February 15, 2015

Can Diet Ease Depression And See Mood Improve?

Steak is good for youDepression may improve or even be eliminated by using a diet consisting of nutritional and healthy foods. Certain foods are not only good for your physical health; they also enhance your mental and emotional states as well.

There are many causes of depression. If depression is a problem, you should consult a licensed medical professional to get proper medical advice.

One of the, if not the most important things to consider when planning a healthy lifestyle is diet. If you think about it, food is fuel for our body, and its livelihood, substance and wellbeing depends on what we eat. Diet affects our physical state, so it makes sense that our brains and emotional state will be as well.

The More Colorful The Plate – The Better the Mood

The more colorful the plate, the lower the Weight.” That proclamation and nutritional advice applies to clearing of the affliction of depression as well. An unhealthy diet consisting of processed foods or sugar puts on weight. Studies show it extends to how one feels or their emotional health.

You Are What You Eat

Evidence shows, you are what you eat and the more healthy the diet, the lower the incidence of mood swings or depressive episodes. Studies and research show diets that lacking certain vitamins or minerals speed up the aging process. Bad diets also cause shortages in mood enhancement chemicals, such as serotonin.

The Key to Alleviating Stress and Elevating Mood

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter as well as a mood stabilizer. Thus, it plays an important part in alleviating stress, anxiety, and depression. The following foods can increase the amount of serotonin produced in body and enhance one’s mood.


Fruits such as pineapple, sour cherries, plums and bananas are good to improve mood. Besides, cherries contain melatonin, which is a natural sleep aid.


Eating turkey, which contains tryptophan, increases the manufacture of serotonin in the brain. In turn, food promotes feelings that are more positive. Other proteins that aid in serotonin production include seafood, eggs, whey protein, and beef. Try to select animal products not raised with hormones, and choose grass fed or pasture raised products.

Another serotonin-boosting protein food is nuts.

Nuts boost the manufacture of selenium, which is lacking in patients suffering from depression. Lean meats and legumes contain selenium too.

Sugar-rich snacks can inhibit the production of serotonin.

So, replace sugary or processed snacks with more natural foods, and whole foods, such as nuts or fruits and lean protein.


Most carbs in the diet will boost the level of serotonin and reduce the incidence of depression. Add pasta, whole grain bread, and white potatoes on the menu.


Dairy products make people feel happier too. Dairy foods as cheese and milk contain mood-enhancing chemicals or produce an increase in serotonin.

Nutrients That Ward Off Depression

Beta Carotene

Beta-carotene is also helpful in relieving depression. Some of the foods in this group include cantaloupe, carrots, broccoli, and apricots.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C-rich foods are helpful in fighting depression as well. These foods include citrus fruits, such as limes, oranges, and grapefruit.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E plays a role in immune system function and contributes to nerve health as well improving depression. Nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, and wheat germ are all foods that contain vitamin E.

Change the Way You Eat and Increase Your Level of Activity

Remove from your shelves all processed snacks, such as chips or packaged cookies. Concentrate on eating fresh produce, fish and meats.

Once you start eating healthier, you will exercise more, which helps elevate mood and stave off depression.

Exercise activity helps your body produces more of the mood-enhancing hormones called endorphins. So, in time, your mood will improve just by eating healthier and exercising more.

Research shows following this approach reduces need to take mood enhancing drugs or anti-depressants. So, make healthy eating and regular exercise a routine practice.

Take care and be well.

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February 13, 2015

5 Valuable Tips To Prevent Later Life Back Pain

female baby boomer back pain_optBack pain is often temporary. You pull a muscle, exercise in a improper manner, have poor posture or in some other way cause stress on your back. The pain may continue for a few hours, and then go away . But studies show even mild repeated back pain can lead to chronic and debilitating back problems later in life.

Once you hit your 40s and 50s, your body will not be as strong as it was when you were younger. This means that chronic back problems can have a bigger negative impact on your life and your body than when you were healthier. Practice the following 5 tips for a healthy and strong back now, and you limit your chances of suffering from back pain later in life.

1 – Stop smoking

I am sure you understand how unhealthy smoking is. Still, did you know it has links to higher instances of back pain than those who do not smoke? Scientists are not even sure exactly how smoking causes problems in your back. They believe it may have to do with restricting the flow of blood that contains healthy nutrients. This leads to problems in your spinal discs, and a higher incidence rate of spinal pain in smokers.

