Category Archives: anti-aging

WomenVitamins: Sleep Tight, Sweet Dreams


Do You Still Dream?
Image by zenera via Flickr

Cold winter nights, warm winter blankets, snuggled in with your faithful partner , be they 2 or 4 legged. Sounds like the perfect framework for a good night’s sleep… and a recipe for sweet dreams and restful awakenings.

Unfortunately, the National Sleep Foundation says the average woman gets just over 6 hours of sleep during her workweek, significantly less than the recommended sleep of 7 to 9 hours for adults.

According to Dr. Mark Mahowald, Professor of Neurology at the University of Minnesota Medical School and Director of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center at Hennepin County Medical Center , insomnia refers to the inability to get the amount of sleep you as an individual need to wake up feeling rested.

Symptoms of insomnia include:

  • difficulty falling asleep
  • waking up frequently during the night
  • difficulty returning to sleep
  • waking up too early in the morning
  • unrefreshing sleep
  • daytime sleepiness
  • difficulty concentrating
  • irritability

There are some simple solutions:

Plan a “bumper” of down time.   It is recommended that you allow at least 3 hours between exercise and sleeping.  Avoid caffeine and heavy meals before bedtimes as well.

Make your room a haven.  Dedicate the space to sleep and love.  Move the TV out, install a ceiling fan for cool breezes and masking external noises.  Darken the windows, and reduce the number of LED lights (blue or red lights from power cords, alarm clocks, ipods, chargers, computers) in your room.

Maintain a route.  Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.  You can’t make up for lost sleep by sleeping in on weekends.  If you sleep late just once or twice a week you have a harder time falling asleep during the rest of the week.

Calm your mind.  If you find yourself making mental lists of unfinished tasks, try writing them down before bedtime.  Don’t use bedtime as a time to chastise yourself for mistakes or to dream up “what-if” scenarios.   Pray, meditate, and practice deep breathing exercises to relax your body and soul.

Remember that how you perform during the day is directly related to how well and how long you slept the night before.  Insufficient sleep leads to irritability, premature aging, and is associated with a number of diseases—(such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression.)  Poor sleep habits also lead to irritability, premature aging, and increased morbidity.

Allow yourself the luxury of sleep: “to sleep, perchance to dream”, and you will reap the benefits all day long.

Be safe, sweet dreams, be healthy, be blessed, Kersten   WomenVitamins

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Eating Healthy: Small Steps for Big Results


Happy Thanksgiving
Image by faith goble via Flickr

Healthy eating doesn’t sound like the right topic for a holiday-season blog, but healthy eating is a gift to yourself: it can protect you from disease and give you the gifts of better health and longevity.  Just a few simple changes can help a woman dodge some significant health threats.

Choose whole grains instead of refined ones.  Studies indicated that 3 servings of whole grains per day can lower the risk of heart disease by up to 36%.  Whole grains provide fiber and antioxidants like selenium and vitamin E.  These work to reduce inflammation, and lower both cholesterol and blood pressure.  Use brown rice instead of white.  It has twice the fiber and will make you feel fuller, longer thus helping your diet.  Grab an oatmeal raisin cookie instead of a chocolate chip, and eat wheat crackers instead of normal saltines.

Include protein with every meal.  Doubling your protein intake will help you shed those unwanted pounds, as well as lessen your risk of Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and more.  Amino acids in protein send signals to the brain that reduce the appetite.  Protein also has the highest thermogenic effect…it requires more calories to digest protein than other foods.  You could lose an additional 70 calories a day (equivalent to 8 pounds a year) with no effort.  Studies indicate that if you are serious about losing and maintaining weight loss, 5-6 small meals per day focusing around quality protein intake can substantially decrease your weight, increase your energy while energizing you as well.

Drinking 3 glasses of fruit or vegetable juice in the morning can slash your risk of Alzheimer’s by 76%.  Polyphenols in fruit and vegetable skins and pulp buffer brain cells from oxidative damage.  Just be careful of juices loaded with sugar, or juices that really offer very little actual juice.

Peppers, oranges, peaches, and papaya are loaded with beta cryptoxanthin; a carotenoid that reduces the risk of lung cancer by up to 30% says the American Cancer Research Institute.  It neutralizes free radicals so they can’t damage the DNA, and it keeps the growth of any cancer cells that do develop, under control.

