Archive for the ‘General Health’ Category

Healthy Living: Clean Your Allergens Away

Spring is here and it’s time to break out the mop, dust off the duster, get out the cleaners and get your spring cleaning underway.  Spring also brings with it a whole new host of allergens that cause sneezing, wheezing, coughing and other seasonal symptoms.  To kill two birds with one stone, here are some ways to tackle those allergen hot spots in your home while getting a jump start on your spring cleaning at the same time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Avoid “bringing the outdoors inside.” If you know that you are allergic to pollen, then you will want to avoid keeping your windows open on a high pollen day.  If you spent a good deal of time outdoors, be sure to launder your clothes right away and shower and wash your hair to avoid spreading those allergens throughout your house onto your furniture and bedding.  Allergens tracked indoors can be potent enough for symptoms to last a few days
  • Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.  HEPA or high-efficiency particulate air filters trap allergens better than normal vacuums.  You should use a vacuum with a HEPA filter at least once a week to remove allergens, if not more often.
  • Wash your bedding once a week.  Dust mites are the most common allergen that cause indoor allergy and asthma symptoms, and these mites thrive on soft surfaces.  Your mattress is your greatest exposure to these harmful allergens.  To decrease your exposure to dust mites, wash your bedding weekly in hot water (approximately 130 degrees Fahrenheit) and dry them on a hot dryer cycle.  It’s also good to encase your mattress, box springs and pillows in allergen-proof covers.
  • Clean your upholstery and drapes.  Again, because allergens cling to soft surfaces, your upholstery and drapes are also susceptible to seasonal allergens. Wash or dry clean your drapes when possible and vacuum sofas and chairs to remove any dust mites from your furniture.  You should also wash or dry clean any throw rugs you have lying around.  Whenever possible, you should use roller shades or vertical blinds as they accumulate less dust mites than drapes and other window coverings.  If you are renovating in the future, you should also avoid wall-to-wall carpeting and shoot for hardwood or tile floors instead, which are easier to clean and do not harbor allergens.

Healthy Living: It’s All About the Feet

As odd as it may seem, your feet may be the window to your overall body health. Here are some things to look for that will give you clues that there may be other important body issues to consider.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No hair on your feet or toes –

If your feet or toes are lacking hair, it can be a sign of having poor circulation because of vascular disease.  If you notice that your feet and toes do not have any hair on them, you will want to consult your doctor to find out ways to improve your circulation thereby reducing your risk of acquiring vascular disease. 

A wound that won’t heal on your foot – Wounds on your feet that just won’t heal could be an indication of diabetes.  Over time, elevated blood glucose levels can lead to serious nerve damage in your feet that you may not feel when you have a sore or a wound on your foot.  If your wound continues to go unhealed there could be major problems, including amputation.  If you notice a wound that won’t heal on your feet be sure to contact your doctor to discuss your wound.  If you are currently living with or being treated for diabetes, be sure to check your feet often and mark any changes.

Thick, yellow toenails –

Toenails are not supposed to be thick and/or yellow.  Thick, yellow nails are most often an indication of a fungal infection living beneath your toenails.  People that have other medical conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and other immune deficiencies are more likely to get a fungal infection than those that do not have these conditions.  To treat thick, yellow toenails, you will need to consult a podiatrist.  By the time your nails are already discolored and thick it is too late for any over-the-counter creams or medicines to work.

An enlarged big toe –

Gout is the condition when the big toe suddenly swells up to an uncomfortable size. Gout is a form of arthritis due to the buildup of uric acid. This condition typically shows up in your big toe because it affects the part of your body with the lowest temperature, which is often the big toe.  It can also occur in your knees, elbows, Achilles tendon and the instep of your foot.  If you discover that your big toe has swollen to an abnormally large size, contact a foot care specialist, who with diet recommendations and medication, can help to cure this condition.

Soothe Your Sore Throat

There are so many reasons why you may have a sore throat – it could be the onset of a cold, or it could be something more serious like strep throat – but regardless you just want the burning, itching and painful feeling to go away.

While many people turn to the doctor to help get some relief from a nagging sore throat, some of the best remedies can be found at home or over-the-counter. Here are some remedies and quick fixes for your next sore throat:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Anti-inflammatory medicines – Believe it or not you probably already have some of these in your medicine cabinets for a host of other reasons.  Over-the-counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Aleve and Advil are combination pain killers and reduce some of the swelling associated with a sore throat.
  • Saltwater gargle – You may have seen your parents or grandparents doing this a time or two, as this old home remedy has been around for quite some time.  Doctors recommend dissolving a teaspoon of salt in a cup of water and gargling with it several times a day to reduce swelling and loosen mucus.
  • Sprays and lozenges – Sucking on a lozenge or using a throat spray may help alleviate sore throat symptoms because these products help to stimulate saliva production.  For an added benefit choose brands that have menthol or eucalyptus for the cooling and numbing effect.
  • Cough syrup – Just like lozenges and sprays, cough medicine help to coat the throat and provide temporary pain relief.  Even if you aren’t experiencing a cough, it’s still ok to try using cough medicine to help ease the soreness.
  •  Lots of fluids – As with any sickness, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids when you have a sore throat, too.  You should be drinking enough water that your urine is light yellow or clear.  If it is not, then you are not taking in enough fluids.  Water is always your best options, but you can also hydrate with watered-down fruit drinks, or something salty if you prefer like chicken broth.
  • Rest – While it may not be the quickest way to alleviate the pain, it is an effective way to battle any infection, including a sore throat.

