8 Health Tips to Get in Shape For the New Year For a New You!

8 Health Tips to Get in Shape For the New Year For a New You!

With the new year approaching, the first resolution most people think about going for is a gym membership. Year after year the same thing happens. They really want to get into shape, and they know for sure that this year will be different. They sign up for a year membership and start their new goal with clear focus and determination.

Most people never make it past the first week. Why? Mostly because they quit when they realize how much work goes into getting back into the shape they once had. The fact of the matter is that it really is not as difficult as they think. They are just focusing on one aspect of overall wellness and burning themselves out on it.

In order to lose weight and keep it off for good, a person must develop the mindset necessary for living a healthy lifestyle. There is much more to being healthy than showing up to the gym every day. In fact, exercise is only one-eighth of the total equation. If you really want to achieve personal wellness, forget the gym and focus instead on improving the following 8 categories of health.

Diet & Nutrition

Health Tips #1: Diet & Nutrition

You already know the main reason you gained weight. Too many trips through the McDonalds drive-thru, late night snacking on junk food and poor dinner choices. You do not have to eat a diet of bland salads and yogurt, but you do need to limit the amount of trigger foods that you caused your weight gain. Replace your current American diet of high sugar, high-fat processed foods with those found in the produce and lean meat department as often as you can.

Nutritional Supplements

Health Tips #2: Nutritional Supplements

Now that our soils are more depleted of minerals than ever, and our farm animals are not fed properly, living a healthy lifestyle requires nutritional supplementation. I lost 70 pounds in 4 months and kept it off for over 15 years simply by drinking a soy-based protein shake for breakfast every morning and taking a few targeted vitamins. Why does this work? Because greasy bacon and runny eggs do not provide proper nutrition.

Fun & Recreation

Health Tips #3: Fun & Recreation

What makes you happy? Going to the movies? Ice Skating? Playing the guitar? Whatever it is, you must find time for it on a weekly basis (if not daily) in order to maintain good mental stability. Your activities and hobbies should not include junk food or alcohol. Going to the movies is watching the movie, not eating a tub of fatty buttered popcorn. Be happy with what you are doing without the unnecessary evils.

Hydration

Health Tips #4: Hydration

Drinking enough water throughout the day is the part of the equation that gets overlooked. People do not consider drinking as important as eating and it is! You should not be drinking soda or processed juices every day. Why? Because they deplete your body of vitamins and minerals while loading you up on sugar. Alcohol is even worse. Do yourself a favor and keep a water bottle with you at all times. Drink, drink, drink. I cannot stress this enough.

Stress

Health Tips #5: Stress

And speaking of stress, this is what happens when you do not allow yourself to have any fun in your life. This is just as important to living a healthy lifestyle as eating and drinking properly. Too much stress can cause major problems for your body. You only live once, so do not allow other people and events to get you so bothered and worried that you cannot live the lifestyle you deserve for yourself.

Unhealthy Habits

Health Tips #6: Unhealthy Habits

Not eating the wrong foods is just as important as eating the right foods. But unhealthy habits are not just about food, are they? Smoking and the use of other drugs, prescription or not, is probably the worst thing a person can do to their body. This is the only one you have! Take care of it. Alcohol is OK on occasion but not recommended on a daily basis to anyone interested in living a healthy lifestyle.

Weight Management

Health Tips #7: Weight Management

Have you ever noticed that weight loss really is not the issue that people struggle with? Most everyone has lost weight at one point in their life. Keeping that weight off is the obstacle that most people can not overcome. Think about it logically. If you gained weight by eating twinkies, then lost weight when you stopped eating twinkies, do not go back to eating twinkies. The person who eats twinkies on occasion (not every day) does not struggle with weight fluctuation.

Health Tips #8: Exercise

You knew this one was coming! It is totally possible to lose weight without exercising. I am living proof because my severe asthma prohibited me from doing it. The reason I can exercise now is because I got my body healthy through focusing on the other 7 categories. Once I began exercising, it only accelerated my weight loss and now helps to keep me lean. The key to exercise is not quantity but quality. A little bit every day will give you the best health benefits overall.

