Monday, March 31, 2008

Tips on Coping with Jet Lag

Jet lag, a term that is ever familiar with the frequent travelers. With the world becoming a global village and with the increase in need to travel for work and for other reasons, people are traveling more and more regularly. There is a saying, by some people who are traveling a lot, "I'm taking the plane just like taking a cab."

Jet lag is a physiological condition which is a consequence of alterations to the biological clock, which is a small cluster of brain cells that controls the timing of biological functions (circadian rhythms), including when you eat and sleep. When traveling across a number of time zones, the body clock will not be in sync with the destination time, as it experiences daylight and darkness contrary to the rhythms to which it has grown so used to. Besides being caused by traveling to different time zones on jet as its name implies, jet lag can also be due to shift work, daylight saving time, altered day length. They are known as desynchronosis, dysrhythmia, dyschrony, jet lag, or jet syndrome.

The condition of jet lag may last many days and depends on individuals. People who normally stick to a rigid daily routine, are often the worst sufferers. People whose normal lives involve highly varied routines can often adjust their circadian rhythms better, and adapt to a disruption of normal eating and sleeping patterns. People who sleep easily can also cope better with the adjustment. The intensity of the condition of jet lag also depends on the number of time zones cross. For people flying across only one or two time zones, they may be able to adjust without noticeable effects of the time change as compared to others who are flying across three or more time zones.

Direction of flight will also determine how intense the condition of your jet lag will be. There seems to be some evidence that traveling west to east is the more disruptive. Travelers flying east "lose" time. This disruption to their body clocks affects their meals, sleep, bowel habits, and other daily routines consequently. Travelers flying west "gain" time and usually have an easier time adjusting than eastward travelers.

Symptoms of Jet Lag:

The symptoms of jet lag can be quite varied, though on the whole, an individual may experience the following:

  • Dehydration: Jet lag sufferer may experience dehydration and the dry air in aircraft may make it even worse. It is advisable to drink plenty of water. Water is better choice than coffee, tea and fruit juices. Drinking of alcohol is strictly not advisable as it is not only useless in combating dehydration, but also has an intoxicating effect in an aircraft environment.

  • Loss of appetite

  • Nausea and/or upset stomach

  • Headaches and/or sinus irritation

  • Fatigue: Becoming tired and disoriented for days after arriving. Lack of concentration and motivation, especially for any activity that requires some effort or skill, like driving, reading, or discussing a business deal. But even simple activities can become harder. And your ability to really enjoy that vacation is significantly reduced.

  • Disorientation and/or grogginess: Long haul flights can get very tiring toward the end, not to mention the process of going through customs and immigration and then getting to your hotel. "Losing their coolness" is one symptom reported by flight crews.

  • Insomnia and/or highly irregular sleep patterns

  • Mild depression

  • 5 Tips to Cope with Jet Lag

    Below are some tips which you can use to help you cope with jet lag:

    1. Pre-flight: Try to relax and not be too excited or concerned about your trip. Staying in shape also helps you to cope better with jet lag. Whether you are traveling are not, it is always important to stay in tip-top physical condition and that will mean plenty of rest, exercise and eating right. And remember to get a good night of sleep prior to departure.

    2. Drink Plenty of Water: As mentioned above, to prevent dehydration, it is important for you to drink plenty of water during the flight. It is advisable not to drink alcohol or even caffeinated beverages before, during, or just after the flight as they not only cause dehydration, but also disrupt your sleeping schedules.

    3. Move around on the plane: While seated during your flight, exercise your legs from time to time. For example, moving your legs up and down and back and forth, bending your knees or standing up and sitting down etc. You may also want to take a walk in the aisle every hour or two. This not only prevents blood clot in the legs (which may lead to death in serious cases), but also helps to reduce discomfort and refresh your body. Just don't do jumping jack in the plane, you have caused the plane to 'jump' too. In the event where there are stopovers, do get off the plane wherever possible to do some exercises or take a walk.

