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Healthways Blog


Exercise may improve thinking skills in people as young as 20


Let's look at one of the amazing scientific benefits of exercise and mental function. This is a study from Stern et al. (2019) on the "Effect of aerobic exercise on cognition in younger adults: A randomized clinical trial."


Regular aerobic exercise such as walking, cycling or climbing stairs may improve thinking skills not only in older people, but in young people as well, according to a new study. The study also found that the positive effect of exercise on thinking skills may increase as people age.

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Regular aerobic exercise such as walking, cycling or climbing stairs may improve thinking skills not only in older people but in young people as well, according to a study published in the January 30, 2019, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study also found that the positive effect of exercise on thinking skills may increase as people age.

The specific set of thinking skills that improved with exercise is called executive function. Executive function is a person's ability to regulate their own behavior, pay attention, organize and achieve goals.

"As people age, there can be a decline in thinking skills, however our study shows that getting regular exercise may help slow or even prevent such decline," said study author Yaakov Stern, PhD, of Columbia University in New York, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. "We found that all participants who exercised not only showed improvements in executive function but also increased the thickness in an area of the outer layer of their brain."

The study involved 132 people between the ages of 20 and 67 who did not smoke or have dementia but who also did not exercise at the start of the study and were determined to have below average fitness levels. Participants were randomly assigned to six months of either aerobic exercise or stretching and toning four times a week. The two groups were equally balanced for age, sex, education as well as memory and thinking skills at the start of the study.

All participants either exercised or stretched and toned at a fitness center and checked in weekly with coaches monitoring their progress. They all wore heart rate monitors as well. Participants' thinking and memory skills were evaluated at the start of the study as well as at three months and at the end of the six-month study.

Participants in the exercise group chose from aerobic activities including walking on a treadmill, cycling on a stationary bike or using an elliptical machine. They ramped up their activity during the first month, then during the remainder of the six-month study they trained at 75 percent of their maximum heart rate. People in the stretching and toning group did exercises to promote flexibility and core strength.

Researchers measured participants' aerobic capacity using a cycling machine called an ergometer that estimates exercise intensity. Participants also had MRI brain scans at the start and end of the study.

Researchers found that aerobic exercise increased thinking skills. From the beginning of the study to the end, those who did aerobic exercise improved their overall scores on executive function tests by 0.50 points, which was a statistically significant difference from those who did stretching and toning, who improved by 0.25 points. At age 40, the improvement in thinking skills was 0.228 standard deviation units higher in those who exercised compared to those who did stretching and toning and at age 60, it was 0.596 standard deviation units higher.

"Since a difference of 0.5 standard deviations is equivalent to 20 years of age-related difference in performance on these tests, the people who exercised were testing as if they were about 10 years younger at age 40 and about 20 years younger at age 60," Stern said.

He added, "Since thinking skills at the start of the study were poorer for participants who were older, our findings suggest that aerobic exercise is more likely to improve age-related declines in thinking skills rather than improve performance in those without a decline."

Researchers also found an increase in the thickness of the outer layer of the brain in the left frontal area in all those who exercised, suggesting that aerobic exercise contributes to brain fitness at all ages.

"Our research confirms that exercise can be beneficial to adults of any age," said Stern.

Overall, researchers did not find a link between exercise and improved memory skills. However, those with the genetic marker for dementia, the APOE ?4 allele, showed less improvement in thinking skills.

A limitation of the study is the small number of participants. Larger studies over longer periods of time may allow researchers to see other effects in thinking and memory skills.

