Monday, October 27, 2014

Truth or Myth: Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever

Truth or Myth: Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever

Should you feed a cold and starve a fever, starve a cold and feed a fever, or neither one? Most health experts say starving is never the right answer, but at the same time, you should listen to your body. If you really don’t feel like eating, lowering your calorie intake is okay provided you’re taking in plenty of liquids, like water.

Perhaps the question should really be, what should you eat and what should you avoid while fighting an illness of any kind, be it a cold, fever or both.

If your diet is poor, you’ll get sick more often than you would if you had a healthy diet, and when you do get hit, those viruses will likely hit you harder and keep you down longer. It should go without saying that eating poorly while you’re sick will only make things worse.

A well-balanced, nutritious diet allows the body to respond to germs quickly and efficiently. The immune system needs lots of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids in order to function well. Foods rich in nutrients help to battle infections can can even help prevent illness. Prebiotics and probiotics also play an important part in preventing illness as they’re essential to gut health which is a must for a strong immune system. Prebiotics help to nourish good bacteria while probiotics, which are the bacteria themselves, have been shown to help one recover faster when you do get sick.

Be sure to consume both, whether you’re under the weather or feeling great. Prebiotics include foods like asparagus, garlic, onions and Jerusalem artichokes as well as citrus fruits, kiwi, berries, apples and bananas. Potatoes and yams, quinoa and beans, are also good sources, as well as flax seeds and chia seeds which provide essential fatty acids.

Some of the best whole food sources of probiotics include plain organic yogurt, cheese and kefir with live, active cultures; fermented vegetables like pickles, sauerkraut and kimchi; miso, tempeh, soy sauce (make sure it is gluten-free) and wine.

Aim for at least 1-2 servings of probiotic-rich foods and 2-3 servings of prebiotic-rich foods daily.
Back to the “starve” part of that old saying, while you never want to starve yourself, moderate calorie restriction has been shown to improve cell-mediated immunity and even offset aging related changes in immune function by helping to replenish stem cells – but, extremely low food intake could suppress the immune system and lower the body’s defenses.

Listen to your body, and consider eliminating any food or beverage that doesn’t contribute to your good health, naturally lowering your overall caloric intake, including things like soda, fast food or processed foods. Instead, concentrating on whole, organic foods that come from the earth.
Sick Woman.In addition to prebiotic and probiotic-rich foods, including certain foods that may hasten recovery can also be a good idea. That includes garlic, which serves as an antibiotic and has consistently been found to lessen the severity of colds and other infections. Homemade chicken soup, not the kind from a box or a can, has been found to offer anti-inflammatory properties that decrease cold symptoms. Drinking green tea helps to boost the production of B cell antibodies which can battle off invading pathogens – add a couple of teaspoons of raw, organic honey to take advantage of its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Research has found honey to be as effective as a cough-suppressing drug.

Once you’re well again, keep in mind that unhealthy eating, including consistently overeating, can compromise how the immune system responds when it is faced with germy invaders.
Aim to eat a healthy, nutritious diet for life – you’re likely to be pleasantly surprised by how much healthier, and happier you are overall.

-The Alternative Daily

The Best and Worst Ways to Eat Potatoes

The Best and Worst Ways to Eat Potatoes

There are all kinds of different potatoes, including classic russet potatoes, Yukon Gold, red potatoes, white potatoes, fingerling potatoes and even blue potatoes. No matter what type you like best, whether or not you’re eating a health food, really depends on how your potatoes are prepared.
Another important consideration when it comes to potatoes, and many other types of produce, is buying organic. Mashed potatoes can be delicious and nutritious, unless they’re laden with pesticides or have been genetically modified. Potatoes generally retain pesticides even after they’ve been washed and peeled – and nearly 80 percent of potatoes have been shown to contain these toxic substances.

Organic potatoes are filled with essential nutrients and health benefiting properties. They’re a rich source of vitamin B6 and a good source of potassium, copper, vitamin C, manganese, phosphorus, niacin, dietary fiber and pantothenic acid.

The potato also contains a host of phytonutrients that offer antioxidant activity, including carotenoids, flavonoids, and caffeic acid along with unique tuber storage proteins, like patatin, which has been shown to exhibit activity against free radicals. Free radicals are believed to be the root cause of a wide range of chronic disease and illness in addition to contributing to premature aging.

While the potato itself is quite healthy, it is often ruined by being processed so heavily the result is hardly a potato.

You’re probably quite familiar with some of the worst ways to eat potatoes, including those infamous stacked Pringles, sometimes referred to as “Cancer in a Can.” In an effort to avoid taxes that were levied against “luxury foods” like chips in the United Kingdom, the Pringles Company even argued that the potato content of their chips was so low that they technically aren’t even potato chips.
Pringles, and most other potato chips as well as french fries, are heavily processed. One of their most harmful ingredients isn’t something that is intentionally added, but is rather a byproduct of processing known as acrylamide.

Acrylamide is a cancer-causing and potentially neurotoxic agent that is created when carbohydrate-rich foods are cooked at high temperatures, whether baked, fried, roasted or toasted. Potato chips and French fries typically contain the highest amounts according to numerous studies, though other foods processed at a temperature above 212 degrees Fahrenheit may contain acrylamide, such as processed cereals and snacks.

As you probably surmised, potato chips and fries are two of the worst ways you can eat potatoes, if you can call them that. Baked potatoes sold at fast food restaurants piled with processed cheese and other unhealthy ingredients come in at a close second.
Still, there are plenty of great ways to enjoy a potato.
Combine pureed roasted garlic, cooked potatoes and olive oil for especially tasty garlic mashed potatoes.