2 – Stop sleeping on your stomach

Sleeping face down puts a lot of pressure on your back. Years of sleeping in this position can cause slow consistent damage to your spinal alignment. Damage, causing serious back problems as you age. When sleeping on your back, place a pillow under your knees. This cuts the amount of pressure on your spinal cord by half.

3 – Lose weight

Staying within about 10 pounds of your natural weight can reduce your chances of suffering from back pain. Get more exercise and change your eating habits, and you can drop those extra pounds which cause back pain now and chronic pain as you age.

4 – Stop stressing out

Stress, anxiety and depression can cause short and long-term back pain. Any type of stress causes you to flex and tense your muscles. Constant worrying means that you are putting extra stress on your back all day long. Take up yoga or meditation, tai chi or deep breathing exercises to learn to handle stress better.

5 – Adopt proper posture, especially if you work in a sitting position all day

Proper posture is important for a multitude of health reasons. When you slouch over in your chair or on the couch, you put incredible pressure on your lower back and pelvis. Texting, as many do dozens of times a day, also causes bad posture. Back pain is more prevalent among office workers and those who sit in front of the computer for several hours each day. Make it a habit to stand instead of sit whenever you can.

Take care and be well.

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February 9, 2015

What Are Probiotics? See The Valuable Health Benefits

Yogurt with nutsClassified as live yeasts and bacteria, probiotics are good microorganisms in the digestive tract. The probiotics in dietary supplements and foods are like the natural probiotics in the stomach.

Probiotics in supplements aid digestive health by:

• Reducing the bad bacteria in the stomach that can lead to inflammation or infection;
• Replace good bacteria that antibiotic use may have removed.
• Balance out the bacterial balance to help ensure that the body is functioning in correct form.

The natural probiotics in the stomach include a yeast called Saccharomyces boulardii. As well as bacteria that include the Bifobacterium and Lactobacillus microorganism families. Yogurt contains the probiotic known as Lactobacillus acidophilus.

Foods That Contain Probiotics

Foods with probiotics include soy drinks, buttermilk, milk, miso, tempeh, kefir, soft chesses, sauerkraut, and pickles. The most well-known food containing probiotics is yogurt.

Where You Can Buy Probiotics

You can also get probiotics in the form of capsules, powders, tablets and liquid extract supplements. Each of which contains a specific kind of probiotic. It is common to find supplements in vitamin shops, natural health food stores, and similar retailers.

Again, one of the most used supplements is acidophilus.

An Overview Of The Probiotic Acidophilus

The American Cancer Society states acidophilus is a lactic acid bacterium found in normal digestive tract functioning. Acidophilus production is most commonly in the small intestine.

The germ is found in a variety of dairy products, especially yogurt. Acidophilus and related bacteria are probiotic as they balance of bacteria in the intestine. They help maintain the health of the bowels.

The Health Advantages Of Acidophilus Use

Acidophilus is recommended for treating or preventing vaginal infections, treating diarrhea and lowering cholesterol. The bacterium also aids in lactose digestion in people who are lactose-sensitive. It arrests the growth of yeast and germs that can cause cancer.

A Reduction In Cholesterol

Some supporters of acidophilus believe it may reduce the risks of cancer of the colon. The bacterium neutralizes carcinogens in the diet. Thereby killing tumor cells.

Others say that the probiotic boosts immune system health by manufacturing vitamin K and the B vitamins. The bacterium also reduces bad cholesterol, which some proponents’ state is needed for tumor cells to grow.

Recommended Dosage

When taking a probiotic like acidophilus, the dosage corresponds to the amount of live bacteria. Experts suggest that a dose consist of one billion to 15 billion bacteria and some insist that a larger amount is better still. Take the supplement one to three times per day in capsule, liquid, tablet, or powder form.

When the Probiotic Was First Discovered

Interest in the probiotic, acidophilus started as far back as the late 19th century. The bacterium seemed increase the life span people in the Balkans who drank fermented milk.

Later, was the discovery that the milk was rich in L. acidophilus. Since then, the probiotic has become a topic of interest on digestive health.

