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Thursday, 24 August 2017

If you like tea, and you like healthy beverage options, you’ve joined the ranks of the other 158 million Americans who are enjoying a cup on any given day. It’s estimated that last year, over 80 billion—that’s right, billion—servings of tea were consumed by the tea lovers of America. That translates into roughly 3.60 billion gallons. 

Although black tea is the most popular—it accounts for about 84 percent of all tea consumed—green tea is reported to be growing at a much higher volume than black. Our guess is that’s because of green tea’s potential role in weight loss. We decided to take a closer look at how you can drink green tea for weight loss.
Not into green tea? Check out these other best teas for weight loss

Green tea can help you lose weight.Several studies have suggested that the flavonoids and caffeine in green tea can help elevate metabolic rate, increase fat oxidation and even improve insulin activity. One study showed that those who consumed green tea and caffeine lost an average of 2.9 pounds during a 12-week period, while sticking to their regular diet. Another study suggested the increase in calorie output was equal to about 100 calories over a 24-hour period. 

You don’t need to drink a lot of green tea to help you lose weight. While weight loss benefits vary based on different dynamics, they have been found by drinking as little as 2.5 cups of green tea per day. 

Some green tea varieties are better for weight loss than others.
 If you’re all about that green and on a weight-loss mission, you might want to choose Matcha green tea—the richest green tea source of nutrients and antioxidants. Registered dietitian Isabel K Smith explains why: “The whole leaf is ground and consumed as part of the beverage, as opposed to other (most) types of green tea where the leaves are steeped and then the tea is consumed.” 

There’s a right and wrong way to brew green tea.
 When brewing green tea, take a little extra care, as boiling water is bad for the precious catechins (tea’s healthy chemicals). Do bring your water to a boil, but let it rest for about ten minutes. Then, pour the water over the tea and brew for about one minute before serving. Of course, the brew time can be made shorter or longer, depending on your taste.

Green tea has many health benefits. “It contains many nutrients, including antioxidants and anti-cancer and brain-healthy compounds,” Smith reminds us. One thing is for sure: regardless of whether or not you’ll shed pounds with green tea, drink it anyway. “All teas contain many healthful nutrients; it’s one of the healthier choices for a beverage!” Smith says. 

But…Just be careful not to pile on the honey or sugar!

See all weight-loss content on healthywomen.org.

Having already briefly outlined what is meant by “cloud computing“, in this post I take a brief look at five examples of cloud computing in action. How many of those listed do you use?

Email on the go

googlemailEmail communication now plays a central role in most of our busy lives. That’s fine if you don’t go out much but if you travel a lot, this may cause problems. Unless you carry a mobile WiFi-enabled laptop with you everywhere you go or use push email on your cellphone, having an email client sitting on your computer at home means that while out and about you risk spending time outside of the communication loop. This is one area where the cloud finds its most frequent and useful application.
Online email has been offered by all the big names (such as MicrosoftYahoo and of course Google) for a number of years and I have tried a lot of different services. Wherever in the world I have found myself, my emails have (almost) always been made available to me. The easiest and most convenient for me is GoogleMail, although each has its pros and cons.
Of course, using webmail makes you a slave to an internet connection. The first thing you do when you find yourself in a new or unfamiliar location is to try and locate an internet café or public library to launch your secure portable browser and check your emails. Privacy concerns are never far from the surface either, especially when stories of passwords to private accounts being leaked online hit the headlines. How much of your life have you given away during email exchanges?
And then there’s the issue of possible data loss, which nicely leads onto the next incarnation of cloud computing.

