Health and Disease, Uncategorized

HWA-FDA APPROVES FIRST AT HOME SALIVA TEST FOR COVID 19

FDA APPROVES FIRST AT HOME SALIVA TEST FOR COVID 19

 

The first COVID-19 test using saliva samples that patients collect at home has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The emergency use authorization was issued to Rutgers Clinical Genomics Laboratory for the diagnostic test using home-collected samples. Patients return their sample to the New Jersey-based lab in a sealed package for analysis.

First U.S. Company Announces an Upcoming Home COVID-19 Test | Time

The screening is the only authorized test that uses saliva samples to check for the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. It is available only with a prescription.

Last month, the FDA gave emergency authorization for the first at-home COVID-19 test using a sample taken from the patient’s nose with a nasal swab and saline.

“Authorizing additional diagnostic tests with the option of at-home sample collection will continue to increase patient access to testing for COVID-19,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said in an agency news release. “This provides an additional option for the easy, safe and convenient collection of samples required for testing without traveling to a doctor’s office, hospital or testing site.”

At-home saliva testing has several advantages over traditional nasal testing, in which a health care worker inserts a swab deep into the patient’s nose and rotates it to extract a sample.

Besides being invasive and uncomfortable, the nasal test requires a potentially contagious patient to leave home and the person administering the test to don personal protective gear.

Since the start of the pandemic, Hahn said FDA has authorized more than 80 COVID-19 tests, and adding more options for at-home sample collection is an important advance.

“It is important to note that this is not a general authorization for at-home collection of patient samples using other collection methods, saliva collection devices, or tests, or for tests fully conducted at home,” the FDA news release said.

Do know that you are giving your DNA over to the government to own.  You are sending you DNA, to a government supported genomics laboratory. If you have no symptoms, you do not need a test.

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HWA-LICHEN PLANUS AND LICHEN SCLEROSIS

 

 

Lichen Planus and Lichen Sclerosis: These Conditions May Mimic Yeast Infection or Herpes

Lichen Planus Clinical Presentation: History, Physical Examination ...

There are several gynecologic conditions that share similar symptoms. Vaginal itching, irritation, burning, and lesions or sores are most commonly associated with yeast infections or genital herpes. But when those two are ruled out, there are even more possibilities. For example, two vulvar skin conditions, called lichen planus and lichen sclerosus, can cause similar symptoms.

Lichen Planus: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Risks

 

What Is Lichen Planus?

Genital lichen planus is a dermatological (skin) condition that affects the vulva (outer genital area), vagina, and anus. In women, the condition can lead to scarring and chronic inflammation of the vulva, which may cause sexual dysfunction, according to Drexel Medicine.  Men can also get genital lichen planus, which shows up as pink, shiny, flat-topped papules in the genital area, according to a 2015 report.

This skin condition can also develop on other areas of the body, such as the inside of the mouth, the wrist, the ankles, and the lower back, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. While the cause of lichen planus remains unclear, it is considered to be a chronic autoimmune skin disorder with periods of flare-ups and remission. It may be contagious, with different variables, so it is always good to be cautious.

Lichen planus - Stock Image - C040/2238 - Science Photo Library

What Are the Symptoms of Vulvar Lichen Planus?

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the following are possible symptoms of lichen planus:

  • Bumps and patches on the skin that itch
  • Soreness, burning, and tenderness
  • Blisters and open sores that may make urination and sexual intercourse painful
  • Pale appearance or white lacy pattern on the vulva
  • Yellowish discharge
  • Fragile and thin vaginal skin, which sometimes causes cracking and bleeding
  • If left untreated, this skin condition can erode the vaginal skin tissues, especially the labia minora (inner vaginal folds).

It is not difficult to understand how some women may mistake these symptoms for genital herpes (the presence of painful lesions) or some other sort of infection (itching, burning, and soreness).

What Is Lichen Sclerosus?

Lichen sclerosus is another chronic, auto-immune-inflammatory skin disease affecting the genital region that can mimic the symptoms of an infection such as a yeast infection or genital herpes. Lichen sclerosus can occur alongside lichen planus or can develop from erosive lichen planus (where the labia minora shrink and fuse to the labia majora).

Science Source - Lichen Sclerosus

What Are the Symptoms of Lichen Sclerosus?

