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Whether you eat breakfast might be linked with your risk of dying early from cardiovascular disease, according to a new study.

Skipping breakfast was significantly associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular-related death, especially stroke-related death, in the study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology on Monday.

After a person’s age, sex, race, socioeconomic status, diet, lifestyle, body mass index and disease status were taken into account, the study found that those who never had breakfast had a 87% higher risk of cardiovascular mortality compared with people who had breakfast every day, said Dr. Wei Bao, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa in Iowa City and senior author of the study.
“Breakfast is traditionally believed as the most or at least one of the most important meals of the day, but there are not much data available to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to this belief. Our paper is among the ones that provide evidence to support long-term benefits,” Bao said.
“There are a few cardiovascular risk factors — for example diabetes, hypertension and lipid disorders,” he said. “Our findings are in line with and supported by previous studies that consistently showed that skipping breakfast is related to those strong risk factors for cardiovascular death.”
Cardiovascular disease — specifically heart disease and stroke — is the leading cause of death in the world, accounting for a combined 15.2 million deaths in 2016, according to the World Health Organization. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.
Skipping breakfast and cardiovascular death
The study involved data from 1988 to 1994 on 6,550 US adults, aged 40 to 75, who reported how often they ate breakfast in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
The survey data generally let respondents define what meal would be considered breakfast.
Separate data was analyzed to determine the adults’ health status through 2011. All told, 2,318 deaths occurred during an average follow-up period of 18.8 years, including 619 from cardiovascular disease.
The researchers took a close look at how often each person consumed breakfast and at mortality, specifically whether a death was related to cardiovascular health. The survey data generally let respondents define what meal would be considered breakfast.
Of those adults, 5.1% reported never consuming breakfast; 10.9% rarely ate breakfast; 25% had breakfast on some days; and 59% had breakfast every day.
Compared with those who consumed breakfast every day, adults who never did so had a higher risk of heart disease-related death and stroke-related death, according to the study.
Those associations were found to be significant and independent of socioeconomic status, body mass index and cardiovascular risk factors, the researchers noted.
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first prospective analysis of skipping breakfast and risk of cardiovascular mortality,” they wrote.
The study had some limitations, including that the data did not include information about what types of foods or drinks were consumed for breakfast and whether a person’s breakfast consumption patterns changed between 1994 and when the followup mortality data was collected.
Most important, the study found only an association between skipping breakfast and risk of early death, not that skipping breakfast specifically causes any such outcomes. More research is needed to determine whether missing the meal actually could shorten life expectancy and why such an association exists.

The post Breakfast is STILL the most important meal of the day appeared first on Viva Magazine.

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Upper respiratory infections remain one of the most common triggers of asthma attacks in children, but not every cold leads to a dangerous worsening of symptoms, even among children with severe asthma. The reasons for this have mostly gone unanswered for decades, but a new study led by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health provides some insight on what differentiates a cold that leads to an asthma attack from a cold that remains a cold.

Researchers in the UW-led Inner-City Asthma Consortium used systems-scale data collection and network analysis to pinpoint characteristic changes in gene expression—the degree to which genes are turned on or off—that lead to asthma attacks in children. Their findings were reported online last week in Nature Immunology.

Identifying the molecular pathways that cause the common cold to progress to asthma exacerbations will not just improve our understanding of these potentially life-threatening events, but will also help us create better prevention and therapeutic strategies that are more targeted and effective than what currently exist,” said Dr. Daniel Jackson, lead investigator on the study and an associate professor of pediatrics and medicine at UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

“Our study introduces a novel platform to investigate, in a clinical setting, the mechanisms by which asthma attacks develop and also provides a springboard for future research that will, ultimately, help the millions of children affected by this disease.”

Researchers enrolled 208 children with severe asthma at nine Inner-City Asthma Consortium clinical sites across the United States. All study participants, who were 6 to 17 years old, received asthma care based on NIH guidelines. Over a six-month period, participants used a mobile app to record cold and asthma symptoms. Within three days of the onset of cold symptoms, participants visited the clinic for a physical exam and collection of nasal wash and blood samples. They returned for a second clinic visit four to six days after the start of the cold.

