The use of e-cigarettes, also known as "vaping" has increased exponentially in recent years. These devices were originally marketed as a safer alternative to regular cigarettes. They were also marketed as a way for smokers to perhaps quit smoking. There are both positive aspects and drawbacks to the e-cigarette craze, but many people in the medical field still warn against the possible health effects associated with them. 

There are so many risks involved with smoking yet people still do it. This addiction can lead to several diseases such as cancer of the throat and mouth, emphysema, and myeloid leukemia. This insidious disease is a fast moving and fast growing cancer that affects the bone marrow and the blood. It is rare and often isn't caught until later stages because the symptoms are similar to other illnesses, including the flu. After diagnosis, treatment often includes chemotherapy and perhaps a stem cell transplant. Neither methods are pleasant and both often require long bouts of hospitalization. 

If you want information on the effects of what's actually within the liquid cartridges in e-cigarettes, the area is still a little unclear. There haven't been too many studies on these devices, but researchers from a study associated with the U.S National Institute of Health have warned that teens who use them are at higher risk to becoming addicted to nicotine. And while the e-cigarettes may not have all of the other cancer causing chemicals in them, they certainly do have nicotine - and that's certainly just one danger of cigarettes. 

Basically the only real way to avoid illness associated from nicotine use is to avoid it altogether. "Smoking" an e-cig or vapor cigarette still allows for a risk of disease and serious illness. The only real way to to cut the number of deaths associated with tobacco use is to just never start smoking at all, no matter if it's regular cigarettes or e-cigarettes. However, if you must smoke, it may be beneficial to switch to e-cigarettes to help you kick the habit and/or to lower your risk of developing some diseases. It is a risk that only you know for sure if you want to take - just be sure to be an informed consumer.

Benefits of a Homemade Herb Garden

Gardening is a good way to enjoy nature, help younger family members learn about food, and create a beautiful landscape. When people think about gardening, they usually think either vegetables or flowers. Herbs are a third of the garden varieties that have many great health and wellness benefits. Here are just five of the many benefits of a homemade herb garden.

1) Easy to Do – There are many types of herbs, and some do require a little experience to get them to thrive. Many, however, are simple to start and grow into big, healthy plants. Of the easiest, several are among the most popular store-bought herbs: sage, thyme, rosemary, lemon balm, parsley, mint, chives, cilantro, oregano and tarragon. 

Herbs can be used fresh, but like vegetables, the extra produce that can’t be used immediately can be preserved. Rather than freezing or canning, herbs are most often dried and ground into powders or flakes. Drying them is easier than most vegetable processing, and anyone can learn how to do it quickly.

2) Financially Beneficial – Anyone who has priced herbs in the store, fresh or dried, knows that it is expensive to buy them. The seeds, however, are relatively cheap, and it doesn’t even take a lot of time to create and maintain an herb garden. Growing your own herbs will save money quickly and you can feel great knowing the food you are making is healthier for you and your family.

3) Herb Gardens are Beautiful – You can grow an herb garden just about anywhere. If you need to save space, you can even grow them indoors. There are inventive ways to add a touch of beauty and class with a healthy twist by adding trellis herb gardens, window box herb gardens or even unique designs in barrels and PVC structures designed to create an eye-catching display of lush foliage. Herb gardens create a beautiful backdrop for any room, and add a lot of curb appeal to the outside of a home while giving you all of the health benefits of eating fresh cut herbs added to your recipes.

4) Great Hobby – Taking the time to smell the herbs, and breaking away from boring routines like watching television or sitting around playing video games is healthier all around. Growing a herb garden gets you moving, helps you enjoy learning new things and provides you with additional sources of health such as the supplies for aromatherapy. Working in a garden is stress relieving and watching the beautiful plants grow, knowing that you made it happen is empowering and makes you feel proud. Growing herbs is a good hobby for everyone in the family, and offers educational value for even the youngest members.

5) Healthy Food Source – The most important benefit of growing your own herb garden is that it is healthier for you and your family. You can be sure that the herbs you grow are pesticide-free and at their peak nutritional value. Herbs are good for you and packed full of flavor. Growing them also makes you feel good about yourself. You can even spread the joy by sharing with neighbors and friends.

Turning Big Tragedies Into Positives

Almost everyone at one time or another experiences tragedies in their lives. It can be in the form of a loss of a job, the loss of loved ones, or perhaps the diagnosis of a serious disease. It doesn't matter whether these life events are expected or unexpected, the impact they have is substantial. And while at the time the tragedy can seem insurmountable, we often come out on the other end with a sense of purpose and strength that we lacked before. We have the ability to turn a frightening life event into something we can learn from and perhaps even help others.

