals with your shampoo and use 2 to 3 times per week for best results.

Reduce stress

Although easier said than done, the culprit of your oily hair might just be that stress you’re facing at work or at home. “Higher cortisol levels can cause sebaceous glands to overproduce sebum,” says Dr. Chiu.

Plus, stress might lead you to fidget and touch your hair more, which contributes to greasiness, as well, says Dr. Saedi. “Interestingly enough, stress reduction helps reduce hormones that can contribute to oil production,” says Dr. Doyle.

So do more of what relaxes you, and you might see your greasy hair go away in turn.

What if these oily hair remedies don’t work?

It’s probably time to visit your dermatologist. Your dermatologist can determine what’s causing the greasy hair (whether it’s eczemascalp psoriasis, dandruff, or another issue), says Dr. Nussbaum, and treat it from there with oral prescriptions or prescription shampoos.

He or she can also talk to you about other options, like hormonal treatments or botox injections, which may help reduce oil production in the scalp, says Dr. Zeichner.

“A benefit to seeing a derm is that you’ll be given a full evaluation and a review of your treatment options so you can proceed in a way that you feel comfortable,” says Dr. Doyle.

Source: https://www.prevention.com/health/a20428078/15-home-remedies-for-oily-hair/

Image by Jayme Burrows / Stocksy

It’s that time of year—the entire office is coughing, sneezing, and looking like one big commercial for the common cold. Even those who take their vitamin C shots and wash their hands regularly are susceptible to germs in colder temperatures. There are countless treatments, home remedies, and ancient practices that people rely on to battle a cold, but if you want to avoid the dreaded sniffles altogether when they strike every year, consider starting a meditation practice.

Research suggests meditating regularly may be an effective strategy for protecting the body from colds and illness. In one recent studypublished in the journal PLOS One, researchers gave 390 adults flu shots. Some of the participants additionally took an eight-week meditation course, some took an eight-week exercise class in addition to the shot, and the rest just took the shot by itself. The findings revealed a clear protective benefit to meditating: After the eight weeks passed, those who meditated wound up getting the least number of respiratory illnesses and missed the fewest amount of workdays. Overall, the meditation group fared about 17 percent better than the others.

Meditation is so effective in preventing colds and illness because of its ability to lower stress. That’s not woo-woo science: Stress can lower the body’s lymphocytes—the white blood cells that help ward off infection. When a person is extremely stressed and their lymphocyte levels are very low, they’re much more susceptible to viruses like the common cold, compared to someone who can healthily manage stress.

Moreover, when stressed, our bodies are working overtime to keep up with the demands we’re placing on it, whether mentally or physically. But when relaxed and calm, our bodies can work like the well-oiled machines they are. “Eliminating or modifying these [stress-inducing] factors in one’s life is vital to protect and augment the immune response,” clinical immunologist Leonard Calabrese, D.O., tells the Cleveland Clinic.

In addition to keeping the immune system healthy, meditation has also been found to reduce symptoms of various harmful conditions and illnesses, including high blood pressure, IBS symptoms, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

This isn’t to say that meditation should be relied on wholly to beat a nasty cold. The practice should be used in conjunction with the right medication per a doctor’s orders, while consistently looking to meditation as a form of stress relief throughout the year. The goal, ultimately, is to make meditation an essential part of your schedule so that you can avoid getting sick as frequently. Your immune system will thank you—and so will your calmer, stress-free mind.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/avoid-getting-sick-meditating

Scientists say it increases your chances of blood clots, depression, and even cancer.

Sitting Disease. It sounds like some mysterious condition you’d bring back from an exotic vacation, but it’s actually a modern homegrown ailment caused by going from the breakfast table to the driver’s seat, from your desk to the car to the sofa for the evening, with little movement otherwise.