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Categories: Healthways Blog


Decrease Single Use Plastics and Decrease Disease

By Dr. Edwin Chun


By now you are probably familiar with the problematic issues of single use plastics. They have been in the news for some time now.  Single use plastics include items like straws, plastic bags, food wrappers, and fast food containers, plastic forks, knives, cups, coffee stirrers etc. These items are designed for convenience and meant to be thrown away after one use. The truth is that they are too convenient so that as a society, we have become lazy and created so much of it, that it has become a serious problem trying to get rid of it.  Estimates of the effects of not only single use plastics but all plastics on the environment is staggering. Of all the global plastic created by man since its inception, most of it is still creeping around in the environment and has not broken down or truly been recycled, which is what most of us are led to believe.  Mounds of plastic trash is being hidden away in landfills or floating around in oceans, lakes and waterways.  After many years, much of it in the environment is gradually being broken down into what is known as microplastics which are tiny little pieces of plastic, some too small to even be seen with the naked eye. Microplastics are being ingested in the human diet and the diets of animals as they commonly find their way into ocean marine life and other animals like birds, which mistakenly eat it thinking it is plant life. Humans then turn around and eat some of these fish and get them into their bodies.  Some estimates indicate that there are microplastics in the majority of fish living in the major lakes of our country.  This means that it can be very easy for these things to make it back into human life and start to effect human health negatively as plastics are associated with diseases like cancer, hormone abnormalities, endocrine disruption and more.  A great recent documentary to learn more about this global epidemic is the Plastic Problem on public broadcasting:

Categories: Healthways Blog


Why should you take chlorella?

By Dr. Edwin Chun, D.C.

Chlorella - Superfood

Now Available In Our Store
Our New Product Line - PHYTOLUTION
Premium Broken Cell Wall Chlorella

One look at the dark emerald green color of chlorella should indicate to you that it is a valuable plant-based whole food. Chlorella is a well-known nutraceutical (a food that has shown to be able to improve health & decrease or treat disease) often called a superfood. It’s called this because it has so many health attributes.

As a healthcare provider for over 20 years, I have seen the damage that can be done from unhealthy diets that have been increasingly affected by a worsening state of environmental health. Yearly, many of you already know about stories of contamination of lead in public water systems, the increasing amount of uncontrollable fires, increased smog and air pollution, increased methane and carbon emission from factory farms and increased chemicals, even nuclear wastes in our oceans. All these pollutants find their way into our foods in small or large amounts and they affect human health negatively. One statistical number that we shouldn’t ignore is the rising level of obesity and cancers, so much so that it is now common to see people developing cancer every day.

Categories: Healthways Blog


Avoiding the "Forever Chemicals"

forever chemical foodsYou may have heard of the "forever chemicals" and how people are starting to become aware of them and avoiding them as it becomes public knowledge that they negatively affect health. These chemicals are everywhere in our modern society but things are changing now as companies aware of their effects are starting to no longer use them.

For instance, I just read over the weekend that Lowes the popular home retail outlet will stop selling carpets sprayed with these forever chemicals known as Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. The problem with these chemicals is that they serve a useful function which is to make products non stick, but they leach back into the environment and concentrate and make it back into our bodies.

Certain groups of people are at higher risk for accumulating larger amounts and they persist in our food, water, products, homes, environment and end up in our bodies where they can increase disease.

Categories: Healthways Blog


Omega-3s for Better Health

With all the things we are constantly learning about to eat for better health, let us not forget the mighty Omega-3 molecule. It can sometimes be forgotten in the shuffle of getting more broccoli, kale and berries into our daily diets. There is quite a bit of science on the importance of Omega-3s in health and sickness. Today we are going to look at an article written by Kris Gunnars, BSc named "Omega-3 Fatty Acids - The Ultimate Beginner's Guide."

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that you must get from your diet. These incredibly healthy fats have important benefits for your body and brain. However, most people who eat a standard Western diet are not eating nearly enough omega-3 fats. This is the ultimate beginner’s guide to omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3, or n-3, fatty acids, are a family of polyunsaturated fats that you must get from your diet. They’re termed essential fatty acids, as they’re needed for health, but your body cannot produce them as it can other fats. As polyunsaturated fatty acids, their chemical structure has several double bonds. Omega-6 fatty acids are another type of polyunsaturated fat. The "omega" naming convention has to do with the placement of the double bond in the fatty acid molecule. Omega-3s have the first double bond placed three carbon atoms away from the omega end.

