Lifestyle

HWA – WEARING A MASK IS CAUSING A RISE IN LEGIONNAIRES DISEASE

YOUR MASK IS CAUSING A RISE IN LEGIONNAIRES DISEASE

Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia caused by legionella bacteria.
Legionnaires’ disease doesn’t spread from person to person. Instead, the bacteria spreads through mist, such as moisture on your mask.
You should not catch pneumonia, but bacterial pneumonia is possible.
Adults over the age of 50 and people with weak immune systems, chronic lung disease, or heavy tobacco use are most at risk.
Many people exposed to the bacteria don’t develop symptoms. Those who do develop symptoms may experience cough, fever, chills, shortness of breath, muscle aches, headaches, and diarrhea.
Many people exposed to the bacteria don’t develop symptoms. Those who do develop symptoms may experience cough, fever, chills, shortness of breath, muscle aches, headaches, and diarrhea.
People may experience:
Pain areas: in the chest or muscles
Gastrointestinal: diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
Whole body: fever or chills
Also common: shortness of breath, coughing, headache, or mental confusion
Legionnaire’s disease can be treated with antibiotics.
Wear a Face Mask to Protect Each Other | Duke Health
TIPS FOR PROPER WEARING OF YOUR MASK
Paper Masks have fibers that get trapped in your lungs.
Dont wear a mask for more than 30 minutes
Never wear a mask while driving, not needed
Triple layer cloth mask have been proven better than N95 hospital facts
Wash your cloth mask with bleach.
Laundry softener can cause more viruses to be trapped in your mask
Masks with respiratory inserts are good for 10 hours of use
Never wear the same mask two days in a row.  Treat with bleach and let sit for 24 hours.
SIDE NOTE:   HAND SANITIZERS DO NOTHING TO FIGHT COVID – BUT THEY WILL CLOG YOUR LIVER
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Health and Disease

HWA – SEX AFTER A HEART ATTACK IS HEALTHY

Resuming Sex Soon After a Heart Attack Might Be Healthy

American Heart Association Cautions Heart Attack Survivors During Pandemic  | EHS TodayMany heart attack survivors worry that resuming sex too soon afterwards might trigger another attack. But new research suggests the opposite may be true.

Research out of Israel finds that resuming a normal sex life in the months after a heart attack may actually boost survival.

Lead researcher Yariv Gerber believes part of the benefit could lie in a person’s mindset.

“Sexuality and sexual activity are markers of well-being,” said Gerber, head of the School of Public Health at Tel Aviv University. “Resumption of sexual activity soon after a heart attack may be a part of one’s self-perception as a healthy, functioning, young and energetic person. This may lead to a healthier lifestyle generally.”

In the study, Gerber’s team collected data on nearly 500 sexually active people aged 65 or under who were hospitalized for a heart attack in either 1992 or 1993.

During a median follow-up of 22 years, 43% of the patients died. But the study found that those who’d maintained or increased the frequency of sex during the first six months after a heart attack had 35% lower risk of death, compared with those who had not.

The survival benefit of having more sex appeared tied to reductions in non-cardiovascular deaths — for example, fewer deaths tied to cancer — the researchers noted.

Of course the findings can’t prove that a return to sexual activity soon after a heart attack directly improves long-term survival — only that the two appear associated.

The new study was published Sept. 23 in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

As the researchers explained, sex is a form of physical exercise that increases heart rate and blood pressure. And although vigorous physical exertion can sometimes cause a heart attack, regular physical activity can also reduce the risk of heart problems over time. Likewise, sex can trigger a heart attack, but your risk is lower if you exercise regularly, Gerber’s team noted.

“For this and other reasons, some patients [including younger ones] hesitate to resume sexual activity for long periods after a heart attack,” Gerber said in a journal news release.

He also theorized that a quick return to bedroom activity after a heart attack may be a sign of a better overall recovery.

“Improved physical fitness, stronger spouse relations, and a mental ability to ‘bounce back’ from the initial shock of the event within a few months are among the possible explanations for the survival benefit observed among the maintained/increased group,” Gerber said.

