Monday, October 12, 2009

Adding flaxseed to juices, salads, jellies can help fight prostate cancer

WASHINGTON - Adding flaxseeds to juices, salads or pancake batter can help ward off prostate cancer, say experts.

“It’s the omega 3 fatty acids and the lignan present in flaxseed that led us to look at flaxseed’s prostate cancer prevention properties,” said Dr Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, professor of behavioral science at M. D. Anderson and head researcher for a recent study on flaxseed’s potential role as a power food.

Studies have shown that cancer risks, including the risk for prostate cancer, may be reduced by 30 to 40 percent if people ate a more plant-based diet, which includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds - including flaxseed.

Experts suggest that how incorporate flaxseed into everyday recipes can help prevent prostate cancer.

Adding ground flaxseed to cookies, muffins or cornbread recipes gives a mild and nutty flavor and tastes great in peanut butter cookies, or in almost any baked good.

Crackers or tortilla chips with flaxseed, baked in, also have a pleasant nutty taste.

Adding ground flaxseed to yogurt or cottage cheese can also be beneficial.

Sprinkle flaxseed over your salad, or mix it into salad dressing.

Sprinkle flaxseed over oatmeal, cold cereal or grits.

Mixing flaxseed into pancake or waffle batter also perks-up the maple syrup.

Stirring ground flaxseed into juice, water, sports drinks or smoothies or sprinkling it over soup could help fight the disease.

Adding flaxseed into low-fat mayonnaise before putting it on a sandwich would not only make for a delicious treat but also help you stay hale and hearty.

“Cancer cells migrate by attaching onto other cells. The omega 3 fatty acids found in flaxseed keep cells from binding together and attaching to blood vessels,” said Demark-Wahnefried.

“Lignan may reduce testosterone and other hormone levels. Lowering testosterone levels may reduce a man’s chances of getting prostate cancer,” the expert added.

Flaxseed is sometimes difficult to digest in its whole form, however, grinding flaxseed makes it more digestible and increases the amount of nutrients absorbed. (ANI)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cold? Flu? H1N1? How can you tell the difference?

There's a story I read from CNN about a man by the name of Smith, who suggested to his girlfriend they be guinea pigs in a H1N1 vaccination study in August, Smith, the name of the woman, wasn't so crazy about the idea. But then she warmed to it: While she doesn't like needles, she thought she'd help out because she knew H1N1 was a serious virus.

To cut your risk of catching a bug, doctors say wash your hands and avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes.

"I heard people might die from it," Smith said. "So I think it's a good idea to help people, by being involved."

Lewis and Smith, both from Baltimore, Maryland, were among the first Americans to receive H1N1 flu shots. As part of a trial of 2,400 people, they gave blood samples and kept diaries of their symptoms, all in an effort to get an H1N1 vaccine ready for the fall. Now that the results from this and other trials are in, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that the FDA has approved applications from four manufacturers to make H1N1 flu vaccine, which should be ready for high-risk patients by October 15. She said there will be enough vaccine available for everyone eventually.

And that's just in time. With fall in the air and old man winter right around the corner, seasonal flu and the common cold are sure to follow -- and H1N1 is here; in its most recent H1N1 update, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 21 states are reporting widespread flu activity.

This cold and flu season could star a cornucopia of viruses. Doctors say they worry the two flu strains (H1N1 and seasonal) could combine, further complicating the situation. Mix in colds, which are prevalent this time of year, and the immune system of Americans could be dealt a one-two punch.

So, how can someone tell if those sniffles they're having is something to be concerned about?

Infectious disease experts say people need to be aware of the symptoms. Dr. Shmuel Shoham, an infectious-disease specialist at Washington Hospital Center, says the common cold, seasonal flu and H1N1 are all respiratory illnesses, but they're caused by different viruses.

Symptoms of the cold are more common, and can make the patient miserable for three to five days. A patient usually has a stuffy nose, congestion, some body aches and a growing cough.

According to the CDC seasonal flu and H1N1 symptoms consist of fever, more painful body aches, dry cough, diarrhea and severe fatigue. It's hard, without testing, to tell apart the seasonal strain of flu from the H1N1 variety. Video Watch more on cold, flu and H1N1 symptoms »

"People need to take notice when they begin to feel bad. If they start to have reparatory problems, or are dehydrated because of a bug, they should go to the doctor. It could be H1N1 or seasonal influenza," says Shoham. "Some people with influenza can get very sick and could end up in the hospital if it's not taken care of."