    4. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes: For once, looking good on the plane is not as important as feeling good. Make sure you are comfortably dress for the flight. Avoid items that pinch, restrict, or chafe. A good point to note is also to keep in mind the climate in your destination.

    5. Sleep aids: Blindfolds, ear plugs, neck rests and blow-up pillows are all useful in helping you get quality sleep while flying. Kick your shoes off to ease pressure on the feet (some airlines provide soft sock-like slippers, and many experienced travellers carry their own).

    A few words of cautious: some people use sleeping pills to alleviate jet lag. It is highly not advisable as sleeping pills induce a comatose state with little or no natural body movement, and it is well known that prolonged immobility during flight can lead to fatal blood clots (deep vein thrombosis). In addition, many so-called sleeping pills are variants of anti-histamines and they tend to dehydrate significantly, adding to the already significant problem of in-flight dehydration.

    Thus with proper planning of your flight in advance by taking notes of your flying direction (whether it is east to west or west to eat), time and coupling with exercises and diet and plenty of rest before the departure can alleviate jet lag. Wishing you a pleasant flight!

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    Wednesday, March 26, 2008

    Carbon Dioxide: A-Z of Global Warming

    global warmingCopyright © 2008 Simon Rosser

    We are now well into our alphabetic A to Z journey on global warming. C for Carbon dioxide is one of the main players in the global warming problem. Carbon dioxide, chemical symbol co2 is a chemical compound composed of one carbon and two oxygen atoms.

    CO2 is present in the Earth's atmosphere at a low concentration, around 0.038% by volume, and is one of many gases that make up Earth's atmosphere. CO2 is measured in parts per million by volume of air (PPMV). Atmospheric carbon dioxide derives from many natural sources including volcanic eruptions, the combustion of organic matter, the respiration of living aerobic organisms, and unfortunately from manmade (anthropogenic) sources, which we all know from the news is being linked to global warming and climate change.

    Since the industrial revolution particularly the mid nineteenth century, the burning of fossil fuels for energy to provide electricity, power factories, homes and for all our transport needs has released massive amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. Not only the burning of fossil fuels, but changes in the use of the land for agriculture and deforestation has further added to global manmade CO2 levels. According to the World Wildlife fund some 29 gigatons which is 29 billion metric tons of CO2 was added to the atmosphere in 2004 alone from burning coal, oil and gas.

    If we go back 250 years or so, to pre- industrial times, usually taken to be around 1750, CO2 levels in the atmosphere stood at around 280 parts per million by volume (ppmv). However levels of the gas have been increasing steadily ever since.


    Well, pioneering scientist Charles Keeling (1928-2005) started taking atmospheric CO2 measurements in 1958 from Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii. Those measurements have been recorded and are now known as The Keeling Curve. Charles Keeling was the professor of oceanography at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography (SIO) which is in San Diego, USA, and he followed the work of another eminent scientist and director of the SIO, Roger Revelle. Dr Revelle was instrumental in creating the Geophysical Year in 1958 and SIO's first programme looking at atmospheric CO2 back in 1956.

    Monthly CO2 measurements were collected from a height of 3397 metres (11,140 feet) at the Mauna Loa Observatory situated on the slopes of Earth's largest volcano, Mauna Loa in Hawaii which was chosen for its remoteness to populations and vegetation so as not to skewer the readings.

    Measurements have been taken over a 50 year period between 1958 and present, which show an increase in CO2 levels of 70 ppmv from around 315 ppmv to around their current level of 385 ppmv. The effects of CO2 in the atmosphere can even be measured on a cyclical basis, and this can be seen in the saw toothed keeling graph. Because there is greater land area, and thus far more plant life in the Northern Hemisphere compared to the Southern Hemisphere, there is an annual fluctuation of about 5 ppmv peaking in May and reaching a minimum in October. This corresponds to the Northern Hemisphere growing season. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere drops towards spring when uptake by the plants and trees by photosynthesis is greatest. The opposite occurs in winter when the plants die off and CO2 levels rise again.