“On the other hand, patients who perceive their health as poor might be less likely to start having sex again,” he said. “They may also be less likely to adhere to cancer screening tests and other prevention practices during follow-up. This may explain the strong inverse association between resumption of sexual activity and cancer mortality that was seen in our study.”

In any case, the new findings “should serve to reduce patients’ concerns about returning to their usual level of sexual activity soon after a heart attack,” Gerber said.

Dr. Guy Mintz directs cardiovascular health at Northwell Health’s Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. He wasn’t involved in the new research, but said it should help counter “an old taboo that sexual activity after a heart attack is dangerous.”

Mintz said that the Israeli study did have its limits, however: “This study looked at a younger population, median age of 53, and this does not translate to older patients or women. Women were poorly represented, as 90% of patients were men.”

And he said that following a heart attack, patients should have a frank discussion with their physician about a return to sexual activity, since it “increases heart rate and blood pressure, which can have an effect on the heart.”

Still, for many people, “normalization of sexual activity improves a patient’s sense of self-worth, health and vigor,” Mintz said. So, “an important message here is that re-engaging in sexual activity is not dangerous and will be helpful long term,” he said.

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Lifestyle

HWA – 7 STAGES OF ALZHEIMERS DISEASE

7 STAGES OF ALZHEIMERS DISEASE

This is a great poster for you to print off and keep handy!  A must share!

Recognizing the Signs of Alzheimer's Disease | UPMC HealthBeat

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Health and Disease

HWA – RISK FACTORS FOR HEART DISEASE

Before getting into the risk factors that you can work to reduce, let’s cover the few that you can’t do anything about.

  • AgeThis one’s pretty simple. The older you get, the likelier you are to develop heart disease. In fact, more than 80% people who die from heart disease are older than 65, because the heart tends to grow weaker as you move into your golden years.
  • GenderWhile heart disease may be the number cause of death for both men and women, it tends to develop later in women. Why? Experts believe that hormones such as estrogen, which women have in much greater abundance than men, may provide some protection against heart disease. However, those hormones decline during menopause. By age 65, a woman’s odds of heart disease match those of a man of similar age.
  • Genetics and Family HistoryIt’s true: Heart disease tends to run in the family. Did your dad develop heart disease before the age of 55 or your mom before she turned 65? If so, your own risk is higher than normal because one or both of your parents may have passed along a genetic ingredient in the recipe for heart disease.
  • Early MenopauseAccording to a 2019 study in The Lancet Public Health, going through “The Change” before age 40 increases risk of heart diseases like CAD, heart failure, arrhythmia, and heart valve disease among the approximately 10% of women who experience early menopause. It remains unclear why, though a decline in estrogen may be a factor.

 

These four factors make up only part of the complex swirl of possible causes of heart disease. You can’t change your genes or age, but don’t despair. Instead, use that knowledge as motivation to address the risks you can change. These include:

  • High Blood Pressure (HBP)Having hypertension, a.k.a. high blood pressure, is a red flag for other forms of heart disease, increasing your risk for CAD, heart attack, heart failure, and stroke. HBP results from plaque buildups in your arteries, thickening them and reducing blood flow.
  • High Cholesterol Unhealthy cholesterol levels contribute to blockages in your blood vessels that can eventually lead to heart attack. Your body produces cholesterol naturally—we all need it to make important hormones and absorb Vitamin D—but it’s easy to get more than you need by eating foods that are high in saturated and trans fats (like red meat, eggs, and dairy). There are two types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad” cholesterol) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good” cholesterol). LDL contributes to plaque buildups in your arteries. HDL protects against heart disease by transporting excess LDL to the liver to be processed as waste.
  • Obesity Being obese forces your heart to work harder because your body requires more of the oxygen and nutrients that your blood supplies. This leads to high blood pressure. Excess weight also increases risk for heart disease, or makes them worse if you already have them, including high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. Obesity has been linked to heart failure and CAD.
  • Diabetes Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, both limit your body’s ability to maintain a healthy level of glucose, a form of sugar that your body produces and uses for energy. Uncontrolled blood glucose damages your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart, eventually leading to heart disease. In fact, as many as three out of four people with diabetes die from some form of heart disease.
  • Physical Inactivity The couch potato life not only directly puts you at higher risk of heart disease, it opens the door to other risk factors like HBP, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.
  • Smoking or Vaping Lighting up does more than damage your lungs. It accelerates your heartbeat while narrowing your blood vessels and contributes to the formation of blood clots that can lead to heart attack or stroke. Less is known about the risks of vaping, but many of the chemicals involved have been linked to heart disease.
  • Stress Pressure and tension can elevate your heart rate and blood pressure—and too much eventually damages your blood vessels. Stress also can lead some people to abuse alcohol and eat too much, as well as smoke. (And, remember, any amount of smoking or vaping is too much.)
  • Drinking Alcohol Too much alcohol also can harm your heart. Excessive drinking ups your blood pressure and heart rate as well as your triglycerides, a type of fat linked to heart disease, because they may contribute to hardening and thickening of your arteries.
  • Sleep Apnea This sleep disorder causes breathing trouble as you sleep, reducing the amount of oxygen to your blood and raising your blood pressure. Together, these can weaken your heart and put you at heightened risk chronic HBP, atherosclerosis, arrhythmia, and heart failure.

Lifestyle Changes for Heart Disease

You know the drill: Eat better, exercise, lose weight, and quit smoking. We know—easier said than done, but so worth it. That’s because the everyday choices you make today can halt the progression of heart disease tomorrow—leading to a healthier and likely longer life.

Let’s walk through the basic lifestyle choices you can implement to help make happen:

  • Lower your cholesterol. Cut back and avoid plaque buildup by swapping red meats for lean poultry and fish, consuming fibrous veggies and whole grains, and limiting (or even avoiding altogether) the saturated and trans fats found in fried and processed foods. Additional ways to get your cholesterol in check? Lose a few pounds, exercise more, and if that still isn’t enough, talk to your doctor about medication.

  • Lower your blood pressure. The same lifestyle changes that help bring down unhealthy cholesterol levels can also help manage your blood pressure, often in tandem with one of the various blood-pressure lowering medications available.

  • Do everything you can do to quit smoking. We know—it’s really hard. But we also know that smoking causes lung cancer and seriously hurts your heart. Plus, a nicotine or vaping habit damages your arteries, ups your risk of dangerous blood clots, raises your heart rate, and contributes to HBP and high cholesterol. So make quitting smoking your top priority. Going cold turkey works for some, while others have to slowly wean themselves from lighting up with the help of nicotine patches and other aids, including medications and support groups. Your doctor can walk you through your options, so have that conversation as soon as possible. Visit the American Heart Association to learn more about how to quit.

  • Get moving. Physical activity of just about any kind beats the couch potato life. That’s because exercise strengthens your heart muscle so that it can do its job more efficiently. It helps lower your cholesterol, blood pressure, and, if you have diabetes, blood sugar levels, too. An added benefit? Breaking a sweat leads to a slimmer, fitter you. Exactly how much exercise you can do depends on your current state of health. Talk to your doctor, who might advise you to start slow and gradually build up endurance. If a walk around the block is your limit, that’s OK—lace up your shoes and get going. Tomorrow, you’ll likely go even further. If you’re recovering from a serious heart issue, cardiac rehabilitation programs can get you started safely.

  • Eat less, and eat better. Changing how you stock your fridge and pantry is often connected to lowering your cholesterol levels—so follow the same advice: Try high-fiber foods, lean proteins, vegetables, and whole grains, and skip overly processed junk food and fried fare. If you need guidance, consider enlisting a registered dietitian/nutritionist to outline a healthy eating plan for you—and provide strategies to stick with your plan to reach your goals.