So there you have it! The 8 health tips to kick off the new year for a new you. Focus on improving each of these simultaneously as your one and only New Years Resolution and you will be on a successful path to overall wellness. Weight loss and poor health can be things of the past if you are just willing to make small changes on a daily basis.

coconut

How Healthy Is Coconut Oil

If you are not from a tropical country where coconut milk and oil is used for many purposes then you are curious to know what the benefits of coconut oil are.

Alright before I begin explaining the benefits of coconut oil, let me inform you that when you are looking to buy coconut oil don not be surprised to see a solid form of the oil because coconut oil at room temperature becomes solid and when the temperature goes  above 80 oF then it becomes liquid. coconut oil is unlike any other oil, so do not get worried and think coconut oil is good only if it is in liquid form.

Coconut oil gives the skin the moisture
Coconut oil gives the skin the moisture

Coconut oil for the skin is great as it gives the skin the moisture it needs and it also fights of the free radicals that destroy connective tissues that our skins are made up of. When these connective tissues become weak due to the attack from these free radicals they lose their elasticity and that’s when we notice our skin beginning to wrinkle.

Many people prefer using lotions with coconut oil in it but the thing with lotions is that they have a higher content of water than coconut oil, so in the beginning of application the skin feels good but in the due course when the lotion is completely absorbed by the skin and the water dries up the skin gets back to its normal wrinkly form.

Like coconut oil is good for the skin so is coconut water good for the body’s metabolism. Drinking a lot of coconut water will help in digestion and keep you hydrated.

Coconut oil is good for the skin
Coconut oil is good for the skin

Furthermore, coconut oil also seems to help people with thyroid, heart, diabetes and blood sugar problems. It is found that coconut oil actually reduces the absorption of sugars in our blood stream and also helps the pancreas in secreting the right amount of insulin.

It is a misconception that coconut oil will clog the arteries and interfere with blood circulation but in fact the opposite is true; it improves the circulation of blood. People with diabetes particularly complain about losing feeling in their feet and hands but after they consume coconut oil they do see significant changes and begin to feel with their feet and hands once again.

1. What is virgin coconut oil?

Virgin coconut oil is defined as “oil obtained from the fresh mature kernel of the coconut, by mechanical or natural means, with or without the use of heat, without undergoing chemical refining, bleaching or deodorizing, and which does not lead to the alteration of the oil”.

It is called “virgin” due to its pure, raw, pristine and unadulterated state.

2. What will virgin coconut oil do for me?

This is actually quite a hard question to answer on the website, simply because we are not allowed to make claims about the benefits of VCO, regardless of whether they are true or not.

The UK Food Labelling Regulation 40(1), Schedule 6, Part I (1) & (2) states; ” A claim that a food has the property of preventing, treating or curing a human disease, or any reference to such a property, is prohibited”. This claim is unacceptable……..WHETHER IT IS TRUE OR NOT.

So what can we do? We can really only ask you to do a little research yourselves, apparently we are not even allowed to use quotes from books.

Let us just state a few facts that should not be breaking any laws.

Virgin coconut oil does not contain any trans fatty acids and does not break down at high temperatures.

Virgin coconut oil is known as a lauric oil, due to its high quantities of lauric acid. When synthesized in the body, lauric becomes monolaurin, which is found in abundance in mother’s milk.

Millions of people around the world use coconut oil as a conditioner for their hair, invariably in countries where people have the most beautiful, strong and silky hair.

Virgin coconut oil does not contain any cholesterol.

I am really sorry for the lack of information in this section, but laws are laws, and we have to abide by them.

Coconut
Coconuts

3. How do I know if your virgin coconut oil is organic?

The simple answer is, you don’t. The same as you don’t know about any other product either. Companies that are certified organic can change their GMP the day after they get the certification, or change the supplier of their ingredients. I am afraid you have to take our word for it.

Let me explain that over 80% of the coconuts grown in The Philippines are grown organically. The farmers can’t afford fertilizers and pesticides, even if they were needed, which they are not.

The reason small companies in poor countries are not certified organic, is purely down to money…..Isn’t that always the case……Big companies can afford to buy organic certification, small companies in poor countries can’t. For us to get certification from US, European, or Australian organic certifiers, would cost well in excess of $5000. We would have to pay for them to send a representative to the Philippines. (Other countries do not accept organic certification by organic certifiers based in The Philippines, so there is absolutely no point in taking the cheap option.)

