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Spring Clean Your Diet

Spring Clean Your Diet

Spring is ripe with a variety of healthy vegetables and fruits; many boast impressive nutrient profiles. Take some time to spring clean your diet. According to many health experts eating food plans, that include the following, as your food/fuel, can ease symptoms of chronic disease and inflammation in our bodies.  Food is literally our fuel. Eat better for a strong, long-term immune boost.

  • Broccoli and Cauliflower have vitamins A, C and E that increase needed antioxidants.
  • Eggplant and dark berries have anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant with anti-viral benefits.
  • Leafy greens are all lutein loaded for anti-inflammatory help.
  • Oranges, mangos and strawberries have vitamin that will boost white cell production.
  • Onions and garlic have allium sulfur compounds that fight germs.
  • Pumpkin, sweet potatoes and carrots have beta-carotene to increase immune cell activity.
  • Red Peppers have both beta-carotene and vitamin C.
  • Finally, Yes.  Red Wine has catechin which supports antioxidant activity.

So, spring clean your diet over the next few weeks, include, as many of these foods, as you daily fuel.  See how much better you feel. Go for small and yummy victories, every day.

Little Thing-Big Impact

Little Thing-Big Impact

Small things, big impact. Nutrition and other lifestyle measures influence immune strength and susceptibility to infectious diseases.  Now, more than ever, there is every reason to put what we do know about foods and immune defenses to use. While we have been such good hand washer, anti-bacterial wipers and door knob cleaners our immune system has had nothing to do. Start to power you up!

Sunflower seeds are a rich source of vitamin E and nutrients. The small crunchy seeds contain selenium which helps to body fight certain type of cancer and helps to build your immunity. The antioxidant and vitamin E in the sunflower seeds fight free radicals and are even good for your skin. Add it in your salad or oatmeal.

Pumpkin seeds, with zinc, iron and Vitamin D are good for boosting the immune function. Pumpkin seeds also have anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. It helps in cell growth, improves your mood and is even better for quality sleep. Sprinkle some pumpkin seeds on your salad to reap its amazing health benefits.

The small chia seeds are rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, which is beneficial for enhancing immunity. It also reduces inflammation and regulates inflammatory responses in the body. You can make chia seeds pudding to increase your intake.

Cinnamon has also been used for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. It fights inflammation, ward of infection and heals damaged tissues. Cinnamon is high in immune-boosting antioxidants, have anti-diabetic effects and even help to cut the risk of heart disease.

Ginger is an antimicrobial, antibiotic, and anti-inflammatory compound. It is effective in soothing sore throat, dispel nausea and intestinal gas. Due to its high antioxidant content ginger can enhance the immune response system. You can have ginger tea or ginger shot to increase the intake of the herb in your diet. You can also add finely chopped ginger in your food while preparing the meal.

Turmeric, bright yellow-spice is common in Indian cuisine as well as treating numerous health ailments. Curcumin, which is the main compound of turmeric has immunity-boosting potential. The compound activates white blood cells in the body, which in turn enhances its an antibody response

Including these in your diet may help give the immune system the boost it is looking for right now. The immune system relies on white blood cells that produce antibodies to combat bacteria, viruses, and other invaders. Feed them

Vitamins, Minerals, and Antioxidants

Studies have shown that fruits and vegetables provide nutrients—like beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E—that can boost immune function. Because many vegetables, fruits, and other plant-based foods are also rich in antioxidants, they help reduce oxidative stress.

Beta-Carotene: Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce inflammation and boost immune function by increasing disease-fighting cells in the body. Excellent sources include sweet potatoes, carrots, and green leafy vegetables.

Vitamins C and E: Vitamins C and E are antioxidants that help to destroy free radicals and support the body’s natural immune response. Sources of vitamin C include red peppers, oranges, strawberries, broccoli, mangoes, lemons, and other fruits and vegetables. Vitamin E sources include nuts, seeds, spinach, and broccoli.

Vitamin D: Research shows vitamin D supplementation may reduce the risk for viral infections, including respiratory tract infections, by reducing production of proinflammatory compounds in the body. Increased vitamin D in the blood has been linked to prevention of other chronic diseases including tuberculosis, hepatitis, and cardiovascular disease. Food sources of vitamin D include fortified cereals and plant-based milks and supplements.7

Zinc: Zinc is a mineral that can help boost white blood cells, which defend against invaders. Sources include nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, beans, and lentils.

Sleep

Our bodies need sleep to rest and recharge. Without a sufficient amount of sleep, we increase our risk for developing serious health problems—like heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and obesity. Inadequate sleep has also been linked to suppressed immune function.

Need help falling asleep? Try adding the seeds, healthful fruits, vegetables, grains to your immune boosting diet.

5 Easy Steps to Keep Meds Straight

5 Easy Steps to Keep Meds Straight

Consumer Reports study findings of 2000 seniors over 65 take on average 5-10 prescription medications per day. In addition, seasonal and temporary prescriptions are added. These number to do not include the over-the-counter medications. Missed and mixed-up medications are a serious and expensive issue in healthcare today.

What can you do to be safe, keep medications in order and receive the benefits that each medication is meant to give?

  1. Write them down. Keeping a good log of ALL your medications, prescriptions and over-the -counter can be life-saving. All medications do not mix. Update with each new over-the-counter or prescription.
  2. Determine brand or generic.  These may not look alikeand be labeled differently. Understanding and recognition are vital to safe medicinal care.
  3. Bring List to Pharmacist. Bring a list of everything you take. Ask the pharmacist to review and see what medications may be cross indicated, which should be taken or not taken  at certain times or alone. Write the answers down. Most of us are seeing multiple physicians. Each ordering medications. A pharmacist will pick up on any redundancies or contraindications.
  4. Take a photo. When you get your list done put a pill, as an example on the paper and take a picture.
  5. Tap Pillbox Power.  Many pills look very similar. When you are loading your meds into divided, daily, morning, midday and night medications you can easily refer to you photo.

Follow all these strategies for better and safer self-care.

7 Steps to a Happy Gut

7 Steps to a Happy Gut

Digestive problems are some of the most common complaints to physicians. Research says that 80% of patients will benefit from some sort of diet intervention. These seven strategies for what, when and how you eat can keep your gastrointestinal tract in good running order.

  1. Increase your fiber. At least 30 grams of fiber is recommended. Look for fiber rich foods fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
  2. Drink Water. 8 cups a day of water is best guide. Your juice, soda or milk should be additional. “The pinch” skin test: pinch your skin on the top of your arm, 3 inches above the wrist. If it just moseys back into place…… ya need more water.
  3. Go Mediterranean. Our digestive systems are already full of healthy bacteria that aid in digestion. A Mediterranean diet of fruits, vegetables whole grains, olive oil, nuts & fish supplies fiber to feed that good bacteria.
  4. Eat on schedule. Our digestives systems prefer routine.  Eating routine sets when the digestives system works and when it rests. Constant grazing is gut confusing. 3 timed meal in daytime is preferred. No food after 8pm allow the digestive track, time to do its job, allowing good evacuation in the morning.
  5. Slow down. Digestion begins in the mouth. Thorough chewing sets the stage for the rest of the process. Eating quickly or gulping down food allows for swallowing air leading to gas and bloating.
  6. Check your supplements.  If you take an antibiotic, you should always take an over-the-counter probiotic. Some vitamins have iron causing constipation. Magnesium in over-the-counter meds can cause diarrhea. Check for sorbitol or mannitol (sugar alcohols) as they cause gas and bloating.
  7. Drink more water.
Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness

As we begin to peek out of the pandemic, let’s try to refabricate our lives.  Random acts of kindness will give your spirit a healthy boost!  Studies show that acts of kindness create an emotional warmth, reduces blood pressure, increases oxytocin which is known as a “cardioprotective” hormone. It is proven that when you are kind to others, you feel good as a person. Do random acts of kindness for others and reap the benefits for your heart, reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure, and simply be a happier human being. Who doesn’t need that these days? Random acts of kindness are contagious…………you’ll see!

  • Smile and make eye contact with people
  • When you’re driving, let someone merge into your lane.
  • Surprise a friend with a visit to Starbucks, your treat!
  • Share your strengths in a group or on a committee.
  • Offer to stay late and help clean up after a get together. 
  • Smile and make eye contact with people.
  • Leave an extra big tip, if you go out to dine.
  • Offer to go with a friend to a doctor’s visit.
  • Be extra nice to a person having a bad day.
  • Let someone go ahead of you in line. 
  • Call or send a written letter to someone you miss. 
  • Volunteer to run an errand for a busy neighbor.
  • Drive a friend to the airport.
  • Share your food with neighbors
  • Smile and make eye contact with people
  • Give a genuine compliment to someone…. every day!

Help your heart and soul by doing random act of kindness, every day.   Radom act of kindness are Contagious!  You get extra credit if no one guesses it was you. A Smile cost nothing but the rewards can be great.

Brain Gains…7 Steps

Brain Gains…7 Steps

  1. Step it up, physical exercise helps prevent illnesses that can lead to memory loss by releasing proteins needed by the brain for healthy functioning cells.
  2. Try a Mediterranean diet that has shown a decrease in memory problems, as it is primarily fruits, vegetables, and fish and uses good extra virgin olive oil. Remember lo-fat protein is the brain’s fuel= 50 grams a day for adults. Measure for success!
  3. Engage your brain with new, different mentally challenging activities each day to keep your mind sharper. Try doing as much as you can, every day with your non-dominant hand. Fire up the unused side of your brain.
  4. Stay social, get engaged in your life. Studies prove that the more social connections someone has in their life the better they are at enhancing and preserving mental acuity. So, get yourself back out there and call an old friend, invite friends that have been vaccinated over to dinner, and take a walk with a friend. Smile and wave at everyone!
  5. Sleep better. Poor sleep causes lower concentration and ability to focus.  Here are few ways to help: no food intake later than 8:00pm, restrict caffeine after mid-afternoon, no alcohol 3 hours prior to bedtime and get into and out of bed on a schedule.
  6. Lower your stress. High levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, prevents the brain from moving data out of the “memory bank”. Get out of the metal rocking chair by not replaying the same messages.  Learn your “tricks” to lower stress: taking a walk, yoga, meditation, massage. Lower your resentments and you will lower your stress.
  7. STOP smoking. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor and may cause small strokes in the brain, so keep looking into all available quitting solutions until you find one that works.

Now give yourself a Hi-Five when you try them all!

6 Benefits to Timing Your Meals

6 Benefits to Timing Your Meals

How often have we heard the phrase “timing is everything”? It has long been understood that what and how you eat affects your overall health. Recent research has been focusing on when you eat. The new term is metabolic switching, which is when the body goes into “fasting mode” and begins using body fat, as fuel. Metabolic switching or intermittent fasting, as it is sometimes called, slows the body’s use of insulin. Metabolic switching signals the body to activate maintenance and repairs systems, which helps with disease prevention. Can we try to “breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper”

Eat breakfast within 2 hours of waking. You have slept off your night’s melatonin, allowing your insulin to take over your metabolism. Research suggests a breakfast including protein (30 grams), high fiber like oatmeal, low sugar may help control appetite and satiety to support weight control.

Sweets before 3:00 pm. It is proven that the body best processes carbohydrates and sugars in the morning  only until early afternoon. Keep sweets off an empty stomach, always eat with a meal of protein and fats. So, blueberry muffin for breakfast add a hard-boiled egg and fresh fruit.

Dial back on Dinner Hour. The evening meal should be finished before 8:00 pm.  As bedtime approaches your melatonin increases and insulin output declines. That means your blood sugar climbs and insulin is diminished, so the body cannot clear the sugars efficiently.

Slim down your supper. Your dinner should supply no more than 30% of your daily calories. Best way is to make dinner the healthiest meal of the day: vegetables, salads, fruits and high fiber. When you begin to make evening your healthiest meal it allows your earlier meals to process best, when your body (insulin supply) is primed for food processing.

Phase out evening snacks. No evening snacking allows us to decease our insulin resistance. Allowing our high glycemic resistance to happen, when it is needed most during the daytime hours.

Set your eating schedule. Maintaining regular meal times will promote better metabolism and heart health. If you limit your eating to 10-hour time frame a day, you can lose weight, have more energy and sleep better at night.

If you get the expected results of better sleep or at least 7 hours of sleep a night, by cutting down on when and what you eat after 3:00 pm you will feel healthier.  When your circadian rhythm is in swing the world and your life in it, are better.

9 Tips to Charge Your Immune System

9 Tips to Charge Your Immune System

Coming out of a year’s quarantine, we all have the immune system of a 3-month-old baby.  No fighting skills at all.  Now, that many of us have been vaccinated, we are venturing out into the world at large.  Visiting friends, family, playing golf, tennis, doing water aerobics, all good for us. Remember to reengage your immune system, daily.  Build it back up, so any germs we encounter out there will be quickly dispatched.

                                    9 Tips To Charge Your Immune System

The following are suggestions for being a better you ………. every day!

  • Get vaccinated.
  • Work up a sweat: like brisk walking helps immune system fight respiratory viruses.
  • Get enough sleep: If you get less than 6 hours of sleep you are 4 times more likely to get sick.
  • Clean Up your diet: Eat a daily diet rich in lo-fat protein, fruits, veggies, whole grains, EVOO. Limit sugar (read labels: sugar is in almost everything.)
  • Load up on Vitamin D: Sunshine (remember sunscreen).
  • Take all prescription medication as prescribed.
  • Keep check on alcohol consumptions, as alcohol prevents your immune system doing its job.
  • Don’t Smoke… Period
  • Practice a Hobby: Learn something new every day. Try and learn to do one thing a day with your non dominant hand.  Research has proved that mind stimulating activities increase levels of cytokines, immune systems protein.

          Try ‘Em ……….Feel better ……….Feel Strong………..Be the Best You!!

Harnessing Stress

Harnessing Stress

In this day and age, we are no stranger to stress. The key isn’t to deny stress, but to recognize and acknowledge it—and then to find an upside. A full-throttle fight-or-flight response is not the only correct reaction to stress, it is just the most common. 2020 has given everyone a more stress-hardy mindset.  We all hunkered down. Remember our stress response, affects our cardiovascular system, immune system, and a general sense of well-being, all have taken a hit over the last year.

While some stress in the local environment appears inevitable, when your body repeatedly encounters a set of physiological changes dubbed the “stress response”, your learned response is key. Stress may contribute to or exacerbate various health problems. However, stress can also help you identify your stress warning signs and teach you how to better manage stressful situations on a daily basis.

One modification to the stress response is called tend-and-befriend: people need to reach out to friends and relatives in the community—to assure themselves that loved ones were alright, to comfort the distressed or bereaved, and to shore up social networks.

Learn to connect in new ways, will actually help reduce stress. That’s because tend-and-befriend also involves different balances of hormones—in particular, increased levels of oxytocin. It makes the brain’s reward centers more responsive to social contact, and it is an important part of resilience. Figuring this out within the new “social distancing” guidelines is the trick.

Dialing back from full-on fight-or-flight can be simply a matter of changing your mindset.  Whatever you’re doing, don’t pretend that stress doesn’t exist. People who deny it tend to isolate themselves and reinforce their fears. Fear is often described as False Expectations Appearing Real. Instead, you can recognize why you’re experiencing this stress and look for all the positive aspects and adapt to it. Are you learning something from it? Are you gaining strength? Are you connecting with people on a different level? Do you feel more intensely alive?

Be aware of all you CAN DO? When you notice a racing heart. First, pause and realize that your body is trying to give you more energy and see if you can capitalize on that. Always question “What is in your control”?  Am I able to maintain socially distant behavior while keeping my sense of stress under control?  

Don’t deny the stress, but redirect your energy away from it. Doing some small act of kindness for someone and note the mental reward you reap. Be the one aware and greeting someone without physical contact. Nurture your social network. Care for self and for others. Smile.

Glass 1/2 Full or 1/2 Empty?

Glass 1/2 Full or 1/2 Empty?

As we approach a year of the COVID, perhaps, it is time to check our approach to life.  Is your glass half-full or half-empty? Check your perception and see if it is time to get a smaller glass (fewer expectations)? Control your life by understanding:  what you can do, what you must do, and recognize the gifts that you have gained over the last year.  Yep, we all know and act differently today. Understanding, we are never going back to pre- 2020 “normal” so do advance recon for your new approach.

A definition of crisis is “a difficult or dangerous time in which an immediate solution is needed”. “Crisis” has been written more, spoken more, and read more than any year in memory. Is your daily life a reflection of crisis mode?

Perception is defined as “the state of being or process of becoming aware of something through our senses.” Our perception is 100% accurate to US.  However, our perception of a crisis can be similar to our glass half empty or full concept. If we feel are always running on ½ empty, perhaps it is time to look for a smaller glass.  A smaller glass (less expectation) may be an appropriate way to handle our perception of this year of crisis. The following approach is a guideline to handle a crisis.  See if your perception of what you CAN DO to fill your glass is enough.

Steps to awareness:

Assess. First, take a step back; take a few deep breaths; whatever it takes to restore your calm, so you can think clearly.  Best to STOP the media overload. Fill the glass with a plan and recognition of what is good in your life. See if a smaller glass is what is best for you to be able to control or change your perception of your life just for now.

Engage. Engage all your key persons. Involve your key insiders, so those with a vested interest won’t feel like they were kept out of the loop. Check to see if you have added or lost contact with supportive people in your life?  Be open to all with your concerns.  Fill your glass by seeking solutions from those you trust.

Plan. Once you have a clear picture of what may be a worst-case scenario, plan. You know, if you do get sick what are your plans? Pre-planning enables you to act quickly, confidently, and effectively when the time comes to act. Living a healthy life is 75% preparation and 25% implementation. Make your plan with that in mind. Work on getting vaccinated, until you are then laminate your card.

Act. Take a step back and see if you are being proactive, not reactive–obvious in theory but difficult in practice.  Are you keeping up with your medications, doing what exercise you are able, eating correctly, and getting sleep, as well as connecting with others daily? Objective planning leads to a calm and confident approach.

Communicate. Communicate transparently and honestly. Perception is everything. Staying in touch with others is most important. A call to check on a friend “How are you doing” will benefit both parties.

So, your glass may not be ½ empty, it may be your, perception that is faulty. In this time of perceived on-going crisis, we need to step up our recognition of our perception of our daily lives. Fill your glass each day, with your “CAN DO’S” or reset your perception to a smaller glass to overfill!