Probiotic Treatments

• Probiotic supplementation is helpful in preventing inflammatory problems. Problems like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and ulcers from the Helicobacter pylori bacterium.
• Probiotics often treat irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, spastic colon, and constipation.
• The bacterium helps decrease the recurrence of colorectal and bladder cancer.
• Some research studies show yogurt helps prevent diarrhea a frequent side effect of antibiotic use.
• Probiotics also treat vaginal yeast infections and urinary tract infections.
• Besides digestive health, probiotics help skin conditions, such as eczema.
• Probiotics help relieve respiratory infections, asthma, allergies, joint stiffness, and insomnia.

Implementing Probiotics Into Your Daily Diet

It is clear that probiotics can help several aspects of good health. While supplements are available, eating low or nonfat plain yogurt is a great way to obtain your daily intake of probiotics. Besides, yogurt is an excellent source of other important nutrients, like protein and calcium. These benefits make yogurt a better choice than supplementation.

Activia is one yogurt product in particular that includes important active cultures and probiotics.

Yogurt is also versatile and great for breakfast with berries and a sprinkle of flaxseeds for a fiber boost. It can also provide a great snack and dessert that unlike ice cream is much lower in fat. Yet, still satisfies the sweet tooth when made into a smoothie with fruit.

Take care and be well.

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February 3, 2015

How To Reduce Stroke Risk You Need Quality Sleep

Sleeping Baby Boomer FemaleDoctor’ s Advice on Reducing Your Risk of Stroke: Get Good Sleep

Vascular surgeon Dr. David H. Stone of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center—also a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery—offers some critical advice to adults who are concerned with their risk of stroke: poor sleep is one factor that can lead to stroke.

“Research says less than six hours a night increases the risk of stroke symptoms four-fold among middle-age to older adults who had a normal weight and low risk for obstructive sleep apnea,” Stone explained.

Lack of sleep increases inflammation, blood pressure and the release of certain hormones, which create a greater stress response that increases stroke risk.

Dr. Stone suggests the following sleep aids for better rest:

• Use a comfortable, firm bed to get maximum spine and body support as well as ease of movement. For people managing chronic pain, consider a heated waterbed, airbed or foam mattress, an electric blanket or a mattress pad on low heat or a wool mattress pad that provides heat. All options are especially useful for cool or damp nights.

• Remember that temperatures above 75 degrees or lower than 54 can disrupt sleep. Researchers suggest cooler instead of hotter rooms. If necessary, use a vaporizer or humidifier, since moist heat generally leads to better sleep. Clear space around the bed, put only necessary items on a nightstand.

• Refrain from consuming stimulants like cigarettes, diet pills and caffeine.

• Avoid electronic devices at least one hour before bed because they tend to disrupt sleep rhythms.

• Avoid diuretics before you go to sleep. Unless told by a physician to increase fluids, reduce their intake prior to falling asleep. Also, try not to eat right before bedtime, but a glass of milk is fine.

• To wind down, read a chapter from a book, or take a warm bath. To fall asleep, try distraction techniques like counting backwards or relaxation tapes.

• Go to bed and get up at the same time each day. Afternoon naps are acceptable, but avoid napping after dinner.

• Enjoy sunny days by spending time outdoors to regulate your body’s internal clock. If possible, exercise at the same time during the day (not before bed!).

• Reset your sleep clock. Go to bed an hour earlier or later each day until you reach the hour you want to go to sleep.

To learn more about your vascular health, visit the Society for Vascular Surgery’s website at www.VascularWeb.org.


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February 2, 2015

How To Avoid Health Dangers Of Dehydration

Raspberry floating in healthy clear waterRemarkable water, a necessity for sustaining life as well as enhancing health. You should consume a sufficient amount each day to replenish your body’s reserves and to prevent dehydration.

You are 60% water and every part of your body requires water to function.

Avoid dehydration as it can result in a series of health issues. These complications can make a person sick as toxins and pollutants collect in the body if they are not “flushed” out of the system.

The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake for men is roughly about 13 cups (3 liters) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is about 9 cups (2.2 liters) of total beverages a day. These are measures for a temperate climate.

The eight 8 ounce glasses of water per day rule is not scientifically based but is acceptable it you change water to fluid. Most of us however, would be better off drinking more plain water than some other form of liquid.

Side Effects Associated With Mild to Moderate Dehydration

When water is not regularly consumed contaminants build up, which can cause illness or health issues.