During the study, 106 children experienced cold symptoms a total of 154 times, of which 47 led to an asthma attack requiring treatment with oral corticosteroids. The researchers analyzed and compared nasal washings from each child. Overall, the study found that colds that led to an asthma attack showed changes in gene expression levels in six gene “modules,” or families of genes that interact to produce specific biological functions.

These gene modules are primarily associated with maintaining the function of the epithelium—the outermost layer of tissue lining the respiratory tract—and with responses of immune cells in close contact with the epithelium. Treatment of the attack with oral corticosteroids reduced gene expression levels in some of these modules to levels comparable to those observed in children who did not have an asthma attack, while others were unchanged by this rescue therapy.

The researchers next divided the 47 instances of cold symptoms that led to an asthma attack into two groups: 33 in which researchers detected a cold-causing virus in nasal washings and 14 in which they did not. The absence of a virus likely indicates that the cold-like symptoms the children had were triggered by another cause, such as pollution, other irritants or allergens. By comparing the two groups, researchers identified distinct molecular changes that take place in asthma attacks that occur without viral infections.

Specifically, they found increased gene expression of kallikreins, enzymes responsible for producing kinin molecules, notably bradykinin, which narrows airways in asthma and dilates blood vessels. Drugs targeting kallikreins and/or bradykinin may hold potential for treatment of asthma attacks with a non-viral trigger. Such medications have already been developed to treat hereditary angioedema, a rare disorder with recurrent attacks of severe swelling.

The study also provides insights into asthma attack risk factors. Particular gene expression patterns present in samples from the visit before cold symptoms developed were associated with higher risk for an asthma attack.

The post Study identifies why some colds cause asthma attacks in children appeared first on Viva Magazine.

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Avoid poor health results and frustration when you start from inside your gut.

It seems as though every week, we hear about a new diet trend making its way through social media. One of the most talked about in recent years is the Ketogenic diet, also called the “keto” diet. We won’t go into detail about it as we have had many previous articles already explore the pros and the cons, but essentially, the ketogenic diet is a weight loss diet that involves extremely high fat, moderate protein, and very low carbohydrates (sometimes as low as 20 grams of carbs per day).  However, our recommendation is that before considering any new diet plan, you must look at the basics, even if you are simply looking at a simple body detox. What this means is that we need to first consider how the human body works before deciding how to best accomplish your health goals.

You have heard it before, but it bears repeating- optimal health begins with optimal digestion. Some important facts outside of what the yogurt TV commercials tell you is that everything from your skin to your energy level to your mood can be affected by poor gut health. The fact is that if we’re not digesting properly, we’re not absorbing nutrients efficiently, while simultaneously boosting levels of inflammation throughout the body and stressing out our immune system.

Did you know that many of your health problems, such as skin clarity, are directly related to your gut health?

A Little Review of Some Common Probiotics…

There are many types of bacteria that are classified as probiotics. While they all have different benefits, most of them come from one of two main types. Listed below are some of the known bacteria types that are beneficial for the treatment of digestive and other health problems:

1)Lactobacillus: This may be the most common probiotic and the family call type of Lp229v. These are the type of bacteria you’ll find in yogurt and other fermented foods. Different strains of this type can help with diarrhea and may help people who can’t digest lactose, the sugar in milk.

2)Bifidobacterium: This is a probiotic strain commonly found in some dairy products, and which may help ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and some other conditions.

3)Saccharomyces boulardii: While not a type of bacteria, this is a yeast found in many probiotic formulas. It appears to help fight diarrhea and other digestive problems.

We’ve all heard about Lactobacillus, but what about Super Lactobacillus?