Enjoy baked potatoes with healthy toppings like herbs and veggies. Top with plain, organic yogurt for a more nutritious sour cream-like flavor.
Sautéed potatoes for breakfast instead of eating processed hashed browns. Just chop up some red potatoes, green and red bell pepper and onions into small, bite-sized pieces. Place them into a skillet with some coconut oil and cook, stirring until tender.
Raw Organic PotatoesIf you like french fries, you can make your own healthier baked fries by cutting russet potatoes into wedges and placing them on a baking sheet sprinkled with olive oil. Drizzle some more olive oil over the tops of the potatoes and then season with sea salt and pepper. Bake in a 450 degree F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once to make sure they’re browned and cooked on all sides.

You don’t necessarily have to give up potatoes completely for better health and a slimmer waistline – though, quite frankly, potatoes are not your healthiest choice of vegetable by a long shot – so you would do well to cut down on them if you are eating them often. At the very least, start by eliminating processed potatoes, so you get to enjoy the best of both worlds with great taste and a healthier you.
-The Alternative Daily

7 Reasons to Eat this Perennial Woody Shrub

7 Reasons to Eat this Perennial Woody Shrub

Thyme is an herb that’s commonly used for cooking, but it also offers a multitude of health benefits. You’re probably familiar with this perennial shrub with a thin woody base and square stems. It features tiny, light-green colored, slightly curved aromatic leaves as well as small and fragrant white or lilac hued flowers which appear in the summer.

The flowers, leaves and oil of thyme are commonly used as a remedy for treating a variety of conditions, including diarrhea, arthritis, colic, sore throat, cough and bronchitis.
Thyme can be used in a number of ways, imparting an intense flavor to recipes, typically added as the last step in order to keep its flavor and fragrance intact as prolonged cooking results in the evaporation of its essential oils. It can also be used as a tea, by pouring boiling water over the thyme leaves directly, or by placing the dried leaves into a tea ball.

There are many reasons to consume more thyme, including these.
Reduce high blood pressure
According to researchers at the University of Belgrade in Serbia, consuming thyme may help to protect against hypertension. The reasoning behind this may be because the leaves are one of the richest sources of potassium, which is an important component of cell and body fluids that help control heart rate and blood pressure.

Cancer protection
Thyme may also help protect against colon and breast cancer. A research team from Universidade Nova de Lisboa in Portugal found that the presence of the extracts of Mastic Thyne produces a protective effect. Scientists at Celal Bayar University in Turkey conducted a study which determined that the herb may also be a promising candidate in the development of novel therapeutic drugs for breast cancer treatment.

Powerful antioxidants
Fresh thyme offers one of the highest antioxidant levels among herbs, including many flavonoid phenolic antioxidants like zeaxanthin, lutein, pigenin, naringenin, luteolin and thymonin. Antioxidants like these can help prevent the damaging effects of oxidation on cells throughout your body.

Relieving stress
Thyme is packed with vitamin B6, providing about 27 percent of the recommended daily intake. This vitamin helps maintain GABA (a beneficial neurotransmitter in the brain) levels which in turn helps to relieve stress.

 Fighting infection

In addition to lots of antioxidants, thyme is a rich source of vitamin C which helps the body develop resistance to infectious agents as well as damaging, pro-inflammatory free radicals.

Fighting colds
Fresh thymeThyme contains antiseptic and antibiotic properties that make it a great remedy when you have a cold, cough or sore throat. It is even effective as a treatment for bronchitis. Drinking a cup of thyme tea with a teaspoon of raw, organic honey is a great way to relieve the symptoms of these ailments.

A wide range of other essential nutrients
In addition to being an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin B6 and vitamin C, thyme is rich in iron, manganese, copper and dietary fiber.
The next time you visit the grocery store, be sure to pick up some organic thyme and use it on a regular basis.
-The Alternative Daily

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Ebola: What Every American Needs to Know

Health Matters With Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Ebola: What Every American Needs to Know

Ebola is a killer, but it is not very contagious and not a threat in the United States.

Ebola is a frightening disease, no question. It kills more than half the people it infects, and there is no cure. Fueling fears is the latest news that a doctor in New York City has tested positive for the virus, marking the fourth time someone in the United States has been diagnosed. But here’s an important fact: Most people in this country shouldn’t be worried about getting Ebola.

If you are not a health worker or, for some other reason, in direct physical contact with someone who has Ebola, you are not at risk of getting it. Here’s what we know:

While Ebola is deadly, it is not very contagious. The flu virus is carried through the air, but the Ebola virus is not. You have to be in physical contact with a sick person and get their blood or vomit or feces on your skin.

Even in areas of Africa where the outbreak is spreading out of control, each sick person infects only two others on average. That is called the R-nought value. It is a measure of how contagious a disease is. Compare it to measles, for example, which is airborne like the flu. The R-nought for measles is 18, meaning each sick person infects 18 others on average during an outbreak. 
Of course, even an R-nought of two is serious if the virus is allowed to spread unchecked. One person infects two, who infect four, then eight, sixteen, etc.

That is what is happening in West Africa. In Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, the public health systems were not able to contain the outbreak, so it has become an epidemic. But that could not happen in this country, which has a robust public health system. Even if more Ebola-infected people come here, we can be sure the virus will be contained.

We’re seeing that system at work right now. Everyone who came in contact with Thomas Duncan, the only person to die of Ebola in this country, was tracked down and monitored for 21 days, which is the maximum incubation period for the virus. All of them have now been cleared of risk.

Duncan did infect two other people; nurses who cared for him in Dallas. So everyone they had contact with was also traced, and those people are also being monitored for 21 days.

But while Ebola is not very contagious, it is highly infectious. One drop of an infected person’s blood may hold a million virus particles, far more than most viral diseases. And you do not need to have a cut on your skin to become infected. It’s enough that the virus come in contact with skin.
That is why health workers treating Ebola patients must be gowned head to toe and must follow strict protocols when removing the contaminated garments. It is also why so many health workers in Africa have died.

Thomas Duncan was infected because he helped to carry a woman who was dying of Ebola to the hospital in Liberia. He also carried her back home when that hospital turned her away for lack of space. The two nurses who treated him in Dallas were apparently infected because their gowns left some skin exposed.

So what is your risk? We’re heading into the holiday shopping season. Should you worry about crowded shopping malls or public transportation? The short answer is no. Even if you find yourself on a crowded bus next to someone who seems sick, what you need to worry about is catching the flu, not Ebola.

Medicare Open Enrollment: What You Need to Know

Senior Health

Medicare Open Enrollment: What You Need to Know

Answers to frequently asked questions about enrolling in What's the Difference Between Medicare and Medigap?] Finding the right Medicare plan, figuring out deductibles and worrying about the prescription drug "donut hole" can be confusing enough, particularly for seniors entering the venerable health care system for the first time.
"The overlapping enrollment period is already causing so

Get more info at US News.

Monday, October 20, 2014
Call it the health insurance version of an October Surprise.
This year, the annual Medicare fall open enrollment period, during which seniors eligible for Medicare can choose or alter their coverage plans, will overlap with the open enrollment period for the health insurance marketplaces mandated under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

[Read: What's the Difference Between Medicare and Medigap?]

Finding the right Medicare plan, figuring out deductibles and worrying about the prescription drug "donut hole" can be confusing enough, particularly for seniors entering the venerable health care system for the first time.
"The overlapping enrollment period is already causing some confusion" among Medicare recipients, says Paula Muschler, operations manager for Allsup, a private company that advises seniors on their health care options. "With all the resurgence of interest in health care exchange, they are asking, 'How does this affect me?'"
The answer: not much. What follows are some FAQs about Obamacare's relationship with Medicare, and what seniors should consider during the open enrollment period:

Q: Will Obamacare change my Medicare?
A: Your Medicare is still protected. It will be for the foreseeable future, and the Affordable Care Act doesn't negatively change it.
Medicare isn't part of the state-by-state health insurance marketplaces the ACA establishes, so seniors don't need to shop around or replace the Medicare coverage they have now. Your Medicare counts as coverage, so your benefits and security will stay the same.
"That's important for people to understand," says Juliette Cubanski, a Medicare policy analyst at the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation. "[Seniors] don't need to worry about the mandates; they don't need to worry about penalties [for not having health insurance]."

RELATED: Many on Medicare Already Enjoying Benefits

Q: So you're saying that Obamacare won't change Medicare at all?
A: Not exactly – you'll get a few more services, and save more money.
Because of the ACA, Medicare now covers certain cancer early-detection screening services, such as mammograms or colonoscopies, with no out-of-pocket charges and without charging you for the Part B coinsurance.
"There are changes made that are actually improvements in benefits," Cubanski says. "That's something for people to actually look forward to."
Seniors now qualify for a free yearly "wellness" visit to a doctor, and health care reform is slowly closing the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap. More on that later.
[Read: Myths and Facts about Obamacare and Medicare.]

Q: What's the open enrollment period?
A: The Medicare open enrollment period, which runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, is the window for 50-plus million Medicare recipients to review, tailor or change their policies.
Some Medicare plans during the past year may have been altered or premiums may have risen or fallen, according to Muschler. Seniors already enrolled in a Medicaid plan can review their policies, adjust them or enroll in new health plans that better suit their needs – and the sooner, the better.
"Don't put it aside, don't think your plan isn't changing," she says. "It might be small changes, but they may be changes you need to pay attention to. Seniors need to act now. Don't delay it."
Even if their current Medicare coverage plan is satisfactory, Muschler and others recommend reviewing it anyway to make sure it hasn't been reworked significantly since last year. A simple switch to a competing plan can save thousands in out-of-pocket costs, including prescription drug co-payments.
[Read: How to Make the Best of the Medicare 'Donut Hole.']

Q: I turn 65 in a few months – I'll be eligible for Medicare, but I haven't enrolled yet. What should I do during the open enrollment period?
A: Seniors who will become Medicare-eligible soon have a different deadline.
According to the federal government's Center for Medicare Services, Medicare enrollees aren't eligible for during open enrollment: They can sign up for the health plan three months before the month of their 65th birthday, but the eligibility ends on the third month after the birthday month. So don't wait until the last minute.
"The reason you want to start early is you don't want any [medical coverage] gap," Muschler says. "You need to review your options and how you will use your coverage."
Things to consider: What doctors will you see? Do you have a preferred health care provider or hospitals? What are your health needs? Will your plan travel with you if you move? What about a spouse and dependents – are they covered? Can you afford higher premiums for broader coverage?

Q: Should I sign up for Obamacare instead?
A: Not if you're enrolled in or eligible for Medicare. The Health Insurance Marketplace under the ACA is designed to help younger people who don't have health insurance.
Even if you're still on the job and have health insurance through your employer, if you're 65 or older the new Health Insurance Marketplace isn't for you. Moreover, it's illegal for someone who knows that you have Medicare to sell you a Marketplace plan.

Q: What about the gap in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage – the so-called "donut hole"?
A: Obamacare helps shrink the payment gap that kept some seniors from getting prescriptions they needed but couldn't afford.
In 2012, in the early phases of the ACA, seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D got a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs and 14 percent off on generics. As health care reform proceeds, out-of-pocket prescription drug expenses will drop each year until the donut hole closes in 2020.
In fact, Part D prescription drug coverage decreased in 2014 compared to last year. For example, the Part D deductible fell from $325 to $310. Ultimately, health care reform will put more money back into the pockets of Medicare beneficiaries.
[Read: 5 Health Insurance Mistakes Costing You.]

Q: What about Medicare Part B – will premiums go up because of the ACA?
A: No. In fact, they might get lower.
AARP has predicted that health care reforms could hold down the costs of Part B premiums, if not lower them. Congress established an official formula for setting Medicare Part B premiums years ago, and that formula won't change under Obamacare.

Q: I've heard some scary things: that Medicare could go away, and Obamacare could replace it.
A: There are no plans to replace Medicare.
The life of the Medicare Trust fund will be extended to at least 2029 – a 12-year extension due to reductions in waste, fraud and Medicare costs, which will provide seniors with future savings on premiums and coinsurance.

Q: What kind of information do I need to sign up for Medicare?
A: You'll need the basics – name, address, Social Security number and current health insurance information – and a few extras if you're married, have dependents or meet certain conditions.
That includes your spouse's and children's Social Security or health care information; your employer's name and address if you get health care through a group plan; and information about your Worker's Compensation claims or federal disability benefits, if they apply. The Medicare Initial Enrollment Questionnaire, along with a complete list of documents you'll need, is available online at, or at your local Social Security office.
[See: Top Health Insurance Companies.]

Q: OK, I think I understand. But if I need more information, where can I get it?
A: There are lots of resources around that can help clear up any lingering confusion.
That includes Medicare advisory companies like Allsup and websites by advocacy groups for seniors like AARP. Private insurance companies and nonprofit public-interest entities like the Kaiser Family Foundation also have strong online presences and hotlines. U.S. News also has a guide that offers information for consumers who are seeking to understand or purchase Medicare plans.

Protect Your Car

According to the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), approximately 81 percent more car vandalism claims occur on October 31 than average. Help prevent slashed tires, smashed windows and deliberate car damage on Halloween — and every other day of the year — with these tips:

Check your surroundings
Where you park your car can affect its likelihood of being vandalized. At home, park in the garage. If you don't have a garage, install motion lights that will help deter vandals and alert you and neighbors to activity near your vehicle or driveway. Away from home, park in a well-lit, populated area — preferably a gated lot or secure parking garage. For added protection, park in a spot away from objects that could help conceal vandals, such as large vehicles, dumpsters or shrubbery.

Eliminate temptations
Remove valuables and any evidence of them from your vehicle. For example, clean GPS suction rings off your windshield, remove stereo faceplates and store cell phone chargers in the center console.
Bumper stickers also can tempt vandals. If someone doesn't agree with your expressed views, you may become the target of vandals.

Take extra security measures
Add an alarm system and/or surveillance cameras to your car to make it a less desirable target. If it's clear your vehicle has these, vandals may keep walking. Sometimes, simply having a security system decal on a window is enough to discourage them.

This message was brought to you by State Farm.

Eat this Always with Turmeric

Eat this Always with Turmeric

Turmeric is an herb, also known as Curcuma longa, that is a member of the ginger family which has been used throughout India and the Orient for thousands of years. Historical records note that ancient Polynesians took turmeric with them when they sailed across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii where the spice is still used today and known as Olena.
In India, this golden spice has long been called “holy powder,” and is used extensively to treat infections, wounds and a myriad of other health problems. Once thought of as only a folktale, modern research is now confirming what the people of India and many parts of Asia have known for thousands of years, turmeric is a spice you don’t want to pass up.
Scientists are finding an astonishing array of antioxidant, anticancer, antiviral and antibiotic properties. As an immune system booster, turmeric is 5 to 8 times stronger than vitamin C and E.

Studies show that curcumin, the principal curcuminoid of turmeric, inserts itself into cell membranes where it does a little house-cleaning and reorganizing, adding vibrancy to the cell itself. Suddenly a disorganized cell becomes organized, allowing information to flow through it so it can function more effectively. The result of this action increases the cell’s resistance to infection and malignancy which can keep a number of serious conditions at bay including:
  • Gallstones
  • Cataracts
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Psoriasis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Cataracts; and
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Curcumin is probably best known for its strong anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is a normal and beneficial process that occurs when white blood cells and chemicals in the body join up to protect you from foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. So, some level of inflammation is good and required for health. The challenge for many people is chronic inflammation, typically as a result of an inflammatory diet.
There are a number of supplement forms of turmeric widely available, however, high doses are needed in order to achieve all of the anti-cancer benefits, mostly due to the fact that curcumin is not absorbed particularly well. When we consume curcumin, most is metabolized before it is absorbed.
However, combining black pepper with curcumin can increase its bioavailability up to 2,000 times. Black pepper is super healthy in itself so this is a winning combination. Black pepper contains piperine which has been shown to increase serum concentrations of curcumin and its absorption in animal and human studies.
We don’t usually put too much thought into the medicinal properties of black pepper, the most widely used spice in the world, but they are quite extensive indeed. Here are just a few of them that we uncovered.
The University of Michigan Cancer Center has done a study that shows that pepper can help keep breast cancer away. A chemical compound called piperine is found in the peppercorns and can help prevent a tumor from forming. The potential of this is heightened when combined with turmeric.
Pepper is a great exfoliant for your skin. Pepper can help clear away dead skin cells, add more oxygen to your skin and stimulate your circulation.
Pepper is a powerful decongestant. When you have a cold or stuffy nose, add a little extra pepper to your meals to help clear you up. It will break up your mucus and help ease your cold.
Heap ground CurryPepper can help aid digestion. Pepper stimulates your taste buds which signals the stomach to make hydrochloric acid. This helps digest food and makes for a healthy gut.
The outer layer of peppercorns stimulate the breakdown of fat cells. Pepper can help keep you slim.
Homemade Curry Powder with Black Pepper
Store-bought curry generally does not contain very much turmeric and usually gets its zippy taste from chilli, not black peppercorns. In order to reap the benefits of turmeric, try this homemade curry powder that contains enough black pepper to make all the goodness of curcumin available to you.
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon organic turmeric powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon organic ginger
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Stir well and store in an airtight container.
-The Alternative Daily

4 Ways to Add More Ginger to Your Diet

4 Ways to Add More Ginger to Your Diet

Ginger is not only a fabulously tasty spice, it’s packed with a wide range of powerful compounds that offer a multitude of health benefits. With so many medicinal properties, many feel that it’s a must for your medicine cabinet too. Unmistakably aromatic, the spice of fresh ginger root can be used to add a wonderful zing to all types of dishes, but if you’re only using it to make the occasional pumpkin pie, you’re really missing out.
Consider these four ways of adding great flavor and a boost to your health with ginger.

Add ginger to your juice

You can add fresh ginger root to just about any homemade juice to reap its benefits. Just cut a one-inch chunk and toss it into your juicer. It goes great with carrots, apples and a little lemon juice. For a super immune boosting drink, add 2 chopped and peeled grapefruits, 5 chopped carrots and freshly grated ginger root into your juicer and enjoy.
Fresh Ginger Tea
Making your own ginger tea is easy and incredibly soothing. It’s especially good to sip when you have a cold, the flu or a sore throat. All you need is a one-inch piece of fresh grated ginger and two cups of water. Boil your ginger for about 10 minutes for a mild flavor, or up to 20 minutes if you’d like it more spicy. Once this is done, strain out the ginger. You can add a little raw, organic honey or lemon juice if you’d like for extra flavor.

Ginger Smoothie
Ginger can be added to many different types of smoothies too. It adds a warming spicy flavor to a fruit smoothie, working especially well with citrus fruits like pineapple, lemon, lime and orange, although it also goes well with vanilla bean and banana. You might even want to add other spices like nutmeg or cinnamon.
This pumpkin pie smoothie that incorporates these fantastic spices is a great one to try.

  • 1/2 cup organic coconut milk
  • 8 ounces canned organic pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cinnamon
  • 1″ chunk fresh ginger root, chopped or grated
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon raw, organic honey
  • 8 – 10 ice cubes
Blend all ingredients except ice until totally smooth. Add ice and blend again.

Ginger-Honey Glaze for Salmon
Fresh ginger can be added to many different meals, tossed into any cooked meat or vegetable in a wok or pan. This recipe incorporates ginger and makes a delicious glaze for your wild-caught salmon.

  • ¼ cup raw, organic honey
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
GingerCombine all ingredients in a bowl, whisk until smooth and pour over cooked wild-caught salmon.
Be sure to add ginger root to your next shopping list. Get a little creative and have fun with it – ginger is fabulous for spicing up all types of drinks and meals all while providing a huge boost to your health!
-The Alternative Daily

How to Protect Yourself from Dangerous Viruses and Bacteria Such as Ebola

How to Protect Yourself from Dangerous Viruses and Bacteria Such as Ebola

The recent, frightening outbreak of the Ebola virus has been all over the news, and people are understandably worried.
While your chances of contracting Ebola are virtually nil unless you have had contact with an infected person (as the virus is spread through blood and bodily fluids such as urine, feces, saliva, vomit, sweat, and semen,) there are still other dangerous viruses and bacteria lurking in various parts of the world, and it’s important to be as protected as possible.
In the face of such a global health crisis, it is prudent to remember that the spread of many diseases can be avoided through proper hygiene. While it may seem like a highly overstated point, the statistics on how many people still do not wash their hands after visitng a public restroom are frightening. Washing our hands often is the first step in avoiding a nasty bug.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend washing hands with soap and water and lathering for at least 20 seconds, making sure to wash your entire hands, including underneath your fingernails. They also state that hands should be washed before, during and after food preparation, after using the restroom, changing a diaper, handling garbage, after coughing or sneezing and after contact with sick individuals and pets.
The second thing you can do to raise your chances of avoiding an infection by invading pathogens is to pay special attention to the health of your immune system. This starts with taking a close look at your diet. Fill your plate with a rainbow of fruits, veggies and legumes, along with healthy fats and proteins. Avoid sugar, refined flour, processed foods and anything with trans fat.
Support healthy gut bacteria, which are crucial to overall immune health, with probiotic foods, such as organic yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi. There are also certain foods, herbs and spices that can greatly benefit immune health by fighting pathogens and reducing inflammation. These include onion, garlic, lemon, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and turmeric.
The herbs astragalus and licorice root have also been used traditionally to boost immunity, but talk to a natural health professional before starting a regimen with these, to determine the proper intake for your individual health and needs. Also, check out our recipes for immune-boosting fall soups, to get your body’s defenses into top shape this season.
BiohazardOn top of that, be sure to get as much sunshine as you can. If it is limited where you live, talk to a health professional of your choice about potentially supplementing with vitamin D – which is highly important to immunity, along with many of the body’s other processes. And, be sure to keep your stress in check, through yoga, meditation and exercise, as chronic stress can lead to inflammation, which can dampen immune response.
While there is no reason to stay awake at night worrying about Ebola and other dangerous diseases, taking the steps to make sure your body is in top defensive shape may help you to rest easier.
-The Alternative Daily

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Dos and Don'ts for Eating Well With Atrial Fibrillation

Dos and Don'ts for Eating Well With Atrial Fibrillation

Eating the right foods can help you avoid atrial fibrillation symptoms. Here's how to put together a heart-healthy diet.

Medically reviewed by Farrokh Sohrabi, MD
Diet plays a significant role in managing atrial fibrillation, a type of irregular heartbeat that can cause dizziness, chest pain, and shortness of breath. In addition to eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, if you have atrial fibrillation — often simply called Afib — you should avoid foods that increase your blood pressure or heart rate, or any unhealthy foods that can cause heart problems. Maintaining proper vitamin and mineral levels is important, too. Follow these dos and don'ts for a safe and nutritious Afib diet.
Don't Eat Too Much Salt
Salt may be used in countless dishes, but consuming too much isn't a good thing: Salt raises your blood pressure, and high blood pressure increases your chances of experiencing atrial fibrillation symptoms. Ways to manage your salt intake include rinsing canned foods, especially beans, to wash off excess salt; avoiding salty foods such as chips, nuts, and canned soups; and not adding extra salt to your food, says Chester Hedgepeth, MD, PhD, chief of cardiology at Kent Hospital in Warwick, R.I. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day if you have high blood pressure. To add flavor to foods without using salt, experiment with herbs and spices.
Don't Drink Caffeinated Beverages
Pass on the soda, energy drinks, and double-shot espressos to better manage atrial fibrillation, Dr. Hedgepeth says. Caffeine increases your heart rate and makes you more susceptible to an Afib episode or other heart arrhythmias. Consider drinking decaffeinated coffees or teas and water instead. To liven up plain water, add a slice of lemon or lime, or drink natural fruit juice for a sweet treat.
Do Keep Animal Fats in Check
"Sticking to a modest fat and cholesterol intake can help to lower your risk for heart problems, such as arrhythmias like Afib," Hedgepeth says. Meats that are high in fat include organ meats, beef, lamb, sausage, dark-meat poultry and poultry skin, and bacon. High-fat dairy products include whole milk, heavy cream, ice cream, and full-fat cheeses. Instead, choose lean protein sources, such as beans, lentils, and fish, and low-fat dairy.
Do Eat Healthy Fats
Not all fats are bad in a heart-healthy diet, says Lisa Cimperman, MS, RD, LD, a clinical dietitian at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland. Foods high in monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, canola oil, nuts, and seeds, are good additions to your diet when eaten in moderation. Polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids, can be beneficial for overall heart health. Omega-3s are found in foods such as salmon, albacore tuna, sardines, walnuts, and flaxseed. Foods with these fatty acids reduce the risk for arrhythmias, decrease triglyceride levels, and slow plaque formation.
Do Use Caution When Eating Leafy Greens
It's okay to eat leafy green vegetables — just keep your daily intake consistent if you’re on the blood-thinning drug warfarin. That’s because leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, spinach, asparagus, and spring onions have high levels of vitamin K, which can interfere with how warfarin works, especially if you eat large quantities. However, if you're only taking aspirin as a blood thinner for Afib, you don’t have to worry because vitamin K doesn’t affect aspirin.
Don't Drink Alcohol
Even in what may seem like modest amounts, alcohol can trigger an Afib event. Avoid drinking alcohol in quantities beyond moderation — which is considered to be anything more than one drink a day for women and two for men, says John P. Higgins, MD, an associate professor of medicine in the division of cardiology at UTHealth Medical School, director of exercise physiology at Memorial Hermann Ironman Sports Medicine Institute, and chief of cardiology at Harris Health System Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital, all in Houston. If this seems difficult, talk with your doctor about setting appropriate limits for you.
Don't Eat Foods High in Tyramine
Foods with the compound tyramine can raise your blood pressure and increase your risk for Afib symptoms, Hedgepeth says. Foods that have high levels of tyramine include:
  • Aged cheeses, such as aged Cheddar, Swiss, blue cheeses such as Stilton and Gorgonzola, and Camembert
  • Cured meats, which are meats treated with salt and nitrate or just nitrite, such as dry-type summer sausages, pepperoni, and salami
  • Fermented cabbage, such as sauerkraut and kimchee
  • Certain sauces, including soy sauce, fish sauce, and shrimp sauce
  • Yeast-extract spreads, such as Marmite
  • Broad bean pods, such as fava beans
Tyramine isn't an ingredient, but a naturally-occurring compound, so it isn't listed on food labels. If you’re unsure which foods to cut from your diet, talk to your doctor or a dietitian.
Do Use Heart-Smart Cooking Methods
Cooking heart-healthy foods is easier than it may seem. As long as you start with a lean cut of meat, baking, roasting, or sauteing will allow maximum flavor with minimal fat, Cimperman says. Poaching and steaming are great ways to cook vegetables and even fish with zero added fat.
Do Add Color to Your Dinner Plate
A variety of fruits and vegetables will ensure that your diet contains disease-fighting antioxidants such as beta-carotene, vitamin C, and other phytochemicals. Aim to fill half your plate with colorful, fresh fruits and vegetables, Cimperman advises. This will also help keep your weight in check, which is key to preventing a host of ailments, including heart disease and cancer.
Don’t Risk Food Poisoning
Certain illnesses, like food poisoning, can quickly lead to dehydration and deplete essential nutrients. If you have symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or fever, you can lose a significant amount of potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium. This can increase your risk for Afib events and even heart failure, says William R. Lewis, MD, chief of clinical cardiology at MetroHealth Medical Center and professor of medicine at Case Western Reserve University, both in Cleveland. Hedgepeth suggests managing such illnesses by quickly rehydrating with an electrolyte solution. Electrolyte abnormalities affect normal electrical activity in the heart and can potentially cause arrhythmias such as Afib.
To avoid food poisoning, cook foods such as meat, poultry, and eggs thoroughly, and avoid eating foods that have been sitting out for a long time, especially those containing dairy.

Focusing on our Food Lifestyles with Natural Solutions

Focusing on our food lifestyles
Each person is a unique being and each of us has our own lifestyles. Whether you are a meat eater, a vegetarian, a vegan, gluten free, dairy free...the list could go on...Natural Solutions has something for you. Articles to help guide your way through the aisles of different food lifestyles and did we mentions we have recipes galore? Take a look at a few of the things we've pulled together for you and visit our website for more.
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Food Diversity is Key to Good Health
We've all heard that food is medicine-but what about food supplements as medicine? Seann Bardell-co-founder of BioImmersion Inc. and creator of the company's Therapeutic Food Supplements-explains how adding a variety of whole foods and concentrated extracts to our diet helps our bodies feel and function at their best.Historically, macronutrients, vitamins, minerals, fish oil, and fiber have been the center of nutritional advice. Now, we have added a new topic to our ongoing conversation about good health: To enhance our diets, and maximize the efforts of our journey toward good health, we must understand how to utilize phytochemicals (or phytonutrients) from plants. There is a tremendous growing body of research on the use of phytochemicals for therapeutic purposes.
Peter, Peter Pepita Eater
Colorful trees, a refreshing breeze, and crisp autumn leaves mean that Halloween season is officially upon us. It's time to costume shop, decorate the yard, and-of course-visit the pumpkin patch. As you prepare to carve those spooky Jack-o'-Lanterns, you'll have to scoop out the innards of your carefully selected fruit-but be sure to pause before you ditch the seeds! Pepitas-"little seeds of squash"-are loaded with body-benefitting nutrients. And the rest of the pumpkin guts? Well, those aren't half bad either.
Blossom into Veganism
Mayim Bialik, PhD, is an award-winning actress, neuroscientist, and author-but above all, she's a mom. A mom who was inspired by her two young sons to author her new cookbook, "Mayim's Vegan Table: More Than 100 Great-Tasting and Healthy Recipes From My Family to Yours," to help busy parents discover fun, healthy, and easy vegan meals for the whole family.
Cook's Corner: Chili Season Is Upon Us
Here are several different chili recipes you can try during "chili season." Click here to learn more.

The Pros and Cons of Probiotics

Digestive Health

The Pros and Cons of Probiotics

Foods fortified with probiotics and probiotic supplements deliver live bacteria that can help with digestive health. But while the list of potential benefits of probiotics is growing, there are still questions about their effectiveness.

When you go to the grocery store nowadays, you’ll likely see a number of items containing probiotics, so-called "friendly" microorganisms which are most commonly bacteria, and sometimes a type of yeast. Manufacturers tout how good they are for you and your digestive health, and you can now find everything from probiotic yogurt, chocolate, and granola bars, to probiotic supplements and powders lining store shelves.
Though probiotics might seem like the latest health trend, they are not new, says Susan Lucak, MD, a gastroenterologist in New York City and a special lecturer at the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Columbia University. “Probiotics have been consumed by humans in one form or another for more than 100 years,” Dr. Lucak says.
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Today, the two most common types of probiotics found on the market are species of good bacteria called Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. While their manufacturers claim that probiotics have a number of overall and digestive health benefits, the scientific jury is still out on who should take them. Probiotics have a good safety record, but studies have not been performed in individuals who may have compromised immune systems, Lucak says. And, she adds, if you are a healthy person, “there is no evidence that probiotics will provide any additional health benefits.”
The Many Possible Benefits of Probiotics
Research to determine the full health benefits of probiotics is ongoing. Studies are looking into a wide range of possibilities, from whether probiotics can play a role in preventing tooth decay and periodontal disease to helping treat a variety of medical conditions, including:
  • Skin infections and eczema
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Vaginal infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Stomach and respiratory infections children acquire in day care settings
  • Antibiotic-related diarrhea
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) — patients with ulcerative colitis appear to respond better to probiotics than those with Crohn’s disease
Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center are even looking at whether probiotics could slow the growth of certain cancerous tumors. They believe that a better understanding of the effects of probiotics may lead to the development of probiotic-based regimens for preventing inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Crozer's Adolescent DBT Group & Open Intake

Crozer's Adolescent DBT Group & Open Intake Information

Do you know of anyone who struggles with any of the following:
  1. Self- Harm Behaviors, ie, Cutting themselves, Eating Disorders, Suicide attempts/threats
  2. Regular Angry Outbursts
  3. Fear of abandonment
  4. Risky, impulsive behaviors
  5. Extreme emotional sensitivity
The Adolescent DBT Group meets on Mondays from 2 to 4 pm.  If anyone is interested, please call the DBT line at 610-497-7676 for screening.  I have also attached open intake information as well as the DBT information flyer.

Volunteer Opportunity

Tax Season is Around the Corner - We Need Volunteers!
Volunteer Income Tax Preparers
PathWays PA’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provides free tax preparation to low-income filers so they can access valuable tax refunds and credits.
By volunteering only 3-4 hours a week during tax season, you alone can return over $30,000 to local working families! PathWays PA is looking for volunteers during the day, afternoons, evenings or Saturdays. No tax experience is required; free IRS-certified tax training is provided.
VITA volunteers will file tax returns, bringing thousands of dollars back to low-income working families; become an IRS-certified tax preparer; and get their own tax return filed for free.
  • Successfully pass open book IRS certification exam on required tax law knowledge
  • Prepare federal & state returns.
  • Conduct thorough interview with tax filer to obtain necessary information to prepare accurate return
  • Review returns prepared by other volunteers to ensure accuracy
  • Treat tax clients with respect and maintain their privacy & confidentiality
  • Provide information about other programs, such as financial education & counseling, FAFSA, SNAP (food stamps), LIHEAP, Healthcare and asset development strategies that tax filers may be able to utilize.
  • Commit to a set schedule of 3-4 hours each week during tax season to assist our tax clients. (January 26-April 15th)
  • No tax experience is required; free IRS-certified tax training is provided.
  • Comfort using computers
  • Good interpersonal skills and comfort with a wide range of people;
  • Strong interest in helping low-moderate income people become self-sufficient by accessing job supports (tax credits, financial counseling, SNAP, affordable health & child care, housing and education);
  • Dependable, hard worker
Benefit to Volunteers:
  • Learn new skills that will benefit you beyond the VITA Program and make you more marketable
  • Become an IRS certified preparer
  • Help people access their full refunds and federal and state tax credits
  • Save filers hundreds of dollars in tax preparation fees
  • Gain a sense of pride as you provide a valuable service to the community
Participate in an enjoyable and rewarding experience
  • Multiple locations available throughout Philadelphia and Delaware County
Investing your time in our VITA program is an investment in your local families and communities!
For more information about becoming a VITA volunteer, contact Maria Duncan-Prince at or at 610.543.5022 x239.

