8 Benefits of Tea (and 8 Top Teas)




  1. Contains Antioxidants

Whenever our cells use oxygen, they start to generate free radicals. These free radicals will result in cellular damage which can lead to several diseases and even premature aging. [1] We need antioxidants to help prevent this cellular damage.


  1. Immune System Booster

A study was able to show that tea can boost the body’s defenses against infection and possibly disease. Tea helps the immune system attack invading bacteria, fungi, and viruses. [2]


  1. Weight Loss Aid

Green tea has long been believed to be an excellent weight loss aid. One study has shown that green tea has a small and non-significant weight loss effect in overweight adults. [3]


  1. Lowers the Blood Concentration Of LDL Cholesterol

Research has indicated that consumption of certain teas such as black tea can help reduce total LDL cholesterol in some adults. [4]


  1. Soothes the Digestive System

Herbal tea such as chamomile and ginger can help soothe the digestive system. Chamomile is also good for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) while ginger can help calm nausea. [1]


6.Reduces the Risk of Breast And Prostate Cancer

There has been positive evidence for risk reduction of certain cancers such as prostate, breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancers. However, the current evidence is weak and inconclusive. [5]


  1. Less Caffeine Than Coffee

Herbal teas typically don’t have caffeine, while stronger teas like black tea have less than 50 percent of the caffeine in coffee. This allows you to freely consume tea without worrying too much about adverse effects on your nervous system. [1]







  1. May Prevent Bone Loss

Recent animal studies have shown that green tea may actually prevent bone loss. [1]


The Top 8 Health Teas

  1. White tea has a light and subtle flavor. Research has revealed that it has several health benefits and could aid in the reduction of colon cancer, the risk of arthritis, and wrinkles. [11][12][13] It only has about 1-2 percent of the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee. Steep this tea in 175ºF water for 4 to 5 minutes.


  1. Green tea has a clean, sweet, and earthy flavor. According to studies, it has been linked to the prevention of breast, lung, and stomach cancer. [14] Green tea has one of the highest levels of antioxidants in teas and may help protect your body from UV rays, improve cholesterol levels, control body weight, and help burn fat. [15][16] Steep this tea in 175ºF water for 2 to 3 minutes.


  1. Oolong tea has a sweet and full-bodied flavor. Studies have shown that some of its health benefits include the chance for increased metabolism and reduction of body fat. [17][18] Steep this tea in 195ºF water for 3 minutes.


  1. Black tea has a potent and sometimes bitter taste. It will reportedly help protect your skin from UV rays and could help lower blood pressure. [4][14] This tea contains more caffeine than any other type of tea but is only half the caffeine of a standard cup of coffee. Steep this tea in 195ºF to 205ºF water for 1 to 2 minutes.


  1. Pu’erh tea has an earthy and smooth flavor. Research has indicated that it has many health benefits and can aid in controlling blood sugar levels. [15] Legend has it that pu’erh tea was given as a dowry by a Chinese princess sometime in 641 AD. Steep this tea in 212ºF degree water for 3 to 4 minutes.


  1. Mate tea has a strong, grassy, and slightly bitter taste. According to researches, some of its health benefits include higher bone mineral density and satiety which can help promote weight loss. [16] Steep this tea in 208ºF degree water for 3 to 5 minutes.


  1. Herbal teas come in various flavors ranging from rose, peppermint, jasmine, chamomile, and vanilla. It depends on the herbs and spices used to make the blend. Herbal teas have various health benefits depending on the tea. Chamomile is known to help with sleep and peppermint helps ease indigestion. Steep these teas in 208 degree water for 5 to 6 minutes. [17][18]


  1. Rooibos tea has a licorice-like flavor with a sweet and slightly nutty taste. Studies have shown that it helps reduce stress, protects the heart, and is known for detoxifying and protecting the liver. [19] Steep this tea in 208ºF water for 5 to 6 minutes.




Tea has a great amount of antioxidants and other benefits, plus it tastes great and gets people together.

As I usually say, knowledge is great. The application of said knowledge is true power. Knowledge is one of the basics. THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN!!




[1] http://www.today.com/series/one-small-thing/top-10-health-benefits-drinking-tea-t81111


[2] http://www.cbsnews.com/news/study-tea-boosts-immune-system/


[3] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD008650.pub2/abstract;jsessionid=D090F08B87054FDFD38D9…/


[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14519829


[5] http://www.maturitas.org/article/S0378-5122(12)00270-8/abstract


[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21995704


[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21698507


[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12094635


[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19128856


[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16582024


[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11209110


[12] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11694607


[13] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/13678386


[14] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23038021


[15] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23057679


[16] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22130241


[17] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26483209


[18] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18630390


[19] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20833235

The Total Self: 5 Foods Rich in Probiotics

NOTE: This article (and this site) is no substitute for sound medical advice. Please consult your Primary Care Provider for all things health/wellness related.


By definition, probiotics are great bacteria organisms that line your intestines and are in charge of supplement retention and supporting your resistant framework.

Probiotics which are normally helpful bacteria organisms, give a wide range of intense advantages for your body and mind.



Here are the five of the best probiotic rich nourishments, which are ensured to enhance your general wellbeing.


  1. Yogurt


Yogurt is extraordinary compared to other wellsprings of probiotics, which are cordial bacteria organisms that can enhance your wellbeing. Eating yogurt enhanced bone wellbeing. It is additionally useful for individuals with hypertension. Also, yogurt might be reasonable for individuals with lactose prejudice. This is on the account of the microbes transform a portion of the lactose into lactic corrosive, or, in other words yogurt tastes acrid.


  1. Refined Vegetables (Sauerkraut and Kimchi)


Made from matured cabbage and different vegetables, sauerkraut isn’t assorted in probiotics however is high in natural acids, which give sustenance its sharp taste and bolster the development of good microorganisms. Sauerkraut is greatly well known in Germany today. Kimchi is a cousin to sauerkraut and is the Korean translation of refined veggies. Both of the aged recipes are likewise high in compounds, which can help absorption.


  1. Kombucha


As an aged or “living” tea, kombucha contains probiotics that have been developed by maturing dark tea or green tea with a yeast and bacterial culture known as a “scoby.” Although kombucha contains caffeine, it tends to be a more advantageous option in contrast to other charged drinks since it contains useful bacteria organisms. You can mix kombucha with various flavors – and additional medical advantages – from herbs, products of the soil, which makes it an invigorating, probiotic drink to appreciate every so often, for the individuals who aren’t touchy to caffeine. Plus kombucha tastes great!!!