The big factory producers can afford to pay for any certification they want. Our oil is far superior to theirs, purer, more natural, produced using better coconuts, but they buy the organic certification which we can’t afford……..Even though, we, like the vast majority of VCO producers in the Philippines, use organic coconuts.

4. Is your oil 100% pure?

It is honestly the most natural oil you can find. It is cold-processed, ( ANH Absolutely No Heat ), filtered by hand up to 8 times, using 8 and 5 microns filter paper. We are happy to show analysis reports, to prove how good this oil is. (It is definitely NOT refined, bleached and deodorized oil, passed off as VCO).

5. What does ANH stand for?

Having read the previous question, you now know the answer to this one, however, it deserves explanation.

Most people recognize that cold-processed VCO is the best, most natural and most potent VCO. As producers who use the cold-process method of production, we are extremely proud of the final product. We are delighted to inform customers that it is cold-processed oil, hoping they will know that it is by far the finest VCO available.

Unfortunately, other companies are quite happy to confuse the public, by labelling their oil “cold-pressed”…..and believe me it works…….Cold-processed, cold-pressed, you go to any of the forums on coconut oil and people genuinely do not know the difference. Let me just tell you that cold-pressed oil is invariably heated after the pressing, of course the companies will not tell you that.

So the producers who do not heat their oil had to come up with something to counter the confusion, and ANH is the outcome. Absolutely No Heat is used during production of our oil, so that is what we put on the label, and that is how the finest virgin coconut oil will become known………..ANH.

Should you use Wikipedia for medical information?

No, pal. Let me explain:
even though Wikipedia is one of the Webs most popular reference sites,
it is not a credible resource because anyone is allowed to be a contributor to
the project.

Wikipedia Academic has posted an article explaining everething here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Academic_use

Below is the article:

Wikipedia is increasingly used by people in the academic
community, from first-year students to professors, as the easiest source of
information about anything and everything. However, citation of Wikipedia in
research papers may not be considered acceptable, because Wikipedia is not a
creditable source.

This can be avoided by following two simple rules:

  • Do your research assignment properly. Remember that any
    encyclopedia is a starting point for research, not an ending point.
  • An encyclopedia is great for getting a general understanding of a
    subject before you dive into it. But then you do have to dive into your subject,
    using books and articles and other appropriate sources. What you find in your
    other sources will be more detailed, more precise, and more carefully reasoned
    than the summary you found in an encyclopedia. The sources you cite in your
    paper will be the more detailed sources you have used. All you need to do with
    Wikipedia, then, is thank it in your heart.

An encyclopedia is great for checking little details.
Little details may be:

  • General knowledge that you have forgotten, like the starting date
    of the

    First World War
    or the boiling point of

mercury. In that case, you should recognize the information once you find
it, and know it’s right. Citation is not needed for things that are general
knowledge.

  • A somewhat obscure point, like the population of

    Ghana
    . If this matters for your assignment, you should verify the
    information using a tried and tested source, such as the

    CIA World Factbook
    .
  • A very obscure point, such as the names of the founders of the

Social Democrat Hunchakian Party. This may be almost impossible to find
anywhere other than Wikipedia, unless you read

Armenian
, which you probably don’t, or are prepared to spend an hour in the
library, which you probably don’t want to. In this case, you should rely on–and
cite–Wikipedia.

Use your judgment. Remember that all sources have to be

evaluated
.

  • If your professor has assigned you an article or a chapter, that
    means your professor thinks it is basically OK. Do you trust your professor?
    That’s usually enough.
  • If a book is in your university library or published by a
    reputable

    university press
    , or if an article is in a standard

    academic journal
    , that means that several professors at some point thought
    it was basically OK. But time may have passed, and the book or article may now
    be out of date.
  • If your source is a website, it may be great or it may be awful.
  • A Wikipedia article may be as good as (or better than!) an article
    assigned to you by your professor, or it may contain inaccurate information and
    eccentric judgments. It is unlikely to be as bad as the worst sort of website.
    You have to judge.

Progressively Wikipedia data will be referenced with scholarly references. Ideally when you see a reality in Wikipedia you will have the option to rapidly confirm it with an on the web, scholarly source, which you can refer to rather than Wikipedia.