Categories: Healthways Blog


Go for the Fast and Skip the Fast Food

by Dr. Edwin Chun

In today’s hustle and bustle society, there are so many things competing for our time. From the minute we turn on our computers and/or television, our brains are getting bombarded by carefully planned strategic ads made by professional advertisers whose main goal is to get us to spend our hard earned money. One of the things they know well is that many of us are pressed for time because of work, kids, caring for our home, chores etc. They like to use this to get us to buy things that make our lives easier. One of the main things that takes time is food. Shopping for healthy food and preparing it does require time and an understanding of nutrition, and many do not choose to make it a priority in their schedules. As a result, to fill this void in our society, there is a giant industry known as fast food. Now you can get anything you want within minutes and not even have to get out of your car. If you see some of the advertisements for these monstrosities of bad health such as the bacon double cheese onion ring burger etc., you can figure out why obesity is a growing epidemic in our society after the number one killer which is heart disease. Fast food ads are designed to get your attention and that’s about it. By stacking up a bunch of fat, salty processed items in these foods, they try to get control of your brain. They know that eating these kinds of foods, even though they are unhealthy, release tons of feel good happy chemicals in your brain just like drugs. With no care for your health, they want to get the attention of your brain. The more junk they pile up the more you may notice and be tempted to try. That is why these fast food creations keep growing by adding additional unhealthy items such as bacon, an extra hamburger patty, egg, nacho cheese, etc. For example, cheese on top of the pizza is not enough. Now they have to put it into the crust as well to add more fat, salt and calories to your meal. To the people eating this stuff, what are you going to do to burn off those extra 500-1000 calories for eating one meal? Are you going to the gym an extra hour this week? Most people don’t and that is why sickness continues to increase in their lives.

Categories: Healthways Blog



by Michael Edwards

Article revised to include only educational material

The soles of your shoes, the fabric of your clothing, your contact lenses, your chewing gum, your phone, food containers, mattresses – all are made with plastic. It’s everywhere. It’s in our salt and it’s in our water. Plastic may be the most insidious and enduring product we’ve ever produced.

While plastic improves our daily life in countless ways, it is also suffocating our planet and causing catastrophic pollution, much of it hidden and microscopic. Just how bad is it? Bottled water samples were collected and analyzed by scientists over a ten-month investigation. The study analyzed 259 bottles from 19 locations in nine countries across 11 different brands and found an average of 325 plastic particles for every liter of water being sold.

This study comes just after a damning study of plastic found in sea salt brands was published in the scientific journal Scientific Reports. They analyzed seventeen commercial salt brands from eight different countries on four continents for plastic particles. They found plastics in all but one brand.

Categories: Healthways Blog


What is cupping therapy?

By Debra Sullivan, PhD

What is cupping?

Cupping therapy

Cupping is a type of alternative therapy that originated in China. It involves placing cups on the skin to create suction. The suction may facilitate healing with blood flow.

Proponents also claim the suction helps facilitate the flow of “qi” in the body. Qi is a Chinese word meaning life force. A famous Taoist alchemist and herbalist, Ge Hong, reportedly first practiced cupping. He lived from A.D. 281 to 341.

Many Taoists believe that cupping helps balance yin and yang, or the negative and positive, within the body. Restoring balance between these two extremes is thought to help with the body’s resistance to pathogens as well as its ability to increase blood flow and reduce pain.

Cupping increases blood circulation to the area where the cups are placed. This may relieve muscle tension, which can improve overall blood flow and promote cell repair. It may also help form new connective tissues and create new blood vessels in the tissue.

People use cupping to complement their care for a host of issues and conditions.

Categories: Healthways Blog


Calcium in Foods

Original article by Neal Barnhard, M.D. at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Calcium in FoodsMany people avoid milk because it contains saturated fat, cholesterol, allergenic proteins, lactose sugar, and frequent traces of contamination, or simply because they don’t feel well after consuming dairy products. Milk is also linked to type 1 (juvenile-onset) diabetes and other serious conditions. Happily, there are many other good sources of calcium.

