Thursday, March 31, 2016

What Hair Loss Really Means For Your Health

As a younger man, you noticed your hair thinning on top. Then a little bald spot popped up. Congratulations, you have male pattern baldness! About half of men do, although in some, it happens decades earlier than in others. (Many women have a similar condition—more about that later.) You know your thinning hair affects your appearance, maybe your self-esteem. But can it be a predictor of your health?

The Testosterone Link

Male pattern balding (MPB)’s medical name is androgenic alopecia. Androgens are “male” hormones, although women have them in smaller amounts, just as men have small amounts of estrogen. The most well-known androgen is testosterone. But a small portion of testosterone is converted into an even stronger androgen called dihydrotestosterone—DHT.
MPB is a genetic condition—it runs in families—marked by increased production of DHT. “Men with male pattern baldness produce higher levels of the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT,” says Southern Illinois School of Medicine urology professor Kevin T. McVary, M.D., FACS. “DHT is the hormone that causes you to grow hair on your back—and lose it on your head. It also causes your prostate to grow.”

Benign Enlarged Prostate

Men who have male pattern baldness are more likely to experience symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), aka enlarged prostate, says Dr. McVary. “In one Italian study, men with male pattern baldness were more likely to experience symptoms such as getting up at night, and urination urgency and frequency.” That’s why MPB is “potentially a way to identify men at risk for symptoms of BPH.”

If your pate is shiny, should you get checked? Not neccessarily. “Just because you’re bald doesn’t mean you need to see your doctor,” says Dr. McVary. “But if you have symptoms, bring it to your doctor’s attention.”
Of course, that’s good advice for every man, even those with lion’s manes.

Prostate Cancer

There is a link between getting bald early and getting prostate cancer. Several, but not all, studies show it. “Our study showed increased odds of prostate cancer with baldness by age 30,” says Charnita M. Zeigler-Johnson, Ph.D., an epidemiologist at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Men getting bald in the front by age 30 were more likely to get “clinically significant” prostate cancer before age 60, she found. Another study found the frontal link, but others have found a link with hair thinning in the middle of your head or vertex (the bald spot). While the cause isn’t specifically known, DHT is a suspect.

Time to call the doc? Not yet. It’s still just a statistical link, not a risk factor. More studies need to confirm the connection.

“We hope that upon such confirmation, we may be able to use early baldness as a clinical indicator of risk for prostate cancer,” says Zeigler-Johnson. If you’re worried, you may want to reinforce lifestyle changes that can lower your risk, such as eating a plant-based diet with no more than a pound of red meat a week (and little or no processed meats). “If you want to improve your prostate health, either for preventing cancer or BPH, follow the same guidelines for a healthy heart,” says Dr. McVary: “Exercise, eat a low animal-fat diet, and try to keep thin.”
Heart Disease

A recent Japanese meta-analysis of six studies, involving 40,000 men, showed a statistical link between MPB and heart disease. Men with severe baldness were about a third more likely to develop heart disease than men with a full head of hair. In this case, the link was to vertex baldness — the bald spot — not a receding hairline. “These studies found an association,” says cardiologist Nieca Golberg, M.D., a clinical associate professor at the NYU School of Medicine. “but it’s far from an established risk factor, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.”
If you’re concerned about possible increased cardiovascular disease risk, by all means take charge now. “There are important steps we can take to reduce risk,” says Dr. Goldberg. “Regular exercise, quitting smoking, getting cholesterol checked (and taking meds if you need them), lowering blood pressure—these all lower the risk of heart disease.”

What About Women?

While male pattern baldness is a guy thing, women after menopause often experience a related condition called “female pattern hair loss” (FPHL). It’s characterized not by receding hairline or a bald spot but by a gradual thinning over the crown of the head. It affects as many as 38 percent of women by age 70. Unlike the situation with men, FPHL isn’t tightly linked with excess androgens. Many women with the condition have no excess androgens, although it’s possible that their hair follicles may exhibit some hormonal imbalance. If your doctor does find high circulating androgen levels, though, he or she may want to check into other related conditions such as adult acne or obesity. Although not as well studied as in men, there are some associations between female pattern hair loss and heart disease, especially if it starts early, before age 55. If your hair is thinning, your doctor may want to check you for metabolic and cardiovascular risk. If you have thinning hair, it’s also important to check your iron status, since iron deficiency can cause hair loss. As with men, there are medications such as Minoxidil (Rogaine) that may help restore hair growth or reduce hair loss such as Minoxidil (Rogaine). Click here to read more about products that can help women with thinning here.

