Five Healthy Eating Myths

Food myths have been around for centuries. While some have quickly come and gone, others have persisted and can have adverse effects on our health. Preconceived ideas of what is and isn’t healthy can be hard to correct. Based on the most current facts, here are some of the most persistent myths about eating a healthy diet and the truth, if any, behind them.

Myth: Fat-free and low-fat foods are healthier than their full-fat versions.

Truth: Fats are good for you, and the body needs them in order to function at its best capabilities. Fats help you metabolize vitamins, helps with brain functions, producing hormones, and keeps your organs healthy. When choosing meats, less fat is generally better. However, the opposite is true for packaged/processed foods. When fat is removed, companies have to add ingredients, usually sugar, to compensate for taste. You might be getting less fat, but you’re getting much more sugar or salt as a result.

Myth: Eating after 6:00 PM is unhealthy.

Truth: The general rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t eat three hours before you go to bed. Your metabolism slows down later at night and eating close to your bedtime can keep you awake longer. Starving yourself just because it is after a particular time can do more harm and cause health problems. Stick to a regular eating schedule and a healthy lifestyle.

Myth: All organic food is healthy.

Truth: Organic foods are produced with no GMO, pesticides, or additives and are generally exactly the same as food not labeled as organic. The only difference is usually the higher price tag on organic items.

Myth: Carbohydrates should be avoided.

Truth: There are two types of carbohydrates, simple and complex. Simple carbs are found in items that are generally not so healthy such as chocolate, white bread, jam, and sweet drinks. Complex carbs are extremely healthy and are found in foods such as vegetables, grains, beans, and greens. Eating whole grains has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and helps you feel full longer.

Myth: Juices are as beneficial as the fruit themselves.

Truth: Fruit is always going to be more beneficial to your health than juice. Juices have next to no fiber, are much lower in vitamins and nutrients and are usually high in sugars. Always opt for fruit when you have the choice.

First new Drug to Fight the Flu in 20 Years

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Those suffering from the flu have a new option to relieve symptoms after 20 years. Xofluza, is a single dose oral drug that has been approved by the FDA to treat the sickness, this comes after 20 years of prescribing the same prescription to patients. The flu affects thousands of people each year, and having another safe and effective treatment is critical to keep the illness under control. The pill is offered to those who are 12 years and older and have had flu symptoms for no longer than 48 hours. Treating a respiratory illness in this time frame with antiviral drugs can help reduce symptoms and the duration of the illness in someone.

 

After two clinical trials with 1800 patients, doctors were able to prove that taking the drug in the 48-hour time frame eased the symptoms of the the flu in a shorter amount of time than the placebo patients. Although Xofluza eased the symptoms in patients, there were no distinct differences in those who took another flu drug instead. Like many other drugs, there are side effects, the two most common for Xofluza are diarrhea and bronchitis.

 

Xofluza is now available across the U.S for $150 without insurance and as low as $30 with. Although a new drug is in place to help with the treatment of the Flu, Dr. Scott Gottlieb who was in charge of the study urges everyone who has not done so, to get the flu shot, since no treatment is a replacement to the vaccine.

 

It is recommended to receive the vaccine by the end of October of each year. Flu vaccines are available at doctors offices, local pharmacies, and some workplaces. Although imperfect, those who still get the flu after the vaccine are less likely to be hospitalized or die from the illness.

 

Although the new drug has only been present in the health care system for a short period of time, it now has opened doors for other pharmaceutical companies to look into creating another form of Xofluza at a cheaper price, that can be easily distributed to those suffering from the illness.  

Simple Foods to Eat to Boost Your Health

SMOOTHIES & MORE

Being healthy does not have to be complicated. There are so many food regimens trying to outshine each other as the go-to, better diets for ideal health. This can cause one to shy away from making dietary commitments. The good news is there are simple ways to enhance your well-being.

The key is to incorporate more foods that provide a proper balance of specific nutrients, to give your body what it needs. Here are a few simple foods you can add to your diet that will give you a health boost.

Oats.

Indeed a great way to jump-start your day. Oats are packed with minerals like zinc and copper and is the best source of fiber. It helps lower cholesterol and assist greatly in weight loss without leaving you feeling hungry.

