Probiotics might facilitate lower glucose Levels

The microbes that live in your gut could play a shocking role in your glucose levels, a small new study from Canada finds.

The study involved those that were following the DASH diet, that is usually recommended for folks with high pressure level. The individuals on this diet who additionally consumed probiotics, that are considered “good” bacterium, had a decrease in many measures of glucose levels over a three-month amount, according to the findings. people with high glucose levels might or might not go on to be diagnosed with diabetes; a diagnosis will depend upon the results of several tests.

Probiotics and Diabetes

Although additional analysis is required, the findings suggest that adding probiotics to the DASH diet may well be used in the future to help defend against diabetes, said Arjun Pandey, a research worker at the Cambridge viscus Care Centre in Ontario and also the author of the study.

Pandey presented his findings here on Sunday at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions annual meeting. The findings haven’t been revealed in an exceedingly peer-reviewed journal.

In the study, eighty individuals with high blood pressure were placed on either the DASH diet or the DASH diet and probiotic-rich foods. about 15% of the participants had prediabetes, Pandey noted, which implies their glucose levels were elevated however weren’t considered high enough to warrant a diagnosis of diabetes.

After 3 months of the DASH diet with probiotics, the study participants had lower levels or pre-diabetes by almost 9 percent. This is much more than the group that was not taking probiotics. That group only saw a drop of 3.4%. This is a pretty amazing result!

Unfortunately, the probiotics did not have any effect on lowering blood pressure.

We already know that probiotics are useful for many intestinal issues, but with this blood sugar finding, probiotics may have more benefits than we know!

What is the DASH diet?

food-healthy-vegetables-potatoesYour diet determines your chances of getting high blood pressure. The DASH diet is a healthy way of eating that can reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure. It can also lower your blood pressure if it is already high.

For an overall eating strategy, consider DASH. The DASH diet stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.” This diet consists of foods that are low in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol. At the same time, the diet promotes foods high in fruits, vegetables, and lowfat dairy foods.

The DASH eating plan breaks up foods into several categories including whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts, and has low amounts of fats, red meats, sweets, and sugared beverages. This style of eating is also high in potassium, calcium, and magnesium, as well as protein and fiber. If you want to take it a step further, eating foods that are lower in salt and sodium also can reduce blood pressure even better.

Below we give the servings and food groups that are recommended by the DASH eating plan. The number of servings that is right for you may vary, depending on how active you are and how many calories you need.

High Fiber Foods

The DASH eating plan has more daily servings of fruits, vegetables, and grains than you most people in the United States eat. Those foods are high in fiber, which can temporarily cause a feeling of bloating. So instead of going all out too quickly, you can gradually increase your servings of fruits, vegetables, and grains.

A good way to switch to the DASH eating plan is to write down what you are already eating. Keep track of what you eat, how much, when, and why. Especially keep track of whether you snack on high-fat foods or if you skip breakfast and eat a big lunch. If you do this for a week or two, then you’ll be able to see where you need to start making changes.

DASH for weight loss

If you’re trying to lose weight, you can choose foods that are lower in calories. You can definitely still use the DASH eating plan, but keep track of the calories you eat. Again, a food diary can be helpful.

  • Grains – 7-8 daily servings
  • Vegetables – 4-5 daily servings
  • Fruits – 4-5 daily servings
  • Lowfat or fat free dairy – 2-3 daily servings
  • Lean meats, poulty, and fish – 2 or fewer daily servings
  • Nuts, seeds, and dry beans – 4-5 per week
  • Fats and oils – 2-3 per week
  • Sweets – 5 per week

For more info, you may want to check out this book. It’s the #1 best selling book on the DASH diet on Amazon.com.

Robo-investing: Inexpensive way to start saving

There are companies that will help you start investing for a very small fee. They can do this because everything is automated. This is called robo-investing. Here’s how it works.

The cost of investing has never been cheaper — or more expensive — than it is right now.If you do it “self-serve,” you pick your own investments and it’s ultra-cheap. But if you need to hire someone for advice, it gets very expensive.

Enter robo-advisors!

Now there is a compromise where you can use computer modeling to come up with a portfolio for you. Fidelity Investments, one of the biggest financial houses in the country, has a program called Fidelity Go — which is a cheaper option for investing and doesn’t require really any hands-on work on your end.