Lactobacillus bacteria, which are naturally occurring in our bodies, have been looked at as potential agents for helping to reduce metal toxicity in humans. According to one study, “This is because they have resistance mechanisms which are effective in preventing damage to their cells and they can bind and sequester heavy metals to their cell surfaces, thus removing them through subsequent defecation”. This further illustrates that supporting healthy digestion can positively impact whole body health.

Lactobacillus Plantarum 299v®: Super-bacteria

Lactobacillus Plantarum 299v® (LP299v®) is a probiotic that has been clinically shown to restore gut health. First, unlike many other probiotic supplements that are effectively destroyed by the acidic pH of the stomach, LP299v® has been shown to survive this acidity to reach the intestines intact. There, it has displayed a number of unique properties, including:

  • Inhibiting the growth of pathogenic (harmful) bacteria, leading to a reduction in infections and inflammation.
  • Encouraging the development of additional beneficial probiotic strains, to promote gut flora diversity, a key component of both digestive and immune health.
  • Metabolizing sugars and fibres into vital nutrients, such as short-chain fatty acids, polyamines, vitamins, antioxidants, and amino acids, which are the primary nutrients for the colon, and essential for general gastrointestinal health.
  • Improving immune system functioning in the intestine, which may also promote enhanced memory and learning behaviour.

As discussed, the vital role of probiotics is not limited to digestive wellness alone. Our digestive system is merely the first contact point with many important aspects of health, from the skin to joint pain to memory and immunity. Healthy gut flora is well-equipped to properly break down food and absorb nutrients while keeping inflammation in check, and recruiting the immune system as needed to get rid of any pathogens that it may encounter. Decades of clinical research only reinforce this conclusion, as probiotic strains like LP299v® have repeatedly demonstrated the ability to promote and maintain comfortable digestion. This, in turn, can help to achieve optimal overall health, allowing those whose lives are defined by digestive complaints like IBS, or other inflammatory conditions to enjoy a fresh start, and just “be”.

The post The super highway from Point A to Point “be” appeared first on Viva Magazine.

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What does Balanced living mean to Mercedes?
Being Fearless and being a fighter. I do agree life begins just outside the comfort zone. Whether women quite a job, marriage, food, a family member or even a friendship, being fearless is essential. I am facing fifty years young and finally excited about being me! I’m not going to say it was easy to deal a decade on my divorce, go back to school, juggle kids and work on finding myself, but I am a fighter. Some days I cried, others I hit the heavy bag and even escaped to a chick flick. More often than not, I fell to my knees praying for the pain to end. And so, the universe finally responded.

Holistically Healthy Lifestyle
My relationship with exercise and food has been toxic since my teens, but that’s a self-help book according to my therapist. I have been a diet and diuretic pill-popping princess with a side of part-time bulimia for decades. I was healthy on many levels, but as my chronological age began to rise, it was time to embark on redefining the word healthy for myself and my clients. I began living and breathing a  holistically healthy lifestyle.

Look in the mirror and get honest, get real and get going. We are all different. Whether you want a smoothie or a protein shake, eat your veggies or hide a scoop of greens in juice. Train in your basement or hit a high-intensity class. Find your holistic happy place and live your best life. My bliss is tied and true to me! Always on-the-go, prep is my life. I eat an organic plant-based diet, drink liters of water, sleep at least 7 hours nightly, and have swapped all pharmacy for supplements and adaptogens. I kicked cleaning chemicals out and fell in love with vinegar, lemons and baking soda. I built my beauty care routine based on charcoal, coconut oil and a never-ending list of essential oils. Intermittent fasting and fresh pressed juicing tops my list. I live in a state of prevention. I show detox love to all my organs with on and off cleanses. Stress is never far away, which makes addressing my overworked adrenals an on-going commitment.

Self-Love and a positive attitude
I advocate, “loving yourself inside and out!”. Of course, there are tough days where I’m bloated, lazy and a total waste of makeup. But, this resilient almost 50 years old is a mother, a daughter, a best friend, a personal trainer, a nutritionist, a writer, and finally loving herself. Every day starts with an attitude of gratitude, as I lunge happily down my path punching through walls that are placed before me.