People at greatest risk for catching H1N1 include young people ages 6 months to 25 years, pregnant women, and people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease. The CDC recommends that these groups -- as well as health care workers -- get vaccinated first.

The seasonal influenza vaccination is especially important for people at high risk of serious flu complications, according to the CDC, including children ages 6 months to 18 years, people with immune system problems, women who plan on being pregnant during the flu season, those 50 years and older and health care workers.

But if someone doesn't fall into these categories, it doesn't mean he or she should skip vaccinations altogether. Experts say everyone should get both flu shot. "It's the best way to protect yourself," Shoham says.

Other than flu shots, are there other ways to stay healthy and avoid all of these bugs? Doctors say wash your hands and keep your fingers away from your mouth, nose and eyes. If you sneeze, sneeze into your elbow so as not to transfer your germs to your hands -- and everything else around you.

As for the myth about avoiding cold drafts -- forget it. "It doesn't seem to play out that sleeping with the window open, going out with your hair wet in the cold affects your immune system," Shoham says.

Also, keep your immune system healthy. That translates to eating well, getting enough sleep and staying active.

If you become ill and experience severe symptoms, see your doctor. Your physician may recommend antiviral drugs that can treat the flu. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) that fight the flu by keeping the virus from reproducing in your body.

Above all, stay away from others. If you have the flu, the CDC recommends you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. It's the best way to keep others from getting infected.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Breast-feeding may protect mom's heart after menopause

A story heard from CNN about a mother named Lana Phillip, now 45, who decided to breast-feed her baby, never imagined she would continue for three whole years.
Breast-feeding produces a surge in oxytocin, the so-called love hormone, which may help protect the heart.

"I was living in Jamaica at the time where we say 'breast is best,' but I continued for so long mainly because my daughter wouldn't take anything else," she recalls. Sure, she knew that breast-fed babies tended to be healthier, but she didn't know that she also might be doing her own heart a favor -- an added bonus, as Phillip has a strong family history of heart disease and diabetes.

Women who breast-feed for longer than one year seem to be 10 to 15 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease after menopause than women who don't breast-feed, according to a study in the May issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

"At my last physical, I had no signs of any heart problems," says Phillip, who has been living in Brooklyn, New York, since 2000.

The U.S. surgeon general currently recommends that babies be fed exclusively with breast milk for the first six months of life, but "the longer women nurse their babies, the better for both of their health," says lead study author Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine, epidemiology, obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Research on Health Care in Pennsylvania. Diet tips for nursing mothers

In the study, the researchers looked at 139,681 women with an average age of 63 who had at least one child. Those who had a lifetime history of more than 12 months of breast-feeding had a lower risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease than women who also had at least one child, but did not breast-feed. What's more, the longer they breast-fed, the greater the apparent benefit to their hearts -- even after the researchers adjusted for factors that could affect heart disease risk, such as obesity.

Among women who breast-feed for more than one year, the researchers estimate that 38.6 percent will develop high blood pressure, 12.3 percent high cholesterol and 9.1 percent cardiovascular disease. In comparison, 42.1 percent of women who don't breast-feed may develop high blood pressure, 14.8 percent high cholesterol, and 9.9 percent cardiovascular disease. Quiz: What's your cholesterol IQ?

According to Schwarz, these new findings should help tip the scale for women who are considering breast-feeding as well as encourage those who already are breast-feeding to do so for longer periods of time. "Heart disease is the leading killer of U.S. women," she says. "To prevent heart disease, I recommend that all my patients exercise regularly, watch their diet, avoid cigarettes, and breast-feed their babies," she says.

"All of these health behaviors are hard for some people, so my message is always 'do the best you can; the more you can do, the better for you'" she adds. "And when we're talking about breast-feeding, of course women get double credit, because breast-feeding is good for mom and good for the baby."

Donnica Moore, M.D., president of the Sapphire Women's Health Group in Far Hills, New Jersey and an author of "Women's Health for Life," advocates breast-feeding for infants, but points out that one year is a long time.

"We know that breast-feeding has numerous benefits for the baby, and this study is one more piece of information that suggests it also has benefits for the mother," she says. Breast cancer during pregnancy: What you need to know

However, the study does have its weaknesses, she points out. For starters, the women were about 63 years old, which means they breast-fed a long time ago. A women's memory may not be all that accurate 30-plus years later, says Moore. In addition, the study was not specifically designed to look at breast-feeding and heart disease risk; these results were part of a secondary analysis from another study.