Other Kinds of Hair Loss

Male pattern, and female pattern, hair loss are the two most common causes of hair loss. But they are far from the only ones. Many factors—diseases such as diabetes, medications, chemotherapy, high fever, poor diet, hair dyes and more—can cause hair to thin or fall out. If you experience unusual hair changes, see your doc. As for treatment, there are a couple of medications approved by the FDA to treat male pattern baldness: Minoxidil (Rogaine), a solution you apply to your scalp, and finasteride (Propecia, Proscar), a pill that blocks certain androgens. Otherwise, the treatment for both men and women is hair transplantation.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Ovarian Cancer Still Gets Shortchanged, National Academy of Medicine Report Finds


Ovarian cancer is being shortchanged in terms of medical attention and understanding, even though it's one of the deadliest cancers there is, experts reported Wednesday.

It's still treated as a single cancer even though there are actually multiple types, many of which do not even start in the ovaries, the National Academy of Medicine reported.

And treatment falls short, the panel of experts said. There are not many treatments to choose from, but half of all women with ovarian cancer don't even get the best treatments out there.

"In spite of their high mortality rates, ovarian cancers often do not receive as much attention as other cancers," reads the report from the Academy, formerly named the Institute of Medicine.

"The five-year survival of women with the most common and fatal type of ovarian cancer, high-grade serous carcinoma, has increased over the past four decades as a result of advances in specialty care and the development of effective first-line chemotherapy (i.e., platinum compounds in combination with drugs of the taxane family)," reads the report from the committee, chaired by Dr. Jerome Strauss, dean of the school of medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University.

"However, there are concerning racial disparities and a number of unresolved issues regarding the optimal treatment of newly diagnosed women which if addressed could lead to further reductions in morbidity and mortality. Moreover, important discoveries that directly influence clinical recommendations or care have not been widely adopted," it adds.

A woman has a much better chance of surviving ovarian cancer if she is treated by a gynecologic cancer specialist in a place where many cases of ovarian cancer are treated. But that's not an option for many women, the report said.

Ovarian cancer is diagnosed in more than 21,000 women a year in the United States, and it kills more than 14,000. "It is the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths among women, with a five-year survival rate of less than 46 percent," the panel said in its report.

"However, five-year survival rates decreased for black women, from 42 percent between 1975 and 1977 to 36 percent between 2005 and 2007."

It's so deadly partly because the signs are vague and women don't realize they have cancer until it has spread. Women and their doctors both often fail to take seriously symptoms such as bleeding and bloating, the report finds.

"The committee found recent evidence that suggests many ovarian cancers arise in other tissues besides the ovary, such as the fallopian tubes, which eventually metastasize to the ovary, or they arise from cells that are not considered intrinsic to the ovary," the report said.

"Furthermore, researchers do not have a complete understanding of how each subtype of ovarian cancer progresses."

The committee recommended more and better research into ovarian cancer, how it arises, who's at most risk, and which treatments are the most effective.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

4 Foods to Avoid If You Have Spring Allergies

These common kitchen culprits can actually make allergy symptoms, like scratchy throats, worse 


In the spring, birch tree pollen is likely to blame for your sore throat and congestion, and, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, eating foods that contain similar proteins may confuse the immune system and lead to similar symptoms. Celery, for example, is a common culprit for aggravating birch pollen allergies, so cross it off the grocery list temporarily. However, sugar snap peas are available right now, which are a delicious raw snack. 


Fermented foods contain high levels of histamines, potentially causing itchy, watery eyes; congestion; and a runny nose. If pollen is already having the same effect on your body, eating these foods can make matters worse. The good news is that lots fresh greens, like spinach, make their way to markets in the spring, so lay off their fermented cousins.


Be wary of these nuts until fall, as they have been shown to exacerbate spring hay fever. Instead of noshing on almonds for your mid-afternoon snack, try a handful of dried fruit as an alternative. 


If you suffer from pollen allergies, you may want to skip happy hour. Swedish researchers found that people who suffer from asthma, emphysema, and allergies were more likely to experience sneezing and/or a runny nose after having a drink (perhaps because alcohol is high in histamines). Women were also twice as likely to be affected as men, and red and white wine seemed to be the biggest triggers.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Exercise may be among best ways to help prevent colorectal cancer


In 2000, President Bill Clinton dedicated March as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, in an effort to increase public awareness of the facts about colon cancer — a cancer that is preventable and treatable, and has a high survival rate.

