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8 Healthy Ways to Boost Energy

Your food and beverage choices can have a big effect on your energy levels throughout the day, an expert says.

As our energy levels decrease because of our overstressed lifestyles, many people look for a quick fix to combat fatigue.

Energy drinks mask the symptoms of fatigue and dehydrate the body. The majority of energy drinks contain excess sugar, high levels of caffeine and other stimulants.

Relying on caffeine and energy drinks makes us feel worse in the long run by causing our system to crash.

Continued fatigue decreases the immune system, making us more susceptible to depression and illness.

So what to do? Exercise, sleep and reducing stress are important in fighting fatigue. But our eating habits also directly affect energy levels. And nutrition can affect energy levels throughout the day.

Here are some tips on healthy ways to boost your energy:

Drink water

The body needs water – multiple glasses a day.

Being hydrated is an easy and inexpensive way to increase energy levels. You don’t need vitamin water or sports drinks; they only add extra unneeded calories. Keep a fresh water source with you at all times and drink throughout the day. Add lemons, limes or oranges for taste variety.

Eat breakfast

This is the meal that sets the stage for the entire day. Studies show that breakfast helps keep you alert, starts your metabolism for the day and keeps you satisfied until lunch.

But a healthy breakfast is the key. Good options include whole-grain cereals, breads, fruit and lean protein instead of doughnuts, pastries and white breads. A hard-boiled egg sliced into a whole wheat pita, oatmeal with fruit, and whole-grain toast with natural peanut butter are all healthy choices.

Don’t forget protein

Not consuming enough protein during the day can be a primary reason for fatigue. Protein-based foods provide the body with fuel to repair and build tissues. Protein takes longer than carbohydrates to break down in the body, providing a longer-lasting energy source. You can find protein in poultry, fish, lean red meat, nuts, milk, yogurt, eggs, yogurt, cheese and tofu.

Keep your carbs smart

Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of fuel. Pick whole grains like cereal, brown rice and whole wheat bread, and avoid sweets, which cause energy to plummet. Many processed carbohydrates contain little to no fiber. Always read the nutrition label.

Snacks are important

If you let yourself get too hungry between meals, your blood sugar falls, and you get lethargic. Keep your blood sugar and energy level steady during the day by consuming snacks. Choosing the right snacks prevent peaks and valleys in energy.

Combine complex carbs with a protein and/or fat for lasting energy. The protein and fat slow the breakdown of sugar into the blood, preventing fatigue. Snacks also can prevent overeating at mealtimes. A few examples of smart snack choices are yogurt with fruit, mixed nuts, veggies with hummus, pears with almond butter, whey protein shake or blueberries with a cheese stick. Plan ahead!

Omega-3 fatty acids

Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, combat depression and improve mood and memory. Try to focus on omega-3 fats from food rather than supplements. Excellent sources include salmon, tuna, walnuts, flax seeds, leafy greens and hemp seeds.

Magnesium

Almonds, walnuts and Brazil nuts are rich in magnesium, a mineral important in converting carbohydrates into energy. Other good sources of magnesium include whole grains and dark green vegetables.

Don’t skimp on calories

Skimping on calories decreases your metabolism and causes you to feel lethargic. Keep your energy levels high and increase metabolism by meeting your caloric needs each day. Whole foods are preferred over supplements to obtain protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals instead of one or two single nutrients. Consume a variety of foods for overall health but also to keep your energy levels high.

By Tiffany Barrett, Special to CNN      November 28, 2012
source: www.cnn.com
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How to Avoid Getting Sick When Everyone Around You Already Is

It happens every year. The holidays approach, the weather cools, and just as the season really begin to get busy, you begin to feel sick. We all know the feeling: fatigue, headache, sore throat, low energy. Why does the winter seem to be married to illness?

The answer, according to Dr. Anthony Lyon with the Ash Center in New York, is a combination of overtiring our bodies at the exact time we ask them to battle the cold weather. And when you add the element of enclosure—more people are cooped up together in the winter months, germs spreading as the heat blasts—well, it’s a sure recipe for sickness.

So how can you protect yourself when everyone at the office is catching the flu? The trick isn’t to avoid the ill, but to focus on priming your body to fight off any pending sickness that may be sneezed your way.