The main symptoms are itching and soreness, according to the NIH. There may be white, shiny patches on the vaginal skin. Some people may have blisters and bleeding in the vaginal area and may notice that their skin tears and bruises easily. Lichen sclerosus can be extremely painful, making sexual intercourse a source of physical distress.

Non-infectious inflammatory genital lesions - ScienceDirect

What Are the Risk Factors for Lichen Sclerosus?

As with lichen planus, the cause of lichen sclerosus is unclear, but it may be related to an overactive immune system or hormones, according to the NIH. One study completed in 2008 found that women who have psoriasis may be more susceptible to being diagnosed with lichen sclerosus. It is more common in postmenopausal women as well, according to a report by the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

However, because of the similarities to other conditions, such as genital herpes, vaginitis, or yeast infections, some women may not realize they have lichen sclerosus or mistake it for other gynecological problems.

If left untreated, lichen sclerosus can progress and cause serious effects. In rare cases, it’s associated with an increased chance of vulvar cancer. About 4 percent of women with lichen sclerosus develop vulvar cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

a) Lichen sclerosus with dry, atrophic skin, vanishing of the ...

How to Get Treatment for These Symptoms

If you are experiencing itching, burning, soreness, bleeding, fissures, thick white patches of skin, or ulcers or blisters in the vulvar area, you should see your gynecologist. Most doctors will be able to diagnose these conditions by doing a vulvar skin biopsy.

Don’t try to guess at what these symptoms mean or try to self-diagnose. Many women suffer needlessly from lichen planus and lichen sclerosus because they think it is some sort of recurring yeast infection. Although both of these genital skin conditions can be chronic and without a definitive cure, there is treatment that is extremely effective. An early diagnosis and treatment can prevent pain, scarring, and damage to the vulvar skin and tissues.

While these conditions can’t be cured, they can be treated and managed. Cortisone creams have been found to be effective in reducing symptoms. Some people find that over-the-counter antihistamine creams help reduce pain and itching.

 

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HWA-CAN I RUN OUTSIDE DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC?

CAN I RUN OUTSIDE DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC?

 

In short, yes. But, according to the experts, there are specific ways to keep those runs super safe.

running in mask

 

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the world, scientists and researchers are scrambling to learn more about the virus and how it’s transmitted. In the meantime, unless you’re an essential worker, you’re probably under a lockdown or social distance order of some kind, which means you’re supposed to stay indoors and avoid other people as much as possible.

For runners, this poses a frustrating challenge. How do you fit your regular exercise in? Is outdoor running simply too much of a health risk? No doubt you’ve heard a variety of different takes on the topic. To get some answers, we spoke with three different medical professionals for their take on some of the biggest running questions. A major takeaway: It’s all about what makes you and others feel safe.

Is running outside even safe right now? What if I’m at high risk? The short answer is “yes,” but it really comes down to what you’re comfortable with. “Running outside at this time is very safe,” asserts Steven E. Mayer, M.D., sports medicine physician at the Northwestern Medicine Running Medicine Clinic in Warrenville, Illinois. “In fact, being outside is safer than being inside, as long as you are continuing to social distance.”

A new study out of China (which is in preprint and has yet to be peer reviewed) looked at 318 COVID-19 outbreaks with three or more cases of infection. The researchers determined that all of these outbreaks happened in indoor venues. If you think about it, this makes sense: air flows more freely outdoors than inside a building. If you’re at high risk for developing serious illness from COVID-19, Dr. Mayer recommends being even more diligent about your running game plan. “Certainly, this does not mean you cannot run outside, but you will want to make sure you avoid people and do not touch anything outside,” he says. Isolated areas are a great option (if you have access to them). If you live in a busy city, try to run in less crowded areas during off-peak hours.

Should I wear a mask? What about gloves?

It depends on where you’re running and if you’ll have to touch anything. As of April 13, the CDC is recommending that people wear cloth face coverings in places where social distancing is difficult to maintain. So, if you’re going for a run in your quiet suburb, or a 6 A.M. jaunt through your local park, it probably won’t be hard to stay six feet from other people.

If you live somewhere like New York or Chicago, and you tend to run in crowded places at busy times, you might consider getting a face covering. This can help protect you from infection, but equally important, it will make those around you feel more at ease. You’ll need something breathable, so try a neck gaiter that’s designed for runners (they’re usually used to protect your face from cold wind in the winter, or for sun protection in the summer). You could also try a cotton bandana.