Much like Charles Schwab, which also has its own “intelligent portfolios” for computerized investment advice, the amount of money you need to start one of these accounts is not that much. In fact, you can start investing with just a few hundred bucks or less!

Permethrin for Scabies

Ohhh, scabies… I’d only wish them on my worst enemy.

I had this horrid parasite recently, and I can tell you after hours and hours and hours of scouring the internet for remedies (and horror stories!), the two most effective treatments are Permethrin Cream and Oral Ivermectin.

Most doctors won’t provide the Ivermectin in the US for whatever reason, but I was able to obtain the version given to horses. These are readily available at your local feed store, and also relatively cheap.

Permethrin Cream, however, has to be prescribed by a doctor. Some people will say you can get it online, but I’ve never been able to find it.

You’re not supposed to take Ivermectin made for horses according to their label but I took it and it worked like a charm. The cream kills the eggs (which the ivermectin cannot) and the Ivermectin kills the actual adult parasites by paralyzing them.

Application

The cream must be applied head to toe, preferably before bed and after you’ve showered. Do not forget to apply the cream to your scalp as well, as many people overlook this area and they can infest your scalp, despite what others say. Any area you leave untouched will become a breeding ground for survivors and the whole process will start all over again. Yes, that means between your toes and fingers and around the genital area/buttocks as well.

You have to repeat treatments after a week (I did this 3 times, but I don’t suggest that. 2 times in sufficient enough given that the oral medication is actually for horses and the permetherin cream is literally part insecticide). This is because if you miss any spot on your body, you could miss an egg or adult. If the egg hatches, they will still wreak havoc and the process will start all over again. If you miss an adult, same thing. They just reinfest you.

Household

You must also thoroughly clean your carpets and any upholstery that you or your animals use. Use the hottest setting on the washer and dryer as heat kills them. Wash your blankets every day. DO NOT re-wear clothes or re-use towels/linens. Many people claim that you cannot get scabies from animals and vice versa, but in my experience, the opposite is true – The infestation in my house started with my cat, spread to me, then my dog. Somehow, magically, my eight year old daughter was spared, but we still had to treat her since it is recommended that all family members and pets be treated. (The treatments for pets are different, however.)

Also, don’t forget, you itch for weeks after treatment. Do not assume that just because you are itchy that you have not succeeded in eradicating the infection. My itchiness continued on for 4 weeks after I was certain I was done with them.

Some people will say that you are itchy because of their bites – That is actually not true at all. The itching is an autoimmune response to the parasites living underneath your skin. Some people don’t know they are infected for months because the body’s autoimmune AKA itchy response isn’t even triggered right away, especially if it’s your first time.

P.S. There is SOOOOO much misinformation regarding Scabies, even in the medical community. If you have questions, your best bet is to try and speak with someone who has actually had them before.

 

Golf exercises

What are Golf Exercises? 

If you’re interested in improving your golf game, then it’s essential to focus on your golf swing. Since striving for excellent form and accuracy is the main goal, it’s a good idea to engage in some specific exercises for golf designed to help you achieve both. In fact, making golf exercises part of your regular golf training regimen can greatly enhance your game.

Stretching

Stretching before and after participating in golf exercises is vital. Warm-up stretches help to loosen stiff muscles and prepare them for work. Proper stretching can also help to reduce the potential for injury. 

There are numerous energetic golf exercises that provide a good warm-up, such as leg squats, shoulder stretches, waist bends, and hand-to-toe stretches. Practice golf exercises that involve stretching the wrists too, such as alternately extending each wrist in a forward and backward motion. 

Static Exercises

Static stretching golf exercises are recommended for off days. In other words, they are best performed on days in which you won’t be playing golf for competition or sport. 

Static golf exercises are simple stretching motions that are done in place while standing or sitting on the floor, such as alternating crossing the arms over the chest or basic hamstring stretches. When performed consistently, these types of golf exercises can help improve your range of motion. 

Strengthening

Strength conditioning for golf is just as important as it is for any other sport or athletic activity. In fact, it can help you develop more power behind your swing. Golf exercises to increase strength often include the use of hand weights. However, instead of the typical pull-up motions, the weights are used while imitating the stance and motion of making a golf swing. This helps to develop arm strength, as well as improved posture, balance, and core body strength. 