Regular screening tests, expert medical care and a healthy lifestyle, which includes a proper diet and exercise, are essential for prevention. Several studies have demonstrated that exercise can also help prevent colon cancer.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 136,830 people were diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2014. Of these, 50,310 men and women will succumb to the disease. It is the second-leading cause of U.S. cancer deaths for men and women combined.

The good news: Incidence and mortality rates are dropping nationally and in Northeast Pennsylvania. The bad news: NEPA still has increased incidence and mortality rates compared with the national average.

Studies show that prevention of this disease is multifaceted. It includes engaging in daily exercise, eating a low-fat diet with little red meat, avoiding smoking, drinking in moderation and having regular colonoscopy screenings.

Early detection is the key to survival. Death from colorectal cancer can be eliminated if caught at the earliest signs of disease. Colorectal cancer progresses very slowly, usually over years. It often begins as noncancerous polyps in the lining of the colon. In some cases, these polyps can grow and become cancerous, often without any symptoms.

But some symptoms may develop: blood in the stool, changes in bowel movement, feeling bloated, unexplained weight loss, feeling tired easily, abdominal pain or cramps and vomiting. Contact your physician if you have any of these symptoms.

The risk increases with age, as 90 percent of those diagnosed are older than 50. A family history of colon cancer increases risk. Also, those with benign polyps, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease are at greater risk and should be screened more frequently.

Here’s a look at some prevention keys:


Colonoscopy is the most accurate screening test for detecting polyps and colorectal cancer. A long, thin, flexible tube with a camera is used to visually examine the lining of the colon. Polyps can be removed at the time of the exam if necessary. Most people should have this test starting at age 50, although high-risk populations — those with genetic predisposition or inflammatory bowel disease — may begin at age 40 to 45, or even younger.

Diet and nutrition

Diets rich in fiber are generally considered beneficial for overall health, including colorectal health. Limit high-fat foods, especially from animal sources. Limit red meat and dairy. A diet consisting of fish, fruit and vegetables is valuable. Some researchers theorize that Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cabbage may trigger a chemical process to turn on a gene to suppress tumors. Sunlight and vitamin D are thought to be important, too.

Lifestyle and habits

Smoking and excessive alcohol use increase risk for colorectal and other forms of cancer. Stress and anxiety can be cancer triggers.


While there have been many studies about the benefits of exercise for colon cancer, none have been more encouraging than a recent study from the Hutchinson Cancer Institute in Seattle. Patients with abnormal cells on the lining of their colons, as found by colonoscopy, demonstrated positive changes and reversal of these cells after engaging in four hours of exercise per week for one year. Some studies have shown that exercise can reduce the risk of colon cancer by 50 percent.

How can exercise prevent colon cancer?

The intestine works like a sewage plant, recycling the food and liquid needed by your body. But it also stores waste before disposal. The longer the wastes remain idle in your colon or rectum, the more time toxins have to be absorbed from your waste into the surrounding tissues. Exercise gets your body moving, including your intestines. It stimulates muscular contraction, called peristalsis, to promote movement of waste through your colon.

Exercise to prevent colon cancer does not have to be extreme. A simple increase in daily activity for 15 minutes twice a day, or 30 minutes once a day, is adequate to improve the movement of waste through your colon. This can be simply accomplished by walking, swimming or biking, or playing golf, tennis or basketball.

For those interested in a more traditional exercise regimen, perform aerobic exercise for 30 to 45 minutes four to five days per week, with additional sports and activities the rest of the time. For those in poor physical condition, begin slowly. Start walking for five to 10 minutes two to three times per day. Then, add one to two minutes each week until you attain a 30- to 45-minute goal.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St Patrick's Day 2016! Here's everything you need to know about the Irish event and how to celebrate

Every year, millions of people don ginger wigs, green jackets and shamrock-adorned top hats.
They then crowd into bars across the world, where they down pints of Guinness from as early as 9 or 10am.  They do so to mark St Patrick’s Day , an annual event that celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish.

On the day, many will conveniently remember that their great-great-great-great-grandparents moved over from Ireland centuries ago.

Others, meanwhile, will try to impress fellow revellers by putting on a fake Irish accent and drunkenly wishing them: “Top o’ the mornin’ to ya.”

But why do we celebrate St Patrick’s Day? And how is it observed by people across the globe?
Here, we provide a guide to the event, which takes place on March 17 each year.

What is St Patrick’s Day?

St Patrick’s Day was originally a religious feast day for St Patrick – the patron saint of Ireland and a Christian missionary.  St Patrick, the son of a deacon and the grandson of a priest, was actually not born Irish but is believed to have grown up in Roman Britain.  However, he is said to have spent many years in Ireland converting the pagans to Christianity before his death on March 17 in the fifth century.

