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Alcohol Causes 7 Kinds of Cancer, Study Concludes

Alcohol researcher Jennie Connor says the link is a causal one and that no alcohol is considered safe and risk does go up as you drink.

Alcohol is a direct cause of seven forms of cancer. Tough words to swallow, but those are the conclusions of researchers from New Zealand, who say they found that no matter how much you drink, alcohol will increase your risk of cancer.

“There is strong evidence that alcohol causes cancer at seven sites in the body and probably others,” the authors write in the latest issue of the journal Addiction.

Those seven cancer sites are:

  • liver
  • colon
  • rectum
  • female breast
  • larynx, (the throat organ commonly called the voice box)
  • orolarynx (the middle part of the pharynx) behind the mouth
  • esophagus (commonly the “food pipe”)

The researchers from the University of Otago reviewed previous studies and meta-analyses, analyzing all the major studies done over the last decade on alcohol and cancer. They include studies from such prestigious names as the American Institute for Cancer Research and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

alcohol

Several of these studies drew links between alcohol and cancer. But lead researcher Jennie Connor, the chair in preventive and social medicine at the university, says her team wanted to know if there was evidence of a causal relationship — meaning that alcohol was the direct cause of some of these cancers.

“And the first conclusion of the paper is that there is very strong evidence that the link we see between drinking and cancer in all these studies is a causal one,” Connor told CTV News Channel from Dunedin, New Zealand.

In fact, the team estimates that of all cancer deaths worldwide, 5.8 per cent of them can be attributed to alcohol.

The link between alcohol and cancer was strongest with cancer of the larynx and orolarynx than with the other cancers

Perhaps not surprisingly, the team found a “dose-response relationship” between alcohol and cancer, meaning that the more that a person drinks, the higher their risk to develop cancer.
So what constitutes a “safe” level of drinking?

“There doesn’t seem to be any threshold below which drinking is actually safe with respect to cancer,” Connor said.

“So the straightforward obvious answer to your question is that no alcohol is safe, and any alcohol increases your risk of some types of cancer.”

One bit of good news is that the cancer risk will drop for those who quit drinking, falling back to risk levels similar to “never drinkers” after 20 years.
As for what it is about alcohol that causes cancer, the researchers aren’t sure, as their paper was not designed to answer such questions.

“Confirmation of specific biological mechanisms by which alcohol increases the incidence of each type of cancer is not required to infer that alcohol is a cause,” they wrote.

This is not the first paper to conclude that alcohol is carcinogenic, and yet there persists a perception that a small amount of alcohol is not only safe but beneficial.

Many point to studies that found that drinking wine is good for the heart increases longevity. Connor says that there are a still a lot of myths about alcohol out there.

“(These myths) arise from research that has been updated now, or discredited, or there’s more doubt about it than they used to be,” she said.

“This paper also examines the connection between alcohol and being good for your heart – coronary disease – and it finds that evidence base is actually quite weak. So information evolves over time.”

Friday, July 22, 2016     CTVNews.ca Staff
 


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The Surprising Factor That Can Predict Long Life

You’re only as old as you feel? Research says it’s true. Here’s why.

As I get older, I find myself drawn to news reports and research findings that provide information about how long I might live. After all, this is a key piece of information that would help me plan the most strategic and successful retirement, even though I think that I do not really wish to know for sure how long I have left. Much advertising aimed at people in my age group involves dietary choices, vitamin and mineral supplements, and medications that directly or indirectly promise not only more years of life, but more years of healthy, productive life. Many, if not most, of these promises are based upon little more than wishful thinking and anecdotal evidence. Hence, it is always exciting for a researcher like myself to see studies that bring actual scientific data to bear.

In a recent issue of Psychological Science, a team of European scientists including Stephen Aichele of the University of Geneva, Patrick Rabbit of Oxford, and Paolo Ghisletta of Distance Learning University in Switzerland published such a study. The researchers reported the results of a longitudinal study of more than 6,000 British individuals conducted from 1983 to 2012. The average age of the participants was 64.7 years when they first joined the study, but ages ranged from 41 to 93.

Key medical and psychiatric data including blood pressure, cholesterol levels, diabetes, and tobacco and alcohol use, were collected at three- to six-year intervals throughout the 29-year duration of the study. Daily life measures such as the number of prescription medications taken, sleep patterns, hobbies, and the rated difficulty of activities such as climbing stairs, traveling, preparing meals, and managing social interactions were also examined.