Another popular method of strength training is to use a medicine ball. In fact, working with a medicine ball is commonly found in all sports training, golf conditioning included. 

Practicing the swing motion with a medicine ball provides resistance to improve upper body strength and core steadiness. Also, since a medicine ball adds considerably more weight than dumbbells, including one in your golf exercises can increase overall endurance. 

Also, don’t forget that there are training aids that are created to help with strengthening. One example that has been tried and true is the Momentus Golf Swing Trainer. It’s a weighted club that’s good for strengthening and flexibility.

Injury Prevention

There are also golf exercises geared toward preventing specific injuries. The most common are injuries to the wrists or rotator cuff muscles of the shoulders. These exercises involve using light hand weights of no more than 2-5 pounds (1-2 kilograms) and can be performed from a standing position or while lying on your side. However, if you currently have a torn rotator cuff, you should not attempt to do these kinds of golf exercises. Instead, seek the advice of a physician, sports trainer, or physical therapist.

 

More Easy Golf Exercises

Golf exercises are viewed by the majority of golfers as “work”. That is why it is so difficult to convince golfers that golf exercises can be fun and don’t have to wipe you out physically.

I’ve worked with many golfers in person and with my online golf performance sites, who were shocked to realize how much fun and motivating golf exercises can be.

Don’t picture going into a sweaty, smelly gym and lifting god-awful weights. No…picture doing golf exercises that mimic your golf swing and have a direct impact on your power, accuracy and consistency.

This new outlook will be a huge motivating factor in the success of your golf exercise program. When you envision the end result, it makes it all worthwhile.

It’s also a double benefit!

Doing golf exercises that closely mimic your golf swing, will not only improve the strength and flexibility of your golf swing quickly, but reinforce your swing technique off the course. This double benefit will transform your game.

Get ready for powerful drives, accurate approach shots, and scores that will plummet.

Golf exercises can be done with very affordable and portable equipment saving you time, money and convenience. The thought of going to a gym; or having to join a gym to get started will keep you from starting indefinitely.

Your golf exercises can be done in your home, office or even a hotel room with exercise tubing, a pair of handweights, and maybe a stability ball if you want to get a little more creative.

They are not golf exercises if they are on a machine (especially seated ones). How can a seated machine help your golf swing, when your golf swing is done on your feet, in a very dynamic position require timing, sequence of motion, and stability to name a few?

So next time your golfing buddy says he’s doing golf exercises, ask him (her) what they’re doing specifically. If he/she says they go to the gym and use the machines, you won’t have to say anymore.

Fueled with the above, affordable equipment you are ready to embark on your golf exercises.

How ‘Psychobiotics’ Use Gut Bacteria To Treat Mental Illness

Researchers have long known that the bacteria living in your gut can “talk” to your brain. Gut microbes, which collectively make up what’s called the gut microbiome, can have a significant impact on mood and cognition ― leading experts to deem the microbiome a new frontier in neuroscience.

Now, the challenge for scientists is to learn how to manipulate gut-brain communication to treat psychiatric illnesses.

Studies

Most previous studies on gut bacteria and mental health have focused on probiotics. Live, “good” bacteria that can be ingested in foods like yogurt or in supplement form, which have been shown to have anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effects.

But in a recent paper published in the journal Trends in Neuroscience, Oxford psychiatrists urge the scientific community to look beyond probiotics to consider a wider class of “psychobiotics” ― a new scientific term referring to any intervention that has an effect on mental health by way of changes in the gut microbiome.

“We have suggested that any intervention that has a psychological effect through changes in the gut microbiome, is potentially a psychobiotic,” Dr. Philip Burnet, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Oxford and one of the study’s authors, told The Huffington Post in an email. “This may include diet and exercise, both of which affect the bacterial communities in the gut, and both influence mood and cognition.”

So far, the research on psychobiotics is still preliminary. Studies have shown that increasing the amount of “good” bacteria in the gut can curb inflammation and cortisol levels, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, lower stress reactivity, improve memory, and even lessen neuroticism and social anxiety. However, most of these studies were conducted on mice, and more research on humans is needed.