Sleeping Mistakes We Make Every Night

We have all been there a million times… checking the clock every few minutes and telling yourself that you NEED to fall asleep that very second or else tomorrow is going to be a super long day! But what typically happens? We have a terrible time falling asleep when we are under pressure of having to fall asleep!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to scientists, this condition is called psychophysiological insomnia and feeling pressure to fall asleep causes fragmented sleep and worsened sleep quality.

Psychophysiological insomnia affects nearly 15% of all chronic insomnia patients, and while you can’t make yourself fall asleep exactly when you want to, there are some things you can do to help your cause.

Instead of having negative thoughts like “I’m going to be worthless tomorrow if I don’t fall asleep now,” tell yourself “I’ve had sleeping problems before and have been able to function.”

Another suggestion from insomnia researchers is to delay your bedtime until you are truly sleepy, instead of when you think you should be in bed.

They also suggest having a bedtime snack like cheese and crackers or cottage cheese, to combine complex carbohydrates with tryptophan to help you sleep.

Lastly, don’t be a clock watcher as this will only give you more anxiety. Instead turn your clock around so that you cannot see what time it is during the night.

Resolve to be a Better “You” in the New Year

The easiest way to kill your New Year’s resolution sometimes is to make one at all.  So, why not make the switch in 2018 to not make a resolution that you will most likely break a few days later, but choose a way to be a better person by making some inward and outward changes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get more sleep.  Besides helping you to feel energized during the day and improve your mood, getting more sleep can also aid in losing weight.  Your body repairs and rejuvenates during sleep… even calcium is added to your bones while you sleep!  Getting adequate sleep is the best way for your mind and body to be the best it can be.  While optimum sleep time varies from person to person, the average is 4 to 11 hours each day.  While getting to bed earlier is easier said than done, you should also avoid food for at least 2 hours prior to bedtime and eliminate all sources of light in your bedroom while you sleep.

Get out of toxic relationships.  You may have been talking about it for months or even years, but if you are in a toxic relationship – whether friendly or emotionally – make 2018 the year when you cut your ties. Don’t let your fears control you and break yourself free of when you cut your ties. Don’t let your fears control you and break yourself free of relationships that are doing you more harm than good.   Believe in yourself and good things (and good people) will come into your life.

Eat a fruit or a vegetable with every meal.  Studies show that Americans eat fewer fruits and vegetables than other countries, and disease prevention is directly linked to consumption of fruits and vegetables.  It seems like a no-brainer to get healthier through eating more fruits and vegetables, but for some it may be best to start small.  For example, add a banana to your morning cereal or make sure to eat a salad prior to dinner.

Be more social with friends.  Studies have found that having a very active social life can be very beneficial to your health.  Having an active social life can help you stick to healthy habits, fight disease and depression, reduce anxiety and stress, enhance your purpose in life, promote happiness, and even live longer.  Balance is key, though, so be sure to allow at least one day a week for some “me” time.

Adjust Your Lifestyle to Avoid the Flu

With winter comes the holidays, colds, flus and other events that wreak havoc on our immune system.  To boost our immune systems, we need to make some minor adjustments in our diet and lifestyle to help curb the impact the season has on our body.  Try these small adjustments this year:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adjustment 1:

Get your Essential Fatty Acids

Because essential fatty acids are the key to building super hormones, make sure that you get enough of these fatty acids from nuts, seeds, fish, cold pressed oils and supplements.

Adjustment 2:

Eat Enough Protein

Protein is important for your optimal health no matter what season it is.  Nutritionists suggest .75 to 1.25 grams of protein per pound of your body weight depending upon your physical activity.  But, because our body can only absorb 30 to 35 grams per meal, we need to spread our protein intake throughout the day.  Be sure to eat some sort of protein in every meal and in every snack.  Getting some of that protein through soy-based products is also recommended by many nutritionalists.

Adjustment 3:

Choose low GI carbohydrates

GI or glycemic index, is the measure of how fast blood sugar rises after eating.  One good example is that white sugar has a glycemic index of 100, where peanuts have a glycemic index of 15.  That means that peanuts raise the blood sugar levels at 15% of the rate of white sugar.  Fast rising blood sugar means the pancreas produces and sometimes overproduces insulin.  These spikes in insulin can weaken the immune system and interferes with the production of super hormones.  By choosing low GI carbohydrates, combined with eating the appropriate levels of protein you can better control your insulin.

