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May 26 2014

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Kate Middleton's post-baby routine is finally revealed!

After debuting her fabulous figure at her first event since giving birth to Prince George, everyone wanted to know exactly how she got back to her enviable shape in such a short amount of time.

Vanity Fair has unveiled an excerpt from royal expert Kate Nicholl's biography on the new mother, which details the Duchess of Cambridge's life at her family's home in Bucklebury.

The book explains that Kate's mother, Carole Middleton, helped the new parents adjust to their new role.

NEWS: Kate Middleton wows in skinny jeans for her first post-baby appearance!

Carole reportedly created healthy fruit smoothies and meals for Kate while she spent the first days doting on her newborn and welcoming guests to the house.

Kate also snacked on her favorite muesli bars in an effort to get back into ther prebaby jeans.

And speaking of guests, Carole reportedly tried to keep the visitors to a minimum and friends of the family sent gift baskets in honor of the royal's arrival into the world.

Cashmere baby ensembles and blankets were delivered to the family home, as well as Kate's favorite luxury item: Jo Malone's Orange Blossom candles.

read more about Kate middleton diet

May 21 2014

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Fruit juice are very good for reducing our weight in ABC diet. Orange juice has not only that effect but also prevent any ham in your meal.
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Tags: health tips

May 20 2014

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Exercise is good, not bad, for arthritis

When pain strikes, it’s human nature to avoid doing things

When pain strikes, it’s human nature to avoid doing

that aggravate it. That’s certainly the case for people with arthritis, many of whom tend to avoid exercise when a hip, knee, ankle or other joint hurts. Although that strategy seems to make sense, it may harm more than help.

Taking a walk on most days of the week can actually ease arthritis pain and improve other symptoms. It’s also good for the heart, brain, and every other part of the body.

A national survey conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that more than half of people with arthritis (53%) didn’t walk at all for exercise, and 66% stepped out for less than 90 minutes a week. Only 23% meet the current recommendation for activity—walking for at least 150 minutes a week. Delaware had the highest percentage of regular walkers (31%) while Louisiana had the lowest (16%). When the CDC tallied walking for less than 90 minutes a week, Tennessee led the list, with 76% not walking that much per week, compared to 59% in the  District of Columbia.

This map shows the percentage of adults with arthritis in each state who walked less than 90 minutes per week during 2011.

This map shows the percentage of adults with arthritis in each state who walked less than 90 minutes per week during 2011.

The findings were published in the journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, one of its contributions to Arthritis Awareness Month.

Beyond walking

Walking is good exercise for people with arthritis, but it isn’t the only one. A review of the benefits of exercise for people with osteoarthritis (the most common form of arthritis) found that strength training, water-based exercise, and balance therapy were the most helpful for reducing pain and improving function. “Swimming or bicycling tend to be better tolerated than other types of exercise among individuals with arthritis in the hips or knees,” says rheumatologist Dr. Robert H. Shmerling, associate professor of medicine at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Exercise programs aim to help people with arthritis:

  • increase the range of motion in the affected joint
  • strengthen muscles
  • build endurance
  • improve balance

You can create an exercise program of your own, with help from a trusted doctor, nurse, or physical therapist. Or you can try one that’s been developed by arthritis experts. Examples include the Fit and Strong! program from the University of Illinois at Chicago, or one of several programs developed by the Arthritis Foundation: its Exercise Program, Walk with Ease program, or Aquatics program.

The fatigue, pain, and stiffness caused by many types of arthritis present a barrier to exercise—but these are the same symptoms that tend to improve with regular exercise.

If you have arthritis and don’t currently exercise, start slow. Take a five-minute stroll around your block, swim, or workout on an exercise bicycle. Do it every day, and then gradually increase the time spent exercising or how hard you exercise, but not both at once. If you have heart disease or other health issues, check with your doctor before embarking on an exercise program.

“If exercise was a newly developed medicine, it would be a blockbuster,” says Dr. Shmerling. “It has an excellent safety profile, and enormous benefits for people with arthritis, heart disease, and a long and growing list of other health problems.”