Longevity

In addition to those measures, each participant had his or her cognitive abilities assessed up to a total of four times at four-year intervals. These included measures of:

  • Crystallized intelligence (the ability to use knowledge you already have);
  • Fluid intelligence (the ability to solve new problems, use logic, and identify patterns);
  • Verbal memory;
  • Visual memory; and
  • Mental processing speed (how long it takes to perform a mental task).

All together, the researchers looked at 65 different mortality risk factors as they tracked participants through the later years of their lives. Once the number crunching was finished, the factor that rose to the top was surprisingly simple and straightforward.

The most sensitive measure of longevity was the individual’s own subjective evaluation of how healthy he or she felt. In other words, a person reporting that he or she feels healthy outweighed any other single predictor of a long life, including any medical measures such as cholesterol levels and blood pressure.    

 

Other variables that fell into the top group of predictors included being female; not smoking (or at least not smoking for very long); and cognitive processing speed.

The researchers seemed genuinely surprised that psychological variables such as subjective health and mental processing speed were better predictors of mortality risk than all the other predictors they studied. It has long been known that remaining cognitively active is associated with aging well, but it has never been clear if the cognitive activity is the cause of healthy old age or the result of remaining healthy into one’s golden years. The findings of this study confirm the association between the two domains, but cannot resolve how the cause-and-effect relationship plays out.

In a completely unrelated study published in 2003, researchers asked college students to rate the attractiveness and perceived health of individuals in photographs from the 1920s taken from high school yearbooks. The researchers then tracked down the age of death for the people whose pictures were rated. They discovered that having a handsome or beautiful face as a teenager predicted a long life but, ironically, participants’ judgments about the perceived health of the photographed individuals were completely unrelated to how long they lived. I replicated this finding several times in projects in my Evolution and Human Behavior class by having students do the same thing with photographs taken from Knox College yearbooks from the 1920s.

The explanation for a pretty face predicting a longer life appears to be that attractive faces are symmetrical and “normal”—average in terms of things like size of nose, distance between the eyes, etc. These qualities may reflect a lack of unusual genes, good health, and freedom from parasites or physical trauma—all of which are good if you wish to live long and prosper.

Posted May 09, 2016     Frank T. McAndrew Ph.D.     Out of the Ooze


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What is Oolong Tea and What Benefits Does it Have?

Oolong tea represents only 2% of the world’s tea, but it’s well-worth discovering (1).

It combines the qualities of dark and green teas, giving it several interesting health benefits.
For example, it may boost metabolism and reduce stress, helping you feel great each day.
This article explains everything you need to know about oolong tea and its health benefits.

What is Oolong Tea?

Oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea.
It’s made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, the same plant used to make green tea and black tea. The difference is in how the tea is processed.
All tea leaves contain certain enzymes, which produce a chemical reaction called oxidation. Oxidation is what turns the green tea leaves into a deep black color.
Green tea is not allowed to oxidize much, but black tea is allowed to oxidize until it turns black. Oolong tea is somewhere in between the two, so it is partially oxidized.
This partial oxidation is responsible for oolong tea’s color and characteristic taste (2).

This is what oolong tea looks like:

oolong-tea
However, the color of the leaves can vary between different brands, ranging from green to dark brown.

 

Bottom Line: Oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea made from the partially oxidized leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant.

Nutrients in Oolong Tea

Similar to black and green teas, oolong tea contains several vitamins, minerals and helpful antioxidants.
A cup of brewed tea will contain approximately (34):
  • Fluoride: 5–24% of the RDI.
  • Manganese: 26% of the RDI.
  • Potassium: 1% of the RDI.
  • Sodium: 1% of the RDI.
  • Magnesium: 1% of the RDI.
  • Niacin: 1% of the RDI.
  • Caffeine: 36 mg.
Some of the main antioxidants in oolong tea, known as tea polyphenols, are theaflavins, thearubigins and EGCG. These are responsible for many of its health benefits (5).
Oolong tea also contains theanine, an amino acid responsible for the tea’s relaxing effect (6).
 
Bottom Line: In addition to caffeine, oolong tea contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids and beneficial tea polyphenol antioxidants.