Gloves are probably only necessary if you know you’ll have to touch a public surface. “In parks, people might need to use the bathroom, so it is advisable to wear gloves and make sure once you have touched any surfaces to discard the gloves,” says Rashid Chotani, M.D., Vice President for Medical Affairs at CareLife Medical in Fairfax, Virginia. If you use cotton gloves, make sure to wash them before using them again to avoid spreading germs around. If you use latex gloves, you can throw them away after one use. And if you don’t have any gloves (they’re in short supply these days), the CDC recommends using hand sanitizer after you touch public surfaces.

Do I need to stay more than six feet apart from other runners?

You might have seen that Belgian study that went viral–you know, the one that urges runners to stay at least 13 to 16 feet behind other runners? The study authors claimed that airborne particles travel differently when a person is in motion, so you’re in danger of running “through” someone’s respiratory droplets even if you’re running six feet behind them.

It’s a scary claim, but it’s also a controversial one. The study was posted without the backing of a peer-reviewed journal, and some experts have pushed back against its core hypothesis. Dr. Mayer explains that since the study is based on a computer-simulated model, it represents a hypothetical scenario. “There is no epidemiological data to suggest that endurance athletes are spreading the disease any more than others in the population,” he notes.

That said, you really can’t be too cautious. Earl Kilbride, M.D., is a sports medicine specialist at Texas Orthopedics in Austin, Texas, and he also happens to be an avid runner. Dr. Kilbride points out that in Austin, the Parks and Recreation Department has converted city trails to a “one-way traffic” model–a decision he agrees with. One-way running traffic might not be possible in your area, in which case, just do the best you can to stay at a distance from others.

Should I hold my breath when I pass someone?

“I don’t think runners need to do this, but walkers are different,” Dr. Kilbride says. “I would recommend masking as opposed to holding your breath.” (Plus, mask-wearing when walking, as opposed to running, is less likely to restrict your ability to breathe.) Dr. Mayer agrees that holding your breath when running is optional. “You can hold your breath when you pass somebody, but the risk is low [for COVID-19 transmission] as long as you are keeping your distance.”

Should I wash my clothes immediately afterwards?

Again, not a bad idea, but it’s really up to you. Dr. Kilbride says it’s smart to wash your clothes and shower after running if you’re worried you might have been exposed or gotten too close to other people. Dr. Chotani and Dr. Mayer agree. “Washing your hands and changing your clothes immediately after your run is a good idea,” Dr. Mayer says. “I do not feel that it is necessarily high risk, but common sense would indicate that doing so would be smart.” The CDC notes that while COVID-19 is transmitted primarily through respiratory droplets, there is evidence that it can last for an unknown period of time on many different materials. Until more is known about the virus’ ability to live on fabric, post-workout laundry is a good way of playing it safe.

Should I leave my shoes outside the door?

Dr. Kilbride always does this after his runs! It’s another precaution that may help you feel safer. Dr. Chotani also recommends it. Dr. Mayer says this is only really necessary if you’re worried you came into contact with the virus during your run. “You could consider wiping [shoes] down,” he says. “There is certainly nothing wrong with keeping them outside or in the garage.”

It’s important to keep in mind that every runner’s situation will be different. City dwellers encounter the most obvious challenges. If you live in a small town or rural area, you probably have an easier time socially distancing during your runs. Be smart, be cautious, and take whatever precautions you need to feel safe when you’re outdoors–whether or not you’re running.

 

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SARAH ELLIS

She is originally from Nashville, Tennessee and currently resides in NYC. She has written for Elite Daily, Greatist, mindbodygreen and others. When she’s not writing, Sarah loves distance running, vegan food, and getting the most out of her library card.

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Five Foods That Fuel Your Brain

Five Foods That Fuel Your Brain

 

In 1/10,000 of a second, your brain can respond to input and generate an action. Although it accounts for only about 3% of your body weight, it uses 30% of the blood your heart pumps, and burns 300 calories daily.

Plus, it takes your whole brain to make sense of what’s being said. While speaking and comprehending languages is mainly a left-brain activity, language processing happens on the right side, which lets you know if the words are sarcastic or kind or the punchline of a joke.

No wonder your brain needs the right balance of foods to stay sharp. So here are five things you can eat to keep you bright.

1. Salmon and ocean trout. The omega-3s and -7s in these fish increase blood flow to the brain and help strengthen neurons’ protective coat.

2. 70% cacao dark chocolate. This kind of chocolate contains compounds that support blood flow to the brain and bolster neuron strength; plus, it promotes brain plasticity — an ability to modify neural connections, which promotes learning and memory.

3. Berries (especially blueberries) and black coffee. They contain flavonoids that improve communication between brain cells, boost learning and memory, and help reduce or delay cognitive decline.

4. Nuts and seeds, including sunflower seeds, walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts. Walnuts contain omega-3s, and almost all nuts have other polyphenols that protect brain function, reduce inflammation, and protect against Alzheimer’s.

5. Broccoli and other cruciferous veggies, like bok choy, cabbage, and cauliflower. These vegetables contain glucosinolates, which produce a chemical in the body that lowers your risk of neurodegenerative diseases.

 

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

BPA Substitutes Are Not Safer

BPA Substitutes Are Not Safer

 

“The Substitute” is a 1996 movie thriller starring Tom Beringer as a substitute teacher who lays waste to a high school cocaine ring, disproving students’ long-held belief that a substitute is always a weaker version of a regular teacher.

The same can be said, unfortunately, of BPS, a common substitute for the known hormone disruptor BPA (bisphenol A) that’s used to line food cans, make plastics, and print cash register receipts, among other uses.

Companies dumping BPA often turn to BPS and BPF. But now BPS has been found to hinder heart function in mice within minutes of exposure — especially in females.

If you have heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or obesity, that could increase your chance of a heart attack or make one more severe, according to researchers from Canada’s University of Guelph.

So how can you dodge bisphenols?

• Avoid plastic items with the recycling numbers 3 and 7 or the letters “PC.”

• Avoid packaged and canned foods. One study found that BPA levels in urine plummeted 66% in people who skipped all packaged foods for five days. Another found that folks who had one serving of canned soup daily for five days had BPA blood levels 1,221% higher than those who didn’t eat canned soup.

• Avoid bisphenol in cosmetics and toiletries.

 

 

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Diets and Weight Loss, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Low-Calorie Sweeteners Connected to Diabetes

Low-Calorie Sweeteners Connected to Diabetes

artificial sweeteners

Giving up sugar to rely on low-calorie sweeteners seems like a good idea for your diet. Those small packages often have 600 times the sweetness of sugar, ensuring your favorite food or beverage won’t be bland. But there’s a hidden danger connected to artificial sweeteners: Dr. Sabyasachi Sen, associate professor of medicine at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., authored a study that shows the use of low-calorie sweeteners may pre-dispose overweight individuals to diabetes.

If you are predisposed to metabolic syndrome, which includes high blood pressure, high blood sugar, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and abdominal fat — all things that lead to heart disease and strokes — then your risk of diabetes is also increased by three to five times. According to Sen, artificial sweeteners, especially in a person with metabolic syndrome, increase fat accumulation and can lead to diabetes.

Sen’s study looked at sucralose, the equivalent of three to four cans of diet soda per day, and found that transporters on the cell surface show more cell function when a person consumes artificial sweeteners. “Glucose rushes in when the gates are open,” he said. “And this causes inflammation.”

The study found that people who were already obese were the most likely to add fat cells. “If you are an athlete and normal weight, you can handle glucose,” Sen explained.

It is difficult to determine which chemical is causing the increased risk of diabetes, but Sen’s study used sucralose-based products, which are the newest on the market. He used a low-calorie, low-sweet mixture of sucralose in powder form that was diluted and added to cells. When quantities were increased, effects were even more pronounced.

In a separate experiment, biopsy samples of abdominal fat from people who said they consumed low-calorie sweeteners, primarily sucralose and a trace of aspartame and/or acesulfame potassium, were compared. The cells of the patients who were obese showed increased glucose transport compared to those who did not consume low-calorie sweeteners.

The FDA has approved five low-sugar products — saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, and sucralose. One low-calorie product, Stevia, has also been approved. One of the problems with artificial sweeteners is that a small portion of a low-sugar product is much more intense than sugar, and a person can begin to use it more and more or may find normally tasty foods less appealing.

