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Cancer

Proper Hand Washing

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Proper hand washing is one of the critical steps we undertake to avoid falling ill and spreading germs to others. Many conditions and diseases can be spread through poor hand hygiene, and therefore it’s essential to wash your hands using clean running water and soap. If running water is inaccessible, you can use the available clean water and soap. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol can substitute soap and water if the two are unavailable. It’s important to note that regular soaps are as effective as antibacterial soaps. In any case, prolonged use of the antibacterial soaps might lead to the development of bacteria that are resistant to its antimicrobial agents.

How to wash hands properly

Hand washing can be referred to as a DIY (do-it-yourself) vaccine that you can take to stay healthy and keep respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases at bay. Regular hand washing before and after particular activities has proven to be effective to remove and prevent the spread of germs to others. Hand washing is simple and quick and most importantly prevents diseases. Proper hand washing involves five simple steps namely; Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, and Dry.

  • First, you will use clean water running from the tap to wet your hands then apply soap after turning off the tap
  • You will then use soap to lather your hands (front and back, under the nails, in between your fingers) by rubbing them with soap.
  • Scrub your hands carefully for about twenty to thirty seconds.
  • Open the tap to rinse your hands with clean water running from the tap.
  • Use a clean towel to dry your hands or simply air dry them

What to do if Soap and Clean Running Water are Unavailable

Washing your hands with water and soap is the best way to eliminate germs on most occasions. However, if soap and water are not accessible, you can use alcohol-based hand sanitizers as mentioned earlier. Although these sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on your hands, they do not eradicate all types of bacteria and might not eliminate harmful chemicals. Hand sanitizers might not also be as effective when your hands are excessively dirty or greasy.

How to use Hand Sanitizers

Hand sanitizers are usually very simple to use. You should read the label for instructions and the correct amount to use for efficacy. Start by applying the sanitizer to the palm of one hand. You will then rub your hands together and apply it over all surfaces, i.e. in between your fingers and the back of your hands until they’re dry.

When to Wash Your Hands

Physicians recommend that you wash your hands especially after these activities that are mostly associated with dangerous germs that cause diseases;

  • Before eating food
  • After using the toilet
  • After handling pet treats or pet food
  • After cleaning up a child who has used the toilet or changing diapers
  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • After blowing your nose or sneezing
  • Before and after caring for a sick individual
  • After touching garbage
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After touching an animal, animal waste, or animal feed

Proper hand washing saves lives. Proper hand hygiene can protect you, your family, and many others whether you’re at work, at home, traveling, or even when you’re already sick. It’s crucial to help your children stay healthy by teaching them to wash their hands properly and frequently. You can show your kids how to do it properly by washing your hands with them. Proper hand washing can simply be put as a win for everyone except for the germs.

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Signs of Diabetes

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Diabetes is divided into two main categories, type 1 and type 2. They are both chronic diseases that develop when the body is unable to regulate blood sugar, also known as glucose. Individuals diagnosed with diabetes lack the ability to use or store sugar from their food, which is vital for producing energy to live. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, delivers glucose into the bloodstream, resulting in sugar distribution to the muscles, liver, fat, and other cells in the body. Insulin levels control sugar levels by indicating to the organs when the body needs fuel, and when insulin needs to be stored in the liver for future energy use. Almost all cells in the body require the presence of insulin to procure glucose from the blood. Diabetes results in protracted high blood sugar levels, which heighten the risk of complications. Following are recognizable signs of diabetes displayed by the two types of diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

Individuals who have type 1 diabetes are unable to produce insulin. The cause for this type of diabetes is still under investigation, however researcher do know that in type 1 diabetic individuals, the body’s immune system is flawed, mistaking healthy body cells for foreign invaders. In responding to the “attack”, the immune system eradicates the beta cells in the pancreas that are responsible for producing insulin. The complete lack of insulin production causes diabetic symptoms to rapidly develop, in just a matter of weeks. Symptoms are typically severe and include:

  • Extreme thirst and increased urination
  • Intense hunger, even after eating
  • Headache
  • Unexplained, rapid weight loss
  • Sores or cuts that don’t heal appropriately
  • Weakness and exhaustion
  • Visible emotional or behavior changes
  • Distorted vision
  • Fruity-smelling breath

Type 1 diabetes is typically diagnosed in childhood, or adolescence, and is often referred to as juvenile diabetes. Insulin must be systematically injected, or pumped, into the body to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetes cannot yet be prevented, and there is no cure. Healthy living requires consistent blood sugar testing.

