Lose The Tissue, Fight The Issue!

So the weather is starting to get nice out along with things we have all been waiting for. Getting to play outside, swimming and sunbathing, not having to wear layers upon layers of clothes. These are all reasons to why I have been counting down the days to summer. But along with all these great parts of the warmer weather, there are some nasty things that try to sneak their way into our lives. What are these nasty spoilers of the warm weather? Allergies.

As I was looking through the list of the top prescription in the US, I noticed that there were a lot of allergy medications near the top of the list. WebMD statistics show that 1 in every 5 people in the US have allergy or asthma symptoms. With this many people having symptoms, the health care system has an annual allergies related cost of $7.9 billion! That’s a lot of money that we can help relieve. So how to help reduce these allergies with food? One of the well known strategies is lots of vitamin C.

Figure from mobikorner.com

Figure from mobikorner.com

Citrus Fruits (such as oranges, tangerines, grapefruits) are a great source of vitamin C and really easy to eat throughout the day. Vitamin C works as an antioxidant that fights the histamine in your body. Your body releases histamine that contribute to sneezing, itching, runny noses, and hives during allergy season. Other foods that are high in vitamin C are green leafy vegetables, peppers, and guavas.

I’m sure we have all heard the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Well apparently this goes the same for allergies. Studies have shown that those who incorporate apples into their regular diet will have a greater protection against allergies and asthma. Apples are a great source of quercetin which is a natural anti-inflammatory. This helps reduce the swelling in your throat and sinuses when your allergies act up. Most of the benefits from apples comes from the antioxidants in the peel. These antioxidants are polyphenols and are important in that they prevent cellular damage. Another interesting fact came from a 2007 study about pregnancy and apples. This study found that kids are less likely to have asthma and allergies when their mothers eat apples during pregnancy.

Image from neoskosmos.com

Image from neoskosmos.com

Eating a spoonful of honey leading up to allergy season can help fight allergies once the weather warms up. Honey can attribute to your allergy defense due to the source of the honey. The bees collect pollen from allergy-inducing trees. Slowly allowing your body to become accustom to the pollen will help you build up a tolerance for when pollen begins to fill the air. Honey may seem a little difficult to incorporate into your diet, but it is a great addition to some food you may already be eating. You can add honey to plain yogurt to have a healthy way of sweetening the yogurt. Honey also goes great in tea or add it to whole-grain cereal in the mornings.

This is a great time to start getting prepared for allergy season. For those luck people without allergies, enjoy the warm weather and you can always incorporate these foods to help boost your immune system to fight off everything else. And for those with allergies, I wish you the best of luck. Try to incorporate these type of foods into your diet and maybe you can avoid end up like this…

Image from blog.womenshealthmag.com

Image from blog.womenshealthmag.com

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It’s Time To Wake Up! No, No Caffeine For You.

I’m sure all of us have had our mornings (if not every morning) where we just couldn’t find the energy to start the day. The bed is calling your name so sweetly to just stay wrapped in the covers all day. Your body tells you that you are just way too exhausted to possibly go throughout the day, before you have even started. Sound familiar? I have had these days once or twice… every day more like it. Well today I am going to talk about different foods that can help fight these feelings and help you get your day started off with a little extra kick. That is right though, I said no caffeine! This may be hard for a lot of people to even consider. What no coffee in the morning? How will you possible function? I’m here to tell you how.

Image from morehealthytips.com

Image from morehealthytips.com

Kids love the sugary part. Parents love the liquid part. Both are a way to boost energy, but neither is a good way to rely on energy for your diet. Breakfast is the most important meal when it comes to the amount of energy you have throughout the day. Yes foods high in simple sugars (like the extremely sweet breakfast cereal some of you might be eating) and caffeine give you a short term energy boost, they don’t help maintain energy levels through the day. This is done best by cutting out the sugar and caffeine and instead consuming food that are high in Vitamin B, fiber, and glucose.

Eggs are a great source of Vitamin B and are easy to make in the morning. Vitamin B are essential for the body to break down food properly into energy. Getting this early in your day will help your body breakdown the food you eat later into that much needed energy. A good pairing with the eggs (and alternative to the sugary cereal) would be whole grain cereals (Fiber One, Grape-Nuts, Frosted Mini Wheats, ect.). The fiber helps for a slow release of the glucose (the energy fuel) into the bloodstream. These foods will help give you that kick start in the morning to help make you feel more energized for the day.

Image from healthnews.ediets.com

Image from healthnews.ediets.com

Lean meats are a good fix for lunch and a way to help you feel energized later in the day if you have them for dinner. The lean meats, like turkey or tuna, contain protein that helps maintain the function of organs. They also just start your metabolism, which like the Vitamin B from above, helps break down all the food you eat into energy. Maybe the most important part of the lean meats, for the energy part of your diet anyway, is that they contain norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is an amino acid that directly affects the brain. The effects from this provide the body with a sense of motivation and clarity to get things done.