Despite its origins, St Patrick’s Day has since grown into a global celebration of Irish culture, with festivities (usually, involving a fair bit of drinking) held throughout the world.

On the day, millions of people dress as leprechauns (bearded fairies from Irish folklore), consume green-coloured food and drink and attend public parades.

Many also wear shamrocks – three-leaved plants which St Patrick himself is said to have used to explain the Holy Trinity of God to the pagan Irish.  The day is celebrated as a national holiday in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  However, it is also widely observed across the globe, especially in the UK, America, Canada and Australia.  On March 17, the Lenten restrictions on eating meat and drinking alcohol are relaxed.

Who is St Patrick?
St Patrick is believed to have been born into a wealthy, religious family in Roman Britain in the fourth century.  But at the age of 16, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken to Gaelic Ireland as a slave to tend and herd sheep.  During his captivity, he is said to have prayed to God more than 100 times a day.

He also had a dream about God, in which he later said he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast, where a ship would be waiting.  The dream led to St Patrick escaping from his captors and making his way back home, where he became a priest, like his grandfather.  The young man is then believed to have returned to Ireland as a Christian missionary after experiencing another vision.

According to tradition, he converted thousands of the pagan Irish to Christianity in the northern half of the country.  He would use shamrocks to explain the Holy Trinity to those he preached to, resulting in the widespread presence of the plants on St Patrick’s Day.

He is also said to have performed miracles and built churches across Ireland.
St Patrick died at Saul – where he is believed to have begun his missionary work - and was later buried at Downpatrick, County Down. After his death on March 17, 461, he was the subject of many legends and became the foremost patron saint of Ireland.

PS... It’s St Paddy, NOT Patty

Believe it or not, some people incorrectly refer to St Patrick’s Day as ‘St Patty’s Day’, instead of ‘St Paddy’s Day’. As many angry Irishmen have previously pointed out, the term ‘Paddy’ is derived from the Irish name, Pádraig. In contrast, ‘Patty’ is typically used to refer to a burger – or a similar flattened cake of food. So if you’re trying to refer to the Irish celebration and not burgers or Patty from The Simpsons, we’d suggest steering clear of ‘St Patty’s Day’.

Why Leprechauns?
Leprechauns are diminutive fairies from Irish folklore.
Nowadays, they are typically represented as mischievous creatures who dress in green, sport ginger beards and hide pots of gold.  However, they were not always depicted in this way – with early tales describing their clothing as ‘red’ and ‘laced with gold’.
If you catch one of the wrinkled fairies, it is said that they must lead you to their treasure and may also grant you three wishes.  Revellers tend to dress up as leprechauns on St Patrick’s Day because of the creatures’ iconic status and eye-catching appearance.

Those who choose not to may simply wear green – a colour that has been associated with Ireland and St Patrick’s Day since the mid-17th century.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

7 Signs You Could Have Trichotillomania

Although it affects a small proportion of the population, trichotillomania is a relatively well-known disease. A quick Google search comes up with dozens of personal essays, support groups, and YouTube videos devoted to discussing compulsive hair-pulling. That being said, the signs of trichotillomania go beyond what most people understand about it; like many psychological disorders, there's more at play than the easily-recognized symptoms — in this case, hair-pulling. The irresistible urge to pull out your hair is the defining characteristic of trichotillomania, but there are a number of other behaviors needed to take it into disordered territory.

Trichotillomania is one of several disorders on the obsessive-compulsive spectrum, which share some similarities with obsessive-compulsive disorder(OCD). Like OCD, trichotillomania is characterized by compulsions — specifically, the irresistible impulse to pull out hair. People usually focus on the scalp, but it's not uncommon to pull at eyebrows, eyelashes, or even pubic hair. In order to be considered trichotillomania, the Diagnositic Statistical Manual (DSM) 5 notes that the hair-pulling has to be so extensive that it causes hair loss, usually in the form of bald patches.

For some people, the action might be so automatic they don't realize they're doing it, while others may have specific rituals surrounding the hair-pulling. The disorder's specifics are different for everyone, but there are a number of signs to look out for. Let's examine a few below.

1. You Find Relief From Pulling Out Hair
A central aspect of trichotillomania is the relief that comes from pulling out hair; this is sometimes preceded by a feeling of tension that can only be released by the behavior, especially if you're resisting the urge. (If you're familiar with OCD, you no doubt recognize this is pretty much the definition of defintion of a compulsion, although the tension felt with trichotillomania isn't necessarily anxiety.)