  1. Kefir


A smooth refreshing beverage beginning in Russia and Turkey, kefir is believed to be a stunningly better wellspring of probiotics than yogurt. Made by maturing goat, bovine or sheep’s drain with kefir “grains,” this beverage contains ten to 20 unique sorts of bacteria organisms. Coconut drain kefir likewise contains basic unsaturated fats, which help in absorption and further help gut wellbeing. Kefir grains are accessible at numerous wellbeing nourishment stores.


  1. Miso Soup


Miso is one the pillars of customary Japanese drug and is generally utilized in macrobiotic cooking as a stomach related controller. Produced using matured rye, beans, rice or grain, adding a tablespoon of miso to some heated water makes an incredible, snappy, probiotic-rich soup, loaded with lactobacilli and bifidus microbes.


Past its vital live societies, miso is greatly supplement thick and accepted to help kill the impacts of ecological contamination, alkalinize the body and stop the impacts of cancer-causing agents in the framework.


In closing, probiotics not only just help make a solid gut and enable you to feel and perform your best, they likewise go about as a protection arrangement against the multitudes of microbes that can cause you trouble. For superb stomach related wellbeing, fill your eating routine with however many prebiotic and probiotic nourishments as could reasonably be expected.

As always, I maintain knowledge as “the master key of master keys”. Knowledge is power- the APPLICATION of said knowledge makes the difference. Knowledge is one of the basics.










Mega List of 30 Herbs that can help Control Blood Pressure




Diet, exercise and some meds may help you control your blood pressure and reduce the risk of associated health complications. Traditional medicine prescribes medications for blood pressure control, however, some of these medicines are expensive and have been noted for side effects. However numerous alternative medicines exist; notably plants or herbs found by research to have hypotensive and antihypertensive therapeutic values.


  1. Garlic

This herb contains an active compound called allicin which gives its characteristic odor and many of its healing benefits. Garlic’s antioxidative and antihypertensive effect has been proven by a 2008 study [1] published in the journal BMC Cardiovascular Disorders that found the effectiveness of garlic in reducing BP in individuals with HTN.


  1. Celery

Celery is a diuretic which enhances the excretion of sodium and chloride in the urine and may explain the herb’s effect on blood pressure. It is one of the herbs cited by an Indian study [2] that have uses related to the symptoms of hypertension.


  1. Ginger

Commonly used in Asian cooking, ginger may help control blood pressure and improve blood circulation. The blood pressure-lowering effect of ginger was confirmed by Ghayur and Gilani [3] in a study that first appeared in the January 2005 issue of the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology. This research was done on rats. There are still few human trials for the hypotensive effect of ginger.


  1. Basil

Extract of basil has been shown to have a hypertensive effect, although only briefly. It causes a fall in blood pressure in a dose-dependent manner. Its cardiovascular effect is linked to eugenol, an essential oil [4] that offers a transient reduction in arterial blood pressure.


  1. Tomato

This fruit is rich in lycopene, beta-carotene, and vitamin E, which are known as effective antioxidants. A 2006 study [5] showed the correlation between a short-treatment with antioxidant-rich tomato extract and reduced blood pressure in patients with hypertension.







  1. Flaxseed

This annual herb has omega-3 fatty acids, which have been found to lower blood pressure. Many studies had posited the effect of omega-3 fatty acids on hypertensive patients and those with high-normal blood pressure including one by Mori [6] who published his work in the journal Cellular and Molecular Biology in February 2010.


  1. French Lavender

This culinary herb contains oil that can also induce relaxation and lower blood pressure. Its crude extract has been reported to reduce BP in a 2007 study [7] conducted on rats. French lavender is a culinary herb whose flowers are also used in baked goods.


  1. Carrots

Carrots are high in beta-carotene and potassium, a nutrient that is shown to be effective in reducing high blood pressure [8] . Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant which helps fight disease.


  1. Cinnamon

Consuming this tasty herb everyday can lower blood pressure in people with diabetes, according to studies. This has been proven by a 2013 study [9] that discovered the association between consumption of cinnamon and reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with type-2 diabetes. Instead of using sugar, you add a dash of cinnamon to your coffee in the morning for a unique taste.


  1. Ginkgo Biloba

This herb is rich in antioxidants, terpenoids, and flavonoids, which are not only good for your heart but are also known to lower blood pressure. The antihypertensive effect of ginkgo along with prescribed medications was posited by the University of Maryland Medical Center. [10] However, the institution advises the need of monitoring by a healthcare provider.


  1. Indian Snakeroot aka. Rauwolfia Serpentina

This tropical plant has been used for years as a traditional medicine for ailments related to the heart. It contains high levels of alkaloid reserpine [11] , a powerful compound for normal heart function. Indian snakeroot leaves are useful when high blood pressure is due to anxiety or stress.


  1. Olives

This herb has been widely used in traditional remedies as herbal teas and extracts in European and Mediterranean countries. It contains a compound known as oleuropein which possesses a wide range of pharmacological and health-promoting properties including hypotensive effect [12] .


  1. Onions

This spice is rich in quercetin which is an antioxidant flavonol found to prevent heart disease and stroke. Quercetin supplementation was found to reduce blood pressure in hypertensive people by a 2007 study [13] by Edwards and colleagues.


  1. Oregano

Carvacrol is a powerful compound that has been proven to be effective against blood pressure. Oregano is rich in this compound which was also found to reduce heart rate and systolic and diastolic blood pressures. [14]


  1. Dandelion

Found in temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and North America, this hardy herb has a high concentration of potassium, calcium, phosphorous, iron, and sodium. Its roots and leaves produce a substance called mannitol [15] which is used as a treatment for hypertension.


  1. Parsley

Cultivated since ancient times, this diuretic herb is utilized either as a medicine or food. Parsley contains compounds such as flavonoids, carotenoids, and glucosides. You can make a tea [16] from the herb’s seed as a treatment for high blood pressure.


  1. Lemon Grass

This plant has no cholesterol and is low in calories, making it a beneficial flavoring for cooking and tea. Lemon grass is also a detoxifier that contains a compound called citral [17] which removes excess cholesterol, fats, and uric acid.


  1. Cilantro aka. Coriander

Cilantro is used as a traditional medicine for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. This herb has been reported to exhibit antioxidant properties. Its extracts showed diuretic effects as well, which would complement the treatment and management of hypertension. [18]


  1. Tea

Tea has anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, and anti-hypertensive effects, according to several studies. One study [19] noted the hypotensive action offered by tea. Another study demonstrated green tea’s [20] ability to reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressures.


  1. Saffron

The medicinal values of saffron [21] have been sought for over four millennia. Recent studies support the use of saffron for anti-hypertensive benefits. One was conducted in 2015 that showed the normalizing effect of safranal [22] , the main component of saffron oil, on blood pressure in chronic administration.