That said, "it's interesting that women who breast-fed more than 12 months showed risk reduction for heart disease, but that may say more about the health choices made by women who are going to breast-feed for that long," says Moore. These women may simply lead healthier lives, she adds. Those who choose to breast-feed tend to be better educated and have a higher socioeconomic status than women who do not -- factors that can also affect the risk of heart disease. (The researchers did take these factors into account.)

However, hormones may also be at play. Breast-feeding produces a surge in oxytocin, the so-called love hormone, which may help protect the heart. 6 Rules for a healthy postpartum slim-down
Health Library

Some women and infants do have trouble with breast-feeding. "Breast-feeding is like riding a bike: It can be tricky at first, and almost everyone needs a little bit of help getting started, but it's really important to learn how to do it," Schwarz says. "Don't hesitate to ask for help, and don't doubt your body's abilities to continue to provide for your baby the way it did throughout pregnancy."

Calling the findings "dramatic and persuasive," Edward R. Newton, M.D., a professor and chair of obstetrics and gynecology at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, stresses that "it is imperative that health care providers and our society support and educate women concerning the maternal benefits of prolonged breast-feeding as well as the documented benefits of breast-feeding for the children." Newton wrote an editorial that accompanied the new study.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Weight Loss For Beginners

The key to permanently losing weight is simple: burn more calories than you consume! That's it! If your body is burning 2500 calories a day, you simply need to burn MORE than that in order for your body to start burning off your body fat.

But 2500 calories is a lot of calories!

Actually not really! Considering your body is burning calories 24 hours a day, 7 days a week just to maintain it's essential functions. That means while you're watching TV, playing video games, even SLEEPING your body is burning calories.

On average, a good estimate of total daily calories burned at rest can be determined by body weight x 15. So for a 150 pound male, 150 x 15 = 2250 calories. 2250 calories a day just sitting around! Imagine that!

But, before we get into anything too complicated, let's take a step back and take a look at some of the basics for maintaining a healthy body. Now, these are some of the most important, but unfortunately most overlooked aspects of losing weight and getting into shape.

Water: Yes, that's right, water. You should be drinking at least a gallon of water a day. Don't feel silly carrying around a full jug of water in the gym, it's extremely beneficial. Your body carries out thousands of processes using water, so you want to make sure that you're getting enough of it. It flushes out toxins, carries vitamins and nutrients throughout the blood, and also helps to reduce water retention. So drink up!

Vitamins: Taking your vitamins everyday is hands down the most important part of being healthy. A large majority of people do not get the amounts of vitamins and minerals they need, and getting all of the recommended amounts from food alone would result in eating a ridiculous amount. So, instead of cramming down plate after plate of food, just take a daily multi-vitamin instead!

Sleep: Just like most people don't get enough vitamins and minerals, a large majority of people don't get enough sleep either. Many people do not understand the benefits from constantly getting a solid 8-10 hours of sleep per night. Not only will you be energized throughout the day, but if you are lifting weights, sleep is essential to adding muscle. During sleep, your body releases growth hormones that aid your body in repairing muscles used during your workouts. So sip down a cup of warm milk (also a good source of protein) and hit the hay!

So now that we've gone over the basics, you're ready to tackle the 3 most valuable weapons in the battle of the bulge: Diet and Nutrition, Cardiovascular Exercise, and Weight Training. Just three more steps and you're ready to lose weight like you've always wanted to!

In order to successfully lose weight quickly and permanently, you need to get your diet in check. Weight loss is almost impossible without some adjustments to your diet. No need to fret. A diet isn't an ordeal to survive, it's a way to achieve that body you've always dreamed of. A diet is simply what you eat day in, day out. A diet isn't a temporary fix to a permanent problem. To successfully lose weight, you'll need to alter the way you eat. It's no wonder people who go on quick-fix diets often gain all the weight back (sometimes more). As harsh as it sounds, you need to change your relationship with food. But don't worry, with time, there are plenty of healthy foods out there that taste great and will still aid you in losing weight. And besides, after a while you'll really start to notice how much better you feel with a steady supply of nutrient rich foods going into your body. So let's get started!

For optimum performance and health, your body needs an adequate supply of healthy carbs, protein, and healthy fats. Here are some examples of each.