Type 2 Diabetes

The signs of type 2 diabetes often develop very gradually, and may not be apparent to the individual. According to the Mayo Clinic, approximately one-third of all people that have this type of diabetes, do not know they have it. With this type of diabetes, insulin is being produced by the individual, but their body is not able to effectively use the insulin produced. Type 1 and 2 diabetes, share many warning signs, but individuals with type 2 diabetes may experience additional symptoms, because of the delay of onset. For example, pre-diabetes, a condition that occurs when glucose levels are higher than normal, may not produce any systems, and can often, only be determined by a blood test. If the pre-diabetes is not addressed by lifestyle or diet changes, it typically develops into type 2 diabetes within a matter of five years, or less. Along with the symptoms listed above for type 1 diabetes, type 2 sufferers may experience:

  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
  • Dry, itchy skin, particularly around the groin or vaginal area
  • Recent weight increase
  • Numerous yeast infections
  • Darkened skin changes of the groin, armpit, and neck regions
  • Impotency,
  • Decreased vision

A glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test, is the primary method of establishing a diagnosis of diabetes, as it analyzes blood sugar levels for the prior two to three-month period. See your physician if you are experiencing any of the signs of diabetes, or have any concerns.

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What is Colon Cancer?

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Colon cancer is the accumulation of cancer cells in the lower part of the large intestine. These tumors typically begin as small benign growths referred to as polyps that turn into malignant tumors over time.

Stages of Colon Cancer

When a patient is diagnosed with colon cancer, they will be diagnosed with a stage of the disease, depending on it advancement. Colon Cancer is broken up into stages Tis to T4b.

  • Tis -In this stage, cancer cells are only found in the top layers on lining in the colon.
  • T1 –At this stage, the cancer cells have begun to spread to the tissue below the lining of the colon.
  • T2 – During stage T2, the cancer cells have developed into the deeper tissue that is involved in pushing along waste during the digestive process.
  • T3 – At T3 the cancer has spread to the connective tissue that connects the colon to other parts of the body, as well as permeating into some of the other surrounding tissues.
  • T4a – At this point the cancer cells have grown throughout all parts of the colon.
  • T4b – At this final stage the cancer cells have spread past the colon into other parts of the body.

What are the Symptoms of Colon Cancer?

Symptoms of colon cancer can come on suddenly or develop gradually over time. Often times symptoms of colon cancer are mistaken for gastrointestinal issues or discomfort. Some symptoms of colon cancer include,

  • Blood in the stool
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Abnormal changes in your bowel habits, such as constipation or diarrhea that lasts for more than a month
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Fullness in bowel even after going to the bathroom.

Risks for Colon Cancer

While there is no specific cause for every case of colon cancer there are risks that may make you more likely to develop colon cancer.

History of Polyps

While many times polyps are found and easily removed, repeated development of polyps is linked to an increase in colon cancer.

Low Fiber Diet 

Low fiber and high fat diets have been linked to an increased chance for developing polyps and colon cancer.

Obesity 

Those with a BMI in the obesity level have an increased risk of getting colon cancer as well as an increased risk of suffering more complications from it.

Inflammatory Gastrointestinal Problems

Chronic disease of the gastrointestinal track, including colitis and Crohns disease, can increase the risk of development of colon cancer.

Age

Most colon cancer patients are 50 years of age or older.

Genetics

A family history of colon cancer increases your chance of developing the disease as well. There are also genetically passed conditions that can greatly increase your risk for colon cancer including,

  • Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer, otherwise known as lynch syndrome
  • Familial adenomatous polyposis, which leads to an increase of the development of polyps in the colon.

