Category: Health

You Deserve Better… Than Eating Out

With the never-ending recession gripping the heart of the American economy and its consumers, it quickly becomes evident that families need to spend less money than ever before. It’s very hard not to fall into the temptation of eating out. It’s fast and easy, and you won’t have to scrub dishes to get them clean. On the other hand, eating out is less healthy and more expensive. Let’s look at why this is.

Going to a fast-food joint, you’ll quickly note that every place has a cheap menu where they’ll sell you any hydrogenated fat for under a dollar. You need to save money, and have little faith in your skills in the kitchen. Fear not! You can grab a burger for a buck. You think about the bottom line at the grocery store and shudder at blowing fifty bucks for a scant few bags of foodstuffs. But here, you can eat instantly for a buck. Sounds good? Wrong!

My wife, who’s on her way to being a Registered Dietician (RD), can tell you that the numerous long-term damaging effects that hydrogenated oils, excess salt, and saturated fat can easily eclipse the money you’ll be saving at the counter with future medical bills. Even if you’re young and at an optimum weight, these foods can still tear apart your arteries. Soda is loaded with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), an especially evil non-food additive that companies sneak into products to stretch the supply of goods-making them more profit per unit at the expense of forcing your blood vessels to improperly expand when required.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find this out online or elsewhere without an RD education since the conglomerates that love the stuff suppress the info, but that doesn’t mean it’s false. Excess salt and saturated fat can clog your heart and cause many other problems, and I’m just hitting the tip of the iceberg. Luckily, there are many options for cooking at home, from slow cookers to the new craze: sous vide. Coincidentally, a pro tip from me is that you can find the best vacuum sealer for sous vide at Sous Vide Wizard.

So you think the reputable dinner dive is a better place to eat at then? Nope. Sorry. The reason here is that most restaurants clog up anything not covered in leaves with salt. Although when eating out, note that many restaurant salads are also full of condiments and accessories that have enough salt to kill a rhino. The reason: the saltiness, the companies believe, acts as a natural addictive agent. And they’re right! This is why lots of places love using MonoSodium Glutamate, known as MSG.

Beware, this is a synthetic salt that can damage your hypothalamus, a part of your brain that partly controls… your appetite! Some people like to joke how eating food out makes you hungry again fast, and this is because your brain’s receptors are being damaged into thinking that you need to walk in that door again. Also, on “low calorie” menus you’ll rarely if ever see the salt content these dishes contain. Just because something is low on the amount of energy your body receives from its biochemical processing, don’t believe it’s healthy!

You can avoid this vicious cycle! You’ll need to develop a good eye for things that are leaner and better. Even grocery store products often contain MSG, HFCS, Carrageenan, and a whole host of other crummy synthetics that can hurt your body in bizarre ways so don’t be fooled. Tune into my next article to find ways to feed your families for cheap, using foods that won’t clog arteries or necrotize liver tissue.

Atlanta: Can the Health of Your Home Affect Your Family’s Health? Part 1

Previously published on Examiner

All too often, Atlanta families get sick and the illness can be attributed to the health of the home. This examiner will expose some of the most common factors within the home that can cause problems with your family’s health.

Cigarette smoke – Smoking in the home creates an environment filled with carbon monoxide, tar, and nicotine. The more one smokes inside the home, the greater the risk of family members becoming sick from inhaling the toxic particles released into the air. The family’s risk for respiratory illnesses may be influenced on the number of cigarettes smoked per day within the home, and whether or not the cigarette has a filter. Cigarettes without a filter release more toxins into the air.

Parents and family members who smoke regularly in the home may notice that a brown sticky film covers the walls and every surface in the home. Is it difficult to imagine the dark, sticky film that covers the walls, windows, shelves and every other surface in the home will also collect in the respiratory tract of the family members? When this examiner was very young, her parents smoked within the home. This examiner suffered from asthma all year round for several years. It wasn’t until her parents stopped smoking, per the suggestion from the pediatrician that this examiner got well.

Bacteria – The floors of the home can be breeding areas for bacteria. The bathrooms are notorious for having E.Coli bacteria. When the toilets are flushed, there is a big chance that bacteria will be released into the air. The bacteria can land anywhere in the bathroom to the floors to your tooth brushes, and affect the health of the family.

Dust mites – Dust mites may be found in your carpet and on your beds, pillows and bed covers. Dust mites not only live in the carpets and beds, they also live in the air. Dust mites can float around in the air on dust particles; they can be breathed into the respiratory passages of the adults and children in the home and cause illnesses.

There is help: The toxins from cigarette smoke can be eliminated by quitting smoking or going outside the home to smoke. Internal air quality experts in Atlanta can diagnose the problem/s in your home and suggest air purifiers. Storing toothbrushes outside of the bathroom or using a toothbrush sanitizer to keep toothbrushes clean.

To be continued

Sources:

http://medicmagic.net/dont-place-your-toothbrush-near-the-toilet.html

http://my.clevelandclinic.org/healthy_living/smoking/hic_dangers_of_second-hand_smoke.aspx

http://healthandenergy.com/dust_mites.htm

Superfood Profile: Goji Berry

Goji Berries are also called Wolfberries, based on the translation of their traditional Mandarin name “Gou qi zi,” meaning “wolf energy berry.” The Goji Berry is a popular superfood, and has been added to many foods, beverages and supplements because of its special nutritive powers. But is the Goji Berry worth all the hype? Below you’ll find a summary of the health benefits of Goji, as well as the health dangers of Goji and ideas for adding this superfood to your diet.

Health Benefits of Goji Berry

Goji Berries are a highly nutritious food with a number of health benefits. Goji Berries contain 21 trace minerals that are important for healthy functioning, including calcium, copper, iron and zinc. Like all berries, Goji Berries are high in antioxidants and strengthen the immune system. According to the US Department of Agriculture, Goji Berries have a significantly higher Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity than blueberries or blackberries. In addition to strengthening the immune system, antioxidants are said to lessen the effects of aging because they help repair damaged DNA. Traditional Chinese Medicine used Goji in remedies for improving eyesight, and modern science has found that the chemicals lutein and zeaxanthin in Goji neutralize the free radicals caused by too much sunlight and may improve eyesight. Scientific studies have found that Goji Juice helped to increase the therapeutic effect of radiation cancer treatment in mice, and one Chinese study found that the consumption of Goji Juice doubled the effectiveness of radiation cancer treatment in humans; unfortunately this study has yet to be duplicated.

Health Dangers of Goji Berry

Goji Berries contain selenium, a trace nutrient which, in excess, can cause brittle hair and nails as well as other health problems. The selenium content in Goji is probably not enough to cause a health risk, since humans can safely consume up to 150 micrograms of selenium per day, but if your diet regularly contains other high-selenium foods such as grains, cereals and meats, you may want to rethink your menu before adding Goji Berry to your diet.

Goji may interfere with some prescription medications. Since the Goji Berry is anti-coagulant, it could cause negative interactions with blood thinners, including a sudden drop in blood pressure or excessive bleeding. Goji may also have negative interactions with diabetes medications. Allergies to Goji Berry have not been documented, but anyone who has pollen allergies may also have a negative reaction to Goji Berries.

Ideas for Adding Goji Berry to Your Diet

Goji Berry may be purchased as juice or as a bulk fruit, and many products, such as cereals, teas and juices, may be already supplemented with Goji. Dried berries may need to be soaked before eating. Goji Berry products tend to be expensive, so it may be a good idea to sample Goji before you buy, in order to make sure you enjoy the taste. Below are some easy ideas for including this superfood in your diet.

*Top your cereal with dried Goji berries.
*Mix Goji juice into your smoothies.
*Flavor plain yogurt with Goji Juice.
*Drink teas that include Goji Berry.
*Make Goji Berry Chocolate by adding Goji powder to melted cocoa. Click here for a unique recipe!
*Add soaked Goji Berries to stir fry recipes.
*Include dried Goji Berries in oatmeal cookies.
*Use Goji Berries to replace sundried tomatoes in some recipes.
*Add dried Goji Berries to granola or trail mix.
*Some traditional Chinese soups call for Goji Berry (remember it may also be called wolfberry).

Sources:

A 2 Z of Health, Beauty and Fitness; The Health Benefits of Wolfberries; Dr Paul Gross http://health.learninginfo.org/wolfberries.htm

Buddy Slim; Calories in Dried Goji Berry (EatRaw) http://www.calories-nutrition.buddyslim.com/dried-goji-berries-eatraw/

Chet Day’s Health amp; Beyond Online; Goji: A Friendly Skeptic Looks at Goji Juice; Dr Ralph Moss http://chetday.com/gojijuice.htm

Eco-USA.net; Selenium http://www.eco-usa.net/toxics/chemicals/selenium.shtml

Garden Guides; What are the Dangers of Goji Berries?; Lauren Wise http://www.gardenguides.com/90564-dangers-goji-berries.html

Phytochemicals; Wolfberry http://www.phytochemicals.info/plants/wolfberry.php

WebMD; Goji Berries: Health Benefits and Side Effects http://www.webmd.com/balance/goji-berries-health-benefits-and-side-effects

Boomers, Health Nuts, and Medical Insurance

Having been fortunate enough to have gravitated toward a group of older friends, I have long been privy to the fact of the medical insurance crisis this country is now encountering.

In younger days, the thought of old age isn’t usually in the forefront. But these older friends knew what would be happening up the road with the boomer generation.

Younger by about ten years, I got into an obsession about these folks, because they were fascinating and because of other reasons I couldn’t explain.

But they knew what would be happening up the road because it was rather obvious. Yet hardly anyone was thinking about the future of medical insurance at the time. In those days the economy was great.

Fortunate to know and learn from these people, I discovered healthy living, and a philosophy that embraced caring for the body, mind, and soul.

The one thing that everyone knew about our future was that the population swelled when we were born. The rest of the story was apparent. There were too many of us, and this would eventually reflect in the current medical insurance predicament.

The Health Nut Era

It was a time when taking vitamin supplements and practicing yoga came into vogue with certain members of our generation. Everyone in our group knew that once we got older there would be a medical insurance dilemma since we were so plentiful, and would be aging en mass.

At the same time, it was a taboo to be interested in taking care of your own health. The medical profession held domination on society as the space age loomed in the skies. Science was a god, though medical science hadn’t included nutrition in the overall health picture.

Anyone advocating self help in those days was often disparagingly ridiculed as a health nut.

As it were, we have come to the proving point of the health nut extremists. The boomer generation begins in the late forties and goes on through 1964. It’s almost divided into two parts with a thinning in the middle.

Now, the younger part of this generation can look to taking care of the elders as a main vocational pursuit.

The Medicare system is in the state of shock. On one hand, these people who had decided to advocate for self health care, do happen to be healthier statistically compared to generations past. Now, the medical insurance management is hoping to rely on this factor.

So, the knowledge of what was logically foreseeable led to the best preparation for old age, independent of government, or medical insurance statistics.

Senior citizens might be seen jogging down the road or on a beach. Active senior communities host tennis courts and are filled with silvery haired competitors.

Government and medical insurance statisticians are encouraging former health nuts to continue these self help methods of prevention. They are also encouraging the older generation to find a work niche, so they can continue working through their elderly years.

Statistic ref

PBS. org

Prenatal Diet for Good Nutrition During Pregnancy

One of the first things you can do to insure the health of your unborn baby is to learn all you can about proper prenatal diet. Good nutrition is vital when it comes to properly developing human tissue and to help prevent pregnancy complications. Many women question what foods are safe during pregnnacy and which foods will provide the best nutrition for a growing fetus and the needs of a pregnant body. Many magazines and websites address the questions pregnant women have about the prenatal diet.

NaturalBirthandBabyCare.com

This is an excellent website for pregnant women to explore the pregnancy diet. The site explores the needs of the pregnant body, the role of good nutrition and specifically what foods are important to include in the pregnancy diet and the benefits they provide. Pregnant women can learn about the importance of iron in the pregnancy diet, how to avoid constipation and why it is necessary to include protein, fat and the proper amount of calories in your prenatal diet.

Healthcastle.com

This website explains the important ingredients of a pregnancy diet such as why the diet needs to address the need for folic acid in the prenatal diet. It also talks about receiving enough iron, and why calcium and vitamin D are also important parts of a healthy prenatal diet. The section that I found most interesting was the one on dietary cautions during pregnancy. Every pregnant woman needs to know not only which foods are good to eat but what foods should be avoided while pregnant. This website explains about artificial sweeteners, seafood, caffein and herbal teas and why pregnant women should take caution around these dietary items.

Baby Magazine

There is a section in the magazine and on the website that addresses the issues concerning prenatal diet. Pregnant women can discover a healthy eating plan that includes pregnancy weight guidelines and it also discusses the topic of pregnancy cravings. I found a section on Food Safety 101 that discusses eating fish while pregnant and gives readers 5 tips for safer pregnancy eating.

FitPregnancy Magazine and FitPregnancy.com

FitPregnancy is my go-to magazine for pregnancy information. As a mom and writer on the topic of pregnancy I look for sources of high quality that contain information of relavancy to the topic of prenancy. FitPregnancy contains many topics important to pregnant women including and excellent section on pregnancy nutrition. Currently pregant women can find topics being discussed about pregnancy super foods, soy safety, the prenatal diet, and the top 10 nutrition blunders made by pregnant women.

Nutrition During Pregnancy Resource List

The Food and Nutrition Information Center of Beltsville, MD has a Nutrition During Pregnancy Resource List that they put out in September of 2010. It includes books, pamphlets, booklets, brochures, fact sheets, and websites that contain information about prenatal diet and pregnancy nutrition. This resource is available by pdf located HERE. The list includes a description of each resource, author and when appropriate the website to find the resource. You will find information and resources about food safety, general pregnancy, fitness tips, as well as diabetes and pregnancy.

The prenatal diet and proper nutrition during pregnancy are important for the good health of the baby and for the pregnant mom. Many health issues are directly related to diet which makes it vital that women understand just how important it is to get the facts about what makes up a proper prenatal diet. Women are finding the benefits of seeking out proper diet before conceiving to help insure the health of their future child. Good prenatal diet resources are available through prenancy magazines, and pregnancy websites.

How to Eat More Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Lower Heart Disease and Protect Against Cancer, Dementia and Depression

Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to be prevent heart disease, stroke, depression, arthritis and cancer. With new studies all the time showing those who eat food containing Omega-3 on a regular basis often have lower incidences of these diseases, and others, it’s no wonder the Japanese who eat foods containing more Omega-3 than any other nationality on the planet also have the lowest incidence of any of these diseases. If you’re trying to improve your health and want to increase your intake of Omega-3 fatty acids, here are the foods you can eat to do so.

Fish – Of course, the first food you should eat if you want to increase the amount of Omega-3 you eat is fish. Loaded with DHA and EPA, forms of Omega-3 fatty acids, eating fish will automatically increase your Omega-3 intake.

Eat tuna (make tuna sandwiches, add to a salad, eat tuna grilled on the barbie, or a tuna steak with a nice side salad), salmon (salmon steaks, salmon sandwiches, salmon on sushi), anchovies (awesome on pizzas and on wholewheat bread with a boatload of veggies and some sesame salad dressing) or sardines (wonderful on wholewheat bread with a scraping of butter).

Oily fish gives you a good dose of Omega-3 fatty acids and, with so many ways to cook and eat it, it’s versatile too.

Eggs – Weirdly, some people still think eggs are unhealthy. They’re not. In fact, all the negative news about ‘bad cholesterol’ from the 1980s and 1990s has now been disproved, now we know eggs actually have the ‘good cholesterol’.

Eat eggs as omelettes, fried eggs on bread, boiled eggs chopped up on a green salad, or eggs in an egg salad sandwich. Add some paprika to give your eggs a bit of spice, or Italian herbs and some low-fat cheese before you whip up that omelette.

Of course, you can also buy Omega-3 eggs, which have a higher Omega-3 content than your regular egg. Some people say they taste fishy. Personally, I don’t taste any difference but, with a much higher amount of Omega-3 in them, if they taste alright, why not.

Cheese and Milk – If, like me, you’re a dairy products fan, you’ll be happy to know cheese and milk contain high levels of Omega-3.

Drink a glass of milk, whip it up with eggs in an omelette or pancakes, make a milk shake with some yoghurt and fruit, or make your own homemade ice cream.

As for cheese, a grilled cheese sandwich hits the spot, as does cheese on toast, cheese in an omelette (along with milk and eggs, the perfect Omega-3 food), cheese grated onto a salad or onto of a wholewheat pizza and, of course, cheese on a stick with pineapple.