Healthy Carbs:


Brown Rice




Whole Wheat Bread

Beans (any kind will do)

All vegetables and fruits


Lean meats such as chicken, lowfat beef, fish, and turkey

Low Fat Milk

Low Fat Cottage Cheese

Canned Tuna Fish

Any whey or soy protein supplements

Healthy Fats:

Nuts (almonds, peanuts, walnuts)

Olive Oil

Flax Seed Oil


Natural Peanut Butter (also a good source of protein)

And now I'm sure some of you are wondering: "Wait, I thought carbs and fat were bad?". The answer, which may shock and appall you, is NO! Well, in some cases yes. Some carbs are bad (aka: sugar and processed junk) and some fats are bad (trans fats and most saturated fats). But good, complex carbs (such as oats, whole wheat products, veggies and fruits) are what your body thrives on. They are great for energy as well as heart health and maintaining a healthy. Healthy fats are good for the brain and the production of hormones as well as great for a healthy heart. DO NOT LISTEN TO THOSE FAD DIET EXPERTS WHO CLAIM THAT CARBS ARE THE ENEMY! THEY ARE W R O N G!!!

Now that we know what kinds of food to eat, the next logical question is "how much"? A simple rule of thumb for healthy weight loss is 10-12x your bodyweight in calories. So someone weighing 180bs would need to eat between 1800 and 2160 calories a day in order to lose weight. This ensures your body gets the nutrition it needs to stay healthy, but also taps into your fat stores to get you in the shape you want!

Cardiovascular exercise, or "cardio", as most people tend to call it, is a great way to burn some extra calories and lose weight. You see, anything that gets your heart rate elevated will cause your body to burn calories at a higher rate. The more calories you burn throughout the day, the more fat your body is capable of burning off and therefore the more weight you can lose.

It's no wonder marathon runners, swimmers, and most professional sports players are so slim and fit! They don't go a day without doing some kind of cardiovascular exercise for an extended period of time. In addition to the physical benefits of cardio (aka: WEIGHT LOSS) there are many mental benefits. Obviously losing weight and looking better will do wonders for your psyche, but it's also been proven that exercise in general releases serotonin, a powerful hormone that may be the closest thing to a "natural" anti-depression. It makes you feel great! It's easy to spot too, after you get done working out or doing a long jog, you'll instantly feel uplifted and just plain happy!

So throw on those running shoes and hit the pavement! Here are some fun ways to get your cardio...





Rock Climbing

Running Stairs

These fun activities will more than suffice to burn extra calories, which is your over all goal in the battle of the bulge. In addition to the calories that you'll burn while doing cardio, an added benefit is that your body will burn more calories throughout the day. An intense cardio session can cause your metabolism (the rate at which your body burns calories) to stay elevated for up to a day and a half! So while your sitting down watching TV, cooking dinner, or even sleeping, your body is burning calories faster and destroying the fat you've been dying to get rid of!

So you see, in the quest for losing weight and getting fit, cardiovascular exercise is an excellent tool. Not only do you get the benefits of burning calories, you also experience the effects of a raised metabolism up to 35 hours after the cardio session! You simply can't go wrong! Try to fit in a 20-30 minute cardio sessions 2-3 times a week to begin, and then once your body is ready step it up to 4-5 times a week.

And on a personal note, it's a great feeling once you've completed a long, grueling cardio session (such as a long jog, hike, or some quality time with the stairmaster). Just the feeling of being drenched in sweat, and the knowledge that you're a little less fat, and a little less closer to that body of your dreams than you were when you started your cardio. Great way to think of it, huh?

Many people shy away from this portion of the fitness journey, but weight lifting plays a key role in your body's ability to burn fat and lose weight. You see, muscle burns calories to maintain itself. A pound of muscle can burn between 30-50 calories a day. By lifting weights, thus adding muscle, you can greatly optimize your ability to burn calories and as we've discussed earlier burning extra calories is key to burning fat and losing weight.

It's a good idea not to try and overdo it when starting out. A first time lifter can experience soreness like they've never felt before. It's always good to find a balance between pushing yourself, and knowing your limits. So to start out, try lifting 2-3 times a week, giving your body adequate time to recover. Start doing full body workouts, utilizing all major muscles.

Let me just add one simple thing. If you're lifting weights hoping to add muscle, you're going need to have you diet in check. Muscles are made out of protein and water, so it should be common sense to incorporate many high protein foods (meats, milk, cottage cheese, etc...) in your daily diet.

However, it's hard (and not to mention expensive) to buy and eat all that food. That's why there are protein supplements! Protein bars and powders are a great way to get that extra amount of protein your muscles need to be big and strong! Just mix the powder with milk or water for a great protein drink. Protein bars are a great option for those of you with "on-the-go" lifestyles are don't have a lot of time to prepare and pack the meals you need. You can purchase them at nearly any grocery store or health food store. Purchasing online is a great advantage and will save you money!

Even if at first the soreness might turn you away from a vigorous weight lifting regiment, the long lasting benefits of lifting weights greatly outweigh the occasional soreness. Gaining muscle, losing fat, and gaining strength are just a few of the many benefits from pumping irons. Pretty soon, the rush of adrenaline you from lifting will lure you back to gym day after day! Weight lifting is key to success in achieving permanent weight loss, so grab a dumbbell or two and start lifting!

Well there you have it, you have a great start on the journey to weight loss and a better body! Good luck!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Home Remedies for Menopause

Menopause is not a disease, but a new phase in an older woman’s life, it usually causes ovulation to cease and consequently menstruation stops. This natural progression in life starts many years before menopause symptoms actually begin to show. Hormone levels can fluctuate for several years before eventually becoming so low that the endometrium stays thin and does not bleed. Normally the ovaries start to slow the production of hormones like estrogen, testosterone and progesterone. Although estrogen is an important sex and reproductive hormone, it is also present in many non reproductive organs and the body uses estrogen for many other functions, like bone formation, heart, liver breast and bladder function, it is need as well to keep the skin moist and healthy, and to regulate body temperature.

Low estrogen levels causes changes in collagen production, affecting hair, nails, skin and tendons. The skin may become dryer, thinner, less elastic, more prone to bruising and skin itching may occur. The main symptoms of menopause are Hot flushes, Night sweats, Palpitations, Insomnia, Joint aches, Headaches, Vaginal dryness.
On the long run the shortage of estrogen contributes to developing heart disease, cardiovascular problems, osteoporosis, tooth decay, and a variety of vaginal complications.

The average age of the natural menopause is 51 years, but can occur much earlier or later. Menopause occurring before the age of 45 is called early menopause and before the age of 40 is premature menopause. Perimenopause is the stage from the beginning of menopausal symptoms to the postmenopause.

Postmenopause is the time following the last period, and is usually defined as more than 12 months with no periods in someone with intact ovaries, or immediately following surgery if the ovaries have been removed.

Complete symptom list:

Hot Flashes:
Our body’s thermostat is located in the hypothalamus are of the brain, which stops working properly if level of estrogen are not sufficient. This will cause you to experience extremely hot or cold sensations; sometimes you could feel so hot that you would want to strip your close in public while other people feel very comfortable with the temperature and other times you could feel shivering cold in 90 degrees F.

Sleep Problems:
It is not certain if estrogen have an effect on sleeping patterns, however other symptoms caused by estrogen deficiency could be culprit of sleep problems during and after menopause, irritability, hot flashes during the night. Hormone replacement has shown to improve insomnia and sleeping problems, but this could be related to the reduction of hot flushes, mood swings and irritability all of which are helped by increasing levels of estrogen.

Vaginal Dryness:
And inadequate vaginal lubrication can be a very disturbing for most women due to the pain, discomfort and sometimes bleeding experienced during sexual intercourse. Without estrogen

Aches and Pains:
One peculiar symptom of menopause is an increase in frequency of normal aches, such as, headaches, neck, joint and back pains are most common.

Bladder Problems:
Most women going through menopause complain of the following bladder problems, bladder infection, low bladder capacity, inability to contain urine, frequent urination. These problems start when bladder tissue becomes to be deprived of estrogen.

Skin Problems:

Our skin and collagen fibers are very sensitive to levels of estrogen, a hormone deficiency causes, dry, thinner and aging looking skin, irritation, and wrinkles.

Irritability, depression, personality changes and anxiety are very common during depression; these changes can carry a loss of sexual desire. Although these problems are related to the shortage of estrogen, some may be caused by the inability to cope with the psychological impact caused by all the other symptoms. Added to all this is the fact that in many cases women going through menopause might also be under a number of other stressful situations during this period. Things like teenage children, children moving out, aging parents and spouse’s mid-life crisis can also influence in the state of mind of menopausal women.

Many of the symptoms and discomforts experienced during menopause can be relieved by using natural home remedies, things like changing your diet and using some very specific herbs have shown remarkable improvements in women going through menopause.

We recommend

Home Remedies for menopause #1: To increase your levels of estrogen try increasing your consumption of plants which contain estrogenic substances:
Alfalfa, soybeans, soy sprouts, crushed flaxseeds, garlic, green beans, sesame seeds, wheat, yams, pumpkin seeds, cucumbers, corn, apples, anise seeds, cabbage, beets, olive oil, olives, papaya, oats, peas, sunflower seeds, are all important sources of natural estrogens and as you can imagine they are loaded with vitamins, fiber and minerals essential not only for menopause, but to maintain an overall good health.

Home Remedies for menopause #2: To reduce hot flashes:
Drink 8 glasses of steam-distilled water.
Take 800 mg. of evening primerose oil, three times a day.

Home Remedies for menopause #3: Hot Flashes Reducing tincture.
2 teaspoons of cohosh root tincture.
1 teaspoon of don quai root tincture.
1 teaspoon of sarsaparilla tincture.
1 teaspoon of licorice root tincture.
1 teaspoon of chaste tree tincture.
1 teaspoon ginseng root tincture.
Mix all the ingredients and take 3 dropperfuls a day.

Home Remedies for menopause #4:Toner for Dry Skin.
Toners are used to improve the appearance of the skin, to soothe and to nourish. Men can use toners as aftershaves.
2 ounces aloe vera gel.
2 ounces orange-blossom water.
1 tsp. wine vinegar.
6 drops rose geranium essential oil.
4 drops sandalwood essential oil.
1 drop chamomile essential oil. *
800 UI vitamin E oil. (Puncture a gel capsule with a needle)

Home Remedies for menopause #5: Cream for Dry Skin.
3/4 ounces beeswax, shaved. (do not use paraffin)
1 cup vegetable oil.
1 cup of distilled water.
800 IU vitamin E (from a liquid gel)
24 drops rose geranium essential oil.
Heat beeswax and oil in a pot until beeswax melts (it should be warm enough to the touch but without discomfort). In a separate pot heat water until is warm to the touch. Remove the center part of your blender’s lid and pour the water in. Turn the blender on high speed and slowly but steadily add the oil and wax mixture. The whole concoction should begin to solidify. Keep adding oil until the mixture does not take any more. Turn off the blender and using a spatula, place the cream in a wide mouthed container.

Home Remedies for menopause #6: Take 50mcg. of selenium 2,000 mg of vitamin C and 10 mg of beta-carotene, once a day to improve skin and help with vaginal dryness.

Home Remedies for menopause #7: Vaginal Dryness lotion
1 ounce of almond oil.
2 drops of geranium essential oil.
One capsule of 1,000 IU of Vitamin E.
Mix all the ingredients and apply inside and outside the vagina twice a day.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

How does your immune system help you against the flu virus?

It seems as though everyone has been sent into a tizzy about the flu. With the current talk about the swine flu and its widespread out break everyone is trying to find the best way to deal with it. One of the largest areas of concern is in the school system. Children already have a weakened immune system because it has yet to mature and really create enough of an immunology to yield off any type of virus.

The United States government has set up a check list for all the highly contagious areas. The school system is one of them. Your child's immune system is much more susceptible to catching any type of cold or flu. In order to ensure that your child's immune system is safe while they are in school, the government has administered a list of how to be safe in a class room setting.

In order to prevent the spread of the flu, the government recommends the following:

1. Avoid spreading germs: you can help your self and help others to decrease the chance of getting lung infections by:

- wash your hands as often as possible. You should wash your hands in warm water with a generous amount of soap for at least twenty seconds.

- do not touch your eyes, nose, or ace unless you have washed your hands thoroughly.

- Always cover your mouth when you cough. It is best to cough into a tissue or a sleeve so as to avoid having your germs left on your hand.

- Try to avoid people who have a cold or the flu. This is particularly difficult for children in a classroom setting, but following the three pointers above should lessen your risk of contracting the flu this season. And if you are sick, avoid contact with others. This should be music to your child's ears, a day home from school! But make sure they use that time to get better. Their immune system will need plenty of time to recover from this virus which directly targets the main respiratory systems of the body. And do not send you child back to school unless he or she is feeling one hundred percent better. Your child is still considered contagious up to seven days after he or she feels the onset of symptoms.

