Be Sun Savvy – Protect your skin

June 24th, 2008


The currently available sunscreens are much more effective for blocking out UVB than UVA. The bottom line is that UVA rays are as dangerous as UVB and are present year-round. They penetrate through glass and clouds, and damage skin without leaving a telltale burn behind (but will leave fine lines and wrinkles).

You will find that you still tan while using a screen or block. Even though you routinely apply your sunscreen everyday, you may end up with a deep tan. UVA exposure is the reason for this, and the amount of UVA in summer sunlight may be as much as one thousand times that of UVB. The fact that none of the currently available sunscreens are capable of reflecting infrared rays creates an additional problem.

Until the FDA puts its new labels into effect, look for “broad spectrum protection” and scan the ingredient list for FDA-approved UVA guards including titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone (Parsol 1789), Mexoryl SX and oxybenzone.


The ability of human cells to repair damage from sunlight exposure steadily weakens with age. With healthy cells, the ability to repair our skin declines at a constant rate of about one percent per year from age 20 to 50, coinciding with the increasing risk of developing skin cancer in middle age.

Basal cell cancer is the most common kind of skin cancer and the one directly related to cumulative effects of exposure to sunlight. Experts say tumors can appear up to 20 years after over exposure to sunlight.


Your hands are fragile due to the very thin skin on them. They can give away your age years before your face does. The best way to keep your hands protected is to ALWAYS apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Look for sunscreen that has emollients or add a vitamin E capsule to it upon application.

HINT: Keep a tube of sunscreen in your car. That way, every time you go out you will have it “handy”!  

Did you spend a little too much time out in the sun? Here are a few tips to help with those SKIN EMERGENCIES-

  • Scorched Skin:  Combine one half cup mayonnaise with one tomato, once cucumber, and half a mashed avocado. Puree in a blender until smooth. Apply to skin and allow to air dry. Rinse well and moisturize. (Left-overs make a great dip!)
  • Sunburn: Gently rub apple slices on the effected area for fifteen minutes. Rinse. Spritz your face with cooled chamomile tea.

Just remember, the longer you remain outdoors (even in the shade), the more potentially harmful infrared radiation you will receive. So, please, use a high number SPF, protect your face with a hat or visor, and limit sun exposure time.

Bananas – The Super Man of Fruit

June 18th, 2008

The many proven health benefits of bananas.The time old adage of an apple a day keeps the doctor away may soon be replaced by the banana. 

Compared to apples, bananas have twice the carbohydrates, three times the phosphorus, four times the protein, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. Bananas also have the added bonus of being rich in potassium.

Bananas naturally contain three types of sugars:

  • sucrose
  • fructose
  • glucose

The sugars in the banana give a the body an almost instant and long lasting energy boost.  Research has shown consuming two bananas provides enough energy for an intense 90 minute workout.  An increase in energy levels is only the tip of the bananas healthy powers.

Bananas have proven themselves to have several other health benefits:

Anemia: Bananas are high in iron and can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood which may help in cases of anemia.

Blood Pressure: Being extremely high in potassium and low in salt makes the banana a perfect perfect snack for people with high blood pressure. The US FDA has recently allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit’s ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power: Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.  “200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school ( England ) were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power.”

Constipation: Say bye, bye to laxatives.  Bananas are high in fiber and can help restore normal bowel actions.

Depression: Bananas contain a type of protein called tryptophan that the body uses and converts into serotonin.  Serotonin puts your body in a relaxed state, improving your mood.

Hangovers: Banana milkshake to the rescue! Bananas, milk, ice and sweeten with honey. Bananas calm the stomach while the honey builds up depleted blood sugar levels, and milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness: Avoid morning sickness by snacking on bananas between meals to help keep blood sugar levels up.

Mosquito bites: Banana skins reduce swelling and irritation.  Try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin before reaching for the insecticide.

Nerves: Vitamin B helps calm the nervous system, and bananas are loaded with B vitamins.

PMS: Bananas contain vitamin B6 which regulates blood glucose levels, which in-turn affects your mood.

Temperature control: Cultures all around the world believe the banana to be a “cooling” fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. Pregnant women in Thailand eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas have helped SAD sufferers due to the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.

Smoking & Tobacco Use: Looking to give up smoking?  Try a banana. Bananas have B6, B12, potassium and magnesium which help the body recover from nicotine withdrawal effects.

Stress: Stress causes our metabolic rates to rise, which in effect reduces potassium levels.  Potassium helps to normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates the body’s water balance. Re-balance with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.

Strokes: The New England Journal of Medicine research study showed eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%

Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Warts: Natural alternative health users swear by bananas. To kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape.

Work Munchies: According to studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and chips. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

So the next time you feel like snacking…GO BANANAS!

Determining your Body Mass Index (BMI)

June 16th, 2008

Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to both adult men and women.

BMI Weight Categories


  • Underweight = Less than 18.5
  • Normal weight = 18.5-24.9
  • Overweight = 25-29.9
  • Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

Using a mathematical formula the body mass index takes into account both height and weight. BMI equals an individual’s weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. (BMI=kg/m2).

Use the table below to find your height in the left hand column, then locate the row across with your actual weight. The number at the top of the column is your BMI.

Body Mass Index Chart - BMI

You can also use the Calculate Your Body Mass Index widget in the sidebar. The BMI widget requires you to use height in centimeters and weight in kilograms. You may refer to the conversion chart below to convert from metric to standard.

Standard/Metric Conversion Chart