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Gut Check: The Link Between Belly Fat and Inflammation

As if we needed another reason to lose that bulging gut and eat a healthier diet, researchers are uncovering more links between abdominal fat and the chronic inflammation that leads to heart disease, diabetes and a host of other ailments.Today’s Informed Patient column reports that scientists are gaining a better understanding of how inflammation, which normally protects the body against injury, can spiral out of control and increase the risk for disease. They also are learning more about the role that fat cells in belly fat play in promoting inflammation.

Last week, the International Chair on Cardiometabolic Risk, based at Université Laval in Quebec City,  held its  third International Congress on Abdominal Obesity which gathered a wide range of medical specialists to present new research on topics relating to visceral, or intra-abdominal, belly fat.

A group including Peter Libby, chief of the cardiovascular medicine division at Brigham and Women’s hospital in Boston and a professor at Harvard Medical School, presented a summary of results of an international study showing links between intra-abdominal fat and liver fat and higher disease risk. Asians were found to be more prone to intra-abdominal fat and liver-fat accumulation than other ethnic groups with similar body mass indexes.

Libby, a founding member of ICCR, tells the Health Blog that the group’s aim is to fight the rising tide of abdominal obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease sweeping the world and warn of the “impending catastrophe of bulging bellies.” As many areas in the developing world adopt a Western diet high in sugar and fat, “we are sitting on a powder keg and incubating an epidemic of cardiovascular risk to come,” Libby says.

Researchers presenting the study data said it is critical to measure waist circumference in patients with Type 2 diabetes because the greater the waistline, the higher the risk will be of developing cardio-metabolic complications.

ICCR offers a website, , with a section for both medical professionals and consumers that includes educational videos on determining cardiovascular risk, information on conditions such as metabolic syndrome, and waist circumference measurement guidelines by ethnicity.  The risk of cardiovascular complications increases with waist size, studies show; the site shows how men and women should measure their waists in ten steps.

Studies show that moderate weight loss — as little as 5 to 10% of initial body weight — can reduce intra-abdominal fat or visceral fat by 10% to 30%. For a  for a given amount of weight loss,  according to ICCR, exercise burns more intra-abdominal fat than cutting calories, while preserving lean body mass. This makes it possible to reduce intra-abdominal fat without necessarily losing weight.

Libby blames food and beverage producers for marketing unhealthy foods and sugary beverages, and physicians for not doing enough to goad their patients onto diets and exercise. But he also says consumers have to take responsibility and not rely on weight loss remedies or supplements to knock off pounds and get the right nutrients.

“Buying something in a bottle is not the antidote for sloth and gluttony,” he says.

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Too much sitting linked to an early death

I spend most of each workday sitting in a chair, my fingers the only part of my body moving with any intensity. Technology lets me—as well as millions of other people—earn a living from the relative comfort of our desks, without having to break a sweat or even stand up. Once the workday is done, we can transition straight from desk to car to couch, taking barely a step in between.

The ease of our modern workday could come at the expense of our longevity. A new study of older women in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine finds that sitting for long stretches of time increases the odds of an untimely death. The more hours women in the study spent sitting at work, driving, lying on the couch watching TV, or engaged in other leisurely pursuits, the greater their odds of dying early from all causes, including heart disease and cancer.

And here’s the kicker: Even women who exercised regularly risked shortening their lifespan if most of their daily hours were sedentary ones.

“Even if you are doing the recommended amount of moderate to vigorous exercise, you will still have a higher risk of mortality if you’re spending too many hours sitting,” says Dr. JoAnn Manson, one of the study’s authors, and chief of preventive medicine at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “Each of these behaviors is important and has an independent effect on cardiovascular disease and mortality.”

How exactly sitting contributes to reduced longevity isn’t clear, but there are a few possible mechanisms. “Sedentary behavior is associated with an increased risk of the development of chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” says Dr. I-Min Lee, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

When you sit, you expend fewer calories than you would while standing, and you demand little effort from your muscles. Sitting too much can also lead to other behaviors that contribute to obesity and heart disease. “Many times when people are sitting, what are they doing? They’re often watching TV and snacking,” says Dr. Manson.