2. The Urge To Pick Is Uncontrollable
People with trichotillomania may try to resist the urge, but one of the criteria for the disorder is its uncontrollable nature — you might try to stop, but you can't without help.

3. You Develop Bald Spots
As discussed above, the hair-pulling has to be so intense that it causes thinning or loss of hair entirely in the affected areas.

4. You Try To Hide It
Trichotillomania involves a sense of shame surrounding the hair-pulling, which causes many people to go to great lengths try to hide signs of the disorder, especially if bald spots start to form. However, the actions may become so automatic that some people with trichotillomania don't even realize they're pulling hair out.

5. It's Long-Lasting
Trichotillomania is a chronic disorder that often, but not always, starts in childhood and continues to adulthood. Although it may improve or worsen throughout your life, trichotillomania is typically a chronic condition.

6. It Worsens With Stress
Researchers have noted many similarities between trichotillomanio and OCD— namely, the ritualistic nature of the actions and the feeling of relief upon performing them. Like those with OCD, the International OCD Foundation writes that people with trichotillomania may find their symptoms worseningduring times of change, whether negative or positive.

7. It's Not Self-Harm

It's easy to assume that hair-pulling stems from a desire to self-harm, but people with trichotillomania aren't usually trying to hurt themselves any more than someone who bites their nails. As the Trichotillomania Learning Center points out, the disorder resembles tics or rituals more than self-harm.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Hair Replacement for Young Men!

Check out the GQ look Ricky created for our hair replacement client Brandon! Doesn't he look incredible! Ricky uses the only the highest quality products to create youthful looks for our clients. He travels all over the world to gain knowledge about the best techniques and products to offer Ricky Knowles Hair and Wellness clients. That's dedication!!‪#‎HairLoss‬ ‪#‎GQ‬

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Sugary, Starchy Diet May Raise Chances of Lung Cancer

Maggie Fox

People who eat a sugary, starchy diet may be raising their risk of lung cancer, even if they don't smoke, researchers say.

They found that people who recall eating more foods that have a high glycemic index also were more likely to develop lung cancer. Glycemic index is a term that's familiar to people with diabetes. It describes food that raises blood sugar and stimulates production of insulin — think bagels, white rice and some fruits such as melon and pineapple.

It's not the first study to link glycemic index with cancer risk, but it's rare to link it with lung cancer. That may be mostly because lung cancer is so overwhelmingly caused by smoking.

The team at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston studied 1,905 people who had just been diagnosed with lung cancer and compared them to 2,415 people without cancer. They quizzed them about their eating habits, smoking, income and other factors.

People who ate the most foods with a high glycemic index were about 50 percent more likely to be in the lung cancer group than people who reported they ate the fewest high-glycemic foods, the team reported in the journal Cancer Epidemiology and Biomarkers.

The link was stronger among people who never smoked; non-smokers were more than twice as likely to have lung cancer if they reported eating a high-glycemic diet.

"The results from this study suggest that, besides maintaining healthy lifestyles, reducing the consumption of foods and beverages with high glycemic index may serve as a means to lower the risk of lung cancer," said Dr. Xifeng Wu, who led the

How can this happen? Doctors aren't sure, but there's a theory that high-glycemic foods stimulate the body to make insulin, which in turn affects the growth of cells via compounds called insulin-like growth factors or IGF. Cancer is the uncontrolled proliferation of cells, so it might be that the high-glycemic foods are fueling the growth of tiny tumors.

"IGFs have been shown to play a critical role in regulating cell proliferation and differentiation in cancer and there is evidence to suggest that IGFs are elevated in lung cancer patients," Wu's team wrote.

It's a suspect in several types of cancer.

"Previous studies have investigated the association between glycemic index, and the related measure glycemic load, and a variety of cancers including colorectal, stomach, pancreas, endometrial, ovarian, prostate, and thyroid but these studies are limited and results have been largely inconclusive," the researchers wrote.

This study is not conclusive, either. For one thing, the researchers asked their volunteers to remember what they ate. For another, it's an association. People who eat high-glycemic foods may also do something else that also raises their risk of cancer. And this particular study focused only on non-Hispanic white people.

Marji McCullough, an expert in nutritional epidemiology at the American Cancer Society, says it will be important to look at people who don't have cancer now and watch what they eat for years or decades, and see who develops cancer.

Lung cancer is the No. 1 cancer killer in the U.S., killing more than 150,000 people a year. It causes only vague symptoms at first, so when most people are diagnosed, the cancer has already spread and is then far more likely to be fatal.