Keeping your bones strong depends more on preventing the loss of calcium from your body than on boosting your calcium intake. Some cultures consume few or no dairy products and typically ingest fewer than 500 milligrams of calcium per day. However, these people generally have low rates of osteoporosis. Many scientists believe that exercise and other factors have more to do with osteoporosis than calcium intake does.

Calcium in the body

Almost all of the calcium in the body is in the bones. There is a tiny amount in the bloodstream, which is responsible for important functions such as muscle contraction, maintenance of the heartbeat, and transmission of nerve impulses. We regularly lose calcium from our bloodstream through urine, sweat, and feces. It is renewed with calcium from bone or from the diet. Bones are constantly broken down and made anew. Up until the age of 30 or so, we build more bone than we lose. Later, the bones tend to break down more than build up. The loss of too much bone calcium can lead to fragile bones or osteoporosis. How rapidly calcium is lost depends, in part, on the kind and amount of protein you eat, as well as other diet and lifestyle choices.

Reducing calcium loss

A number of factors affect calcium loss from the body:

  • Diets that are high in protein cause more calcium to be lost through the urine. Protein from animal products is much more likely to cause calcium loss than protein from plant foods.
  • Diets high in sodium increase calcium losses in the urine.
  • Caffeine increases the rate at which calcium is lost through urine.
  • Smoking increases the loss of calcium from the body.

A number of factors increase bone building in the body:

  • Exercise is one of the most important factors in maintaining bone health.
  • Exposure to sunlight allows the body to make the bone-building hormone vitamin D.
  • Eating a plentiful amount of fruits and vegetables helps to keep calcium in bone.
  • Consuming calcium from plant-based sources, especially green vegetables and beans, provides one of the building blocks for bone building.

Sources of calcium

Exercise and a diet moderate in protein will help to protect your bones. People who eat plant-based diets and are active probably have lower calcium needs. However, it is still important to eat calcium-rich foods every day. Green leafy vegetables, such as kale, are better than milk as calcium sources.

Categories: Healthways Blog


El Monte School Garden Grows Fresh Produce and Healthy Kids

(Taken from | By Laurel Randolph)

“Tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, beans, strawberries, eggplant, sugarcane, guava, corn…”

Liz Christy and Marianne Zaugg list the bounty of spring produce that’s being planted at the Arroyo High School community garden before excitedly listing plans they have for improving the space. Christy and Zaugg are from ECo Urban Gardens, a small-scale agricultural nonprofit that partnered with the high school in 2016. The goal was to transform a barren piece of land into a lush teaching garden. Over the last few years, the community has watched the space go from a few neglected beds to an expansive working garden producing fresh produce.

The school garden began as a student project in 2015, spurred on by KCETLink’s Youth Voices program. “Our goal was to create a project that could help the students at Arroyo High School learn about our current environment, local food systems, and urban agriculture, but most importantly redefine the negative way others see our city,” wrote the pilot class of Arroyo High School students working at the garden.

Upon seeing the garden’s positive effect in the community (where nearly half of which lies in a food desert), the school partnered with ECo Urban Gardens to keep the project going. “We weren’t really gardeners, so we needed someone who knew what they were doing,” explained principal Angelita Gonzales-Hernandez. Soon after, the garden started to receive funding, with a Healthy Living grant kicking things into high gear. City of Hope, who supplied the grant, is a comprehensive cancer treatment center headquartered just a few miles from the high school. “We felt this was a really great way to create a sustainable healthy food movement in the school district,” explains City of Hope’s Nancy Clifton-Hawkins. “Now we’ve been able to really expand the vision of how this program can truly impact the health and the lifestyle of people living around the campus as well.”

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Categories: Healthways Blog


Maca Root & Adrenal Fatigue

(Taken from | By: Kimberly Riggins)

Maca PowderAdrenal fatigue is a medical condition that causes the adrenal glands to slow down and function at a less than optimal level. Symptoms associated with this condition include intense stress, extreme tiredness and a general feeling of malaise. Individuals who suffer from adrenal fatigue often rely on stimulants such as coffee and cola to help offset the symptoms; however, they usually make them worse. One herb that has been found to be effective for adrenal fatigue is maca root.