Diagnosing Colon Cancer

Diagnosis of colon cancer is either done through routine screenings that are part of annual physicals or testing when gastrointestinal problems are present. To diagnose colon cancer patients will,

  • Receive blood tests to check for cancer markers
  • Undergo a colonoscopy which involves a camera scope of the patient’s rectum, colon and intestinal track.

Treatment Options

Treatment options for colon cancer are typically determined based on the stage of cancer the patient is in. Treatment options can include,

  • Polyp removal during colonoscopy
  • Partial colectomy
  • Removal of lymph nodes
  • Colon resection
  • Targeted drug therapies
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation treatment

When it comes to treating colon cancer, routine wellness screenings are important as early diagnosis will lead to the best prognosis.

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Types and Causes of Kidney Failure

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Your kidneys are one of the most significant organs in the body. They are a pair of organs located towards your lower back and serve the purpose of filtering your blood to remove toxic and waste substances from the body. The toxic substances can be detrimental to your health if they are not removed out of the body.

What is a kidney failure?

Kidney failure is the condition where both of your kidneys or just one of them cannot serve their function to the required level of performance. This can be brought about by a myriad of factors that may interfere with the health and proper function of your kidney. Some of them include:

  • Kidney trauma
  • Some acute and chronic diseases
  • Toxic exposure to environmental pollutants
  • Severe dehydration

When your system is burdened with toxins and dangerous wastes resulting from a kidney failure, what follows are life threatening conditions that can be dangerous to your health. This is the reason why you should always seek the services of a doctor the moment you realize you have a kidney problem.

What causes kidney failure?

The following factors could predispose you to kidney failure

  • Loss of blood flow to the kidney

Kidney failure is often prompted by a sudden loss of blood flow to the kidneys. Some of the diseases and conditions that may lead to loss of blood flow to the kidneys include:

  • Heart attack
  • Severe burn
  • Dehydration
  • Liver failure
  • Allergic reactions
  • Urine elimination problem

When your body finds it difficult to eliminate urine from the system, there is a consequent build up and overloading of the kidneys. Certain cancers can lead to blockage of urine passageways. Such cancers include prostate cancer, cervical cancer, colon cancer, and bladder cancer. Other conditions which that can interfere with urination include

  • Trauma on the nerves controlling urination
  • Blood clots within the urinary tract
  • Kidney stones
  • Enlarged prostate

Other causes

Certain diseases and conditions can lead to kidney failure. They include:

  • A clot of blood in the kidney
  • Drug and alcohol
  • Dyes used in certain imaging tests
  • Chemotherapy drugs (medications that treat autoimmune diseases and cancer)
  • Overload of toxins from heavy metals
  • Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. (A disorder that causes blood clot in tiny vessels)

Types of kidney failure

Below are the types of kidney failure

Acute Prerenal kidney failure

Without enough flow of blood into the kidneys, the kidneys find it difficult to filter out the toxic wastes hence the occurrence of acute perennial kidney failure. This problem is usually solved once the problem leading to the low supply of blood has been determined.

Acute intrinsic kidney failure

Direct trauma causes this kind of kidney failure to either one of the kidneys or both of them. An accident or physical impact can lead to the trauma. Its causes are ischemia and toxic overload making it difficult for the kidney to perform its function in the right manner. Ischemia may be caused by

  • Obstruction of renal blood vessel
  • Shock
  • Severe bleeding
  • Glomerulonephritis

Chronic Prerenal kidney failure

This is the condition where the kidney begins to shrink thus losing its function. The primary cause of this is insufficient blood flowing into the kidneys.

Chronic intrinsic kidney failure

This usually occurs when there is a long-term damage to the kidneys as a result of intrinsic kidney diseases. Direct trauma causes these intrinsic kidney diseases to the kidneys like severe bleeding or insufficient oxygen.

Chronic post renal kidney failure

This is caused by a long-term blockage of the urinary tract thus hindering urination. The consequent is pressure which in turn cause kidney failure.