  1. King Of Bitters

This plant – Andrographis paniculata – has been part of Southeast Asian traditional medicine as a treatment for colds. Its extracts were found to contain several compounds that induce dramatic hypotensive effects. [23]


  1. Hibiscus

Also sometimes known as Roselle – this plant is used for hypertension, fever, and other diseases in folk medicine. Its buds, flowers, leaves, and petals have varied applications in cooking, personal care, and health. The antihypertensive effect of hibiscus was confirmed by a 2007 study. [24]


  1. Black Cumin

This spice is an important kitchen item in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In addition to being effective against diabetes, black cumin also has an antihypertensive role. Thymoquinone is a bioactive component that contributes to its healing effects. [25]


  1. Ginseng

Several studies confirmed the efficacy of this plant in causing [26] a significant decrease in systemic and diastolic blood pressures. Ginseng’s hypotensive effect is linked to an improvement in arterial functions.


  1. Chinese Sage

This traditional Chinese herb is commonly used for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Its antihypertensive effect is widely supported by recent studies including a 2011 research [27] published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology.


  1. Chinese Goldthread

Widely used in Chinese folk medicine, this plant contains a compound called berberine which has the ability to lower blood pressure. This hypotensive action was confirmed by Affuso et. al. [28] in a 2010 study published in the World Journal of Cardiology.


  1. Cardamom

This seasoning from India has been demonstrated to have antioxidant properties. A study that used powdered cardamom [29] for its participants daily saw significant reductions in their blood pressure readings.


  1. Cat’s Claw

This herbal medicine is used in traditional Chinese practice to treat hypertension. One study linked the plant’s hypotensive activity to a compound called hirsutine [30] .


  1. Black Plum

Researchers found out that oral administration [31] of the extract of this plant had a hypotensive effect on the blood pressure of rats. The extract reduced both the systolic and diastolic blood pressures.


  1. Mistletoe

This last one shows that it’s not just for holiday get-togethers, this aqueous extracts of this plant were studied if it could produce an antihypertensive effect without alteration in heart rate. A 2006 study [32] highlighted the therapeutic action offered by prolonged administration of the extract on cholesterol level.




In closing, as science is discovering great things every day, especially when it comes to internal medicine and the resurgence of holistic medicine and once-forgotten ancient remedies and procedures, the future appears to be very bright as far as this aspect of fitness is concerned. As I say in my writings, become knowledgable in all things fitness-related. Be discriminating. Be exacting and be somewhat skeptical as you seek the best for your body. Knowledge is always great, but the execution of knowledge is power. Action is essential. Action is one of the most important and basic of all the basics.





[1] Ried K et. al. 2008. BMC Cardiovascular Disorders. Effect of garlic on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18554422


[2] Somanadhan B et. al. 1999. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. An ethnopharmacological survey for potential angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors from Indian medicinal plants https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10465650


[3] Ghayur MN and Gilani AH. 2005. Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology. Ginger lowers blood pressure through blockade of voltage-dependent calcium channels https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15613983/


[4] Babar A et. al. 2015. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine. Essential oils used in aromatherapy: A systemic review http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2221169115001033


[5] Engelhard YN et. al. 2006. American Heart Journal. Natural antioxidants from tomato extract reduce blood pressure in patients with grade-1 hypertension: a double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16368299/


[6] Mori TA. 2010. Cellular and Molecular Biology. Omega-3 fatty acids and blood pressure https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20196972


[7] Gilani AH et. al. 2000. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Ethnopharmacological evaluation of the anticonvulsant, sedative and antispasmodic activities of Lavandula stoechas L. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10904159/


[8] Rajiv Sharma. 2005. Improve Your Health With Dairy Products & Juices https://books.google.com.ph/books/about/Improve_Your_Health_With_Dairy_Products.html?id=bYvYLb7qaNYC&redir_esc=y


[9] Akilen R et. al. 2012. Nutrition. Effect of short-term administration of cinnamon on blood pressure in patients with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23867208


[10] Possible Interactions with: Ginkgo Biloba http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb-interaction/possible-interactions-with-ginkgo-biloba


[11] Jerie P. 2007. Casopis Lekaru Ceskych. [Milestones of cardiovascular therapy. IV. Reserpine] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17722843/


[12] Ben Salem M et. al. 2014. Journal of Food Processing and Preservation. Pharmacological Activities of Olea europaeaLeaves http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jfpp.12341/abstract


[13] Edwards RL et. al. 2007. The Journal of Nutrition. Quercetin reduces blood pressure in hypertensive subjects https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17951477


[14] Aydin Y et. al. 2007. Planta Medica. Hypotensive effects of carvacrol on the blood pressure of normotensive rats https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17924312


[15] Andrews RJ et. al. 1993. Surgical Neurology. Effects of mannitol on cerebral blood flow, blood pressure, blood viscosity, hematocrit, sodium, and potassium https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8456386


[16] Bahar Z et. al. 2013. African Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Herbal Therapies Used by Hypertensive Patients in Turkey https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3746576/


[17] Devi RC et. al. 2012. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Effect of Cymbopogon citratus and Citral on Vascular Smooth Muscle of the Isolated Thoracic Rat Aorta https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22675383/


[18] Jabeen Q et. al. 2009. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Coriander fruit exhibits gut modulatory, blood pressure lowering and diuretic activities https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19146935/


[19] Deka A and Vita JA. 2011. Pharmacological Research. Tea and cardiovascular disease https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21477653/


[20] Nagao et. al. 2007. Obesity. A green tea extract high in catechins reduces body fat and cardiovascular risks in humans https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17557985/


[21] Srivastava R et. al. 2010. Pharmacognosy Reviews. Crocus sativus L.: A comprehensive review https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22228962/


[22] Imenshahidi M et. al. 2015. Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research. The effect of chronic administration of safranal on systolic blood pressure in rats https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25901167/


[23] Awang K et. al. 2012. Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology. Cardiovascular activity of labdane diterpenes from Andrographis paniculata in isolated rat hearts https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22536026/


[24] Herrera-Arellano A et. al. 2007. Planta Medica. Clinical effects produced by a standardized herbal medicinal product of Hibiscus sabdariffa on patients with hypertension. A randomized, double-blind, lisinopril-controlled clinical trial https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17315307/


[25] Khattab MM and Nagi MN. 2007. Phytotherapy Research. Thymoquinone supplementation attenuates hypertension and renal damage in nitric oxide deficient hypertensive rats https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17236176/


[26] Rhee MY et. al. 2014. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine. Blood pressure lowering effect of Korea ginseng derived ginseol K-g1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24871654/