Oolong Tea May Help Prevent Diabetes

The polyphenol antioxidants found in tea are thought to help reduce blood sugar and insulin levels. They’re also thought to increase insulin sensitivity (78).
Accordingly, several studies report links between regular tea consumption, improved blood sugar control and a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes (9101112).
However, the specific effects of oolong tea are generally not as well researched as those of green or black tea.
That being said, a recent review observed that those drinking 24 oz (720 ml) of oolong tea per day had a 16% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes (13).
Another study reported that diabetics who consumed 50 oz (1.5 liters) per day had up to 30% lower blood sugar levels at the end of a 30-day study (14).
Similarly, consuming 33 oz (1 liter) of oolong tea each day for 30 days decreased average blood sugar levels by 3.3% (15).
Nevertheless, not all studies agree and one even reports an increased risk of developing diabetes for those drinking 16 oz (480 ml) or more per day (161718).
Researchers cite pesticide contamination as a likely cause of the negative effects in this study, and do not recommend avoiding oolong tea because of it (18).

Bottom Line: The polyphenol antioxidants may help maintain normal blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, the evidence is mixed and more research is needed.

Oolong Tea May Improve Heart Health

Regularly consuming tea antioxidants may also improve heart health (19).
Several studies of regular tea drinkers report reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as a reduced risk of heart disease (2021222324).
In a recent study, people who drank more than 48 oz (1.4 liters) of tea per day were 51% less likely to have heart disease, compared to non-tea drinkers (25).
Several studies have also investigated oolong tea specifically.
One study of more than 76,000 Japanese adults observed that those who drank 8 oz (240 ml) or more of oolong tea per day had a 61% lower heart disease risk (26).
What’s more, a study done in China reports a 39% lower risk of stroke in those drinking 16 oz (480 ml) of oolong or green tea per day (27).
In addition, regularly consuming 4 oz (120 ml) of green or oolong tea per day may reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure by up to 46%. However, not all studies agree (2829).
One thing to remember is that oolong tea contains caffeine, which may slightly raise blood pressure in some people. That being said, this effect tends to fade with regular caffeine consumption (30313233).
Furthermore, since the caffeine content in an 8-oz (240-ml) cup is only about one-fourth of that found in the same amount of coffee, this effect is likely to be small.

Bottom Line: Oolong tea may help decrease the risk of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure in some people.

Oolong Tea May Help You Lose Weight

Scientists believe that some of the polyphenols in oolong tea may boost metabolism and decrease the amount of fat absorbed from your diet (34353637).
These polyphenol antioxidants are also thought to activate enzymes that help you use stored fat for energy (37).
One study found that both full-strength and diluted oolong tea helped participants burn 2.9–3.4% more total calories per day (38).
This could be partially due to the caffeine content of tea, but tea polyphenols may also play a role. To test this idea, researchers compared the effects of caffeine alone to a combination of caffeine and tea polyphenols (3738).
Both increased the amount of calories burned by about 4.8%, but only the tea polyphenol and caffeine mix increased the participants’ fat burning ability (37).
This indicates that the fat burning effects of tea are also caused by the plant compounds in tea, not just the caffeine.
That being said, none of the studies clarified whether this increased energy expenditure and fat burning led to any substantial weight loss in humans.
Furthermore, some participants responded better than others, so the effects likely vary from person to person (37).
You can read more in this article about green tea and weight loss. Most of it should apply to oolong tea as well.

Bottom Line: The combination of caffeine and polyphenols found in oolong tea may help increase the amount of calories and fat burned each day. This could ultimately help speed up weight loss.

Oolong Tea May Improve Brain Function

Recent reviews show that tea may help maintain brain function and prevent Alzheimer’s disease (394041).
In fact, several components of tea may benefit brain function.
For starters, caffeine can increase the release of norepinephrine and dopamine. These two brain messengers are thought to benefit mood, attention and brain function (4243).
Further research shows that theanine, an amino acid in tea, may also help boost attention and relieve anxiety (44).
One recent study reports that tea containing both caffeine and theanine increased alertness and attention within the first 1–2 hours after consumption (44).
Tea polyphenols are also thought to have a calming effect, especially starting two hours after intake (44).
Few studies have looked specifically at oolong tea, but one found that regular tea drinkers had up to a 64% lower risk of brain function decline. This effect was particularly strong for regular black and oolong tea drinkers (45).
Another study linked regularly drinking green, black or oolong tea to improved cognition, memory, executive function and information processing speed (46).
Although not all studies observed the same beneficial effects of oolong tea on brain function, none were found that showed negative effects (47).

Bottom Line: The caffeine, antioxidant and theanine content of teas may have beneficial effects on brain function and mood.