All of us unfortunately deal with some type of difficult events throughout our lives. However, how we react when these happens can seriously help or in some cases, hurt us more. It is important that we don't deny the importance the event or downplay it either to ourselves or others. We must face it and be a part of it - suppressing our feelings and reactions just isn't healthy. Don't act like nothing happened or pretend that you're fine - doing so won't help you process things or move forward in a healthy way.

As we get older we often find that personal growth is often borne from tragedy. We find we can learn from certain events, even if we don't understand how at the time. These events can teach us patience, perseverance, kindness, and empathy. We can take what happens to ourselves and our loves ones turn them into positive things that have the ability to help others.

There are certain events that have the ability to lead to the expansions of our hearts and our minds. The lessons gained from a loss can make us stronger. Those lessons can turn us into a better parent, child, friend, or spouse. The knowledge that is often found in the aftermath of these tragedies can change the direction of our lives and lead us onto paths we never expected. And while these events often shake us to the core, we realize we are stronger than we ever believed.

The Real Benefits of Resveratrol

Resveratrol is a substance known as an antioxidant. It has been shown to have a positive effect on the body including the cardiac system as well as endurance during exercise. These substances are thought to have properties that fight free radicals, which are basically rogue cells within the body that mutate and cause diseases such as cancer and other inflammatory diseases. These cells also are associated with appendicitis, peritonitis, systemic sepsis and damage to the endothelial lining. Antioxidants attack those cancerous cells and otherwise damaged cells to help repair them.

If you're looking for ways to boost your skeletal muscle benefits and associative metabolism than resveratrol might help. And getting your daily dose from one to two glasses of red wine can be beneficial. However, we must remember that we can't enjoy perfect health by just taking some "magic pill." We must do the work to keep improving our bodies and fight off certain diseases. But there have been studies regarding the atherosclerotic tendencies of resveratrol - such as lowering bad cholesterol and keeping the arteries unclogged. That can also contribute to low blood pressure and decrease in the chance of Alzheimer's disease. This is yet another reason we should watch what we eat - as our diets contribute directly to many disease processes. Resveratrol is found in more than just red wine - it is also found in berries and some nuts - foods that have long since been considered healthy for the body in general.

Cancerous tumors need a blood supply to grow and invade the body. The growth of blood vessels is called angiogenesis. Reducing or cutting off blood supply in tumors can help the body fight cancer by effectively killing the tumor. Research is ongoing on how certain substances can effectively fight tumors.

Another benefit might be linked to memory and mental function. Mental sharpness is something we all strive for. As we get older we often feel as if we're losing it - we may feel more "scattered" than usual. There have been numerous studies that point out the benefits of antioxidants improves mental clarity. Another benefit of these substances is that they can increase testosterone levels in men.

Hurricane Preparation: Protecting the Ones We Love

If you live in an area that is at risk for hurricanes, you owe it to yourself and your family to be responsible and prepared for such an event. Have a plan in place and have the things you need in case disaster strikes. Flashlights with fully charged batteries, blankets, and extra food and water to last you for at least a few days - and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Make sure you also have enough medications and vitamins to last you for at least three days.

Technology can become vital after a storm. Prepare yourself and download apps to notify others your location so that you can find each other. There are apps that can alert you to others around you that can help you or in need of help. Along with various weather apps, the Red Cross has a first aid app that can be extremely useful before, during, and after a damaging storm.

There are also things you can do to your home to help protect it. Hurricane shutters are an obvious safety choice. However, if you don't have them you can use plywood to cover the windows. This can help keep them from shattering and causing damage. Make sure to clear gutters. This can reduce damage from heavy rains. Talk with your family about an evacuation plan. Talk about where to meet and how to find each other in the event of an emergency. Find out your nearest shelter location.

Hurricanes often have a path they follow and weather experts can often predict their paths. However, they do change course. If you are in the path or might be at risk, it's always better to be safe than sorry. If a storm is on the horizon, put as many perishables as you can into a cooler filled with ice. Use cooler to keep from opening freezer, especially if the power goes out. Fill bathtub with water to use for washing, drinking, and flushing the toilet. Water supplies are often compromised in the days after a storm. Make sure you have plenty of gas on hand for your generator. Turn off electricity gas and water.

Make sure to have a hand held can opener, a weather radio, extra batteries, and a first aid kit. Listen to NOAA weather radio for important updates. Keep your cell phone and chargers close by. Know where a set of extra house and car keys are located. Don't forget to store important documents in watertight container for safekeeping. And last but not least, be patient

How to Add Sweetness to Your Meals – With Little or No Added Sugar

Sugar is everywhere. It’s in our cereal, milk, crackers, jelly, even our kids’ vitamins! You’ll even find sugar under different names such as maple syrup, molasses, agave nectar, coconut sugar, corn syrup, and many more. Sugar serves many purposes; in food, it’s used to give color, texture and flavor to baked goods. In our bodies, sugars fuel red blood cells and the brain.

However, there’s a downside to sugar. It’s not bad per se, but most of us consume too much of it. According to survey data, the average person in America gets up to 20 teaspoons of the sugar every single day. The medical community is up in the arms about this because the daily recommended amount if 9 teaspoons for men and 6 teaspoons for women.

No one is telling you to cut your sugar intake completely, but there’s no harm in cutting back especially if you are having more than the recommended amount. Don’t fret; there are ways to sweeten your meals without adding sugar. For instance, unsweetened cocoa powder is a great addition to coffee and it provides a boost of antioxidants at the same time. Sweet vegetables and fruits like melons, peaches, sweet corn and sweet peas are great for sweet salad dressings or as a quick snack. Add a few dried figs or dates to smoothies for added nutrition, fiber and sweetness. Cinnamon is also a great way to add calcium, fiber and sweetness to things like baked goods, oatmeal and even coffee. It also has the added health benefit of slowing down the rate of digestion, which prevents blood sugar spikes.

Pink grapefruit or ripe tomatoes are great salad toppers, but they could also be blended down into a sour-sweet salad dressing. For more sweetness, ripe bananas are a baking favorite because they also add moisture to baked goods. Simply wait until the peels are showing black spots and they are good to go.

Dried fruit with no sugar added is another great snack option and sweetener for foods like granola, Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. Simply soak some raisins or dates in water and puree before adding to a smoothie, or munch on them as is. Presto—you have vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients in one.

A New Alzheimer's Test is on the Rise

Detecting the early onset of Alzheimer's disease will be able to help hundreds of thousands of patients around the globe, and it's a lot more easily done than you'd think. All doctors will need to do a test is a patient's saliva, it's that easy.

The Progress with the New Test

Doctors are already able to look at the difference between a brain that is affected by the disease and a healthy one, but they were never able to determine whether or not the disease would onset early.

During the 2015 Alzheimer's Association International Conference located in Washington, this saliva test was presented. During initial research, the test using saliva is representing a future of diagnostic tools when it comes to the development in detection for the neurodegenerative disease.

Heather Snyder, the director of both scientific and medical operations in the Alzheimer's Association, had this to say on the topic of the saliva test;

"As the field has continued to mature over the last decade or so, we now have research and evidence that suggests that the underlying biology of Alzheimer's disease is changing a decade or more before someone experiences the memory or function changes associated with Alzheimer's. This test examines saliva samples and looks at changes in saliva as the potential way to detect changes in Alzheimer's."

Shraddha Sapkota, a graduate student in neuroscience from the University of Alberta, Canada, had this to say when the study was presented;

Salivary metabolomics analyses will advance the cause of early detection of Alzheimer's disease, and promote our understanding of the mechanisms from normal aging to Alzheimer's. Saliva is very easy to collect and transport, which will enhance participation in remote centers and diverse populations. In science, the key is replication. The study has to be replicated, and it has to be replicated in a larger population."

The Bountiful Benefits of the Test

Because this progressive brain disorder affects approximately five million Americans, and is the sixth leading cause of death, this test is exciting for the science world and will save lives. Though there are no tests to determine fully if a person will get Alzheimer's disease, the saliva test will be the perfect place to start, as a screening tool.

It will indicate whether or not a patient should receive more invasive testing, and will be the perfect test to bring into community and clinical settings.

4 Quick Fitness and Nutrition Hacks

When it comes to working out and eating healthily, whether you want to tone up for an upcoming vacation, or lose a little fat, it can be difficult to know what exactly you should be doing to get the best results. Here are a few easy fitness and nutrition hacks that you can use to make sure that you get the most out of working out and eating healthy.

1. Strength Training

If you want to get stronger and tone up quickly, and vastly improve your heath, then strength training is one of the best options. Whether it’s the barbell, kettlebells, or even a sandbag, using weights to train boosts your strength, builds muscle, strengthens your bones and it also increases your metabolic rate. This is because when you strength train, you build more muscle and people with more muscles burn more calories, even at rest, than others.

2. Make sure you’re getting Enough Carbs

Over the past couple of decades, low carb diets have become incredibly popular. People see them as a quick-fix way to lose weight. But, whether it’s the Atkins diet or the Paleo diet, low carb diets aren’t good for your health.

