Life Coach Mara

Mara is a life coach and soon, she will be a psychotherapist. She has been involved in several wellness projects and is now here for you. She will give you hints on how to reach that healthy lifestyle you always wanted. Ask Mara a question and she might just answer in one of her articles. To contact Mara, e-mail her at

Chocolate Great At Reducing Stroke Risk

Your man doesn’t have a sweet tooth for chocolate? Well a study says that chocolate is great at reducing stroke risk in men. Maybe that would be enough to convince him it’s OK to try some of your Valentine’s Day chocolates.

A study by researchers at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm found that men who eat European chocolate present a reduced stroke risk. Just one bar of chocolate a week can do wonders for a man, as it is reducing stroke risk by one sixth.

For a period of 10 years, researchers at the Karolinska Institute studied the effects of eating chocolate on more than 37,000 men aged 45 to 79. The results were surprisingly specific: men who eat chocolate have a reduced risk of stroke. Men who ate the largest amount of chocolate (one-third of a cup per week) presented a 17 percent reduced risk of stroke.

“While other studies have looked at how chocolate may help cardiovascular health, this is the first of its kind to find that chocolate may be beneficial in reducing stroke in men” reads the study published in journal Neurology this Wednesday.

The study also comes to reinforce previous results showing that there is really a connection between chocolate intake and reducing the risk of cardiovascular episodes. And the best part is that while previous studies confirmed chocolate was great at reducing stroke risk in women, it does just as great in reducing men’s risk of stroke.

And another good thing: the chocolate that can reduce the risk of stroke doesn’t necessarily have to be of the dark kind. Researchers say that 90 percent of the chocolate used in the study was milk chocolate. Since men don’t necessarily look into their health eating habits until older age when doctors force a diet, this might be a chance to keep your man healthy and happy.

But not all experts think eating milk chocolate would actually count in reducing the stroke risk. Dr. Roger A. Brumback, not involved with the study but a professor of pathology, neurology and psychiatry at Creighton University Medical Center, warns that milk chocolate isn’t as beneficial as the dark kind.

“The major advantage of dark chocolate over milk chocolate is that the flavonoids are not diluted by the addition of milk” said Dr. Brumback. So to get the same flavonoids intake means to eat a lot more milk chocolate, while also eating more sugar.

Prostate Cancer Patients May Ease Side Effects With Breast Cancer Drug

New studies revealed that prostate cancer patients may ease side effects by using the breast cancer drug called tamoxifen. Based on the four studies performed on various male patients tamoxifen can help reduce growth of breast tissue or breast pain, according to Live Science.

Scientists have good news for prostate cancer patients suffering from various side effects. According to their recent studies, the breast-cancer drug called tamoxifen could be used to prevent growth of breast tissue or breast pain during treatment. These side effects usually occur because men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer receive estrogen, and this, in turn, leads to breast swelling.

The announcement was made after scientists performed various tests on prostate cancer patients. The data they have gathered during the four researches enabled them to distinguish that males who take tamoxifen are less likely to experience side effects in comparison with those who don’t.

The tests were carried out on a longer period of time. Patients who received tamoxifen over a period of six months reported that their breasts were 10 percent smaller than they used to be before they started taking the drug. In addition, the breast tissue was 6 percent less painful at the end of the testing period.

Prostate cancer patients usually receive a drug called anastrozole to counteract the side effects of the estrogen, but tamoxifen is much more effective, according to the studies. Overall, the breast-cancer drug is 20 percent better than the other medicines that have been used so far. Thanks to tamoxifen, doctors may be able to prevent prostate cancer patients from giving up their estrogen treatment as many of them had problems dealing with breast swelling and pain.

Dr. Freya Schnabel, professor and breast surgeon at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, told the press that the recent findings are very logical. She explained that tamoxifen is an anti-estrogen therapy; therefore, it could be effective on prostate cancer patients, as well. However, she thinks further studies should be performed for a better understanding of the process.

Middle Age And Fitness Great At Preventing Chronic Diseases

Want to make sure your 50s won’t end in constant hospital visits and all sorts of treatments? Study says middle age and fitness go along just great for preventing development of chronic diseases. In other words, if you’re 50, fitness should be on your to do list.