Stop sipping on sodas…Tufts University says that soda is the biggest source of calories in the American diet.  Drinking just one soda a day can put on 14 pounds in a year and can up your risk of having type-2 diabetes by 83%.  Jazz up your water with fresh squeezed lemons or limes, sliced apples or cucumbers.  Adequate hydration can also lessen your can of suffering a heart attack by 50%.

Eat dark chocolate.  It hardens tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay.  In fact an extract in chocolate rights cavities better than fluoride according to Tulane University.

Be safe, be healthy, find a quality protein supplement, take your WomenVitamins, and be blessed, Kersten

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Vitamins for Women: Lay Ladies Lay


Mother hen with chicks02

Image via Wikipedia

Childhood Memories

Image by garden beth via Flickr

My grandpa was a farmer down in southern Minnesota…and his farm in Paradise Valley along the Root River, is the spot of my most cherished, childhood memories.  I loved being there, tagging along with my grandpa and daddy as they did the morning and evening chores, cut hay, harvested crops, and chopped silage.

The dairy barn was an exciting place filled with the sights and smells of larger than life dairy cows and their calves, barn kittens, and hay lofts.

I was specifically warned never to be anywhere near the pig pens, and told dire stories of small children and careless adults– mauled and even eaten by swine herds.

The one place I could go alone was to the chicken coop.  I was given a small pail and told that I could collect all the eggs I could find, and my grandma would make them into breakfast for us when we returned to the house.

Finding eggs was a challenge…my grandma’s chickens were free range birds, only corralled into the coop at night to keep them safe from the occasional fox or owls on the prowl.  So not all the hens obliged and sat on their nests in the roost, many of these barnyard gypsies would casually lay eggs in random spots and walk off without a backwards glance.  It was a grand victory to discover hidden eggs and return triumphant with a pail full of beautiful, smooth, warm, brown eggs.

…Eggs have gotten a lot of bad press over the past few years.  For the longest time they were accused of causing heart problems and high cholesterol…perish the thought of egg yolk passing your lips.

But once again, the pendulum has swung and now studies show that actually, eggs are beneficial for optimal health and weight loss.

First, let’s consider the 2 most popular “villainies” of the egg:

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, there is no significant link between egg consumption and heart disease. In fact, according to one study, regular consumption of eggs may help prevent blood clots, stroke, and heart attacks.

New research also shows that moderate consumption of eggs does not have a negative impact on cholesterol. Yup, that’s right: the regular consumption of 2 eggs/day does not affect a person’s lipid profile and may, in fact, improve it. We know now that saturated fat raises cholesterol rather than dietary cholesterol.  Eggs contain 5 grams of fat/egg and only 1.5 grams of that is saturated fat.

So with those 2 misconceptions out of the way, consider this:

  • Overweight adults who eat 2 eggs for breakfast feel more energetic and lose 65% more weight than those who start their mornings with an equally caloric bagel.
  • Other findings reveal that egg-eaters consume 300 fewer calories per day, adding up to a loss of three pounds per month, due to the fact that an egg contains 6 grams of high quality protein and all 9 essential amino acids.  The protein just makes you feel more satisfied and less hungry.  “Eggs help level out blood sugar, provide energy-boosting protein and are full of nutrients,” says wellness coach Jessica Smith.
  • Eggs are great for the eyes. According to one study, an egg a day lowers the risk of developing cataracts and may prevent macular degeneration due to the carotenoid content, specifically lutein and zeaxanthin that are more readily available to our bodies from eggs than from other sources.
  • Eggs are one of the only foods that contain naturally occurring vitamin D.
  • One egg yolk has about 300 micrograms of choline, an important nutrient that helps regulate the brain, nervous system, and cardiovascular system.
  • Eggs may prevent breast cancer. In one study, women who consumed at least 6 eggs per week lowered their risk of breast cancer by 44%.
  • Eggs promote healthy hair and nails because of their high sulphur content and wide array of vitamins and minerals. Many people find their hair grows faster after adding eggs to their diet, especially if they were previously deficient in foods containing sulphur or B12.

I love eggs: hard boiled, scrambled, tossed into egg salad. I’m glad they are being vindicated.

Today, I wax nostalgic in the egg section of the grocery store.  I fondly buy free range, brown eggs, and gladly pay the extra dollar in hopes that this small contribution allows some hen the good fortune to roam at will, being wild and wily, just like my grandma’s birds.

Be healthy, take your women vitamins, and be blessed, Kersten

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