5 Iconic Holiday Cookies Made Healthier

You may be asking who in their right mind would want to make a cookie healthier? True; it’s a treat, a splurge, an immutable indulgence. However, healthier doesn’t necessarily mean lower in fat or calories or less delicious. It means using wholesome, natural, unrefined foods to create natural treats that work for multiple dietary styles. We’re going to be ditching the refined sweeteners, artificial food colorings, and traditional flours in this list! Whether you enjoy wheat and dairy, avoid grains, or practice veganism, there is a cookie for just about everyone! Santa is going to be very pleased…

Gingerbread people illustration for the recipe

1. Gingerbread people.

Is it possible to be too festive? Absolutely not. Not only is this a grain-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free recipe for gingerbread men/houses, but the woman behind the recipe at Fed and Fit has also included a recipe for all-natural, fruit- based gumdrops! Talk about the perfect balance between healthy and festive! This gingerbread recipe uses almond meal as a base, so it’s great for those avoiding grains. Quality gelatin can be really beneficial to your joints, so don’t be afraid of giving it a try!

Paleo Gingerbread Cookies:

  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup blackstrap molasses, warmed slightly
  • 2 Tbs maple syrup
  • 2 Tbs extra virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup arrowroot flour {for rolling out dough}

Gluten-Free All-Natural Royal Icing:

  • 6 Tbs cage-free egg whites
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cups sifted powdered sugar

Paleo Gingerbread Cookies Instructions:

1. Whisk all dry ingredients together and in a separate bowl, whisk all the wet. Add the wet to the dry and stir until evenly combined. Wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper and set in refrigerator to cool and harden for either 4 hours or overnight.

2. On a large piece of parchment paper well dusted with arrowroot flour, start rolling out the dough until it’s ¼” thick. Carefully place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Resize with stencils on baking sheet if necessary.

3. Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes. Let cool completely on baking sheet before moving. When cooled, transfer to a wire baking rack to cool and firm overnight.

Gluten-Free All-Natural Royal Icing:

1. On high speed, whisk the egg whites and lemon juice together until they form a thick foam. On low speed, carefully add spoonfuls of the 3 cups of powdered sugar until all is combined. Turn speed up to high and whisk for 6 minutes.

2. Transfer to piping bag, color in bowls, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days

2. Molasses cookies.

As the only wheat-containing recipe in this list, it is by no means less healthy — unless you cannot eat wheat, of course. With organic whole-wheat pastry flour, grass-fed butter, raw honey, and pastured eggs, there is nothing to feel guilty about when enjoying this subtly sweet, earthy cookie.

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour, measure after sifting
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups butter, at room temperature, (2 1/2 sticks)
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses


Preparation:
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat sheets.
Combine the first 6 ingredients, mixing to thorouthly blend.
Add the remaining ingredients; beat with electric mixer for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times.
Wrap the dough in waxed paper and chill for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350° with the rack in the center position.
Roll the chilled dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake until the tops are set, 12 to 15 minutes.
Cool on wire racks.

Coconut snowballs illustration for the recipe

3. Coconut snowballs

Vegan and easily adjusted to be 100% raw, these cookies can be enjoyed by most. No nuts, wheat, eggs, dairy, or refined sugar in these balls of delight. It just goes to show that tasty bites of holiday joy come in all flavors and dietary styles!

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened 1/2 cup powdered sugar 1 teaspoon pure coconut extract or vanilla extract 1 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut Parchment paper 4 ounces white chocolate, chopped and melted according to package directions Garnish: shaved coconut

4. Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Ingredients

Makes 12 cookies

200 g (2 cups /7 oz) organic rolled oats
50 g (1 ¾ oz) flaked or desiccated coconut
60 g (2 oz) macadamia nut oil or your choice cold pressed coconut oil or melted butter
60 g (2 oz) raw honey, organic maple syrup or rice syrup
1 organic egg
100 g (3 ½ oz) block good quality 70% dark chocolate (see notes)

Preheat your oven to 150°C / 300*F.
Combine oats, coconut, oil or melted butter, honey and egg into a mixing bowl.
Mix through with your hands for a few minutes – squishing the ingredients together until the cookie starts to come together.
I often like to rest the mixture for 5 minutes after mixing – so the oats soften a little more and hold together when squished.
Chop up the chocolate with a large knife.
Add chocolate to the oats and mix through.
Form into 12 cookies… I love using a small ice cream scoop for this – so easy that way.
Place onto a lined baking tray and flatten slightly.
Bake for approx 20 minutes or until golden. Check half way through the cooking… they are delicate so you need to watch them.
Remove from the oven and cool completely. Enjoy.

