Thursday, May 29, 2014

Where is the healthiest and happiest place to live?

New studies have been coming out about where to live the healthiest, happiest, and longest life in the US.  Although health and happiness are often measured by subjective questionnaires, the rankings are interesting to boomers looking for warm, healthy, and happy places to spend time in their retirement years.  We collected recent rankings on living in Hawaii and compared  them to the overall national ranking on health, longevity, and happiness.

Though Hawaii has some bad air days from the active volcano, it gets high rankings from the EPA for having all zero ozone days.
Hawaii has strong Smoke-free laws which reduces the chances of breathing second-hand smoke.
Hawaii’s tropical climate (at sea level) has minimal temperature variation during its two seasons.  It is 85-90 degrees in the summer and 79-83 degrees in winter. 
In our opinion, Hawaii has the best weather on the planet.

Warm weather (that is never too hot) year-round may be why people in Hawaii are more active than most of the rest of the nation.
According to the 2012 CDC report, 81.3% of Hawaii residents participated in physical activity within the past month which is higher than the overall nationwide data of 77.1% and ranks Hawaii in the top 5 of US States.
In 2012, only 16.3% of Adults in Hawaii told the CDC that they are limited in their activities because of physical, mental, or emotional problems compared to 20.1% nationwide and ranks Hawaii in the top 3 US States.

Increased activity and year round sunlight may be the reason for less obesity in Hawaii.  Many people we know, including us, are thinner in Hawaii than we were when we lived on the mainland.
According to the “F as in Fat” project by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Hawaii is the fourth least obese state in the nation (ranked 47/51) with an obesity rate that is lower than 30%.
Hawaii’s 2012 adult obesity rate is 23.6% (men 26.8% and women 20.3%)
Hawaii’s obesity rate for adults age 45-64  is 26.8%, the rate for adults age 65+  is 14.1%, and the rate for  white residents  is 19%.

According to the CDC, Hawaii had the lowest mortality in 2011 in the US with an age-adjusted death rate of 584.8 deaths per 100,000 standard population.  This compares to the national age-adjusted rate of 740.6 nationwide.  The closest state to Hawaii’s low mortality is California with an age-adjusted rate of 638.8.

Hawaii’s low mortality may be related to the healthy state of the residents.  Hawaii was ranked the most “Healthy” in the nation by United Health Foundation using a wide range of measurements.  According to the report, some of the positive measures for Hawaii as compared to elsewhere in the US include: low cancer deaths, low cardiovascular deaths, low diabetes, low disparity in health status, high immunization coverage, high health insurance coverage, low obesity, high physical activity, low rate of preventable hospitalizations, high public health funding, and low smoking.
The United HealthFoundation’s report on seniors reported that Hawaii has the lowest prevalence of depression among seniors in the nation and the lowest prevalence of obesity among seniors in the country.

With a low death rate and better health for people in Hawaii, it is not surprising that the state continues its top ranking for longevity in the nation at 81.48  years old compared with the national rate of 78.61.


One of the best things about spending time in Hawaii is that most people are really happy and very fun to be around.  In 2012, Hawaii maintained its ranking as the “happiest” State in the US by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Best Hawaii Island Guides on the Kindle


We think these new Hawaii Island guides are the best ever, although we might be a little biased since we wrote them.  The content is from the travel guide: Your Ideal Hawaii Island Vacation: A Guide for Visiting the Big Island of Hawaii; which was divided into two volumes to focus on each side of the island.

The Kindle versions of the travel guide have been enhanced from the paperback.  Since there is no cost for printing pages there are many more photographs of each location and since there is no cost for ink the photographs are all in color.

The Kindles have the benefit of being downloaded when you need them, like when your cruise ship arrives or during a drive around the island.  The Kindle travel guides describe the sites near the cruise ship ports and many side trips on island drives.  Links to websites for more information are included in the guide, another benefit of the Kindle format.  A Resource section with shopping, activities, and events is also in each Kindle book. 

Your Ideal Hawaii Island Vacation East Side Kindle covers Hilo, Puna, Volcano, Kau, the Hamakua Coast and Mauna Kea summit.  Maps, driving directions, photographs, and descriptions allow you to plan a trip in advance and use it as a resource during a trip.   Hilo is described in a driving guide and downtown walking tour that takes you to unique businesses, colorful parks, tropical gardens, waterfalls, museums, and historic sites.  Volcanoes National Park and nearby sites are described in detail to allow you to decide how much of the park you have time to see.   A driving guide through the remote coastline of Puna and unique sites in the largest and least populated district of Kau are included.  Sites along the Hamakua Coast are described as well as directions to the international telescopes on Mauna Kea.  If you are considering a visit to East Hawaii Island for a day or longer, this Kindle will guide you to all the amazing places to see.