Work out

One way to avoid prolonged sitting during the workday is to switch to a standing desk, or one that can adjust to sitting and standing positions. Some companies are piloting the use of treadmill desks, which let workers walk at a leisurely pace while they type or answer the phone. However, these machines are pricey, and if you set the speed too high your legs will wear out before 5 o’clock rolls around.

An easier, no-cost solution is to set your smartphone timer to go off every 30 to 60 minutes during the day. When the alarm rings, “Stretch and move around the office to avoid any prolonged sitting at one time,” Dr. Manson recommends.

Sit less

How much sitting can you safely do in a day? In the study, women who were inactive for 11 or more hours a day fared the worst, facing a 12% increase in premature death, but even lesser amounts of inactive time can cause problems. “Once you’re sitting for more than 6 to 8 hours a day, that’s not likely to be good for you,” Dr. Manson says. You want to avoid prolonged sitting and increase the amount of moderate or vigorous exercise you do each day, she adds.

When it comes to exercise, “Any activity is good,” says Dr. Lee. “Some is better than none, and more is better than less.” Ideally, work in a full half-hour or hour of exercise each day, while trying to be active—even in short spurts—the rest of the time. But if you can only squeeze in 10 minutes of dedicated exercise at a time, aim for that.

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Overweight and healthy: the concept of metabolically healthy obesity

Carrying too many pounds is a solid signal of current or future health problems. But not for everyone. Some people who are overweight or obese mange to escape the usual hazards, at least temporarily. This weight subgroup has even earned its own moniker—metabolically healthy obesity.

Health professionals define overweight as a body-mass index (BMI) between 25.0 and 29.9, and obesity as a BMI of 30 or higher. (BMI is a measure of weight that takes height into consideration. You can calculate your BMI here.)

Most people who are overweight or obese show potentially unhealthy changes in metabolism. These include high blood pressure or high cholesterol, which damage arteries in the heart and elsewhere. Another harmful metabolic change is resistance to the hormone insulin, which leads to high blood sugar. As a result, people who are overweight or obese are usually at high risk for having a heart attack or stroke, developing type 2 diabetes, or suffering from a host of other life-changing conditions.

But some people who are overweight or obese manage to avoid these changes and, at least metabolically, look like individuals with healthy weights. “Obesity isn’t a homogeneous condition,” says Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. “It appears that it doesn’t affect everyone in the same ways.”

Dr. Hu and three colleagues wrote a“Personal View” article in Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology reviewing what is known about metabolically healthy obesity. They identified several characteristics of metabolically healthy obesity. These include a high BMI with

  • a waist size of no more than 40 inches for a man or 35 inches for a woman
  • normal blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar
  • normal sensitivity to insulin
  • good physical fitness

BMI isn’t perfect

BMI is not a perfect measure of weight or obesity. It often identifies fit, muscular people as being overweight or obese. That’s because muscle is more dense than fat, and so weighs more. But muscle tissue burns blood sugar, a good thing, while fat tissue converts blood sugar into fat and stores it, a not-so-good thing.

“Further exploration of metabolically healthy obesity could help us fine-tune the implications of obesity,” says Dr. Hu. “It supports the idea that we shouldn’t use BMI as the sole yardstick for health, and must consider other factors.”

Genes certainly play a role in how a person’s body and metabolism respond to weight. Some people may be genetically protected from developing insulin resistance. Others are genetically programmed to store fat in the hips or thighs, which is less metabolically hazardous than storing fat around the abdomen.

The concept of metabolically healthy obesity could be used to help guide treatment. Currently, exercise and a healthy diet are the foundation for treating obesity. When those efforts aren’t enough, weight-loss surgery (bariatric surgery) is sometimes an option. Such surgery is appropriate for people with metabolically unhealthy obesity, the authors suggest, but for people with metabolically healthy obesity it might make more sense to intensify the lifestyle approach rather than have surgery. This idea, however, needs to be tested in clinical studies, says Dr Hu.

