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Natural Ways to Improve your Skin and Complexion

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Your face plays a major role in personal identity and is how you present yourself to the world, so it is no wonder that we invest so much time and money to care for it.  Rather than spending vast amount of money on skin care products, consider what you put into your body and use ingredients from your refrigerator to improve the condition of your skin.

Stay Hydrated

Your skin is an organ comprised of cells, and in order to function properly, it requires a sufficient amount of water for hydration.  When your body does not receive enough water, your skin can become tight, dry, and flaky.  Skin in this condition is less resilient to damage and more prone to wrinkles.  Adequate hydration also means you sweat more allowing your body to rid itself of toxins and bacteria.  Preventing dehydration will improve the overall appearance of skin, giving you a more youthful appearance.

Healthy Eating Habits

What you put into your body affects the appearance of your skin.  Sugar, fried food, and highly processed snacks are the biggest offenders causing “bad skin.”  To improve your skin, you should ensure that you include plenty of low-fat dairy products since they contain vitamin A which is a vital component for your skin’s health.  Also, try adding fruits such as blueberries, strawberries, or plums which are high in antioxidants; these help to protect skin cells from damage caused by free radicals.  Foods with essential fatty acids like salmon, nuts, flax seed, and canola oil keep cell membranes healthy which act as a barrier against harmful agents.

Natural Masks

You can also find ingredients in your refrigerator that make effective skin care masks.  Lemon is a safe and effective way to combat discolorations, the juice from cucumbers and egg whites contain firming and anti-aging agents, oatmeal is an excellent exfoliator, and an almond and milk paste will keep your skin moisturized and supple.  Before you put anything on your face, do your research to determine what skin type you have and what natural treatments are best for you.

Three Ways to Support Healthy Eating Habits

Three Ways to Support Healthy Eating Habits

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With the rising number of health concerns, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, the need to improve overall health is becoming urgent.  The first step to a healthier lifestyle is adopting an exercise regimen and healthy eating habits.  When it comes to choosing healthier food options, we are often tempted by our favorite snacks or the array of fast food options that are so readily available.  Next time you feel like giving into these unhealthy habits, here are a few tips to help support healthier eating habits.

Choosing Healthier Foods

This is the standard advice you will hear from every nutritionist and doctor, but that’s because it is essential to a healthy lifestyle.  Rather than choosing packaged and highly processed foods, you should eat more whole foods that provide a nutrient-rich and balanced diet.  Just because you choose to eat healthier doesn’t mean that it has to be tasteless, either.

There are thousands of websites, blogs, and cookbooks dedicated to recipes that support healthy living.  Look for recipes that incorporate a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and don’t be afraid to try something new.  If you have any questions or doubts about the types of foods you should be eating, talk to your doctor for suggestions in helping you plan your new diet.

Prepare a Shopping List

This will take a bit more time and planning, but it will make a huge difference in fighting off temptation in moments of weakness.  If you plan your meals ahead of time and make a list of the ingredients you will need, it means you are less likely to fill your shopping cart with unnecessary foods and unhealthy snacks.

Cooking at Home

You don’t need to be a gourmet chef to prepare healthy meals because, there are hundreds of recipes that are quick and easy to make.  Choose recipes that only have a few ingredients and experiment with the foods you enjoy.  If you spend just a few hours each week preparing your meals, you will have healthy snacks and meals prepared for those hectic days when you have no time to cook.  If you pack a lunch for work, you are less likely to purchase snacks from the vending machines or indulge in fast food options when time is limited.

Eating healthier can be done by just making a few small changes in your life and it can have big impact.

 

 

Coping with Stress

Coping with Stress

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Stress is a fact of life that everyone, young and old, has experienced or will experience.  At times, stress can be beneficial, as it helps us to develop the skills we need to cope or adapt to new situations.  However, when a person becomes overwhelmed or is unable to cope with their stress, the negative effects become very apparent.  The physical or emotional tension can manifest itself in very harmful ways, especially after a traumatic or frightening event.

Effects of Stress

When someone is unable to manage their stress levels, physiological and psychological problems present themselves.  In addition to some of the non-life threatening side effects, such as irritability, anxiety, erratic sleep patterns, loss of appetite, or apathy, stress has been linked to conditions that are even more serious.  In instances of extreme stress, it can elevate blood pressure, cause severe depression, suppress your immune system, and lead to neurological or emotional disorders.  If a coping method is not identified and utilized, these problems tend to compound themselves and wreak havoc on your physical and mental health.

