free radicals

  1. Electronic devices disrupt sleep cycles

    iDevices lead to poor sleep

    What's keeping you up at night?

    For many people, it's a sleep disorder such as insomnia. But for millions of others, it's a different type of disorder completely that's disrupting their sleep cycles.

    I call it iPad-nia.

    Lighting in general can disrupt production of melatonin, the hormone we need for proper sleep cycles. But new research shows how the LED lights used in electronics such as iPads and iPhones and such are even more disruptive than ordinary light.

    These lights fool your body into thinking it is daytime -- and when your body thinks it's daytime, it doesn't start up the melatonin factory.

    The result: You can't sleep, no matter what time it is.

    These days, many people unknowingly make the situation worse by bringing the iPad -- or some other similar device -- right into bed for late night-email or reading. Then, when they can't get to sleep, they do even more email and reading -- making the problem even worse.

    The issue isn't just the iPad, of course. And it's not even LED lights -- they may be the worst of it, according to the report in Nature, but constant exposure to artificial lights of any kind can also disrupt melatonin production and sleep cycles.

    That's not just bad news for bedtime. Melatonin is also essential for protection from the free radicals responsible for the damage of aging and it's critical to the immune system, where it can help protect you from diseases such as cancer.

    If you're not getting the sleep you need each night, maybe it's time to enforce a lights-out policy in your home past a certain time. And if that doesn't help, look for other lifestyle issues that may be keeping you up -- including caffeine from drinks like soda and coffee as well as foods such as chocolate.

    You'll even find caffeine hidden in some painkillers.

    If that's not enough to put you to bed, then you may have something else going on -- a nutritional issue or hormonal imbalance that can be corrected naturally. I recommend a holistic physician for helping getting your sleep cycles back on track.

  2. Berries boost your brain

    The only downside of berries is the cost: My local supermarket was selling blueberries for $4.99 a pint the other day.

    Ouch!

    But while the price might sting, it's worth a little pain in the wallet to get your hands on some -- because ounce for ounce, berries are unmatched by anything else in the produce aisle.

    I'm sure you already know about the famous antioxidants in berries, which can help protect you from the free radicals that are always trying to undermine your body.

    And now, a new review of the research shows how berries can actually supercharge your brain and improve the way your neurons communicate. That adds up to better motor control and cognition and lower levels of dangerous inflammation -- all from a handful of delicious blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, or cranberries.

    Grapes and blueberries in particular have been proven in studies to help improve the brain function in seniors, especially those already suffering from some impairment, according to the review published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

    Of course, none of this is all that new or surprising (it's a review of existing research, after all). An earlier study, for example, found that the polyphenolics in berries help the cells that clean up and recycle the toxic proteins that accumulate in the brain with age.

    If that's not a good enough reason to boost your berry intake, consider this: Another new study shows that blueberries -- along with apples -- can slash your risk of diabetes.

    Researchers say people who eat two or more servings of blueberries a week -- as well as those who eat five apples a week -- have a 23 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

    This was based on a food frequency questionnaire, and we know they're not exactly the most reliable form of research... so let's not get too excited.

    But plenty of other more reliable studies back the benefits of berries. And that's especially true of blueberries, which are so rich in nutrients they're a superfood in a class of their own.

    For all that, $4.99 a pint is a bargain -- because these little beauties are worth their weight in gold.

  3. Step into the sun

    Despite what you've heard, the only protection from the sun your skin really needs is a little common sense.
  4. Straighten out your wrinkles with these natural cures

    Free radicals hurt more than just your heart and eyes. They can also do a lot of damage to your skin.

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