It’s obviously not a secret anymore: if you are physically fit in middle age you will reduce your risks of developing some challenging and bothersome diseases later on. Keeping your body fit means it’s less likely you will suffer a chronic disease such as diabetes and even cardiovascular episodes. So middle age people should know the secret to reducing health risks later on is fitness.

A new research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine confirms the connection between fitness and the prevention of chronic diseases. “It has been known for decades that if you are more fit, you live longer” said Dr. Jarett Berry, study author. “But it has not been clear that you have a higher quality of life, that you age better” he added.

More than 18.600 healthy men and women took part in Dr. Berry’s research. Participants in the study were asked to pass a treadmill test around age 50 then researchers compared results with the rate of eight chronic diseases.

Men that scored the worst in their fitness test presented a risk of chronic disease of 28 percent a year. Participants with better fitness test results had only a 16 percent rate of chronic disease a year. For women, the rate was slightly smaller than men’s, with 20 percent and 11 percent per year.

“Not only do the people with higher fitness live a little bit longer, the onset of chronic disease occurs even later” said Dr. Berry “so that the amount of time you spend in your life with chronic diseases is compressed into a smaller period of time”.

Obviously fitness is not the only thing that could keep you at risk from chronic diseases after age 50. People that workout usually eat healthier, don’t smoke or drink alcohol and are keeping a close eye on their cholesterol levels.

Infected Tattoos Were Related To Tainted Ink

A thorough investigation revealed that infected tattoos could also be related to tainted ink. Authorities warn people that they could get contaminated with bacteria residing in the ink even if the salon offers the best sanitary conditions, says the Associated Press.

Tattoos have become as common as any other accessories and this has led to the appearance of new and dangerous skin infections. Many diseases, such as, staph infections and hepatitis have been related to inks, so tattoo artists were forced to make sure that their saloons observe all the sanitary conditions. However, the efforts that have been made until now are not enough, according to health officials. They have discovered that a new skin infection could be caused by a bacterium that resides in the ink.

Many tattoo lovers were confronted with skin issues after contacting an unidentified artist in New York City. The growing number of patients has determined authorities to start an investigation. At first, they thought the artist didn’t use sterilized instruments and disposable gloves, but after careful analysis, they discovered that the saloon was in conformity with all rules. Thus, they turned to the only element that was not subject to lab analyses, that is, the ink and they discovered that it was, indeed, contaminated.

Dr. Byron Kennedy, deputy director of the health department in New York’s Monroe County advised people to be very careful when getting a new tattoo because they run the risk of getting infected even if the facility does everything right. According to his recent research, there have been 22 confirmed cases and 30 suspected cases of skin infections in various states, such as, Colorado, Iowa, New York and Washington. The water that was used to dilute the ink was identified as the main source of contamination. As a consequence, health officials urge people to use only sterile water to dilute the ink.

Tap water may contain the bacterium called Mycobacterium chelonae, which is related to tuberculosis. People who have been contaminated with the disease experience itchy skin and painful pus-filled blisters that usually take several months to cure with harsh antibiotics.

Are Tumors In Dense Breasts Harder To Treat?

Scientists and patients have long looked to discover whether tumors in dense breasts are harder to treat than the rest. After careful analyses, doctors claim tumors in dense breasts are harder to spot in mammograms, but this doesn’t make them less likely to be treated, according to the Associated Press.

The results of the mammograms are often difficult to interpret if the patient has what doctors call “dense breast”, that is, breasts which are entirely made out of milk-producing and connective tissue instead of fat. Given these circumstances, incipient tumors may go unidentified and patients could live with the wrong impression that they are healthy. Health organizations urge institutions to tell patients if they have dense breasts, so they could perform more complex medical check-ups.

Since tumors in dense breasts are discovered much later than those in fatty tissues, scientists have jumped to the conclusion that dense breast tumors are harder to treat than the others. A recent study performed by the Cancer Institute on 9,000 patients proves that patients with dense breast tumors are not more likely to die than the other patients. Co-author Dr. Karla Kerlikowske of the University of California, San Francisco reassured everyone that tumors in dense breasts are actually very responsive to treatment even if they are discovered at a later state.