[27] Ng CF et. al. 2011. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. The anti-hypertensive effect of Danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza) and Gegen (Pueraria lobata) formula in rats and its underlying mechanisms of vasorelaxation https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21855622/


[28] Affuso F et. al. 2010. World Journal of Cardiology. Cardiovascular and metabolic effects of Berberine https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21160701/


[29] Verma SK et. al. 2009. Indian Journal of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Blood pressure lowering, fibrinolysis enhancing and antioxidant activities of cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20361714


[30] Horie S et. al. 1992. Life Sciences. Effects of hirsutine, an antihypertensive indole alkaloid from Uncaria rhynchophylla, on intracellular calcium in rat thoracic aorta https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1311793


[31] Ladeji O et. al. 2005. Pytotherapy Research. Activity of aqueous extract of the bark of Vitex doniana on uterine muscle response to drugs https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16220576


[32] Ben EE et. al. 2006. Nigerian Journal of Physiological Sciences. Increased plasma total cholesterol and high density lipoprotein levels produced by the crude extract from the leaves of Viscum album (mistletoe) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17242719

Benefits of a Diet with Gluten

For at least the past decade, there has been an almost universal condemnation, rejection and vilification of a diet with gluten. Of course, the ads on television, the foods that are all suddenly gluten-free will either make your head spin (if you’re like me, you sense a new fad or trend). It is interesting to note however, you see the amount of people claiming to have gluten sensitivity (though the real percentage of Americans who have gluten sensitivity hovers just over 1%) exploding by leaps and bounds.

NOTE: This article is not a substitute for sound medical advice. Please refer to your Health Care Provider for all things health/wellness related.

Here are a few benefits of a diet that includes gluten:


Gluten is a protein normally found in a few grains including wheat, grain, rye, and spelt. It acts like a fastener, holding nourishment together and including a “stretchy” quality—think about a pizza maker hurling and extending a bundle of mixture. Without gluten, the mixture would tear effectively.


A gluten-free diet is extremely popular these days, especially among individuals with stomach related problems as they perceive the impacts of gluten on their bodies. Others trust that removing gluten oversees therapeutic concerns and adds to a more advantageous eating regimen. Look at the positive impact of gluten and determine for yourself if it’s right for you and your diet.


  • Fortified breads and grains are a noteworthy source of B vitamins. Gluten-free flours for the most part aren’t infused with these imperative supplements, which is important for your heart, brain and blood.


  • Gluten is also a great source of protein, so expending gluten adds a greater amount of this supplement to your eating regimen. Wheat gluten flour, for instance, has 23 grams of protein for each quarter-glass. ​​


  • ​​​​​​​Wheat gluten flour has low fat content.


  • ​​​​​​​Iron substance can differ as indicated by the type of gluten, yet wheat flour is braced with this mineral to compensate for the iron lost as wheat is refined to flour.


As known to many these are just few of the pros of gluten, however, further studies are being conducted to determine the true effects of gluten in the body. Hence, excessive inclusion of gluten in the diet is just as bad. A sensible diet along with exercise is still the best way to go.

In Closing

I have given you a short list of four benefits of a gluten-rich diet. This list is in no way conclusive, but it should give those of you who are wondering about gluten something to think about.

In any case, this is one of the main reasons why I do this. A great topic that can be discussed.


As always, knowledge is one of the master keys to winning in fitness and in life. THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN.










Vegetarianism has been around as long as people have been around. It is a great alternative to our modern diet (in a variety of ways). Being a vegetarian has quite a few great benefits. Here are ten reasons to become a vegetarian (OR TO AT LEAST CONSIDER IT):


  • You Can Eat Lots of Yummy Foods. Contrary to popular belief, veggies isn’t boring or “rabbit food”. In fact, you can also turn any non-vegan food into a vegan version. Example: vegan chicken, vegan cheese, vegan donuts, vegan ice cream, etc. It isn’t boring; it is vibrant, colorful, fun and healthy.
  • Fights heart disease.High LDL (bad cholesterol) is directly linked to heart disease, and animal products like meat, eggs and dairy products are the main sources of saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet. The American Heart Association recommends eating a variety of foods and limiting red meat. In fact, a recent study shows you may reduce your risk of heart disease by 20 percent with a diet that’s mostly plant-based.
  • Lowers blood pressure and helps prevent stroke. Cutting out meat and dairy products may lower your blood pressure—sometimes in just two weeks. The exact reason is unknown, but it seems that eliminating meat, dairy and other fats may make your blood move more freely through your veins. The potassium found in vegetables and fruits may also have a lowering effect on your blood pressure.
  • Lowers risk of osteoporosis.Osteoporosis is less common in nations where diets consist primarily of vegetables. That may be because animal products leach calcium out of the body. Eating healthy is the key: You can get all the calcium you need from dry beans, tofu, soy milk and dark green vegetables like broccoli, kale, turnip greens and collards.
  • Prevents kidney stones and gallstones. There’s a link between high-protein diets and kidney stones and gallstones. By switching to a vegetarian diet, some people can reduce their likelihood of forming kidney stones and gallstones.
  • Controls diabetes.A study published by the journal Diabetes Care noted that very few people with vegetarian diets have diabetes. In fact, researchers had people with type 2 diabetes try a low-fat, vegetarian diet for 12 weeks, and their serum glucose concentration dropped 28 percent. When combined with regular exercise, a low-fat, high-fiber diet with complex carbohydrates helps to regulate glucose levels.
  • Fights heart disease. High LDL (bad cholesterol) is directly linked to heart disease, and animal products like meat, eggs and dairy products are the main sources of saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet. The American Heart Association recommends eating a variety of foods and limiting red meat. In fact, a recent study shows you may reduce your risk of heart disease by 20 percent with a diet that’s mostly plant-based.
  • Helps prevent cancer. People who don’t eat meat have dramatically lower cases of cancer of the colon, breast, ovaries and prostate. Vegetarian diets (and not smoking) may be why there are fewer cases of cancer among various groups. Adding lots of veggies to your diet increases fiber, vitamins and phytochemicals to help prevent cancer.
  • Meat eaters have double the rate of Alzheimers disease as Vegans & Vegetarians—some people also think that Parkinsons disease is also linked to meat eating.
  • Meat is full of traces of antibiotics, hormones, toxins produced by stress & pesticide residues that become concentrated from all the crops they have eaten.


In closing, these are just ten of many reasons. Vegetarian diets aren’t for everyone. This may work for you, then again, it just may not. Hopefully you’ll get something out of it.