Salmon.

Also known as “brain food” because of its high omega-3 fatty acid content, salmon does wonders for reducing depression and boost mood. Also consider this; it’s a good alternative to add variety to your menu and a good substitute for meat, which can provide healthier long term benefits.

Almond.

Almond is a good snacking companion, especially if you are embarking on a fitness journey. It is rich in magnesium and vitamin B, which are essentials for energy and a strong metabolism.

Apple.

The saying “an apple a day” has truth to it. The benefits range from weight loss, lowering diabetes, to even reducing the risk of heart disease. Being rich in antioxidants, it is your trump card to good health.

Kale

Tired of lettuce? Try kale, with it’s energy-boosting attribute. Its richness in amino acids are excellent for mental lift. Kale makes for a great side dish and one of the many greens to consider to increase your veggie intake.

Avocado

The darling of the health conscious, with good reason. Avocado is a great source of magnesium, potassium and vitamins B, C, E and K, a regulator for good bone health and maintenance. It’s also excellent for pregnant women to consume, as its high folate content is important to babies development.

These foods can help make eating healthy more manageable. They are inexpensive and the benefits definitely pay off. Good eating habits, paired with good exercise routines and proper hydration will yield favorable results for optimum health. Cheers.

 

Do I have a Cold or is it the Flu?

Do I Have a Cold or is it the Flu_

Fall is here and with the change in weather comes the start of cold and flu season. The common cold and the flu both share some of the same symptoms that make it hard to tell which one you’re coming down with.

Both the flu and a cold are viral infections spread through coming in contact with germs from someone already infected. A cold and the flu both develop in stages where certain symptoms start to emerge as the infection develops in your body.

Common cold symptoms

The cold usually starts off with a sore throat which goes away within a day or two. A runny nose, congestion, a cough, and nasal symptoms appear by the fourth or fifth day of feeling under the weather. A runny nose will also start within the first few days and as the cold progresses, the mucus will become thicker and darker. While a fever isn’t common with a cold in adults, children will sometimes run a low to mild fever for a day or two.

Flu symptoms

Symptoms for the flu are much more severe than the symptoms of a cold. You can come down with the flu within a couple days of coming into contact with the virus. The symptoms usually come on quickly and are much more severe than the symptoms of a common cold. Within the first couple days of coming into contact with the virus, you will start to develop a sore throat, fever, headache, muscle aches and soreness, congestion, and a cough.

Most flu symptoms start to improve over the course of 2 – 5 days, but it is not uncommon for the flu to leave someone feeling run down for longer periods of time.

Is it a cold or the flu?

One of the best ways to determine if it’s a cold or the flu is to check your temperature. While the flu mimics a cold, the flu will also come with a fever above 100 degrees. You will also feel completely miserable and have body and muscle aches as well. The common cold rarely comes with a fever above 100 degrees and while you will be tired and a little run down, you will still have enough energy to go about your day.

Remember, a cold or the flu are spread through direct contact with surfaces where cold or flu germs have been spread. This happens through sneezing or coughing. Person-to-person transmission can also happen when someone touches their nose or mouth and then touches someone or something else.

Cold and flu germs can live up to 24 hours on any hard surface. Make sure you are washing your hands and not touching your mouth, eyes, and nose during cold and flu season. Not only will this keep germs from spreading, but it will help keep you healthy too!

Benefits of Visiting Urgent Care Facilities

When people aren’t feeling well, they may think that they have two options: wait days to get an appointment at their doctor’s office or rush to the emergency room for a condition that might not actually be an emergency. However, a third choice exists: they can go to urgent care facilities. While this may not be the ideal situation, urgent care facilities are accessible and beneficial in a number of circumstances.

Reduce Waiting Time

While urgent care facilities may still have a waiting period, a decision to visit such a practice is likely going to save time overall. When visiting the emergency room, patients often have to wait for hours before they are seen, especially if their situation is not high priority. Waiting to see a primary care physician may result in the individual’s condition worsening.