In addition to eating well (come on, leafy greens!) and avid hand-washing, Dr. Lyon offers tips for staying well, even when you seem to be the only one.

Breathe better. Lyon suggests you battle exhaustion—a leading cause of illness—by improving the way you breathe. Lyon notes that improper breathing can impact the 5 main reasons why you feel tired: sleep disruption; overwhelming stress or anxiety; gastrointestinal upset and suboptimal digestion; immune system dysregulation; and chronic neck and low back pain.

So how can you breathe better?

“When asked to take a deep breath, most people bow out their chest, lift their shoulders to their ears and breathe in a  very vertical manner,” says Lyon. “This is the style we have adopted after years of reacting to challenging situations, including physical or emotional trauma. But, by breathing like this, you are actually perpetuating a sense of fear and unrest by sending a signal to your brain that you are in ‘flight or fight’ mode. Instead, expand your abdomen when you inhale and make it look like a pregnant belly, which engages your diaphragm, and dissipates turmoil by telling your vagus nerve that all is fine and it is okay to rest, relax and digest.” Lyon explains that when you can rest, relax and digest, you give your body the best chance to restore and recover, and protect itself from germy invaders.

flu-cold-sneeze

Move your muscles. Lyon promotes movement as a surefire way to stay healthy. And while any physical activity is great for keeping your systems moving, Lyon says that weight training to build stronger muscles can help ward off winter illness. “We are only starting to learn all of the health benefits that strong muscle confers, including its role as an endocrine gland,” says Lyon. “Muscles secrete proteins, hormones and other vitally important messenger molecules that send signals to direct essential activities elsewhere. Keep your muscle happy so your immune system will be primed and ready to go.”

Adjust your bedtime. We all know catching enough zzzs can help us feel rested and give our body ample time to fight potential illness. But Lyon stresses it’s not just how much you sleep (aim for 7-8 hours), but when. Lyon recommends falling asleep by 10pm at the latest. “By going to bed at a decent hour, your sleep will be physiologic – which means it is congruent with your body’s normal functioning. Right around 10pm is when certain organs need to start the housekeeping work to prepare you for the next day, including your brain, which needs to detoxify from the day you just had. When you stay up late, the housekeeping cannot be completed, leaving you fatigued the next day.” If you have a ton of tasks on your to-do list, Lyon says you’ll be better off turning in at a decent time and waking up early.

By: Zoe Eisenberg          November 16, 2016          @ZoEisenberg

 

source: www.care2.com


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How Worrying Can Actually Make You Sick

It really can hurt your health

Some people—even those who are strong and healthy—are totally convinced that disease is just around the corner. An estimated 5-10% of people have health anxiety, meaning they’re obsessed with thoughts of having, getting or dodging illness. Now, a new study published in the journal BMJ Open shows that this type of worry, ironically, is linked to a 70% higher risk of heart disease.

“There is a saying in the way we treat these people in the clinic: it’s not dangerous, it’s just anxiety, keep on living your life,” says Line Iden Berge, a researcher at the University of Bergen and Sandviken University Hospital in Norway. “But we really don’t now if there are any adverse consequences over time with living with health anxiety.”

To find out, Berge and her colleagues looked at data from more than 7,000 people in a long-term Norwegian health study who had answered questionnaires and had had a physical around 1997. They were also measured on a health anxiety scale. (Symptoms can seem quite trivial, but at the farthest end is hypochondria, when a person is convinced that he or she has an undiagnosed disease.) The researchers tracked the heart health of participants by studying national hospital and death data through 2009.

worry

In those 12 years, about 3% of people developed ischemic heart disease—which includes heart attack—but 6% of people who had health anxiety did. “We found there was a surprisingly strong association between levels of health anxiety and the risk of ischemic heart disease,” Berge says. Even when the researchers controlled for established cardiovascular disease risk factors, they found about a 70% increased risk of ischemic heart disease in the years of followup.

More research is needed to determine how much of this effect is being driven by health anxiety or by anxiety in general, which has also been linked to heart problems in research.

Berge now takes health anxiety seriously by encouraging people to get treatment through cognitive therapy, and urges other professionals to do the same. “In the long run we now know there could be some severe consequences in the body,” she says.

