Tag: Sex

HEALTH MATTERS: CHECK OUT 10 BENEFITS OF CUTTING OUT SUGAR

Cutting out sugar isn’t easy, but the health benefits are exponential—and they kick in almost immediately after you rein in your sweet tooth. Here’s exactly what happens.

You will look younger

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Sugar equals wrinkles, says Anthony Youn, MD, a plastic surgeon in Troy, Michigan, and author of The Age Fix: A Leading Plastic Surgeon Reveals How To Really Look Ten Years Younger. “Sugar causes glycation, a process by which the sugar molecules bind to and deform the collagen and elastin in our skin,” he says. Collagen and elastin are the two main proteins that give our skin its youthful, supple properties, so we want to preserve them as much as possible.”Giving up (or reducing) the amount of sugar you eat can also reduce glucose and insulin spikes in your bloodstream, reducing chronic and acute inflammation linked to aging.” You can get your glow on within 14 days of giving up sugar, Dr. Youn says. (Here’s how to get started cracking a sugar addiction.)

You’ll get happy

 

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You might think eating a cookie will make you happy, but sugar consumption has actually been linked to higher rates of depression,” says Megan Gilmore, a certified nutritionist consultant in Kansas City, Kansas, and author of No Excuses Detox: 100 Recipes to Help You Eat Healthy Every Day. “This may be due to the fact that sugar can lead to chronic inflammation, which impacts brain function.” When you cut out sugar, you might feel that fog lift, along with your mood, in just one to two weeks, she says. Research helps to back this up. Women who consumed foods that ranked high on the glycemic index, including those rich in added sugar, were more likely to be depressed than women who ate fewer of these foods. This study appears in the June 2015 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. If you control sugar spikes, you keep your moods in check, confirms Leah Kaufman, MS, registered dietitian at NYU Langone’s Weight Management Program. “Think about a kid on Halloween. After they eat all that sugary candy, they get a sugar high and then they crash,” she says. This is what happens when adults eat sugar too.

You’ll shed pounds

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On average, we consume 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day, which equals around 350 calories, according to the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. “Sugar can be addicting, and when we decrease the amount that we eat, it also stops cravings, so we consume fewer calories and lose weight,” Kaufman says. “When you eat refined sugar, your body may not get the signal that you’re full, causing you to consume too many calories and gain weight,” Gilmore says, adding, “When you replace sugar with nourishing whole foods, your hormones will naturally regulate, sending signals to the brain when you’ve eaten enough.” As a result, you’ll lose weight without trying so hard—often within the first week, she says.

You’ll catch fewer colds

What-Happens-to-Your-Body-When-You-Stop-Eating-SugarSugar contributes to chronic inflammation, which lowers our immune system’s ability to fight off colds and flu, Gilmore says. This is your body on sugar—it’s not pretty. What happens to your body when you stop eating sugar? “You’re likely to have fewer sniffles year-round, and it may also help to reduce your allergy and asthma symptoms too.” A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating 100 grams of sugar lowered white blood cells’ ability to kill bacteria by as much as 50 percent—and this effect lasted for up to 5 hours.

You’ll lower diabetes risk

What-Happens-to-Your-Body-When-You-Stop-Eating-SugarQuitting sugar gives your body’s natural detox systems a chance to do their job. “In the first couple of hours without sugar, your pancreas will start to produce less insulin and your liver will also start to catch up on processing stored toxins,” explains Marc Alabanza, a Certified Nutritional Counselor and program director of GroundSea Fitness, a detox retreat in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. This process will take a little longer if you are already insulin resistant (a pre-diabetes state in which your body produces the hormone insulin, but doesn’t use it properly), he adds. “The time for most of these symptoms to completely subside can run up to five weeks, at which point one will no longer be a slave to refined sugar.” Should you get your blood sugar checked?

You’ll live longer

What-Happens-to-Your-Body-When-You-Stop-Eating-SugarWhen glucose spikes after eating sugary food, our insulin increases to compensate for it, and this activates a part of our nervous system which increases blood pressure and heart rate,” Kaufman says. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, as is diabetes and obesity, both of which have been linked to excessive sugar consumption. Sugar also increases unhealthy blood fats called triglycerides in the blood, which up risk for heart disease and stroke. In one April 2014 study, those who ate the most added sugar were most likely to die from heart disease than their counterparts who consumed the least. These are the clear signs that you need to cut back on sugar.

You’ll improve your breath and your smile

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Your sweet tooth is really anything but when it comes to the health of your smile, says Saul Pressner, DMD, a dentist in New York City. “Sugar is a major cofactor in causing cavities as it interacts with bacteria in your mouth to form the acid that causes decay,” he says. Your breath will also improve as sugar feeds the bacteria that cause bad breath. These benefits will be immediate, and will only get better with time, he says. Try eating these foods that help keep your teeth healthy.