Meet Qualified Doctors

When individuals think of urgent care facilities, they may imagine doctors who aren’t able to get a job anywhere else. However, as urgent care facilities have improved, this thought is not necessarily representative of reality. Patients at such facilities still meet with real doctors and receive a diagnosis just as they would at their physician’s office. They may be asked to follow up with their primary care specialists in order to fully evaluate the situation in terms of their long-term health, but the physicians at urgent care facilities are capable of diagnosing and treating patients.

Sooner Recovery

One of the major benefits of going to an urgent care facility is that patients can start to feel better sooner than they would if they had to wait for an appointment or to see a doctor in the emergency room. Urgent care facilities are able to assist with a number of issues. For example, if an injury has occurred, the doctors there might provide a recommendation or a referral for a physical therapist. When patients are dealing with illnesses, the doctors at urgent care facilities can write prescriptions. People sometimes have the misconception that going to an urgent care facility is not going to bring about a resolution, but that is not the case.

 

Urgent care facilities have a host of benefits to offer. Additionally, interested parties can sometimes even schedule appointments so that they don’t have to wait long in the office at all. Taking advantage of this type of practice can seriously help people who are suffering and either can’t meet with their doctors or don’t want to go to the emergency room.

 

When To Go To Urgent Care

Many people struggle to decide whether they should go to the urgent care facility or the emergency room. Both of these centers are designed to treat medical problems quickly. However, there is a difference between the type of care that you can get an emergency room and the type of care that you can get an urgent care facility.

When to go to the Emergency Room

You should pay attention to the symptoms that you are experiencing. If you have any of the following symptoms, then you should go to the emergency room.

  • A severe headache
  • Any type of severe pain
  • Chest pain
  • Breathing problems
  • Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy
  • A newborn baby with a fever
  • Severe heart palpitations
  • Seizures
  • Suicidal thoughts

If you suspect that there is a medical emergency, then you will need to call 911. Paramedics can start treatment for emergency medical problems, such as severe bleeding or heart attack before you get to the hospital.

When to go to Urgent Care

Urgent care is not the same as emergency care. However, there are many conditions that can be treated at an urgent care center. Many people go to the emergency room when their doctor’s office is closed because they do not think that they have another option. If you have any of the following symptoms, then you can go to an urgent care center.

  • Fever without a rash
  • Diarrhea
  • A sore throat
  • Shallow cut
  • Sprain or strains
  • Ear infection

It is important to remember that an urgent care center is not a substitution for your primary care doctor. Your primary care doctor is the one who knows your medical history. However, an urgent care center is a great place to go if you cannot see your primary care doctor.

Be Prepared

You will need to be prepared no matter whether you decide to go to an emergency room or an urgent care center. You will need to have a list of all of the medications that you or your loved ones take. You should also keep a list of your allergies and medical procedures that you have had.

Signs, Symptoms, and Solutions: Lyme Disease

What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness caused by four main species of bacteria. The disease is transmitted by the bite of an infected deer tick. Each year, approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to the CDC. However, research suggests that around 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year.

Prevention
The best way to prevent getting infected with Lyme disease is to wooded, bushy areas with long grass. Other ways to prevent Lyme disease include:

  • Cover exposed skin when spending time in wooded or grassy areas
  • Use an insect repellent with a DEET concentration of 20 percent or higher
  • Check for ticks after spending time outdoors
  • Remove ticks as soon as possible with a pair of tweezers and apply antiseptic to the bite area

Signs
Signs of Lyme disease vary case by case and usually appear in stages. Within a month after being affected, a rash will appear at the spot of the tick bite. The rash, known as erythema migrans, usually forms in a bulls-eye pattern; a clear center with a ring of redness surrounding it. This is typically not a painful or itchy rash. Often, flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills and fatigue accompany the rash.

Symptoms
If Lyme goes untreated, then further symptoms will appear. These can include erythema migrans spreading to other parts of your body; severe joint pain usually localized to knees but can shift to other joints; and neurological problems, such as meningitis, Bell’s palsy, impaired muscle movement, and numbness or weakness in your limbs.

Less common symptoms that develop after several weeks include heart problems, such as an irregular heartbeat, that typically lasts a few days or weeks; eye inflammation; liver inflammation; and severe fatigue.