5. Sugar-Free Chocolate

Ingredients

Serves 20 small portions
120g (4 oz/1/2 cup) cacao butter or cold-pressed coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons rice malt syrup or alternatively raw honey or maple syrup. (optional)
110 g (4 oz / 1/2 cup) almond butter, peanut butter, hazelnut butter, cashew butter or tahini
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
120 g (4 oz / 1 cup) Naked Chocolate (for this recipe I used Healthy Chef Naked Chocolat Mylk)

Melt cacao butter or coconut oil in a large bowl set over a pot of simmering water.
Remove the bowl from the heat and add Naked Chocolate and mix through using a small whisk until smooth.
Add nut butter and a pinch of sea salt then mix through. Taste your chocolate creation….you may find you don’t need to add any sweetener whatsoever. If you do, just add 1 tablespoon at a time.
Pour chocolate into a small glass container lined with non-stick baking paper or cling film.
Refrigerate for 4 hours or until set.
Cut into bite-size pieces and enjoy.
Store in the fridge, covered for up to 4 weeks.

Know The Best Way To Quit Smoking

You can quit smoking infinitely if you put your trust in God to help you be successful. Most people try to quit smoking through other means like pills, hypnosis, patch, or psychiatry without much success. These people do not recognize that the best way to quit smoking is through faith in the Lord. Through trusting God, you can break this habit for good and at no cost to you.
Consider how many people you have met who have quit smoking, and the different techniques that they used. How long did they stay non-smokers? Which techniques brought back the highest success rate of permanent non-smokers?
Amazingly, you will find that people who trust in God stay non-smokers forever. The people who used pills, hypnosis, patch, or some other means eventually went back to smoking after a while.
Why is it that people who use the power of the Lord are more successful in kicking this nasty habit? Is it because they have more will power than those who use other techniques? I think not. Most likely, it is because faith is a powerful tool. Through faith, people are able to do amazing things.
So, how do you use faith in God to help you quit smoking? The first thing you need to do is pray. Pray to God and ask for his help. Give your addiction completely over to God and know he will help you every step of the way. Have complete faith that God helps those who turn to him in their time of need.
Next, do not give up. Do not doubt that God will help you. No matter what obstacles are thrown your way, hold onto your faith. Keep praying to God and asking for his help. By not giving up, you are showing God that you trust him completely.
When you are no longer a smoker, you need to do is become a witness for God. Spread the news on how you used the power of faith alone to stop this addition. Tell people how it is the best way to quit smoking.

If your want to learn more about side effects of quitting smoking, visit tips to stop smoking.

Health Savings Account Change In 2018 Could Trip Up Some Consumers

Health Savings Account - image illustrate coins in a glass

Members of Congress have said they want to loosen rules for health savings accounts. Did they do it in the latest spending bill? Do people who were uncovered for one month in 2017 owe a tax penalty? And how can immigrants who move to the U.S. to retire get insurance? These are the questions I’m tackling for readers this week:

I heard that health savings account rules would be loosened under the new spending bill passed by Congress last month. Did that happen?

No. In fact, the standards have become slightly tighter this year.

In recent years, members of Congress from both parties have supported expanding eligibility for health savings accounts and also expanding the list of ways that money can be spent. To date, though, those proposals, as well as other changes regarding the accounts, haven’t become law.

Health savings accounts, which are linked to high-deductible health plans, continue to multiply. In 2017, there were 22 million accounts totaling more than $45 billion in assets, an increase of 11 percent in the number of accounts over the previous year, according to Devenir, a firm that offers advice on HSA investments.

Consumer News

Money deposited in HSAs is tax-deductible, grows tax-free and can be used without owing tax to pay for medical expenses. Advocates promote the plans as a way to help consumers play a larger role in controlling their health spending, and say that the tax advantages help people afford care.