So, what should you do? According to Sen, both sweetened beverages and low-sugar drinks are bad for you. “If you just drink sweetened beverages, you are taking in sugar itself, but if you drink beverages with artificial sweeteners you are taking in greater quantities of glucose. I’m not saying we should replace artificial sweeteners — that’s even worse,” Dr. Sen added. “But consider an option like fizzy water.”

In other words, weight gain and metabolic syndrome can be a vicious cycle for some. You use artificial sweeteners and become more and more reliant on these products. The more you use, the more glucose your body produces. Foods rich in natural sugars like fruit don’t taste as good.

The other problem is that people tend to think that artificial sweeteners don’t pack any extra calories and so they may over-indulge in other sweetened products.

Sen’s research took place in petri dishes in a laboratory, but the implications for people are serious. You don’t get a free pass with artificial sweeteners — even though the research model used smaller quantities of artificial sweeteners, the impact on cells was significant.

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“High-risk” Diamond Princess cruise ship passengers sent to NEBRASKA for quarantine – what could possibly go wrong?

“High-risk” Diamond Princess cruise ship passengers sent to NEBRASKA for quarantine – what could possibly go wrong?

Image: “High-risk” Diamond Princess cruise ship passengers sent to NEBRASKA for quarantine – what could possibly go wrong?

The infamous Diamond Princess cruise ship that we previously reported had at least 61 confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus (CoVid-19) aboard has finally evacuated some of its “high-risk” passengers, but to a place you might not expect: Nebraska.

According to reports, 13 of the ship’s most “high-risk patients,” along with their spouses, have been sent to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha for evaluation. And one of them, disturbingly, was specifically sent to a special containment unit due to symptoms of an undisclosed chronic condition, according to Shelly Schwedhelm, head of Nebraska Medicine’s emergency department.

All 13 of these individuals have been tested, officials say, and like all the rest of the evacuees they will now have to remain in a federal quarantine for 14 days. Meanwhile, Schwedhelm says officials are trying to determine whether or not these 13 will be allowed out of their rooms or be forced to stay there at all times.

While some 300 people have now been evacuated from this particular cruise ship, many hundreds more are still on board as it sits out in the water near Japan under mandatory quarantine. The United Kingdom (UK), which has 74 of its nationals still on board, is considering an evacuation of its own to bring these people under appropriate care.

“We sympathize with all those caught up in this extremely difficult situation,” a UK spokesman told the media. “We are urgently considering all options to guarantee the health and safety of the British people on board the Diamond Princess, in line with the latest advice from the Chief Medical Officer and the World Health Organization, and are working closely with the Japanese authorities and our international partners.”

The latest data shows that there are now more than 1,000 cases of the Wuhan coronavirus (CoVid-19) outside of China, with new cases appearing to grow exponentially in some areas.

Iran, for instance, has reported two confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus (CoVid-19), both of which resulted in death. This means that, at least in Iran at the current number, there’s a 100 percent death rate from the Wuhan coronavirus (CoVid-19).

Once confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO), this will raise the official death toll from the Wuhan coronavirus (CoVid-19) outside of China to seven. It remains unclear if these two Iranian deaths occurred in Chinese nationals or Iranian nationals.

The official death count in China is still around 2,000, though as we’ve been reporting that figure is likely a gross underestimate. With China now bringing in mobile incinerator units to handle all of the dead bodies, there’s simply no way that only 2,000 people there have died from the Wuhan coronavirus (CoVid-19).

Meanwhile, Japan has allowed some 500 passengers to disembark from the aforementioned Diamond Princess cruise ship, leaving behind about 2,000 passengers who have yet to be allowed back into their homelands.

“We need to find the best way to have a safe Olympics,” stated Japanese virologist Dr. Hitoshi Oshitani at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan. Japan, as you may know, is scheduled to host the Tokyo Games this upcoming July.

“Right now, we don’t have an effective strategy,” he added. But by the end of July, we may be in a different situation.”

Reports indicate that an upcoming public birthday celebration for Japanese royal leader Naruhito, which was scheduled to take place on February 23, has been canceled due to the Wuhan coronavirus (CoVid-19).

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Health and Disease, Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Fatty Diets Tied to Leading Cause of Vision Loss in Seniors

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Fatty Diets Tied to Leading Cause of Vision Loss in Seniors

 

News Picture: Fatty Diets Tied to Leading Cause of Vision Loss in SeniorsDiets heavy in red meat and fatty foods could help spur a leading cause of vision loss in older Americans, new research suggests.