Don’t rest easy

Metabolically healthy obesity isn’t common. And it may not be permanent, warns Dr. Hu. Just because a person has metabolically healthy obesity at one point doesn’t it will stay that way. With aging, a slowdown in exercise, or other changes, metabolically healthy obesity can morph into its harmful counterpart.

It’s also important to keep in mind that obesity can harm more than just metabolism. Excess weight can damage knee and hip joints, lead to sleep apnea and respiratory problems, and contributes to the development of several cancers.

Bottom line? Obesity isn’t good, even if it’s the metabolically healthy kind.

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Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills

There are plenty of good reasons to be physically active. Big ones include reducing the odds of developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Maybe you want to lose weight, lower your blood pressure, prevent depression, or just look better. Here’s another one, which especially applies to those of us (including me) experiencing the brain fog that comes with age: exercise changes the brain in ways that protect memory and thinking skills.

In a study done at the University of British Columbia, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise, the kind that gets your heart and your sweat glands pumping, appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning. Resistance training, balance and muscle toning exercises did not have the same results. The results were published this week in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The finding comes at a critical time. Researchers say one new case of dementia is detected every four seconds globally. They estimate that by the year 2050, more than 115 million people will have dementia worldwide.

Exercise and the brain

As I write in the May 2014 Harvard Health Letter, exercise helps memory and thinking through both direct and indirect means. The benefits of exercise come directly from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors—chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells.

Indirectly, exercise improves mood and sleep, and reduces stress and anxiety. Problems in these areas frequently cause or contribute to cognitive impairment.

Many studies have suggested that the parts of the brain that control thinking and memory (the prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex) have greater volume in people who exercise versus people who don’t. “Even more exciting is the finding that engaging in a program of regular exercise of moderate intensity over six months or a year is associated with an increase in the volume of selected brain regions,” says Dr. Scott McGinnis, a neurologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School.

Put it to the test

So what should you do? Start exercising! We don’t know exactly which exercise is best. Almost all of the research has looked at walking, including the latest study. “It’s likely that other forms of aerobic exercise that get your heart pumping might yield similar benefits,” says Dr. McGinnis.

How much exercise is required? The study participants walked briskly for one hour, twice a week. That’s 120 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week. Standard recommendations advise half an hour of moderate physical activity most days of the week, or 150 minutes a week. If that seems daunting, start with a few minutes a day, and increase the amount you exercise by five or 10 minutes every week until you reach your goal.

If you don’t want to walk, consider other moderate-intensity exercises, such as swimming, stair climbing, tennis, squash, or dancing. Don’t forget that household activities can count as well, such as intense floor mopping, raking leaves, or anything that gets your heart pumping so much that you break out in a light sweat.

Don’t have the discipline to do it on your own? Try any or all of these ideas:

  • Join a class or work out with a friend who’ll hold you accountable.
  • Track your progress, which encourages you to reach a goal.
  • If you’re able, hire a personal trainer. (Paying an expert is good motivation.)

Whatever exercise and motivators you choose, commit to establishing exercise as a habit, almost like taking a prescription medication. After all, they say that exercise is medicine, and that can go on the top of anyone’s list of reasons to work out.

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Move over Mediterranean—a vegetarian diet is equally good for health

When you think of the Mediterranean these days, the region’s azure waters, rich history, and lively cultures may not come to mind. Instead, you may first think of the Mediterranean diet. This heart- and brain-healthy diet includes olive oil, fruits, vegetables, nuts and fish; occasional red meat; and a moderate amount of cheese and wine. Most doctors and nutrition experts I interview for the Harvard Health Letter tell me that the evidence points to a Mediterranean diet as the very best for our health. But there’s another diet that appears to be equally good: a vegetarian diet.