Overall, the best way to adjust your immune system this winter is to avoid too much supplementation, get enough protein and essential fatty acids, and avoid those sugary carbohydrates to make your way through these next couple months illness-free.

Fitness for All: How Fit Are You?

If you are looking to “get fit” in 2018, take these three self-tests to find out how fit you are first!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How are your muscles?  Do some push-ups.  A 30-year old man should be able to 35 push-ups while a 30-year old woman should be able to do 45, while her knees are on the floor.  For every decade after 30, the number of push-ups decreases by 5 for each gender.

How is your flexibility?  Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you, slightly apart.  Extend your arms placing your one hand on top of your other hand, fingertips forward and reach for the space in between your feet.

Women under the age of 46 should be able to reach at least two to four inches past your feet.  Older women should be able to reach the soles of their feet.  Men under the age of 46 should be able to reach the soles of their feet.  Older men should aim to be within three to four inches of their soles.

What’s your heart rate?  Begin by exercising for 18 minutes at 80 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate – for men, 220 minus your age; for women, 208 minus .82 times your age.  Then exercise all out for three minutes.  Check your pulse.  Rest for two minutes and then check it again.  Your heart rate should have dropped by at least 66 beats.  The faster it drops the more fit you are.

Creating a Healthier You

The road to a slimmer and healthier body is a difficult path. But overcoming these roadblocks only require a simple lifestyle overhaul. Liposuction is surely the quickest path to slashing pounds of fats accumulated through years of physical neglect. But this is neither the safest or most effective method of ensuring a healthier you in the future.

The best weight loss treatments are those that reinforce a healthy lifestyle. It is those daily habits that given time helps you get rid of those stubborn love handles but more importantly keeps it away forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Replace Fat with Muscles

Easier said than done but if done right it rewards you with healthier and shapelier figure. Whether it’s walking a few extra blocks to the office or spending a couple of hours at the gym, getting rid of fats the natural way is devoid of risks and complications that surgery brings.

Building and toning your muscles is the next logical step after losing those unwanted fat deposits. So why wait when you can build those muscles while losing weight.

Build your Cardio

Cardio exercises such as high intensity training or running is a good way to burn fats. It is also a good way to naturally increase your body’s metabolism. Living a sedentary lifestyle lowers your metabolism simply because your body does not require transforming fats into energy. When your body becomes accustomed to strenuous activity regularly, it prepares itself by increasing metabolism. This is to make energy readily available throughout the day.

Eat Healthy

Unhealthy eating habits is perhaps the biggest culprit in the overweight problems we face today. The overabundance of processed and fatty foods makes it easier for us to store those unwanted pounds.

Lower your calorie intake gradually

The best diets are those that work for you. Lowering your calorie intake suddenly only brings more troubles than solutions. You still require a considerable amount to maintain your normal body functioning. Cut your calories gradually. This gives your body the time to adjust to changes.

Load up on proteins

Increasing your protein intakes is essential when building muscles. But it is another good way of burning calories since more energy is required to breakdown protein. Replace those high calorie food with protein loaded meals. Satiate your hunger and help build those muscles.

Fortify with Iron

A well-rounded diet that focuses on all essential vitamins and minerals is essential. Iron improves blood flow. Better blood flow also increases metabolism. When you’re trying to burn fats and live a more active lifestyle it is important that your body’s supply of nutrients and oxygen is maintained with good blood circulation.

Turn up the heat with spicy food

Sweat is a clear indication that something in our body is heating up and eating spicy food is a good start. Eating spicy food gets our body heated up and so does our metabolism. It’s a great way to bring something different into your daily diet without sacrificing your hard earned gains.

Stick to healthy fats

Yes, there’s such a thing as healthy fats. Eating healthy does not mean eliminating one type of food or in this case staying away from fats. Fats are essential to our body’s normal functioning so taking it off the table can do more harm than good. Fish is a good source of healthy fat. Salmons for example are rich in Omega 3 which actually reduces levels of cholesterol in the body.

Weight Loss and You

The first step towards achieving a healthier body is accepting that change is necessary. Even the best weight loss treatments are useless if you are not dedicated to the process.

Eating Disorders

Weight gain could be a slippery slope where a few extra pounds could quickly turn into a wardrobe nightmare. Weight problems are mainly caused by two factors, unhealthy eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle. While some are genetically predisposed to suffer from easy weight gain, most overweight problems are due to simple lifestyle habits.

We’ve all been guilty of eating an extra piece of cake during the holidays. But the real problem is when we just can’t stop ourselves from grabbing that extra piece of cake holiday or no holiday. And this is where eating disorders come in.

