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13 Mar

BLOG 258 IRON Iron is found in every single cell in our body. This essential mineral’s primary role is to create hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein that carries oxygen from our lungs to the rest of our body. Our muscles need hemoglobin in order to store and use oxygen. Iron is also an enzyme in our body that helps us digests food. We get iron from meat, poultry, and fish. Iron from these meats is absorbed 2-3 more than from a plant-based protein. This can be of concern to vegetarians. Vitamin C helps with iron absorption while taking antacids can impede absorption.

Low iron
If you body is low in iron, you might develop anemia. Causes of iron deficiency include poor diet, or not being able to absorb iron from nutrients, or having experienced an adequate amount of blood loss. Having too little iron is actually the most common type of nutrient deficiency. Symptoms of having low iron includes low body temperature, fatigue, low immunity, a swollen tongue, slow cognitive functioning, and difficulty performing tasks. A blood test would determine the low status. Sometimes the body just needs extra iron. This is especially true for children who are growing and might need more iron than they are able to get from their diet. Losing a lot of blood from donating or having a heavy menstrual cycle means that this blood needs to be replenished.

Too much iron
Taking far too many iron supplements can lead to iron poisoning. Having to much iron also causes fatigue. Skin might become discolored with a gray or brown tone. Abdominal pain might occur. Joint aches, low sex drive, mood swings, hair loss, and irregular heart rhythm might also be symptoms. Iron supplements can be misleading because toxicity doesn’t always match the milligrams. For example, a pill with 200 mg actually contains 65 mg of iron, not 200 mg. An excess of 20 mg in the body can cause toxicity. It is important to stay within the healthy range of 8-18 mg of iron per day.

Treatment
If a hemoglobin or hematocrit (red blood cell count) test determines you are iron deficient, a doctor might prescribe supplements or adjust your diet.
How much iron do you need??
1. Infants 0-6 months: 0.27 mg per day
2. 7-12 months: 11 mg per day
3. 1 – 3 years: 7 mg per day
4. 4-8 years: 10 mg per day
5. Males: 8 mg per day except during puberty years ages 14-18 they need 11 mg per day
6. Females: need 8 mg per day, ages 14-18 need 15 mg per day, and ages 19-50 need 18 mg per day
7. Pregnant women: need about 27 mg per day

Food sources
Clams actually contain the highest amount of iron found in food, having 23.8 mg per ounce. Cereals, beef, lentils, and spinach have about 3 mg per serving. Food rich in vitamin C help with absorption.
We need iron in our body. We need protein to thrive for our blood health. When any of the symptoms pertaining to iron deficiency might surface, be sure to contact your doctor. When we eat the proper nutrient, our body absorbs and uses what it needs. However, sometimes we need a little assistance with supplementation. Be iron strong and keep your blood oxygenated for your health.

05 Mar

BLOG 257 CITRUS

Eating citrus is a great way to meet the 5 to 9 recommended servings of fruit. Think of oranges, lemons, grapefruit, limes, tangerines and so on. There are many advantages to your health from this sweet treat. There are different types of citrus with different nutrients that provide these healthy benefits. Some of these benefits include assisting the prevention of cardiovascular disease, skin damage and cancer from the sun. Additionally they’re packed with vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, potassium, folate, and fiber. We always hear about having citrus when a cold or the flu hits to boost immunity.

Citrus is great for your heart. This type of fruit contains flavonoids which helps lower the LDL “bad” cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Flavonoids give citrus its color and flavor. They help eliminate carcinogens form the body and kill cancer cells. Eating fruit versus drinking fruit juice provides 5 times more the flavonoid power because the membranes and white pith of the fruits contain this nutrient. Flavonoids reduce inflammation through their antioxidant power. Yes, fruit has sugar, but citrus is low on the glycemic index. This means it won’t spike your blood sugar. The glucose that fruit does contain is released slowly into the bloodstream. Energy is boosted without the crash later.

This type of fruit is popular for its Vitamin C contents. This type of vitamin helps produce collagen which is beneficial to the skin and tendons. The recommended daily intake of vitamin C for men is 90 milligrams and for women 75 milligrams per day. A small orange contains 53 milligrams of vitamin C while ½ grapefruit contains 34 milligrams. Vitamin C has been linked to lowering the risk for heart disease. Vitamin C has the ability to neutralize free radicals that try to damage healthy cells. In doing so, inflammation is avoided and the risk for chronic diseases is reduced. Vitamin C won’t prevent a cold, but it can reduce its duration and severity. Vitamin C will help reduce sickly symptoms.

Citrus is also loaded with fiber. This fruit contains about 60-70% soluble fiber which lowers cholesterol and keeps blood sugar levels stable. The other 30% or so is insoluble fiber which helps with digestion and constipation prevention. Even a small orange contains 2.4 grams of fiber out of the recommended 25 grams of fiber we should consume per day.

Other benefits include the fact that citrus is loaded in water which means they help with hydration. Oranges are 87% water while grapefruits are 88% water. Their water filled nature means they are low in calories too. Citrus is diet friendly. A 100 gram size orange contains just about 50 calories. Citrus also contains plenty of potassium which can help the body flush out sodium. Citrus is a great choice to add healthy flavor to many options. A healthy community and YOU tops a salad, eats citrus as a snack, with a sandwich, squeezed over fresh fish, or uses it as a dressing. There are many ways citrus can perk up, sweeten up, and add pizzazz to common dishes. Just remember, eat the whole fruit for best nutrient results. Your body and taste buds will thank you.

27 Feb

BLOG 256 FIBROMYALGIA

Chronic pain, tender to the touch on the body, fatigue, and sleep problems, are all symptoms of fibromyalgia. This syndrome affects the muscles and soft tissue of the body. The trouble with this condition is that there is no lab test for diagnosis, rather, the culmination of symptoms lead to the fibromyalgia conclusion for sufferers. This condition is frequently undetected and misdiagnosed for this reason. However, for people living in pain, they want a solution to their problem. More of the symptoms include headaches, depression, anxiety, memory loss called “fibro fog”, numbness and tingling in the extremities, irritable bowel syndrome, and feeling body aches all over. This is no way to live. The difference between fibromyalgia and other conditions such as tendonitis, bursitis, and arthritis, is that the pain is not located in one area…. it is chronic and all over the body. A lot of this pain can even be at the surface of the skin, simply triggered by touch.

Persons with fibro just feel exhausted all the time. Even with quality sleep, the body is still tired. This is disruptive to one’s lifestyle including lack of energy to attend work, exercise, and or even just going to the grocery store. These activities take too much energy. Imagine being too tired to even fold laundry. This is frustrating and mentally exhausting as a person is feeling pressured to be part of daily life, but physically too tired to do so. Waking up in the morning is when the body just feels stiff. What sleep a person with fibro does get, is easily disrupted. Brain activity continues as if the person were awake. This in turn, affects one’s mood. A person becomes worried they won’t be able to keep up with daily activities, and this reality leads to depression and anxiety. Relationships can become affected. Short term memory also starts to suffer. Paresthesia (tingling and numbing feeling in the hands and feet) can stop a person in their tracks. All of these factors seem like walls in the way of being able to do things.

A doctor can prescribe medication to help with the pain, and the key is remembering to consistently take these medications. There are also alternative methods such as acupuncture, message, and physical therapy. Exercise, especially walking, can help increase blood flow and decrease pain. Balance and resistance training exercises will also help the body. Keeping the mind active is also important. A person with fibro should pace themselves as they learn to adapt to their energy demands. Trying not to become overwhelmed or easily discouraged is important. Making sure to eat a nutrient filled diet is also critical, especially with vitamin D. Caffeine should be avoided because the sleep cycle of person with fibro is easily disturbed. Although caffeine might feel like an energy booster, drinking caffeine has been associated with increased fibro pain.

Communication is important with relationships and with employers. Lack of energy can be perceived as lack of effort, but when a person with fibro expresses their medical concerns with others, one can aim to find a balance to life’s demands. Fibromyalgia needs more medical research to help sufferers and alleviate such pain. Living a life through struggle is no way to live at all.

19 Feb

BLOG 255 CALLUSES & CORNS

Calluses and corns are the result of your body forming protective skin around a sensitive area. They might be unattractive or bothersome, but they serve a purpose.

Calluses form on the outermost layer of the skin and don’t cause any pain. They are found in places where friction occurs such as the hands or feet. This means a lot of rubbing has taken place on that location. A callus found on the foot is called a plantar callus.

Corns are found where there are pressure points. They mainly occur on the bottom of the feet or on the side of the toes. These can be painful. Corns can turn hard because this is a small patch of dead skin. Corns can also be soft, especially those that occur between the toes. Seed corns are the type you can barely see but are painful to pressure or weight bearing. They could be caused plugged sweat ducts.

Often times, calluses and corns are the result of the type of shoe a person is wearing. High heels are the worst, but any poorly fitting shoes and improper walking form can lead to either of these skin mishaps. Due to high heels, women are four times more likely to develop calluses or corns. Wearing shoes without socks can also cause additional friction.

The problem is that our feet our breeding grounds for bacteria because they are mostly enclosed and moist from sweat. Therefore, if a corn or callus bleeds because the skin has broken, possible infection can occur. Corns that discharge clear pus, means that it is infected and needs to be treated by a doctor. This is especially true for diabetics who have poor circulatory problems.

A doctor can examine the area to determine if you have a callus or corn. A callus, when scraped off, will not bleed. On the other hand, you could have a wart and when scraped off it will bleed. Warts are viral and spread, whereas calluses and corns do not. Most calluses and corns can be treated just by changing shoes or trimming them. The key is avoiding the friction or pressure. Mole skin pads can be placed on the area to alleviate pressure. Infected corns need to be treated and antibiotics are used to clear up the infection. There are moisturizing creams that can help soften the skin and remove calluses. A pumice stone or soft brush can be used to remove calluses as well. Sometimes a doctor will perform surgery to remove a planter callus. However, the callus can return. A podiatrist can recommend shoe inserts to help prevent friction as well. Wearing protective gloves when using the hands a lot can also help.

Even the skin doesn’t like pressure and friction. Keep your skin soft and smooth and the less rub the better. Don’t sacrifice cute shoes for painful dead skin later. Our hands and feet need a little attention too, especially since they do so much for us.

10 Feb

BLOG 254 CHIA SEEDS

Cha-cha-cha-chia…. you remember the Chia Pet?? Now, health food stores are making claims that these tiny seeds are packed with nutrients and can help curb hunger. Chia is a type of seed that come from the Mexican desert plant called Salvia hispanica. “Chia” actually means strength. The ancient Mayan and Aztec cultures ate these seeds for energy because they contain carbohydrates, protein, calcium, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. A single ounce, which is about 2 tablespoons, contains 12 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat, as well as other vitamins and minerals that can be absorbed by the body.

Most people consume chia seeds with other foods or in beverages. They have a mild, nutty taste. When mixed with water, they make a gel. Popular uses include on top of yogurt or cereal, with vegetables, in baked goods, or with rice.

The most appealing benefit of chia seeds is the claim that they aid with weight loss. These seeds are supposed to expand the belly upon consumption, which in turn makes a person fuller, meaning they will eat let, and thus weight loss will result. The evidence validating this is limited. Therefore, realistically, it is not the miracle weight loss aid. However, the USDA does claim that chia seeds contain no cholesterol, are a good source of energy, protein, fat, carbohydrates, and fiber. They also contain vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin A, sodium, and zinc. They also contain the following antioxidants which help fight free radicals in the body: flavanol glycosides, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, kaempferol, quercetin, myricetin, and linolenic acid. Chia seeds have also been linked to raising good HDL levels and are a heart healthy food containing omega-3 fatty acids which help lower bad LDL cholesterol levels. They contain more than salmon or flax seeds. These seeds also contain fiber which help with the digestive system. Once the seeds enter the stomach, they become a gel that acts like a probiotic. Chia seeds can also help lower blood sugar levels which is great news for diabetics. The carbohydrates in these seeds are slowly released so they do not cause an insulin spike.

The list of benefits continues. Chia seeds contain more calcium than skimmed milk and boron which helps metabolize calcium. This is important for bone health and can even help your teeth. Chia seeds are known for their energy boosting power, which many athletes utilize for performance improvement. These seeds also contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which helps reduce inflammation in the joints and arteries. Chia seeds also are great for pregnant women because they aid in the baby’s brain development.

Quite the list of benefits for such teeny tiny little seeds. Super foods have the power to benefit the body in so many ways. A little goes a long way. Whole food nutrition is absorbed and utilized by the body to improve functions and help a person perform at their best.

06 Feb

BLOG 253 THREADING

Not everyone desires facial hair, especially the female population. Genetics and hormones can cause this unwanted hair to make its presence on cheeks, chin, and upper lip. There are a number of ways to remove body hair from anywhere, but when it comes to the face, one tends to pay more particular attention to what could happen after. Facial skin is also very sensitive and can range from oily to dry, have many or few pores, and then there is of course acne to consider. Eyebrow threading has become a popular hair removal process. Many people swear by this Middle Eastern method to remove their hair. Before making an appointment, there might be some factors to consider to see if this method is right for you.

Threading is a very precise process. It is considered the most sanitary hair removal method because no chemicals are involved at all. Over time, if a person is consistent with their upkeep, hair follicles can actually stop producing hair. Those who are not a fan of this method complain that this is a timely appointment. It takes longer than other methods. It is also restricted to the face only so not everyone thing can be addressed in one false swoop. Some say it is more painful than waxing. Sensitivity is of course a matter of opinion and a case by case basis. Some feel a pinching sensation. The process involves using cotton threads that are twisted to pull the hair from the root.

PROS:
1. Hair grows back thinner.
2. No heat or chemicals.
3. Cheaper.
4. Precise.
5. Redness disappears quickly.
6. Sanitary.
7. Can remove large areas of hair.
8. Safe for people taking medications.

CONS
1. Sensitive skin types might experience tenderness.
2. If the person is not properly trained, irritation can occur.
3. All makeup must be removed.

Because threading is very precise, people often use it for their eyebrows specially. A more desirable arch can be obtained. This method does have to be done by a professional, so there is not an at home option. The worst problem that can happen is getting a threat cut, but that is highly unlikely. The process sounds complicated but that is why going to a trained professional, laying back, and then standing up hair free is the way to go. Other options will always exist including plucking, shaving, waxing, and creams. Sometimes it just boils down to a matter of personal preference.

30 Jan

BLOG 252 MAYONNAISE

Mayonnaise, “mayo”, is a popular condiment used around the world. It is the combination of egg yolk, oil, acid, and either lemon juice or vinegar. This recipe might be tasty, but it is full of trans fat and saturated fat. The heart does not appreciate this. The list of negatives continues with this condiment being high in calories, high in cholesterol, and high in sodium. Mayo is mostly oil. Regardless, people love to use it on sandwiches, in salad dressings, and tarter sauce. Others just use it standing alone to dip foods in. Not paying attention to the portion quickly leads to high amounts of calories and fat in one false swoop. Think of potato salad, deviled eggs, and dressings… portion distortion is rampant.

Mayonnaise is the product of an interesting process called emulsification. Lemon juice or vinegar and egg yolk combine to turn a liquid into a solid. In the U.S., most commercial mayo is made with soy oil which is high in omega 6 fatty acids. There are 57 calories and 4 grams of fat in 1 tablespoon. For an item that isn’t necessary to have, it is more for flavor and your preference, mayonnaise could be opted out. There are reduced fat and lower calorie options, but these tend to be loaded with sugar. There are also a lot of artificial ingredients and preservatives in mayo.

In order to avoid some of the poor points about mayo, making a homemade version is a good idea. Using avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, or olive oil can help lower the amount of omega 6. There are different ways to add flavor so that this healthier version is still tasty. This might include adding hot sauce, curry powder, garlic, or pesto.
Having 4.5% of your daily calories from 1 tablespoon of mayo seems pretty high for such a small quantity. When having macaroni salad, potato salad, or different dressings, it is highly unlikely that just this portion is being consumed. Regular mayo eaters might experience weight gain. Yes, the body needs some fat and some sodium to operate, but we always have to consider the source. It is small daily choices that add of overtime and make a difference. For someone who tops their daily lunchtime sandwich with mayo, this accumulates over time. It can be avoided. Condiments are add-ons that are not necessary. If concerned, prepare at home and maybe that sandwich at lunch can have some of your own version to keep the flavor the way like it.

23 Jan

BLOG 251 CELL PHONE USE

Almost everyone has a cell phone. in fact, 94% of Americans have a cell phone, which means 9 out of 10 people. Everyone is ready to connect and communicate at any time. Most people have them on hand at least 16 hours a day, so that includes at night because of it’s alarm clock use. We are able to contact anyone almost anywhere at anytime. The average person checks their phone at least 150 times per day, much more than they ever considered that they do. The swipe and click across the screen become almost second nature. Between calls, text, emails, and social media, the phone is entertaining and used for many purposes. Did you know that 90% of texts are read within 3 minutes of receiving them? Fast communication anywhere we are has made incredible changes to the way we interact with one another.

Remember when all you could do was call a person’s home phone in the hopes that they are there? If not, you left a message with no expectation of when they might check it and get back to you. There weren’t private conversations like there are now. The home phone was used and shared by all in a central location. If you wanted to reach someone, you actually had to speak to them. Talking was the communication modality, whereas today, texting with emojies and shorthand has become a whole new language. There was an understanding not to call too early or too late because the phone ringing would disrupt the household. Calling before or after business hours was pointless. People are even using cell phones now while driving. Checking the cell phone can now almost be considered a hobby.

The fact is that you could be reading this very article on your cell phone now. Scrolling can become an addictive behavior. It fills time while waiting, can be a distraction from the task at hand, and it spikes your curiosity and interest. All the apps are designed to hook you in. Social media notices what you like and look at then start to use this in the advertising and marketing that is displayed in your feed. The cluttered landscape of ads and scrolling makes you feel like you can’t concentrate anymore with information overload. People are using their phones for calendars, appointments, stop watches, alarm clocks, banking, credit card processing, Netflix, and the list goes on and on.

So where does the disconnect begin? You set it aside for a while, decide to take a break from social media, try to not look at your text and emails so often, but in the end society has changed. There’s an expectation to be connected. There’s an expectation to be available. We could all benefit from being present int eh current moment. The idea of this seems impossible since new and improved versions of phones continue to be released. Don’t forget those who are right next to you in the same room. Don’t forget to look up from your phone every now and then.

16 Jan

BLOG 250 GROWING PAINS

Sometimes it can appear “the boy who cried wolf” might be occurring when children complain. However, when it comes to complaints about aches and pains in the body, specifically those that may not be visible, a child or preteen might be telling the truth about their growing pains. These crampy, achy, muscle pains can occur in both legs. They usually onset in the afternoon or evening and can keep the child awake. They might start as early as age 3, can subside for a number of years, and then resurface about age 8 to 12.

Even though they are called growing pains, that doesn’t mean these symptoms are the result of actual growth spurts. Instead, the muscles may in fact be worn out due to activity. Running, jumping, and climbing are the common culprits. A full day of sports can certainly cause this. The pains might come and go, and some children can eventually outgrow them. The pains normally go away in the morning and doesn’t disrupt the performance of actual activity during the day. The pain arises when the child comes home and in the evening. The main areas are the knees, quads, back of the knee, and the calves.

Getting checked by a doctor is always a good consideration. The doctor will ask pertinent questions for diagnosis. If the child is having growing pains, a doctor won’t exactly see anything abnormal even in an X-ray. The key is easing the discomfort for the child. Massaging the legs can be helpful to increase circulation and alleviate tight muscles. Stretching can help, although young children might have difficulty with this. Heating pads or a warm bath can be effective. A doctor might recommend an over the counter pain medication like ibuprofen. Aspirin should never be given to a child. If the pain is only in one leg, it may be a more serious condition. There could have been a fall or injury. Limping or difficulty walking might be more serious as well.

Communication is important with the child to understand the source and site of pain. Then choosing a treatment plan accordingly can be done. Just like adults, everyone varies in their tolerance for pain. Staying awake at night because of pain is never good.

08 Jan

BLOG 249 DUPUYTREN’S CONTRACTURE

Dupuytren’s contracture is a condition marked by tightening of the elastic skin (tissue) found under the skin of the palm and fingers. This tissue is called fascia and is composed of fibers that are like cords which run from the palm to the fingers. However, with this condition, the cords tighten up and contract, which causes the fingers to curl and the hand to make deformed shapes. Severe cases can cause extreme crippling of the hands.

Dupuytren’s contracture can be caused by different biological factors and can be caused by Dupuytren’s disease, but the exact cause is unknown. Certain things such as having diabetes, persons with epilepsy, and drinking a lot of alcohol, can all be possible causing factors. This condition is very common in families, so the leading cause is that is it inherited. Families that have blood lines tied to Scandinavian (Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish) or are Northern European (Scottish, Irish, French, Dutch, and English) are at higher risk. Males are also more likely to have this hand issue and that risk increases with age, especially over 40.

The initial symptom is spotting visible nodules under the skin of the palm. The bumps can be tender to touch. The bands under the skin eventually become inflexible and cause the bending and curling of the fingers. Soon, it becomes difficult to un-curl the fingers. This is mainly true for the ring and pinky fingers. Both hands are become affected, not just one. Every day tasks start to become harder leading to difficulty picking up objects, putting hands in the pockets, or just getting your I.D. out of your wallet can seem too hard. Shaking a person’s hand is almost impossible.

A doctor will examine the palm and the number of nodules. They might do an assessment of your ability to grasp, pinch and straighten the fingers, as well as to see if you can straighten the fingers. There currently is no cure for Dupuytren’s contracture. It is not life threatening, rather, it can just be disruptive to daily living. It is not recommended to splint the fingers or trying to stretch them straighter. This will only cause increased trauma to the area. Corticosteroids can be injected into the nodule areas if inflammation is painful. This will not straighten the finger, but it will help alleviate pain. Thera are also medications that help dissolve the tissue. This medication is called Xiaflex which helps weaken the tight bands and let the fingers somewhat straighten more. On rare occasions, surgery is needed. This would involve removing the tight bands. The surgery is successful for most people, but one in five people do have the condition return.

We use our hands and fingers so much, making Dupuytren’s a difficult condition to tolerate. It can be frustrating but where there is a will there is a way. Relief is possible and patience is important.