“Those studies give us confidence that gut bacteria are playing a causal role in very important biological processes, which we can then hope to exploit with psychobiotics,” Burnet said in a statement.

Why Treat The Brain With Psychobiotics

Luckily, some psychobiotics are behaviors you may already be engaged in, like exercising, eating gut-healthy foods like yogurt and sauerkraut, or maintaining a diet low in saturated fats. In fact, it’s possible the positive psychological effects of diet and exercise are partially mediated by the microbiome.

Anything that exerts a psychological effect, mediated by the microbiome, is potentially a psychobiotic, according to Burnet. This can include things that have a negative effect on gut flora, including some antibiotics, anti-depressants and anti-psychotics.

“We wanted to increase awareness of the potential involvement of gut bacteria in the modulation of brain function, because the growth and perpetuation of microbial communities in our gut are influenced by so many factors in our lives,” Burnet told HuffPost. “The concept of a psychobiotic will encourage us to make life choices that could ultimately reduce the incidence of mental disorders, and/or help boost the efficacy of current medication.”

As the study’s authors argue, expanding the “psychobiotic” label should be prioritized as a way to exploit bacteria–brain communication for maximal benefit.

So how does this communication work? There are several main pathways by which signals from the gut travel through the body and cross the blood-brain barrier. Some of those core pathways include the enteric nervous system (a part of the nervous system located within and governing the function of the gastrointestinal system), the vagus nerve (connecting the brain and gut), the immune system and hormones within the gut.

Sarkar et alTrends in Neurosciences 2016

A diagram created by the Oxford researchers shows how psychobiotics work on the gut and brain. Get Your Psychobiotics (Without A Prescription)

While you won’t find your doctor or therapist prescribing psychobiotics just yet, these sorts of treatments are already commercially available in the form of probiotic-rich foods like yogurt (which are often marketed as “bio-live” and “probiotic-rich”). Because they’re already a part of our diets, psychobiotics are somewhat like an unregulated form of mental health treatment, although we don’t tend to think of it that way.

“The larger question here, in medical, scientific, and legal terms, is that psychobiotics are not currently classified as a treatment,” Burnet said. “At most they are a dietary supplement. The answer to how and whether they should be regulated will emerge as we learn more about the effects of these substances on the central nervous system.”

Regulation would allow people to access psychobiotic treatments with proper guidelines for use and dosage, based on their particular needs.

A great deal more research on humans is needed before real treatments are made available. In the meantime, some medical experts are concerned about the widespread marketing of probiotics to consumers to treat psychiatric issues. Consumers should beware of the many probiotics marketed online as cognitive enhancers or mood boosters, according to Dr. Emeran Mayer, a gastroenterologist at the University of California, Los Angeles and author of The Mind-Gut Connection.

“I personally think that true psychobiotics which have undergone rigorous clinical testing and FDA approval will not be available before another five to 10 years from now,” Mayer said. However, he added, “the concept of developing psychobiotics in the future is exciting.”

While there’s a great deal of enthusiasm in the scientific world about the possibilities ― and rightfully so ― Burnet emphasized that psychobiotics should not been seen as a substitute for current psychotropic medications.

“The quality of life of many people suffering from mental illness has been improved by antidepressants, antipsychotics and so on, and so these drugs will always have a place in society,” he said. “However, there are also quite a few patients who do not respond to conventional medication, and this is where I think psychobiotics can come into play.

“These supplements should be used as ‘add-on’ or adjunctive therapies to improve the response of the brain to current medicines.”

7 stock photo sites that bloggers can use for free

Sometimes the hardest part of publishing a blog post is choosing the photo.

The research and writing are done, the tedious process of editing is complete, and all the links and citations are in the right spots. Yet when it comes time to select a header or body photo, you get stuck.

Choosing an image might seem like an easy task, but it can be incredibly difficult to find one that matches the overall message of your article.

Fortunately, free stock photo websites do exist. With these sources, you’ll have access to a wide array of photos without having to pay a subscription fee:

1. IM Free

From the people behind IM Creator, IM Free is an easy-to-navigate site that provides a significant number of photo options. With 21 different categories and more than 5,000 photos, it’ll be some time before you exhaust their resources.