The Internal Revenue Service announced last month that the maximum amount individuals with family coverage could contribute to their health savings accounts would actually be reduced slightly from their previously announced limit for 2018. The maximum contribution for people with individual coverage in 2018 remains $3,450.

The family coverage contribution reduction of $50 — from $6,900 to $6,850 – isn’t much of a change. It happened because the federal government altered the way it calculates inflation adjustments to the contribution limits.

But ignoring the new limit could create headaches for people who have already made the maximum HSA contribution for the year based on the $6,900 figure, says Roy Ramthun, president of HSA Consulting Services. If you don’t ask the bank that handles your HSA to return the $50 plus any earnings that have accrued before the next tax season, your taxable income will be off by that amount, plus you’ll be on the hook for a 6 percent penalty for exceeding the maximum contribution allowed.

That’s not going to amount to a lot of money, but there’s more than financial pain to consider, Ramthun says. “Do you really want to give the IRS a reason to come find you?”

I didn’t have health insurance for one month last year, in January 2017. Do I owe a penalty for not having health insurance when I file my taxes this spring?

If you were uninsured for only one month in 2017, you won’t owe a penalty. People can be uninsured for up to three consecutive months during the year without triggering a tax penalty for not having coverage, says Tara Straw, a senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

This year, for the first time, the Internal Revenue Service won’t accept electronically filed tax returns unless filers report whether they had health insurance all year, were exempt from the requirement or will pay a penalty for not having had coverage. Any tax refund, too, may be delayed if it is tied to a paper return that doesn’t have this information, according to the IRS.

In your case, you’ll file federal form 8965 with your tax return to report a short-term insurance coverage gap and claim an exemption from the coverage requirement. Your employer — or your insurer, if you purchased coverage on your own — will send a form to the IRS stating that you were covered for the other 11 months, Straw says.

Those penalties — $695 or 2.5 percent of your household income, whichever is greater — are also in force for 2018 coverage. But starting next year, you won’t owe a penalty no matter how long you may be uninsured. The tax reform law eliminated the penalty for not having health insurance in 2019.

What health insurance options are available for my parents, who are seniors who worked in India and are now retired in the United States with green cards?

Depending on their situation, people like your parents who are legally entitled to reside permanently in the United States have a number of options.

From your description, it’s unclear whether they live on their own or with you. If you claim them as dependents on your taxes, you might consider adding them to your own health insurance plan, says Shelby Gonzales, a senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Assuming your parents haven’t worked for at least 10 years in the United States, they’re probably not eligible for premium-free hospitalization coverage under Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people age 65 and older, Gonzales says. If they’ve lived in the States for at least five years and their income and other resources meet state eligibility guidelines, however, they could qualify for Medicaid, the federal-state program for low-income people.

If they don’t qualify for either government health program, they could consider buying a health insurance plan on the state marketplace or through a broker.

If they buy a marketplace plan, they could be eligible for premium subsidies if their income is less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level (about $66,000 for a couple in 2018), says Gabrielle Lessard, a senior policy attorney at the National Immigration Law Center.

US Tells Ankara Iran-Sanctions-Case Suspect In ‘Good Health’

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag says Washington has told Ankara that jailed Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab — a gold trader who is awaiting trial in the United States on charges of evading U.S. sanctions against Iran — is in good medical condition.

Bozdag made the remarks on November 16, a day after Turkey announced it had sent a diplomatic note to U.S. authorities inquiring about Zarrab.

Photo by Faruk Melik ÇEVİK

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons website last week listed Zarrab, 34, as having been released from prison on November 8. But U.S. prosecutors said that posting was an error and he remained in jail.

Turkish leaders have pressed repeatedly for the release of Zarrab, who has close ties to the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan and other Turkish leaders have raised the issue directly with the White House.

Media reports last week said U.S. special prosecutor Robert Mueller is investigating whether Turkish officials discussed paying former national security adviser Michael Flynn $15 million to secure Zarrab’s release and to allow the deportation of Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric residing in the United States who Erdogan accuses of engineering Turkey’s failed July 2016 coup.