Further analyses reported that certain factors can lead to mortality in the case of women with less dense breasts. The patients’ condition can worsen if they also suffer from obesity or if their tumors are discovered when they are very big. Doctors were unable to find an explanation for this fact, but they have, nevertheless, speculated that hormones accompanying obesity could influence the evolution of the disease in a negative way.

Distinguishing between cancerous spots and dense tissue is difficult because they both appear as white on mammograms. New state laws could constrain doctors to inform their patients if they have dense tissue or not.

Britney Spears Channels Jean Harlow In New Photo Shoot

Britney Spears is preparing the launching of her Elizabeth Arden Fantasy Twist fragrance. According to Access Hollywood, the singer is channeling Jean Harlow’s look in her new photo shoot.

Britney Spears past years have been marked by various problems, but the singer is back on her feet again. After being selected as the new judge on “The X Factor”, Spears is launching her new fragrance called “Elizabeth Arden Fantasy Twist”. The ad features important feminine figures, such as, Cleopatra and Jean Harlow, so Britney underwent various transformations during the photo shoot.

On Friday evening she informed her Twitter followers that she was having a great time at the second day of her photo shoot. She also posted a picture of herself wearing a gold headpiece, heavy eye makeup and a tight fitting metallic dress. Britney further wrote that her fiancé, Jason Trawick, told her that her look reminded him of Jean Harlow.

Judging by the projects she has to take care of, Spears will be very busy this fall. The new season of “The X Factor” is set to premiere on September 12, whereas her new fragrance will be launched on September 1. In addition, Spears has to take care of her children and to make preparations for her wedding ceremony.

Despite this, the interpreter is not afraid that she cannot cope with her future duties. On the contrary, she already knows what the winner of “The X Factor” has to have in order to be a talented star: he/she will have to shine. Spears declared in June that she is looking for someone who was meant to be a star, that is, for a person who can spark and spunk on stage.

Britney is convinced that she will make a fair judge because she will use constructive criticism to teach young artists how to improve their performances. Spears started her career when she was young, so she knows that contestants need all the support they can get to overcome their emotions.

Could Brad Pitt And Angelina Jolie Get Married This Weekend?

Many suppositions have been made in relation to the date of their wedding ceremony since Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie first announced their engagement this year. This time, however, reporters have many reasons to believe that the couple could get married this weekend, according to Us Weekly.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have always been secretive about their relationship. In fact, they did their best to hide their engagement and if it hadn’t been for the sparkling diamond on Angelina’s finger, we wouldn’t have known that the two were planning to get married.

Even though the two actors reassured the press that they will keep them informed about their upcoming wedding, reporters think the famous couple is secretly planning to tie the knot this weekend in their French Chateau. The rumors were started by their neighbors who claim that Jolie and Pitt have been very busy preparing their home for a special event, lately. According to sources, the entire family has been very excited in the past weeks and there has been a continuous to-and-fro in their home.

In spite of the prying neighbors’ declarations, Angelina and her husband denied that they are getting married this weekend. They claim that the preparations have been made in order to celebrate Jane and Bill Pitt’s 50th wedding anniversary. Yet, the fact that Angelina Jolie’s private jeweler was also present at the preparations has caused even more confusion among reporters.

Unlike the actors, insiders have confirmed the news that Brangelina is getting married. They told the press that the ceremony will be very private because the couple invited only 20 friends and family members. George Clooney is expected to be present at the wedding, too, as he and Brad are close friends. Although he didn’t leave his home in Italy by now, Clooney could still make it to the big event as it takes only one hour to get to Marseille by plane.

Nivea Drops Rihanna As A Spokesperson

Us Weekly reports that Nivea has decided to drop Rihanna as a spokesperson after a 1-year collaboration. The company realized the Barbadian singer’s image has nothing in common with the message they are trying to convey, so the campaign will be stopped.

Nivea’s decision to drop Rihanna as a spokesperson came as a surprise because the two parties have been collaborating for at least one year. The news was even more discussed after Stefan Heidenreich, the head of Nivea’s parenting company, Beiersdorf, told the press that Rihanna’s “outrageous” image was the main reason behind their decision.