The post Balanced living: Mercedes Kay Gold appeared first on Viva Magazine.

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Age
43  Heart attack and SCAD event happened at age 42.
(The most common age it can happen to women).
Occupation
Teachers assistant and Single mother.
Health Issue
SCAD (Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection) and FMD (Fibromuscular Dysplasia).
Symptoms
Chest pain, rapid heartbeat, first felt like a panic attack, needed fresh air, hot flashes, hyperventilating, body shaking uncontrollably, vomiting.
Health Recommendation
Being aware and listening to my body more,taking the time to rest when I need it, keeping my stress level down by exercising, meditation and yoga.Plenty of rest and eating a healthy diet. I have also attended to some Bio-Energy Healing classes, which I found useful.
The Results
Im living each day to the fullest by being grateful looking at each day as a blessing and gift. And lastly, I live a fearless life, as my faith is strong and continually helps my journey.

The post Inspired Living: Lakhrisa Hatch appeared first on Viva Magazine.

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“We must be aware that this is far from proven as an effective treatment for people with cancer, let alone a cure,” Dr. J. Leonard Lichtenfeld.
“I hear many rejections that it is not possible to develop a drug so fast. But we did not say we will develop the drug and get its approval,” Morad continued. “We said we can treat and cure people.”

The team said that the company has presented and been subject to peer review, namely at three Drug Discovery Innovation Program conferences in Munich, Boston and Frankfurt. Major pharmaceutical companies attend those events, they said, including representatives from industry leaders Roche, Sanofi, Merck, Novartis, GSK and Bayer, for example.

AEBi maintained they have not published in a scientific journal – another point raised by critics – because they are a privately-owned company and are still in the process of generating final patents on their intellectual property. They said they have patents on their platform in the European Union, Israel and the United States.

The Post reached out to some 10 additional scientists and researchers, including hospitals and oncologists, most of whom did not want to comment on the record and felt that AEBi’s sweeping claims went too far.

But Dr. Moshik Cohen-Kutner, co-founder and CEO of Omnix Medical, said that while he does not know the company well enough to comment on whether they have a cure for cancer, “I do know that peptide-based drugs are very promising.”

“The technology of AEBi might be a cure for cancer because of the personalized route they are aiming for using selective peptides,” he continued. “It is only recently that the technology involving peptides has reached a point in which it is relatively easy to research. Peptides have the ability to cure human diseases.”

He told the Post that “robust and scientifically sound” projects may take one to two years to get from mice trials to human trials, providing there is adequate funding.

Nonetheless, as Lichtenfeld maintained in his blog post, “We hope this approach… bears fruit and is successful. At the same time, we must always offer a note of caution that the process to get this treatment from mouse to man is not always a simple and uncomplicated journey.”

SOURCE: THE JERUSALEM POST

The post A cure for Cancer? Despite one company’s claims, many experts are uncertain appeared first on Viva Magazine.

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Occupation: Registered Holistic Nutritionist

Heath Issue: Chronic neck and back pain, due to weak subscapular muscles caused by my career as a hair stylist. I lost the curvature in my spinal cord I the neck area and my trapezius muscles overcompensated for the weakness causing a series of unbalanced strength issues in my upper back muscles .

Symptoms: I was in a lot of pain and if I had to bend down to pick something up without thinking about how I was to get back up, I would throw my back into a spasm and it would be so intense it would affect my breathing. I literally had to end my career as a hairstylist.

Health recommendation: Ensuring proper nutrition and healthy digestive system for the body to absorb the nutrients it needs to heal itself. Also, a functional training exercise program focusing more on strengthening the supporting muscles.  I see a chiropractor and massage therapist on a regular basis.

Results: I am now living pain-free and I can perform exercises I was not able to do before. I feel more energy and vitality now at age 42 than I did at the age of 30.