Zarrab, taken into U.S. custody in March 2016, has hired former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani to negotiate with U.S. authorities to try to obtain his release through political and diplomatic channels.

A spokesman for acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim in Manhattan confirmed on November 14 that Zarrab remained in federal custody in the United States.

“The information that Zarrab was released is not factual,” Zarrab’s lawyer Seyda Yildirim told Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper on November 15.

“He might have been moved to a different section. We haven’t been informed in five days,” Yildirim said.

Hurriyet quoted a diplomatic source as saying that Turkey, in its formal diplomatic note, had asked U.S. authorities to make clear where Zarrab was being held and to give assurances about his health and security.

Zarrab has pleaded not guilty to the Iran sanctions evasion charges against him and a co-defendant, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, an executive at the Turkish lender Halkbank. Their trial is due start in New York on November 27.

Erdogan has accused U.S. prosecutors of having “ulterior motives” in the case by including references to him and his wife in court papers.

Zarrab, a wealthy businessman who is married to a well-known Turkish pop singer, was linked to a corruption scandal that swirled around Erdogan and his deputies when Erdogan was Turkish prime minister in 2013.

Zarrab spent 70 days in custody in Turkey at the time, but all suspects arrested in the judicial probe were subsequently released. Erdogan at the time denounced the allegations as a plot by Gulen to bring down his government.

With reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters
healthtipsarticles cat photo

International Cat Day 2016: 4 Health Benefits And Risks Of Having A Feline Friend

On International Cat Day, we take time to appreciate our favorite furry friends. But while we known that cats are guaranteed to warm our heart and soul with their antics, there are actually several health benefits (and a few health risks) to having a feline pet.

Heart Health. Hands holding red heart

Heart Health

Petting your cat isn’t just relaxing for the pet, it can also be beneficial to the owner. Petting a cat can cause a drop in blood pressure due to release of oxytocin, a hormone linked to emotional bonding. This is the same hormone that gets released when we hug another person or when a mother breastfeeds her baby. This reduction in blood pressure and stress may have long-term benefits. One study from the University of Minnesota’s Stroke Research Center found that, over a 10 year follow-up period, cat owners showed a 30 per cent lower risk of death from heart attack compared to non-cat owners.

Companionship. A lovely woman holds an awesome man

Companionship

Having a cat could help alleviate your mood.  A 1980 study on one-year survival of patients after discharge from a coronary care unit found that patients who were discharged and who had pets at home had a better survival rate for the next year compared to those who didn’t. In addition, according to a survey of Elderly Pet Owners Regarding the Benefits of their Pets, 82 percent of respondents said owning a pet made them feel better when they were sad, 65 percent said simply petting their pet made them feel better, and 57 percent said they told their fears and worries to their pets. Cats especially can provide emotional support and companionship to their owners, and Health Fitness Revolution reported the companionship of felines is often preferred due to their sensitivity and intelligence.

Therapy Pets

Autistic children may especially benefit from having a pet cat. A 2012 study found that children with autism who had a pet after the age of 5 were more likely to be better at offering to share and offering comfort to others when compared to similarly impaired children. Cats specifically are becoming a more popular therapy-pet for ASD children because many children feel they can relate more to the feline’s reserved and pensive characteristics.

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Allergy Reduction

What’s more, having a cat in the household may also help to reduce children’s risk of  serious health problems later on. A 2012 Finnish study which followed 397 kids from childbirth to age one found that animal contact at an early age leads to a stronger immune system that combats infectious respiratory illness and lowers the risk for allergies later on in life.

Still, Be Careful

Of course, there are a few health risks to owning a cat, as with any pet. For example, the parasite Toxoplasma gondii is found in abundance in cat feces and when accidentally ingested by humans can cause toxoplasmosis, a serious medical condition. Severe toxoplasmosis may cause damage to the brain, eyes, or other organs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. However, severe cases are more likely in individuals who have weak immune systems, though occasionally, even persons with healthy immune systems may experience eye damage from toxoplasmosis. In addition, a cat’s mouth is also filled with dangerous bacteria and can cause serious infections in humans if they accidentally lick an open wound.

This International Cat Day, take time appreciate just how much of a positive affect your furry friend may have had on your health, and make sure to steer clear of their litter box and sand-paper tongue.