No need for local data storage

humyoData stored on your home or business computer suffers from many of the same restrictions as email and, as with email, the cloud offers a solution. Storing your MP3’s, video, photos and documents online instead of at home gives you the freedom to access them wherever you can find the means to get online.
True, you will undoubtedly be putting your life ‘out there’ and with that comes all the security and privacy baggage that also plague webmail. Most, if not all, online storage facilities have safeguards in place to ensure that you, and only you, can get to your files – but even so. We all risk losing important files, memories and such like if we suffer from hard drive failure and storing such things away from a temperamental computer system no doubt seems like an ideal solution but where do we turn if the unthinkable happens and our chosen cloud filing cabinet suffers data loss or suddenly closes down?
Examples of online storage services include HumyoZumoDrive, Microsoft’s SkyDriveS3from Amazon, amongst others. Many offer both free and paid for storage and backup solutions.

Are you a collaborator?

spicebirdOn occasion you may find yourself in need of the opinion of your peers. Downloading files onto flash memory, emailing documents to friends or family or colleagues or sending submissions by snail mail is so last century. Last year Google launched a service that allowed groups of people to work on the same document, idea or proposal in real time or whenever convenient to each participant. Using Google Wave you can create a document and then invite others to comment, amend, offer opinion, or otherwise join in with the creation of the final draft.
Similar to instant messaging but offering much more scope it can take a project that might have taken weeks or even months to complete using other methods and potentially see it through to completion in mere minutes or hours. Google is not alone in producing online collaboration tools but it is the only one I have used myself. Other examples include SpicebirdMikogoStixy and Vyew to name but a few.

Working in a virtual office

thinkfreeYet again Google’s online suite of office applications is probably the best known but by no means the only solution on offer. Rather than having a system and space hogging suite of applications like a word processor, a spreadsheet creator and a presentation or publishing platform sitting on your computer, you could opt to work online instead. Accessibility, potential for collaboration and perhaps even online storage are just some of the benefits of satisfying your office suite needs by working online.
Examples of online suite’s on offer include Ajax13ThinkFree and Microsoft’s Office Live.

Need extra processing power?

nebula-badgeFor the dedicated cloud enthusiast, something like Amazon’s EC2 virtual computing environment might be the answer to all your needs. Rather than purchasing servers, software, network equipment and so on, users would buy into a fully outsourced set of online services instead.
Most cloud environments on offer can customize the kind of service provided to exactly suit the needs of the user. If you need more processing power from time to time, a cloud-based infrastructure, being scalable, negates the need for up-front investment in client-owned resources.
Other service providers include the open source AbiCloudElastichosts and NASA’s Nebulaplatform.
So there you have it, five examples of computing in the cloud. When presenting these examples I have tried to balance the many advantages of working exclusively online with some of the disadvantages. Those interested in further reading are encouraged to head over to a piece listing the main advantages in XML Journal, the pros and cons on IT Governance and a detailed article on ZDNet by Cath Everett.
What cloud computing examples do you use?

About two thirds of people in the US are either overweight or obese (1).

However, there are also many people with the opposite problem of being too skinny (2).

This is a concern, because being underweight can be just as bad for your health as being obese.

Additionally, many people who are not clinically underweight still want to gain some muscle.

Whether you are clinically underweight or simply a "hard gainer" struggling to gain some muscle weight, the main principles are the same.

This article outlines a simple strategy to quickly gain weight, the healthy way.

What Does "Underweight" Really Mean?
Being underweight is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) below 18.5. This is estimated to be less than the body mass needed to sustain optimal health.

Conversely, over 25 is considered overweight and over 30 is considered obese.

Use this calculator to see where you fit on the BMI scale (opens in new tab).

However, keep in mind that there are many problems with the BMI scale, which only looks at weight and height. It does not take muscle mass into account.

Some people are naturally very skinny but still healthy. Being underweight according to this scale does not necessarily mean that you have a health problem.

Being underweight is about 2-3 times as common among girls and women. In the US, 1% of men and 2.4% of women 20 years and older are underweight (2).

What Are The Health Consequences of Being Underweight?
Obesity is currently one of the world's biggest health problems.

However, being underweight may be just as bad for your health as being obese. According to one study, being underweight was associated with a 140% greater risk of early death in men, and 100% in women (3).