A study published this week in JAMA Internal Medicinefound that people who ate a vegetarian diet were 12% less likely to have died over the course of the five-year study than nonvegetarians. The researchers, from Loma Linda University in California, noted that the benefits of a vegetarian diet were especially good for men, who had a significant reduction in heart disease. Keep in mind that the study couldn’t prove that a vegetarian diet caused good health—it’s possible that it was something else that vegetarians did and nonvegetarians didn’t do that made the difference.

The fact that vegetarian diets are good for you isn’t new. They have long been linked to reduced risk for hypertension, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. This one underscores the idea that meat consumption influences long-term health. “A diet with meat in it raises the risk of heart disease and cancer, when compared with a vegetarian diet,” says cardiologist Dr. Deepak Bhatt, a Harvard Medical School professor. Red meat and processed meats appear to be the worst offenders as far as boosting the risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer.

Dr. Bhatt told me that he is a vegetarian—meaning that he doesn’t eat meat—and he personally feels that a vegetarian diet is the way to go for environmental and ethical reasons. He also feels it’s a healthy way to eat.

A personal decision

Should you consider forgetting the Mediterranean diet and becoming a vegetarian instead? There isn’t much high-quality data from comparing different types of healthy diets against each other. There is good evidence that following either a Mediterranean diet or a vegetarian diet—which share many common features—can lower cardiovascular risk. “The bottom line is that either type of diet is healthier than the typical American diet,” says Dr. Bhatt. So it’s really a matter of personal choice.

It’s also a matter of determining what kind of vegetarian you want to be. A vegetarian diet can take a number of forms. A vegan diet excludes all animal products (no meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy or gelatin). Other more liberal interpretations include a pesco-vegetarian diet, which includes seafood; a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, which includes dairy and egg products; a lacto-vegetarian diet, which includes dairy products; and an ovo-vegetarian diet, which includes eggs.

With all of that variety, you’ll need to assess your eating style and determine which fits in best with your lifestyle and personal beliefs.

It’s also important to consider your nutritional needs, warns Dr. Bhatt. Vegetarian diets that include only raw fruits and vegetables can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Without meat or dairy, you may run the risk of not getting enough protein, calcium or vitamin B12. You can get all the protein you need from plant sources, such as peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas, seeds, nuts, soy products, and whole grains such as wheat, oats, barley, and brown rice. You can get calcium from plant sources, such as bok choy, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, collards, and kale. And you can get vitamin B12 from soy and rice drinks, and fortified breakfast cereals.

It’s also important to remember that even with a vegetarian diet, calories still matter and consuming too many—even if they are meat-free—is bad for health.

Becoming a vegetarian will require you to pay more attention to your nutrition, which is a good thing. But it’s also a bit of work, so don’t hesitate to get some advice from your doctor or a dietitian before proceeding. If you want to go with a Mediterranean diet, that’s a good thing, too, and probably easier for many people. Again, it’s a personal choice.

Future research on vegetarian, Mediterranean, and other beneficial diets should examine what is it about these diets that makes them good for us. As Dr. Robert Baron, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco wrote in an editorial accompanying the Loma Linda study, “Our debates about the superiority of one diet over another have not served the public well. It is time to acknowledge the common features of diets associated with good clinical outcomes.”

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System update time!

Starting today, this weekend, we will try to migrate soup.io to an updated version of the Ruby on Rails platform (one of the programming frameworks soup is using).
This has nothing to do with new features or anything like that though - it's a purely technical matter that has been a problem for a few years now ("technical debt", for those in the know).
But it's the most important step to bringing you a better experience, new features (beyond the smaller ones which we sneaked in there in the past half year or so) and pixie dust. So bear with us, we've put a lot of time and energy into it the past months, and we're reasonably sure that this can work ;)
We'll try to do it gradually, so if there are any deal breaking bugs, it should affect only a few, randomly selected users, and to those that have been chosen, we salute you! Also pity. But mostly, salute.
We'd appreciate if you could voice any concerns/observations/bug reports with a post @kitchen, or, if even that doesn't work anymore, on our getsatisfaction page.
Thanks a bunch in advance for your patience.
Let's do this thing.
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