May Protect Against Certain Cancers

Scientists believe the antioxidants present in black, green and oolong teas may help prevent cell mutations that can lead to cancer in the body (4849).
Tea polyphenols might also decrease the rate of cancer cell division (50).
What’s more, one review reports that regular tea drinkers may have a 15% lower risk of developing oral cancer (51).
Other reviews report similar protective effects for lung, esophageal, pancreatic, liver and colorectal cancers (525354555657).
However, most research reports that tea has small or non-existent effects on breast, ovarian and bladder cancers (585960).
Additionally, most research in this field focused on the effects of green or black teas, with the biggest effects noted for green teas.
Since oolong tea falls midway between green and black tea, similar benefits may be expected. However, more research is needed on oolong tea specifically.

Bottom Line: Similar to green and black tea, oolong tea may have protective effects against cancer.

Oolong Tea Promotes Tooth and Bone Strength

The antioxidants found in oolong tea may help keep your teeth and bones strong.
One study showed that people who drank black, green or oolong tea daily over a 10-year period had 2% higher overall bone mineral density (61).
A study of 680 postmenopausal Chinese women found that those who drank oolong tea regularly had 4.5–4.9% higher bone densities than non-tea-drinkers (62).
In addition, several other recent reviews report similar positive effects of tea on bone mineral density (6364).
A higher bone mineral density could lower the risk of fractures. However, the direct link between oolong tea and fractures has not been investigated yet.
Finally, research links tea consumption to reduced dental plaque. Oolong tea is also a rich source of fluoride, which could help strengthen tooth enamel (50).

Bottom Line: Oolong tea may help increase bone mineral density. It may also strengthen tooth enamel and reduce the formation of dental plaque.

Oolong Tea May Help Relieve Eczema

The polyphenols in tea may also help relieve eczema.
One study asked 118 patients with severe cases of eczema to drink 33 oz (1 liter) of oolong tea per day, in addition to maintaining their normal treatment.
Eczema symptoms improved as early as 1–2 weeks into the study. After 1 month of the combined treatment, 63% of patients showed improvement.
What’s more, the improvement persisted. They were still observed in 54% of the patients 5 months later (65).

Bottom Line: The polyphenol antioxidants in oolong tea may help relieve symptoms of eczema, and the improvements may last for a long time.

Safety and Side Effects

Oolong tea has been consumed for centuries and is generally considered to be safe.
That being said, it does contain caffeine.
When consumed in excess, caffeine can lead to anxiety, headaches, insomnia, irregular heartbeat and in some, high blood pressure (66676869).
Additionally, consuming too many polyphenol antioxidants can make them act as pro-oxidants, which are not good for your health. Excess intake may occur from taking polyphenol supplements, but this is unlikely from simply drinking tea (66).
The flavonoids in tea can also bind the iron found in plant foods, reducing absorption from the digestive system by 15–67% (70).
Those with low iron levels should avoid drinking tea with meals and consider consuming vitamin C-rich foods to help increase iron absorption (71).
Both the USDA and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) consider daily intakes of 400 mg of caffeine as safe. This is equivalent to 48–80 oz of oolong tea (1.4–2.4 liters) per day (7273).
Given that the average cup is 8 oz (240 ml), you could drink a total of 6–10 cups of oolong tea per day without consuming too much caffeine.
However, pregnant women are advised to stick to a maximum of 200 mg of caffeine, which is about 3-5 cups of oolong tea per day (74).
Keep in mind that coffee, soda, energy drinks and chocolate also contain caffeine. So if you’re trying to reduce your intake, make sure to account for these sources as well.

Bottom Line: Drinking up to 10 cups of oolong tea per day is generally considered to be safe for most people.

Take Home Message

Oolong tea may not be as well known as green or black tea, but it has similar health benefits. These include benefits for heart, brain, bone and dental health.
In addition, it may boost your metabolism, decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and protect against certain types of cancer.
At the end of the day, oolong tea is an incredibly healthy and tasty addition to your lifestyle. Give it a try — you won’t be disappointed.


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ADHD Commonly Co-Occurs With Other Mental Health Diagnoses

Looking at a Comparative Psychiatry study

It’s common for adults with ADHD to also have another co-occurring mental health diagnosis, according to a study published in Comparative Psychiatry. Rates of mental health disorders are significantly higher among adults with ADHD, suggesting that ADHD itself may be a predictor of other mental health difficulties.

ADHD and Other Comorbidities
For the study, researchers reviewed psychiatric profiles of a sample of adults seeking outpatient psychiatric care. Each of the 1,134 participants participated in a semi-structured diagnostic interview based on DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for various mental health disorders. The study’s findings showed a significant connection between ADHD and other mental health conditions.