In this study, obesity was "only" associated with a 50% greater risk of early death, indicating that being underweight may be even worse for your health (3).

Another study found increased risk of early death in underweight men, but not women. This indicates that being underweight may be worse for men (4).

Being underweight can also impair immune function, raise your risk of infections, lead to osteoporosis and fractures, and cause fertility problems (5, 6, 7).

People who are underweight are also much more likely to get sarcopenia (age-related muscle wasting), and may be at greater risk of dementia (8, 9).

Several Things Can Cause Someone to Become Underweight
There are several medical conditions that can cause unhealthy weight loss.

Here are a few of them:

Eating disorders: This includes anorexia nervosa, a serious mental disorder.
Thyroid problems: Having an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can boost metabolism and cause unhealthy weight loss.
Celiac disease: The most severe form of gluten intolerance. Most people with celiac disease don't know that they have it (10).
Diabetes: Having uncontrolled diabetes (mainly type 1) can lead to severe weight loss.
Cancer: Cancerous tumors often burn large amounts of calories and can cause someone to lose a lot of weight.
Infections: Certain infections can cause someone to become severely underweight. This includes parasites, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
If you are underweight, then you may want to see a doctor in order to rule out a serious medical condition.

This is particularly important if you have recently started losing large amounts of weight without even trying.

How to Gain Weight The Healthy Way
If you want to gain weight, then it is very important that you do it right.

Binging on soda and donuts may help you gain weight, but it can destroy your health at the same time.



If you are underweight, then you want to gain a balanced amount of muscle mass and subcutaneous fat, not a bunch of unhealthy belly fat.

There are plenty of normal weight people who get type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other health problems often associated with obesity (11).

Therefore, it is absolutely essential that you still eat healthy foods and live an overall healthy lifestyle.

Now let's look at several effective ways to gain weight fast, without ruining your health at the same time.


Eat More Calories Than Your Body Burns
The most important thing you can do to gain weight is to eat more calories than your body needs.

A caloric surplus (calories in > calories out) is needed. Without it, you won't gain. Period.

You can determine your calorie needs using this calorie calculator.

If you want to gain weight slowly and steadily, then aim for 300-500 calories more than you burn each day according to the calculator.

If you want to gain weight fast, then aim for something like 700-1000 calories above your maintenance level.

Keep in mind that calorie calculators only provide estimates. Your needs may vary by several hundred calories per day, give or take.

You don't need to count calories for the rest of your life, but it helps to do it for the first few days/weeks to get a feel for how many calories you are eating.

I recommend using one of these 5 tools to track your intake.

Eat Lots of Protein
The single most important nutrient for gaining healthy weight is protein.

Muscle is made of protein, and without it most of those extra calories may end up as body fat.

Studies show that during periods of overfeeding, a high protein diet causes many of the extra calories to be turned into muscle (12).

However, keep in mind that protein is a double-edged sword. It is also highly filling, so that it can reduce your hunger and appetite significantly. This can make it harder to get in enough calories (13, 14).

If you're trying to gain weight, aim for 0.7-1 grams of protein per pound of body weight (1.5 - 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram). You can even go above that if your calorie intake is very high.

High-protein foods include meats, fish, eggs, many dairy products, legumes, nuts and others. Protein supplements like whey protein can also be useful if you struggle to get enough protein in your diet.

Eat Lots of Carbs and Fat, and Eat at Least 3 Times Per Day
Many people try restricting either carbs or fat when they are trying to lose weight.

This is a bad idea if your goal is to gain weight, because it will make it harder to get in enough calories.

Eat plenty of high-carb and high-fat foods if weight gain is a priority for you. It is best to eat plenty of protein, fat and carbs at each meal.

It is also a bad idea to do intermittent fasting. This is useful for weight loss and health improvement, but can make it much harder to eat enough calories to gain weight.

Make sure to eat at least 3 meals per day, and try to add in energy-dense snacks whenever possible.

