Understanding Nutrition During Pregnancy

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This article was submitted by the Baylor College of Medicine, please share your comments below…..

PregnantFor everyone, a nutritious and well-balanced diet is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But for pregnant women, nutrition is doubly important – it’s a key factor for their own health and that of their baby.

“Pregnant women should eat three meals a day and between-meal snacks,” said Dr. Nina Ali, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine. “Meals should include foods from all five food groups: grains, fruits, vegetables, proteins and dairy.”

Ali advises women to be mindful of their diet choices and to drink plenty of water to help curb the out-of-control cravings.

“Try to choose food with nutritional value and allow yourself to indulge in small quantities,” said Ali.

Cravings are hard to avoid while pregnant. However, Ali recommends that pregnant woman avoid specific foods altogether.

Women should not consume unpasteurized milk, hot dogs, lunch meats and cold cuts (unless they are heated to steaming hot), raw or undercooked seafood, eggs and meat, fish with high mercury content such as swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish, said Ali.

Nutrition choices also can play a role in minimizing morning sickness that many women experience during pregnancy, she said.

“Ginger candy and ginger tea can be soothing for nausea,” Ali said. “Eat small snacks throughout the day rather than large meals, and avoid heavy or spicy foods. When these measures do not help, talk to your ob-gyn doctor about nausea medications.”

In addition to maintaining a healthy diet while pregnant, Ali recommends women continue to manage a balanced diet after giving birth.

“A healthy, well-balanced diet is an essential part of the mother’s recovery after giving birth,” said Ali. “Also for moms who are breast-feeding, caloric demands and nutrition needs are even higher than while pregnant. I recommend moms continue prenatal vitamins for 6 weeks or as long as they continue breastfeeding.”

During and after pregnancy it is essential to eat nutritious meals and be mindful of good dietary choices.

“A well balanced diet will give your body the building blocks it needs to maintain good health for you and for your baby,” said Ali.

Understanding And Coping With Behavioral Changes In Seniors

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb and Dr. Elizabeth Landsverk with ElderConsult…..please share your comments below…..

seniors2One unchangeable fact of life is that people never stop changing, no matter how old they get. Aging brings a cascade of physical and emotional changes, which can lead to a variety of behavioral changes that can baffle or worry an older adult’s loved ones, according to Elizabeth Landsverk, MD, founder of ElderConsult Geriatric Medicine.

As America’s population increasingly grays – the proportion of those 65 and over will account for 20% of U.S. residents within 25 years, according to the American Psychological Association – being aware of normal changes associated with age is even more paramount.

But what behavioral changes are typical and what aren’t? Sometimes it’s difficult to tell the difference, explains Dr. Landsverk, who is board-certified in geriatric medicine, internal medicine and palliative medicine. “Educating yourself enables you to help your parents, or other loved ones to be more happy and healthy as they age” she says. “While it can be challenging to care for a loved one whose behavior has changed from what you’re used to, patience – along with appropriate medical care and attention – often reaps rewards.”

What’s normal, what’s not, and how to respond

Dr. Landsverk offers these top examples of behavioral changes common in older adults and also elaborates on what might signal a problem and how to react:

#1: Memory lapses or forgetfulness

What’s normal/not: Forgetting where you put your keys or the name of a movie star is common when you get older. So is occasionally having trouble finding the right word or forgetting why you walked into a room. But the specter of dementia is huge, with about 10% of all those over 65 and up to half of those 85 and older developing dementia. Symptoms might include varying degrees of memory loss, language difficulty, poor judgment, problems concentrating and impaired visual perception. Loss that affects daily functioning should be evaluated right away.

“It’s wise for seniors and their families to be alert to warning signs, but there’s no need to be unnerved by every memory lapse,” Dr. Landsverk says. “The warning signs of dementia typically include not just problems remembering, but problems communicating and reasoning.”