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Alcohol and Drug Abuse Awareness

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Alcohol has been shown to statistically cause more teenage fatalities than all other drugs put together.

Because alcohol has been shown to be strongly correlated with the three leading causes of death among young adults – suicide, murder, and accidents , such as car accidents – the threat that alcohol poses to young populations needs to be taken more seriously.

The health care costs of both drug and alcohol abuse are staggering as well. The National Institute of Drug Abuse found that alcohol abuse costs $27 billion every year in health care costs and drug abuse collectively costs $37 billion for illicit and prescription drug abuse combined. Those numbers are worrying.

More worrying still is the fact that these numbers are only a drop in the bucket compared to the overall costs that alcohol and drug abuse take on a nation in terms of lost productivity, increased crime, and as already alluded to skyrocketing health care costs.

When you add up these three costs (lower productivity, higher crime, and higher health care costs) you’re talking about nearly a quarter-trillion or $249 billion annually for alcohol abuse and over a quarter trillion for illicit and prescription drugs combined.

The Monitoring the Future study’s results show some promising trends as well as areas for continued concern with respect to today’s youth and tomorrow’s future. Alcohol use among 12th graders, for instance, has gone down about 7% over the last 3 years whereas illicit drug use has pretty much stayed steady with about half of 12th graders indulging in illicit drugs.

Fortunately, the number of 8th graders choosing to partake in alcohol use has gone down since 2013 when it was 27.80% – today that number is 22.80%, which means that fewer than one in four 8th graders is choosing to use alcohol. The number of 12th graders using marijuana, though, has remained fairly constant at around half (~48%) over the last three years.

The frightening reality for many substance abuse, mental health experts, politicians, and concerned parents is that youngsters that drink are more than 7 times more likely to partake in other illicit drugs. And get this: A kid who drinks who 50 times more likely to use cocaine illicitly and on a recreational basis than another kid who abstains from alcohol altogether through his or her middle school, high school, and early adult years.

Recent data shows that among the nearly 4 million people who were treated in 2005 for substance abuse a full 2.4 million were also treated for alcohol abuse. That’s because there’s a big comorbidity (or co-occurrence) between the two kinds of abuse. There also happens to be a big correlation between drug abuse, alcohol abuse, anxiety disorders, and depression.

This is still a chicken or the egg question that psychologists and mental health professionals are trying to work out but it’s currently believed that anxiety disorders, major depression, or bipolar disorder could predispose certain people to start using certain illicit substances and alcohol in order to self medicate. This is never appropriate and a mental health professional and substance abuse counselor should always be called in to help.

Help is needed more desperately than ever because more Americans are falling prey to drug and alcohol abuse. Worryingly, a full 40% of violent crime has been associated with alcohol use, according to the United States Department of Justice. In a single year (2007) alcohol-related traffic fatalities topped 10,000 people. That’s more than should ever succumb to these kinds of accidents.

If you or a loved one are struggled with drug abuse or alcohol abuse contact a substance abuse counselor today for help.

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Understanding Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy also known as biologic therapy is a type of treatment that induces or enhances the body’s immune system instead of using medicines. This process is usually done to treat cancer by stimulating the immune system to become more active in attacking cancer cells or by sustaining the body with man-made immune system proteins.

How Does the Immune System Work?

The immune system is the sum of all components that work together to maintain the normal functions of body organs. These components include but not limited to white blood cells, nutrients, and organ functions.

When the surface of skin is wounded, white blood cells work to heal the wound by eliminating foreign substances. When the wound is larger, it requires a lot of white blood cells to cover the wounded area. This will result in the appearance of lymph nodes near the area. This is where white blood cells build up.

In the process of eliminating foreign substances such as bacteria, germs, and cancer cells, body nutrients such as vitamin C may work to repair the damaged tissues and collagen.

Meanwhile, body organs work together to prevent disease-causing agents to stay inside the body. Kidney works to filter toxins, which are excreted through the urine. Digestive system separate important substances needed by the body from waste. The heart continues to pump blood to carry white blood cells and red blood cells needed to heal wounds.