Patients who had ADHD were more likely to experience social phobia, impulse control disorders, borderline personality disorder, alcoholism, and eating disorders. They were less likely to experience adjustment disorders or major depressive disorder. Patients with ADD—the inattentive type of ADHD without a hyperactivity component—were more likely to have eating disorders and social phobia.

The Connection Between ADHD and Mental Illness
The study did not explore and does not specify why ADHD is a predictor of other mental health issues. A number of factors could be at play, and it is unlikely that just one explanation accounts for the full spectrum of mental health issues associated with ADHD. Some possibilities include:
•    Genetic influences that lead to ADHD are similar to those that lead to other mental health disorders.
•    The challenges of life with ADHD. ADHD makes everyday tasks challenging, and environmental factors can contribute to a number of mental health issues. It’s possible that ADHD triggers environmental changes that in turn trigger further mental health difficulties.
•    ADHD symptoms could accompany some mental health diagnoses. For example, bipolar disorder can impede concentration and contribute to hyperactive behavior, mimicking the symptoms of ADHD.

adhd

The Challenges of Diagnosing Adult ADHD
Many clinicians still treat ADHD as a childhood disorder. Some even tell parents that their children will grow out of their condition. For this reason, adults with ADHD—particularly those for whom symptoms only appeared in adulthood—may experience delays in diagnosis. They may be incorrectly diagnosed with other disorders, such as impulse control issues, depression, or personality disorders. This study makes it clear not only that ADHD can and does persist into adulthood, but that adulthood ADHD is a significant predictor of other mental illnesses.

Common Symptoms of Adult ADHD
Knowing the symptoms of adult ADHD can help you get an accurate diagnosis. Clinicians sometimes focus on behavior in school when diagnosing children, so detecting hyperactivity and inattention in adults may prove challenging. Some signs to monitor for include:
•    An intense need for stimulation; you might find boredom intolerable.
•    Chronic procrastination, even when you commit to completing something on time.
•    Difficulty remembering dates, deadlines, and where you placed familiar objects. Chronic forgetfulness and missed deadlines are a hallmark of ADD and ADHD.
•    Impulsive or aggressive behavior, particularly during times of stress.
•    Substance abuse; while not always a symptom of ADHD, some people with ADHD turn to drugs and alcohol to manage their symptoms.
•    Depression, anxiety, and other symptoms as a result of problems at work or in relationships.
•    Difficulty listening to other people or following a conversation.
•    Frequently fidgeting or interrupting others during conversations.

If you suspect you have adult ADHD, tell your clinician your symptoms, since mentioning ADHD can increase the odds of an accurate diagnosis. Lifestyle remedies, therapy, and stimulant medications can all help symptoms, and a combination of all three typically works best.

References:
ADHD comorbidities revealed in adult patients. (2016, June 29). Retrieved from http://www.clinicalpsychiatrynews.com/specialty-focus/bipolar-disorder/c…|%20ADHD%20Comorbidities%20|
Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). (2016, March 31). Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/adult-adhd/home/ovc-20198864

 Joel Young, M.D    Posted Jul 20, 2016      When Your Adult Child Breaks Your Heart
Coping with mental illness, substance abuse, and the problems that tear families apart
Joel Young, M.D., teaches psychiatry at Wayne State University, and is the Medical Director of the Rochester Center for Behavioral Medicine.


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12 Toxic Behaviors that Push People Away From You

Your behavior is a little thing that makes a big difference.

Let’s be honest – we’ve all acted in toxic, damaging ways at one time or another.  None of us are immune to occasional toxic mood swings, but many people are more evolved, balanced and aware, and such occurrences happen only rarely in their lives.

Whether your toxic behavior is a common occurrence, or just a once in a blue moon phenomena, it’s critical for your long-term happiness and success that you are able to recognize when you’re behaving negatively, and consciously shift your mindset when necessary.

The twelve most common toxic behaviors are:

mirror mirror
  1. Being envious of everyone else. – Don’t let envy (or jealously) get the best of you.  Envy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own.  There is nothing attractive or admirable about this behavior.  So stop comparing your journey with everyone else’s.  Your journey is YOUR journey, NOT a competition.  You are in competition with one person and one person only – yourself.  You are competing to be the best you can be.  If you want to measure your progress, compare yourself to who you were yesterday.
  2. Taking everything too personally. – People are toxic to be around when they believe that everything happening around them is a direct assault on them or is in some way all about them.  The truth is that what people say and do to you is much more about them, than you.  People’s reactions to you are about their perspectives, wounds and experiences.  Whether people think you’re amazing, or believe you’re the worst, again, is more about them.  I’m not suggesting we should be narcissists and ignore all feedback.  I am saying that so much hurt, disappointment and sadness in our lives comes from our taking things personally.  In most cases it’s far more productive and healthy to let go of other people’s good or bad opinion of you, and to operate with your own intuition and wisdom as your guide.  (Read The Four Agreements.)
  3. Acting like you’re always a victim. – Another toxic behavior is persistent complaining that fuels your sense of victimization.  Believing you’re a victim, that you have no power to exert and no power over the direction of your life, is a toxic stance that keeps you stuck.  Working as a life coach with people who have suffered major trauma in their lives but found the courage to turn it all around, I know we all have access to far more power, authority, and influence over our lives than we initially believe.  When you stop complaining, and refuse to see yourself as a helpless victim, you’ll find that you are more powerful than you realized, but only if you choose to accept this reality.
  4. Hoarding pain and loss. – One of the hardest lessons in life is letting go – whether it’s guilt, anger, love or loss.  Change is never easy – you fight to hold on and you fight to let go.  But oftentimes letting go is the healthiest path forward.  It clears out toxic thoughts from the past.  You’ve got to emotionally free yourself from the things that once meant a lot to you, so you can move beyond the past and the pain it brings you.  Again, it takes hard work to let go and refocus your thoughts, but it’s worth every bit of effort you can muster.
  5. Obsessive negative thinking. – It’s very hard to be around people who refuse to let go of negativity – when they ruminate and speak incessantly about the terrible things that could happen and have happened, the scorns they’ve suffered, and the unfairness of life.  These people stubbornly refuse to see the positive side of life and the positive lessons from what’s happening.  Pessimism is one thing – but remaining perpetually locked in a negative mindset is another.  Only seeing the negative, and operating from a view that everything is negative and against you, is a twisted way of thinking and living, and you can change that.
  6. Lack of emotional self-control. – An inability to manage your emotions is toxic to everyone around you.  We all know these people – those who explode in anger and tears over the smallest hiccup or problem.  Yelling at the grocery store clerk for the long line, screaming at an employee for a small error she made, or losing it with your daughter for spilling juice on the floor.  If you find that you’re overly emotional, losing your cool at every turn, you may need some outside assistance to help you gain control over your emotions and understand what’s at the root of your inner angst.  There’s more to it than what appears on the surface.  An independent perspective – and a new kind of support – can work wonders.  (Angel and I discuss this in detail in the “Happiness” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
  7. Making superficial judgments about others. – Don’t always judge a person by what they show you.  Remember, what you’ve seen is oftentimes only what that person has chosen to show you, or what they were driven to show based on their inner stress and pain.  Alas, when another person tries to make you suffer in some small way, it is usually because they suffer deep within themselves.  Their suffering is simply spilling over.  They do not need punishment or ridicule, they need help.  If you can’t help them, let them be.
  8. Cruelty (or lacking empathy and compassion). – One of the most toxic behaviors – cruelty – stems from a total lack of empathy, concern or compassion for others.  We see it every day online and in the media – people being devastatingly unkind and hurtful to others just because they can.  They tear people down online in a cowardly way, using their anonymity as a shield.  Cruelty, backstabbing, and hurting others for any reason is toxic, and it hurts you as well.  If you find yourself backstabbing and tearing someone else down, stop in your tracks.  Dig deep and find compassion in your heart, and realize that we’re all in this together.
  9. Cheating and cutting moral corners simply because you can. – Cheating is a choice, not a mistake, and not an excuse!  If you decide to cheat, and you succeed in cheating someone out of something, don’t think that this person is a fool.  Realize that this person trusted you much more than you ever deserved.  Be bigger than that.  Don’t do immoral things simply because you can.  Don’t cheat.  Be honest with yourself and everyone else.  Do the right thing.  Integrity is the essence of everything successful.
  10. Hiding your truth. – People cannot connect with you if you’re constantly trying to hide from yourself.  And this becomes a truly toxic situation the minute they become attached to your false persona.  So remember, no matter what age, race, sex, or sexuality you are, underneath all your external decorations you are a pure, beautiful being – each and every one of us are.  We each have light to shine, and missions to accomplish.  Celebrate being different, off the beaten path, a little on the weird side, your own special creation.  If you find yourself feeling like a fish out of water, by all means find a new river to swim in.  But DO NOT change who you are; BE who you are.  Don’t deny yourself, improve yourself.  (Read The Untethered Soul.)
  11. Needing constant validation. – People who constantly strive for validation by others are exhausting to be around.  Those men and women who get caught up in the need to prove their worth over and over and over, and constantly want to win over everyone around them, are unintentionally toxic and draining.  Know this.  Over-attaching to how things have to look to others can wear you out and bring everyone else around you down.  There is a bigger picture to your life, and it’s not about what you achieve in the eyes of the masses.  It’s about the journey, the process, the path – what you’re learning, how you’re helping others learn too, and the growing process you allow yourself to participate in.
  12. Being a stubborn perfectionist. – As human beings, we often chase hypothetical, static states of perfection.  We do so when we are searching for the perfect house, job, friend or lover.  The problem, of course, is that perfection doesn’t exist in a static state.  Because life is a continual journey, constantly evolving and changing.  What is here today is not exactly the same tomorrow – that perfect house, job, friend or lover will eventually fade to a state of imperfection.  But with a little patience and an open mind, over time, that imperfect house evolves into a comfortable home.  That imperfect job evolves into a rewarding career.  That imperfect friend evolves into a steady shoulder to lean on.  And that imperfect lover evolves into a reliable lifelong companion.  It’s just a matter of letting perfectionism GO.