Mandy Oaklander     @mandyoaklander       Nov. 3, 2016
 
source: time.com


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Do You Fall for the ‘Nocebo Effect’? 5 Ways to Stay Positive for Better Health

Scientific studies confirm that a placebo (a dummy medication or procedure) can genuinely benefit a person’s health. But its sinister cousin, the “nocebo effect,” creates expectations of harm, which can lead to seriously negative health consequences.

A patient’s expectations of a treatment clearly influence the way it works. The authors of a 2012 German study note that vulnerable, ill, or injured patients are highly receptive to negative suggestion. A participant in one drug trial developed dangerously low blood pressure by “overdosing” on what he thought was an antidepressant—only when he learned that it was an inert substance did his blood pressure return to normal. (Conversely, the power of positive suggestion may explain some of the success of complementary therapies—from herbal remedies to homeopathy). The more strongly a patient believes in the treatment, the more likely it is to be effective. Here are some ways you can put this knowledge to practice:

1. Get authoritative information Before having treatment or taking medication, get advice from a reputable source. The Internet is a vast repository of information but obviously not all of it is reliable. If you have a tendency toward hypochondria, it can be more harmful than helpful, as the nocebo effect is known to influence those who have a pessimistic outlook more powerfully than those with a more balanced attitude.

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2. Control your response to health experts who are treating you. Focus on encouraging phrases, such as “most people tolerate this well” or “this shouldn’t hurt.” Try to tune out the negative comments, such as “this may be painful,” “expect a long recovery time” or “you may find that this treatment makes you feel sick.”

3. Engage your mind Use creative imagery to stay positive while you recover from illness. If you are in pain, for example, it may help to imagine tight muscles being massaged, visualize the muscle fibers separating and relaxing, and to concentrate on feelings of warmth. As you visualize, try to focus on your breathing and imagine that you are relaxing in the sunshine or floating in a pool.

4. Use the power of touch Studies have shown that the touch of a partner, friend, or health practitioner can benefit conditions as diverse as asthma, arthritis, hypertension, and migraine. Touch therapy has also been proven to reduce pain and accelerate wound healing. Even if, as some maintain, this is a placebo effect, it is the end result that is significant.

5. Keep positive There is overwhelming evidence that those who heal fastest maintain a positive attitude, take responsibility for their own health, and focus on getting well. Self-awareness also helps, especially of attitudes that may hamper your health.

From Health Secrets: The Best Remedies From Around the World (Reader’s Digest Association Books)
 
source: www.rd.com


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When Patients Manage Doctors

People with multiple chronic illnesses often must take charge of managing their own care

By SUMATHI REDDY    Aug. 10, 2015 

One in four Americans lives with more than one chronic illness; three out of four among those 65 and older.

Managing those people’s health care is often difficult. Integrated health systems, such as Kaiser Permanente and Mayo Clinic, aim to ensure that treatment for one condition doesn’t interfere with care the patient is receiving for other diseases. Often, however, the responsibility of coordinating treatments falls on the patients themselves.

“Conflicts between medications, and doctors that don’t talk to one another, is a big and common problem,” said John Piette, director of the Center for Managing Chronic Disease at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. “People have difficulty managing both symptoms and side effects of multiple medications,” he added.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in July issued a free curriculum for training health-care professionals and others in how to care for patients with multiple chronic conditions. The curriculum includes strategies to help patients keep track of their own care by involving caregivers, for example. For patients who have a hard time taking numerous daily medications, doctors should tell them which drugs are most important, the curriculum recommends.

HHS has taken other steps to address the needs of patients with multiple chronic conditions since launching an initiative in 2010 to study the issue. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an agency within HHS, began this year reimbursing health-care providers for time spent coordinating the care of those patients outside of regular office visits.

The department also seeks to ensure that people with multiple chronic conditions are included in clinical trials. “That’s important because we want to make sure that when drugs come on to the market that they are truly safe and effective for patients with multiple chronic conditions,” said Dr. Anand Parekh, HHS deputy assistant secretary for health.

For many patients, multiple chronic conditions, such as obesity and diabetes, are related, or what is called concordant. Other patients have completely separate conditions, such as epilepsy and cardiovascular disease, which are known as discordant.

doctor patient
‘Conflicts between medications, and doctors
that don’t talk to one another, is a big and common problem,’
says John Piette, director of the Center for Managing Chronic Disease
at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

Electronic health records can help doctors keep track of the varied care patients might be receiving, especially when they see multiple specialists at the same hospital or medical center. Patients shouldn’t necessarily rely on this, however, said Dr. Piette, who is also a senior scientist in the Veterans Health Administration. Ultimately, it is the patient who has to be “a proactive consumer of health care and in charge of managing their multiple conditions,” he said.

Sometimes different specialists give a patient conflicting advice. In this case, patients should write down as much information as possible when talking to each doctor and let them know about the apparent conflict, Dr. Piette said. Patients could also encourage the doctors to talk to each other if needed, he said.

Victor Montori, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., talks about the “work of being a patient,” which involves more than keeping up with one’s medications. Patients must also educate themselves about the health care they need, said Dr. Montori, who is also lead investigator of the clinic’s Knowledge and Evaluation Research Unit, which seeks ways to adapt care for individual patient’s needs.

Doctors who prescribe medications should be responsible for taking into account the patient’s various illnesses, Dr. Montori said. If clinicians don’t have the expertise to understand potential drug interactions, they should seek advice from a pharmacist, who is trained to deal with problems that arise when patients take many drugs, he said.

Dr. Michael Munger, a family physician in Overland Park, Kan., says he sees himself as a quarterback, coordinating care for his patients with multiple chronic conditions. That means ‘getting the patient to the right care at the right time and making sure the information – past medicines, medical history – is available,’ he says.

Dr. Montori recommends patients build their own version of a medical record by keeping a complete and updated list of medicines handy and bringing it to all doctors’ visits. And if the demands of being a patient become overwhelming, talk to the doctor, he said. For example, as a diabetes doctor, Dr. Montori might ask patients to check their blood sugar several times a day. When this is difficult for a patient to do, some checks can be eliminated in cases when they are less critical, he said.

He also recommends that patients who aren’t in an integrated health system seek out a “quarterback” to keep an eye on the big picture and help coordinate their care. Usually this is a primary care doctor or an internist, or in some cases the specialist who the patient sees the most. For a cancer patient, for example, the oncologist will often take on that responsibility. Family members can also help by keeping track of treatments for multiple illnesses.

Michael Munger, a family physician in Overland Park, Kan., said he regularly coordinates care for his patients, most of whom have multiple chronic conditions.

That part of the job, he said, means “getting the patient to the right care at the right time and making sure the information—past medicines, medical history—is available.”

Dr. Munger says he always starts visits by going over a patient’s medication list. “Most of my patients have it tucked in their purse or their wallet,” he said. “I have them pull that out so we can review it and make sure it’s current.”


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You Might Be Surprised How Much a Hug Helps Fight Illness, Stress and Depression

Psychologists go to surprising lengths in new study to show how much a hug can help.

Being hugged reduces the deleterious effects of stress on the body, according to new research which intentionally exposed people to a cold virus.

Hugging acts as a form of social support and protects people from getting sick and even reduces their illness symptoms if they do get sick.

The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, asked 404 healthy adults how much social support they perceived they had from other people (Cohen et al., 2014).

They were also asked about how often they were hugged and how often they came into conflict with others.

Participants were then exposed to a cold virus in the lab (they were well paid for this: $1,000 each).

Their condition was monitored in quarantine to see if they developed a cold and how severe their symptoms were.

10 Reasons Why We Need at Least 8 Hugs a Day

Professor Sheldon Cohen, who led the study, explained its rationale:

“We know that people experiencing ongoing conflicts with others are less able to fight off cold viruses.
We also know that people who report having social support are partly protected from the effects of stress on psychological states, such as depression and anxiety.
We tested whether perceptions of social support are equally effective in protecting us from stress-induced susceptibility to infection and also whether receiving hugs might partially account for those feelings of support and themselves protect a person against infection.”

The results showed that people who were hugged more often or who perceived they had greater social support were less likely to catch the cold in the first place.

Those who did get a cold had less severe symptoms if they were hugged more and felt supported socially.

Professor Cohen said:

“This suggests that being hugged by a trusted person may act as an effective means of conveying support and that increasing the frequency of hugs might be an effective means of reducing the deleterious effects of stress.
The apparent protective effect of hugs may be attributable to the physical contact itself or to hugging being a behavioral indicator of support and intimacy.
Either way, those who receive more hugs are somewhat more protected from infection.”

 

source: PSYBLOG