You’ll have better sex

Young couple naked Man and woman in love kissing

For men, eating sugar causes an insulin spike that drives pathways that reduce sex drive and function,” explains Mark Hyman, MD, Medical Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine in Ohio and the Founder of the UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts. Sugar also wreaks havoc female sex hormones, says Hyman, the author of several books including the 10-Day Detox Diet. This affects more than just sex life and desire, he adds. “It can cause women to lose hair on their head, and grow it on their faces as well as develop acne and irregular periods.” Reversing these effects are among the benefits of cutting out sugar.

You’ll sleep like a baby

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If it’s loaded in sugar, your midnight snack may rob you of the ability to get good night’s sleep, Dr. Hyman says. “People can develop low blood sugar and get night sweats if they have a sugary snack before bed,” he says. “Eating sugar before bed can also supercharge stress hormones, which leads to trouble sleeping. What happens when you stop eating sugar? You will get higher quality z’s within two or three days of kicking the sugar habit, he says. Check out the other changes you could make that will improve your sleep.

Stay the course

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It’s not necessarily easy to give up sugar, according to Auckland, New Zealand-based doctor Sharad Paul, MD, author of The Genetics of Health: Understand Your Genes for Better Health. “Sugar is addictive and triggers withdrawal symptoms if we stop eating it,” he says. “Mood changes like anxiety and anger usually last for about two weeks, but up to a month if you have been eating a lot of sugar over a long period of time.” Even artificial sweeteners like aspartame cause withdrawal effects, so it’s best not to use them as means to reduce sugar intake,” he says. Alabanza adds that headaches and flu-like symptoms may also occur, and you can reduce them with exercise, he suggests. “A moderate to brisk paced walk or hike can help by slightly increasing circulation and metabolism, boosting the immune system and giving the person something positive to focus on.”
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4 REASONS A WOMAN LOSES INTEREST IN SEX

What makes a woman want to have sex is complicated and not always totally hormonal, as it can be with men, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. While your loss of libido could be caused by a wide variety of things, here are four possible causes – some of which might surprise you.

See also: How to get your sex drive back after the menopause

See also: How to have more orgasms as you get older

1. Anxiety, stress and low mood
If you’re worried, stressed or drop into bed exhausted each night, you’re hardly going to be in the mood for love. Anxiety and low mood are both common causes of low sex drive in women.

If you have been suffering from fatigue, feel weepy or hopeless, and have lost interest in the things you once enjoyed, such as sex, it’s worth talking things over with your doctor. One of the main symptoms of depression is loss of libido.

2. Hormones
The female libido is strongly influenced by hormones. When these change – during the menopause, after childbirth or after a hysterectomy, for example – it can have a dramatic effect on arousal and libido. In fact, it’s estimated that as many as 15% of menopausal women lose interest in sex.

Women need a certain level of the ‘male’ hormone testosterone in order to feel sexual desire and arousal. Production of the hormone starts to decline in women from the age of 40 onwards, which can reduce in loss of desire. Because some testosterone is produced in the ovaries, removal of these during surgery can reduce levels of testosterone by half.

Taking hormones in the form of the contraceptive pill can also have an effect on desire. Researchers in Germany studied 1,000 women and found that those who used a hormonal method of birth control, such as oral contraceptives, had lower levels of libido.

3. Medication
Some medical conditions can cause loss of sexual desire in women (such as thyroid disease, heart disease and diabetes), as can certain prescription medications, including drugs for epilepsy, high blood pressure and anti-depressants.

According to a review of blood pressure medication in the International Journal of Clinical Practice, the worst offenders are diuretics and beta-blockers, such as propranolol and atenolol. Speak to your doctor if you’re concerned and never stop taking medication without consulting your GP first.

There’s also some evidence to suggest that cold remedies and antihistamines might have a negative effect on sex drive. A study from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio found that antihistamines might lead to loss of libido in both women and men, while cold remedies which contain diphenhydramine or pseudoephedrine were found to reduce sexual desire.

4. Phthalates
Certain chemicals found in cleaning products, food packaging and personal-care items like shampoo and cosmetics, have also been linked to low sex drive.

According to research presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, phthalates (a softener which makes plastics bendy), are endocrine disruptors which interfere with hormones in the body – including testosterone and oestrogen.

If you’re concerned, there are many phthalate-free alternative products available.

 

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8 MISCONCEPTIONS THAT CAN HURT YOUR RELATIONSHIP

There are hundreds of myths about relationships, according to Terri Orbuch, Ph.D, a Michigan clinical psychologist and author of “5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great” (Delacorte Press, 2009). The problem with persistent myths is that they can erode a relationship’s happiness, she said.

When you think a relationship should be a certain way, and yours isn’t, frustration sets in. And “frustration is the number one thing that eats away at a relationship,” Orbuch said, and “it’s directly tied to these myths.”

That’s why it’s so critical to bust the below misconceptions. So without further ado, here are eight myths about relationships that might surprise you.

1. Myth: A good relationship means that you don’t have to work at it.

Fact: “The strongest most enduring relationships take lots of hard work,” said Lisa Blum, Psy.D, a clinical psychologist in Pasadena and Los Angeles, who specializes in emotionally focused therapy with couples. She believes that our culture, education system and parenting styles don’t prepare us for the fact that even good relationships take effort.

