Fasting Diets

Fasting diets are the newest fad in weight loss, but are they really new?  Fasting dates back centuries in the long tradition of religious fasting. Many religious groups have periods of fasting in their rituals including Muslims who fast from dawn until dusk during the month of Ramadan, and Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and Hindus who traditionally fast on designated days of the week or year. While recent interest in fasting is for weight loss, many of the studies on fasting focus on longevity and disease prevention. Researchers have know that when you restrict food intake, you can extend life span and it seems to enhance the ability to counteract the disease process.  Fasting is defined by eating no or very little food for periods ranging from 12 hours to three weeks. Below are a few different examples: Intermittent fasts Eating no food or cutting back on calorie intake (50 calories per day) only intermittently (like the 5:2 diet) Time-restricted feeding Consuming calories only for a four to six hour window each day (skipping breakfast and only eating luch or early supper) Periodic fasts An extreme approach, typically last several days or longer. These diets involve drinking only calorie-free fluids or very few calories for long stretches to get the body into full fasting mode. Fasting-mimicking diet a plant-based diet that

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Treat the Flu with Antivirals within 48 hours

Taking antibiotics for flu symptoms will not make you feel better if you have a virus. Some sore throats are caused by bacteria, but most are caused by viruses. Antibiotics fight against bacterial infections. For a virus you need an antiviral.  Antiviral drugs are a second line of defense that can be used to treat flu (including seasonal flu and variant flu viruses) if you get sick.  The first line of defense, is the flu shot. But if you didn’t get the flu vaccine this season, and fall ill with the flu your best bet is an antiviral drug. Antiviral drugs are prescription. Medications that fight against flu viruses in your body. Antiviral drugs are not sold over-the-counter. You need a prescription. Antiviral treatment works best when started soon after flu illness begins. When treatment is started within two days of becoming sick, it can shorten the time you are sick. It can also reduce the risk of complications such as respiratory complications and ear infections. Even if you cannot start the antiviral treatment within two days, starting them later can still be beneficial. There are four FDA-approved antiviral drugs recommended by the CDC to treat flu this season: Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate)- twice daily for 5 days  Most common, comes in capsules and the cost without insurance is about $109.00 Relenza ( zanamivir) – twice

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Naps Improve Your Memory

New research adds to the evidence for a link between sleep, memory, and brain function. Especially when it comes to daytime sleeping, or taking a nap. Many famous and intelligent people have been known for their daily naptime ritual.  John Kennedy enjoyed his one to two hour afternoon siesta that continued during his time in the White House. JFK’s workdays were 12 hours long (or more) and he relied heavily on naps to keep him alert. He learnt the technique from his predecessor, Dwight Eisenhower, who took his cue from Churchill. Why does extra sleep help keep you alert? One theory says that the brain consolidates memories during slumber. We all know that we feel better after a good night sleep, ready to tackle the days problems.  According to the National Institutes of Health, just one lost night of sleep can increase beta-amyloid levels in the brain. Beta-amyloid is a waste product in fluid between brain cells. The body should clear out the substance. But in Alzheimer’s disease it builds up to form plaque in the brain that hinders communication between brain cells. The body needs sleep every night to rid the brain of this waste. Those that experience poor sleep tend to have changes in their brain tissue in areas related to language and memory. Treating sleep disorders can

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Starve a Cold, Feed the Flu? or is it Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever?

Chicken Soup is known as a cure for the common cold, and it really does help recovery. Drink plenty of fluids and feed both the flu and a cold. Here is what you need to eat and drink when you’re sick to get well soon. Push Fluids Drinking fluids when you’re sick helps prevent dehydrations. It may also help relieve symptoms, like congestion and cough. Be sure to drink fluids that help, avoid alcohol, coffee and caffeinated sodas since those can cause dehydration. Drink these fluids: Water Clear broth Warm lemon water with honey Herbal teas Pedialyte Comfort Food  It is normal to have diminished appetite when fighting a cold or flu, but you also need to keep up your strength. Every mouthful counts so focus on protein-rich foods, like peanut butter, eggs or a protein shake. And that liquid penicillin, Chicken soup has protein and helps with hydration too. To soothe a sore throat, try frozen treats or warm drinks. And for nausea and gastrointestinal discomfort stick to bland foods. Foods to help you feel better  PBJ sandwiches Ice cream and/or milkshakes Ice pops Yogurt or puddings Warm cider, teas Soups and broths Rice Toast Bananas

Home for the Holidays – Tips for coping

“Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays ‘Cause no matter how far away you roam When you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze For the holidays you can’t beat home sweet home!” Really?  I may have to protest Perry Como’s illusion of family gatherings.  For many, these forced get togethers are dreaded and for others the holidays are another reminder that they have limited or no family to celebrate with.  The Mayo Clinic offers this advise on surviving the Holiday blues. Stress, depression and the holidays: Tips for coping By Mayo Clinic Staff But with some practical tips, you can minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays. You may even end up enjoying the holidays more than you thought you would. Tips to prevent holiday stress and depression When stress is at its peak, it’s hard to stop and regroup. Try to prevent stress and depression in the first place, especially if the holidays have taken an emotional toll on you in the past. Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season. Reach out. If you feel

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Natural Sedatives in your diet

We all know the tryptophan and Thanksgiving turkey connection, but overloading on turkey is not the only natural way to help promote sleep.  Tryptophan is an amino acid that the body uses in the processes of making vitamin B3 and serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep. It can’t be produced by our bodies, so we need to get it through our diet. From which foods, exactly? Turkey, of course, but also other meats, chocolate, bananas, mangoes, dairy products, eggs, chickpeas, peanuts, and a slew of other foods.  Before you call the doctor and ask for an Ambien or Restoril for insomnia, consider adding these foods that promote natural sleeping to your diet.  Natural sedatives offer a more restful sleep and don’t effect our circadian rhythm. (sleep/awake cycle) as sleeping pills.  In addition to tryptophan, magnesium, calcium and Vitamin B help aid in production of turning serotonin into melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone found naturally in the body. As the sun sets, your body produces more melatonin and when you rise in the morning, melatonin levels taper off to allow you to wake up. Some people take melatonin to adjust the body’s internal clock. It is used for jet lag, for adjusting sleep-wake cycles in people whose daily work schedule changes, and for helping blind people establish a day and night cycle. 

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