Entrepreneurial Education for Students in Grades 6-12

This is a national program being offered in the Philadelphia area. There is are $525 fee for this program, however need scholarships may be available. 

The deadline to apply is this Wednesday Oct. 22nd, but if interested parties call 215-628-3875, they will extend the deadline. The program brochure and application are attached.

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy, or YEA!, is a groundbreaking educational program that takes students in grades six through twelve through the process of starting and running real businesses over the course of a full academic year. Students work in close cooperation with local leaders of industry,community members, and educators to develop ideas and objectives, write business plans, pitch potential investors, obtain funding, register with governmental agencies, develop their brand identity and much more! By the end of the class, students own and operate fully functioning businesses that can be carried on after graduation. Students learn to make a job--not just take a job! YEA!’s direct mission is to help students embrace their passion, energy, creativity and talents, launch a venture, and view entrepreneurship as synonymous with success and freedom.  YEA! Was founded in 2004 at the University of Rochester with support from the Kauffman Foundation, to create its own not-for-profit corporation, YEA! Inc. The local YEA! Program is sponsored by: Greater Philadelphia Foundation for Women Entrepreneurs, The Foundation of the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce and Rosemont College.

It really is a life changing experience.  You might want to watch this video as well.

Beating That Bloated Feeling

 Beating That Bloated Feeling

Everyone gets bloated from time to time. These tips can help you beat the discomfort of gas.

Belly bloat is uncomfortable and even unsightly, if only to your own eyes. Thankfully its causes are no mystery, so you can take steps avoid it.
You may be surprised to find out that our bodies do not produce gas on their own. There are two basic sources of gas:
  • Swallowed air. This includes air from carbonated beverages, and usually leads to belching.
  • Bacteria. The gas that creates flatulence is made by bacteria; these live normally and healthfully in our colons and convert undigested sugars into gas.
If that excess air is not relieved by belching or passing gas, you get bloating. But these two basic causes of gas give us a hint about how to avoid feeling bloated.

Cutting Down on Bloating

Not to blame the victim, but your bloated belly is largely, yes, your own fault. What you eat or drink, and how you eat or drink it, causes the gas and discomfort you want to avoid.
Here are the essential steps to avoiding bloating:
  • Look out for raffinose. This is a sugar found in broccoli and beans. We can’t absorb or digest it, but our healthy bacteria love to turn it into gas. “There is an enzyme that can break down this sugar, but it’s not highly effective,” notes Stephen Hanauer, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the section of gastroenterology and nutrition at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
  • Respect lactose intolerance. “Women or men who are sensitive to lactose, the sugar in milk, will also notice more bloating,” says Dr. Hanauer. You may want to find alternatives to the dairy products that are causing you discomfort. However, yogurt is usually well tolerated.
  • Avoid simple carbohydrates and sugars. This includes sweets such as candy and cookies.
  • Eat slowly. Eating quickly can lead to swallowing air, which causes bloating and gas.
  • Don’t use a straw. Each sip draws air (from the upper part of the straw) into your mouth which is swallowed. This creates the same problem as eating quickly.
  • Avoid carbonated beverages. The bubbles in these drinks are gasses.
  • Cut back on artificial sweeteners. For some people, these may contribute to gas and bloating. Check labels of foods labeled sugar-free — ingredients called "sugar alcohols" can be a particular problem.
  • Go low- or no-fructose. Fructose is a natural sugar that is found in fruits, honey, and some vegetables. Foods with higher levels of fructose may create more bloating for some people. High-fructose corn syrup, an ingredient found in many processed foods and sweetened beverages, is also a likely contributor to discomfort for some.
  • Take notes. Bloating is a highly individual response. While there are some likely suspects, you should take careful note of the foods, drinks, and situations that seem to give rise to your discomfort.

If bloating is particularly frustrating, you may be tempted to avoid otherwise healthy fiber entirely. This is not a good idea for your overall health, says Hanauer. “If you avoid fiber, what’s going to happen is that you’re going to get more constipated,” he says.

Instead, if you have tried all these suggestions and you still can’t identify the cause of bloating in your life, you may need to talk to an expert. “It’s helpful to meet with a dietitian to identify the simple carbs that patients are not recognizing,” he explains.

Bloating or Sensitivity?

For a small number of people, the problem may not be actual gas but their perception of gas. “When we measure the actual amount of gas in the intestine of people who complain of bloating, it’s no different [than] other people,” says Hanauer. “What’s happening is they feel it more.”

If you suspect that sensitivity to gas is your problem, you may want to meet with a gastroenterologist to find out how you can manage this heightened sense of discomfort.

Beating the bloat is within your reach, as long as you understand what is probably causing your bloating and discomfort.

Learn more in the Everyday Health Digestive Health Center.