The post Inspired Living: Sandra Ficher appeared first on Viva Magazine.

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Recipe(s)  by Robyn Webb

LEMON ASPARAGUS SOUP

Serves: 12 | Serving size: 1 cup
Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes

Asparagus has an assertive flavor, but it’s nicely tempered in a soup. Potatoes and asparagus work well together and they make a perfect pair. When buying asparagus, settle on stalks that are medium in width. If the stalks are a little too thick-stemmed, peel them. Otherwise, the stems are quite tasty, so leave them in the soup.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small leek, a bottom portion only, washed and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds asparagus, stems trimmed, sliced into 2-inch pieces
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
6 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning
1/2 cup half and half
grated zest of 1 fresh lemon
1/4 cup toasted chopped pistachio nuts

1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the leek, onion, and garlic and sauté for about 7–9 minutes until vegetables are so¨. Add in the asparagus, potatoes, and broth. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium and cook, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 15–17 minutes.
 
2. Ladle the soup into a food processor or blender and process until the soup is smooth, working in batches if necessary. Return the soup to the saucepan and add in the lemon pepper seasoning and a half and a half. Heat through for 1 minute.

3. Garnish each bowl with lemon zest and pistachio nuts.

CALORIES 110    CALORIES FROM FAT 30    TOTAL FAT 3.5 g    SATURATED FAT 1.1 g    TRANS FAT 0.0 g    CHOLESTEROL 5 mg    SODIUM 170 mg    POTASSIUM 510 mg    TOTAL CARBOHYDRATE 17 g    DIETARY FIBER 2 g    SUGARS 3 g    PROTEIN 5 g    PHOSPHORUS 120 mg
 
EXCHANGES/CHOICES:
1 Starch; 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable; 1/2 Fat

Photo: Shrimp and Fruit Tacos in 9 Essential Recipes You Need to Create 90 Amazing Complete Meals By Robyn Webb

SHRIMP AND FRUIT TACOS

Serves: 4 | Serving size: 1 taco
Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 5 minutes

Both mangoes and avocados have the same indicator of ripeness; press the skin on each and it should give just a little. Look for well-rounded mangoes that feel heavy for their size. While most mangoes have a beautiful red and yellow skin colour, colour isn’t always an indicator of ripeness as some ripe mangoes retain quite a bit of green colour on the outside. Better to choose large mangoes that yield a lot of fruit. In addition to pressing on the skin of an avocado, flick off the stem end. Underneath you should find the color green indicating your avocado is ready to eat.

SEASONING MIX

2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/4 pounds large peeled and deveined shrimp
1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 large mango, peeled and cut into thin slices
1 small avocado, peeled and cut into thin slices

GARNISHES

1 cup shredded romaine lettuce
3 fresh medium tomatoes, cored and diced
1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt or nonfat sour cream

1. Combine the ingredients in the seasoning mix and add the shrimp. Toss to coat.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the shrimp and sauté for 4–5 minutes until shrimp are cooked through. Sprinkle with lime juice and remove from the heat.

3. Heat the corn tortillas one at a time in an ungreased skillet for 30 seconds per side.

4. To serve, add the shrimp to the tortilla and top with mango and avocado. Garnish with lettuce, tomatoes, and yogurt or sour cream.

CALORIES 210    CALORIES FROM FAT 45    TOTAL FAT 5.0 g    SATURATED FAT 0.7 g    TRANS FAT 0.0 g    CHOLESTEROL 140 mg    SODIUM 180 mg    POTASSIUM 550 mg    TOTAL CARBOHYDRATE 23 g    DIETARY FIBER 4 g  
SUGARS 8 g    PROTEIN 21 g    PHOSPHORUS 310 mg

Best-selling author Robyn Webb shows you how to take 9 essential recipes and create 90 amazing meals that everyone will love!