Walnuts – This delicious nut is also a great source of Omega-3. With walnuts, you can just nibble at a handful or, better yet, slice them into small pieces and add on top of a dark green salad. They’re also wonderful on the top of ice cream, added into cookies or chocolate cake, and don’t forget walnuts go great with a couple of slices of cheese and some crackers.

Getting more Omega-3 in your diet isn’t difficult. Just choose the foods you like and that are healthy and make sure you eat them 3-5 times a week.

More Information:

Omega-3 Health Benefits – WebMD

Health Benefits of Coffee

Is coffee good for you or bad for you? It seems that as soon as ample coffee drinking gets the OK, it gets shut down as being an unhealthy beverage to consume. Well, rest assured- in moderate doses coffee has a lot of healthy benefits to the body. Here are some great health benefits of coffee.

The caffeine in coffee not only increases mental clarity and wakes you up in the morning, it’s also great to help with a workout or other athletic activities. The caffeine in coffee gives a boost of energy to allow you to stay physical alert and able longer than without coffee. A study done in Korea at the Institute for Elderly Health in Seoul had participants ride stationary bikes until they were too tired to ride anymore. After exhausting themselves, the participants were each given a large Starbucks coffee, and placed back on the stationary bikes, where they were able to ride much longer the second go-round than the first without the caffeine.

Coffee helps asthma sufferers. According to a report in the Annals of Epidemiology showed that asthma sufferers who drank coffee daily had 29% reduced asthma symptoms than asthma sufferers who didn’t drink coffee at all. Coffee opens up the bronchial tubes, so it is beneficial for colds and flu as well, when the bronchial tubes are narrowed due to inflammation and mucous.

It’s no wonder that many pain relievers contain caffeine to make them more effective. The caffeine in coffee blocks the body’s ability for pain perception, elevates mood, and also acts as a pain reliever by reducing the inflammation in irritated nerves. So drinking coffee for a headache is actually a pain reliever. Drinking coffee with a pain reliever is even better.

So, coffee isn’t all bad, right? Sure, it makes you jittery if you have too much, and it makes you pee a lot, but hey- the next time you get all wired on coffee, take a jog. I bet you run longer than you ever thought you could.

Source:

The 55 Best Herbal Remedies

Promoting Sound Sleep for Good Health

If you are like the average person, you find yourself inundated with endless amounts of information that stress the importance of maintaining your health and well-being by eating nutritional foods and following a healthy lifestyle. Certainly, none of us could argue with that. But, did you know that staying in good health also means developing and maintaining healthy sleep habits? With today’s hectic lifestyle getting a good night’s rest can be an enormous challenge, but also a real necessity. Without the proper rest, the body is going to suffer. Millions of people are experiencing mild to severe health consequences — from chronic headaches to morbid obesity — simply, because they are not receiving adequate sleep. Here are a few things you can do with little effort to help promote sound sleep and keep your body functioning at an optimum level.

Engage in some form of moderate exercise every day.

Exercise does more than keep our hearts healthy and our bodies looking fit. It also helps us to relax and unwind after a long, stressful day. Our bodies were made to move, so it’s important to exercise moderately for at least 30 minutes every day. If you don’t have the time to perform an entire exercise routine, you can incorporate the activities you already do each day, like walking. Whenever time or weather permits, choose an activity you love doing, such as bicycle riding, rollerblading, or kayaking or hiking.

Add some nutmeg to a cup of tea or warm milk.

Nutmeg is a spice used essentially in baking, but it can also provide soothing benefits for the mind and body at the end of a busy day. When used in moderation, nutmeg can help you relax and drift off into a deep, sound sleep. Add about ½ a teaspoon to a cup of hot tea (preferably, decaffeinated) or some warm milk. If desired, sweeten with a little sugar or honey.

Close all window shades, blinds and curtains to block out as much light as possible.

Bright lights from the street, buildings, other apartments, and even your own living space can be a huge hindrance to getting a good night’s rest. To make sure you are not disturbed by lights from the outside, close all bedroom shades and those in adjacent rooms which have a direct impact on your sleeping area. Keep lights in your apartment or home off at night, except for an occasional night light, especially if children or older persons are present in the home.

Avoid reading, watching TV, or doing other activities which require mental concentration just before going to bed.