People may complain of such maladies as fatigue, digestive disturbances and headaches as well as pimples, dry skin or dry hair. However, these sorts of side effects are manageable when compared to dehydration that is more pronounced.

Severe Side Effects

While thirst, tiredness, dry mouth, dry skin, constipation or lightheadedness may make up moderate symptoms, severe dehydration is noted by symptomatology that is marked by such responses as:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shriveled inelastic skin
  • Dry mouth and mucous membranes
  • Extreme irritability
  • Confusion
  • Low blood pressure
  • Little or no urination
  • Sunken eyes
  • Rapid breathing
  • Fever
  • Dry eyes

Check The Color Of The Urine

Thirst does not constitute an accurate or reliable gauge if the body needs water. You can tell if you require more water by observing your urine’s color. While light-colored or clear urine means you are taking in enough water, urine that is dark yellow is a signal that you are not consuming enough H20.

Emergency Measures

If you are suffering mild to moderate hydration, increase your fluid intake by consuming PowerAde or Gatorade besides water. These sports drinks contain electrolytes that can replenish what dehydration has taken away.

Seek immediate medical care if you are suffering from extreme thirst or feel dizzy or confused. If an older adult or child cannot keep fluids down, is disoriented, or has diarrhea, fever or vomiting, either go to the nearest emergency room or dial 911.

Baby Boomers.

  • During aging, you are more vulnerable to dehydration.
  • You have reduced ability to conserve water reduced.
  • Thirst sense becomes less acute.
  • Decreased ability to respond to changes in temperature.
  • Older adults tend to eat less and sometimes may forget to eat or drink altogether.
  • Disability or neglect also may prevent them from being well nourished.
  • Chronic illnesses such as diabetes, dementia, and use of certain medications make matters worse.

Water, A “Nutrient” That Cannot Be Ignored

Oral rehydration solutions in the form of Pedialyte help to ensure that dehydration does not become severe.

Both children and adults should drink some water before and after exercise or consume sports drinks like Gatorade. Water is a nutrient that cannot be ignored when it comes to good health.

This is particularly important when exercising because sweating removes water from our bodies and hydration is of utmost importance.

Make Sure You Are Getting Enough Water

In order to assure you are getting enough water, also make it a practice to consume foods such as citrus, watermelon, tomatoes and cantaloupe.

Vegetables that also help in the hydration process include celery, greens, and lettuce.

Foods That Lead To Dehydration

While vomiting and diarrhea are the primary causes of dehydration in people suffering from the flu or other illness, certain everyday foods can lead to dehydration too.

Therefore, be on the alert if already mildly dehydrated for the following foods:
  • French fries
  • Cured meats
  • Coffee (a natural diuretic)
  • Soy Sauce
  • Bouillon cubes

Any sugary drink can lead to dehydration as well. So, even if you think you are replenishing your system with that sugary cola, you are probably doing more harm than good.

Balancing Out Your Electrolytes

While consuming a small amount of soy sauce will not cause you undue problems, consuming an excess quantity can result in an electrolyte imbalance known as hypernatremia.

In fact, replacing one’s electrolytes can improve any health problems that stem from dehydration. That is why sports drinks, such as Gatorade, are recommended to anyone who is suffering from dehydration and needs to consume more water.

Stay Adequately Hydrated Throughout The Day

So, if you want to live healthy and hydrated, make it a point to get enough water each day. You cannot count that daily Starbucks in the mix nor can you include that sugary pop you got out of the vending machine. H20 is still the best source for your hydration needs.

Healthy Substitutes

If you do not want to use plain water, choose a flavored water instead. You can add a flavored, sugar-free powder, such as Crystal Light, to ice water as well. Juice, such as apple juice, cranapple juice or V8 are also healthy substitutes.

Vitamin water and various flavored water products have recently hit the market and are a suitable alternative for those who really do not like to drink plain water. However, remember that some contain added sugar that no one needs, so check out the labels. Vitamin Water Zero is a useful option, as it contains all the healthful stuff without added sugars.

One Parting Note

Ensure you obtaining all the water, you need by keeping a container of H20 available at your side. Also, check the color of your urine to assure that you are hydrating properly.

Sources: Mayo Clinic

Take care and be well.
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