The staggering amount of time many of us spend being sedentary—up to 15 hours a day if we work in an office, according to one study—can lead to problems inside and out. You’re probably familiar with the aches and pains caused by hunching over a computer, but spending too much time in a chair or slumped on the sofa also has been linked to several life-threatening conditions, including blood clots, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, heart disease, and cancer. Not even your brain is spared: In April 2018, researchers published a study that found an association between sedentary behavior and thinning of the regions of the brain that are critical to memory formation.

The issue with sitting goes beyond concern about obesity, although being overweight can increase the risk of many of the same conditions linked to sitting too much. And yes, clocking so many hours in your seat can make it harder to maintain a healthy weight: “When you’re sitting, you’re burning only half the calories you would standing or walking lightly,” says David A. Alter, MD, PhD, chair of cardiovascular and metabolic research at the UHN-Toronto Rehabilitation Institute.

But even if you’re trim, a sedentary lifestyle may still wreak havoc on your health. That’s because “lack of movement affects how we burn fat and metabolize sugar and the body’s response to insulin,” says Dr. Alter. Your cholesterol may also go up, along with markers of inflammation and troponins (a protein produced by cardiac muscle cells when they’re hurt or dying). Such physiological changes can nearly double your odds of diabetes and increase your risk of cardiovascular disease by 14 percent.

In a small study last year, researchers took a group of healthy young adults who regularly clocked at least 10,000 steps a day and had them cut back to 1,500 steps. Participants still went to work and took care of their families, says Dan Cuthbertson, PhD, of the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease. It was no surprise that within two weeks, subjects increased total body fat, particularly around their middles, and lost muscle mass. But strikingly, the group also experienced a decrease in insulin sensitivity and an increase in both fat accumulated in the liver and triglycerides. Staying sedentary had consequences that were both swift and potentially serious in the long term. These changes were all reversible when participants resumed their normal activity regularly.

The health effects of sitting too much

Sitting as much as many of us do increases our chance for some 35 serious conditions, likely because getting up and moving around is key for regulating proteins, genes, and other systems that lower our susceptibility to disease. Below, the effects of “sittingitis”:

health effects of sitting

1. Depression and anxiety

The more you sit at work, the greater your risk, even if you exercise, a study in Mental Health and Physical Activity found. On the flip side, other research shows that the more people move throughout the day, the happier they are.

2. Back and neck pain

Just four hours of sitting can compress a key disc in your lower back, says Gregory Billy, MD, associate professor of orthopedics and rehabilitation at Penn State University. Poor posture can also lead to disc problems in your neck.

3. Cancer

Risk of colon and endometrial cancer goes up even after accounting for exercise, possibly due to inflammation, weight gain, and other changes. One review in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reports that for every additional two hours per day spent sitting, risk jumps 8 percent and 10 percent for colon cancer and endometrial cancer respectively.

4. Obesity, diabetes, and heart trouble

Yes, you burn fewer calories sitting, but also the hormone insulin’s ability to move glucose out of blood and into cells may decline when you sit for long periods, Dr. Alter says. Cholesterol and markers of inflammation may go up; how you metabolize fat changes; and vascular function may be reduced.

5. Weak bones

Weight-bearing exercise, including standing and walking, stresses your skeleton in a good way, signaling specialized cells to replace old bone tissue with new. When you sit too much, the body replaces less of what it loses, leading to fragile bones and a greater risk of osteoporosis, especially as you get older.

6. Blood clots

Slow blood flow in the legs from a sedentary lifestyle, possibly along with lower levels of clot-preventing proteins, increases your risk. Women who sat for more than 40 hours per week had more than double the risk of a clot moving to their lungs compared with those who sat less than 10 hours.

Can getting more exercise help?

Chairs are hardly a modern invention, but roughly 200 years ago, people sat for just five hours a day. The rest of their waking hours were filled with physical exertion: manually laundering clothes, kneading bread, walking places, working in the garden, you get the idea. If your great-great-great-great-great-great-grandma didn’t swear by her Spin class, it’s as much because she was doing a low-key workout from sunup to sundown as due to the fact that those classes didn’t exist. Today, including eight hours of slumber at night, we may move as little as 60 minutes each day.