Find a Way to Cope

Fortunately, there are many effective ways to deal with your stress to avoid additional pain and hassle.  The most important thing is to identify the cause of your stress so you can take action.  Focus on the things in your life that you can control and realize that there is a huge difference between caring and worrying.  It is important to realize that the latter is an unproductive means of coping and is not a form of action.

When a situation is beyond your control, it is important to find a method that allows  your mind to rest from the stresses and learn to let them go.  One of the most common sources of stress is dwelling on past mistakes; try to use these experiences as a valuable life lesson and realize nobody is perfect.  A positive outlook is the best tool to have in your coping toolbox, but find other outlets that allow you to do what you love and find enjoyment in life.

Hobbies enrich our lives and let us break away from the stresses of life.  Whether you decide to join a gym, read a new book, take up gardening, or enroll in an art class, do something that is just for you.

These coping techniques will save your sanity and prevent you from becoming overwhelmed by the inevitable stresses of life.

How to Make your Workout less “Routine”

How to Make your Workout less “Routine”

This is usually thenew york doctor nycdoctor time of year when New Year’s resolutions start to lose steam and, at the other end of the spectrum, people begin dreaming about having the perfect beach body.  Even if you do not always eat the healthiest foods or indulge with your favorite snack, regular exercise plays a huge factor in both healthy living and weight loss.  Many people don’t actually enjoy exercising, but here are a few tips to help you boost your fitness routine and keep you on track with your goals.

  1. The Perfect Playlist

Music is a great distraction and motivator during your workout sessions.  However, if you choose songs that you listen to while relaxing or music that is new to you, it may not be the most effective choice for your workouts.  Choose songs to match your pace and that will boost your heartbeat, or choose music that has a faster pace to amp up your workouts.  It is a good idea to create a new playlist every few weeks so your workouts don’t seem so repetitive.

  1. A Foreign Flair

Instead of counting your reps in English, try using a different language.  This trick from the fitness editor of “SELF” has been proven to keep your mind occupied, which is especially important during those last few reps to help you finish strong.

  1. New Training Gear

You would be surprised what a new pair of sneakers or new exercise gear can do to boost morale and confidence.  This is a good way to reward yourself after achieving a fitness goal and motivate you to continue towards your next goal.  Whether it is new workout clothes or a new pair of sneakers, indulge a little.

  1. Setting New Goals

It is a good idea to have both short and long-term goals for your new healthy lifestyle, but make sure to mix things up with your workout routines, so they don’t get stale or cause you to lose interest.  Try taking a new class or try a new style of a favorite workout to keep things fresh.

  1. Caffeine Boost

Too much caffeine can be a bad thing, but a boost 20-30 minutes before you exercise can increase your energy and provide extra stamina. This extra boost can help you to push past the desire to slow down or give up.

Working out doesn’t have to become routine. Try some of these tips and take it from routine to enjoyable.

The Most Destructive Nutrition Myths

Common Misconceptions About Nutrition

The Most Destructive Nutrition Myths

In this day and age of fad diets and miracle medications to lose weight, there is a lot of misinformation circulating concerning nutrition.  Unfortunately, many people believe everything they read online.  This article aims to dispel the greatest lies and misconceptions, but it is only the tip of the iceberg.

  1. Eggs are Unhealthy

Recent studies disprove the myth that a high cholesterol diet raises the level of cholesterol in your blood.  Eggs actually increase the “good” cholesterols that are NOT responsible for an increased risk of heart disease.  They are one of the most nutritious foods with many nutrients and antioxidants to protect eyes.

  1. Importance of Grains

Grains have very few nutrients compared to other foods and contain phytic acid which actively binds minerals in the intestine, preventing absorption.  Many people are also sensitive to gluten present in wheat, resulting in many painful symptoms, damage to the lining of the intestine, and has been associated with serious neurological disorders.

  1. Saturated Fat is Bad

This myth is based on political motives and flawed studies, which have been recently overturned.  The results indicate there is no association between heart disease and saturated fat.  It actually increases the level of HDL, good cholesterol, and transforms LDL, the bad cholesterol, from a dense to a benign form, which is less harmful.

  1. Low-Fat Foods are Good

Food manufacturers replace fat with additives that have no calories, but are very unhealthy.  These foods are highly processed and sugar, artificial sweeteners, or high fructose corn syrup are added for taste.

  1. Eat Several Small Meals

This myth has been refuted by many studies.  Increased frequency has also been linked to colon cancer.  It is not natural for the body to be constantly fed and fasts can actually be beneficial.

  1. Low-Carb Diets are Dangerous

These diets are proven to reduce body fat, lower blood sugar, lower blood pressure, lower triglycerides, increase HDL, and are easier to maintain.  They are an effective way to reverse metabolic disease and lose weight.