About Maca Root

Maca, scientifically known as lepidium meyenii, is an adaptogen herb native to the high Andes mountains of Peru and Bolivia. It is used both as a root vegetable, similar to a radish, and as a medicinal remedy. Maca is a nutritional powerhouse containing proteins in the form of polypeptides, fiber, lipids including the fatty acids linoleic acid, palmitic acid, oleic acid and sterols; vitamins and minerals including thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and potassium, and amino acids such as aspartic acid, glutamic acid, serine, glycine, arginine, valine, phenylalanine, tyrosine and threonine. According to the website,, maca has been used for centuries to treat anemia, tuberculosis, depression, menstrual disorders and adrenal fatigue. It is also proposed to help enhance fertility and sexual performance. Maca can be found as a whole food, powder, liquid, tablet, or capsule.

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Categories: Healthways Blog


Anti-Oxidants Why do we need them?

by Dr. Edwin Chun

Health Benefits of Blackstrap MolassesAnti-oxidants are important for good health and disease prevention. They are important because many things cause (ROS) Reactive Oxidative Stress to the body. It is also known as oxidation. ROS creates instability in cells and basically begins the process of DNA damage. This will trigger inflammation. Damaged DNA equate to bad health, disease, sickness and is the gateway to ALL chronic inflammatory diseases like arthritis, gastritis, prostatitis, colonitis, etc… What are the things that cause ROS?

Cell phones, WI-FI towers, EMF from computer routers, microwaves, air pollution, water pollution, synthetic chemicals in your clothes, synthetic fibers in clothes, petroleum based food coloring, effects of drugs medicines, allergies, parasites, virus, bacteria, hidden chemicals in our food, processed foods, fried fire retardant chemicals in our furniture, pesticides, herbicides, vaccines, paint fumes, cars that use gasoline. The list could go on for pages but you get the idea.

Categories: Healthways Blog



Health Benefits of Blackstrap Molasses(from Nutrisphere by

Revolutionary research has shown that environmental factors such as diet can activate or deactivate certain genes. This can make us and our children more or less vulnerable to uncountable diseases.

Epigenetics is a new scientific field that has changed the way we think about genetics. We had always assumed that our genetic material was predetermined and beyond our influence. But researchers have challenged this assumption. They showed that lifestyle decisions can influence our genes by changing our epigenome, allowing us to adapt better to the environment. Interestingly, the changes in our epigenome are not permanent and can be changed by modifying our lifestyle.

Categories: Healthways Blog


10 Health Benefits of Blackstrap Molasses

(from Facty Network by Team Member Chris)Health Benefits of Blackstrap Molasses

Many people are looking to stay healthy naturally while avoiding unecessary exposures to drugs, chemicals and artificial sources of vitamins and minerals. With the rising interest in plant based nutrition, it becomes more important to understand that mother nature provides all we need to be healthy. We just need to learn to search in the right places.

Blackstrap molasses isn’t the stuff you want to use for your cookies, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consume it. The biggest difference between this molasses and the regular molasses you buy at the store is its bitter taste. There are also a lot more nutrients in blackstrap molasses. Not only does it have some of the vitamins and minerals you need in your daily diet, but it also offers some other really fantastic health benefits too. Read on to learn more about the health benefits of blackstrap molasses and how you can take advantage of them.

Categories: Healthways Blog


Top 10 Food Preservatives and Additives to Avoid

(by Dr Joseph Mercola)nutritionist

Food additives have been used for centuries to enhance the appearance and flavor of food and prolong shelf life. However, do these food additives really “add” any value to your food?

Food additives find their way into our foods to help ease processing, packaging, and storage, but how do we know which food additives are in that box of macaroni and cheese, and why does it have such a long shelf life?

A typical American household spends about 90 percent of their food budget on processed foods and in doing so they get exposed to a plethora of artificial food additives, many of which can have serious consequences to your health.

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