Experts know diet and lifestyle can affect cancer. Obesity, lack of exercise, eating red meat and lots of high-fat dairy foods, and eating too few fruits and vegetables can all raise a person's odds of developing cancer.

This study adds to a growing body of evidence that people can lower their cancer risk not only by staying away from tobacco and exercising more, but by choosing a healthier diet.

"Aside from not smoking, it's important to follow cancer prevention guidelines that maintain healthy body weight, physical activity, and eating an overall healthy diet rich in vegetables and plant food and lower red and processed meat. Choose foods that help maintain healthy body weight," McCullough said.

According to the American Diabetes Association, low-glycemic foods include:
  • 100 percent stone-ground whole wheat or pumpernickel bread
  • Oatmeal (rolled or steel-cut), oat bran, muesli
  • Pasta, converted rice, barley, bulgar
  • Sweet potato, corn, yam, lima/butter beans, peas, legumes and lentils
  • Most fruits, non-starchy vegetables and carrots

Medium glycemic index foods include:

  • Whole wheat, rye and pita bread
  • Quick oats
  • Brown, wild or basmati rice, couscous

High glycemic index foods include:

  • White bread, including bagels
  • Corn flakes, puffed rice, bran flakes, instant oatmeal
  • Shortgrain white rice, rice pasta, macaroni and cheese from mix
  • Russet potato, pumpkin
  • Pretzels, rice cakes, popcorn, saltine crackers
  • melons and pineapple

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

International Women's Day

Happy International Women's Day! Here's to all amazing women around the world! Yes, our little girls can grow up to be and do anything! #iwd2016

Friday, March 4, 2016

19 Totally Doable Ways To Actually Keep The Weight Off

1. Focus on where you are now and how far you’ve come.

2. Set some creative food goals that have nothing to do with weight.

3. Set one simple health-related goal each month.

4. Or, each month focus on two of the following: diet, exercise, and alcohol.

5. Eat healthily 80% of the time (and don’t feel bad the other 20%).

6. Don’t spiral because of one day of overeating.

7. Put vegetables in EVERYTHING.

8. Compete with friends or family to stay active.

9. Have a hearty breakfast, a medium-sized lunch, and a light dinner.

10. Don’t let your routine get boring in the name of maintaining your goal

11. Eat slowly and savor your food.

12. Make going to the gym basically part of your work day.

13. Or use your workouts to legit train for…life.

14. Evaluate your progress by how you feel and how your clothes fit.

15. Only ‘cheat’ if you’re going to enjoy it and NOT feel guilty about it.

16. Expect some fluctuation with your weight; it’s totally normal.

17. Jot down what you eat — and how you feel — in a journal.

18. When there’s an actually really special treat around, go ahead and eat it.

19. Or just make dessert a part of your daily routine.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

11 Nutritionist-Approved Late Night Snacks

Caroline Kee

Maybe you ate dinner early or you stayed up late and now you’re hungry again. Or you just really want a snack to go with Netflix. But you’ve also heard it’s not great to eat right before bed, so what’s the best thing to snack on when you’re starving at night?

We checked in with registered dietician Abby Langer and registered dietician Despina Hyde, diabetes expert at NYU Langone Weight Management Program, to find out.

First of all, it’s kind of a myth that you won’t burn off anything you eat right before bed.

Sure, your metabolic rate slows down a bit, but it doesn’t stop, says Langer. Yes, when it comes to weight management, it’s better to eat your biggest meals around the time of day you’re most active, but in general, your total calories matter more than the timing. And a reasonable snack that satisfies your hunger before bed isn’t enough to derail your healthy eating efforts. The only time Langer really suggests restricting nighttime eating is if you’re exhibiting symptoms of binge-eating disorder and having a cutoff time at night is helpful for you.

So if you’re actually hungry, you should eat — no matter how late it is.

“If you go to bed hungry, you won’t sleep, which is probably worse,” says Langer.
But if you’re noticing that you’re always starving before bed, that probably means you’re not eating enough throughout the day. You might be eating too few calories or not enough protein to actually fill you up, both of which can cause you to overeat later. “If you restrict too much or fast during the day, your body will tell you it’s starving,” says Hyde. This intense, stomach-pang hunger can lead to bingeing, especially on high-carb or high-fat foods because your body wants instant energy.

If you’re going to eat before bed, pick something relatively light and leave some buffer time before you lay down.

Avoid a too-big meal, since your body will have to work harder to digest, which might actually keep you awake. But if your schedule leaves you with no choice but to eat dinner close to bedtime, Hyde suggests something that’s about 40% veggies, 40% carbs, and 20% protein.
And don’t go immediately horizontal after you eat — spend some time sitting up reading, watching TV, doing the dishes, whatever. This reduces your risk of indigestion and acid reflux, says Hyde. If you notice any acid reflux symptoms, don’t eat within an hour of laying down, says Langer.