Attribution? Yes

RELATED: Find out what it takes to be a best place to work at Salesforce headquarters in San Francisco.

2. Pexels

Pexels is one of the most useful stock photo websites available. With its search function, it’s easy to find tailored photos that will help you convey your content with the emphasis you want. If you can’t find a suitable free image and you’re completely out of options, their searches do return Shutterstock options that can be used for a fee.

Attribution? No

3. Gratisography

Gratisography’s photo selection is unique and undoubtedly eclectic. You can find anything from a cat wearing a tie to someone living inside a fire hydrant. One downside to Gratisography is that without a search function, and given its distinctive selection, it could take some time for you to find a photo that complements your article. Still, if you’re looking for an eye-popping image to grab readers’ attention, Gratisography is the place to go.

Attribution? No

4. StockSnap.io

StockSnap.io has a searchable collection, which makes life easier as you won’t need to scroll through all of its photos. Second, the StockSnap offerings are free of copyright restrictions: “You can copy, modify, distribute any photo on the site, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission!” Finally, StockSnap enables you to filter results by number of views, total downloads and whether something is trending. These insights can help you find an image that hasn’t already been used by thousands of users, so your selection will stick out in a crowded field.

Attribution? No

5. Picjumbo

Picjumbo has a user-friendly layout, with a couple of ways to sort through its library of images. It has a search feature and a drop-down menu that enables you to click on various categories. There’s also a unique feature through its subscription tool: Enter your email address, and Picjumbo will send you new photos as it adds them to the site.

Attribution? Not for all images

6. Pixabay

Pixabay might not have a unique selection of photos, but given its library of 780,000-plus images and its search function, you’ll be able to find something that fits your message. This site also provides illustrations, as well as the popular vector graphics, which can help you stick to a single image style across all your articles. Like Pexels, Pixabay also provides the option to buy Shutterstock images.

Attribution? No

7. Photobarge

Photobarge is great. They are user friendly and have many photos for free. The low to medium resolution versions of photos are generally free to use, which opens up a lot of possibilites. The quality of photos is fantastic as well.

Attribution? No

Maca: How this Peruvian superfood increases sex drive

Find out how this plant does more than just boost your athletic strength.

Maca: How this Peruvian superfood increases sex drive

(Photo: PromPerú)

Related Articles

Maca is a cruciferous plant native to the Andes of Peru. Stories tell us that the Incan warriors took maca before battle for strength and vitality. This makes sense because maca has been shown to enhance athletic performance, which is great for exercise.

However, aside from giving strength, maca increases sex drive for both men and women alike. So, how does this all work? Studies have shown that it is not due to hormonal changes, but rather maca’s effects are due to its nutritional composition.

Macamides

Maca contains unique nutrients, macamides and macaenes, that many researchers believe have libido-boosting properties. These properties are exclusive to maca and are powerful energy and sex enhancers.

And men, listen up! Another great fact is that maca can help with men who have erectile dysfunction. If you want to improve your sex life, consider the Peruvian superfood maca.  Even Personal Supplement Plan.com supports it’s use in erectile dysfunction.

Manuel Villacorta is an internationally recognized, award-winning registered dietitian/nutritionist with more than 18 years of experience. He is a trusted voice in the health and wellness industry. He is the author of three books, Eating Free (HCI, 2012), Peruvian Power Foods (HCI, 2013) and Whole Body Reboot: The Peruvian Superfoods Diet (HCI, 2015). Manuel is the founder of the Whole Body Reboot, a weight loss program with emphasis on superfoods. He is one of the leading weight loss and nutrition experts in the country.

Four top tips for richer investing returns

Four top tips for richer investing returns

Inflation leapt to a near two-year high of 1% in September, official figures show.

That means, in order for your cash to retain its purchasing power, it has to grow by more than 1%.

Unfortunately, this rise in inflation comes at a time when banks and building societies have been furiously cutting savings rates.

There is a good chance your current savings account rate won’t beat inflation – that means all the cash you’re scrupulously putting away is actually losing value.

Research by Moneyfacts shows that less than half (266) of the 644 savings accounts on the market can beat or match inflation.