The study found that people who ate more typical Western diets were three times more likely to develop an eye condition that robs you of your central vision — late-stage age-related macular degeneration.

“What you eat seems to be important to your vision, and to whether or not you have vision loss later in life,” said study lead author Amy Millen. She’s an associate professor in the department of epidemiology and environmental health at the University at Buffalo’s School of Public Health and Health Professions, in Buffalo, N.Y.

“People know that diet influences cardiovascular risk and the risk of obesity, but the public may not know that diet can affect vision loss,” Millen said.

Age-related macular degeneration occurs when a part of the eye called the macula is damaged. Sometimes this happens when deposits called drusen grow on the macula. Or it can occur when new blood vessels keep forming and leak blood, scarring the macula, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Genetics and smoking are known risk factors for age-related macular degeneration.

The study included almost 1,300 people from a nationally representative sample. Most did not have macular degeneration. There were 117 who had early AMD, and 27 had late.

All of the study participants completed surveys about their diets twice during the 18-year study.

The researchers sorted the foods into 29 categories to measure the quality of the diet.

They found that people who ate a more Western diet were much more likely to develop late-stage AMD. Foods linked to a higher risk included:

  • Red and processed meats
  • Fats, such as margarine and butter
  • High-fat dairy
  • Fried foods.

“Diet is one way you might be able to modify your risk of vision loss from age-related macular degeneration,” Millen said, especially if you have a family history of the disease.

She noted that since the study was observational, it couldn’t prove that eating healthy foods would reduce the risk of AMD, but she said it did show the foods you probably don’t want to eat often.

Dr. Avnish Deobhakta, an ophthalmologist at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai in New York City, wasn’t involved with the study, but said he wasn’t surprised by the findings.

“This study shows what we’ve suspected. A diet high in fatty foods, processed meats and refined grains makes the more severe form of macular degeneration more likely,” Deobhakta said.

Both Millen and Deobhakta said inflammation caused by a less healthy diet and stress on the cells in the eyes (oxidative stress) are likely behind the increased risk.

“The eyes are a sentinel for the rest of the body. In the tiny blood vessels of the eyes, even small changes that you would not otherwise notice in other organs, you will notice in the eyes,” Deobhakta said.

So can you make up for a lifetime of eating poorly? That’s not known. But both experts said that a healthy diet — full of vegetables (especially dark, leafy greens) and fruits and fatty fish — contains important nutrients for eye health, including lutein and zeaxanthin.

“It’s difficult to switch the way you eat overnight, but this is almost certainly a decades-long process, so try to slowly move toward more virtuous behavior with food. Try to supplement your current diet with more leafy vegetables and increase your consumption of fish,” Deobhakta said.

And both experts strongly advised no smoking.

The study was published in the December issue of the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

 

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Are You Drinking Enough During Winter Months?

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Are You Drinking Enough During Winter Months?

Remembering to drink enough water is easy during the summer, when higher temperatures and outdoor activities drive the point home. But staying adequately hydrated is just as important during the winter.

Environmental humidity plays a role, said Stavros Kavouras, who directs the Hydration Science Lab at Arizona State University in Phoenix. Central heating causes drier interior environments during the winter, which can lead to increased water loss simply from breathing.

That’s not the only challenge. In cold environments, the kidneys actually excrete more urine, said Joseph C. Watso, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine in Dallas.

“It’s a small change that could potentially make a difference,” he said. “If you’re not sweating, you might forget to drink adequate water.”

Dehydration sets in when the body loses more water than it takes in.

Even minor dehydration – the level at which people begin feel thirsty – is linked to difficulty concentrating, poor memory and bad moods. And studies have shown people who chronically consume a low amount of water seem to be at higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease, kidney stones and urinary tract infections. “High urine flow seems to be protective,” Kavouras said.

News Picture: AHA News: Are You Drinking Enough During Winter Months?  Kavouras and his colleagues found mild dehydration impaired the function of cells that line blood vessels almost as much as smoking a cigarette. Dehydration also has been linked with inflammation, artery stiffness, blood pressure regulation and other factors that can raise the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Research also has linked poor hydration to diabetes. “Diabetes is a lifestyle disease that’s associated with what we eat, what we drink and how physically active we are,” Kavouras said. “Hydration seems to be part of this recipe.”