Eat a Lot of Energy-Dense Foods and use Sauces, Spices and Condiments
Again, it is very important to eat mostly whole, single ingredient foods.

The problem is that these foods tend to be more filling than processed junk foods, making it harder to get in enough calories.

Using plenty of spices, sauces and condiments can help with this. The tastier your food is, the easier it is to eat a lot of it.

Also, try to emphasize energy-dense foods as much as possible. These are foods that contain many calories relative to their weight.

Here are some energy-dense foods that are perfect for gaining weight:

Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, etc.
Dried fruit: Raisins, dates, prunes and others.
High-fat dairy: Whole milk, full-fat yogurt, cheese, cream.
Fats and Oils: Extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil.
Grains: Whole grains like oats and brown rice.
Meat: Chicken, beef, pork, lamb, etc. Choose fattier cuts.
Tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams.
Dark chocolate, avocados, peanut butter, coconut milk, granola, trail mixes.
Many of these foods are very filling, and sometimes you may need to force yourself to keep eating even if you feel full.

It may be a good idea not to eat a ton of vegetables if gaining weight is a priority for you. It simply leaves less room for energy-dense foods.

Eating whole fruit is fine, but try to emphasize fruit that doesn't require too much chewing, such as bananas.

Lift Heavy Weights and Improve Your Strength
In order to make sure that the excess calories go to your muscles instead of just your fat cells, it is absolutely crucial to lift weights.

Go to a gym and lift, 2-4 times per week. Lift heavy, and try to increase the weights and volume over time.

If you are completely out of shape or you are new to training, then consider hiring a qualified personal trainer to help you get started.

You may also want to consult with a doctor if you have skeletal problems or any sort of medical issue.

It is probably best to take it easy on the cardio for now. Focus mostly on the weights.

Doing some cardio is fine to improve fitness and well-being, but don't do so much that you end up burning all the additional calories you are eating.

10 More Tips to Gain Weight
Combining a high calorie intake with heavy strength training are the two most important factors.

That being said, there are several more things you can do to gain weight even faster.

Here are 10 more tips to gain weight:

Don't drink water before meals. This can fill your stomach and make it harder to get in enough calories.
Eat more often. Squeeze in an additional meal or snack whenever you can, such as before bed.
Drink milk. Drinking whole milk to quench thirst is a simple way to get in more high-quality protein and calories.
Try weight gainer shakes. If you are really struggling then you can try weight gainer shakes. These are very high in protein, carbs and calories.
Use bigger plates. Definitely use large plates if you are trying to get in more calories, as smaller plates cause people to automatically eat less.
Add cream to your coffee. This is a simple way to add in more calories.
Take creatine. The muscle building supplement creatine monohydrate can help you gain a few pounds in muscle weight.
Get quality sleep. Sleeping properly is very important for muscle growth.
Eat your protein first and vegetables last. If you have a mix of foods on your plate, eat the calorie-dense and protein-rich foods first. Eat the vegetables last.
Don't smoke. Smokers tend to weigh less than non-smokers, and quitting smoking often leads to weight gain.

Gaining Weight Can be Difficult, and Consistency is The Key to Long-Term Success
It can actually be very difficult for some people to gain weight.

That's because your body has a certain setpoint of weight where it feels comfortable.

Whether you try to go under your setpoint (lose weight) or over it (gain weight), your body resists changes by regulating your hunger levels and metabolic rate.

When you eat more calories and gain weight, you can expect your body to respond by reducing your appetite and boosting your metabolism.

This is largely mediated by the brain, as well as weight regulating hormones like leptin.

So you should expect a certain level of difficulty. In some cases, you may literally need to force yourself to eat despite feeling stuffed.

At the end of the day, changing your weight is a marathon, not a sprint. It can take a long time, and you need to be consistent if you want to succeed in the long run.

Source - http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-gain-weight
August 24, 2017 0 Comments
By Helen Thomson

Our brains seem better at predictions than we are.  A part of our brain becomes active when it knows something will be successfully crowdfunded, even if we consciously decide otherwise. If this finding stands up and works in other areas of life, neuroforecasting may lead to better voting polls or even predict changes in financial markets.