Nothing keeps you awake more than performing activities which require focus and concentration right before bedtime. Our minds are constantly bombarded with news, conversation, problems to solve and tasks to complete for 12-14 hours a day. It’s only natural to need time and the right atmosphere to unwind from all the stimulation we’ve been surrounded by throughout the day, and to prepare our bodies for sleep. Sleep comes more naturally and more readily when our minds have had a chance to de-clutter and let go of all the information we’ve absorbed during our waking hours. So, it’s best to turn off the television and put the book down at least 30 minutes before preparing for bed. Your body will thank you for it in the morning.

Modified Citrus Pectin: Risks Associated with Managing Colon Health

Healthcare demands are expected to rise as we age and often the conditions we seek treatment for are conditions we can naturally treat at home. If you are about to enter into the retirement phase of your life, and if you are looking for ways to minimize your healthcare costs, you may be inclined to utilize natural supplements including the use of pectin for colon health. Before doing so, however, it is important to know what risks are associated with modified citrus pectin supplements.

Natural supplements, such as modified citrus pectin, can be purchases without a prescription through many alternative medicine, vitamin, or naturopath shops. Because these types of supplements do not require a prescription, they are typically not controlled by the FDA so claims about their health benefits may not be substantiated. With modified citrus pectin, the supplement is often touted as a way for older adults to maintain good colon health without the need for colon cleansing therapy.

While these claims about modified citrus pectin may be true, there are also health risks associated with using this natural fruit supplement. In older adults who have a cholesterol complication, and who utilize cholesterol-managing drugs, the use of modified citrus pectin may actually decrease the absorption of your medication – resulting in poor cholesterol management.

In addition to cholesterol drug complications, if you are suffering from any type of metabolic disorder or nutritional deficiency, modified citrus pectin may further complicate these conditions. Because pectin decreases the absorption of minerals, including zinc, iron, and calcium, your health may be adversely affected by using this natural supplement for colon health.

Before starting any natural supplementation regimen, it is important to speak with your physician about the risks and benefits. If you are looking for a more natural way to manage your colon health, and keep healthcare costs down later in life, your doctor may be able to provide other options that will not have the same risks as modified citrus pectin.

Sources: The Seven Pillars of Health, by Don Colbert

Signs of Depression

Depression isn’t always as easy to recognize as one might think. Sometimes it is circumstances that bring on depression. Perhaps the loss of a job, a major move, stress, death of a loved one, marital or relationship problems or even health conditions can wreck havoc on ones mental state. When do you decide it is just a phase or something more?

Do you find yourself feeling out of sorts? Has your routine changed? You know, you get up everyday make your bed, eat breakfast, perhaps run a few errands before lunch, but now, your bed is unmade and the breakfast you would have eaten, is now a donut while you lay on the couch and watch television. You can’t seem to find the interest you once had in much of anything. In general, your life revolves around much of nothing. It isn’t just one thing, it’s everything. You can’t put your finger on it and when asked what is wrong, you can’t say.

Do your friends or family mention any differences in your behavior? Perhaps your spouse has noticed a decrease in sex drive? These are signs of depression. They can come on slowly or hit you all at once. It isn’t always like it is in the movies, when they show someone curled up in a ball in a dark room, constantly thinking of suicide. Depression can sneak up on you and you never saw it coming. We all want to think of ourselves as strong and that it could never happen to us, but it does. Thoughts of suicide is the huge red flag some people get with depression, but it can be much more subtle things are signs also.

Recognizing there is a problem is the first step to obtaining help. Some things can be overcome, obtaining a new job after losing one, a new relationship might snap you out of it. But, not all solutions are so simple. Of course, there are health conditions that can cause depression also, such as, diabetes, or perhaps a thyroid condition which can cause hormonal imbalances. It can be as simple as, a change in medication or a new medication you have started taking. Whatever the cause, treatment should be sought.

Depression doesn’t have to take over your life. Recognizing the signs is great beginning to overcoming the problem. Talk with your health care provider if you have one. If not, seek help from a family member or close friend. There are many places in the phone book listed under mental health, that are willing to help also.

Depression is something that does not always go away by itself. Never be ashamed to ask for help. Remember, you are not the first person to have depression and you won’t be the last. Get yourself on the road to better health today.