Most of us, including those with health issues such as heart disease or people with diabetes, and their families, have four or five go-to dishes they love to make. They may occasionally break out of routine and try new dishes, but they always end up coming back to the tried and true dishes they know and love. In The Perfect Diabetes Comfort Food Collection: 9 Essential Recipes You Need to Create 90 Amazing Complete Meals (American Diabetes Association/October 2016), Robyn Webb, author of the bestselling Diabetes Comfort Food Cookbook, focuses on 9 favorite comfort foods and makes 10 variations of each to give home cooks new, healthy twists on the meals they crave.

“Growing up I remember fondly the meals my mother used to cook for us,” Robyn explains.  “My mother was a person with diabetes so we always ate healthy and because she worked full time our meals were simple and she relied on simple techniques in order to get dinner on the table quickly.  The Perfect Diabetes Comfort Food Collection is designed to make cooking easy and simple, yet delicious.”
 
Along with 90 classic recipes beautifully photographed, this book also features a meal-planning section that helps home cooks match a favorite comfort food dish with simple sides to create hundreds of complete, nutritionally balanced meals designed to help control blood glucose levels and promote heart health.

Let go of any preconceived notions you might have about Diabetes recipes; Robyn has created meals that anyone will love. From Stir Fry to Tacos, Salads and Soups and Meatloaf to Burgers, Pastas and Sauces, the books cover a wide range of favorite foods.  Each chapter starts with a “basic” recipe followed by 9 variations.  Each recipe has complete nutritional information to make meal planning easier. Some of the delicious recipes in the book include:

-Chickpea Patties with Mango Chutney
-Fresh Tuna Burgers
-Apple Cider Chicken
-Scallion and Ginger Sauce with Seared Chicken
-No-Noodle Zucchini Lasagna
-Lasagna Cupcakes
-Shrimp and Fruit Tacos
-Blackened Fish Tacos
-Crispy Tofu Stir Fry
-Master Asian Chicken Stir Fry
-A Better Turkey Meatloaf
-Mushroom and Walnut Meat Loaf
-Asian Pork and Plum Salad
-Swordfish Salad with Salsa Dressing
-Lemon Asparagus Soup
-Indian Lentil Soup

Whether you have health issues that require you to watch what you eat, or you just want to eat better, The Perfect Diabetes Comfort Food Collection combines the elements everyone loves – healthy foods that are prepared quickly and come out tasting amazing!


Robyn Webb, MS, is an award-winning cookbook author, nutritionist, and the Food Editor of Diabetes Forecast. Robyn has been a passionate advocate of cooking well and eating wisely for most of her life.  Because of health problems within her own family, most notably diabetes, Robyn learned early on the importance of a balanced, healthful approach to eating.  She has written 14 cookbooks, including the bestseller American Diabetes Association Diabetes Comfort Food Cookbook and has worked with Food Network, Martha Stewart Radio, Lifetime Television, Discovery Channel, CNN, CBS, ABC, ESPN, and many more. Robyn graduated from Syracuse University with a BS in nutrition and Florida State University with an MS in nutrition. She lives in Miami, Florida.

The post The Perfect Diabetes Comfort Food Collection appeared first on Viva Magazine.

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Viva Magazine by Viva Editor - 3M ago

Brandy Engler, Ph.D., psychologist and author of The Women on My Couch revealed that the most common issue she encounters with her clients is when a man introduces a fantasy that a woman isn’t comfortable with. Often, she will find situations where a man asks her client to perform a specific sexual fantasy with him, but she isn’t turned on by it or is just merely uncomfortable.

Problems can arise when a woman feels pressured to fulfill the fantasy and satisfy her man, leading her to feel unsatisfied and as if his needs overshadow hers. One common male fantasy that women often find hard to perform are female dominance in the bedroom.

Partners are never going to have the same turn-ons, so it’s important to know how to communicate with each other. Neither is it good for people to feel pressured to “be down for anything,” it is essential to know your limits.