And avoid anything fatty, spicy, super sugary, or caffeinated.

Capsaicin, which makes food spicy, can cause indigestion and discomfort, which wrecks your sleep. And foods with a lot of oil or fat (like deep-fried anything) will also take forever to digest. Not only will this keep you up, but it also means those acidic stomach juices are around for longer while your body is horizontal, which can cause acid reflux, says Hyde.

Sugar also isn’t great for sleep, so try to avoid things with lots of added sugar like candy or chocolate. If you’re really craving something sweet, something with naturally occurring sugar like fruit or dairy are better options.

A good nighttime snack would be around 200 calories with complex carbs and protein.

“Complex carbohydrates like whole-grain breads are great because they release serotonin when digested, which helps calm you down,” says Langer. And adding a little protein will keep you full until breakfast. Hyde also suggests drinking a big glass of water or a cup of hot tea (decaf), to help you feel full and hydrated.

Here are some nutritionist-approved snack ideas to get you started:

1. High-Fiber Cereal and Milk

Serving size:
½–¾ cup high-fiber cereal (like Kashi Go-Lean, All-Bran, Fiber One Twigs)
½ cup milk or unsweetened non-dairy milk
¼ cup fruit (optional)

2. String Cheese or Babybel

Serving size:
1 Babybel round
1 string cheese stick

3. Avocado or Hard-Boiled Egg on Crispbread

Serving size:
2 Ryevita or Wasa crispbreads
1 hard-boiled egg or ¼ avocado

4. Banana With Peanut Butter

Serving size:
1 banana
1–2 tablespoons peanut/almond/cashew butter

5. Fruit and Nuts

Serving size:
¼ cup nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts)
½ cup fresh fruit or ¼ cup dried fruit

6. Turkey Slices on Bread

Serving size:
2–4 slices turkey breast
1 piece whole grain toast
2 tomato slices or 6 cucumber slices

7. Greek Yogurt With Granola or Fruit

Serving Size:
¾–1 cup greek yogurt
2 tablespoons granola or nuts
¼ cup fruit

8. Cheese and Whole Grain Crackers

Serving size:
1 oz cheese
4–6 wholegrain crackers

9. Whole Grain Toast With Nut Butter

Serving size:
1 piece whole grain toast
1 tablespoon peanut/almond/cashew butter

10. Pistachios

Serving size:
¼–⅓ cup dry salted pitachios

11. Cottage Cheese

Serving size:
½–¾ cup cottage cheese
¼ cup fruit or veggies (optional)

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Why Stress Makes Your Hair Fall Out

The times when I’ve pulled fistfuls of hair out of my head in the shower, my life wasn’t particularly stressful—or at least, it wasn’t until my hair started coming out. Then, of course, I assumed I was either balding or belatedly inheriting my family’s matrilineal thin hair. Faced with the stark reality of my hair-related vanity, I would try to comfort myself with the fact that I could at least wear fun wigs. You know, the natural cycle of things.

Julie Beck

But the explanation for this actually lies in another cycle—the life cycle of a hair.

Basically, a hair grows, then stops growing, then falls out. (Revelatory, I know. But stay with me.) The growth phase, or anagen, of a human head hair can last two to six years, which is why our head hairs can get so long. Other hairs have much shorter growth phases—an eyelash’s, for example, is 30 days. After anagen, a hair goes into catagen, a very short phase lasting just a couple days, in which the follicle shrinks a little bit. That’s followed by telogen, when the hair pretty much just sits there, doing nothing. Then, at last, exogen, when it falls out.

This process is always happening, and it’s totally normal for a person to lose between 50 and 100 hairs a day this way. That’ll plug your drain up, but compared to the 90,000 to 150,000 total hairs on the average person’s head, it’s pennies.

Stress is thought to disrupt this process, prematurely kicking hairs out of the growth period. Rather than leaving anagen at their own pace, they all go through the resting phase at the same time and fall out together in bigger numbers—up to 10 times more than usual, according to the dermatologist Kurt Stenn, the author of the new book Hair: A Human History. This has been shown in mice, when the stress of being exposed to loud noises led their hairs to go into catagen prematurely.

“Stress does affect the human hair follicle as well, and we assume that what we see in the mouse is the same thing we see in the human—the same transition occurs,” Stenn says.