The basics of nutrition are still the same if you want to keep your body healthy. Eat more natural foods and exercise. There is no quick way to reach health without eating healthy.

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The Healing Effects of Natural Sunlight

my nyc doctor new york doctorWarm summer weather is only a few short months away and we all know what that means: endless warnings on the dangers of the sun and advice on how to protect yourself.  While there are substantial dangers for too much sun exposure, there are also many amazing health benefits as well.  Many cultures have utilized sunlight to heal a variety of illnesses and promote good health.

  1. Helps Prevent Cancer

Like plants, humans also metabolize sunlight into vitamin D, which plays an important role in reducing the risk of many types of cancer.  Several studies that indicate vitamin D deficiencies drastically increase the risk for various types of cancer, especially colon and breast cancers; in some terminal cases, it has even reversed metastasized cancers.

  1. Lowers Blood Pressure

Even a single exposure has proven to significantly lower an individual’s blood pressure without any of the harmful side effects associated with pharmaceutical drugs.  Sunlight also can penetrate deep within skin tissue and cleanse both blood and blood vessels improving a condition known as atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.

  1. Strengthens Immune System

Sun exposure has been proven to increase your white blood cell count.  Lymphocytes play an important role in your body’s defense against infection.

  1. Improve Skin Conditions

Sunlight has been used for generations to kill harmful bacteria and heal wounds.  Regular exposure to natural sunlight has extremely positive benefits for those who suffer from skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, acne, and fungal infections.  Sunbathing is a proven form of treatment that alleviates the symptoms of these conditions.

  1. Cure Depression

The relationship between mood and sunlight has been intensely studied for many years.  Sunlight deprivation can actually cause a form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).  There is a distinct correlation between exposure to sunlight and the production of serotonin, which is a natural antidepressant produced in your brain.

Sunlight can be extremely beneficial, but exposure should be limited in order to build up a tolerance.  Avoid long exposures to prevent sunburn since your skin will be more sensitive at first.  Some sunblock contains harmful carcinogens, so invest in a quality cream, and use protective clothing when necessary.

The key is to use sunlight wisely to get the benefits and not the harmful effects.

Three Tips for Getting over a Cold

Three Tips for Getting Over a Cold

Three Tips for Getting over a ColdRunny nose, sneezing, coughing, sore throat… you’ve got the common cold!  How do you get over your cold? We all know old wive’s tales concerning how to cure the common cold, and there is always the option of going to the pharmacy and buying cold medicine.  In addition to these, however, there are a few things that you can do at home that can help your body to get rid of the nasty virus.

1)      Drink!

It is important to hydrate your body when you are fighting off a cold.  Don’t start chugging gallons of water. Instead, try to have a tall glass of water or orange juice every few hours.  Too much liquid all at once will result in frequent urination (dehydrating), whereas moderate intake spread out over a longer period will allow your body to absorb more of the fluids.  Try to avoid alcohol and coffee since these will dehydrate you and be counterproductive to getting better.

2)      Hot Showers

If you are feeling stuffy and achy, a hot steamy shower can help to clear up your nostrils.  The hot air and steam will help to relieve any aches and pains and ease congestion.  An alternative to the shower, if you don’t feel up to it, would be to turn on the hot water in the sink so it steams and cover your head with a towel to trap the steam and open up your sinuses.

3)      Lime and Honey

It may seem like it is one of those old wive’s solutions, however, lime and honey will help to ease sore throats and can also help to fight off the cold bug.  The lime contains vitamin C, which is an effective combatant of the cold virus, while the honey diminishes the sour taste, helps to coat your throat, and is healthy for you.

While a cold can be extremely annoying, it is something that you can get over. Simply take the time to rest and treat your symptoms, and you will soon by on your way back to full health.

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The Hidden Dangers of Diet Soda

The Hidden Dangers of Diet SodaIn an effort to become healthier and lose weight, many people choose to drink diet soda because they think it is a healthier option than regular soda.  Over the past several years, many studies have been conducted that indicate that not only is it extremely unhealthy, but it also may result in weight gain.  In addition to promoting weight gain, it also adversely affects many different systems in your body.