What to do: If more signs of dementia become apparent, or there is concern that changes could affect one’s ability to handle finances; it’s important to see a primary care physician or geriatrician to rule out other causes that might be easily treatable. Diagnostic tools typically start with a complete physical and neurological exam, brain imaging, and cognitive assessment. The MOCA or the Montreal Cognitive Assessment tool is more sensitive to early changes in reasoning than the MMSE or Mini Mental Status Exam. However, that may not be sensitive enough. A normal screen may not mean “no decline in cognitive function” and neuropsychological testing may be needed for concerns with changes of judgement that put elders at risk of financial elder abuse.

#2: Low mood after experiencing loss

What’s normal/not: It’s often said that aging is largely about loss, as seniors often experience the deaths of a spouse, friends, siblings or other contemporaries. It’s understandable to suffer low periods following these losses, Dr. Landsverk says. But watch out for depression and anxiety, which are often overlooked and untreated in older Americans because they can coincide with other late-life problems, according to the American Psychological Association. Up to 20% of older adults in the U.S. have experienced depression, a persistent feeling of sadness that can include changes in sleep, appetite, energy level and other areas. Mood changes, apathy or anger may also signal early dementia.

What to do: If you’re concerned, get your loved one evaluated by their physician. Many psychological interventions, including counseling and medication, are highly effective at treating depression, Dr. Landsverk says. “It’s important not to let someone’s low mood continue indefinitely without intervening,” she adds. “If you suspect there’s a problem, you’re often right.” Medications may not be the answer. First, is to include elders in daily activity; bring them to church or other religious services, keep them active and engaged. Avoid sleeping pills and “anti-anxiety pills such as Xanax and Ativan which can lead to more depression, falls and disinhibition. Withdrawal can look like worsening dementia, with confusion, agitation.

seniorwoman2#3: Discouragement or anger as health declines

What’s normal/not: Retirement and moving out of the family home are major life events that don’t just signal increasing freedom – they often stem from declining health, as minor, chronic conditions add up or major health problems get even worse. For some older adults, the development of a disabling illness can bring about a depressive episode, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Also, anger or aggression – which can show up as emotional or verbal abuse lashed out at loved ones – can be particularly difficult to handle, Dr. Landsverk says.

What to do: “Talk about the normal feelings a senior might be having in response to their declining health – don’t sweep them under the rug,” she suggests. “Say, ‘It must be painful for you to have to adjust to this.’ Empathy goes a long way.” Consider seeing a doctor with the senior to evaluate troubling behavioral symptoms and consider a day program, or a daytime caregiver to give both the senior and their caregiver a break from the normal dynamic.

#4: Takes longer to learn new things

What’s normal/not: On top of a normal decline in short-term memory in older adults, it’s also common to see a lengthening of “response time” – meaning they learn more slowly and retain new information less effectively. Many seniors who “age well” make a conscious effort to maintain mental alertness by reading widely, learning new skills, taking classes and/or maintaining social contacts with people from a variety of age groups, Dr. Landsverk says. “It is very important to have your loved one in the environment where they can succeed. It is also important to be honest about what they can do now, not what they had done in the past. That said, don’t sell the elder short and not give them the opportunity to stretch and grow; be observant and flexible.”

What to do: If your loved one consistently seems unable to retain new information or place it in context with what they already knew, it could be normal aging or it could be a sign of oncoming dementia. A primary care physician may understand or a geriatrician can evaluate them with special tests of mental performance and suggest ways to increase alertness and cognitive engagement, she says.

Elizabeth Landsverk, MD, is founder of ElderConsult Geriatric Medicine, a house calls practice in the San Francisco Bay Area that addresses the challenging medical and behavioral issues often facing older patients and their families. Dr. Landsverk is board-certified in internal medicine, geriatric medicine and palliative care and is an adjunct clinical professor at Stanford University Medical School.

Understanding Obesity From The Inside Out

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

obesityNew lab method reveals roles of GABA in the control of appetite and metabolism

In the last 40 years, obesity has more than doubled around the world. In the United States, the average American is more than 24 pounds heavier today than in 1960. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and the University of Washington are studying the problem of obesity from the inside out.

The researchers developed a new laboratory method that allowed them to identify GABA as a key player in the complex brain processes that control appetite and metabolism. The team’s results were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Qi Wu, assistant professor of pediatrics at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor and Texas Children’s Hospital led the team that for several years searched for new laboratory methods to better study the function of GABA in the brain.

GABA is a chemical messenger produced by brain cells. It binds to other brain cells via specific receptors and reduces the cells’ activity. Research has implicated GABA in the complex neurological processes that control fear and anxiety, and also in those related to the control of appetite and metabolism. But direct proof of the role GABA plays in weight control has been elusive in part for the lack of better methodology to precisely control GABA production by brain cells.

“We developed a new experimental system based in in-frame, nonsense mutations and aminoglycosides, which allowed us to abruptly stop the synthesis of GABA in adult animals,” Wu said. “We were able to silence the genes involved in the synthesis of GABA in a particular set of cells located in the hypothalamus, the brain area that controls appetite. As a result, these cells, called AgRP neurons, stop producing GABA as quick as in four days.”

Wu and colleagues then observed the changes in weight and the behavior of these mice lacking GABA in their brain area for control of appetite.

The researchers studied two groups of mice; two month old young adults, and 8 month old mice. The young adult mice without GABA stopped eating, lost tremendous amount of weight, increased their physical activity and became glucose intolerant. On the other hand, the much older mice only lost their appetite temporarily.

healthillustratedThe findings are significant to the study of obesity as they strongly indicate that GABA is a potential candidate for targeted drug design that may lead to medications that help control appetite and metabolism.

“Our hope is that the new and better methodology we have developed will be used by other genetics labs as a tool for selectively silencing other genes,” Wu said.

Other researchers involved in this work are Wu lab team members including Fantao Meng, Yong Han, Dollada Srisai, Mónica Farías and Yong Xu from Baylor; Valery Belakhov and Timor Baasov from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology; and Richard D. Palmiter from the University of Washington.

This work was supported by the Pew Charitable Trust; American Diabetes Association Junior Faculty Award #7-13-JF-61; Baylor Collaborative Faculty Research Investment Program grants; USDA/ARS CRIS grants; new faculty start-up grants from Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Iowa; NIH grants R01DK093587, R01DK101379, and R01-DA24908. The authors include an HHMI Investigator, a Pew Scholar of Biomedical Sciences and a Kavli Scholar.

Understanding The Link Between Alzheimer’s And Diabetes

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By Katherine Smith

diabeteswordIn recent years, doctors and scientists are discovering more evidence of a relationship between type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Exactly why those with type 2 diabetes appear to be at a slightly higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s is under debate, but a number of studies have demonstrated a link between the two.

What We Know

Some research shows that those with type 2 diabetes are, in some cases, twice as likely than others to develop Alzheimer’s later in life. Diet seems to play a large role in the development of Alzheimer’s, and both diseases are affected by the role insulin plays in the body. In individuals without diabetes, insulin helps cells take in blood sugar and keep the blood vessels that supply the brain healthy. Insulin also allows the neurons in the brain to take in and utilize glucose, which is the brain’s primary fuel source – and insulin also plays a role in many other brain functions, such as memory formation and learning.

Previous research has established a link between type 2 diabetes (i.e. insulin-resistant diabetes; the body produces a normal amount of insulin but cells don’t respond to it) and Alzheimer’s. But new research from Kaiser Permanente is demonstrating a correlation between type 1 diabetes and Alzheimer’s as well. The subject was previously not well-explored due to the fact that, in the past, many patients with type 1 diabetes did not live as long into their senior years – but now that most type 1 patients can expect to live well into the age range at which dementia typically develops, the potential of a connection can be scientifically explored.

Lowering the Risk Factor

It’s important to note that the study claims no evidence of causation – in other words, there’s no way to tell whether type 1 diabetes is causing Alzheimer’s; the evidence only shows that in patients who have one condition, a higher percentage than usual (compared to the general population) also have the other. Though there’s currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, it stands to reason that taking measures to prevent diabetes, or to manage the disease properly, could also lower one’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

As type 2 diabetes is often associated with being overweight or obese, a weight-loss plan developed with one’s doctor is an excellent way to reduce the effects of the condition. Controlling carbohydrate intake can also help type 2 patients manage their symptoms and control their diabetes. Creating an eating plan with a nutritionist is an option for patients who find themselves unsure of what to eat.

diabetestestFor those with type 1 diabetes, it’s important to take steps to monitor blood sugar levels and keep them as close to recommended levels as possible. Though injection therapy is an effective way to manage insulin, an insulin pump can help provide a steady dose of insulin throughout the day without injections. The device delivers a constant dose of insulin through a cannula inserted under the skin. A pump also has the added benefit of holding enough insulin to last for multiple days – the t:flexⓇ by Tandem holds 480 units, which can last for up to three days depending on an individual’s needs.

Treatments

Although there are no clearly defined treatments for Alzheimer’s, researchers have begun exploring the possibility that some of the same medicines being used to treat type 2 diabetes can also help treat, or at least alleviate, some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Doctors are also hopeful that further research can provide a more definitive picture of the link between Alzheimer’s and diabetes, as well as potentially produce a way to treat or prevent dementia.

Understanding What Causes Poor Springtime Indoor Air Quality

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

sunSpringtime brings the melting of snow, the start of warmer weather, cleaning and, of course, allergies. One way to cut down on the affects of allergies is by understanding the signs, symptoms and factors that lead to poor indoor air quality. Aire Serv heating and air conditioning explains why indoor air quality is important to understand.

Environmental factors
Many factors attribute to poor air quality in and around the home or office. One of the more common reasons for poor air quality during spring is pollen. Other factors are temperature and humidity. If the home or office HVAC system is not equipped to handle high levels of heat or humidity, indoor air quality can be reduced.

Indoor factors
There are a variety of factors that cause indoor air quality to be affected. Common factors, such as smoke and dust, reduce the quality of indoor air. An air filter left in the HVAC system for more than 90 days can affect indoor air quality because it can become clogged and will no longer be able to filter out pollen, dander and other airborne particles. Ventilation that is not installed correctly can also add to poor or severely reduced indoor air quality.

Signs and symptoms
Common signs of reduced or poor indoor air quality can be hard to detect. They are similar to signs and symptoms of a seasonal cold or allergy flare. Often times though, poor or reduced indoor air quality can lead to an increase in symptoms.

Benefits of quality air
An increase in indoor air quality can have an immediate impact on respiratory health. New air filters, dehumidifiers and vent cleaning can all help to better the indoor air quality of a home or business.

For more information about indoor air quality visit aireserv.com.

5 Tips For Understanding Your Inner Voice

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By Diane Lang

seniorwoman2We all have an inner voice. Our inner voice is all the chatter that plays in your head on a constant basis. The hard part about your inner voice is deciding which part of the chatter is the autopilot of thoughts that are part of your habitual thought process and which thoughts are your true self talking to you. We all have that chatter in our heads, that is just a replay of all our old beliefs/patterns and habits. Most of our beliefs and habits are not our own or they are so old, they no longer serve us.

You want to start being aware of your chatter.

1. When a negative event or situation comes up (which we know it will eventually) – Listen to your chatter in your head. Are you going back to your usual autopilot of “Why Me” or “This stuff always happens to me” ?

Ask yourself- what is the belief about the situation – is this belief my own? or it a belief that no longer serves me?

A lot of our beliefs are subconscious thoughts from childhood, that weren’t our thoughts/beliefs to begin with and its time to purge those thoughts and create a new story.

2. When a negative event or situation occurs – ask yourself: What can I learn from this situation/event? what changes can I make? Everything is a teachable, learnable moment. See everything as a big picture- what seems bad now usually has a brighter ending.

For example: I have a client who lost their job of 17 years and was feeling defeated. She went thru the typical: Why me? What did I do wrong? etc. But when we looked at the big picture we could start seeing new opportunities and possibilities. When we stopped focusing on what we “Can’t” control like the loss of her job and looked at what she could do – we found out lots of new choices. The outcome: A few years later she was running her own business which was a dream of hers.

Let’s start listening to our inner voice and taking some of our own advice.

1. Listen to your inner voice and always pay attention to your physical signs. When we listen to our inner voice and it has turned into an inner critic, we tend to cause stress to our bodies and can feel the signs immediately. So, pay attention to where you hold stress on the body and if your feeling those physical signs of stress while listening to your inner voice, it might just be your negative autopilot thoughts.

stressSome areas we hold stress on our body- Stomach, Headaches, grinding our teeth at night which causes jaw pain, tension in our back, neck and shoulders or just feeling achy all over.

2. At night is when we hear that all that chatter – your trying to fall asleep and all the negative seeps through. This is the time to re-train your brain to see the positive by doing a gratitude check. Every night before you go to bed, do a gratitude check by asking yourself – what am I grateful for in life? This will allow you to de- clutter that negative chatter and start seeing the good. Gratitude is also a form of meditation so it will help you de-stress.

3. Your inner voice shows you what your truly feeling. Pay attention to the fear that your hearing. The fear can come out as anger, resentment, victim mentality, etc. But its usually fear underneath it all. Its good to hear it and deal with it so it doesn’t stop you.

4. Your inner voice is a gentle reminder of all the pain and suffering you have gone through so you don’t repeat the same mistake twice. It will bring up the ugly truth in order to protect you from being a repeat offender. Listen to your inner voice for the lesson.

5.. Your inner voice also works hand in hand with your intuition especially of others. It will let you know when someone you care about is feeling sad, lonely, angry, etc even when that person isn’t sharing their feelings out loud. Follow that inner guidance.

6. Lastly, your inner voice will keep poking at you when your not being true to yourself but its up to you to listen!

Diane Lang, MA, Counseling educator

The Low Down On Sugar: Understanding Your Cravings – Part 2

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By Christie Korth, CHC AADP

Continued from Part 1 of this article…..

fruitswhiteAs far as sugar is concerned, you can easily take matters into your own hands by choosing sugars which are considered complex carbohydrates vs. refined or simple carbs. Complex carbs, like fruits, veggies, beans and grains provide long lasting energy by releasing the sugars into the body slowly. Table sugar and “white foods” are refined carbohydrates which cause the blood sugar to spike due to its rapid release in the body. Refined or simple carbs pack on the pounds and contribute to diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, arthritis; and more. While that peanut butter and banana sandwich my look amazing for lunch, consider eating only one slice of bread and subbing the rest of the meal with an apple. Notice if you have more or less energy when you eat this way. You are certainly getting more vitamins and allowing room for more whole foods, thus preventing disease and lowering your sugar intake.

Consider checking out more natural resources for sugar…

Maple Syrup: This product consists of brown rice that has been ground and cooked, converting the starches to maltose. Brown rice syrup tastes like moderately sweet butterscotch and is quite delicious. In recipes, you may have to use up to 50% more brown rice syrup than sugar, and reduce the amount of other liquids.

Agave Nectar: A natural liquid sweetener made from the juice of the agave cactus. It is 1.4 times sweeter than refined sugar, but does not create a “sugar rush,” and is much less disturbing to the body’s blood sugar levels than white sugar.

Molasses: Organic molasses is probably the most nutritious sweetener derived from sugar cane or sugar beet, and is made by a process of clarifying and blending the extracted juices. The longer the juice is boiled, the less sweet, more nutritious, and darker the product is. Molasses imparts a very distinct flavor to food. Blackstrap molasses, the most nutritious variety, is a good source of iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

Dates: Dates are like natures candy and can be used to mimic caramel in snack bars when mixed with fried fruit and nuts. Dates can also be used can be used in salads, to sweeten baked goods, etc. Dates are high in minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.

Dates are like natures candy and can be used to mimic caramel in snack bars when mixed with fried fruit and nuts.

Try using one of these natural sweeteners to swap out white sugar in your next holiday or dessert recipe. All three liquid sweeteners work very well in batters, cakes, smoothies, cereals, granola, and puddings. The dates work best in cakes, smoothies and bars. Natural sweeteners allow for the best way to enjoy sweets -without the guilt! If you can simply start by trying these recipes at home, you will be surprised how quickly and easily you can be healthier and happier by eating less refined sugar. To your health!

Christie Korth is a Crohn’s disease survivor, author, certified health coach and holistic nutritionist who found her way to health and wellness after nearly succumbing to a severe case of Crohn’s disease. After harnessing the power of nutrition and gaining her health back, she then went on to be the founder and director of Happy & Healthy Wellness Counseling based just outside of NYC. She studied at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Columbia University and the Clayton College of Natural Health and is a certified holistic health practitioner with the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. Christie is the Corporate Nutritionist for Brain Balance Achievement Centers, where she designs the nutrition protocol for franchises across the country. Christie is a nutrition expert for Dr. Oz’s Sharecare.com and frequently contributes nutrition articles to Long Island Parent Magazine. Christie is he author of The IBD Healing Plan and Recipe Book: A Guide to Releive Crohn’s and Colitis with Whole Foods. Christie lives in New York with her son, her husband, and her cat.

The Low Down On Sugar: Understanding Your Cravings – Part 1

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By Christie Korth, CHC AADP

junkfoodIt’s 3pm and you are sitting at your desk at work, trying to silently nudge the time along so you can clock out. You’re tired, and the candy machine in the lounge is calling your name. A war begins in your head- with one side trying to fight the urge to but in the end, the other wins and you convince yourself you need a pick me up. Suddenly- the apple on your desk looks less appealing. Before you know it, you are looking at the empty peanut chocolate bar wrapper on your desk. Almost as fast as you ate the bar, you feel guilty. Why does this happen?

Sugar stimulates the feel-good, stimulating hormone dopamine- which; for some can be chronically low and lead to sugar cravings. Other times, a more simplistic reason is to blame- dehydration. Your body sends signals to the brain for water, and the cravings can be misinterpreted for a sugar craving. Next time you are out to lunch and want dessert, check to see if you have consumed any water. If not, you may be surprised to see your craving disappears after a cool glass of water.

Here are some other reasons for craving sugar:

1: Emotional Eating: Do you ever eat when you are bored, or upset? We eat when we are happy at a celebration and when we are struck by a craving. Consider if what you are really craving is food, or if you are sad for example- if you really just need to talk or a hug. Paying attention to your physical and emotional needs and being in tune with what your body is really asking for is key.

2: Yin/Yang theory: Consider eating one food can cause you to crave another. For example, foods which are considered Yin foods are expansive foods like sugar, alcohol, white foods, milk, and foods like meat, cheese, eggs and salt are considered Yang foods, which are contractive. Eating these foods can cause a craving for another. Ever want something salty after you eat something sweet? Consider eating more neutral foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, poultry, fish, beans, and the like.

saladplate3: Seasonal Eating: Sometimes we crave foods because of the season. Up until the past couple 100 years, we ate seasonally. For example, if you lived in New York, odds are- you didn’t have pineapple in December like we have access to today. Consider we should eat more warming foods in the fall and winter like meats, squashes, and root vegetables, more greens in the spring and cooling, refreshing fruits like watermelon, peaches and plums in the summer. Eating according to Mother Nature’s unique schedule is not only cheaper, but tastier and better for your bodies overall needs.

Even if you think you don’t consume a lot of sugar, please evaluate your dietary intake carefully. In my book, The IBD Healing Plan and Recipe Book: Using Whole Foods to Relieve Crohn’s Disease and Colitis, I reveal that the average American eats 142 lbs of sugar, per person, per year. That is someone’s entire body weight in sugar, or 70 lb boxes per person! Or put into daily perspective- the average American consumes about 20 teaspoons of sugar per day.

If you’re not sure how this is possible, consider we are accustomed to drinking our calories in coffee, juice, soda and sports beverages. We consume doughnuts for breakfast, rolls with processed meat for lunch, cake for dessert, the list goes on and on. Think about this is impacting our society. The fuel we put into our bodies surely plays a role in the auto immune disease pandemic we are seeing today. We have more and more people succumbing to preventable diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer than ever before. Most people today are not fortunate enough to report not knowing someone with any of these diseases. How can we stop the increase in these diseases? The answer is simple: eat less sugar, refined fats and meat and consume more whole, unprocessed foods.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article…..

Christie Korth is a Crohn’s disease survivor, author, certified health coach and holistic nutritionist who found her way to health and wellness after nearly succumbing to a severe case of Crohn’s disease. After harnessing the power of nutrition and gaining her health back, she then went on to be the founder and director of Happy & Healthy Wellness Counseling based just outside of NYC. She studied at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Columbia University and the Clayton College of Natural Health and is a certified holistic health practitioner with the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. Christie is the Corporate Nutritionist for Brain Balance Achievement Centers, where she designs the nutrition protocol for franchises across the country. Christie is a nutrition expert for Dr. Oz’s Sharecare.com and frequently contributes nutrition articles to Long Island Parent Magazine. Christie is he author of The IBD Healing Plan and Recipe Book: A Guide to Releive Crohn’s and Colitis with Whole Foods. Christie lives in New York with her son, her husband, and her cat.

Understanding Chronic Sleep Disturbance

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By Stefanie Gomez

sleepYou can feel it when it happens and when you begin to wake up after a night of restless sleep. It’s hard to get out of bed when your body is telling you that it hasn’t had enough sleep to be alert, energetic or ready for the day. You can hit that snooze alarm a few times before you get up, and when you do get moving you don’t feel quite right. Thankfully for most of us this is a pretty rare occurrence but for some, chronic sleep disturbance is an every day ordeal with a variety of negative health and emotional consequences.

The first step is to identify whether you meet the criteria for a chronic sleep disorder. In an article by Health Central titled “How Do You Know If You Have a Sleep Disorder” – Allen Blaivas, M.D., goes through an inventory of questions patients should ask themselves in order to identify the frequency and causes of the problem. There are also a variety of sleep disorder inventories or surveys that a medical professional can administer to identify the presence of a formal chronic sleep disturbance, and identify some of the stressors or causes.

The Impact of Bad Sleep

There are a variety of health implications for people who experience a poor quality of sleep, and long term deprivation can have a tremendous impact on performance, mood, weight and other health aspects. According to Dr. Susan Redline, a sleep specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston) “Sleep deficiency can affect mood and the ability to make memories and learn, but it also affects metabolism, appetite, blood pressure, levels of inflammation in the body and perhaps even the immune response.”

ABC News reported on the topic in 2012 with their investigative report “5 Health Hazards Linked to Lack of Sleep” which outlined the specific known emotional and physical health consequences of sleep deprivation. The article reported on a recent study of 5,600 participants which was presented at the 26th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Boston.

bellymeasurementsmallThe report found conclusive evidence of:

• Increased obesity

• Increased hypertension and risk for heart attack and stroke

• Increased diabetes risk (carbohydrate rich diet)

• Depression and Anxiety (reduced serotonin)

The Causes

Chronic sleep disturbances can be caused by lifestyle factors or existing health issues including back and neck pain or sleep apnea. It can be frequently sourced back to obesity, which puts an added strain on the body creating neck, leg and lower back pain. Sleep apnea is also more common with individuals who are over weight

Frequently the quality of the bed and pillows can be blamed for bad sleep. Back and neck pain can be aggravated and worsened by pillows that do not provide adequate lumbar support. Talk to a sleep specialist to evaluate your preferred sleeping position and the appropriate pillow for you.

How to Improve Your Sleep

Before consulting a physician you can explore some common suggestions that might help you restore your quality rest. Sometimes it is a matter of making a few small changes to your diet or sleep routine in order to resolve the issue.

http://yourhealthjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/kickhabit.jpg• Avoid eating at least two hours before bed. An active digestion will make it difficult to sleep.

• Unplug electronics, laptops, mobile phones and other devices and do not bring them into the bedroom. You may be tempted to check messages rather than relaxing and focusing on getting a good night of rest.

• Put a “worry book” beside your bed and write down your concerns, check lists or other items that are keeping you from getting to sleep. Writing them on paper will help you remove the worry and get back to sleep.

• Seek medical advice if sleep problems persist for more than two weeks.

– Stefanie Gomez is associated with Essentia, manufacturers of the world’s only natural memory-foam mattresses. She understands the importance about green/Healthy living hence she generally blogs about eco-friendly lifestyle, health/wellness, healthy and sustainable living options. She is also passionate about reading, photography, cooking, gadgets and yoga.

Improve Your Fitness Page’s Reach By Understanding Facebook’s EdgeRank

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By Steve Mehr, CEO of WebShark360

facebookWhen it comes to marketing your fitness company, a Facebook page remains one of the most popular tools to attract new customers and to engage with them. Your fitness company’s Facebook page can become a dynamic platform from which you disseminate content aimed at helping others become well. But as Facebook continues to change, many fitness businesses worry that their posts aren’t getting the reach that they once enjoyed. What happens when you begin to lose visibility?

It can be difficult for fitness companies to stand out from the crowd. Consumers’ news feeds are already full of pictures, videos, and statuses from their friends. What hope does your fitness company have of standing out in that noise? The first step is to understand how your fitness page’s content is disseminated. Facebook uses an algorithm named EdgeRank to determine whether or not your content is valuable to its users and using a variety of factors, it determines who to show your content with. Once your fitness business understands how to use EdgeRank to its benefit, you can increase your visibility and ensure your business is able to help Facebookers achieve the wellness you advocate.

What is EdgeRank?

EdgeRank sounds funny, like something you’d be using to describe an ice skating move. Actually, it’s Facebook’s algorithm which determines where your fitness page fits in. Using EdgeRank, Facebook determines whether to share your content with your audience or not and who among your audience might be the most open to receiving those updates. To better understand EdgeRank, you must be familiar with its key components:

• Affinity – affinity refers to whether or not fans have previously engaged with your fitness page. The more a fan engages with your fitness page and your content, the more it stands to reason that they are likely interested in your fitness company and its products. Facebook determines this interest is good and therefore, shows the user more of your Facebook content. One of the hardest things for a fitness page to encourage is affinity. Pages that enjoy high amounts of affinity among their fans are truly reaching their intended audience on a consistent basis.

• Weight – Facebook is not concerned with the pounds you’re carrying around. But they are concerned with the kinds of items fans have previously engaged with in the past. Using this determining factor, Facebook assumes that if a user frequently shares pictures, clicks like on visual content, and adds a lot of visuals to their page, that they must be a picture person. Using this determination, Facebook will endeavor to share more visual content with that user. So when you make a post on your fitness page, your visuals will be shown to these users more often than say your blogs might be.

• Time decay – time decay is a sort of best by date on your fitness page’s content. It’s no surprise that as much content gets uploaded to the internet on a daily basis, old posts don’t often find a home among fans. New posts are more interesting than old posts and are therefore shown more frequently to your fitness page’s fans than an older post would be.

• Negative feedback – Some people like your fitness page, but then based on your content, or your posting frequency, or any number of factors, they decide they’ve had enough of seeing your content. Facebook keeps track of this negative feedback- how often users click hide, report a page for spam, or unlike a page to determine whether or not the page’s content should be shared as frequently. If your page is experiencing high rates of negative feedback, then your visibility could suffer.

Understanding EdgeRank to Improve Your Facebook Page

malepushupWith these ideas in mind, your fitness business is better able to make decisions regarding your content to increase your reach and visibility instead of decreasing it. If you’d like to see your EdgeRank score in action, you can download an application such as EdgeRank Checker to see insights into your Facebook posts. The EdgeRank Checker dashboard will give your fitness business valuable analytics into your posting success per time of day, per content type, and how this engagement grows or diminishes. With this valuable information, your fitness business is able to make the necessary adjustments, which could include:

• Content adjustments or upgrades
• Changes to your posting schedule
• Changes to your style of fan engagement
• Adjustment of campaigns and offers

EdgeRank can be confusing at first, but once you have this information in your hands, your fitness business can make the adjustments to boost your Facebook page’s visibility and grow your reach.

– Steve Mehr is CEO of WebShark360, a premiere internet marketing and attorney marketing agency. Based out of Irvine, California, this talented team of internet marketers offers their clients website design, content marketing, public relations, social media, advertising, and SEO services. For more information, visit WebShark360 at http://webshark360.com or call (800) 939-4850.