  • Lose weight. It can’t be overstated: Being overweight or obese is hard on your heart. Your body mass index (BMI) measures body fat based on your weight in relation to your height. A BMI of 25 to 29 is considered overweight. You are considered obese if your BMI is 30 or higher. While use of BMI has been questioned by researchers as of late, partly because even the super-fit and muscle-bound may technically have “unhealthy” BMI numbers, some doctors still use it as a guide. More and more, however, physicians are concerned when excess body fat is concentrated around your waist, likely because a lot of belly fat can cause chronic inflammation, a risk factor for heart disease. The result? Your blood pressure and cholesterol go up and stay up—and you want neither to happen.

  •  

    If your heart health is at risk, and you find losing weight slowly and safely to be an impossible task, consider securing the services of a registered dietician, or ask your doctor if gastric bypass surgery is right for you.

  • Manage your diabetes. Diabetes and heart disease are a deadly combination. People with diabetes have as much as four times the risk of dying from heart disease than someone without this condition. This is in part due to the effect diabetes has on your blood vessels, and also because many other health conditions often accompany diabetes, including HBP, high cholesterol levels, and obesity. Controlling your diabetes through medication and lifestyle changes benefits your heart.

  • Consider medications for heart disease, if you need them. Many drugs treat coronary artery disease, or CAD. (Remember, CAD occurs when your arteries become clogged with plaque, restricting the flow of blood.) Here are the more commonly prescribed types of medication for CAD and other heart ailments:

    • Cholesterol lowering drugs, like statins, lower the amount of plaque-forming materials in your bloodstream.
    • Anti-coagulants (a.k.a. blood thinners) help prevent the formation of dangerous blood clots in your arteries, where they would block the flow of blood.
    • Anti-platelets, including aspirin, also help prevent clots from forming.
    • Beta blockers both lower your blood pressure and reduce your heart rate. That, in turn, causes your heart’s need for oxygen to drop.
    • Calcium channel blockers are often used in tandem with beta blockers. They lower blood pressure and heart rate while relaxing arteries in order to boost blood flow to the heart.
    • Nitroglycerin eases chest pain, or angina, caused by restricted blood flow to the heart. It works by allowing more oxygen-rich blood into your heart.
    • ACE inhibitors lower blood pressure and ease the heart’s workload, which helps prevent further weakening of the heart.

Heart failure as well as heart valve disease are both treated with some of the same medications, such as diuretics, which help rid your body of excess fluids. In heart failure, for example, fluid can build up in your lungs and make it difficult to breathe. You may also be prescribed digitalis, a type of drug that strengthens the contractions of your heart and lowers your heart rate. Beta blockers and anti-clotting medications are also among the drugs that may be used to treat both conditions.

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Health and Disease

HWA – DEPRESSION

How are you feeling today? If you’ve found yourself reading this, probably pretty crappy. Maybe you’ve been feeling listless and down for a lot longer than you expected, and it’s making you worry that you might have depression. Maybe you’ve just received a diagnosis of clinical depression and you’re looking for answers. We get it.  But we won’t let depression swallow you up. 

What Is Depression, Really?

 It’s normal to experience sadness. (Who didn’t cry when Simba couldn’t wake up Mufasa?) But unlike typical sadness or grief, time can’t and won’t heal Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), the term for clinical depression, which most people just call “depression.” It’s a common mental health condition that shows up like an unwanted houseguest and refuses to leave. This extended period of sadness or emptiness comes with a constellation of other symptoms, like exhaustion, sleep trouble, a shrinking appetite, overeating, sudden crying spells, and sometimes thoughts of suicide. Symptoms range in severity and must last for two weeks or more to receive an MDD diagnosis, though it’s rare than an episode would only last for that short time. Most people have symptoms for six months to a year, and sometimes, they can last for years.

Without treatment, depression won’t fade away on its own. Even if you do white-knuckle it through your first episode of depression, your chance of another recurrence is more than 50 percent. If you’ve had two episodes, that chance shoots up to 80 percent. Meaning, you’re going to want to deal with this sooner rather than later.

One hallmark of depression is an inability to experience pleasure, which is literally no fun. Losing interest in things you once enjoyed often means that your capacity to function at work and home takes a dive. In fact, depression is one of the leading causes of disability in the U.S., as 7.2% of Americans—17.7 million people—experience Major Depressive Disorder, each year.

Other Types of Depression

We talked about MDD (a.k.a. depression) but there are other types of depression. They include:

  • Persistent Depressive Disorder. This is a chronic form of depression, formerly known as dysthymia. Sometimes people call it “high functioning” or “smiling” depression. While symptoms aren’t as severe as MDD, they last for two years or longer. People with PDD might feel like they’ve always been depressed. (In cases of “double depression,” people experience severe episodes of MDD within their usual state of chronic depression.)
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Depression symptoms start and end seasonally, around the same times every year. Most people get depressed in cold, dark winter, but some people’s mood plummets in summer.
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). Here, depression symptoms are tied to the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, starting about one week before your period and ending just after your period. Though many of the symptoms mirror PMS—irritability, high anxiety, frequent crying—they’re much more severe. They interrupt your ability to work, destroy personal relationships, and can lead to thoughts of self-harm and suicide. This condition was added in 2013 as a form of depression to the DSM-5, the official guide of mental disorders.
  • Peripartum Depression. New mothers with this disorder typically develop symptoms of depression and even psychosis within a few weeks of giving birth. It used to be called postpartum depression and many people still use the term interchangeably. (In some cases, symptoms start during pregnancy; other times, when the baby is several months old—hence the name change.)
  • Perimenopausal Depression. In midlife (specifically, the years leading up to menopause), people experiencing this disorder have typical depressive symptoms plus perimenopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.
  • Substance/Medication-Induced Depressive Disorder. Substance abuse (alcohol, opiates, sedatives, amphetamines, cocaine, hallucinogens, etc.) or taking some medications, like corticosteroids or statins, can trigger the symptoms of depression. If substance use (or withdrawal from using) is causing your symptoms, you may have this version of depression.
  • Disruptive Mood Regulation Disorder. A child with this juvenile disorder is grumpy and bad-tempered most of the time. They have severe, explosive outbursts with parents, teachers, and peers several times a week. Their overreactions are extreme and inconsistent with their developmental level.

 Depression strikes people at a median age of 32, but it’s important to remember that depression can happen to anyone, at any age, of any race, gender, or political affiliation. One out of every six adults will experience depression at some time in their life. Fortunately, depression is treatable. That’s why, at the first hint of symptoms, it’s important to make an appointment with a mental health professional who can help determine whether you have depression, and if so, which type—and most importantly, which treatment is appropriate for you.

What Causes Depression?

You’re not going to like this answer, but no one knows for sure. That said, for the past few decades, the prevailing theory is that depressed people have an imbalance in their brain chemistry—more specifically, low levels of neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, epinephrine, and dopamine, which help regulate mood, sleep, and metabolism. We now know it’s a little more complicated than that.

Certain circumstances put people at a higher risk of depression, including childhood trauma, other types of mental illness and chronic pain conditions, or a family history of depression, but anyone can get depressed.

Scientists informed by decades of research believe that the following factors also up your risk of becoming depressed, but they can’t prove causality. Still, they can play heavily in the development of depression, so it’s important to be aware of them:

  • Genetics. Research shows that having a first-degree relative with depression (a parent, sibling, or child) makes you two-to-three times more likely to have depression tendencies.
  • Traumatic life events from childhood, such as abuse or neglect.
  • Environmental stressors, like a loved one’s death, a messy divorce, or financial problems.
  • Some medical conditions (e.g., underactive thyroid, chronic pain). Per science, the relationship between these physical conditions and depression is bidirectional, so there’s a chicken-or-egg thing going on because they feed each other.
  • Certain medications, including some sedatives and blood pressure pills.
  • Hormonal changes, like those that come with childbirth and menopause.
  • Gut bacteria. There has been a link established between the microbiome and the gut-brain axis, but it’s only just starting to be studied.

Do I Have the Symptoms of Depression?

Wondering whether your feelings qualify for clinical depression? Those with MDD experience five or more of the below symptoms during the same two-week period, and at least one must be depressed mood or loss of pleasure. The symptoms would be distressing or affect daily functioning.

  1. You feel down most of the time.
  2. The things you liked doing no longer give you joy.
  3. Significant weight loss (without dieting) or weight gain or feeling consistently much less hungry or hungrier than usual.
  4. Having a hard time getting to sleep and staying asleep or oversleeping.
  5. A molasses-like slowdown of thought, becoming a couch potato, or spending days in bed. (This should be noticeable to others, not just subjective feelings of restlessness or slothiness.)
  6. So. So. Tired. You’re so exhausted you can’t even.
  7. Feeling worthless a lot of the time, even if you haven’t done anything wrong.
  8. Being super distracted, indecisive, and unable to concentrate.
  9. Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide(with or without a specific plan to actually do it). If you need help for yourself or someone else, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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Foods

HWA- WATERMELON JAM

Watermelon Jam

Recipe That Always Works

This watermelon jam is so simple to make, tastes amazing and turns out perfect every time! This is the only watermelon jam recipe you’ll ever need!

If you are a beginner who wants a foolproof method of making watermelon jam, look no further! This is the easiest watermelon jam recipe on the Internet and it turns out perfect every time!

how to make watermelon jam

Since watermelon is naturally very watery, turning it into jam is not very straight-forward.  If you take another type of jam recipe (for example, strawberry jam, peach jam, etc.) and just change the fruit to watermelon, it won’t work 🙂 After all, you want to end up with watermelon jam, not watermelon syrup.  My recipe produces a real thick watermelon jam that’s gorgeous red in color and tastes like extremely concentrated sweet watermelon! It’s super easy to follow and only uses 4 ingredients!

Watermelon jam on toast

With this homemade watermelon jam, you’ll be tasting *summer* long after the summer is over! Preserving the summer watermelon flavor has never been easier when you have this simple jam recipe on your hands 🙂

Making watermelon jam is super easy.  All you need to do is puree the watermelon flesh in a blender or food processor, then put it in a pot, add sugar, lemon juice and pectin, then boil for 20 minutes and you are done!

WATERMELON JAM RECIPE

This watermelon jam recipe is super easy and works every time! Produces perfectly set jam that tastes like extremely concentrated watermelon! This is the only watermelon jam recipe you’ll even need!

Ingredients
  • 2 cups pureed watermelon
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 6 tbsp (2 packages) powdered pectin (labeled as “low sugar” or “no sugar needed”)
Instructions
  1. Put pureed watermelon, lemon juice and sugar in a pot. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to simmer.
  2. Add the pectin and whisk it with a handheld whisk or a fork immediately, so it dissolves without clumping.
  3. Bring the watermelon jam to a boil again, then reduce heat to simmer and simmer, stirring every minute, for 20 minutes.
  4. Pour the watermelon jar into a mason jar. This watermelon jam will set completely once it’s cooled.
  5. This watermelon jam can be canned, or you can simply store it in a refrigerator (it will stay fresh in a refrigerator for up to 1 month).
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Foods, Health and Disease

HWA – WATERMELON

WATERMELON

One of the fun things about watermelon is how many ways there are to serve and eat it! Cutting your watermelon a different way can make it fresh and new for children, family, friends, or even yourself.

OMG you never knew it was possible to carve up a watermelon like this… Plus two more fruit cutting tricks!
On every level, including biochemically, melon is exactly what our bodies need. Melons are essentially balls of purified water. This highly active fluid binds onto poisons of all kinds in the body, including mold, mycotoxins, viral neurotoxins, undigested protein toxins, ammonia gas, and bacterial toxins, flushing them out to allow the immune system to restore itself. Further, the fruit’s high electrolyte content helps protect the brain and the rest of the nervous system from stress-related strokes, aneurysms, and embolisms. Melon thins the blood and reduces heart attack risk, helps prevent heart disease and vascular issues, and can even reduce liver and kidney disease—if someone is suffering from liver or kidney malfunction, melon can mean the difference between life and death. The water in melon is nearly identical to our blood, and its sodium, potassium, and glucose are also abundant and bioavailable, making melon one of the most hydrating foods you can eat. This hydration is critical, as it helps to lower high blood pressure, among other benefits.
Juice Press: 15 Things You Didn't Know About Watermelon
Melon is one of the most alkalizing foods. The fruit’s highly bioavailable and bioactive trace mineral count is responsible for driving electrolytes higher than normal, making them easily usable by the body. In return, the body’s detoxification processes become amplified, driving out traces of DDT, other pesticides, herbicides, and heavy metals from deep within the organs. High in silica, melon is an excellent food to restore ligaments, joints, bones, teeth, connective tissue, and tendons. Melon is also one of the most powerful glucose balancers, working to prevent insulin resistance and lower elevated A1C levels

Tip: Remember to eat melon on an empty stomach to avoid a stomachache from this predigested food getting held up in your gut by slower-digesting foods. Melon is an ideal breakfast food (after celery juice if you drink it) for this reason.

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Foods, Health and Disease

HWA – RHEUMAROID ARTHRITIS – THE CURE – Diet

Eating healthy is more than just lip service if you’re dealing with pain and stiffness in your joints caused by rheumatoid arthritis. A smart eating plan helps keep your weight in check and boosts your overall health, giving you an edge on this challenging condition. True, your diet can cure RA, and easy changes to what you eat can make you feel a little better, why wouldn’t you? Take a look at what the research shows about foods that can help reduce inflammation and raise your energy levels, starting now.

How Does Diet Impact Rheumatoid Arthritis?

There’s more and more clinical evidence to support the idea that specific foods can help treat RA, and there are many people with the disease who swear what they eat affects how they feel. In one study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 25% of RA patients were convinced certain foods made their arthritis symptoms better or worse. (Blueberries and spinach topped the list of feel-better foods while sugary sodas and desserts took honors for the worst.)

Here are a few ways diet may impact RA:

  • Body weight: RA patients have a higher risk of obesity (and all the metabolic complications that go along with it), and if you’re obese you’re less likely respond to medical treatment compared to someone at a healthy weight. A healthy body weight also improves your odds of achieving remission and puts less pressure on your already achy joints.
  • Heart disease risk: “Heart smart” isn’t just a cute phrase for RA sufferers, who are twice as likely as the general population to suffer heart problems. It’s not totally clear why, but it could be that the systemic inflammation due to RA causes swelling of the arteries that lead to the heart. Following a heart-healthy diet is key.
  • Inflammation: Medical researchers believe an excess of inflammatory molecules called prostaglandins may contribute to RA. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish, nuts, and plant oils, have anti-inflammatory effects that may interfere with the formation of these molecules.
  • Immune system: A diet rich in antioxidants gives your immune system the support it needs to fight the disease and may help reduce the chance of infection.
  • Gut health: If you have RA, you know all about GI problems like bloating and nausea. Inflammation and impaired immunity likely play a role in your gassy gut, as do some common RA medications. In addition, certain imbalances in the gut microbiome have been linked to RA. A healthy diet is the first step to restoring order in the GI tract.

What Is the Best Diet for Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Unless you have a doctor who can take the time to go over a diet just for you, than your doc will probably tell you to eat a generally healthy diet. That means go easy on the red meat and processed foods and load up on fresh fruit, leafy greens, lean proteins, and whole grains.  Some studies show that these specific types of diets can be beneficial to easing RA symptoms.

Mediterranean Diet

Ah, the famous Med diet, full of fish, whole grains, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Don’t you feel better just reading about it? Seriously, this approach has been shown to help lower inflammation, likely due to the omega-3 fatty acids found in nuts, olive oil, and fatty fish. In one randomized controlled trial from Sweden, RA patients who followed a Mediterranean diet for three months had fewer symptoms and better quality of life. Bonus: The Mediterranean diet is good for your heart, too.