  1. Impaired Metabolism – Consuming artificial sweeteners such as those used in diet soda effect how your body metabolizes food.  It becomes accustomed to artificial sugars, which can lead to metabolic confusion or overconsumption.  It also increases the risk of metabolic syndrome with symptoms such as high cholesterol and belly fat.
  2. Obesity – Since your body cannot regulate caloric intake from the sugar in foods, it begins to crave larger amounts of sugar, which results in overeating.
  3. Osteoporosis – The phosphoric acid in soda causes the calcium present in your blood to be excreted more rapidly through urine.  This results in bone damage and depletion of bone density, which is extremely harmful for older women.
  4. Damaged Tooth Enamel – Diet soda is very acidic, measuring 3.2 on the pH scale.  Over time, it will dissolve tooth enamel and essentially rot your teeth.
  5. Cell Damage – The mold inhibitors in diet soda, such as sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate, are responsible for damage caused to cell walls.
  6. Neurotoxin – Aspartame has been the subject of recent controversy because it acts as a neurotoxin.  It effects protein synthesis, the operation of synapses within the brain, DNA, and several different organs.  It can also lead to several neurological disorders, such as migraines, behavioral changes, and seizures.
  7. Caffeine – We all know soda contains caffeine, which can be a highly addictive substance.  It also effects the liver and inhibits the body’s ability to remove toxins from your blood stream.
  8. Reproductive Issues – Even the cans soda comes in can harm you; they are coated with BPA (bisphenol A), which is an endocrine inhibitor.  BPA has been linked to a number of conditions, including heart disease, reproductive problems, and obesity.

While drinking a “diet” soda may sound healthier, it may in fact cause even more issues in the long run. That is why it is best to just stick with water to stay healthy.

Top Three Health Benefits of Daily Yoga

Top Three Health Benefits of Daily Yoga

Top Three Health Benefits of Daily YogaTaking care of your body is one of the main tenets of the Indian tradition.  Yoga is believed to help balance and heal the soul, mind, and body.  Today we will discuss a few of the many benefits regular yoga practice can have on your health.

Flexibility and Carpal Tunnel

One of the most obvious benefits of yoga, which is a stretching exercise, is increased flexibility.  According to studies that were conducted, people aged 18-27 who practiced yoga twice a week for two months had improved flexibility in their arms, legs, shoulders and other parts of their body.  In a similar study that lasted for the same amount of time, the patients who had Carpal Tunnel Syndrome had significantly less pain and increased flexibility in their wrists.

Diabetes

Recent statistics show that over 25 million Americans are suffering from diabetes.  If you are one of these people, you may need to add yoga to your daily workout routine.  A recent study has shown that yoga may aid in lowering blood glucose levels.  In a study that took place over the course of 8 days, 98 men and women 20-74 years old had lower glucose levels after adding yoga to their daily workout.  Even if it doesn’t work for you, it is a good daily exercise to help keep you fit and limber.

Hypertension

While there has not been enough solid research performed on the effects of yoga on high blood pressure, it has been proven that stress management and breathing exercises do help.  Yoga is, if nothing else, a great way to relax your body and relieve stress, and it is a gentle enough workout that it won’t negatively affect your blood pressure.

Conclusion

It is important to remember that all the studies that were performed were done on small test groups, so the data may not be 100% conclusive.  The bottom line is that yoga can be a fun and relaxing exercise that may have positive effects on your health.  Daily practice also helps you to build discipline and focus and will leave you feeling less stressed and tense, leading to a healthier happier you.

Increasing Daily Physical Activity for a Healthier You

Increasing Daily Physical Activity for a Healthier You

Increasing Daily Physical Activity for a Healthier YouWe all know that physical activity is important for a healthy lifestyle, but do you realize that sitting all day is actually detrimental to your health?  Recent studies indicate that a sedentary lifestyle increases the risks of heart attack, stroke, and metabolic syndromes.  While many people are too busy to put in extended hours at the gym, there are simple changes you can make in your daily routine that will increase your physical activity and improve your health.

Each Step Counts

Even if you cannot make it to the gym, you can increase the number of steps you take each day by choosing to take the stairs, parking further from the entrance at work or when running errands, or taking an evening stroll after dinner.  If you want to record your improvement, you can invest in a pedometer to count your steps every day.  It can also be a great motivator towards better health.

Choose Active or Public Transportation

If possible, try changing your daily commute to include more physical activity.  For those who live close to work, you can hang up your car keys and ride your bicycle to work.  If you use public transportation such as the bus or metro, get off a few stops early and walk the last few blocks.

Desk Exercises

For those who stand by the excuse that they do not have time to go to the gym, you can still take a few minutes to do daily exercise at your desk.  This can be anything from running in place at your desk for 60 seconds several times a day, to doing some lunges across the room, or strength exercises.  Many strength building exercises, such as squats, push-ups, leg extensions and lifts, and stretches, can be done by utilizing your office equipment.

Wrapping Up

Whether you choose to join a gym or begin an active exercise routine, always consult with your doctor, especially if you have existing medical conditions.  No matter what you choose, increasing your daily physical activity is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle.