From low carb to DASH diet: these are the 5 most effective methods of losing weight

Bad mood, constant hunger and ultimately surrender to strict rules. Most diets fail and make you fat rather than slim in the long run. But there are some that are actually successful – and even suitable for everyday use.

Slimming diets can be a real mood killer, as a study by the Helmholtz Center in Munich showed. That being said, most diets are far from successful. Many people who had lost a lot of weight at the beginning put back as much weight after a year as they did before the start of the slimming diet, if not more (yo-yo effect). The cause is stress hormones, which the body can produce in excess due to the diet .

Counting calories creates stress and is the beginning of the end of many diets

However, there are also slimming programs that usually do not have any of these side effects, are practicable and enable a long-term normal weight, as an analysis of several studies at Harvard University showed.

The following five slimming programs are particularly recommended, all of which get by without the greatest stress factors – namely calorie counting and food cravings.

1. Mediterranean Diet – Mediterranean diet for gourmets

This is a change in diet that is best made for life. The simple rules: Lots of fresh fruit, salads and vegetables, fish, olive oil and nuts. A glass of red wine is also allowed. Sausage, red meat and high-fat dairy products, on the other hand, should rarely be on the menu.

Sweets also play a subordinate role in Mediterranean cuisine. Tiramisu, the most typical Italian dessert for many Germans , is only served on holidays in their home country – so it is rather the exception. In everyday life, an apple or pear with a few nuts rounds off the meal and also satisfies the hunger for sweets.

With the Mediterranean diet , you won’t lose two kilograms in the first week. However, four to eleven kilograms within the first year are quite possible, as the meta-analysis shows. This weight loss is permanent if this diet is followed.

2. Low carb has been shown to make you slim

No bread, no pasta, but more meat, vegetables, cheese, eggs. Low-carb is quite simple and successful, as the Harvard study also underscores. Four to ten kilograms can be lost in a few weeks. And if you then make sure to save carbohydrates in the future, you can keep your new dream weight.

The explanation: digestive enzymes break down carbohydrates into simple sugars (such as glucose, fructose and galactose). The blood sugar level rises and the body produces insulin in order to lower it again. However, this slows down fat burning. In addition, insulin triggers the “hunger” signal in the brain. Those who eat a diet rich in carbohydrates often eat more than they actually need. This is one of the reasons why carbohydrates promote obesity.

However, if carbohydrates are largely avoided, the body automatically burns more fat and thus also attacks fat deposits. With low-carb the body converts its metabolism to fat loss .

With carbohydrate blockers, low carb is easy

However, this only works if carbohydrates are actually largely cut. However, this is not that easy in everyday life. Because our typical side dishes are bread, rice and pasta. They provide large amounts of carbohydrates, as do alcohol and some fruits, such as bananas.

However, the metabolism of carbohydrates can be prevented with natural active ingredients such as beans or grape marc. So-called carbohydrate blockers, calorie blockers or carb blockers contain these active ingredients. They reduce or inhibit the activity of the enzymes that break down carbohydrates in the body. In this way, these nutrients leave the body unused, so they do not provide any energy, cannot be stored as fat pads and the body has to attack fat reserves.

3. Intermittent fasting – hardly eat anything for a day

The principle of intermittent fasting is regular, short-term avoidance of food, then feasting again as you please . Depending on whether the version 5: 2 or 8:16 is selected, you can eat normally on five days, fast on two days with only 500 (women) to 600 calories (men) – or eat normally for eight hours and then for 16 hours without solid food.

8:16 in particular now has many fans, because this variant allows an almost normal eating rhythm: early risers can have a hearty breakfast at eight o’clock and have their last meal of the day in the late afternoon. And if you can’t get out of bed in the morning anyway, you can start the day at eleven with an opulent breakfast and then have dinner at 7 p.m.

With this method too, excess weight can be quickly lost and the body quickly gets used to the fasting breaks in between. An additional advantage of this simple diet: the blood pressure has been shown to decrease and with it the risks for secondary diseases such as arteriosclerosis, heart attack and stroke.

4. Low Fat – it depends on the percentage of fat

Not eating fat at all is not advisable. Because the body needs certain amounts for many functions, such as digestion, healthy cells, the formation of hormones, as a carrier of fat-soluble vitamins and much more.

But too much fat makes you fat, that is undisputed. Because fat has the highest energy value of all nutrients: 9 kilocalories per gram, carbohydrates and protein on the other hand only 4 per gram.

The low-fat diet therefore relies on sensible fat reduction in food. The Low Fat 30 method is particularly successful . It means that a maximum of 30 percent of the total calories of the day can come from fat. As a rule, this is around 60 grams of fat with a daily amount of around 2000 kilocalories.

Of course, these should be healthy types of fat, i.e. unsaturated fatty acids, such as in olive oil, rapeseed oil, nuts, avocados and cold water fish. Saturated fatty acids such as in butter and cheese are unfavorable, especially trans fats. They arise when unsaturated fatty acids are strongly heated or hardened. Chips, fast food and sweets often contain trans fats and are therefore not useful for low fat.

5. DASH – a health program with a positive side effect

This type of diet was actually developed to treat high blood pressure. The acronym DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension . The initiators included scientists from Harvard University. In practice it turned out that this diet not only lowered blood pressure , but also reduced excess weight gently and permanently.

At DASH, the composition of the nutrients is as follows: A good 50 percent can be carbohydrates, just under 30 percent fat and 20 percent protein. The carbohydrates should come primarily from foods rich in fiber, i.e. whole grain products, vegetables and fruits. In addition, salt consumption should be reduced.

Diets must have a feel-good factor

So there are good diets after all – and they don’t have to be difficult to carry out. But regardless of whether you decide to reduce fat or go for low carb, supported by carbohydrate blockers: It is important that you feel comfortable and do not put yourself under pressure. So just try out which diet is easiest for you.

 

Instructions for first aid in the check: is it useful in an emergency?

Here, spontaneous answers on the subject of first aid are required. Do you know what to do in the following situations?

  • Your twelve year old daughter swallowed a piece of candy. It’s in the windpipe. The child gasps and cannot breathe?
  • You are at a family celebration. Suddenly your 70-year-old uncle takes hold of his heart next to you and slumps unconscious?
  • You are taking a walk on the beach with your partner. He steps on a rusty piece of a wire fence that gets stuck in the sole of his foot?

Just writing about such emergencies makes me a little nervous. Although I know the answers (you get them at the bottom), I have to force myself into consciousness, because there is only one thought at first: Oh God, oh God. I suspect you feel the same, even if you are reasonably good at first aid. So what can you do to get a better feeling?

This is a question a fellow journalist, Marcus von Jordan, asked himself a few years ago. He developed a solution that I thought was so interesting after hearing it for the first time that I took a closer look at it for healthandthecity.de.

“Little savior” for children, travel, traffic accident

It’s about the “little savior”. These are three pieces of advice on first aid: first aid for children, first aid when traveling, first aid in traffic accidents. It is a collection of cards on the relevant first aid topics – for children, including broken bones, electrical accidents, drowning, burns, fever. The cards are made of sturdy material and are stapled together at one corner. A tab system makes it possible to land in the right place with three simple steps: look for the correct number in the table of contents (at the very front), record the corresponding number on the tab (top) and fan it out.

In addition, every card collection has a lobster lanyard with a little angel – the little savior. The first aid guide can be hung up on it, for example in the kitchen. In an emergency, the handle also makes it easier to fumble the map book out of the glove compartment in the car or out of a pocket.

Here is an overview of my check:

Who is it? Marcus von Jordan is the editor-in-chief of the journalist platform torial . As he told me in an interview, he came up with the idea of ​​“little rescuer” when he was talking to the general practitioner Dr. Jessica Braun sat together, whom he knows privately. The doctor was annoyed that there were no easy-to-use instructions for first aid. They are too overloaded, peppered with foreign words: They are afraid of saving lives.

Together they developed “little savior”: Jessica Braun made sure the content was correct, Marcus Jordan made it easy to understand. A graphic artist converted the advice into easy-to-follow picture instructions. Since then, Jordan and Braun have been self-publishing the “small rescuers” as a GmbH.

This is what healthandthecity.de says about it: First aid is a topic that is sooo enormously important and receives too little attention. Many people only take one first aid course for their driver’s license in their lifetime. The result: In an emergency they are insecure and are afraid of harm if they provide assistance.

Anything that helps to encourage people to give first aid is therefore to be welcomed. A low-threshold offer all the more so. And these are the “little saviors” in any case. I also think they make more sense than first aid apps, which are abundant. Because in an emergency, I would have no concentration, no patience or fine motor skills to click through an app menu until I find the right instructions – no matter how well done the menu navigation is. I also see an advantage in the “little rescuers” over traditional medicine-for-home books that are in many households. Because even there you have to search and leaf through laboriously and often find incomprehensible stuff.

What can the card books do for first aid? The “First Aid for Children” has made it to the certification of the Foundation Health – is therefore checked for transparency, objectivity, comprehensibility and suitability for everyday use. The other two guides are on the same level in terms of content and appearance.

Of course, I checked the content of the booklet myself and didn’t find any errors. I think it’s nice that when it comes to resuscitation, they follow the new guidelines on resuscitation by laypeople and only encourage chest compressions instead of spending a long time on mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (which is correctly included).

In the “small rescuers” there is no space for background information – which I think is good – so here is a quick digression:

In the event of a cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating, so no blood and therefore no more oxygen is pumped through the body. If the brain does not get oxygen, one becomes unconscious for a few seconds. Often, however, there is still oxygen-rich blood in the arms and legs that can reach the brain by pressing. That is why pressing is so important. Of course, a trained first aider can and should continue to ventilate. This also improves the chances of survival. However, several studies have shown that the crucial step is to take action in the first place. By calling for ventilation, however, many shrank from even intervening in an emergency. Hence the simplification. More on this in this pdf of the German Heart Foundation .

Back to the “little rescuers”: The instructions are step by step, so that you can easily imitate them even in the excitement. The emergency number 112 is where it should be. The pictures are practical and personable. This helps to take away your shyness. Only in the instructions for resuscitation with chest compressions I miss the reference to the Bee Gees song “Stayin ‘Alive” . Its rhythm corresponds almost exactly to the required 100 pushers per minute that you should provide as a first aid worker. This knowledge in the back of the head would have made it even more practical and clear. Also, I personally find that singing helps a lot with stamina while pressing on the chest. It is extremely exhausting.

But the comment concerns a subtlety. All in all, you can work well with the “little rescuers  . Mainly because the handling described above is very practical and designed so that it has to be done quickly in an emergency.

What do the makers want to achieve?In an interview with me, Marcus von Jordan emphasized that he wanted to make the “little rescuers” want to deal with the topic of first aid in general – in the hope of lowering the inhibition threshold for helping. “With first aid, it is not primarily a question of know-how, but of attitude,” he says. It is important to feel responsible in an emergency, to show compassion, to trust yourself and to tackle. And every bit of information that you have already seen in advance is useful. Even if it is only vaguely in the back of the head, it promotes self-confidence. Jordan therefore hopes that buyers of these map collections will read them at least once without any need. The loose presentation should help. If you want, you can play through the cards like a quiz. According to the motto:

This is what healthandthecity.de says: Providing first aid is a human imperative . Doctors emphasize that you do not harm a sick or injured person even with incorrect intervention. Not doing anything increases the risk of people dying. Incidentally, in Germany you are obliged to provide assistance – and in return you are insured against your own damage and any damage you might cause.

The idea of ​​working through the “little rescuers  preventively therefore makes sense. Especially since I see limitations in acute use: The first aid booklet for travelers is a weight factor for backpackers. I wouldn’t want to carry it up a mountain. It wouldn’t have a permanent place in my beach bag either, but would remain in the hotel. The same applies to first aid for children and for road users. I see them in a fixed place in the kitchen or in the glove compartment. So you don’t have them with you everywhere.

However, how realistic is it to deal with first aid beforehand? I can not answer that. I can best imagine parents doing that. That’s why I also like the reference to the booklet: “The ‘little rescuer’ cannot replace the practical experience of a first aid course.” That’s true. Nothing is as safe as a practical exercise.

So on to the first aid course! These cards are used for security.

Where do you get the “little saviors  and what do they cost? Each card collection costs 12.95 euros. You can order it here: http://www.kleiner-retter.de . Or among other things via amazon and edumero.

Finally: What should you do in the 3 emergencies from the beginning?

  • Candy in the windpipe: Heimlich handle
  • Cardiovascular arrest: check, call, press. That means: addressing the person, they do not react, assuming unconsciousness. Call emergency number 112. Resuscitation ceaselessly until the ambulance arrives.
  • Foreign bodies in the wound: leave in, cover the wound, take the patient to the doctor quickly. Also: think about the tetanus vaccination (tetanus vaccination).

How Much Sugar is Healthy? How free sugar and drinks harm

How much sugar a day is acceptable if you want to keep fit and healthy? This is the question I am working on quite intensively for healthandthecity.de. Because I noticed a strange contradiction: when I read blogs or look around on Instagram and Pinterest, the world seems full of women who swear by low carb. Or they try to get along without sugar if possible. On the other hand, a new scientific publication presents about the gender-specific risk of diabetesstated: Women in particular have a major problem with keeping their sugar consumption under control. You are prone to frustration – which I unfortunately know personally too…. But apparently women also drink highly sugary drinks more often than men.

With this, they are really making a mistake in their diet. Because no other form of sugar intake has been so well documented that it can make you sick and fat as “drinking sugar” . So for sodas, cola, ready-made iced tea, energy drinks, juice spritzers, juices and smoothies.

The answer to the question of how much sugar is healthy a day has two parts:

  1.  It’s a lot less sugar than most people can imagine. So little that a lot of us actually eat at least twice as much as is recommended every day.
  2. Once you’ve exceeded the recommended level, it seems to matter what kind of sugar you eat – and in what form. The risk of gaining weight or developing diabetes, for example, depends at least in part on the packaging in which the sugar enters the body. Whether through fruits, cakes, yoghurt, ready meals or chips. Sugary drinks play a particularly inglorious role here.

Many women are unaware of their biggest sugar traps

Why don’t so many women know that? Even though she – felt – occupied with her body, her figure and her eating habits all day?

My suspicion: Fruit juices, spritzers and smoothies in particular enjoy a healthy image. After all, there is fruit in there. And sugar from fresh fruits can’t be a bad thing. With a smoothie, a woman means indulging in an extra dose of health. I suspect that is what many women believe. Unfortunately it is not true.

Free sugar is particularly tricky

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the first thing that counts when asked how much sugar is healthy a day is the total amount of so-called free sugar. These are simple sugar molecules that the body does not have to extract from more complex sugar molecules, the so-called polysaccharides, through complex metabolic processes. And that includes:

  • Simple sugar that is added to food and beverages: This is often white table sugar, a combination of glucose and fructose. Or it’s fructose, for example from fortified corn syrup. On the food packaging, however, it is often not written directly on it. The food companies disguise free sugars on the ingredient list by choosing a name that is confusing for consumers. (You can find out more about this in the blog post: Without industrial sugar )
  • Sugar naturally found in honey, syrup, fruit juices, juice concentrates, concentrated juices and smoothies. Often it is fructose, the fruit sugar. Here, too, the food companies work with all their tricks. For example, a well-known orange juice says: no added sugar (see photo) and when you read the asterisk, you learn in a very confused formulation that by law no sugar can be added to a real juice. While you think about it, you almost inevitably forget to look up the really high amounts of sugar in the juice per se (more on this below).

How Much Sugar a Day? Less than 10 percent of the calories

The WHO advises reducing the daily intake of free sugar to less than 10 percent of the total daily calorie intake . One gram of sugar contains 4 kilocalories of energy. A woman needs around 1900 to 2000 kilocalories a day. 10 percent of that is 190 to 200 kilocalories. Accordingly, the following answer to the question of how much (free) sugar is OK per day is obtained: a maximum of 50 grams. This is equivalent to about 10 teaspoons of sugar.

And that means all of the free sugar you consume during the day. So not just the one that you shovel clearly visible into your coffee or baked in a cake. But also the one in sweet particles, chocolate, gummy bears and the well-hidden one that you often have no idea about.

Hide high amounts of sugar – 3 examples

To make the scale clear, here are 3 examples of hidden sugars:

  • 1 serving of ketchup (20 grams) contains 4.5 grams of sugar, almost a teaspoon.
  • 1 cup of fruit yoghurt (200 grams) contains between 25 and 30 grams of sugar, i.e. 5 to 6 teaspoons.
  • 1 serving of “honey mustard” salad dressing (50 ml) has 5.5 grams of sugar, which is a good teaspoonful.

You can see from this: 50 grams is not a lot, because actually with the 3 examples above plus a coffee with sugar you have already had your daily ration without having eaten anything substantial.

To get an even better comparison, I scoured my chocolate stocks. How much sugar is there in chocolate? Depending on the variety, I read 40 to 55 grams of sugar per bar.

The misunderstood sugar bombs: juices and smoothies

And now the sugar in drinks:

  • 1 glass (200 ml) of cola contains 21 grams of sugar, i.e. 4 teaspoons.
  • 1 glass of apple juice has 22 grams of sugar, so 4 teaspoons.
  • 1 glass of orange juice contains 18 grams of sugar, almost 4 teaspoons.
  • 1 glass of smoothie from the supermarket contains between 12 and 24 grams of sugar, depending on the type, i.e. between 2.5 and just under 5 teaspoons.

As you can see: juices and smoothies are just as big sugar bombs as cola! In a glass, we are in the order of magnitude of sugar from half a bar of chocolate . It is also not good that, compared to whole fruit, fruit juices lack the fiber that at least partially compensates for some unfavorable sugar effects.

We eat twice as much sugar as recommended

On average, every German eats around 100 grams of free sugar a day, i.e. twice the WHO ration. Interesting in this context: How does the WHO actually arrive at this amount of 50 grams, or 10 percent of the daily energy of free sugar? This recommendation is based on an evaluation and assessment of the studies that exist worldwide that investigate the question of how much sugar is healthy each day. It was found that those adults who hardly eat free sugar weigh less on average than those who consume a lot of sugar. There is also a relationship with the daily amount of sugar and the frequency of tooth decay.

To be fair, it has to be said that this limit is controversial among scientists. The WHO itself sees good reasons to recommend even less sugar: namely only 25 grams a day for women, i.e. 5 percent of the daily calorie intake. However, other organizations, including the German Nutrition Society (DGE), consider the evidence to be insufficient to further reduce the currently recommended amount of sugar of 50 grams.

The DGE also points out that the evidence that free sugar makes you fat and sick applies most clearly to sugar from beverages. Which brings us back to the beginning: sugary drinks, including juices and smoothies, are the plague.

How the free sugars can make you sick

But why actually? Here you have to differentiate between the free sugars glucose and fructose.

  1. Glucose gets into the cells quickly and directly. Because most of the cells in the organism need this sugar in order to gain energy and to keep the metabolism going. In fact, too little glucose in the blood can lead to life-threatening hypoglycaemia. That is why the body has several emergency processes to prevent hypoglycaemia. The problem, however, is: If glucose arrives in bulk in the digestive tract – for example because you have consumed half a bar of chocolate – the blood sugar level rises very quickly. This in turn causes a high level of insulin to be released, which quickly causes blood sugar to drop again. And this rapid drop makes a lot of people cravings. In other words: glucose is poorly saturated. The desire to eat remains, although the calorie requirement has long been met. How we all know:
  2. Most cells, on the other hand, cannot utilize fructose directly; it has a significantly lower impact on blood sugar. The fructose is processed in the liver. If there is always too much of it in the organism, the entire fat and carbohydrate metabolism gets mixed up. Among other things, fat burning is hindered. At the same time, fructose is converted into fat deposits much faster than glucose. This increases the risk of fatty liver disease, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. As if that weren’t enough, fructose blocks the feeling of satiety. So you run the risk of consuming more calories than you need.

Sugar saving tip for women

Let’s get back to the total daily amount of free sugar. Obviously, for weight and health, one should reduce the amount of free sugar in one’s diet to the recommended amount. The first step there, which is obviously especially worthwhile for women: Less sugary drinks! Also no seemingly healthy, so no juices, spritzers or smoothies. A complete renunciation of sugar is neither necessary nor sensible. It can even lead to eating disorders, as you can find out in the article ” Why living sugar-free is not for me “.

Exercise can offset sugar risks

Finally, some really good news: People who exercise enough usually have no problems with sugar. For them, it doesn’t really matter in what form they take the sweetness. Your body can easily tolerate the free sugar, glucose and fructose, and in fairly large quantities. The reason: exercise has an extremely positive influence on the sugar metabolism and makes the body cells more sensitive to the effects of insulin.

So there is still an answer to the question: How much sugar a day is healthy? Namely: the more and more regularly you exercise, the more sugar you can treat yourself to. Whether in cake, gummy bears or juice. So have fun doing sports. For example with our tips on how even a non-runner can learn to jog in 10 weeks.

Natural alternative medicine: 9 medicinal plants for every medicine cabinet

If you have a throbbing headache, annoying cough or excruciating stomach ache, quickly throw in a tablet – and off you go. It’s so simple, but conventional medicine often loads the body with chemical substances. Medicinal plants can be a natural alternative.

If they have physical complaints, many patients quickly resort to tried and tested medication. But the search for a natural solution can be worthwhile.

Medicinal plants, for example, can have remarkable effects that are often underestimated.

The popularity of medicinal plants is growing, however, precisely because of their good tolerance and low side effects.

In homeopathy, Bach flower therapy and Ayurvedic medicine, medicinal plants are an important part of treatment – whether spices, fruit or mushrooms.

They can not only help with physical complaints or sleep disorders, but can also be used in the cosmetic field.

Most of the time it doesn’t even have to be the most exotic plants, some medicinal plants can be found in almost every household or in the natural environment.

However, self-treatment is not always the right way, because there are medicinal plants that are only healthy in certain quantities, or some of which are poisonous.

Plants that you have collected yourself should therefore only be consumed if they are precisely identified and have sufficient specialist knowledge.

Lavender to calm you down

With its soothing scent, lavender not only drives musty smells out of the wardrobe, it also has a calming effect.

The scent and consumption of lavender relieves anxiety and panic attacks or helps you fall asleep, as studies on animals and humans show. Lavender, for example, is available in concentrated form as an oil and asleep spray – or dried in lavender sachets.

From a medical point of view, lavender is also a versatile aid that has been shown to help against coughs and to relieve pain and cramps, which can help with migraines and menopause.

The ingredients are also said to lower blood pressure , heart rate and breathing rate, but also to increase mood and satisfaction.

Lavender is also said to help against Alzheimer’s , dementia and the causes of strokes or epilepsy .

Lavender also has a lot to offer in the beauty sector – the purple flowers of the plant support scar healing with their anti-inflammatory properties and fight acne.

Thyme for colds

Most people are more familiar with thyme from Mediterranean cuisine, in combination with pasta or pizza. But this plant also has a healing effect. So their essential oils are recommended for respiratory problems.

The consumption of the medicinal plant helps with colds, especially against painful coughs and problems with the lungs. It also has an expectorant effect and relieves the urge to cough.

Sage – an all-rounder

Sage is very popular as a spice because of its intense taste. Since the consumption stimulates the intestinal function, it is especially served with fatty dishes and should therefore not be missing in any herb garden.

Its name is derived from the Latin word “Salvia”, which means “to heal”. The spice lives up to its name, because sage supports the body in healing wounds, for example, as it can reduce germs on wounds.

In addition, sage helps with increased sweat flow, cleanses the airways and relieves bad breath. Diabetic and the resulting inflammation should also be treated by taking it.

Picture gallery: 15 home remedies that you should always have at home

Chamomile inhibits inflammation

Grandma’s insider tip for gastrointestinal problems: chamomile tea. It helps to relax the irritated gastrointestinal tract, soothe the bloated stomach and counteract inflammation of the mucous membranes.

Studies on rats also show that the antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and calming effects of chamomile help with major problems such as acne, but also with wound healing and inflammation.

Chamomile can be used internally, but it is also suitable for external use in wraps, creams or infusions.

Dandelion helps with bloating

Dandelions are usually referred to as a weed – completely wrongly, because they too have health benefits.

Studies in animals and humans show that ingesting dandelion promotes intestinal health and also protects and detoxifies the liver.

Due to the potassium and insulin it contains, dandelion is considered a home remedy for diabetes , but scientific studies that unequivocally prove this are not yet available.

The bitter substances it contains promote the production of saliva and stomach acid as well as the release of digestive hormones and enzymes. This stimulates the appetite and digestion, which can alleviate symptoms in the gastrointestinal tract.

Important: The milky liquid in buttercups can lead to nausea and abdominal pain if consumed in excess.

Fleas for gastrointestinal diseases

Psyllium husks have the ability to bind 50 times the amount of water. In the event of diarrhea, they can therefore hold the intestinal contents together better.

The intake also helps with chronic constipation and irritable bowel syndrome, because the swelling increases the volume of the stool and it can be transported better.

Due to their viscous consistency, psyllium husks protect the stomach wall so that food can be transported better.

Ivy soothes a dry cough

For some it is used as an ornament on the house and for others it is hated as a weed: ivy also has a healing, antibacterial effect and thus fights bacteria, viruses and fungi.

As a home remedy, ivy is therefore particularly effective against dry coughs, bronchitis or colds. Its antibacterial properties are also beneficial for skin diseases or acne.

Regularly massaging ivy balm is also said to be beneficial for cellulite and poor blood circulation.

Aloe Vera soothes burns

Aloe Vera offers quick and effective relief for acute burns. Simply cut off a piece of the plant and pour the juice on the affected area.

Due to its healing properties, the juice also helps with other skin diseases such as psoriasis , wounds or blemished skin, which is why it is often used in the cosmetics industry.

In addition, aloe vera can also help with constipation thanks to the ingredient anthranoid, which activates the muscle activity of the intestine.

Marigold heals wounds

An ointment is mainly made from the flowers of the plant, which is then used for external application of poorly healing wounds and inflammations. In cosmetics, the marigold is also used as a moisturizing care product.

Important note: The information in this article is for general guidance only. To clarify a health problem, we recommend a visit to a trained and recognized doctor.

Interview with Mady Morrison: The best tips for yoga beginners

Fit, flexible and in good shape with Germany’s most popular yoga youtuber Mady Morrison. The 30-year-old from Berlin explains why everyone should really hit the mat.

Sympathetic, sporty, open. The Berlin yoga teacher Mady Morrsion has lived and loved her sport for 17 years.

She shares this passion with her around 837,000 subscribers on YouTube and regularly posts yoga and workout videos.

Mady spoke to FIT FOR FUN about the importance of yoga, her favorite asanas and the effects of Corona .

In addition, she gives three tips for anyone standing on the mat for the first time.

FIT FOR FUN : During the first Corona months, the number of your YouTube subscribers rose by around 200,000 to 837,000. Are you one of the few who benefit from Corona?

Mady Morrison : I find it difficult to put corona and profit into context. In the end, we are all affected by this pandemic and we have to struggle with it. Each in his own way.

The number of subscribers and views has grown, that’s correct. However, I did not make any profit from this situation! I’m just very happy that with the yoga videos I was able to help many people get through a difficult time.

Yoga helps us focus on ourselves and supports us in cultivating gratitude and caring …

FIT FOR FUN : Have you changed the frequency of your video uploads?

Morrison : The quality of my videos is my top priority. Visually, sound-wise and didactically, I am absolutely in love with details and rarely make compromises.

My goal is to create the best possible yoga experience for my students. That’s why I couldn’t produce more videos than usual even during Corona times.

FIT FOR FUN : I have to admit that I’m one of the newer followers. So far I have trained in studios, but have been rolling out my yoga mat at home since Corona. Is my reaction typical?

Morrison : Well, first of all, welcome – nice to have you with us! With all yoga and fitness studios closed, many simply had no choice but to look for online alternatives.

So new viewers landed on my YouTube channel. Basically, the feedback from my community hasn’t changed, but I’ve received an even greater expression of gratitude and appreciation.

FIT FOR FUN : What effects could the crisis have on gym concepts?

Morrison : I think a lot of them will be returning to the studios little by little. A smaller portion will likely stick with online training, and many now appreciate the combination of the two.

From the point of view of the studio owners, I could imagine that online courses will also continue to be offered if they are well received by the members. As a user, I also think it’s nice that I can take part in classes in Hamburg or Bali thanks to the online offer .

FIT FOR FUN : Does that mean that you train yourself as a student with others?

Morrison : Of course, as a yoga teacher you always stay a student. And as is well known, you never stop learning.

FIT FOR FUN : Yoga was originally more of a kind of “worldview”, almost religious. Today it is part of the sporty lifestyle and is offered in every hotel. What does yoga mean to you?

Morrison : One could probably fill entire books on this question. But to keep it short: for me yoga means above all acceptance, self-care and freedom! The yoga practice has taught me to give space to my feelings and emotions and to accept them exactly as they are. To accept me for who I am.

For me, yoga also means empathy, understanding and openness towards others. That I do not judge others, that I show compassion, that I am helpful and that I always act with a peaceful intention.

FIT FOR FUN : Why did you start yoga?

Morrison : When I was 13, I was totally inspired and motivated by my PE teacher. My grandma also taught yoga for a while. Totally crazy. She also gave me books from the 1960s, which was really fun.

FIT FOR FUN : At the time it was still more of a niche sport.

Morrison : At least it wasn’t as common as it is today. During my studies I started with Bikram yoga, i.e. yoga at 40 degrees room temperature.

Back then I was looking for something strenuous to burn off calories and sweat. But if you have been doing yoga for a few years, at some point the step to the “why” comes naturally.

FIT FOR FUN : What are your favorite asanas?

Morrison : When I want to relax, it’s the “Half Dove”, an incredibly liberating hip opener.

When I want something powerful, I turn the world upside down and do the handstand. This releases endorphins and gives you a good boost of energy.

FIT FOR FUN : What are your tips for people to whom these terms do not mean much, but who would like to start with yoga?

Morrison : 1. Start small! Ten or 15 minutes on the yoga mat are enough to get started. It doesn’t always have to be a whole hour.

2. Keep it simple! It doesn’t always have to be the fancy headstand pose from the Instagram feed. The sun salutation in its numerous variations is particularly suitable for the beginning. You already learn a lot of the basics here.

3. Positive mindset! I find it very important to come with an open mind and free yourself from the expectations of others. It’s not about being incredibly flexible or getting a certain shape. No! It’s about doing something good for yourself, your body and your mind.

FIT FOR FUN : Yoga is booming anyway – but why should everyone discover this sport for themselves?

Morrison : I believe that people who practice yoga regularly are more relaxed in their everyday lives – they can deal with stress and difficult situations more calmly. Yoga doesn’t just take place on the mat.

FIT FOR FUN : So it’s about the mental …?

Morrison : Yoga brings both mental and physical benefits. For example, back pain is one of the many reasons people end up practicing yoga. Because it helps.

Because yoga exercises strengthen, mobilize, stretch and relax at the same time. You just feel healthier and more agile.

Yoga can also contribute to a more upright posture, for example. I always notice this as a reaction to my free “30-day yoga challenge” that I offer on YouTube .

About halfway through I often get feedback from participants that they are being approached by colleagues about their demeanor and their radiance. That is probably the “yoga glow”.

FIT FOR FUN : Yoga has improved my flexibility and strengthened my shoulder and arm muscles.

Morrison : Yes, you keep yourself healthy and young. If you look at yogis who are 60 or 70 years old, they often have a very young charisma. That fascinated me from the start.

Top virologist explains from what point in time the coronavirus becomes dangerous

The new coronavirus 2019-nCoV has reached Germany. Four cases have now become known. The virologist Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit from the Bernhard Nocht Institute explains in an interview whether we have to fear a mass outbreak in this country and how dangerous the virus is.

Onmeda: Mr. Schmidt-Chanasit, the new coronavirus has reached Germany now. Do you expect it to spread further from Bavaria?

Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit: According to all the data we have, we do not assume that there will be a mass outbreak. The case was quickly diagnosed and isolated.

Is Germany well prepared?

Schmidt-Chanasit: Germany is very well prepared, as this case shows. Acted so quickly – nothing more can be done at this point in time.

How dangerous do you think the virus is?

Schmidt-Chanasit: At the moment, everything indicates that we are in a similar area to that of influenza, i.e. the real flu. Of course, you have to watch very carefully how the situation develops. There can always be changes. But right now we don’t have to worry in Germany. All measures that could be taken have been taken.

Then why is there so much excitement about the new virus? After all, entire cities in China have been cordoned off.

Schmidt-Chanasit: The situation in China cannot be compared at all with that in Germany. In China we have thousands of infected people and some deaths. Of course, they are doing everything in their power to contain that. And of course such a seemingly new virus is always a cause for concern for the population. We then try to make comparisons.

What kind of comparisons?

Schmidt-Chanasit: Every year up to 650,000 people worldwide and in Germany up to 20,000 alone die of influenza. Compared to that, what we’re seeing in China right now isn’t particularly dramatic. But of course it is important to remain vigilant.

So what is most worrying right now is the fact that we don’t know much about it yet?

Schmidt-Chanasit: Right. Because that makes an assessment difficult. But from what we know so far, the virus doesn’t give the impression that it is particularly dangerous. We don’t seem to be in the realm of SARS, with 10 percent mortality, or MERS, where nearly 30 percent of all patients die. We are still a long way from that.

You just said “apparently new virus” – isn’t it new at all?

Schmidt-Chanasit: A virus like this doesn’t suddenly arise like a snap of your fingers . This has probably been around for a long time in the animal world. Only now has the virus managed to spread to humans. And then we notice it.

And that happens through mutations?

Schmidt-Chanasit: Yes, that can be explained by the fact that certain mutations have occurred and have the result that the virus can be transmitted to humans and especially from person to person. That makes sense, because viruses always mutate. In particular, RNA viruses such as the coronavirus. This is nothing special and happens regularly. Most mutations, however, do not lead to a change in properties as in this case.

Where do you see the greatest risk now?

Schmidt-Chanasit: The crucial questions that we will hopefully be able to answer soon are first: How is the virus now continuing outside of China in regions that are not so well positioned in terms of infrastructure? And secondly: How contagious are infected people who are in the incubation period and not yet showing any symptoms?

What’s the worst that could happen?

Schmidt-Chanasit: If it turns out that people can transmit the virus without symptoms, it will no longer be possible to contain the outbreak. And if there is an outbreak in a developing country, it will be difficult because they don’t have the resources to fight the infection. It will therefore be decisive what happens in countries like Laos or Cambodia . We can actually be happy that it happened in China, which can take the necessary measures.

Which people are particularly at risk?

Schmidt-Chanasit: All the data indicate that severe infections mainly affect immunocompromised and elderly people.

How can I protect myself from infection?

Schmidt-Chanasit: With the normal measures that one would take against a cold or influenza : Wash your hands regularly and keep at least 1.5 meters away from sick people. Because we assume that the virus is transmitted through a droplet infection. For example, by sneezing and coughing. A mouthguard can also make sense if it is used correctly, i.e. the nose is properly covered, the right side is used and it fits tightly on the face. But walking around with a face mask just because of the corona virus in Germany is an exaggeration. We have completely different problems: the influenza season has started and is currently causing many more infections.

Assuming someone in Germany tests positive for the virus – how is the process?

Schmidt-Chanasit: The person is isolated and a report is sent to the health department. She will not be placed in a special isolation ward as with Ebola, but simply in a normal hospital room. Then you see: who did they have contact with? Where did he get infected?

Does the search for a drug make sense?

Schmidt-Chanasit: Yes. Especially if you have a drug for another viral disease that is already on the market. Perhaps this has an effect that can be carried over to the coronavirus. That is quite conceivable and would be good because you would then have a drug very quickly. But there is no data on this yet.

Carnival make-up: 7 cosmetic tips for pimple-free skin

Helau! Do you already have a costume for the last two days of carnival? Yes? And I have seven unbeatable tips with which your skin is guaranteed not to take offense with the generous carnival make-up. The consumer advice center in North Rhine-Westphalia had a similar idea and published a press release on the subject in February 2015 (unfortunately the link no longer exists) . I took a closer look at them and added my own experiences.

1. Before the carnival make-up: do a skin test

Anyone who uses make-up regularly usually uses the same products and knows that the skin can take it, the make-up does not cause pimples, itching or redness. Carnival make-up usually has a different consistency and – in my experience – also of a less good quality. The skin can like that, but it doesn’t have to. People who are more sensitive to creams or make-up are cautious anyway, but less sensitive people should also test the carnival make-up beforehand. It doesn’t have to be directly in the face, in the crook of your arm is enough. The consumer advice center recommends products on an “aqua”, ie water basis – this has the advantage that they can be easily removed with water. However, the color may not last that long. Children’s make-up falls into the “water-based” category, you don’t always find them in the perfumery or drugstore – I only found them after a long search in the toy store. The range includes different colors in small pots that can be applied and mixed with a brush.

Keyword water-based: The consumer advice center also recommends these products because they would “paste up” the skin and its less than those based on fat, which then cause pimples and blackheads. I believe that the risk of greasy make-up is not so great if you only have it on for a few hours (and only a few times a year!) And then remove it properly.

2. Use natural cosmetics

Understandable if you prefer to avoid cheap products, even in the fifth season. One tip from the consumer advice center is to use certified natural cosmetics straight away – after all, they do not contain any preservatives such as parabens, silicone or paraffin that require declaration. That irritated me at first , I had never seen carnival make-up with a natural cosmetic seal (e.g. BDIH or Natrue ). But there is. At least from DM’s own brand “alverde” – namely the whole range from hair mascara in different colors to a make-up palette. Some beauty blogs have already praised the offer, for example here, here and here.

Keyword natural cosmetics: The manufacturers determine what may and may not be in natural cosmetics. If a product says “no preservatives”, it does not mean that it does not contain any preservatives, only those that must be declared according to the EU Cosmetics Directive.

3. Be careful with allergies

Especially when the make-up was cheap and of poor quality, the skin resents it more quickly. In the best case scenario, it then reacts with pimples, in the worst case with a contact allergy, also known as contact eczema. The part of the skin that came into contact with the allergen becomes inflamed. Itching, pustules, redness and swelling can result. In make-up, for example, fragrances (often imprecisely declared as “perfume”) can be the trigger. If the eyes become infected, it may be due to the rosin in the mascara – an adhesive that ensures that the mascara sticks to the lashes (although many mascaras now do without rosin). The nasty thing about contact allergies: the skin becomes sensitized the first time it comes into contact with the allergen, but the allergy only shows up on the second contact.

If the skin becomes inflamed, itchy or has pustules: Off to the dermatologist!

Keyword ingredients:  The so-called INCI list lists all ingredients of a cosmetic product, you can find them either on the tube or on the packaging, almost all manufacturers publish them on their website. The terms are mostly in Latin, so for laypeople it is often difficult to understand what is behind the long name, so I recommend the INCI database of the haut.de portal . The Personal Care and Detergent Industry Association ( ikw.org ) also provides an overview of contact allergies and fragrances . If you want to know more about contact allergies, read this article with the allergy expert Professor Axel Schnuch from the information network for dermatological clinics (IVDK) at the University of Göttingen.

4. Do not use old make-up

As a child I was incredibly happy to put on make-up for Mardi Gras, or to have my mother put on make-up. She had a huge makeup bag that contained pretty much all of the makeup and makeup she had accumulated since the early 1970s. A paradise. That makes me shudder today. On the one hand, because cosmetics at that time contained quite a few questionable ingredients. On the other hand, because cosmetics don’t last for decades either. Sure, you can probably use the carnival make-up from last year without any problems. But as soon as something looks strange, the fat and water phases have already separated or the whole thing smells strange (e.g. rancid) – away with it!

Keyword shelf life: If the make-up doesn’t come from my mother’s bag, but is clearly more recent, it has either a best-before date or a small open jar printed on it – the number on it indicates how long the product can be used after opening. Usually it’s nine or twelve months. But if nothing smells or looks weird, the make-up is very likely still ok. And lipsticks, for example, last for years. (I’d love to post a photo of this incredible makeup bag, of course, but she ditched it a few years ago …)

5. No make-up without a pad

Just start painting is not! Every make-up professional knows: Make-up needs a base. That means: a good cream that cares for the skin. With strong make-up, for example theater make-up, it can also be a slightly thicker cream than usual. Why all this? Make-up consists of many things, but what they usually do not have on offer are nourishing ingredients for the skin. Moisture, for example. To prevent the make-up from drying out the skin, you should simply rub it in well beforehand.

Keyword moisture : If your skin lacks it, you notice it very quickly. The face is tight and itchy, it may even form small scales, the make-up crumbles. So better take precautions and apply lotion.

6. Never go to bed without removing your make-up

Yes, you can do that with alcohol in your blood, just hold on to the sink. And it doesn’t take long either. Mardi Gras make-up must be removed because you don’t want to have all the color on your pillow. In addition, the skin gets really excited, pimples sprout, the complexion looks pale and you get wrinkles faster. Therefore: Put your make-up on, no matter what the conditions. All you need is a perfectly normal, inexpensive cleansing milk and a two-phase eye make-up remover (my choice). Cleaning cloths do the same, they fit in almost every handbag. Simply spread cleansing milk (or washing gel, soap if necessary) on your face. With a cotton pad or washcloth over it, done. What is left goes away with eye make-up remover. My personal recommendation: two-phase products. They are actually intended for waterproof mascara, but also remove kissable “long-lasting” lipstick and other residues. Consists of an oil and a water phase, please shake before use.

Keyword cleaning: water-based make-up (see point 1) is so easy to remove because it does not contain any grease. But normal make-up does, so you can’t just remove it with water. It needs a liposoluble cleaning. The consumer center recommends cooking oil (!) Or a fatty cream. Cooking oil. Maybe with too much residual alcohol you come up with ideas like this. I say: better not.

7. Pampering instead of fasting

Crazy carnival jesters probably have not only two great days behind them on Ash Wednesday, but a few weeks. A lot of alcohol, little sleep, smoky air = turbo skin aging = wrinkles. That is why the skin does not need a fasting cure, but a real pampering package. Also: drink a lot – of course no alcohol, but water or tea Sleep a lot. In the evening in the bathtub and then in bed.

And at the beginning of March you all look like princesses again.

Keyword pampering package : after the carnival hustle and bustle, bombarding your skin with an armada of masks and serums is rather counterproductive. My favorites are enzyme peeling (leave on for 10 minutes, wash off) and moisturizing mask. I just leave the latter on in the evening, as a night cream substitute, so to speak.

Weather sensitivity: sick due to weather change?

Joint pain, headache, fatigue or circulatory problems – some people seem to be particularly sensitive to changes in the weather. What is it about so-called weather sensitivity?

People are exposed to many influences in their everyday lives – including the weather. In order to maintain the functions of the body, it reacts to external influences. If temperature and weather change, the body perceives this and begins to adjust the autonomic nervous system accordingly. For example, different hormonal interactions can also occur.

The weather changes, the body reacts

Many people rarely or never notice such adjustments to the weather. However, others feel more complaints or think that they see a connection to the weather. If there are disorders of well-being in the context of such weather adjustments, one speaks of weather sensitivity – also called biotropy or meteoropathy.

Whether the cause of the complaints is really the weather is quite likely, but not proven with certainty. Because most studies on the topic consist primarily of surveys, i.e. are based primarily on self-assessment. What is certain, however, is that many people attribute some of their complaints to the weather. And if you compare the information with weather maps, a connection is obvious.

Frequently described symptoms of weather sensitivity:

  • a headache
  • migraine
  • fatigue
  • Exhaustion
  • Joint pain
  • sleep disorders

Some people seem to feel the weather changes even two to three days in advance. It is possible that special sensory cells are responsible for this, which are located in the vessel walls of the carotid artery in particular: so-called baroreceptors. They can sense pressure – and maybe changes in air pressure. However, this has not been proven.

When does weather sensitivity occur?

Whether a change in the weather noticeably affects how you feel depends on various factors:

  • How well can your own body adapt to the weather? Possible influence by:
    • individual physical requirements
    • general health
    • lack of sleep
    • Stress level
  • What type of weather is it (e.g. high pressure or low pressure area, heat or cold)?
  • How strong is the weather change?

Basic illnesses favor weather sensitivity

Such weather changes do not actually make you sick. Nevertheless, in people who are sensitive to the weather, the symptoms can be quite severe and represent a health burden. This is especially the case when the body fails to regulate itself as required. For example because there are illnesses and / or some body systems are not regulated according to norms (such as with high blood pressure or low blood pressure ).

In general, women seem to be more sensitive to the weather than men and older people more often than young people. Many people who consider themselves sensitive to the weather also have long-term previous illnesses (such as chronic pain or respiratory diseases).

With whom, with which diseases, sensitivity to weather is particularly noticeable:

  • When the temperature rises, people with hay fever or cardiovascular diseases in particular react sensitively to the weather.
  • When the temperature drops, people with vascular diseases, rheumatism, chronic pain, respiratory diseases or asthma are particularly affected.

For some weather-related complaints, it is easy to understand how they can arise. In the cold, for example, the airways and blood vessels contract. This can be a problem for people who have asthma, for example. People with high blood pressure may observe an additional rise in blood pressure when it is cold and feel corresponding symptoms. When it is warm, the blood vessels in the legs and arms widen. In particular, those who already have circulatory problems, for example low blood pressure, can now suffer from problems due to falling blood pressure. Weather conditions that lead to more dust in the air (such as thunderstorms or storms) can burden people with breathing problems.

Above all, rapid, frequent or severe weather changes are stressful for the body. Because with the latter, several weather factors change at once, such as temperature, humidity, air movement, degree of cloudiness, light conditions and air pressure.

Examples of severe weather changes:

  • Change from withdrawing or weakening high pressure area to approaching low
  • Passage of a warm and cold front
  • Back of a peeling low

People seem to feel least stressed by the weather when they are in the center of a high pressure area.

What helps if you are sensitive to the weather?

Some doctors and meteorologists believe that sensitivity to the weather is in part a problem of civilization: While people used to spend more time outdoors, most people nowadays mainly sit in rooms where temperature and light can be controlled. The body may have “forgotten” how to optimally adapt to changes in the weather. If you want to improve your sensitivity to the weather, it can therefore help you to spend more time outside – preferably every day and in any weather.

Going to the sauna or alternating hot showers can also help to train the blood vessels and thus have a positive effect on the circulation. Since factors such as stress or lack of sleep can also increase sensitivity to the weather, some experts also recommend relaxation exercises and adequate sleep.

swell

Weather sensitivity: what’s behind it? Online information from the Second German Television: www.zdf.de (as of April 13, 2017)

General information on weather sensitivity. Online information from the German Weather Service: www.dwd.de (as of September 2015)

Weather sensitivity. Online information from DasErste: www.daserste.de (as of September 17, 2015)

Influence of climate change on the biotropy of the weather and the health and productivity of the population in Germany. Online information from the Federal Environment Agency: www.umweltbundesamt.de (as of June 2015)

Representative survey on weather sensitivity in Germany. Online information from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety: www.bmu.de (as of June 2013)

Toxicologist warns against excessive consumption: “Caffeine withdrawal syndrome can last 9 days”

Caffeine is a psychoactive substance. Dependence, withdrawal symptoms or poisoning with caffeine should be possible – but what is fact and what is fake news? FOCUS Online asked a toxicologist whether caffeine actually works like a drug and how risky high consumption is.

No question, its slightly bitter taste is valued and, above all, its effect is desired – caffeine perks you up and stimulates. A morning without caffeine – as coffee, espresso or milk coffee – is unthinkable for most. Coffee is often refueled every hour, especially during work. And if you want to stimulate yourself even more, you can use energy drinks, caffeine chewing gum or corresponding pills.

The question then arises – what is the connection between caffeine and addiction? Florian Eyer, Chief Physician of the Department of Clinical Toxicology and Poison Emergency Call Munich , Medical Clinic and Polyclinic II at the University Clinic on the right of the Isar at the Technical University of Munich, answers the most important questions.

Florian Eyer: The stimulating effect is, so to speak, a side effect that is caused by the stimulation of certain areas in the central nervous system. Caffeine is an antagonist, in other words, an “opponent” of so-called adenosine receptors. This releases stimulating neurotransmitters, i.e. messenger substances. That’s an effect.

In addition, caffeine inhibits enzymes that break down certain molecules, which also causes the brain to be alert. These effects occur with a dose of around 150 milligrams of caffeine, which corresponds to about a large cup of filter coffee, with 150 to 200 milliliters.

So caffeine can cross the blood-brain barrier – like nicotine, alcohol, crystal meth, cocaine?

Florian Eyer: Right, it’s the same as with other drugs, caffeine works in the brain. And the faster a psychoactive substance – which includes caffeine – floods in the brain, the more relevant the “aha effect” after ingestion. This is very similar to caffeine as to nicotine or cocaine. Nicotine and cocaine work particularly quickly, with caffeine a central nervous effect can be expected around 15 to 20 minutes after drinking a cup of coffee.

There is also likely to be an activation of the reward receptors. This is a noticeable, pleasant effect that the body is looking for again, that is, it would like to experience it again. Dopamine receptors probably play a role in this. However, caffeine also has a number of by-products that come from the coffee bean, such as terpenes, phenols and others. It is therefore a complex, not easily manageable interplay of effects that come into play in the brain.

So similar areas of the brain are stimulated as with real drugs?

Florian Eyer: Yes, but caffeine mainly works in the sensory part of the cerebral cortex. This is probably why concentration and memory are increased. Numerous tests show that people who have consumed caffeine do better on cognitive tests. The ability to react is also increased. The effect of cocaine or opiates in the brain is somewhat different, it is more about adrenaline and noradrenaline or stimulation of opioid receptors.

The effect of caffeine is to a certain extent comparable to that of drugs – but it is much less pronounced. It depends on the dose: with the quantities still consumed normally, i.e. up to four cups per day, the effects are moderate. They are a bit more pronounced when more is drunk, i.e. more than this amount, then we speak of the “heavy users” by the way.

Is there any caffeine addiction in this context?

Florian Eyer: There are different opinions in science as to whether one should really count caffeine as an addictive substance. Most coffee drinkers are certainly also looking for this stimulating effect. As is well known, there are two reasons why you drink coffee – first because of the taste and second because caffeine has these stimulating effects. You start up faster in the morning and concentrate better. In other words, a substance is used very specifically to achieve a certain effect. Therefore, I believe, one can speak of a certain dependence. There are also certain habituation effects and the dose is increased. One cup in the morning is no longer enough.

The half-life of caffeine should be up to five hours – that means, if I consume caffeine every hour or simply several times a day, will a considerable blood concentration build up?

Florian Eyer: The half-life is two and a half to five hours, after about five half-lives a pharmacological effect can in principle no longer be demonstrated. But this also means that if you drink several cups in a row, the amount of caffeine will accumulate.

What are the signs of caffeine addiction, how do I know that I am affected?

Florian Eyer: For example, on the increase in dose, but also on criteria that also apply to other drugs – for example the irresistible desire to take the substance – or irritability when caffeine is not available.

Are there any real withdrawal symptoms when the caffeine supply stops?

Florian Eyer: If you drink a lot of coffee and suddenly stop, you feel it physically, so you develop a withdrawal syndrome. If a “heavy user” stops consuming caffeine from one day to the next, the first physical withdrawal symptoms appear after about eight to twelve hours. Withdrawal syndrome can last two to nine days. Restlessness, nervousness, irritability and headaches are typical in this context. Many patients report that they feel slightly numb and do not even wake up properly, others have insomnia.

You talk about patients in the clinic, but they probably don’t include caffeine addicts?

Florian Eyer: No, but codependencies are actually very common. Caffeine is often consumed with nicotine. There are also many among our alcohol-dependent patients who also drink a lot of coffee.

What are the risks of this “addiction”, how dangerous is caffeine?

Florian Eyer: I would rather describe caffeine as a harmless addictive substance, as long as you don’t completely overdo it. Collateral damage, such as job loss or partnership problems, as is often observed with other addictions, does not exist with caffeine addiction.

In addition, caffeine is a tolerable substance that also has positive health effects. Certain types of tumors are less common among coffee drinkers. Our own studies have shown that coffee drinkers are less likely to develop alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver.

How should those affected deal with it if they suspect they are caffeine-dependent – withdrawal with controlled caffeine consumption such as controlled drinking of alcohol or a total stop for a certain time?

Florian Eyer: If you have the impression that you have a problem with this substance, the most sensible thing would be to refrain from using it for two to four weeks. You have to accept the moderate side effects. After that, nothing speaks against consuming moderate caffeine again, i.e. 300 to 400 milligrams per day.

Does it matter in what form I consume caffeine – as coffee, tea, guarana, cola, energy drink, chewing gum or tablet?

Florian Eyer: Yes, because the rate of absorption is completely different. In addition, the caffeine content often differs considerably – tea has a lot less than coffee. In no case should one overlook the fact that there are preparations that are not entirely harmless, for example in some energy drinks. They can contain up to 500 milligrams of caffeine per can. If you consume two or three doses, you get into an area where caffeine can be toxic.

So can you poison yourself with caffeine?

Florian Eyer: Life -threatening poisoning is definitely possible with very large quantities. For example, we recently had a patient with severe caffeine poisoning. The substance had led to serious cardiac arrhythmias, it even had to be dialyzed to quickly eliminate the caffeine. The same applies to caffeine: the dose makes the poison. Therefore, energy drinks with a high caffeine content should be viewed critically. Teens often combine these drinks with alcohol to counteract the sedative effects of alcohol. But that can have very unpleasant consequences.

What does sensible use of the “drug” look like? The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has classified 200 milligrams of caffeine as a single dose and 400 milligrams per day as safe for healthy adults? You also mentioned this number. And what about children and young people?

Florian Eyer: 300 to 400 milligrams are a good guideline. With this amount, the positive health effects of caffeine unfold. The positive health effect corresponds to a J-shaped curve. There are hardly any positive effects with small amounts, but strong with the recommended 300 to 400 milligrams. But it shouldn’t be more caffeine, otherwise there will be negative effects.

And on the subject of children: I really think they shouldn’t consume caffeine at all. Experts assume that up to 2.5 milligrams per kilogram of caffeine per day are not yet associated with harmful effects. Young people should be careful with energy drinks, even if they promise good performance.

 

Fascia: the key to back pain?

Back pain? “You need fascia training,” blogger colleague Annett said to me a few months ago. “I have no idea what that is,” I said. Annett knew. She was enthusiastic. I was skeptical but interested. I know fascia from my studies as connective tissue strands, preferably of the “coarse” variety. After that I didn’t hear the word again until all of a sudden the fascia classes popped up in all kinds of fitness studios. Sporty hypes are not my thing. I stayed away.

Fascia: Unimagined importance in pain

After the discussion with Annett – she is a biologist like me – I wanted to know more about it. What do fasciae have to do with back pain? Are they the key to freedom from pain? An impression that has occasionally emerged recently. The magazine Geo, for example, devoted a cover story to connective tissue in February 2015 and raved about its “undreamt-of importance for health and well-being” – especially in relation to chronic (often recurring or permanent) pain.

What is the state of science? I asked one of the internationally best known researchers about this topic: Dr. Werner Klingler dedicates himself to gaining knowledge about the fascia at the district hospital in Günzburg and treats patients on a daily basis who have had problems with their backs for many years.

Sometimes, he says, he is amazed at the hype about “fasciae” and “fascia training” that comes from gyms in particular. In an interview with Healthandthecity, he explains what everyone – whether athletic or not – can do themselves to avoid (back) pain.

Here is the interview:

Mr. Klingler, a lack of exercise is considered to be the main cause of back pain. It causes weak muscles, muscular imbalances, muscle tension and, as a result, pain – according to the popular theory. Now reports are increasing that the fasciae are to blame for the pain, and targeted training and special fascia therapies bring healing. What is it?

Klingler: Only a small part of back pain can be traced back to a single cause – a pinched nerve, for example. Many factors play a role, especially with chronic back pain. Including bad posture, lack of exercise, stress or obesity. All of this affects the muscles – and the fasciae. That is why the therapy for persistent pain also includes work on the fascia, but mostly as part of a comprehensive treatment concept. Treating the fascia only: This would not help most of our patients.

What do patients with severe chronic back pain really need?

Klingler : The patients who come to us have piles of reports with them. X-rays, and, and, and. You have been in pain for a long time and have had many different therapies. What they lack is a holistic view that records, brings together and evaluates all possible influencing factors and adapts the treatment accordingly. With us, these back pain patients fill out long questionnaires. In addition to the physical examination, we create a profile of how you are mentally. We record your lifestyle and do a complementary medical evaluation. In this way we create an image that includes the whole person.

So dealing with the fascia alone is not enough to understand and treat back pain. But what part do they have now?

Klingler: In the fascia there are many receptors with connections to so-called wide dynamic range neurons in the spinal cord. This allows a wide variety of stimuli to be registered, for example in response to pressure or vibrations and with every movement. But they also transmit pain signals to the brain when something is wrong in the fine network of fascia tissue. In the lower back, for example, there is a large layer of connective tissue between muscles and skin, the lumbar fascia. A small amount of inflammation in this area can cause pain. This is particularly problematic because the interconnection of the nerves involved is rearranged very quickly. As a result, the area becomes more sensitive to pain until at some point it hurts for no cause. A so-called pain memory has arisen.

What can be wrong in the fascia tissue? Physiotherapists often speak of adhesions. What is happening there?

Klingler: We fascia researchers are still in the middle of the learning process with this question. What we can observe is the following: Movement causes a pull on the collagen fibers in the fascia. Controlled by the water content in the tissue, they align, and weak connections are formed – via hydrogen bonds – between strands that are close together. This creates orderly but very flexible networks. The connective tissue and the underlying muscles can slide smoothly. If there is no movement, a jumble of differently oriented connective tissue fibers grows. This restricts freedom of movement. For example, if a leg is in a cast for some time, this disorder can be detected in the fascia tissue.

How does it cause pain?

Klingler: Everyday movements can produce the finest cracks in glued fasciae. Tiny injuries that pain sensors jump on. Since fascia and muscles are closely interwoven, this can presumably also lead to tension and pain in the muscles.

Can such tangles be removed again?

Klingler: Yes, at least very often. The following applies: the earlier, the better, and fascia therapy comes into play. It is based on slow, pushing movements that are apparently particularly good for the connective tissue. We are gradually beginning to understand at the molecular level how this works. Among other things, it is related to the hydrogen bonds already mentioned. Training on a fascia roll also starts with pain memory: Rolling hurts. But afterwards the pain subsides because the deep movement suppresses the transmission of pain to the brain. On the conscious level, the patient experiences that pain can also improve again.

Of course, it’s even better not to get any back pain in the first place. What do you advise? What is the best way to prevent it?

Klingler: If you lack movement, every additional step counts. Cycling, dancing, gardening: everything is profitable. But there are also many people who are athletic and fit. Nevertheless, they can do a lot more for their backs by adding variety to their often worn-out sequences of movements.
Ultimately, we do the same movements over and over again in everyday life, but also in routine recreational sports. Unusual movements such as stretching, stretching, jumping with both legs… are missing. Children are a good source of inspiration. For example, how they shimmy from rung to rung with their arms on the climbing frame at the playground. You should try a lot more as an adult. Among other things, this keeps the fascia supple and can help avoid pain.

When was the last time you jumped and did something for your fascia and pain?

When was the last time you jumped?

Conclusion: For scientists, muscle training is by no means out, and fascia training is not solely beneficial. It is a useful addition.

Muscles have long been considered more exciting

The new findings about fascia contribute their part to many research topics – among other things to the understanding of the origin of pain. There is still a lot to do in this area. The hype surrounding the fascia is partly explained by the fact that for a long time researchers paid little attention to connective tissue. For many decades, muscles and nerves were considered to be much more exciting than the white fiber bundles that enclose and run through organs and muscles. Connective tissue. When we eat meat we generously cut away the sinewy stuff.

“In many old surgical textbooks,” reports fascia expert Klingler, “the connective tissue is described in detail. For example, 100 years ago it was still considered a pathway system for infections. ”With the discovery of antibiotics, it was no longer so important to deal with connective tissue. It was considered a rather irrelevant filler material.

Fascia hold our body together

Research has only been focusing on the fascia for a few years. Fasciae, like muscles, can contract and are very important for our ability to move. They act as a sense organ. In addition to their role in the development of pain, they play a key role in our body perception: how we move around in space, whether we are bringing a hand close to the body or stretching a leg far away, we sense this via sensory cells in the fascia – without that we have to look in the mirror for that.

Last but not least, fasciae form a kind of inner suit that holds the whole body together elastically, gives it shape and contour: In a three-dimensional network, the fibrous collagen tissue runs through the body in every conceivable direction, forms tendons and ligaments, encases muscles, organs, joints and even individual blood vessels and nerve cords. Which connective tissue structures scientists summarize under the term fascia is currently being reassessed.
Healthy fascia adapt to the respective requirements: in some places fascia form a network that is as delicate as cobwebs, in others – for example on the lower back – the fasciae run in dense, strictly ordered layers.