How Probiotics Can Help You Fight Anxiety

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By Emily Turk

saladheartProbiotics have long been known as one of the best food for digestion. But a new study shows that probiotics help in so many other ways, not just by improving digestion. Studies show that there is a link between gut bacteria and the human brain, which is how probiotics help with mood swings, depression, and anxiety. Now, most of these studies have been done on animals.

However, there is new research, done by the Oxford University that shows a deeper connection between mental health and gut bacteria. The study, conducted by Dr. Phillip Burnet and his team, found out that supplements that boost good bacteria in the gut can have an anti-anxiety effect. The team experimented with prebiotics, which are basically carbs that act as a nourishment for the strains of good bacteria, or probiotics. There is a link between prebiotics and probiotics.

Dr. Burnet said that “prebiotics are food for good bacteria already present in the gut. Taking prebiotics therefore increases the number of all species of good bacteria in the gut, which will theoretically have greater beneficial effects than a single species.

What was the study?

Dr. Phillip Burnet and his team asked 45 healthy adults to take either a prebiotic or a placebo. All of the adults in the study were between age 18 and 45. They took a prebiotic or a placebo each day for three weeks. After the trial period, researchers did tests to assess the results of the study. Their goal was to check for link between emotional information and gut bacteria, specifically how the participants “processed emotional information”.

According to the results, participants taking prebiotics paid less attention to negative information. In addition, they paid more attention to positive information when compared to the placebo group. The result shows that consuming prebiotics results in less anxiety when confronted with negative stimuli. Even more important, the results show that the effect is similar to the effect of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication.

Another thing that Dr. Burnet found is that people taking prebiotics have lower lever of cortisol in their saliva. This is a stress hormone previously linked with depression and anxiety.

How to promote healthy gut bacteria?

The result of the findings suggests that you should increase the consumption of prebiotics and probiotics.

That means that for prebiotic power foods, you should consume more almonds, asparagus, bananas, garlic, leafy greens, kiwi, legumes, mushrooms, oats, and onions. Probiotic foods include kimchi, carrots, green beans, beets, miso, natto, tempeh, chickpea, kefir, yogurt, and kombucha.

Other benefits of consuming probiotics

In addition to improving your gut health and helping with anxiety, probiotics bring a whole other set of benefits to the table.

For example, consuming probiotics reduces the blood pressure of people with high blood pressure. These foods also help keep your teeth intact by killing bacteria that causes tooth decay. Simply put, you will have a great smile just by consuming probiotics. They also help with skin problems like eczema. A study found out that allergy-prone mothers with eczema can reduce the risk of babies developing the skin issue. Women should consume probiotics for other reasons as well. They help with bacteria like yeast infection, urinary tract infection, and bacterial vaginosis.

Acid Reflux On The Rise But Healthy Habits Can Help

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This article is courtesy of the Baylor College of Medicine, please share your comments below…..

doctorThe number of people experiencing acid reflux is increasing, but making lifestyle changes could lessen the symptoms. An expert at Baylor College of Medicine recommends making these lifestyle changes to also avoid health complications down the road.

“The increase of acid reflux symptoms is partly due to the rising obesity rate and continued fast food (high fat and low fiber) consumption, along with inactive lifestyles,” said Dr. Hashem B. El-Serag, section chief of gastroenterology and hepatology at Baylor. “Not smoking, participating in regular physical activity, eating foods that are low fat and high fiber and maintaining a healthy weight are lifestyle changes that can prevent acid reflux symptoms or reduce them for those who have reflux.”

Symptoms

Acid reflux is a condition where the contents of the stomach, which is mostly acid, do not stay in the stomach and instead go up into the esophagus. This occurrence can generate the following symptoms:

* Heartburn

* Acid regurgitation

* Chest pain

* Bitter taste in the mouth

* Belly discomfort

* Unexplained cough

* Sore throat

If these symptoms continue for a prolonged period of time especially among those older than 50 years it can injure the esophagus, resulting in esophagitis or Barrett’s esophagus, said El-Serag, also program leader of the Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences Program at the NCI-designated Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center.

What to do

Food plays a major role in acid reflux and modifying eating habits may alleviate reflux symptoms. Generally, a low-fat and high-fiber diet is best.

“If someone is predisposed to acid reflux, I recommend they avoid high-fat foods, wine, strawberries and chocolate,” he said. “I would also suggest losing weight, a doctor can help determine how much is best.”

After eating, the stomach is full of food and excreting acid, which means lying down will make the symptoms worse.

“Brief walks after meals are a good way to gain more exercise and help the stomach empty its contents while having gravity work against the reflux,” El-Serag said. “Physical activity and an active lifestyle can improve the symptoms.”

If an individual is older than 50 years, has daily symptoms, or has a family history of Barrett’s esophagus or esophageal cancer and has reflux symptoms, El-Serag recommended they see a gastroenterologist. For individuals with less frequent symptoms and of younger age, he recommended trying antacids or over the counter medications.

Complications

The following are warning signs and symptoms that can occur with acid reflux complications:

* Difficulty swallowing

* Choking

* Weight loss

* Bleeding from the mouth or rectum

* Symptoms that do not respond to over the counter medications

People with these symptoms should see a gastroenterologist to rule out other causes for the symptoms, El-Serag said.

Do You Have Low Testosterone? Here’s How Treatment Can Help

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mansmileLow testosterone is believed to affect about 40% of men over 45 or 25% of men over the age of 30. Unfortunately, most men who have low T never get diagnosed or treated for a variety of reasons. Some men are too embarrassed to discuss their symptoms with their doctor while others assume their symptoms are just a natural part of getting older.

The truth is low testosterone is more than just a set of symptoms you need to put up with; having low T also puts you at a higher risk for heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, and early mortality. Testosterone replacement therapy is a safe and effective way to not only treat the symptoms of low testosterone but improve your quality of life.

Signs You Have Low Testosterone

Many men assume low testosterone has few side effects other than low libido or erectile dysfunction (ED). The truth is ED is one of the less common symptoms of low T. Most symptoms of low hormone levels are subtle and may be easy to write off as normal aging or exhaustion from work. The following are signs you may have low T:

• Erectile dysfunction. Testosterone is required in sufficient amounts to trigger the release of nitric oxide, which in turn triggers an erection.

• Low libido. The male sex drive is largely driven by testosterone. Low testosterone levels may make you less interested in sex.

• Fatigue.
Men with low testosterone levels often feel very exhausted and depleted during the day.

• Depression and irritability. Low hormone levels can cause emotional and psychological side effects such as depression, irritability, and mood swings.

• Reduced muscle mass. If you have low T, you may feel like your strength isn’t what it used to be. You may also notice reduced muscle mass in your legs and arms.

Do not write off the symptoms of low testosterone as simple signs of aging that you need to put up with. Low testosterone can have a number of serious health consequences and it can impact your quality of life. If you suspect you have low T, it’s important to talk to a doctor to have your blood work checked.

– HealthGains is a nationwide age management and hormone optimization center headquartered in South Florida. HealthGains specializes in hormone therapy including testosterone therapy, PRP therapy, nutritional supplementation, and specialized diagnostics to help you look and feel your best.

Assessment Can Help Older Drivers Keep Driving Safely

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb and Harvard Health Publications, please share your comments below…..

seniors2Aging may affect vision, hearing, coordination, thinking, visuospatial skills, or reaction time, any of which can have a direct impact on driving. Driver assessment programs help people overcome weaknesses behind the wheel.

Driving skills may decline with age, but don’t assume that getting older brings an automatic end to driving, says the August 2015 Harvard Health Letter.

“Age and health conditions aren’t enough to determine if a person is okay to drive. It requires an individual assessment of skills,” says Lissa Kapust, a social worker at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Many hospitals, sheriff’s offices, and other agencies offer driving assessment programs that can evaluate senior drivers and help them overcome weaknesses behind the wheel. Many of these programs take a team approach to evaluating a person’s driving ability. Social workers, occupational therapists, and neuropsychologists look at the person’s driving history, family concerns, overall health, cognitive function, and driving reflexes. Then it’s on to a road test.

The team looks at all of the information and recommends whether the driver needs to hand over his or her car keys, or whether brushing up on certain skills is needed. “We may suggest working with a driving instructor to focus on errors we found in the driving assessment, such as maintaining lane position,” says Kapust.

Some driving programs can also help seniors get up to speed on the latest driving laws in their state and learn about technologies in newer cars, and can even help them fit better in their cars by adjusting the position of the seat, head restraint, steering wheel, and more.

Read the full-length article: “Stay behind the wheel longer”

Also in the August 2015 Harvard Health Letter:

* Ways to keep relationships strong

* Finding relief for hand pain

* The benefits of nutrient-dense foods

The Harvard Health Letter is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $20 per year. Subscribe at http://www.health.harvard.edu/health or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).

Why Regular Eye Exams Can Help Prevent Serious Heart Events

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb, please share your thoughts below…..

eyeDr. Stewart Shofner of Shofner Vision Center in Nashville, TN explains why eye exams provide clues to heart and blood vessel health. “During a comprehensive eye exam, Optometrists or Ophthalmologists are able to identify heart related diseases before symptoms appear,” says Dr. Shofner. Heart Awareness Month is an appropriate time to learn more about how a comprehensive eye exam can help prevent serious heart events.

Eyes and Heart Connection

During a thorough eye examination; an eye doctor can view small changes in the blood vessels in the back of the eye, which can also predict a more serious systemic disease including high blood pressure, stroke or heart failure. Using advanced digital retinal imaging, eye doctors can detect and monitor blood flow in the retina.

Affecting almost 65 million people, high blood pressure (hypertension) is known as a “silent” disease as many don’t experience any symptoms. During a comprehensive eye examination, an eye doctor will check for subtle changes in the retina resulting from high blood pressure, also known as hypertensive retinopathy. Changes may include narrowing of the small blood vessels in the retina, arteries pressing down on veins and flame-shaped haemorrhages, among other complications. If these changes are detected, it’s imperative that a patient contacts their primary care physician to receive appropriate and timely treatment.

Vision loss may occur when blood obstructs the retina, the eye is deprived of sufficient oxygen or the macula swells. Once the central retinal vein becomes blocked, significant vision loss may occur. Artery and blood vessel obstruction in the retina can be temporary or permanent and can also cause vision loss when a blockage disrupts blood flow in the eye. More specifically, Transient monocular vision loss (TMVL) is an important warning sign that should not be ignored because this complaint may predict risk for a major cardiovascular event.

Promoting Healthy Vision, Healthy Heart

Most everyone is aware that a healthy diet and lifestyle will improve one’s overall health. Researchers show that the following risk factors link heart health with vision health and they include: smoking, obesity and high cholesterol.

healthyheartExercising and eating a heart healthy diet rich in omega-3s, antioxidants and soluble fiber will help improve both heart and eye health. It’s recommended to consult with a primary care physician before beginning any exercise or diet program. Don’t forget to visit your eye doctor annually or as recommended by your eye care professional.

According to the Department of Health, heart disease is the leading cause of death in Tennessee. Together, heart disease and stroke account for 1 out of 3 deaths in Tennessee each year. “It is imperative to help raise Heart Health Awareness, as well as the importance of regular eye exams,” says Dr. Shofner. Eye exams not only help prevent vision loss but also potentially save lives.

About Dr. Shofner

Recognized by his peers as one of the most outstanding Board Certified Ophthalmologist in the United States, Dr. Stewart Shofner has performed over 30,000 LASIK procedures and 10,000 ocular surgeries and his business continues to grow…mostly from patient referrals. Dr. Shofner has outstanding credentials to deliver the best care and surgical outcomes for patients.

About Shofner Vision Center

Shofner Vision Center provides comprehensive vision care services including LASIK/PRK vision correction, cataract surgery and eye disease diagnosis and treatment. Shofner Vision Center utilizes the most advanced, proven technology to deliver the best solutions safely and reliably. Patients can schedule appointments online or call 615-340-4733.

The Little Gym Shares New Study That Shows Physical Activity Can Help Kids Academically

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Article courtesy of PRWeb…..

familydrivewayThe Little Gym is excited to share the findings from the Journal of Pediatrics that explores how physical activity can help children in academic settings as well.

At The Little Gym, we know that being active provides serious benefits. So it came as no surprise when a recent study confirmed that regular physical activity can improve a child’s academic success. The Journal of Pediatrics found that “Promoting physical activity that involves aerobic exercise and motor tasks during the school years may be important not only for health, but also for successful academic development.” The study monitored two groups of children; those that were engaging in regular physical activity in afterschool programs, and those who were not. The results showed that children who were physically active displayed substantial improvements in testing scores, memory, focus, and problem-solving skills.

How can you encourage your child to get and stay active? Show children that exercise is fun! Go for nightly walks, bike rides, or have a family dance party. Get children involved in age appropriate exercises and group activities like The Little Gym. The benefits of being active will help improve your child’s academic performance, social skills, health, and much more. Get up and get moving today!

To learn more about the study, click here.

How Nutrition Can Help Protect Your Eye Health

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By Dennis Gierhart, PhD

eyeFebruary was Low Vision Awareness Month, and according to the National Eye Institute, more than two million Americans over age 50 suffer significant vision loss from Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). The disease is caused by the breakdown of the macula, the part of your eye that is responsible for central and detailed vision. While the disease can cause irreversible blindness, you can take steps to address the disease’s major risk factors.

Making sure your eyes are getting the nutrients they need is one of the most important ways to maintain your vision. There are two critical nutrients your eyes need to support a healthy macula: zeaxanthin (zee-uh-zan\’-thin) and lutein. While Lutein is fairly common in the diet, zeaxanthin is extremely scarce – to put it in perspective, you would need to eat 20 ears of corn daily to get the amount of zeaxanthin associated with healthy vision. Research shows, however, that supplements high in zeaxanthin can help bridge the nutrition gap and improve vision quality. Adding zeaxanthin to the diet is scientifically proven to not only help people take a proactive approach to AMD but also reduce glare, increase contrast, enhance color saturation, improve light sensitivity and improve responsiveness to changes in levels of light.

Keeping an eye on your ocular health is important, so please consider taking a moment each February to check in with your local optometrist to learn more about preserving your vision quality.

– Dr. Gierhart is the co-founder and CEO of ZeaVision, which produces EyePromise nutraceuticals. With more than 20 years of research, Dr. Gierhart pioneered the use of zeaxanthin to promote eye health. Since that time he has maintained a dedication to product quality by using only the highest-quality, natural ingredients, leading ZeaVision to become one of the leading companies in ocular nutrition. With more than 40-million doses consumed the EyePromise line of patented nutraceuticals contain the highest levels of dietary zeaxanthin available and all are backed by the unconditional 60-day, money-back guarantee. Learn more at eyepromise.com.