Nature RX: The Best Medicine

John LaPuma M.D., board-certified in internal medicine, shared in the Children and Nature Network Bulletin that the late neurologist and author, Dr. Oliver Sacks, was a true believer in the power of nature to heal. Sacks, who would take his patients to gardens whenever possible, described two patients for whom nature was literally the best medicine.

One patient, a friend of Sacks’, had moderately severe Tourette’s syndrome. The condition forced hundreds of grunts and tics daily. But one day when the two men were hiking in a desert, his friend’s tics had completely disappeared. Sacks wrote that “the remoteness and uncrowdedness of the scene, combined with some ineffable calming effect of nature, served to defuse his ticcing, to “normalize” his neurological state, at least for a time.”

Another patient, a woman with moderately severe Parkinson’s disease, was frozen and immobile when indoors. But outside, she was mobile and agile on terrain, and in a rocky garden.

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Skin Cancer Awareness

The Center for Disease Control shared that exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays causes most cases of melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer. To lower your skin cancer risk, protect your skin from the sun and avoid indoor tanning.

Summer is full of outdoor activities. You probably put sunscreen on yourself and your kids when you go to the pool or the beach. But do you know you should protect your skin with more than just sunscreen anytime you’re outside?

Sun protection is important all year round, and it’s best to use several different kinds. When you’re working in the yard, watching a ballgame, or taking an afternoon walk, make sun safety an everyday habit so you can avoid getting a sunburn and lower your chance of getting skin cancer. Read more

Is Coffee Good Or Bad For You?

Sebastian Beaton, who runs a coffee website, put together the following information on the health benefits of coffee.

Caffeine is a well-known stimulant. We have all experienced the effects of caffeine and it’s the most commonly used psychoactive substance in the world. While caffeine can be found in a range of drinks, it’s found in its most concentrated form in coffee, which can contain up to 300 mg of caffeine.

Caffeine works by blocking the neurotransmitter adenosine, which promotes sleep and reduces heart rate. This allows the body’s brain activity to increase and enables the release of other neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine and dopamine, which increase heart rate and blood pressure and trigger the release of glucose. This creates the feeling of being more awake and alert and improves cognitive function.

Coffee also provides a short-term memory boost. A study showed that just one cup of coffee led to a surge in brain function, as measured by functional magnetic resonance imagery as volunteers undertook a memory task after consuming coffee.

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Physical Activity for People with Disabilities

The Center for Disease Control shared that everybody needs physical activity for good health. Most adults with disabilities are able to participate in physical activity, yet nearly half of them do not get any aerobic physical activity.1 Learn how people with disabilities can find their own path to physical activity.

Physical activity plays an important role in maintaining health, well-being, and quality of life. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition pdf icon[1.9 MB]external icon, physical activity can help control weight, improve mental health, and lower the risk for early death, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. For people with disabilities, physical activity also can help support daily living activities and independence. All adults, with and without disabilities, need at least 2.5 hours per week of aerobic physical activity, at a moderate-intensity level, to gain many of these benefits. Read more

What is your heart age?

Ann Davis, M.D.Specialty: Cardiology shared in the Edwards Elmhurst Healthy Driven Blog that you may feel young at heart, but is your heart actually older than you?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 3 out of 4 adults have a predicted heart age that is older than their actual age.

Risk factors that can increase your heart age include:

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity (using body mass index, BMI, as an indicator)
  • Diabetes

Stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues can also take a toll on your heart.

The CDC created a heart age calculator that uses these risk factors to calculate your heart age. The calculator determines your heart age based on your BMI. Read more

Oil Pulling

Karl Townsend from Dental Care Report, a site that helps people improve their oral hygiene using various DIY tips shared that oil pulling is a great way to increase your oral health care and get better reports at the dentist. He says that adding in this simple habit to your morning and evening routine can help you cut down on cavities, get whiter teeth, and have overall healthier gums.

If you’ve never heard of oil pulling, you are not alone. This practice has been around for close to 3,000 years. However, it is a method that has just recently started to gain popularity. Oil pulling actually comes from Ayurveda, which is a traditional Indian medicine system.

The Process

The name “oil pulling” does not always give the most accurate picture of how the process works. In fact, you are not pulling anything. You simply take a tablespoon of oil, swish it around your mouth anywhere from 5-20 minutes, and spit it out.

The process is very similar to using mouthwash. However, oil pulling is much more effective the longer you swish the oil around your mouth. It is recommended to start with one minute and gradually work your way up to 15-20 minutes. You can use almost any oil for oil pulling. This includes sunflower, olive, and sesame oils. Most, though, prefer coconut oil because of its milder taste. Read more

Tick Bite Danger

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Hydration

College of DuPage Nursing Student Lukas Kubilius wrote for Healthy Lombard that many people frequently get headaches, feel fatigued, or get dizzy because of something that is missing from their lifestyle. The solution to this absent need may be as simple as; adequate hydration.

Not only does drinking enough water keep us in a good mood, but it can also improve the function of the intestine and digestive system. It is important to drink enough water during the day because we don’t obtain adequate hydration solely through our food. Starting the day with a glass of water can improve alertness and assist with keeping one focused throughout the day.

Along with mental clarity, drinking enough water will prevent headaches and dizziness; common symptoms of dehydration. According to Deborah Weatherspoon (2017), the brain may shrink slightly from fluid loss and result in what is called a dehydration headache. Drinking adequate quantities of water through the day can prevent this from occurring.

A potentially serious problem in the digestive system that may occur as a result of inadequate water intake is constipation due to dehydration. If someone is consuming through their diet, enough fiber, constipation may still exist even if there is not enough water intake. Constipation may seem harmless but can lead to further complications, such as an infection. According to Dr. Raponi (2018), drinking adequate quantities of water, keeps things flowing. When the body is lacking in fluid; things become stagnant – understandably.

 

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HOW MANY CALORIES IN COFFEE?

Asser Christensen, founder, and editor of The Coffee Chronicler shared that he has been crazy about caffeine for almost as long as he can remember. Today, he id a licensed Q Arabica Grader and full-time coffee writer.

Coffee is tasty, and it gives you superpowers in the morning. Furthermore, it virtually doesn’t have any calories. That is if you drink it black.

When you look around online you’ll often see people saying that coffee has zero calories, but that’s not entirely accurate if we are to trust USDA, there are about 2 kcal in a cup of coffee. (Source)

Still, that number is so low that it doesn’t make any difference at all. 2 calories are not going to get in the way of any sixpack.

Black & white coffee calories

  • A cup of coffee: 2 kcal
  • Espresso shot: 3 kcal
  • Instant coffee (2 gram): 7 kcal
  • Cold brew bottle 325 ml: 16 kcal
  • Starbucks Café Latte 340 ml: 150 calories
  • Starbucks Frappuccino 411 ml: 292 kcal
(Sources: 12)
* For comparison, there are 142 calories in a can of Coke.

 

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5 steps to lower your risk of skin cancer

Iris Seitz, M.D.Specialty: Plastic Surgery, shared in the Edward Elmhurst Health’s Healthy Driven Blog that warm weather and sunny days are fast approaching, which means swimsuits, shorts, and tank tops are right around the corner. Warm weather also means more exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. As you head outside for the summer, be smart.

Most skin cancers are a direct result of exposure to the UV rays in sunlight. Exposure depends on how strong the sun’s rays are and how well your skin is protected. You can still enjoy the outdoors; just plan ahead before you hit the swimming pool. Take these extra steps to protect your skin and lower your risk of skin cancer: Read more