What exactly kicks the hairs into resting isn’t totally clear, but a review of the literature suggests neurotransmitters or hormones produced under stressful situations may be the cause. And a study done on rhesus macaque monkeys found that monkeys with more cortisol (a stress hormone) in their hair were more likely to have hair loss.

Because there’s a delay between when a hair stops growing and when it falls out, there’s likewise a delay between a stressful event (which can be physical, like surgery or trauma, or emotional, like a divorce or loss of a job) and when hair loss might occur.

In human head hair, this delay lasts three months, the combined length of the the catagen and telogen phases. It’s like clockwork. And indeed, those times when I was pulling my hair out in the shower, I was always able to trace it back three months to something atypically stressful, like a breakup or a death. (I asked Stenn if body hair falls out too. “That’s a wonderful question,” he said. “I don’t know that!” Even if it does, the resting period length is different for different kinds of hair.)

Mass shedding is also often seen after women give birth. (About three months after, most likely.) That’s thought to be hormone-related, Stenn writes—pregnant women have higher levels of hormones, which prevent shedding during pregnancy, and once they go away, so goes the hair. The American Academy of Dermatology ascribes it to “falling estrogen levels.” Giving birth is also, you know, a stressful event.

Post-pregnancy hair loss may be caused by a similar mechanism to other stress-induced hair loss, or it may not be. But “it’s a rule of thumb,” Stenn says, that if a patient comes into a dermatologist’s office worried about hair loss, the first thing they’ll ask is, “What happened three months before?”

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Gene study gets to the roots of gray hair, thick beards and unibrows

Maggie Fox

A gene that affects cancer risk, freckles and eye color also plays a big role in turning hair gray, researchers reported Tuesday.

Their giant study of the genetics of hair also explains who some people have monobrows, why Asians and Native Americans have straight, glossy hair and why some men find it easier than others to grow a thick beard.

The findings may eventually help criminal forensics teams reconstruct what criminals or victims look like using a DNA sample, and could eventually lead to ways to prevent gray hair, the team reports in the journal Nature Communications.

The study also helps explain why people with certain hair types or colors are prone to certain diseases. For instance, one previous study found that people with lighter hair have a higher risk of Parkinson's disease.

While going gray early doesn't mean you have a higher-than-average cancer risk, the study strengthens the confusing links between hair color and disease risk.

"We were looking at beard density, eyebrow density and monobrow," said Kaustubh Adhikari of University College London, who helped lead the study.

"We were looking at hair color, hair shape, gray hair and balding. For each of them we found a set of genes that define these features."

Adhikari's team looked at the entire gene maps of more than 6,000 Latin Americans, who have a very mixed genetic heritage. The volunteer populations are about half European, half Native American and have about 10 percent African ancestry.

"It is a genetic melting pot," Adhikari said. "That gives you a huge genetic diversity."

They found 10 genetic variations that affect how soon people go gray, how thick their hair is and how much facial hair they have, among other factors.

None overlaps much, they reported in the journal Nature Communications. Genes contributing to thick unibrows or monobrows are separate from the genes for balding or heavy beards.

For instance, they found a gene called IRF 4 (interferon regulatory factor 4) was known to play a role in hair and eye color, freckling and in how the body responds to viruses and leukemia.

Straight hair evolved in colder climates

Another gene called PRSS53 is associated with straight black hair, and was found only in people of east Asian and Native American descent. Adhikari believes it may have evolved as east Asian ancestors adapted to cold northern climates tens of thousands of years ago. "Straight hair is a consequence of your hair being thicker and stronger," he said. And strong, thick hair may insulates the head better than curly hair, he said.

And do you have a thick unibrow? Blame a gene called PAX3. Adhikari's team found that gene was common in people with thick eyebrows that meet over the nose.

That's not a complete surprise — rare mutations in PAX3 are linked with Waardenburg syndrome type 1, an inherited disorder marked by deafness, a wide nose and a thick, single brow.

It's far too soon to think about a pill for gray hair. If nothing else, IRF4 is linked with cancer and it's unlikely anyone would want to swap youthful locks for a higher cancer risk. In fact, the leukemia drug Gleevec can turn gray hair darker — but no one advocates using such an expensive drug, which also has side effects ranging from nausea to rash to hemorrhage, as a substitute for hair dye.

But it might be possible to use knowledge about the IRF4 gene to find other ways to affect hair as it grows out of the follicles, Adhikari's team said.

And none of the genes appeared to act alone. "The genes we have identified are unlikely to work in isolation to cause graying or straight hair, or thick eyebrows, but have a role to play along with many other factors yet to be identified," Adhikari said.