Foods to Help Boost Immunity

 

Although no amount of the right kinds of food can prevent or cure illness, healthy nutrition can help boost your immunity. A trip to the grocery store is a great way to prevent colds, the flu, and other infections. Many of our favorite foods have the nutrients we need to boost our immune system:

Citrus Fruits

One of the best foods to boost your immune system are citrus fruits. Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, which is thought to increase the production of white blood cells. These white blood cells fight off infections in our body. Thankfully, there are many citrus fruits that are high in vitamin C. These include oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, tangerines, and clementines. Next time you’re at the grocery store, be sure to add some of these to your cart.

Red Bell Peppers

Another kitchen staple that is great for building up immunity is red bell peppers. Red bell peppers are easy to add to some of your favorite dishes and are rich in beta carotene, which is converted into vitamin A by your body for healthy eyes and skin. Red bell pepper also has three times as much vitamin C as an orange. You can easily add this nutritious vegetable to your next stir-fry, lasagna, pizza, or even on taco night. 

Garlic

One of the best ways to add supreme flavor and nutrients to your next meal is by adding in garlic. Garlic is great for fighting infections and can slow down the hardening of the arteries. There is also some evidence that it may help lower blood pressure. The heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin, is what makes garlic a powerful immune booster. 

Yogurt

A tasty treat with immune-boosting nutrients is yogurt. Yogurts with the phrase “live and active cultures” printed on the label are exactly what you need. These yogurts have disease-fighting cultures that are able to stimulate your immune system. It is also a fantastic source of vitamin D, which can help regulate your body’s immune system. Be sure sure to go with plain yogurt to avoid sugar and dress it up with fruits, granola, and honey to make it sweeter. 

What You Should Know About Low Cholesterol

The recommended safe level of low cholesterol for a person is evaluated with information about the level of low density lipoprotein as compared to the total cholesterol level, which includes the levels for low density lipoprotein and high density lipoprotein. A low cholesterol level is usually less than 200 milligrams per deciliter for an adult. The high density lipoprotein is reported as being capable of removing the low density lipoprotein from blood.

 

Problems from Low Density Lipoprotein

 

A person can prevent some health problems with a diet for controlling the level of low density lipoprotein. The low density lipoprotein is reported to cause plaque to form on the inside wall of a blood vessel, such as a vein. There is low density lipoprotein in many foods that have saturated fats, such as cheese, ground beef and pork sausage.

 

Total Cholesterol Levels

 

Some health problems are associated with high cholesterol levels, such as a stroke and high blood pressure. The problems are usually caused by high levels of low density lipoprotein and other factors. The trans fats from foods, such as biscuits, and triglycerides from starchy foods, such as corn and sweet peas, can also cause high blood pressure. High density lipoprotein can form a chemical bond with low density lipoprotein and can remove low density lipoprotein from blood and can carry low density lipoprotein to the liver for excretion out of the body.

 

Foods for Lowering the Level of Low Density Lipoprotein

 

There is high density lipoprotein in some foods that have unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, nuts, peanut butter and avocados. Some foods that are high in fiber, such as kidney beans, rice and apples, or that have omega-3 fatty acids, such as mackerel, salmon and sardines, are also beneficial for lowering the level of low density lipoprotein.

 

Recommendations for Low Cholesterol Levels

 

A high cholesterol level is 240 milligrams or more per deciliter for an adult. A person should recognize a problem if the total cholesterol level is 200 – 240 milligrams per deciliter. The levels for low density lipoprotein should be controlled because there must be enough fiber, high density lipoprotein and omega-3 fatty acids in a diet to safely control problems from low density lipoprotein.

                                          

Reshaping Your Body

 

Diet and exercise will always be vital when it comes to reshaping the body. There are no magic pills or shortcuts when it comes to physical transformation. However, there are ways to increase results by exercising and eating smarter. This doesn’t mean that one must starve themselves or exercise for several long and relentless hours. It completely has to do with knowing how one’s body functions in order to maximize the full potential of physical results.

 

Psychology of Eating

 

A person who is reshaping their body should aim to change things internally first. So, this is where diet comes in. Most people believe they must cut out all bad foods and go on a veggie only diet. This can create tension, stress, and resistance which makes the process much more unenjoyable. A person can still take pleasure from eating foods that tastes good. The main idea is that one shouldn’t over indulge. Moderation is key. So, prepackaging meals and measuring comes in handy. Some people don’t realize how many calories they have consumed until they hit the scale. However, preventative measures can be taken by measuring one’s food as habit. Eventually, it will become second nature.

 

To trick the mind, one can use smaller bowls and plates when they eat. Usually, people like to fill their bowls and plates up to feel like they are getting a full serving. However, if a person is using big plates and bowls, their serving sizes will be larger than usual and they will be consuming more calories than recommended. So, to keep meal sizes proportionate, one can replace their dishes with smaller plates.

 

Eat More Anti-Inflammatory

 

Some may get very annoyed by their lack of results when it comes to reshaping their body. Many experience water weight and feeling bloated, which can hide the actual physical results. To see more progress, consuming anti-inflammatory foods will be beneficial. Adding turmeric to meals as well as the consumption of ginger will suppress bloating.

 

Smarter Exercise with HIIT

 

HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training and has become quite popular. HIIT requires intervals of fast pace exercise followed by slow pace exercise. 30 minutes of HIIT can burn much more calories opposed to a full hour of regular cardio. It allows the heart to work a litter harder, increasing one’s overall metabolic rate.

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.