quality of life

  1. Mediterranean diet benefits are physical & mental

    Supercharge your health practically overnight

    There's a quick and easy way to improve both your physical and mental health at the same time -- a diet that can help you to lose weight and dramatically slash your risk of battling today's leading killer diseases.

    It's a simple diet backed by science... one so easy to follow just about anyone can do it. And it's a diet I recommend to all my friends, family, and patients -- including a patient who just contacted me from Hong Kong after suffering a stroke and wanted to know what changes he should make to his lifestyle.

    It's the Mediterranean diet, a diet low in processed foods and rich in fish, lean meats, whole grains, and some of the most delicious meals you'll ever have in your life -- and the latest research confirms that it's the best overall health boost you can give yourself.

    Researchers from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the University of Navarra in Spain tracked the eating habits of 11,015 university students over four years, using questionnaires to rate how closely they followed the Mediterranean lifestyle throughout the study.

    They were also given a standardized survey to measure quality of life. And, no surprise to me, those who stuck to the Mediterranean diet -- the ones who ate the most fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and fish -- had the highest quality of life scores.

    They had higher scores in nearly every major physical and mental health category -- including vitality, pain, physical function, and even better overall general health.

    If the study ended there, we could call it a "relationship" between the diet and good overall health.

    But something else happened to prove that it's more than just a relationship -- because some of the students had dietary improvements during those four years. They starting out eating lousy foods but gradually shifted towards a Mediterranean diet.

    And those who did also saw their quality-of-life scores shoot right up as their eating habits improved, according to the study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

    That tells me there's a direct connection between a Mediterranean diet and overall good health -- and this isn't the first study to prove it.

    There are literally hundreds out there, and they've shown that this healthy lifestyle can slash your risk of heart disease, cancer, Parkinson's disease, dementia, and more.

    It can also prevent or ease asthma and allergies, improve blood pressure, and help reduce the risk of lung diseases.

    More importantly, it's a realistic diet that's not as restrictive as many of the others out there. And the food's so good, you'll actually want to stick to it.

    How's that for a change?

  2. The battle against PTSD

    Veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder are routinely pumped full of antipsychotic drugs. And as most of them will tell you (in language I can't use here), those drugs aren't doing a darn thing for them.

    And now there's research to back them up -- and it's not all in their head.

    Researchers randomly assigned 247 combat vets who were suffering from PTSD to either the antipsychotic medication Risperdal (aka risperidone), or a placebo, for six months.

    In both groups, only 5 percent of veterans had a complete recovery. In both groups, between 10 percent and 20 percent showed some modest improvement. And in both groups, the vets reported similar scores for depression, anxiety, and quality of life.

    In other words, the study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that this "powerful" drug has all the power of a sugar pill.

    But while the vets who took the drug didn't get any relief, they did get a few other things: side effects such as weight gain and fatigue, including an extreme level of fatigue known as somnolence.

    While the study only involved Risperdal, the researchers say they believe similar antipsychotic drugs -- including Seroquel, Geodon, and Abilify -- will prove to be every bit as useless.

    Fortunately, our soldiers don't have to wait for Big Pharma to answer the call when it comes to PTSD. The U.S. military itself has been quietly investigating some of the best alternative treatments, including hyperbaric oxygen therapy, fish oil, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and acupuncture.

    And the early word from many veterans who've tried these treatments has been encouraging (and printable).

    Some of the most promising research involves acupuncture, with medics in the field even using the needles to treat the traumatic brain injuries.

    Back on the homefront, research on the technique for PTSD itself is under way right now.

    In one small recent study, veterans suffering from PTSD who were given either acupuncture or group cognitive-behavioral therapy for 12 weeks had significant improvements when compared to a control group. The benefits lasted for full three months after treatment.

    Obviously, we need more studies to ensure these treatments really do work -- but since we now know for sure that drugs don't, let's stop wasting time and give veterans the real thanks they deserve.

    Let's get them healed.

  3. Slow exercises with big benefits

    Call them the ancient Chinese secrets to good health--because new research finds that two classic marital arts pack a serious punch when it comes to your wellbeing.

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