“Inflation rising to a 22-month high will now play on the minds of many consumers, as there will be very few accounts paying 1% or more,” warns Rachel Springall, finance expert at Moneyfacts.co.uk.

However, if you really want to see your savings grow – and beat inflation – you are going to have to turn to the stock market.

“If anyone is unsure about the benefits of investing in the stock market over stashing cash under the mattress, our calculations show if you had invested £15,000 into the FTSE All Share index 20 years ago you would now be left with £55,351,” says Tom Stevenson, investment director for personal investing at Fidelity International.

“If, however, you had invested £15,000 into the average UK savings account over the same period, you would be left with a paltry £20,064. That’s a difference of £35,287 – far too big for anyone to ignore.”

So if you are considering a move into the stock market what do you need to remember?

1. Be wary of bonds

Traditionally, risk-averse investors looking for income put their money into corporate and government bonds. Unfortunately, at the moment that will not work.

“Inflation is also the enemy of bonds,” says James Yardley, senior analyst at Chelsea Financial Services. “Because the income paid by bonds is usually fixed at the time they are issued, high or rising inflation can be a problem, as it erodes the real return you receive.”

Also, at present huge demand for low-risk investments means the yields offered by many bonds are very low.

But, that doesn’t mean you should ignore bonds completely. Any successful portfolio contains a range of assets and bonds could be a part of that, just don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

“You could invest in a bond that has a high yield, which may provide a bit of a buffer against the effects of inflation,” says Yardley. “GAM Star Credit Opportunities is worth a look and has a yield of 4.5% and Invesco Perpetual Monthly Income Plus is also an option, with a yield of 5.5%.”

2. Watch out for fees

When you are trying to make your money work as hard as possible in an inflationary environment it is more important than ever to keep an eye on the fees and charges associated with your investments.

A seemingly small annual charge can have a devastating effect on your investment’s growth over the long term.

Many actively-managed funds charge an annual fee of around 1%.

“The difference between 1% and 1.5% might not sound like much” says Shaun Port, Chief Financial Officer at Nutmeg, “but if you invest £15,000 over 20 years in a medium risk portfolio, that difference could cost you as much as £3,000 in returns. Keeping an eye on what you’re paying is really important – especially any sneaky fees that might be charged in the background.”

So, by all means invest in some actively managed funds but do your research. What are the charges, and is the fund manager good enough to justify that expense?

In contrast, a tracker fund that is operated by a computer and simply mirrors the performance of a stock market index charges as little as 0.25% a year. On a 15 year investment – assuming annual growth at 7% – that would result in a difference of over £7,500.

Another option to keep investment costs to a minimum is so-called ‘robo-investing’.

The idea is that, rather than paying a wealth manager to take care of your portfolio, you use a computer programme instead.

Investment companies such as Nutmeg can do this for you and set up a managed portfolio on your behalf in a matter of minutes.

Simply sign up to an investment portfolio based on your risk profile, then computers take care of the rest.

3. Diversify to minimize your risk

The key to a strong investment portfolio is diversification. Spread your money across numerous asset classes and geographic regions and you minimize the risk of your money being decimated by one event.

For example, with equities be sure to invest in a range of industries. When it comes to inflation-busting investments consider which industries and companies are likely to be able to cope with rising costs.

“There are some companies that do better than others in inflationary environments, says Yardley. “Pricing power is particularly important, as the company may be better able to offset rising costs by passing them on to customers.”

He suggests investing in infrastructure and energy companies as both tend to be able to raise prices in line with inflation.

4. Keep some cash

Cash may not be king at present but that obviously doesn’t mean you should abandon it completely.

Investing should always be viewed as a long-term strategy, so that you aren’t affected by temporary market fluctuations.

Ideally, you shouldn’t invest for less than five years.

That means you need to keep some of your savings in cash so that you can access it quickly.

If you suddenly need to sell part of your investment portfolio you may find yourself forced to crystallise losses during a dip in the market.

Instead, keep at least an emergency fund in cash savings. The best rate you can get on an instant access ISA right now is 1.1% from The Coventry.

That beats inflation by the skin of its teeth. As mentioned earlier, you may be able to get a better rate by putting your savings into a high-interest current account.

Compare investments from stocks and share ISAs to bonds in one place at loveMONEY’s Investment centre (capital at risk)