Solutions
Antibiotics are used to treat Lyme disease. Oral antibiotics are the standard solution for early-stage Lyme disease. If the disease involves your nervous system, a doctor will often recommend intravenous antibiotics for 14-28 days. The sooner treatment begins, the faster and more complete the recovery will be. After treatment, some people still experience some Lyme symptoms, like muscle weakness and fatigue. Known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, the cause of this is unknown and is not helped with further use of antibiotics.

4 Ways to Make Big Impacts on Your Health

When people hear their doctors recommend lifestyle changes, they often envision a complete overhaul of their way of living. Making changes in your life to live healthier doesn’t have to be drastic or immediate. You can take things one step at a time and make changes that won’t force you to sacrifice too much, yet these simple changes can have a long-lasting and positive impact on your health.

  1. Create Positive Morning Habits

You can begin to change your life by choosing healthier habits to employ in your daily morning ritual. Again, you don’t have to completely overhaul your lifestyle. Maybe just add a five minute meditation session or get up 20 minutes early, so you can fit in some yoga. Over time, these practices will become second nature and you won’t even remember a time when you didn’t meditate.

  1. Add More Protein to Your Morning Meal

Another good morning practice is to add more protein to your breakfast. In addition to giving us more energy and improving our mood, a high-protein breakfast can actually help us sleep better in the evenings. The ingestion of proteins will promote the production of serotonin in the brain. In addition to elevating our moods, serotonin also helps the flow of melatonin, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for promoting better sleep.

  1. You’re Not Drinking Enough Water

Most people think they do drink enough water, but you’re probably not drinking as much as you should. Bear in mind that our bodies are 70% water and that water is used to fuel virtually every biological process. It can help dilute sugar, which means your glucose levels will be better regulate, and it can improve blood flow throughout the body. You should be drinking half of your body weight in water each day.

  1. Help Your Body Detox

No, you don’t need to add juice smoothies to your routine. In fact, all you really have to do is stop snacking late at night. The liver begins a regeneration cycle between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. each night, but that process can be inhibited, if your body is digesting snacks at that time. Simply laying off the late night snacks and giving your body time to regenerate can help you live and feel healthier.

If you’re drinking enough water, this shouldn’t be a problem, since you will be getting up to use the bathroom more frequently. At the very least, you should be standing up every few hours to get the blood circulating and the heart pumping a little faster. Just by getting on your feet every few hours, you can reduce your risks of weight gain, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease.

While each of these are minor changes, they can have lasting benefits to your health. As you make them a part of your normal routine, you may feel motivated to make other changes as well. Before you know it, you’ll be living a healthier life.

Tips for Senior Workers Seeking Healthcare Coverage

pexels-photo-220723Selecting health coverage at work can seem tedious and overwhelming, this applies in particular to older members of the workforce.

Mature workers in their 50s and 60s require additional time and space to select the right employer-sponsored health coverage so that they can access the most significant benefits for their individual needs. Out-of-pocket costs are on the rise, as well the average deductible for single coverage.

According to Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust survey, single coverage increased from $1,318 to $1,478 in just a year’s time. There are four steps experts recommend to those who are interested in making smart choices and keeping costs down.

Keep health bills down and maintain the quality of your health care. You can do this by choosing a plan that will support your regular prescription needs and your common medical needs. People tend to require more care as they age, which is why it’s so important that adults 65+ gain access to plans that will help to care for chronic and preexisting conditions known to older Americans. A good tip is to calculate last year’s expenditure, including copayments and co-insurance, as well as estimating non-emergency costs, then deduce how much you’re likely to spend in the months ahead.

Take your time and choose the right plan for you. When deductibles were lower, choosing which insurance plan is the right for you was easier for the public. The climbing costs of deductibles have changed the marketplace, so insurance seekers should feel comfortable with taking the time to choose plans that speak to needs and spending limits. According to the 2016 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey, 58 percent of baby boomers spent less than 30 minutes browsing options during the last open enrollment period. More than that, most seniors (93 percent) of user choose the same benefits as they did the year before, simply because of familiarity.