Were our ancestors cocooned from the perils of a sedentary lifestyle because they were moving more, or because they weren’t sitting as much? That’s hard to parse, says Dr. Alter. We do know that only 18.7 percent of American women meet the federal guidelines for physical activity (at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous cardio exercise each week).

Your goal: Replace at least 2 hours of sitting a day with movement breaks.

There’s no question that hitting those targets can help your health and improve your longevity. But it may take more than double that amount of conscious exercise to offset the time you spend sitting: A study in The Lancet that analyzed data from more than 1 million adults found that it took 60 to 75 minutes of moderate cardio per day to wipe out sitting’s higher risk of premature death. And even the most active participants saw an uptick in mortality risk when they sat in front of the TV for five or more hours a day.

That means exercise, while worthwhile, doesn’t completely make up for sitting. When researchers strapped activity monitors on nearly 8,000 adults 45 and older, they found that sitting for 12 or more hours a day increased the odds of early death regardless of exercise habits. And the risk was especially high if chair time was in uninterrupted stretches of 60 to 90 minutes, says Keith Diaz, PhD, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University. “It’s simply not enough to be active or move at one specific time of the day,” says Diaz. “We need to be mindful of moving frequently throughout the day in addition to exercising.”

Before you quit your job or swap your washing machine for a washboard and a scrub brush, know this: Moving more doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing endeavor. You can have your modern life and conveniences (thank you, already-churned butter!) without fear that you’re harming your body. The main trick is to scale back both your sitting and how many consecutive minutes you spend in one seat.

A study from King’s College London showed that people who targeted their sitting time with a specific strategy—say, switching to a standing desk or walking to the water cooler more often—were more effective in reducing their sedentariness than those who focused on adding more exercise sessions into their days.

So work on replacing at least two hours of tush time with movement breaks—a shift associated with all sorts of benefits, including 14 percent lower triglycerides, higher “good” HDL cholesterol, a trimmer waistline, and better glucose control, according to a study in the European Heart Journal. “Little breaks don’t seem like much, but they add up,” says Dr. Alter. In fact, two hours spread over the roughly 16 hours you’re awake is about eight minutes an hour, and you can do those in spurts. One study has shown that adding two minutes more walking to each hour can decrease a person’s risk of dying by 33 percent.

You might also find that there are times you can eliminate sitting entirely. Must you call your sister from the sofa, or could you chat while strolling? What if you prepped dinner while standing at the counter or passed up a seat on the train? The fact that women who sat the most had more than twice the risk of a clot moving to their lungs compared with those who sat the least makes it easier to think of perching as a last resort.

The best way to sit in your chair

Some of the symptoms of too much sitting have to do with the way we sit. “Most of us tend to collapse into our seats so our shoulders roll forward and our back muscles get overstretched,” says Rebecca Seguin, PhD, an exercise physiologist and associate professor at Cornell. In an ideal world, this is how you should always position yourself in your chair:

  • Shoulders back and down
  • Chin slightly tucked to keep your head in a neutral position
  • Feet flat on the floor—not crossed or twisted under you
  • Knees lower than your hips

“Proper alignment also helps you place the least amount of strain on your muscles, ligaments, and bones,” says Stacey Pierce-Talsma, DO, of Touro University California. That means watching TV head-on (rather than craning your neck) and straightening up when you notice you’re slumping.

A few adjustments to your environment will also help, so move the computer closer to your chair and elevate it so your shoulders and spine aren’t curling forward. In the car, adjust your seat height so that your knees are slightly bent and lower than your hips. A pillow or lumbar support can help thwart slouching and keep your lumbar spine slightly arched, says Dr. Pierce-Talsma. These small tweaks to the way you sit—plus finding ways to work in more non-exercise movement—can lead to huge benefits to your health. That deserves a standing ovation.

Source: https://www.prevention.com/health/a25749307/health-effects-sitting/