She likened a healthy relationship to a good garden. “It’s a beautiful thing but you wouldn’t expect it to thrive without a whole lot of labor and TLC.”

But how do you know if you’re working too hard on a relationship? One sign, according to Blum, is if you’re feeling unhappy more than you’re happy. In other words, are you spending more time tending to the relationship and keeping it afloat than enjoying it?

This unhappiness becomes less of a rough patch, and more like the “normal state of affairs,” she said.

Another bad sign is if you’re trying hard to make improvements and changes, but you don’t see the same level of effort on your partner’s part. “There has to be some sense of ‘we’re trying really hard, both making changes and that’s making a difference.'”

On the flip side, if both of you are trying and you can see positive changes being made at least some of the time, then that’s a good sign, Blum said.

2. Myth: If partners really love each other, they know each other’s needs and feelings.

Fact: “It’s a setup to expect your partner to be able to read your mind,” Blum said — because when you anticipate that your partner will know your wants, that’s essentially what you’re doing. We develop this expectation as kids, she said. But “as adults, we’re always responsible for communicating our feelings and needs.”

And once you’ve communicated your needs and feelings, “a better measure of the quality of your relationship” is whether your partner actually listens to your words.

 

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3. Myth: If you’re truly in love, passion will never fade.

Fact: Thanks to movies and romantic novels, we assume that if we genuinely love someone, “the passion, urging and loving” never go away. And if they do disappear, then “it must not be the right relationship” or “our relationship [must be] in trouble,” Orbuch said. However, passion naturally diminishes in all relationships.

Daily routines are one of the culprits, Blum said. As their responsibilities grow and roles expand, couples have less and less time and energy for each other.

But this doesn’t mean that the passion is gone for good. With a little planning and playfulness, you can boost passion. Blum sees many relationships where passion is alive and well. “Passionate sex is a byproduct of sustained emotional intimacy along with a continuing sense of adventure and exploration and sense of playfulness.” Orbuch also has emphasized the importance of couples doing new things to perk up their relationships (see her specific advice).

And when it comes to passion-squashing routines, Blum suggested couples ask themselves: “How do we tame our lives sufficiently that we can make time for each other and have energy left for each other?”

4. Myth: Having a child will strengthen your relationship or marriage.

Fact: Studies have shown that relationship happiness actually decreases with every child, she said. This doesn’t mean that you start loving each other less or that you won’t bond at all over your child, Orbuch said. But the mounting challenges can complicate relationships.

Having realistic expectations helps couples prepare themselves for their new roles, she said. When you think that a child will improve your relationship, it only adds to the complications.

As Orbuch said, “‘should’ statements don’t allow you to see what the other person is doing to strengthen and manage the relationship,” and these expectations “cloud your judgment.” She recommended planning ahead and talking about the changes that will occur when you have your first child or more kids.

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5. Myth: Jealousy is a sign of true love and caring.

Fact: Jealousy is more about how secure and confident you are with yourself and your relationship (or the lack thereof), she said. Take the following example: If you have a jealous partner, you might try to show them how much you care so they don’t get jealous. But you soon realize that any amount of caring isn’t a cure for their jealous reactions.

While you can be supportive, according to Orbuch, your partner must work on their insecurity issues on their own. “No matter what you do, you can’t make your partner feel more secure” or “change their self-confidence.”

Trying to make your partner jealous also can backfire. While men and women are just as likely to experience jealousy, their reactions differ. Men either get very defensive or angry, believing that the relationship isn’t worth it, Orbuch said. Women, on the other hand, respond by trying to improve the relationship or themselves.

6. Myth: Fights ruin relationships.

Fact: In actuality, what ruins relationships is not resolving your fights, Blum said. “Fights can be really healthy, and an important form of communication and clearing the air.”

Also, the type of fight a couple has plays a role. Not surprisingly, nasty, scornful or condescending fights that leave couples resolution-less and not talking for days damage the relationship. Productive conflicts that help the relationship end with “some mutual decision about how to manage this disagreement,” Blum said. (Here’s help on improving your communication and becoming a better listen and speaker.)

7. Myth: In order for the relationship to be successful, the other partner must change.

Fact: Many times we’re very good at the blame game and not so good at pondering how we can become better partners. Instead, we demand that our partners make such and such changes.

Unless, there are extreme circumstances like abuse or chronic infidelity, Blum said, it takes two to make changes.

But even more than that, it’s up to you to figure out what you can do. While this seems “simple and obvious,” 100 percent of the couples Blum sees point the finger.

“It’s a profound mental shift to look at what can I do [and] what changes can I make.”

8. Myth: Couples therapy means your relationship is really in trouble.

Fact: By the time couples seek therapy, this may be true, but changing this mindset is key. Most couples seek therapy “when they’ve been suffering for a really long time,” Blum said. “What elements were good in the relationship are destroyed.”

Instead, Blum suggested that people view couples therapy as preventative. This way, a couple comes in when they’ve been stuck on one or two conflicts for a few months, “not five or six over the last 10 years.”

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Read also PITFALLS AND POINTERS OF COMMUNICATION IN RELATIONSHIPS