    Continuous readings in this way have only been taken since 1958, however scientists have discovered that prior to the industrial era, circa 1750, CO2 levels stood at around 280 ppmv and this data has been revealed from air trapped in ice core records, taken from both the Antarctic and Arctic. Perhaps most startling is the fact that CO2 levels are now around 85 ppmv higher than at any time during the last 650,000 years. Records from ice core records go back that far and have shown atmospheric CO2 levels to range from 180-300 ppmv during that period. The level of CO2 in our atmosphere now stands at 385 ppmv, and is increasing steadily.

    The Keeling curve has become one of the most recognisable images in modern science as it shows with no uncertainty the effects of humankind's fossil fuel pollution of Earth's atmosphere.

    CO2 levels have increased by 37% since pre-industrial times and have been increasing by an average of almost 1.4 ppmv a year since measurements began in 1958, although some months the figure has been higher, sometimes lower. In the last ten years however, the average increase appears to be around 1.9 ppmv each year, which indicates the rate of increase is increasing.

    Whilst CO2 is a natural greenhouse gas, and important in natural concentrations to maintain Earth's climate, anthropogenic CO2 is now pushing up Earth's temperature. Earth's natural sinks, like the Amazon rainforest and the oceans struggle to absorb the additional CO2 now being added to the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels. It is a know scientific fact that higher levels of greenhouse gases, of which CO2 is a component cause a warming of Earth's atmosphere. If CO2 is not kept in check and continues to rise at current levels it will eventually cause Earth's temperature to increase to levels which maybe critical to life on Earth.

    Earth's temperature has already increased by 0.74 degrees Celsius (1.33 Fahrenheit ) over the last 100 years......

    Simon Rosser, a lawyer by profession, I felt inspired to write The A-Z of Global Warming, published in June 2008, after viewing Al Gore's documentary, An Inconvenient Truth in Nov 2006. Based on the most upto date scientific information, this Carbon Dioxide extract gives a flavour of the books content. To pre-order the book from Amazon, goto

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    Thursday, March 20, 2008

    C is the Alphabet to Healthy Life

    Down with a cold? Vitamin C may just be what you need. 2 years ago one of my associates told me that she never consulted any doctor when she had cold. She simply increased her Vitamin C intake and usually after about 2 weeks, she would be well again. Well, I'm not telling you to skip the doctor when you have cold in the future but rather to share with an experience what you may do to help yourself to get better faster. If you are one of those who doesn't see a doctor just because of a cold, this can very well be something you can do to help yourself get better in the most naturally way. And remember to have your rest too.

    Vitamin C and also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin. Being water-soluble means that it dissolves in water and the body cannot store it. The excess amount of Vitamin C and other water-soluble vitamins leave the body through urine. Therefore your body needs a constant supply of Vitamin C in your diet.

    Vitamin C is essential for the formation of collagen, which is an important protein used to make skin, scar tissue, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels. Vitamin C is essential for the healing of wounds, and for the repair and maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth. It not only improves resistance to infection but (from a recent article I posted on '
    Tea and Iron Absorption ') also aids the absorption of iron. Vitamin C is also a highly effective antioxidant that can protect your cells from damage by free radicals. Human is one of the few mammals that is unable to manufacture ascorbic acid in the liver and since the body is not able to store Vitamin C, it is therefore important to include plenty of vitamin C-containing foods in the daily diet.

    Vitamin C Food Source

    Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of Vitamin C. The foods that are very rich in Vitamin C include green peppers, citrus fruits and juices, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, turnip greens and other leafy greens, sweet and white potatoes, and cantaloupe. Being water-soluble and one of the least stable vitamins, cooking can destroy much of the Vitamin C content in food.

    According to
    WHFoods, "Vitamin C is highly sensitive to air, water, and temperature. About 25% of the vitamin C in vegetables can be lost simply by blanching (boiling or steaming the food for a few minutes). This same degree of loss occurs in the freezing and unthawing of vegetables and fruits. Cooking of vegetables and fruits for longer periods of time (10-20 minutes) can result in a loss of over one half the total vitamin C content. When fruits and vegetables are canned and then reheated, only 1/3 of the original vitamin C content may be left. Consumption of vitamin C-rich foods in their fresh, raw form is the best way to maximize vitamin C intake."