Your Ideal Hawaii Island Vacation West Side Kindle covers North and South Kona, North and South Kohala and Waimea.  It has driving tours of Kailua-Kona, Kona Coffee Plantations, and the historic bays in South Kona.  It covers the many sites along the Akoni Pule Highway in North Kohala and Waimea town.  Maps, driving directions, photographs, and descriptions help you find hidden beaches and historic sites in Kona and Kohala.  Beaches and delightful spots hidden along the South Kohala coastline, dotted with luxury resorts, and North Kona are included.  A detailed walking tour of Kailua-Kona showcases the history and beauty of the town.  

We hope these new Kindle travel guides help visitors and residents investigate all the amazing places on the Island. Check them out on Amazon’s  “Look Inside” or borrow them for free through Amazon’s lending library. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Hawaii’s Amazing Coconut

Hawaii Coconuts
We have been researching super-foods recently and were surprised by the many unique benefits of coconut oil.  Coconut oil is a Medium Chain Fatty Acid (MCFA) as compared to the majority of other dietary fats and oils which are primarily Long Chain Fatty Acids.  The coconut, called ‘niu’ in Hawaiian, and its oil, have been a part of people’s diet in Hawaii and elsewhere in the world for thousands of years.    Here are five amazing health benefits of coconut oil that has made it a welcome addition to our diet in Hawaii.

1) Coconut oil is better for cooking.  Most oils react with oxygen when heated and break down into substances that cause inflammation and mutation in cells.  The fatty acid content of coconut oil is resistant to heat and oxidization which makes it a great choice for cooking.

2) Coconut oil is easily digested and used by the body.  The molecules in coconut oil are smaller than most other oils and fats so it takes less energy and fewer enzymes for your body to absorb and get energy.  Coconut oil is broken down almost immediately by enzymes in the saliva and gastric juices.  Fat-digesting enzymes from the pancreas and gall bladder are not needed for coconut oil.

3)  Coconut oil is converted into energy and not body fat.  Coconut oil is absorbed from the intestines and sent directly to the liver where it is burned as fuel.  Other fats require enzymes to be digested and are packaged into bundles of fats and proteins called lipoproteins. Cholesterol, saturated fat, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats are packaged together and circulated through the body in the bloodstream.  After the fatty components have been distributed, the lipoproteins arrive in the liver where they are repackaged or stored as fat in the adipose tissue.  Medium-chain fatty acids, like coconut oil, are not packaged into lipoproteins but go directly to the liver where they are immediately converted into energy.

4) Coconut oil stabilizes insulin levels and boosts metabolic rate.  Unlike other fats that require insulin to process, coconut oil regulates blood sugar, slows the digestive process, and lowers the overall glycemic index of a meal. Coconut oil causes carbohydrates in a meal to be broken down into glucose more slowly, so blood sugar levels remain steady long after the meal.  We are enjoying the fact that adding coconut oil to our meals boosts our metabolic rate and allows us to go hours between meals without being distracted by hunger. Increased metabolism has the benefits of protecting from illness, speeding healing, and improving the immune system.  

5) Coconut oil is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral. Lauric acid is the primary saturated fatty acid found in coconut oil, along with capric acid and caprylic acid.  Pure coconut oil contains about 50% lauric acid.  Lauric acid is converted into Monolaurin in the body, which has anti-viral, anti-microbial, anti-parasitic, and anti-fungal properties by disrupting the lipid membranes in organisms like fungus, bacteria, and viruses.  The compound Monolaurin is a treatment for fungal infections and also targets bacterial infections as well as fat-coated viruses.  Breast milk is the only other natural source that contains such high concentration of lauric acid.  Another component of coconut oil, Caprylic Acid, kills Candida cells and restores stomach acidity to normal levels. 

The anti-bacterial benefit of coconut oil has made it popular for use as an  “oil pull” to combat bacteria in the mouth. The 2 staphylococcus bacteria  (which cause tarter) and 6 streptococcus bacteria (which cause cavities) and 26 other unhealthy bacteria that live in the mouth bind to coconut oil.  By swishing coconut oil around in your mouth for 5 to 15 minutes, then spitting it out, the bacteria is “pulled” and oral health improved.  Swishing coconut oil kills the bacteria by binding to them. Other oils work as well, but coconut oil seems to work the best.

New coconut grove in Puna

Since reading about the amazing health benefits of coconut in David Wolfe’s Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future and Dr. Bruce Fife’s books The Coconut Oil Miracle and Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing, we switched to using coconut oil in all our cooking.  We consider this healthy tropical oil another benefit of living in Hawaii.