If you can relate to any of these toxic behaviors, remember, you are not alone.  We all have unhealthy personalities buried deep within us that have the potential to sneak up on us sometimes.  As stated above, the key is awareness – recognizing these behaviors and stopping them in their tracks.

WRITTEN by MARC CHERNOFF
This article was co-written by Marc and Angel and Kathy Caprino, and inspired by Kathy’s insightful work which can be found here.


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6 Health Reasons To Eat Spicy Foods More Often

Many people from different cultures and backgrounds worldwide have a special place in their hearts for spicy foods, and it turns out that these foods don’t only taste great, but provide wonderful health benefits as well.

Although everyone prefers a different level of spice in their foods, it doesn’t actually matter how much your food burns your tongue, but what type of spice you use in your cooking. Spices can serve as wonderful alternatives to medicines and other conventional healing modalities, and have been used for thousands of years to treat a variety of ailments, including aches and pains. Many spices have antimicrobial properties, which explains why they make wonderful alternative remedies.

“Studies show that many different herbs and spices offer health benefits,” says David Heber, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, and director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. Much of the existing evidence supports use of cinnamon, chili peppers, turmeric, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary, Heber tells WebMD.

According to Heber, a compound in chili peppers called dihydrocapsiate increased fat-burning capacity in a study where people ate the spice three times a day. Furthermore, a study in Cell Metabolism showed decreased blood pressure in lab animals that consuming capsaicin, the component in chili peppers that makes them spicy.

If you don’t know which spices to add to your food, start out with the simple ones we’ve listed above. Thousands of spices exist in the world, but if you don’t use spices often, it’s best to begin with “safer” spices that you might be more familiar with. You can easily replace salt, sugar, or other additives with spices, which have no added calories or salt.

If you need more convincing to add spices to your food, read on for more of the benefits you can expect to receive.

6 HEALTH REASONS TO EAT SPICY FOODS MORE OFTEN

1. SPICES CAN HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT.

Many spices have properties that increase body heat, which will help to boost your metabolism, and therefore lose weight. Others, such as cinnamon, help to balance your blood sugar so that you stay full longer.

Furthermore, as we mentioned above, spices can serve as a substitute for other additives such as sugar, which contains calories but no nutrients. More commonly, people use a spice to replace salt, which can pack on the water weight due to bloating.

Spices will help to make your food more satisfying, which means you won’t need as much to feel full.

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2. SPICES CAN INCREASE YOUR METABOLISM.

According to Better Nutrition, the capsaicin in chili peppers increases your body heat, which therefore amps up your metabolism. This goes along with our first point, but it’s still worth mentioning. Eating spices can serve as an easy way to increase your energy and metabolism, plus make your food taste better. Sounds like a win-win, right?

3. SPICES CAN PREVENT HEART DISEASE.

Garlic, ginger, and cinnamon specifically have been proven to help prevent heart disease. According to Dr. Sinatra, an integrative cardiologist, “Garlic, one of the most healthy herbs and spices in the world, is both a powerful antioxidant and blood thinner. It is commonly recommended as a cholesterol-lowering agent, and has been shown to help lower triglycerides – blood fats that are closely linked to heart disease. Garlic can even lower blood pressure as effectively as some drugs (as shown in studies where subjects supplemented with daily dosages ranging from 600 – 900 mg over a period of 3-6 months.”

He also lists cinnamon as one of the best healing herbs and spices for increasing antioxidant levels in the blood, and ginger as a natural blood thinner.