Vegan / Vegetarian

It’s cool and trendy, and it also works: Several small studies suggest that avoiding animal products may help reduce inflammation and ease RA flares. What’s more, vegans and vegetarians are less likely to be overweight than meat eaters, and they have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels (markers of heart health), too. On the flip side, plant-only eaters can have lower levels of vitamins B12 (key for energy), calcium, and vitamin D (vital for bone health). If you’re thinking about going vegan or vegetarian, talk with your doctor and a registered dietitian first, and keep an eye on your vitamin levels.

Intermittent Fasting

Also in the trend du jour camp, this approach seems to have legs: Research shows that going for multiple hours without eating may improve RA symptoms. Fasting may help “reset” the immune system by eliminating damaged cells and replacing them with new ones. Bummer though, RA patients tend to relapse upon returning to a normal eating pattern. Think of fasting as a short-term treatment, not a long-term solution.

Anti-inflammatory foods for RA include fatty fish, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and olive oil

Anti-Inflammatory Foods That Fight RA

We’re now going to tell you that certain foods can ease symptoms  . Load up on these inflammation-reducing options, this is not just a once in awhile method, these are daily foods that are a must.

  • Fatty fish: Cold-water fish—the kind high in omega-3 fats—are perhaps the most promising food in the fight against inflammation. In another Brigham and Women’s Hospital study, RA patients who ate non-fried fish two or more times a week had lower disease activity than those who never ate fish. Cold-water fatty fish include salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, mackerel, and trout.
  • Fruits and vegetables: Antioxidant-rich produce (like blueberries and cherries) are great for stabilizing the “free radicals” that trigger inflammation. They’re also packed with polyphenols, which may help lower C-reactive protein. Cover your nutritional bases by eating a bunch of different colors every day.
  • Whole grains: Whole grains lower levels of C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation) and reduce heart disease risk (elevated in people with RA). They’re also rich in selenium, which you might be low in if you have RA, and fiber, which has been shown to reduce inflammation. Choose oats, whole wheat, white rice, quinoa. (brown rice is processed with arsenic )
  • Legumes: These high-protein, low-fat foods are rich in folic acid, magnesium, iron, zinc, and potassium—all good for your heart and immune system. Black, garbanzo, and red kidney beans and black-eyed peas are good choices.
  • Nuts: Your favorite snack also happens to be full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Walnuts are especially good because they’re also high in omega-3s. Feeling adventurous? Try pine nuts, pistachios, and hazelnuts, too.
  • Olive oil: In addition to healthy fats, this oil contains a natural phenolic compound called oleocanthal, which acts like ibuprofen to block inflammation. (But don’t use it as a substitute for pain meds—it would take a 400-calorie serving to equal one 200mg ibuprofen tablet!) Sub it in for other cooking oils and butter to make your meals healthier.
  • Foods to Avoid When You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Add some, minus others. Experts recommend cutting back on these foods, which may make your RA symptoms worse.

    • Red meat: That juicy burger contains omega-6 fatty acids, which in excess can contribute to inflammation. What’s more, a diet high in red meat has been linked to increased heart disease risk. Your best bet: Choose lean cuts (10% fat or less) and look for “grass-fed” on the label, which may contain more omega-3’s than other types. Try to limit red meat to once a week.
    • Processed foods: Soft drinks, chips, and candy—the stuff of vending-machine heaven—are high in added sugars and unhealthy fats, which raise the risk of obesity and joint inflammation.
    • Gluten (sometimes): This one’s a little on the border. We know gluten can trigger inflammation in the gut, skin, and joints .
    • Corn:       This is the first place to start.  We call it the OSE group.  Glucose, Fructose and Dextrose, and others variations, on a label are made from corn. The second part of this is all dairy products.  Ask yourself, “What do chickens eat?”   Corn!      Corn is the only vegetable without a DNA structure.  No ones body can digest corn,   One more hint to all moms.  Apple Juice is corn juice!

      If you need help with your RA, write to us, and we can help you with a personal eating plan just for you.

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      Health and Wellness Associates

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      REVIEWED BY DR Anne Sullivan

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