These are some examples of how the immune system work. The immune system is not a single substance nor a single organ. It is an integration of several body systems that work together to protect the body from certain diseases.

The Immune System as Treatment for Cancer

There still no single medicine that can cure cancer. So far, an effective way to suppress the spread of cancer cells is through the immune system. The immune system serves as the police inside the body. It detects unwanted substances that may infect any area of the body.

However, cancer cells are not detected by the immune system as they appear to be like normal cells by of sending signals to the PD-1 CTLA-4 receptors. These signals confuse the immune system. This is why even a healthy body with strong immune system cannot prevent cancer.

Nonetheless, there is a way to make cancer cells detected by the immune system. The use of immunotherapy drugs such as inhibitors can disrupt the signals that are sent by cancer cells. This will let the cancer cells exposed to the immune system. Cytokines and cancer vaccines are examples of these inhibitors.

Monoclonal Antibodies

Monoclonal antibodies are man-made immune system proteins. These proteins attach to cancer cells thereby flagging the cancer cells to be recognized by the immune system. On the other hand, monoclonal antibodies work to block the abnormal proteins in cancer cells, so they can also be used to prevent cancer cells from spreading.

These are examples of man-made antibodies:

  • Pembrolizumab (Keytruda)
  • Nivolumab (Opdivo)
  • Ipilimumab (Yervoy)

Non-Specific Immunotherapies

Non-specific immunotherapies are used to boost the immune system to directly stop and kill cancer cells. Examples of these are interferons and interleukin’s.

Conclusion

The use of the immune system is still the most recommended method in the treatment of cancer. It only needs the help of inhibitors to let it work properly on the target. The problem with the immune system is that it is not intelligent enough to keep cancer cells from being hidden. This is why there is still a need for human intervention with the help of man-made antibodies.

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Preventing Heart Disease

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Cardiac disease in on the rise and many medical professionals believes that it is the way you live in today’s busy world.

While our digital technologies of today are supposed to make life easier at work and home, in many aspects is only making life more challenging.

You may complain that you do not have the time to prepare well-balanced meals offering your body the essential nutrients it needs to stay healthy.

You may, like many may have a sedentary job at a computer that provides no worthwhile exercise.

You must take time for yourself. You must pay attention to what you feed your body and fit in some attractive exercise options for yourself to keep your heart as healthy as possible.

Recognize that if heart disease runs in your family history, this puts you at risk for heart problems. There is nothing you can do about your genes, but you can change your lifestyle to help prevent this family history from becoming a more serious heart problem.

Smoking

Smoking adds to heart problems in addition to other risks like cancer. If you smoke, cut this out of your life. If you are devoted to living your life to the fullest, you can and will quit smoking. Smoking shortens your life because of the chemicals in tobacco, no matter what form you use, narrows the heart’s vital arteries. When artery walls narrow this leads to a heart attack you may not survive.

Obesity

Did you know that close to 60% of all Americans are overweight?

. 30 pounds over your ideal body weight equals overweight

. 30 pounds over your ideal body weight equals obesity. Get in your perfect body weight for you, for a healthier heart. Stops making excuses of why you overweight, such as,

  • It is in your genes
  • The medicine you take
  • Your mental health
  • Stress

It is time to avoid excuses and get on a heart-healthy lifestyle.

Never say diet, and never consider going on a diet. Diets cannot last the rest of your life, and while they may initially work, when you stop your diet the weight comes back two fold at least.

Exercise

No weight loss plan works without constant exercise. If all you can do is walking for 30 minutes a day, devote yourself to doing an exercise you enjoy. It is only 15 to 30 minutes out of your day, and it helps you,

  • Lose Weight
  • Strengthens your heart muscles
  • Decreases Blood Pressure
  • Decreases Cholesterol Levels
  • Decreases Diabetes

Eat Well-Balanced Meals and Snacks

Three meals a day with three fruits, vegetable, or protein snacks per day. Refer to the original food pyramid for guidance on what to eat and what proportions every day. Your food pyramid includes just the right amounts, the body requires daily to provide the right amount of essential nutrients.