Ten of the Worst Food Ingredients to Never Eat Again


NOTE: This article (and this site) are no substitute for sound medical advice. Please consult your Primary Care Provider for all things health/wellness related.

In the annals of health and wellness, there are many foods deemed unsafe to eat, based on how it affects the body. These ten on this list can be deadly in some regard. Please read carefully.

1. Sodium Benzoate
Sodium benzoate is added to food to prevent the growth of pathogenic microbes, like fungi. A recent study published in 2015 revealed that sodium benzoate caused mutation and cytotoxicity through the formation of micronuclei and chromosome breaks – both characteristics found in cancer cells. [1] Another study in 2014 linked the intake of sodium benzoate-containing beverages to ADHD-like symptoms in college students. [2]

2. BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole)
BHA is used to prevent oils and fats from going rancid and is added to butter and chips. Similar to the results of the sodium benzoate study in 2015, a 2013 study revealed both cytotoxic and DNA fragmentation properties of BHA when used on human cells. [3] BHA also potentiates the harmful effects of propylparaben, a preservative found in most cosmetics. [4]

3. MSG (Monosodium glutamate)
Not only is MSG a preservative found in chips and other snacks, it is also used in cooking to enhance the flavor of certain dishes. While the FDA declares MSG as safe to consume, many others disagree and a recent study in 2013 revealed contraindicating results. The study revealed that MSG could cause kidney damage through the formation of kidney stones, along with increasing the levels of serum creatinine. [5]
4. Artificial Sweeteners
Although artificial sweeteners like aspartame are popular among diabetics and people watching their weight, a 2014 study revealed how people who regularly used AS experienced a sharp spike in glucose levels followed by a lengthy decline after consuming sugary food – a characteristic found in diabetes or other metabolic disorders. The study found out the AS altered the body’s gut bacteria, increasing the number of gut bacteria that fed on AS and have been linked with obesity. [6]

5. Potassium Bromate
Widely used in bread products, potassium bromate has been linked to tumor formation in the kidneys, abdomen, and thyroid, which is why it is banned in certain places like Canada and Europe. [7] A more recent study revealed that potassium bromate caused damage and oxidative stress in human red blood cells, causing the cells to lose or break – which can contribute to numerous immunity disorders and cancers. [8]

6. High Fructose Corn Syrup
High fructose corn syrup found in most carbonated beverages has been linked to a variety of conditions like diabetes, liver disease, and obesity. [9][10][11] Not only is soda a source of empty calories, it can cause diseases as well.

7. Artificial Coloring (blue 1, blue 2, yellow 5, and yellow 6)
There have been many studies on artificial food coloring and its effects on children, particularly their behavior. Studies in 2009 and 2012 reveal that AFC has effects on hyperactivity in children, as well as links to ADHD. [12][13]

8. Acrylamide
Acrylamide isn’t an “ingredient”, per se, but it can be found in certain food products (e.g. French fries, coffee, breakfast cereal) after going through high-heat processing. It also happens to be classified as a probable human carcinogen by the IARC, the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Two studies in 2011 focused on the carcinogenic effects of acrylamide, linking it to prostate cancer and cytotoxicity, a condition that causes cancer. [14][15]

9. Sodium Nitrite
Sodium nitrite is popularly used as a preservative in the food industry to prevent the growth of bacteria, prolonging the shelf life of the food product. While it is regarded as safe in small amounts, research has proven that SNT is not completely excreted by the body. About 60 percent remains circulating in the blood, forming nitrogen compounds that damage tissue and cause various diseases. [16]

10. BPA
It’s not exactly an ingredient… but it sure can end up in your food: Bisphenol A or BPA is used to line the inside of cans used to contain food. While certain canned goods that don’t use other preservatives on this list, the cans themselves can cause food to be contaminated with BPA. BPA is known as an EDC – or endocrine disrupting chemical. Intake of BPA in high doses can cause the body’s hormones to go haywire, which science has indicated can cause obesity and diabetes. [17] Note that the new “replacement” – BPS – which is sometimes found in products marked “BPA free” may also have problems. In short, you are better off with fresh foods if possible.

In Closing

In all things health/wellness related going forward, it is imperative that we all use our heads and our sense to determine our health path. Since everyone is different, you have to decide for yourself what is and what isn’t right for you. Trends, readily accepted multimedia tripe will only fatten the pockets of the companies that sell you these dreams. Decide for yourself. Be judgmental. Be discriminating. Be picky. This is your life, your body, your time. Knowledge and the APPLICATION of said knowledge is THE thing that separates the winners from everyone else in life. The application of knowledge is one of the basics.


[1] Pongsavee, M. (2015). Effect of Sodium Benzoate Preservative on Micronucleus Induction, Chromosome Break, and Ala40Thr Superoxide Dismutase Gene Mutation in Lymphocytes. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4346689/

[2] Beezhold, B., Johnston, C. & Nochta, K. (2014). Sodium-benzoate-rich beverage consumption is associated with increased reporting of ADHD symptoms in college students: a pilot investigation. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22538314

[3] Vandghanooni, S., et. al. (2013). Cytotoxicity and DNA fragmentation properties of butylated hydroxyanisole. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23413972

[4] Martin, J., et. al. (2014). The antioxidant butylated hydroxyanisole potentiates the toxic effects of propylparaben in cultured mammalian cells. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25086368

[5] Sharma, A., et. al. (2013). Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) Consumption Is Associated with Urolithiasis and Urinary Tract Obstruction in Rats. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3784461/

[6] Suez, J., et. al. (2014). Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbia. http://www.readcube.com/articles/10.1038/nature13793

[7] Kurokawa, Y., et. al. (1990). Toxicity and carcinogenicity of potassium bromate – a new renal carcinogen. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1567851/

[8] Ahmad, M. (2014). Potassium bromate causes cell lysis and induces oxidative stress in human erhythrocytes. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22012894

[9] Goran, M., Ulijaszek, S. & Ventura, E. (2013). High fructose corn syrup and diabetes prevalence: a global perspective. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23181629

[10] Chung, M., et. al. (2014). Fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, sucrose, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or indexes of liver health: a systematic review and meta-analysis. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25099546

[11] Bocarsly, M., et. al. (2010). High-fructose corn syrup causes characteristics of obesity in rats: increased body weight, body fat and triglyceride levels. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20219526

[12][No authors listed]. Artificial food colouring and hyperactivity symptoms in children. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19882794

[13] Eugene Arnold, L., Lofthouse, N. & Hurt, E. (2012). Artificial Food Colors and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Symptoms: Conclusions to Dye for. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3441937/

[14] Capuano, E. & Vincenzo, F. (2011). Acrylamide and 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF): A review on metabolism, toxicity, occurrence in food and mitigation strategies. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0023643810003798

[15] Wilson, K., et. al. (2011). Dietary acrylamide and risk of prostate cancer. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ijc.26383/full

[16] Khan, W., et. al. (2013). Protective effect of polyunsaturated fatty acids on sodium nitrite induced nephrotoxicity and oxidative damage in rat kidney. http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Md_Wasim_Khan/publication/216206296 (PDF)

[17] vom Saal, F., et. al. (2012). The Estrogenic Endocrine Disruption Chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) and Obesity. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3306519/

THE MODERN DIET: Time for a Reboot?