    Vitamin C Deficiency

    Severe Vitamin C deficiency has been known for many centuries as the potentially fatal disease, scurvy. Scurvy is a condition characterized by general weakness, anemia, gum disease (gingivitis) and skin hemorrhages. Symptoms of scurvy include bleeding and bruising easily, hair and tooth loss, joint pain and swelling. A high percentages of sailors with the British navy and other fleets used to die from scurvy until James Lind discovered that the juice of lemons could cure and also prevent the disease. The ships then routinely carried limes for the sailors to consume daily, and thus these sailors became known as "limeys." Scurvy is now most frequently seen in older and malnourished adults. Scurvy is rare in developed countries because it can be prevented by as little as 10 mg of vitamin C daily.

    Symptoms of Deficiency (according to
    MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: Vitamin C):
    • Dry and splitting hair
    • Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums)
    • Bleeding gums
    • Rough, dry, scaly skin
    • Decreased wound-healing rate
    • Easy bruising
    • Nosebleeds
    • Weakened tooth enamel
    • Swollen and painful joints
    • Anemia
    • Decreased ability to fight infection
    • Possible weight gain because of slowed metabolism
    Side Effect of Vitamin C

    Everything in life is about moderation. Just as a coin has two sides, a lot of things in life have their pro and cons. Vitamin C toxicity is very rare as the excess amount is easily excreted from the body when not needed.

    According to
    WHFoods, "There are very few research studies that document vitamin C toxicity at any level of supplementation, and there are no documented toxicity effects whatsoever for vitamin C in relation to food and diet. At high supplemental doses involving 5 or more grams of vitamin C, diarrhea can result from the fluid in the intestine becoming too concentrated ("osmotic diarrhea")." They further discussed that large dosage of Vitamin C can increase levels of uric acid in the urine as Vitamin C can be broken down into uric acid.

    According to
    Linus Pauling Institute, "A number of possible problems with very large doses of vitamin C have been suggested. However, none of these adverse health effects have been confirmed, and there is no reliable scientific evidence that large amounts of vitamin C (up to 10 grams/day in adults) are toxic or detrimental to health. With the latest RDA published in 2000, a tolerable upper intake level (UL) for vitamin C was set for the first time. A UL of 2 grams (2,000 milligrams) daily was recommended in order to prevent most adults from experiencing diarrhea and gastrointestinal disturbances. Such symptoms are not generally serious, especially if they resolve with temporary discontinuation or reduction of high-dose vitamin C supplementation."

    One point to note, if you have health problems related to excess free iron in your cells, you may want to consider avoiding high supplemental doses of vitamin C.

    The benefits of Vitamin C truly outweigh the detrimental effects it may have on your health - as long as you keep to the daily advise limit and according to your doctor advise. Wishing you great health always!

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    Saturday, March 15, 2008

    Did You Leave Your Cellular Phone at Home?

    old phoneCellular Phones and Cellular Phone Technologies have advanced by leaps and bounds since their introduction on the market. Do you still remember the day when the cellular phone looks just like the one on the left? I used to joke with my friends that if we throw that phone at someone, it might just kill the person. Some of you might have even seen water bottles being made to look just like that phone. Those were the days when cellular phone were only carried by the rich and elite who could afford them. I have a friend who used to work as an insurance adviser and due to the needs from work, he was among the first few to carry a cellular phone. He said that he used to go to a quiet corner when using his cellular in public or he would get a lot of passersby looking at him as if to say that he was a show off; who would need a cellular in those days when you can see public phone almost everywhere you go.

    The 'water bottle' mobile phone had since made drastic changes. It has become so small that it can even fit in nicely to your pocket and purse. Not only that, the mobile phone has also changed our lives dramatically. It seems that almost everybody has a cell phone these days. Most probably some of you are carrying more than one cell phones; one for personal use and one for work. I have even seen children under the age of 10 texting and talking to their friends and family. However, just a word of cautious, it will be a great idea to get your children an earpiece for their use. I have been through a seminar before on the possible effect of cell phone radiation to human. The speaker had said that the skull for children will not be fully developed only until they are 14-15 and thus the radiation from cell phone will affect them more.

    Reuters reports that the Carphone Warehouse and the London School of Economics found that one in three people wouldn't give up their cellphone for a million dollars. As a matter of fact, they "would rather give up alcohol, chocolate, sex, tea, or coffee than live without their mobile phone for a month." Responses varied among the 1,256 participants, but the survey did found young Britons under 24 were less willing to give up their mobile, than those over 45. Makes sense since the 45 and over age group didn't grow up with cellphones. Do you feel the need to have your cell phone with you all the time or do you happened to be one who is wearing an earpiece all the time? I am for the latter, at least when I need to drive. Just another word of cautious here, if you are driving, do use the hands free. Earpieces and bluetooths are so widely available at affordable prices now and there is really no excuse not to be using them when you are driving. Be a responsible driver.

    As discussed earlier, cell phone has changed our live dramatically - it has practically changed our relationships and the way we work. Texting and smsing have become a common thing. You can be in touch 24/7, and have no excuse not to text back. Personally for myself, texting is good and convenient especially if the message that I want to convery to the other party is not time critical or I do not have to get an immediate reply from the person. However, for important message, nothing beats a face to face meet up. If meeting up is not possible, at least make it a phone call where you can hear the person's responses directly and immediately clear up any misunderstandings. How has cell phone affected your relationships?

    Communications demands in work and business have spurred the development of advanced communication technologies that allow you to be contactable 24/7. Whenever I see someone using a Blackberry phone, I always remembered what one of my friends said. He is working as sort of a project manager and event organiser and thus he has to be contactable at all time. I remembered when we were having dinner with him, he said that he really envy us and how he wishes he can carry a smaller phone instead of his Blackberry. And as you might have guessed, he carried two phones and he said it's really inconvenient and troublesome at time. Last month we had another dinner gathering and just when we were about to leave the restaurant at around 1030pm, he got a call from one of his contractors informing him that they were hanging up the banner (not the banner we have in the internet) for an upcoming event. They had taken and email him some photos and were calling to check if he had checked his email yet. Cell phone has made work easier in a lot of way and yet it definitely changed our working hours and put a new meaning to the so called 9-to-5 work. How has cell phone changed the way you are doing your work?

    The cell phone of yesterday is no longer an item only for the rich and elite. Through the advances in technology, the cell phone has become an affordable item for the common people and our lives can never be the way again. There are no way we can prevent or control the advances in technology and it does not make sense not to embrace these advances if they make our lives easier and better - provided that these advances do not disturb the harmony with the environment we are living in. I remembered a quotation that goes something like this, "We must always love people and make use of technology and not the other way round." On top of that, I must add, "We must love our environment too!" We would not be around if our planet is harm. Wishing all love and goodness in all areas of your life.

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    Thursday, March 13, 2008

    7 Tips on Saving Fuel

    carOil price is soaring and it certainly looks like it will not be staying at a constant price for long. I remembered last year around June, the price per litre of Shell 98 was around $1.70 SGD and just recently when I was refilling fuel. It costs about $2.12 SGD per litre; an increase of almost $0.40 SGD per litre. Not to mention that the price is still rising. There are a few alternatives that we can do.

    1. To stop driving - for those who have been driving, you will be saying it's crazy! Cars are just like your legs; they carries you around places. However, what we can do is to try walking, cycling or hopping on a bus for short trips.

    2. To change to hybrid car - this is one viable option where you can adopt and yet some were saying that it takes much more fuel to produce a hybrid car.

    3. To change the way we drive - this is possibly the immediate option that we can adopt. By changing your driving habits you can improve fuel economy and there are many tips which you can use to start saving dollars and not pennies. Changing your habits and you'll see a substantial savings at the pump — without the need for a new car.

    Let us look at ways on how we can change our driving habits as well as tips on how we can save fuel. These tips not only help you to save fuel, but also help you to contribute your bit towards saving our planet.

    Keep Your Tires Properly Inflated
    Keeping the tires at the right pressure not only increase your safety while driving, it also promotes fuel efficiency. The PSI number at the side of your tires shows the maximum pressure of the tire and is not the proper inflation level for your car. Your vehicle manufacturer will list the recommended tire pressure in your owner's manual or a sticker on the doorjamb of the driver-side door. You will notice that if your tires are underinflated, you will experience the extra drag on your car and this translates to more fuel usage.

    Follow the Recommended Maintenance
    It is important to follow your car manufacturer's servicing recommendations. A vehicle that is well maintained means it will operate with greater efficiency. This not only improves your overall vehicle performance, but it will improve your fuel economy as well. Proper maintenance also means using the right octane gas and the recommended grade of motor oil. A fuel with a higher and inappropriate octane rating does not translate to more power. Using the recommended types for your vehicle will give you optimum fuel economy — and can translate to more saving for you.

    Avoid carrying excess weight
    Heavier vehicles require more energy to move, so carrying around excess weight will also affect your mileage. Keeping your boot or back seat clear of unnecessary items can reduce weight to your vehicle and increase fuel efficiency.

    Drive smoothly
    Aggressive driving can use as much as a third more fuel, so avoid accelerating or braking too hard and keep steering smoothly. The fewer heavy brakings and flooring of the accelerator, the more fuel you save. It is important to plan your trip and to avoid the rush when driving. Always give yourself extra time to get to your destination and drive in a "steady and smooth" manner. This not only gets you safely to your destination, it also helps you to save fuel.

    Use the Highest Gear Possible
    Changing to a higher gear to match the speed of the car is the way to go. Lowest gear yields greatest power but translates to an increase in fuel consumption. To improve your fuel economy, drive in the highest gear possible when you are cruising at a steady speed, such as on the highway.

    Use Cruise Control
    Using cruise control can improve your gas mileage by helping you maintain a steady speed, but only if you are driving on mostly flat roads. However, if you are in hilly terrain, you should turn off cruise. It will try to keep you up to the speed you've set and will use a lot of extra gas downshifting to lower gears to accomplish this.

    Avoid excess idling
    When a car is idling, it is using fuel. Turning the engine off during idle periods can help you avoid burning excess fuel. If you are waiting for your kid outside the school or waiting to pick up someone, it is more efficient to turn the engine off while you wait and then restart the car. You will save fuel.

    With these tips, you will not only drastically improve your fuel efficiency and saving money but also doing your bit for our planet.

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    Tuesday, March 04, 2008

    4 Easy Steps to Healthier Eating Habits

    white pepper crabsHow many times have you heard of the saying, "An apple a day, keeps the doctor away," and yet how many of us are diligently following it. Most probably most of you will say, "Hey, I know that!" There is a saying, "To know and not to do is yet to know." There is another saying in Mandarin that illness comes from what go into our mouth. This is very true to a large extent. In order for us to have a healthier life, we not only have to exercise regularly, we also have to watch our diet. Exercises couple with healthy diet is a slow but sure way to lose that extra pounds too.

    No matter what diet you decide is needed to address your personal health and body fitness goals, one of the best ways to ensure you succeed is to adopt healthy eating habits. This is not just about reducing your calorie intake or cutting out sweets, it is more about having an approach to food that will follow you throughout your life. It is about establishing a relationship with food that is comfortable and, most important, natural for you. The only catch is it will take practice until it becomes a habit.

    1. Wide Variety of Healthy Food

    Variety is the spice of life. If you have some variety in your diet you’re more likely to enjoy what you’re eating. So ensure that your eating plan includes a wide variety of foods. Choose foods that give you joy and eat them in moderation. Too much of anything isn’t good.

    2. Eat More Fiber to Feel Full

    A common complaint of many diets is that the portions recommended aren’t filling. Start incorporating more fiber into your diet. Not only is it good for you but it will help to make you feel full and satisfied.

    3. Healthy Snacking

    Part of the challenge of sticking to a diet is a nasty habit many of us have called unhealthy snacking. Retrain yourself to eat healthy snacks. The reality is you will continue to eat between meals and that is actually a good thing to do. Just ensure that what you’re snacking on gives your body much needed energy and nutrients.

    The easiest way to snack on healthy food is to think ahead. Prepare fresh or dried fruit, raw vegetables with low fat dip or fill a small container with a handful of nuts or low fat yogurt. These are just a few ideas for some handy and tasty snacks that are easy to carry and will satisfy that “snacking” need.

    4. Nine Servings of Fruit and Vegetables Dailyfruits and vegetables

    Did you know that many health experts recommend that as part of a healthy diet one should eat up to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day? That works out to about 4 ½ cups. Not only can this approach provide delicious and energy boosting snacks and meals but these servings can help lower cholesterol levels. As well, for vegetarians and raw food enthusiasts, more fruits and vegetables means less room and need for meats and dairy in the diet. Reducing our meat and dairy intake reduces cholesterol-boosting saturated fat—an outcome that our hearts will appreciate!

    Here are some pointers to keep in mind about fruit:

    • Select fruits that are in season. This is not only a tastier alternative, since locally grown food is naturally fresher, but it is better for the environment as well. When we purchase locally grown food we help lower the demand for foods that must be transported cross country to fulfill customer needs. Less transportation = less fumes and pollution.

    • Always choose fresh fruits whenever possible. When fresh fruits aren’t possible, choose fruits canned in juice or water rather than light or heavy syrup since this adds unnecessary sugar to your meal.

    • Watch your intake of fruit juices. Many fruit juices have ridiculously high sugar content. Choose whole fruits as snacks rather than juice.

    • Try to make it a habit to add fruit in salads, toppings, desserts and snacks, whenever possible.

    Here are some handy tips for selecting and eating vegetables:

    • Colorful vegetables (and fruits) provide a wide range of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals your body uses to maintain good health and energy levels.

    • So when choosing green leafy vegetables the darker the better! Eat more dark-green vegetables like broccoli, spinach and kale.

    • Yellow and orange vegetables (and fruits) contain varying amounts of antioxidants such as vitamin C and when included as part of a low-fat diet may help to maintain a healthy heart, vision health and a healthy immune system. So eat more orange and yellow vegetables like carrots, pumpkin, winter squash and sweet potatoes.

    • Control the amount of starchy vegetables (like potatoes) in your diet.

    About the Author: For over 20 years, Diana Walker has assisted people like you in using natural, safe options for creating vibrant health and well-being. Get her gems of wisdom and healthy recipes mini- e-book via her free newsletter at:

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    Saturday, March 01, 2008

    Vitamin D Is Essential For Bone Health And More

    Vitamin D is always associated with sunlight. Sun exposure is perhaps the most important source of vitamin D because exposure to sunlight provides most humans with their vitamin D requirement and yet we have to be careful not to overexpose ourselves too much in the sun. Moderation is the key here.

    The other source of vitamin D is from our diet. There are only a few food sources of vitamin D. Good sources of vitamin D are fortified foods and beverages like milk, soy drinks, and margarine. Check the labels on these foods. Fish, liver, and egg yolk are the only foods that naturally contain vitamin D.

    Can we have an overdose of vitamin D? From Wikipedia, "...normal food and pill vitamin D concentration levels are too low to be toxic in adults, because of the high vitamin A content in codliver oil, it is possible to reach toxic levels of vitamin A (but not vitamin D) via this route, if taken in multiples of the normal dose in an attempt to increase the intake of vitamin D. Most historical cases of vitamin D overdose have occurred due to manufacturing and industrial accidents."