Engler says she teaches her clients how to make smart decisions. Before quickly rejecting or agreeing to something, it is essential to ask yourself some questions, such as: “What do I want sex to mean?” “Do I want to be more adventurous or lustful?” Is this what I want or am I just doing this to make my partner happy?” Engler calls this conscious sexuality. Her steps to practice conscious sexuality are outlined below:

1. Know that it is okay to be different.
2. Ask your partner why they like this fantasy and what it means to them.
3. Don’t criticize or judge your partner for having their fantasies; it can harm your relationship.
4. Be honest about how you feel.
5. Once you have both expressed yourselves, you can start to compromise.

This process should help prevent conflict and arguments in the long run because you are communicating openly and honestly. It may be difficult to talk about sex so candidly at first, but it is worth the awkward beginning to reap the benefits of a more fulfilling sexual relationship. You may find that you and your partner can work out your sexual differences, or you might realize you need to find someone you’re more compatible with. Either way, this process should help you do what is best for you.

The post The most common sex issues! appeared first on Viva Magazine.

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By Lisa Cantkier, Holistic Nutritionist

We are what we eat, but we are also what we absorb. If we don’t get the right vitamins and minerals through our food and appropriate supplementation where necessary, our health can be seriously impacted. In some cases, this can be due to genetics. Did you know that our ability to activate folic acid (vitamin B9) could be impacted by a genetic mutation (the MTHFR mutation) that is estimated to affect about half the population?

I discovered this fact when learning about nutritional genomics—the scientific study of how our genetic variation results in specific nutritional requirements and how diet and nutrition modulate the expression of our genes. The Human Genome Project gave us the first map of human genes in 2003 and has led to advances in ways genetic mutations are identified and a better understanding of the cause of numerous health conditions.

What is the MTHFR mutation?

According to the US National Library of Medicine, “MTHFR” stands for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, which is an enzyme that activates folic acid (vitamin B9) by adding a methyl group to it. Activated folate (named 5MTHF) gives its methyl group to other nutrients and substances; this is a process called “methylation.” Basically, the MTHFR gene instructs the body to make an enzyme necessary to convert vitamin B9 so that it is usable by the body. If you have a MTHFR genetic mutation, then your body doesn’t activate folic acid and your ability to methylate is lowered.

There are different variations of the MTHFR mutation and how it affects the body can be complicated. There are two main possible MTHFR mutations—C677T and A1298C. A person could have one or both. Methylated folate can also affect how we process other nutrients, including B12 and methionine.

Why is folate (vitamin B9) important?

Did you know every cell in our body requires folate?! If it’s not properly activated, we can be at risk of developing several health problems. The 5MTHF enzymes and other nutrients help make and process our hormones, neurotransmitters (messengers in our nervous system like epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin), give us energy and help us to detoxify and eliminate toxic buildup. They even help to make our immune cells.

What health problems are associated the MTHFR mutation?

The MTHFR mutation has been shown to be linked to anxiety, autism, autoimmune disorders, cancers, cervical dysplasia, depression and many other mental health conditions, diabetes, fatigue, forgetfulness, heart disease, high blood pressure, light-headedness, migraines, miscarriages and many other health conditions.

How can I test for the MTHFR mutation?

Currently, there are blood and saliva tests available to test for the MTHFR mutation. These tests are typically indicated by a naturopathic doctor.

An important note about genetic testing:

If you do any kind of genetic testing, insurance companies have the right to access all information/findings. Depending on the health conditions you are at risk of according to the genetic testing, insurance companies can and will hold this information against you. Your rates for health and life insurance will then be subject to change—they may increase, or you could lose this insurance altogether. Buyer beware.

What is the treatment for MTHFR mutation?

The current recommended treatment involves taking a supplement—the activated form of folate called “5MTHF” or methylfolate (different from the folic acid you’ve been taking). You can get methylfolate from uncooked leafy greens as well. People respond differently to 5MTHF supplementation, so follow the advice of your health professional with respect to dosage if you are advised to take it.

The post Does your body convert vitamin B9 into a usable form? appeared first on Viva Magazine.

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