Some people were disturbed by the fact that the artist was judged according to her appearance and they labeled Heidenreich’s statement as discriminatory. What these people forget, however, is the fact that Rihanna was co-opted as a spokesperson for Nivea and she was supposed to increase sales with the help of her image. As a result, Nivea’s executives are entitled to choose another spokesperson if the people they are currently working with no longer represent them.

Choosing Rihanna to promote Nivea, a fervid supporter of natural beauty, was clearly a mistake because the artist’s style is far from natural. The 24-year-old singer doesn’t miss any opportunity to add a new ink to her body. Moreover, she is known for her frequent hair color changes, so I would have to agree with Heidenreich in saying that the “advert starring Rihanna was a no go”.

The images that were created for the campaign displayed a red-haired Rihanna posing seductively for the camera. Nivea’s reps stated at the time when the pictures were taken that they are excited to join forces with Rihanna for the promotion of their products. The goal of the campaign was to determine younger generations to become faithful consumers of Nivea, but according to executives, the objectives were not attained. Either way, the advert helped organize a perfect anniversary for the 100th celebration of the company.

Stevie Wonder Ends 11-Year Marriage

Us Weekly reports that Stevie Wonder has decided to put an end to his 11-year-old marriage with fashion designer, Kai Millard Morris. Things weren’t going very well between the two; in fact the couple has been separated since 2009 and now they decided to make the split official.

Music legend, Stevie Wonder will go through his second divorce this year as he decided to put an end to his marriage with fashion designer Kai Millard Morris. The papers he filed on Friday state that the couple lived separate lives since October 2011, but it was only on August 3, 2012 that they realized they should legally end the marriage.

The singer appeared to have found true love as the couple has been together for more than 11 years. They also have two children of 10 and, respectively, 7 years. Stevie wrote in the divorce papers that he will pay both spousal and child support after the divorce.

The real reason behind their decision to separate remains a mystery, but the 63-year-old singer cited irreconcilable differences in the divorce papers. The case will be dealt by one of the most famous divorce lawyers in Hollywood, namely, Laura Wasser. She has taken care of many celebrity divorces, her client list including big names, such as, Britney Spears, Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton. As a result, Stevie Wonder‘s case will be well taken care of.

This is the second marriage ending with a divorce for the singer. In 1970, he tied the knot with singer Syreeta Wright, but the relationship didn’t last more than two years. Wonder, whose real name is Stevland Hardaway Morris, was not very affected by the first separation. In fact, he was involved in many other relationships and had children with other female celebrities including Yolanda Simmons and Melody McCulley. The „Isn’t She Lovely” interpreter has seven children from all his relationships and marriages.

First American Woman In Space, Sally Ride, Passed Away

The first American woman to travel in space, Sally Ride, passed away on Monday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 61, according to a press release issued by the Sally Ride Science Website.

Sally Ride was a role model for many women who worked or would have liked to work in a science-related field. Unfortunately, she was declared dead on Monday after complications caused by pancreatic cancer. Even though she was only 61 years old when she passed away, Sally Ride lived her life to the fullest as she was the first American woman to travel in space.

The passing was announced by the members of the Sally Ride Science Website who issued a press release on Tuesday. They confirmed that the woman died peacefully on July 23. Her battle with pancreatic cancer lasted for more than 17 months, but her family and friends did their best to alleviate her pain. The statement wrote that Sally Ride was a powerful and intelligent woman with a fearless approach in life.

President Barack Obama wrote a statement in loving memory of the first American woman who travelled in space. He declared that both he and his wife, Michelle were saddened to hear about Sally Ride’s death because she was “a national hero and a powerful role model”. Many young women were inspired by Sally to follow their dreams and to dedicate their lives to science. In addition, she encouraged young talents by getting involved in many school projects.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden wanted to say a few words about Sally Ride, as well. He told the press that Sally changed “the face of America’s space programs”. Unlike the other astronauts, Sally Ride was full of grace and professionalism. She was chosen because she was the right person for what NASA needed back then. The Administration wanted to introduce the “mission specialist”, a highly-trained and educated astronaut with charming personality.

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