Binge Eating

Binge eating is simply not being able to stop yourself from eating. Binge eating is overeating or the loss of control and the general feeling of helplessness. But this is not commonly an overt behavior, people who suffer from binge eating do this in secret and away from the prying eyes of people. Feelings of guilt and depression after binge eating are also manifested.

Binge eating certainly leads to weight problems but this does not stop there. People are also at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes and other weight related problems.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is an eating condition where people overeat and try to eliminate their excessive food intake by vomiting, taking laxatives or inducing diarrhea. Bulimia nervosa is not merely overeating, this is out-of-control eating that goes beyond stuffing yourself full.

People who are suffering from bulimia nervosa are not always fat in fact some of them have normal figures. This is because people who suffer from bulimia nervosa are able to purge excess food from their system.

Anorexia Nervosa

At the other side of the coin is an eating disorder referred to as anorexia nervosa. Rather than being unable to stop yourself from grabbing the nearest edible concoction you see, you simply refuse to take any type of food for fear of becoming fat.

People exercise aggressively in an attempt to lose calories while refusing to eat. Exercising is a great way to lose those extra pounds but we should at least replenish the nutrients we lost. People suffering from this condition do not only actively reduce their food intake they also take laxatives, diuretics and vomit to remove the little amount of nutrients they have in their system.

Eating Disorders Summary

Statistics show that women tend to suffer from eating disorders more than men. Specific eating disorders are also more common in certain age groups and develop at an early age. Eating disorders could be developed and are also genetic. People with relatives who suffer from an eating disorder are more likely to develop this condition.

Heredity could be a contributing factor but far more concerning are the different environmental factors that come into play. While genetics is something that could not be controlled, external influences have a bigger role in the increasing number of people who suffer from eating disorders. The pressure to conform with what society considers as an attractive body has forced many to the path of anorexia nervosa.

Depression, anxiety and high levels of stress can also lead to comfort eating and eventually binge eating. The constant pressure at work and at home has left many people searching for an easy way to relieve stress.

We all have had our bouts with eating disorders at one part in our life. From our episodes of binge eating to extreme dieting what matters is that we have been able to overcome these situations.  It only takes a few steps to slip into the dangers of eating orders. If you believe that you might already be suffering, talking with friends and families or getting the help of a health professional is the best way to treat this condition.

Spinach – Muscle Builder and More

Mention the word spinach and images of Popeye chomping down on a can of this vegetable instantly comes into the mind of children. Well, this might not be far from the truth as spinach is definitely one of the healthiest sources of nutrients and protein for building muscles.

But spinach is more than building muscles. This vegetable is also an excellent minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients.  Aside from being a rich protein source for building muscles, spinach also helps improve eyesight, keeps the heart healthy, promotes optimum child growth and keeps the skin healthy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Better Brain Functioning

Spinach is a potent antioxidant, contains potassium and folate all of which contributes to keep the brain healthy. Folate helps reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Potassium on the other hand helps improve blood flow to the brain. More blood flow means more energy and oxygen is sent to the brain for optimum functioning.

Stronger Bones

Spinach contains Vitamin K which helps the bones retain calcium. Improved calcium retention leads to bone mineralization. Spinach also contains copper, magnesium, phosphorous, and manganese. This keeps our bones strong and healthy and reduces our risk for developing osteoporosis.

Optimum Child Growth

Protein is an important building block of the body. This is why parents are encouraged to include spinach in their growing child’s diet. Spinach is also rich in minerals and phytonutrients all of which is essential for a growing child’s body.

Cancer Prevention

Spinach contains tocopherol, folate and chlorophyllin. These are currently being studied as a possible treatment for prostate, lung, bladder and liver cancers. Spinach is also being studied as a method for reducing tumor activity and preventing the spread of cancer in the body. However, one sure thing is that spinach contains antioxidants which are very effective in eliminating cancer-causing toxins in the body.

Reduces Inflammation

Painful conditions such as arthritis and gout are caused by severe inflammation. Instant relief for these conditions can involve taking anti-inflammatory medications to relieve pressure. Spinach is a rich source of natural anti-inflammatory compounds which helps reduce inflammation in the body. This is not only effective against arthritis and gout but also protect the heart from inflammation.

Ulcer Prevention

Vegetables in general has been proven to keep our digestive system healthy. It helps prevent colon cancer and prevents gastric ulcers by protecting the mucous membrane of the stomach.  Various compounds found in spinach has also been found to strengthen the digestive tract lining. Its anti-inflammatory properties also prevents harmful conditions from developing in this area.

Muscle Builder

Spinach is one the healthiest and riches sources of protein. It helps feed those protein-hungry muscles while keeping almost every part of the body healthy. Spinach is certainly a healthy and cheaper alternative to meat and expensive protein supplements.