These are all great foods to help you get through your day sans caffeine. The most important think to help you stay awake and feel refreshed during the day isn’t from a food though. It comes from a drink. Water! Water is key in keeping your body hydrated, which is considered to be the most important factor to energy and motivation. It is responsible to help carry all the important nutrients in the blood throughout the body. Not only does it help with this, the water also helps remove the buildup of waste in our bloodstream which results in fatigue. So as you can see, water is one of the most important parts of your diet to stay energized. It will help keep you feel fresh and awake through the day. Make sure to drink those 8 to 10 cups of water today, if not more!

Image from howtohealthylife.com

Image from howtohealthylife.com

Coconuts Are More Than A Drink Holder

This week I have decided to do something a little different than usual. Instead of talking about foods that would help with a certain condition, I thought I would talk about a superfood! I’ve been hearing many things about superfoods for years now and never really paid much attention to all the benefits some of them really have. What makes a superfood a superfood versus a mediocre food anyway?

An article states that superfoods are foods that help us far beyond just their recognized nutritional benefits. These superfoods help not only create a way to fight disease, but allow help create a healthy lifestyle. Superfoods help by creating a more efficient way of getting the nutrients. They are high density nutrients, while being lower in calorie. This creates a healthier diet. So which superfood am I going to talk about today? If the title didn’t give the answer away, I will be talking about coconut.

Image from raworganicwhey.com

Image from raworganicwhey.com

There are many different parts of the coconut that have great health benefits. The first part of the coconut that has an incredible amount of health benefits is the coconut’s water. The clear liquid inside the coconut contains extremely high levels of electrolytes. Electrolytes are tiny ionized salts found in our cells that help with the transportation of energy throughout our body. They are lost through the skin when we sweat and always need to be replenished. People have been using coconut water as a healthy alternative to the sugary sports drinks that are used to replenish these electrolytes during activities. The water of coconuts is also surprisingly similar to the plasma found in our blood. It is so similar that coconut water has been used instead of plasma for blood transfusions and was a common practice during WWII in the pacific.

One of the most beneficial parts of the coconut is the oil that collected from the meaty white layer of the coconut. It was thought for many years that coconut oil was bad for your because of the high amount of fat it contains. This has been proven to be the exact opposite. The fat in the coconut oil actually is beneficial to you body. Coconut oil contains a saturated fat called lauric acid. This type of saturated fats helps increase the amount of good HDL cholesterol, thus increasing the cholesterol ratio found in your blood. Coconut oil helps boost thyroid function in the body. The thyroid regulates the amount of bad cholesterol found in the blood to help fight along with the lauric acid. Increased thyroid function also leads to the increase of your metabolism, an increase of energy, and increased endurance.

Image from wellnesstimes.com

Image from wellnesstimes.com

There are many more health benefits to eating coconut that I don’t have time to go into today. By incorporating coconut into your diet, you can help fight the flu, lice, throat infections, bronchitis, tapeworms, and even diseases such as gonorrhea and herpes! This article talks a lot about how coconuts fight these disease plus so much more. Incorporating this superfood you can add all these benefits to your health and you just might become super too!

Image from kisselpaso.com

Image from kisselpaso.com

The Addict’s Cure

It is a strange title this week, but I really couldn’t think of another. The connection between the title and the topic this week might be hard to see at first, however I hope that it soon becomes clear. As stated in my first post, pain killers are the leading type of medication. They are used for many different areas, such as after surgery, dealing with acute pain, and chronic conditions (between 42-50 Americans ). So why the title then? Well along with being the most used, pain killers are the most abused type of medication out there. They can become a major source of addictions and are dangerous for some people to take (those you may have a predisposition to addictions). Lets look into some foods that would help reduce the need of these pain killers.

ginger

Image from totallyfitness.co.uk

One of the first big foods that help with relieving pain is ginger. Ginger has proven to be a great way to recover from the soreness after working out. Your body needs increased circulation to recover after an intense workout. Studies show that it helps stimulate blood flow improving circulation. It is also an anti-inflammatory which corresponds with less pain. Pain can be caused and increased with more inflammation in a muscle or joint area.

ginger-salmon

Image from vanessatib.com

Different types of seafood has come up a lot in my search for food that have great health benefits. I am sorry for those that may be sick of eating seafood or those who don’t like it (I am included in this category). To go along with the ginger from above, I found a great recipe that incorporates both ginger and seafood. Ginger Crusted Salmon With Melon Salsa¬†sounds like a solid dinner option to add into your diet to help with any pain you would have. Salmon, specifically, contains anti-inflammatory abilities that work specifically towards helping with arthritis pain. It is also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which helps with the anti-inflammatory effects. A study done at the University of Pittsburgh (Go Pitt!) of 250 patients showing back or neck pain showed that over 60% of the participants had reduced pain after 3 months of taking omega-3 fatty acids.

Image from colourbox.com

Image from colourbox.com

Snack time! Fruits have always been know to help your body in many ways. One amazing thing I can across was the power of grapes. Grapes, especially red grapes, have shown the same effects as aspirin. The one extra benefit that grapes have over aspirin is that they don’t block COX-1. COX-1 helps in keeping the stomach lining healthy, which is why aspirin can cause problems for people with stomach problems. Cherries are another great way to reduce pain associated with osteoarthritis. Studies in this area have help proven that cherry pills can reduce pain and overall function for those that take the pill a minimum of 8 weeks.

There are a lot of different foods that help with fighting pain in there own ways. A lot of them are lighter foods that are a great thing to eat on the go and can be easily incorporated into your diet. So if you want to reduce any pain that you have or just want to eat more seafood, here are a few great foods to try and enjoy! This way you may not end up like this…

back pain cartoon-500x500

Image from physiomedical.co.uk

It’s Time To Give Your Heart A Break

No, this isn’t a reference to the Demi Lovato song. This is a reference though to the health of your heart. Your heart can be given a great argument as the most important organ you have. So it is completely obvious that it should be something that is taken care of all the time. A lot of the time, people don’t think about how much the food they eat affects their heart, for the better or worse. Well today I am going to hopefully introduce you to some new foods that help reduce high blood pressure (or help prevent it in the future).

So what causes hypertension (or high blood pressure)? According to WebMD, the only ways to get hypertension from your diet is an excess of salt and being overweight. This is a little off-putting for me considering that I always add a ton of salt to anything. Looks like I will have to truly take this post to heart (no pun intended) and add in new food to my diet to help counteract the massive amounts of salt I intake.

too-much-salt-400x400

Image from joshcantcook.com

A great way to reduce the amount of salt in your body is adding potassium to your diet. Potassium has been called the anti-salt for the diet. Salt causes cells in your body to swell up when salt brings water through the membranes. Potassium acts in the opposite of salt by removing the water out of cells that are lining the veins around the bloodstream and reduces the swelling that causes blood constriction. The reduced swelling allows the blood to flow easier and as a result reduces blood pressure. Foods that are really high in potassium and low in salt are seeds (like pistachios and sunflowers),  and avocados.

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Image from farmflavor.com

For the main part of a dinner, cold-water fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are an anti-inflammatory fat that isn’t naturally produced by the body. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish also act as a natural blood thinner to reduce high blood pressure. Fish that are especially rich in these are salmon, mackerel, cod, and trout. A recipe that incorporates both cold-water fish and a good source of potassium is a Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa.

Grilled-salmon-with-avocado-salsa

Image from laylita.com

Now on to the dessert/snack side of your diet. I know that this is an acquired taste for some, but dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure. Dark chocolate can help reduce blood pressure for those you already have hypertension by the flavonoids they possess. Flavonoids cause dilation of the blood vessels which increases the blood flow by reducing vascular resistance.

Image from waldorfmoms.com

Image from waldorfmoms.com

For a less rich snack before bed, a cup full of blueberries with yogurt will do the trick. Blueberries, along with other berries, contain anthocyanins that protect against hypertension. Yogurt (and again any low fat dairy product) are good sources of magnesium and potassium to help lower the blood pressure. So go and break out the George Foreman Grill (since the weather doesn’t really allow for a real one) and grill yourself up some salmon. Then finish it off with a nice molten dark chocolate cake (or the yogurt and blueberries if you are trying to keep the weight down to fight hypertension that way). Either way add some good food into your diet to either help fight your current hypertension or help prevent it in the future.

Immunity Through Community… Of Food

This week I thought I would talk about an issue that is right at home with me, the immune system. Considering the fact that I am dying of the plague (or maybe the flu) I thought it would be a good idea to talk about different kinds of food to help boost your immune system. Surrounded by so many people here at college, it is always a good idea to find ways to keep yourself health. Today we are going to look at different foods to help do this.

index

Image from ods.od.nih.gov

Vitamin C is widely known as the main supplement to help boost your immune system. A lot of research has been done on the effects of the vitamin and the immune system for good reasons. Vitamin C increases the production of disease fighting white blood cells and antibodies to fight the disease once it gets inside you. Vitamin C also helps increase the levels of interferon, which is the substance that coats the cells to prevent the entrance of viruses. There are a lot of different foods that contain Vitamin C and many more have had it added into them. The main source of this supplement is fruits and vegetables for most people. So this helps prove the old saying, that an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

TeriyakiBeefBroccoliSlaw-500x285

Image from blogs.rep-am.com

For those of you that would like to think of something a little more filling for their meal other than fruits and veggies, a nice beef dinner with a side of broccoli might be a good dinner option for you. Beef is extremely important in your diet for the zinc that it provides. A zinc deprivation is one of the most common lack of supplements in the average diet. Zinc is important for the immune system because it is a main element in the process of making the white blood cells.