From mood swings to constipation, low carb diets cause a whole range of health problems and they can impair your performance in the gym. Carbs are your body’s main source of energy, so if you want to get the most out of your workouts, you need definitely need them.
Make sure that you choose unrefined carbs and whole grains, like whole-wheat pasta and oats, rather than refined carbohydrates like white bread and white pasta.

3. Drink more Water

It’s common for people to mistake feelings of thirst for feelings of hunger. This leads to people eating more than they should, but not getting enough fluids. Drinking plenty of water ensures your body is healthy and energized. So, make sure that you are getting enough of it.

To get a rough estimate of how much water you should be drinking each day, take your weight in pounds and half it and that is the number, in fluid ounces that you should be drinking. For example, a person that weighs 170 pounds would need to drink 85 fluid ounces of water per day

4. Workouts don’t need to be Long

Often, people are put off of the idea of working out, because they feel like they don’t have enough time. But, a good, effective workout doesn’t have to take long, especially if you are doing the right types of exercises. A quick, 20 minute workout that includes lots of full-body exercises, like squats and deadlifts is an effective, but quick way to get in shape.

So, make sure that you use these quick and easy tips to get more out of your workouts.

Scientists: Your Coffee Habit Doesn’t Affect Your Weight

Scientists say that your daily coffee habit may not affect your weight. This is great news for almost 60 percent of the adult population in the U.S. who drink coffee everyday. Research over the years has shed more light on the health benefits of drinking coffee. One study in particular found that drinking this delicious beverage does not increase your chances of developing obesity or type 2 diabetes.

Some experts are surprised by the findings, saying that increased coffee intake was found to be strongly associated with diabetes. However, even they admit that genetics play a big part in determining how much a person is drinking and how it affects them. Even exposure to caffeine has been linked to improved brain performance in women, particularly older women.

Additionally, coffee has been shown to be beneficial for heart healthy. In one study, results showed that drinking moderate amounts of coffee was linked to lower risk of developing heart failure. Another study showed that coffee may be associated with a reduced risk of developing liver cancer by as much as 40 percent. That’s a significant amount especially for those who are genetically predisposed to have liver problems.

Remember to moderate your intake

Coffee without the unhealthy additives, sugars and hydrogenated oils is a great beverage with many health benefits. Black drip coffee is the best way to have it, but a cappuccino or latte can be okay too. Just avoid the empty calories that usually come with dressed-up coffee drinks. Those can end up canceling out any potential health benefits from your favorite cup of Joe.

How much coffee is safe to drink?

It’s best to limit your coffee intake to about three cups a day. More than that will jack up your caffeine intake, which in turn will have a mild diuretic effect on the body. This can leave you feeling dehydrated and can even cause energy crashes or withdrawals.

Have your coffee, black if possible, and don’t be afraid to enjoy it. You could be doing your heart and liver a huge favor in the long run.

Try The Quickest Hangover Cure Ever

When meeting people, you will find that each has his or her own individual quirks. Some like to travel in flip flops; others only like to sit in the front passenger seat otherwise they get very car sick; there are also those who only like to eat white chocolate otherwise they won’t eat chocolate at all. Then you’ll meet those who like whisky over wine, or vodka over beer. However, those who belong in the latter examples have one thing in common: they all have a hangover cure of choice.

After a night of fun, it can be a bit hellish to wake up to bright sunshine due to what we call a hangover. This can mean migraines, nausea, dizziness, fatigue or a general feeling of crappiness. Queue the best natural hangover cure ever (or so they say): The Magic Tonic.

The Magic Tonic

2 tablespoons of Lemon Juice
½ tablespoon of finely ground coffee (must be organic)

Mix these two together until they are well incorporated. It should resemble a puree. If the mixture is too thick, add a touch more lemon juice.

What makes it so effective?

Lemon juice is similar in structure to the body’s natural digestive juices, meaning it will go down easily and be processed relatively easily. It also acts as a powerful liver cleanser for those who drink pretty heavily, filtering out toxins and promoting better nutrient absorption. Coffee on the other hand, contains caffeine. That’s pretty self-explanatory, right? We all love caffeine; it makes us feel human. But what you probably don’t know is that coffee is abundant in antioxidants, which help repair damage caused by free radicals.

Ramp it up further

Need something stronger? You can take it up a notch if you so choose. Here’s the recipe for the Pre-Magic Tonic

Pre Magic Tonic

12-16 ounces of filtered water
1 teaspoon of sea salt

Dissolve the sea salt into the water and drink this before the Magic Tonic. This solution stimulates the adrenal glands, waking you up and supplying you with more energy.


While these hangover cures may be effective, it’s not an excuse for you to go binge-drinking. Moderate your alcohol consumption and be safe, always.