Other ways to prevent the flu is to get the influenza vaccine. by getting the vaccine you are decreasing your chances of getting the flu. And there are quite a few different flu vaccines, so be sure you ask your caregiver which is the best for you. The vaccine will help to increase the amount of antibodies in your immune system. And the more antibodies you have, the more resistant your immune system will become so it can fight of the harmful virus.
If an outbreak is announced in your home town or city, avoid public places where people may be coming in and out of other cities. If you live in a town or city where there is an airport or other major transit operating systems, try to avoid taking mass transit for a week. At this point it will not matter how strong your immune system is, everyone will have to take extra precautions to ensure that you are very well protected against the swine flu.

In extreme circumstances, if an outbreak occurs wear protective breathing masks and wear them any time while out in public.

Also, to protect yourself from getting the swine flu, purchase supplements that provide support to your immune system.

Selenium is in fact known to help your immune system stabilize itself. Like anything else, there is no guarantee these supplements will in fact protect you from contracting the flu, but if you find yourself stricken with the swine flu, every little bit will help.

It is very important that you practice good health. Your immune system is purposely set up so that you can fight off harmful diseases and viruses. Without a strong enough immune system you will undoubtedly have a harder time getting over any sickness.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

De-Stress: Simple ways to improve your health

Deadlines, papers, exams, meetings — it’s enough to drive anyone insane. Even when doing what we love, stress can still take a toll on us. Once in a while we need to take time out and relax, regroup and restructure our lives. For some people, taking a walk through Colonial Williamsburg and sitting on a bench in front of the Governor’s Palace with a journal is the best way to relax. No matter what method you choose, de-stressing is a must at the College of William and Mary.

Stress, if it reaches a chronic level (even just a few hours of non-stop stressing) can lead to bodily deterioration. Stress increases cortisol levels, which stop your metabolism, increase food cravings and decrease your immune system, according to an article in Business Week Magazine called “Vander’s Human Physiology.” This response, which initially gave cavemen the quick burst of energy needed to run from a predator, can harmfully affect the body after a certain period of time. As a result, those with high levels of stress are more likely to contract illnesses, gain weight and have a higher risk of depression. Additionally, anxiety attacks, obesity and binging, decreased sexual performance, and even cancers in the long run are common side effects of stress.

One of the most effective ways to manage stress and cool down is to exercise. The Student Recreation Center offers a wide variety of activities, ranging from yogilates, Zumba, hip-hop and the climbing wall. While strengthening and conditioning may provide de-stressing benefits, for maximum health benefit cardiovascular exercises such as running, swimming and biking are most effective.

The releasing of mental stress physically through exercise has multiple other benefits. Exercise decreases the risk of depression and increases confidence, while the dilation of blood vessels and increase of blood flow has cardiovascular benefits such as a decrease in LDL cholesterol counts, an increase in good HDL cholesterol counts, a decrease in blood pressure and a decreased risk of heart disease according to the “Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology” by Robert S. Weinberg. Exercise helps boost your energy levels during the day, promotes better sleep and a better sex life.

Thirty minutes of exercise daily keeps stress levels at bay, gives you added health benefits and can help you from getting that dreaded freshman fifteen. Other daily behaviors to decrease stress levels include sleeping at least eight hours and eating the right foods. Tara Geise, a registered dietitian in Florida and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, stated that there are 10 main stress-relieving foods:
BEEF: (organic and low-fat) is filled with B vitamins, iron and zinc, all of which contribute to stabilizing mood. Great to eat for dinner the night before a big test day.

Cottage Cheese with Fruit: the natural sugars in fruit, combined with the protein and calcium in the cottage cheese, are a stress-fighting combination. The vitamin C in fruit is an antioxidant that fights the free radicals released during stress, which can be harmful to the heart.

Almonds: contain vitamins B2, E, zinc and magnesium. Vitamin E, also found in these nuts, fights free radicals. Grab a handful to snack on between classes.

Tuna: a low-fat protein, which contains vitamins B6 and B1. Canned tuna makes a cheap lunch after hitting the gym.

Blueberries: rich in antioxidants, contain vitamin C and are a low-calorie snack.

Milk: believe it or not, milk is high in antioxidants (the organic kind), contains essential vitamins B2 and B12, protein and calcium. A glass every morning goes a long way.

Cornflakes or Rice cereal: provides B vitamins and folic acid to provide serotonin.

Asparagus: high in folic acid and B vitamins (both are used to make serotonin — a mood stabilizer).


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