Broccoli makes a great side with the beef, along with any other cruciferous vegetables. Why is broccoli a good side to help boost your immune system? Well during the winter when all of the fruits are harder to come by, broccoli is a cheap and great source of Vitamins A, C, and E. In addition to these, broccoli is high in glucosinolates. This may sound like a big worded name that you don’t want to be putting into your body, but it is in fact something that helps stimulate the body’s immune system.

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Image from thehealthyapron.com

Yogurt seems to come up in a lot of searches as a good food to add into your diet for different aliments. Yogurts are great for your immune system for their probiotics. These live active cultures help boost your immune system just as much as popping pills, according to many different studies. Plus it is a great tasting simple snack to eat throughout the day.

So during this time of year when everyone is getting sick around you, look at different foods to add into your diet to help prevent you from getting sick. From a nice beef dinner, to fruits upon fruits as a snack, there are many different foods to eat to help you from ending up in the hospital with the plague (or something a lot less serious).

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Image from soulhunted.blogspot.com

Time To Get Fancy… At Least For Your Dinner Party!

So this week I was proposed a challenge to discuss a process that can be helpful to all. While I was thinking about different challenging recipes to try, I thought that learning the proper etiquette for hosting a dinner party goes a lot further than being able to cook a certain food once or twice. It might seem like a little bit of a stretch at first to see the connection between hosting a dinner party and food that is an alternative to medicines. If you thought this, then you would be right. This week I am doing this post more so for anyone in a professional field that would benefit from the opportunity to host a dinner to network to peers. A pharmacist could use such an event to try and partner up with neighboring pharmacies and allow itself to expand on the resources that it can use by doing so.

One of the first things to consider when you do decide to host your first dinner party is the size of the party and who all you want to attend. This may seem a little silly to think of this as extremely important, but trust me that it is. You want to have a small enough group of people that you can get along with and be able to mingle with everyone. This is a time where you are trying to make a good impression on your guests. If you are running around the entire night while trying to talk to everyone and run the dinner, then it will seem that you don’t do a good job of organizing and planning.

weird-clothes

Image from funny-potato.com

After you have your guest list down to the people you think you can stand, it is always a good idea to let them know about the little details. Inform your guests about the proper dress attire for the evening, the type of food that will be served, venue location, and other details like these. It is very important for them to know these thing to avoid a mishap like the picture above. You don’t want one of your guests to show up extremely under-dressed from assuming that this was a little informal dinner.

Sonya_Thomas_Won_contests_by_Eating_chicken_wings

Image from themorningstarr.co.uk

Along with informing your guests about the food selection, make sure to check with the guests if there are any allergies that you have to avoid. Keep the number and type of food down to a few choices of simple to eat items. You don’t want to embarrass anyone by serving wings or ribs and they end up looking like a competitive eater while wearing their meal all over their nice clothes. Any foods that require your hands to eat are a big no-no for these type of events. This may require you to fulfill your burger cravings on another day.

steak

Image from starkinsider.com

Types of food that are easy to eat and go really well with this style of meal are one of the most important things to research before hand. Some great simple things would be salads, soup, steak, grilled chicken, basically anything that is ate easily with a fork and knife. This are also easy foods to dress up simply to allow you to come off as someone who has spent years mastering the art of cooking. Doesn’t that steak look good? I think so at least!

One of the last things to think about is the planned evening after the meal. A great way to have the guests (and yourself) settle down and relax at the end is to serve coffee and have a place provided away from the table for them to all sit down to talk. It is a great way to end what will be a busy night for you.

I don’t know how many of you are planning to throw a dinner party any time soon, but I thought this is a good topic for people to have stored in the back of their head if the time ever arises. There are just these few simple steps that will result in a very successful event. Make sure to plan ahead and be prepared if something were to arise. Pick the correct food for the occasion and not just whatever you are in the mood for that day. One of the main things to remember though is to just relax! This is going to be a busy night for you, so don’t make things more difficult. Nice simple things will create a wonderful night for you to enjoy. I hate it when I create more stress for myself by doing things like setting a table that I have no idea what half the utensils are for (great example to follow). So don’t do this and just have a fun time. You should enjoy your evening, not stress over it. Hope this helps!

Seriously now, this is too much!

Formal-Setting

Image from thefullmoxie.com