To see if one can predict market behaviour by sampling a small number of people, Brian Knutson at Stanford University in California and his team scanned the brains of 30 people while they decided whether to fund 36 projects from the crowdfunding website Kickstarter.

The projects were all recently posted proposals for documentary films. Each participant had their brain scanned while taking in the pictures and descriptions of each campaign, and they were then asked if they would want to fund the project.
When the real Kickstarter campaigns ended a few weeks later, 18 of the projects had gained enough funding to go forward. Examining the participants’ brain scans, the team discovered that activity in a region called the nucleus accumbens had been different when they considered projects that later went on to be successful.

Prediction paradox
The team trained an algorithm to recognise these differences in brain activity using scan data from 80 per cent of the projects, then tested the program on the remaining 20 per cent. Using neural activity alone, the algorithm was able to forecast which Kickstarter campaigns would be funded with 59.1 per cent accuracy – more than would be expected by chance.

This contrasted with what the volunteers themselves had consciously thought. When considering each proposal, the volunteers had been asked to rate how much they liked each project, and how likely they thought each one was to reach its funding goal. Unlike the activity in their nucleus accumbens regions, these ratings predicted funding outcomes with only 52.9 per cent accuracy – which is not significantly better than chance.

Knutson’s team was so surprised by the findings that the group repeated the experiment with new participants and new Kickstarter campaigns – and got the same results.

“This is highly fascinating,” says Stefan Bode of the University of Melbourne in Australia, “But I feel like one is left with a rather strong paradox: how can the brain ‘know’ what will be successful but the person doesn’t?”

Population predictions
The difference in performance might be because you have to weigh up various factors to make decisions. For example, your nucleus accumbens activity – which is associated with expecting a reward – might increase at the prospect of buying a chocolate biscuit, but other regions of your brain may weigh in, telling you that you’re supposed to be on a diet or spending less money on snacks.

Even if you don’t buy the biscuit, says Knutson, the nucleus accumbens might prevail in other people, or drive you to buy the biscuit at a later date

“If we can deconstruct the decision-making process in the brain, then we can identify the activity that represents the intention of what a person – on average – will eventually do,” says Knutson. “It seems that activity in the nucleus accumbens is suited to this role. It can be scaled up and generalised to a larger population.”

Bode suggests that the simplest explanation for Knutson’s results is that there is something about the visual presentation of Kickstarter projects that the nucleus accumbens responds strongly to, and that it is the positive or negative response to this stimulus that predicts success in the long run.

You vs your brain
Individuals may decide not to take the stimulus to the nucleus accumbens into account, or to balance it against other factors, when deciding if they would like to support a project, or predicting whether other people are likely to back it. They may not even be aware of their initial positive reaction to the project – the activity in the nucleus accumbens occurs early on in the decision-making process, so may not be consciously perceived. “Hence the lack of correlation with their own predictions of what will be successful,” says Bode.

But, on average, it seems that people pay attention to the nucleus accumbens more often than they ignore it, explaining why activity in this region in a small number of people can predict the behaviour of a larger population.

“If we start to understand the origin of this phenomenon, this could be a great step forward in the field of neural prediction of population behaviour, and possibly be applicable to other areas, such as health and financial decisions,” says Bode.

Taking other parts of the brain into account may further boost brain scans’ predictive power. When Knutson’s team trained the algorithm on whole-brain neural activity, they were able to predict Kickstarter outcomes with 67 per cent accuracy.

Knutson says such neuroforecasting could be used to improve voting polls, or in situations where sample groups aren’t representative, or when it is not clear who a target audience is. “There are areas in which taking a representative sample doesn’t always predict the outcome well – voting is a great example. Perhaps neural activity could help.”

Credit - https://www.newscientist.com/article/2144723-scanning-your-brain-can-predict-what-will-happen-in-the-future/