The Modern Diet: the main reason why people all over the world are fatter, weaker and sicker than ever before. Everywhere the Modern Diet (modern processed foods) goes, andemic diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease soon follow.

The studies are clear on this… when people abandon their traditional foods in favor of modern processed foods high in sugar, refined flour and vegetable oils, they get sick. Of course, there are many things that can contribute to these health problems, but changes in the diet are the most important factor.



  1. Total Sugar Intake Has Skyrocketed in The Past 160 Years

People in Western countries are consuming massive amounts of refined sugars, reaching about 150 lbs (67 kg) per year in some countries. This amounts to over 500 calories of sugar per day.

The sources vary on the exact figures, but it is very clear that we are consuming way more sugar than our bodies are equipped to handle. Controlled human studies show that large amounts of sugar can lead to severe metabolic problems, including insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, elevated cholesterol and triglycerides — to name a few.


Added sugar is believed to be one of the main drivers of diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.


  1. Consumption of Soda and Fruit Juice Has Increased Exponentially

Of all the sugar sources in the diet, sugar-sweetened beverages are the worst. Fruit juice is no better… it contains a similar amount of sugar as most soft drinks.

Getting sugar in liquid form is particularly harmful. The studies show that the brain doesn’t “register” liquid sugar calories the in the same way as calories from solid foods, which dramatically increases total calorie intake. One study found that in children, each daily serving of sugar-sweetened beverages is linked to a 60% increased risk of obesity.


  1. Calorie Intake Has Gone up by Around 400 Calories Per Day

Although sources vary on the exact figures, it is inherently clear that calorie intake has increased dramatically in the past few decades.

There are many complicated reasons for this, including increased processed food and sugar consumption, increased food availability, more aggressive marketing towards children, etc.


  1. People Have Abandoned Traditional Fats in Favor of Processed Vegetable Oils

When health professionals started blaming saturated fat for heart disease, people abandoned traditional fats like butter, lard and coconut oil in favor of processed vegetable oils.

These oils are very high in Omega-6 fatty acids, which can contribute to inflammation and various problems when consumed in excess.

These oils are often hydrogenated, which makes them high in trans fats. Many studies have shown that these fats and oils increase the risk of heart disease, even if they aren’t hydrogenated.


Therefore, the maladjusted advice to avoid saturated fat and choose vegetable oils instead may have inadvertently fueled the heart disease epidemic.


  1. People Replaced Heart-Healthy Butter in favor of Trans-Fat Laden Margarine

Another side effect of the “war” on saturated fat was an increase in margarine consumption.

Margarine was traditionally made with hydrogenated oils, which are high in trans fats. Many studies show that trans fats increase the risk of heart disease.


Grass-fed butter contains nutrients that are protects against heart disease (like Vitamin K2), therefore the advice to replace heart-healthy butter with trans-fat laden margarine may have done a lot of damage.


  1. Soybean Oil Has Become a Major Source of Calories

The most commonly consumed vegetable oil in the U.S. is soybean oil. Soybean oil provided 7% of calories in the U.S. diet in the year 1999, which is huge.

However, most people don’t have a clue they’re eating this much soybean oil. They’re getting most of it from processed foods, which often have soybean oil added to them because it is cheap. The best way to avoid soybean oil (and other nasty ingredients) is to avoid processed foods.


  1. Modern Wheat is Garbage Compared to Older Varieties of Wheat

Wheat is a major staple of the Western diet. It is found in all sorts of foods… breads, pastas, pastries, pizzas, various baked goods and processed products.

As alluded to in the title of this segment… the type of wheat consumed has changed in the past few decades.


Modern dwarf wheat was introduced in the early 1960s, which contains 19-28% less of very important minerals like Magnesium, Iron, Zinc and Copper. There is also evidence that modern wheat is much more harmful to celiac patients and people with gluten sensitivity, compared to older breeds like Einkorn wheat.


Wheat back in the day was healthy. Dwarf wheat is not. Period.


  1. Egg Consumption Has Gone Down

Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. Despite being high in cholesterol, eggs don’t raise the bad cholesterol in the blood.

For some reason, the health authorities have recommended that we cut back on eggs, even though there is no evidence that they contribute to heart disease. Since the year 1950, we have decreased our consumption of this highly nutritious food from 375 to 250 eggs per year, a decrease of 33%.


This has contributed to a severe deficiency in all too important nutrients like Choline, which about 90% of Americans aren’t getting enough of.


  1. People Are Eating More Processed Foods Than Ever Before

This graph shows how consumption of fast foods has increased in the past few decades.

Keep in mind that even though it looks like people are still eating most of their foods “at home” — now this does not take into account the fact that most people are also eating processed, pre-packaged foods at home (e.g. Blue Apron).


  1. The Increased Vegetable Oil Consumption Has Changed the Fatty Acid Composition of Our Bodies

Most of the Omega-6 fats that people are eating is a fatty acid called linoleic acid.

Studies show that this fatty acid gets incorporated into our cell membranes and body fat stores. The fats are prone to oxidation, which damages molecules (like DNA) in the body and is increasing our risk of cancer.


In other words, the increased consumption of processed vegetable oils has led to actual harmful structural changes in our bodies. That’s a scary thought.


  1. The Low-Fat Dietary Guidelines Were Published Around the Same Time the Obesity Epidemic Started

The first dietary guidelines for Americans were published in the year 1977, almost at the exact same time the obesity epidemic started. Of course, this doesn’t prove anything (correlation does not equal causation), but it makes sense that this could be more than just a mere coincidence.

The anti-fat message essentially put the blame on saturated fat and cholesterol (harmless), while giving sugar and refined carbs (very unhealthy) a free pass.


Since the guidelines were published, many massive studies have been conducted on the low-fat diet. It is no better at preventing heart disease, obesity or cancer than the standard Western diet, which is as unhealthy as a diet can get.


For some very strange reason, we are still being advised to follow this type of diet, despite the studies showing it to be not only completely ineffective, but ruinous to the collective health of every one of us.

These eleven points point out what I have come to think and believe concerning our Modern Diet: it’s time for a reboot.