Exactly how much water people need can vary.

“Our water needs change from day to day based on factors such as environmental temperature and activity level,” Kavouras said. “If you are an Ironman athlete who trains four hours per day, your water needs are higher than somebody who is sedentary.”

In general, the federal Institute of Medicine suggests women take in 2.7 liters and men 3.7 liters of water per day. That might sound like a lot, but because food contributes about 20% of the daily water total, women should drink 8, 8-ounce glasses and men 12, 8-ounce glasses.

“It’s underappreciated that many fruits and vegetables are 90 to 95% water,” Watso said. “Eating more fruits and vegetables can certainly help you stay hydrated.” Soup, an old winter standby, also counts. “Just be sure to avoid soups with very high amounts of sodium.”

Watso recommends people keep a refillable water bottle with them and sip on it all day. “Your body can only process water at a certain rate, and if you drink too much too (quickly), the excess will be excreted,” he said.

Experts say fluid from tea and coffee – even that eggnog latte – counts toward hydration. Even soda and juices technically contribute to one’s daily fluid intake, although experts do not recommend them because of their high sugar content. Alcohol, however, doesn’t make the cut.

Kavouras advised people to pay attention to how often they use the bathroom. Adults should urinate six or seven times per day. Dark yellow or orangish urine is a sign to drink up.

“Drinking water throughout the day is one of the most effective things you can do to improve health and well-being.”

We are in this together!
-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard-

Health and Wellness Associates

EHS Telehealth
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Foods, Uncategorized

Apple Cardamom Bread Pudding

Apple Cardamom Bread Pudding

 

Every time I make bread pudding, I chastise myself for not making it more often! Maybe it’s because I don’t always have extra bread around, or perhaps it’s because I’m never quite sure if bread pudding is supposed to be for breakfast or dessert. The last time I made this fall-flavored Apple Cardamom Bread Pudding, I realized something: I don’t have to have a plan for it! It’s delicious hot out of the oven for breakfast, and the leftovers can be served for dessert later in the day.

This hearty dish is perfect for cold fall and winter days. When the days start to get shorter and the air crisps up a bit, I find myself craving sweet, rich food. That doesn’t always work out too well for my waistline, though. Luckily, with recipes like this Apple Cardamom Bread Pudding, I can have my cake and eat it, too! You see, most bread pudding recipes are loaded up with excess sugars. It takes a lot of sugar to sweeten something as savory as whole-wheat bread. But, we found a brilliant workaround. Want to know how we did it?

You might be surprised to learn that cinnamon and cardamom aren’t exactly sweet on their own. They sort-of trick our taste buds into thinking they’re a sweet spice. That’s because baking recipes almost always pair them with sugar. If you were to taste a pinch of them on their own, you’d find that they’re super pungent, slightly spicy, and a touch earthy.

But, when you combine them with something sweet, these spices really bloom. They actually help fill out our palates, allowing us to really taste any sweetness in the dish. Using these spices is part-one of our super-secret hack to make this Apple Cardamom Bread Pudding recipe more healthy. Part two: applesauce!

Instead of using a ton of processed sugar, we swapped in applesauce instead. It gives the bread pudding extra body while allowing the naturally sweet apples to shine.

Apple Cardamom Bread Pudding

Ingredients

  • 6 slices whole-wheat bread , using gluten free works too
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced-fat coconut milk (or, milk of your choice)
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup peeled, cored, and chopped apples

options:  raisins, cranberries, nuts all work well

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Grease an 8×8 baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. Cut your bread into 1-inch cubes and place them in the prepared baking dish.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the coconut milk, eggs, applesauce, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Beat the mixture with a whisk until everything is well combined.
  4. Fold the apples into the mixture before pouring the contents over the bread cubes. Press the cubes down into the mixture to make sure each one soaks up the liquid.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes, until the pudding is set and no longer jiggles when you shake the pan. You can also insert a knife into the middle of the pudding to make sure it comes out clean.
  6. Allow the pan to cool on a baking rack for at least 15 minutes before slicing.
  7. This pudding can be served hot or cold. Store it in the refrigerator (covered) for up to two days.

 

We are in This Together

-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard-
Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

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