    The Wikipedia further mentioned, "exposure to sunlight for extended periods of time does not cause vitamin D toxicity.This is because within about 20 minutes of ultraviolet exposure in light skinned individuals (3–6 times longer for pigmented skin) the concentration of vitamin D precursors produced in the skin reach an equilibrium, and any further vitamin D that is produced is degraded. Maximum endogenous production with full body exposure to sunlight is 250 µg (10,000 IU) per day."

    So we have to watch our intake of vitamin D which is essential to our bodies for bone formation and mineralization and for the delevelopment of an intact and strong skeleton. Have a fun and healthy sunshine day and great health to all!

    Vitamins D is a fat-soluble seco-sterol hormone precursor that is responsible for sustaining optimal levels of calcium and phosphorus in our blood stream. To some extent, Vitamin D is manufactured by our skin though exposure to sunlight. The best time for sunlight exposure is during the spring and fall seasons. Winter sunlight is too weak for the production of Vitamin D. Many of us do not get enough exposure to sunlight during the year. We have been convinced that the sun is not good for our skin, so when we are exposed to sun we have come to use clothing and sun screen to "protect" ourselves from the sun. Most of us spend most of our time indoors. These factors have resulted in making Vitamin D deficiency a common if not major health problem. It has also been found that older people and many younger women, especially African-American women, and those who live in Northern climates with less time exposure to sunlight are at risk for Vitamin D deficiency.

    Vitamin D is essential in reducing bone fractures and increasing bone strength and density. It has been found that higher quantities of calcium alone in our diets does not reduce the risk of bone fracture or significantly increase bone density and strength. The reason for this is that calcium needs to be absorbed in order to be beneficial. Vitamin D is essential in increasing the absorption of calcium. This is especially important for women in producing and maintaining healthy, strong bone structure and prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. Children need Vitamin D to help their bones mineralize during rapid bone growth. Of course, we all know the importance of the absorption of calcium enhanced by Vitamin D for the development and maintenance of oral bone and tooth health. Vitamin D may very well help us keep our teeth.

    In the Northern part of our world and during the winter many people suffer from SAD i.e. seasonal affective disorder. SAD is a form of depression most probably due to reduced exposure to sunlight resulting in less production of Vitamin D. It has been found that supplemental intake of Vitamin D is superior to light therapy in reducing the condition of SAD. It has also been found that blood pressure is elevated during the winter and in people with less exposure to sunlight. Research has shown that people with little exposure to sunlight, who add Vitamin D supplementation to their diets, experience lowering of high blood pressure and lower heart rate. The absorption of calcium though the use of sufficient amounts of Vitamin D has been found to prevent and reduce hypertension..

    Vitamin D has been found to provide a critical function in many metabolic processes, such as our cell growth, our immune system, and our cardiovascular health. Low levels i.e. deficiency of Vitamin D has been found to be a factor in congestive heart failure for many older people. Extensive research is being conducted to determine the effect of Vitamin D deficiency in the growth of certain cancers. The lack of absorption of calcium because of Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to seizures. Because of Vitamin D's effect on the maintenance of healthy levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood stream and absorption of calcium and phosphorus, Vitamin D has been shown to be helpful in treating kidney failure.

    Vitamin D has been shown to increase muscles strength, especially large muscle e.g thighs, calves, arms, and diaphragm. Vitamin D has also been found to reduce muscle pain by helping repair the damage of muscle strain. This is especially important as we age.

    More and more evidence is being found confirming the vital importance of Vitamin D for our general health as well as for our bone health. Unfortunately, relying on exposure to sunlight for our skin to produce Vitamin D, has it's limitations such as winter, geographic location, indoor lifestyle, etc. It would be wise for us to insure that we are receiving enough Vitamin D by adding a Vitamin D supplement to our diets in single form or through multiple vitamin formulas containing healthy amounts of Vitamin D.


    Jenny has more than twenty years experience with all natural health care products. More information about the benefits of Vitamin D and other natural vitamin supplements is available at

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