In closing, knowledge is power. Knowing your body, knowing what is really in your food, knowing how your body works and how it reacts to food, stress, etc.

Knowledge is one of the “master keys” to the basics.








Help for Back Pain


Back Pain of all types is a debilitating force in our nation today. The costs are almost incomprehensible, as time missed from work, insurance deductibles, you name it goes up into the billions of dollars every year to help combat this problem.

The following article discusses a few facts on back pain and some exercises to lessen and/or defeat chronic back pain


NOTE: This article is not a substitute for sound medical advice. Please consult your Primary Care Provider for all things health/wellness related.

The scary thing is, back pain is an epidemic. According to the American Chiropractic Association, as many as 31 million Americans are suffering back pain at any given time, and it’s estimated that 80% of the adult population will experience back pain at some point in their lives. This pain epidemic comes at a cost, and it’s a cost that’s largely preventable.


The Costs of Back Pain

The actual costs of back pain are very hard to estimate because there are so many factors that play into the real and associated costs – such as the cost to employers in missed work days, and, by extension, the loss of employee productivity. In fact, leading organizations can’t settle on a definitive dollar amount of the price of back pain, as estimates range from “at least $50 billion per year” (American Chiropractic Association), to $86 billion per year (WebMD), to more than $200 billion dollars per year (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons).

Regardless of the exact amount, the cost is huge and significantly affects the average American. According to a study cited by WebMD, the average estimated annual medical expenditures for adults with back pain in 2005 was $6,096, while the estimated annual medical expenditures for those without pain was $3,516. That breaks down to a $2,580 greater annual medical expense for back pain sufferers, on average.

If there is a silver lining to the estimated average per-person cost, it’s that the actual per-person cost is variable, with roughly 10% of back pain sufferers picking up the tab on 80% of the total estimated annual costs. In other words, 90% of back pain sufferers seem to get by with moderate expenses – doctors visits, temporary prescriptions, and OTC care – while a minority of sufferers participate in expensive procedures and therapies that add up quickly.

Overall, back pain costs can be funneled into three categories: treatment costs, employer costs, and employee costs due to loss of wages and quality of life. While you might not immediately associate a loss in quality of life as a financial burden, it can be.

For instance, a day spent in bed is a day you can’t watch or play with your kids – this might mean extra money spent on childcare. Or, if you can’t run errands or wash your car, you might find yourself paying for a delivery service or a professional car wash. These expenses might seem negligible, but it can add up over time.


  1. Treatment

Treatment expenses are exactly what they sound like: the costs you undergo to treat your back pain. For some these expenses are low, including rest, over-the-counter pain relievers, and perhaps a trip to the doctor. For others, these expenses are astronomical, including long-term use of prescription painkillers and surgery.

The scary thing is, these expenses are growing every year. This is due in part to a steady increase in disability from musculoskeletal injuries, but it’s also because of the drastic increase in invasive treatments for back pain. According to Results Physiotherapy, from 1996 to 2004 the number of spinal fusions (a surgical procedure that essentially “welds” painful vertebrae together to prevent pain caused from movement) increased by 307%, the number of epidural steroid injections increased by 629%, and a correlation between the frequency of MRI and CT scans and subsequent surgeries was identified. In other words, as more advanced testing is used to diagnose back pain, the frequency of invasive procedures is increasing.

While in some cases invasive treatments are completely appropriate and may be the best course of action, more people are electing these expensive treatment protocols. There are lots of reasons why this may be the case – for instance, when someone has been in pain for long periods of time, surgery may seem like the only remaining option. In other circumstances, surgery may seem like a “quick fix” compared to ongoing therapy that may or may not help (this is shortsighted, as surgery requires ongoing therapy post-procedure). And some people may see surgery as a “jumping off point” – they’d rather start with the most drastic treatment to hopefully get to the desired result – no back pain – faster.

Finally, because surgery is becoming a more accepted option, there are some doctors and surgery centers that suggest surgery in order to pad their bottom line. This may be a completely unethical, but it happens. A 2011 Bloomberg article called out one such surgery center, Laser Spine Institute, for this method.

Regardless of why more expensive therapies are being elected, the truth is that less expensive therapies might suffice – and may even be more effective. Results Physiotherapy highlighted this point by citing a study of a change in treatment protocol at The Virginia Mason Hospital system in Washington State. When the hospital elected to use physical therapy for back pain treatment prior to using more specialized care (such as invasive surgery treatments), costs were reduced per back pain episode by 55%, fewer treatments overall were used (including medication, doctor’s visits and therapy sessions), and patients reported greater satisfaction with their total care. These statistics all indicate that physical therapy is a better option.

Furthermore, a study in the February 13, 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the steady increase in treatment costs for back pain didn’t correspond with an improvement in patient outcomes. In other words, just because you spend more, it doesn’t mean you’ll feel better in the long run.


  1. Missed Work & Employer Expenses

It’s not just the back pain sufferer who suffers when experiencing pain – the American workforce does too. Every year, back pain accounts for roughly 40% of all missed work days, and is the second-leading cause of missed work, lagging only behind the common cold and upper respiratory illnesses. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), in 2004, 25.9 million workers lost an average of 7.2 days of work due to back pain. That’s 186.7 million days of work lost. Employers pick up these costs in the form of loss of productivity of the employee (and perhaps of the entire team), insurance expenses, and perhaps Workers Comp, if the back pain was due to a workplace injury.

A 1999 study published in the American Journal of Public Health estimated that the direct cost of missed work days alone accounted for a $14 billion expense. With inflation (and not adjusting for an increase in median weekly wage), that’s about $20 billion in 2014. You can see how the total cost of missed work could damage the American economy.

And that just accounts for the loss of full work days – it doesn’t take into account the individuals who become limited in the work they do. AAOS cites that from 1999 to 2004, 62% of people who self-reported work or walking limitations stated that their limitation was due to lower back pain.


  1. Short- or Long-Term Loss of Wages

Sadly, some individuals who experience back pain become temporarily or permanently disabled. While worker’s compensation or disability payments may help keep the injured party afloat while unable to work, these payments are unlikely to add up to the amount the individual could have earned had he or she remained healthy. Again, estimating the exact amount of lost wages is difficult, as many factors play a role in the amount a person can expect to pull in, including industry, education, and gender.

That said, the 2014 median weekly salary for full-time workers in 2014 is $791, with the median salary for women coming in at $716, and the median salary for men coming in at $867. In other words, an average year’s worth of lost wages due to disability is roughly $40,000. If the disabled individual can no longer hold a job that also provides benefits (such as health insurance), the loss in wages increases to account for the loss in benefits.