The issue with continuing with service that doesn’t serve you well is that won’t necessarily translate to you having the best deal. Also, it’s important to note that holding on to the same plan doesn’t necessarily guarantee you access to the same coverage and same doctors. The detailing plans and physicians within a network can change from year to year. It’s a fact that many understand their health plans far less than we believe they do. With that in mind, many don’t have the patience, time, or attention span to truly scour all coverage options, plans, and health savings accounts –but you have to set aside at least an hour or two of your time. Online calculators should narrow options.

Comb through the list of out-of-pocket expenses and compare premiums. National surveys indicated that the premiums for PPOs (Preferred Provider Organizations) were much higher than the high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) sold by large employers, which averaged $84 per month for single coverage and $321 for family coverage. Kep in mind that lower premium costs often translates to higher deductibles. Out-of-pocket limits can be exorbitant, especially when HDHPs are concerned. PPO deductibles tend to be two to three times smaller, but deciding what’s right for you is a matter of comparing coinsurance, co-payments, deductibles, and premiums.

Find out if you can save money using a Flexible Saving Account (FSA), Health Reimbursement Account (HRA), or a Health Saving Account (HSA). Both employees and employers can contribute to HSA accounts when employees have high-deductible health plans. All investment gains, deposits, and withdrawals are tax-free, and ownership of the account means that you can carry it with you for years. HSAs are the best option when you have significant health care costs, and HRAs (exclusively funded by employers) can offset health insurance premiums and reduce expenses incurred ahead of meeting the deductible. Deductibles, copayments, co-insurance, dental bills, vision expenses, and additional out-of-pocket costs can be paid using an HRA.

Employees can fund FSA up to $2,600 in 2017, with there being no tax deduction. With that said contributions are pre-tax, and distributions are untaxed. A high deductible plan isn’t needed to secure an FSA.

 

3 Reasons Why We Need Global Health Education

3 REASONS WHY WE NEED GLOBAL HEALTH EDUCATION | Roger stanmoreWhile medical school is a common path for many, few of those students focus on global health. Between the sentiment that we should focus on the problems in our own country to the desire to focus more on the entrepreneurial side, there are many people who are forgoing global health and choosing more “local” paths.

We should not be creating this dichotomy between local and global health. The definition of global health offered by the Committee on the U.S. Commitment to Global Health states that global health involves health issues that transcend national boundaries and might best be solved by cooperative measures. Here are a few reasons we need to emphasize global health in medical programs:

  1. Our world is interconnected

With people constantly traveling internationally, national boundaries don’t carry as much significance as they used to when it comes to disease control. Take the Ebola outbreak, for example. In the U.S, we largely ignored the outbreak until it reached our soil. It is not surprisingly that with the amount of air travel that occurs, a disease cannot be contained nationally or regionally. Technology is making the world smaller and the medical profession needs to accommodate this. Future physicians should all get basic epidemiology training so that they can recognize suspected disease outbreaks.

 

2) Doing residencies abroad can make better doctors

Global health professionals have as much to learn from the communities in which they work as the communities do from them. Doing clinical work abroad requires a level of humility. Another important part of the global health field is cultural sensitivity. Doctors learn the importance of respecting patients of different cultures and working alongside people of different cultures. In addition, much of the work done abroad is in areas with low resources. Research shows that medical students and residents who work in settings with limited resources may become more capable physicians. When a medical student is removed from a technology-intensive environment, he or she learns to think outside the box. If all physicians were trained this way, there would likely be a decrease in the excessive medical testing that is a part of our rapidly increasing healthcare expenditure.

 

3) More and more medical students are interested in global health today.

While it may seem as if medical students don’t have an interest in global health, the truth is they do. It just isn’t as available to them. Many students are taking away years for international fellowships. A number of these students seek out jobs abroad after graduating from residency. But international work is very competitive. Doctors Without Borders, for example, is extremely difficult to get into. There needs to be more emphasis on global health in medical school so that students can fulfill their passions of helping people all around the world.

We should not separate global health issues and U.S. health issues. With the frequency of airplane travel, epidemics do not often stay within particular areas. Furthermore, we should help people everywhere rather than just people who are close to us in proximity because this is the right thing to do. It is important that medical schools and residencies put more emphasis on global health so that people throughout the world can have better healthcare.