4. SPICES CAN ALSO ALLEVIATE SINUS TROUBLE.

This one seems pretty self-explanatory, as we’ve all had spicy food at one time or another, and had to run for the tissues in the middle of our meal. Because of the incredible heat present in spices, they cause the sinuses to become unclogged, which explains the runny noses and watery eyes.

If you ever have sinus issues, just reach for your favorite spice to add to your cooking, and you’ll see some relief in no time.

5. EATING SPICES COULD HELP YOU LIVE LONGER.

According to a study done by Time, people who ate spicy foods 1-2 times per week had a 10 percent reduced risk of death, compared to those who ate spicy food once or fewer times a week.

You can see why spices might make you live longer, as they decrease your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and other life-threatening issues.

6. SPICES CAN SERVE AS A NATURAL REMEDY FOR ANXIETY AND STRESS.

According to Dr. Cynthia, a holistic doctor, passionflower, kava kava, turmeric, and lavender have the potential to decrease anxiety and stress in a healthy, nonaddictive way. L-theanine, an amino acid found mostly in green and black tea, can reduce anxiety as well.

So, there you have it, six science backed reasons to eat more spicy foods; remember, incorporate spices into your foods slowly, so that you don’t overwhelm your taste buds. Then, once you feel comfortable, you can experiment with bolder spices that also make your food taste great!

source: Power of Positivity     July 15, 2016


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Could Fruit And Veg Boost Happiness?

The reasons experts usually give for eating more fruit and vegetables tend to be about long-term health benefits, but piling on the produce may also improve wellbeing in the shorter term, researchers say.

Based on national surveys in Australia, the study team linked increases in fruit and vegetable servings per day to rising happiness over two years.

With the addition of eight portions of fruit and veg daily, the change in wellbeing was about equivalent to going from unemployment to a job, researchers report in American Journal of Public Health.

“I found the apparent power of fruits and vegetables extremely surprising,” said co-author Andrew Oswald, who studies economics and behavioral sciences at the University of Warwick in Coventry, UK.

Since working on the study, he’s added about three extra portions of produce a day to his own diet.

“I’m up to about 7 portions now,” he told Reuters Health by email.

He and his colleagues speculate that people might be motivated to eat more plants if they believe there’s a short-term reward, in addition to the long-term benefits.

To explore the relationship between eating fruits and vegetables and overall wellbeing, the researchers analyzed data on more than 12,000 adult survey participants from Australian households.

Participants had kept food diaries between 2007 and 2013 and answered survey questions about their lives and their mental and emotional health.

Within a two year period, the study team found, participants who changed from eating almost no fruits and vegetables a day to eight portions a day reported feeling happier and more satisfied than those who didn’t add more portions.

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Those who increased their fruit and vegetable portions from zero per day to eight scored an increase on a complex point scale in “life-satisfaction” that was the emotional equivalent to finding a new job. While those who didn’t increase their fruit and vegetable portions experienced a drop in happiness score over the same period that was about equivalent to losing a job.

“Of course, very few people would ever go from eating zero fruits and vegetables to 8 portions a day,” Oswald said.

However, adding even two portions a day would give you a quarter of the happiness effect, so that would still be a large gain in happiness, he added.

Happiness benefits were detected for each extra daily portion of fruits and vegetables up to eight portions a day.

The researchers adjusted for changes in employment status and other life circumstances that could also affect happiness, as well as dietary intake. Still, the study cannot prove that boosting produce in the diet improved wellbeing.

Mary Jo Kreitzer, who was not involved with the study, urged caution in interpreting the findings.

“It’s not only fruits and vegetables that can give you short-term health benefits,” said Kreitzer, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Spirituality and Healing in Minneapolis.
“Changing your salt or sugar intake in your diet can have short and long-term benefits, not only in emotional health, but in physical too,” she said.

For Kreitzer, providing research evidence on this topic is great, but it’s not enough.

“To get people to change what they eat, we need to provide them with more access to healthy foods and information on how to cook and prepare healthy foods,” she said.

Still, the study is a reminder that it’s important to pay attention to what you eat.

“Be more present when you’re eating so you can taste and enjoy your food, particularly fruits and vegetables, which can be very tasteful,” she said.
“To me, if people are more mindful when they eat, that actually could produce more happiness and satisfaction.”

BY LINDA THRASYBULE
SOURCE:  Reuters Health  Fri Jul 15, 2016 
  bit.ly/29DSuo4 American Journal of Public Health, August 2016
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