The total cost of back pain to the American economy – including treatment, employer expenses, and loss of wages – is in the tens to hundreds of billions, depending on the reporting agency, while the average cost to the back pain sufferer is more than $2,000 per year. That’s serious cash, and cash that could be better spent on other things if the pain were prevented.


Preventing Back Pain

While some back pain is unavoidable (for instance, an injury suffered during a car wreck), there are steps you can take to minimize your risk. Common risk factors for back pain include:

  • Age (those over 40 are more likely to experience pain)
  • Race (black women are more likely than white women to experience pain)
  • Poor physical fitness
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Smoking
  • Sedentary jobs
  • Jobs that require extensive bending, lifting, and twisting
  • Poor posture


Minimizing Risk

While some risk factors can’t be avoided – there’s no stopping the aging process – it is possible to take care of your body and minimize your risk. If an instigating action didn’t cause your back pain (such as a car wreck or a bad fall), and if there’s no clear diagnostic disease that needs treatment (such as degenerative disc disease), chances are your back pain is due, at least in part, to controllable factors, such as being overweight, leading a sedentary life, or smoking.

When you take care of your whole health, your entire body benefits. I can attest that while my own back pain comes and goes, it’s more manageable when I prioritize healthy behaviors, including stretching, strength training(particularly of the core), and managing stress. In fact, when my own pain is at its worst, I’m usually overwhelmed by stress and fighting a depressive period. This isn’t unusual – depression and pain are closely linked. According to the Mayo Clinic, depression causes pain, and pain causes depression. Healthy behaviors that reduce anxiety, including partaking in regular exercise, can help you manage your depression and your pain.

Also, be aware that the simultaneous rise in overweight people and obesity and the rise in back pain isn’t coincidental. The AAOS states that Americans who are extremely obese have a four-fold increased risk of back pain, as continuously carrying around excess weight can wreak havoc on the bones and joints, leading to chronic pain. But the news isn’t all bad: The AAOS also went on to cite a 2013 study by the North American Spine Society that found that obese individuals who added just 20 minutes of light exercise each day were able to lower their risk of back pain by 32% – that’s certainly significant.

To minimize your risk of back pain, consider implementing the following strategies:

  • Start Exercising. Focus on strengthening your core and lower back, while stretching your back, hamstrings and hip flexors. A strong back and limber body work together to help prevent back injuries from occurring.
  • Lose Weight. Those extra pounds can do a number on your back and your other bones and joints. Talk to a trainer or nutritionist to take steps toward losing the excess weight a healthy way.
  • Quit Smoking. Smoking affects the body’s ability to heal, while certain factors, such as a hacking smoker’s cough, can lead to back pain.
  • Sit and Stand Up Straight. Focus on your posture while sitting and standing. When sitting, adjust your chair so your knees and hips are bent at a 90-degree angle, and sit with your feet flat on the floor, roughly hip-distance apart. Your back should be straight, your ears aligned with your shoulders and your hips. When you’re standing, you should focus on similar alignments: your feet hip-distance apart, your weight equally balanced between your legs, and your knees, hips, shoulders, and ear forming a straight line.
  • Learn to Lift Correctly. Improper lifting contributes to a great number of back injuries. If you must lift or push heavy items, remember to “lift (and push) with your legs” with your core tight and your torso upright, rather than initiating the movement from your arms and back.



Exercises for Back Pain

Back pain is an unfortunate thing that many people experience at some point in their lives. This pain can be the result of a muscle or ligament strain, arthritis, osteoporosis, bulging or ruptured disks, skeletal irregularities, or something else.


Though lower back pain is the most common complaint among individuals, there are certain areas in the upper portion of the back that can be bothersome as well.


Back pain can present itself as a dull muscle ache or a shooting stabbing pain. It can radiate down an individual’s leg and may also make it almost impossible for them to stand up straight. Another common problem with back pain is that when it is present, it often causes an individual to have limited flexibility and less range of motion in their back.


Back pain is often treated with pain medications, but the symptoms can also be lessened with the use of specific stretching exercises for back pain. Performing back exercises every day can help to stretch and strengthen the back.


It helps to repeat exercises several times for the best results. After doing the exercises for several days in a row, they will begin to get easier. It is always important to consult a doctor before performing any exercises to prevent injuries.


  1. Knee to Chest Stretch

This strengthening exercise begins with an individual lying flat on their back on the floor with their knees bent.


With both hands, take one knee and pull it up to the chest area and hold it for approximately 15 to 30 seconds.

Slowly lower the knee back down to the starting position and then repeat with the opposite leg.

After lowering the opposite leg, repeat the steps pulling both legs this time.

It is recommended to repeat the stretches at least three times.


  1. Back Extension with a Roman Chair

If a Roman Chair is available, the back extension exercise is a good one to try.


Sit on the Roman Chair back extension station with legs under the leg hooks.

Cross both arms over the chest and lower body at waist level. The back needs to be naturally arched and not too slouched.

With a smooth controlled motion, raise upper body at the waist; the body should form a straight line.

This position needs to be held for just a brief moment before returning to the starting position.


  1. Lower Back Flexibility Stretch

If lower back pain is a problem, this stretch is helpful.


Begin by lying flat on the floor with knees bent. The feet should both be flat on the floor.

The back needs to be arched and held for five seconds.

Relax after five seconds and flatten your back.

This simple exercise should be repeated at least five times when first performed. Many people are able to do 30 repetitions daily after just a short amount of time.


If injury caused the back pain, chances are the pain will get better within a few weeks. It is important to take it easy though and only perform light activities in order to prevent worsening the injury.


If the back pain is chronic, several treatment plans may be necessary to relieve the pain. Stretching and strengthening exercises are extremely helpful in most circumstances.


Tips on About Exercising for Back Pain

Start slow when performing these back exercises and if the pain worsens, stop and take a break.

Doing too much all at once can often cause more strain on the back, which results in even more pain.

Only do what you are comfortable doing and then slowly work your way up to more repetitions.

Performing several varieties of back stretches daily can make a huge difference.


In Closing

Even if you’re doing all the right things, you could still end up with back pain. Trust me, I understand. And while you should always see your doctor if severe pain was caused by a fall or injury, doesn’t improve with rest, is causing numbness or tingling, or is accompanied by other symptoms (such as fever), you may not need to rush to the doctor at the first sign of pain. Give yourself a few days to treat your pain at home – you might be surprised how well home remedies can work.

Yes, the national cost of back pain is ever-increasing, that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to stay healthy and injury-free. By focusing on prevention and self-care, you can minimize your expenses.


As always, knowledge is power. Knowledge is one of the basics.