  • Whole grains
  • Fruits
  • Vegetable
  • Fats
  • Proteins (Greatly decrease red meat and eat more chicken, turkey, fish)
  • Dairy

Think about removing from your kitchen every white food such as salt, sugar, and white flour. White is not healthy or good for your heart. Decrease or avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sodas.

Preparation of Foods

Learn how to prepare meals healthy. Avoid,

  • Deep fried foods
  • Using a lot of oil (use extra virgin olive oil for cooking
  • Canned goods, use fresh or fresh frozen
  • Use a vegetable steamer. Steaming does not destroy essential vitamins and minerals
  • Bake, broil, or grill

Visit your doctor as soon as possible. Talk to your doctor about your ideas for a lifestyle change and weight loss to prevent or decrease your risks for heart disease before initiating any changes.

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Understanding Colorectal Cancer

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Colorectal cancer is most common if there is a family history of it, colon polyps present and long bouts of ulcerative colitis without treatment. With that said, colon cancer can affect anyone. Sometimes all it takes for the cancer to occur is poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking and drinking and exposure to toxins that create damaging free radical cells that harm the DNA. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of the cancer can help with early detection, but sometimes there isn’t any, which is why colon screening is essential. Screening usually starts around the age of 50, but if there is a family history it may be best to start sooner.

What are some of the signs and symptoms of colon cancer?

  • Extreme Fatigue and Weakness
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Change in Stool Shape, Size and Color
  • Red or Dark Stools
  • Bleeding During Bowel Movements
  • Drastic Weight Loss
  • Suffering from Anemia
  • Constant Abdominal Pains
  • Headaches
  • Pain During Bowel Movements
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

How is the cancer detected?

Colorectal cancer is detected by doing a barium enema x-ray to locate any tumors, or through a colposcopy, which views the entire lining of the colon for cancerous growths. If any cancer is suspected, a biopsy will be done. After, surgery will be scheduled to remove the cancerous growths and a recommended treatment plan will be provided if one is necessary. Sometimes further treatment is only needed if the cancer has spread throughout other areas of the body. It all depends on the stage of cancer you have.

How many stages of colon cancer are there? 

There are four stages of colon cancer. The first two stages typically only require surgery to remove the cancerous parts of the colon. The last two stages usually require surgery plus chemotherapy or radiation. Therefore, catching colon cancer early is extremely important for saving lives. The last stages of colon cancer and more difficult to treat and eventually end in death since it has spread to other parts of the body that can be hard to treat.

Are there any preventative measures you can take for preventing colon cancer? 

Yes, there are preventative measures you can take for preventing colon cancer. Some include:

  • Eating a good balance diet
  • Exercising daily
  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Not smoking or drinking acholic beverages
  • Taking daily vitamins
  • Increasing your fiber intake
  • Getting colon cancer screening when recommended

Bottom Line 

When it comes to preventing colon cancer from taking your life, colon cancer screening is your best line of defense for catching and treating it early. If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of the cancer it is time to visit your doctor now for a checkup.

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Immunity-Boosting Foods

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When it comes to your immune system, getting proper nutrition cannot be underestimated. The antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals you receive through your food are what keeps your body strong enough to fight off infection. It is important to make the following foods a part of your diet to ensure a good defense against colds and flu.

Beef

Beef will boost your immune system, because:

  • It is a good source of zinc, and zinc aids in the development of white blood cells.
  • These white blood cells improve both immune function and response.
  • It’s protein supports the building of antibodies to fight off infection.

Oily Fish

These types of fish include salmon, mackerel, and tuna. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, these fish:

  • Help reduce harmful inflammation in the body.
  • Control chronic inflammation that can keep your immune system from working properly.
  • Can prevent cold, flu, and more serious diseases.

They also contain Vitamin D, and as daylight hours decrease during the colder months of the year, your Vitamin D stores are depleted. Vitamin D:

  • Is critical to fighting off colds and flu.
  • Reduces the frequency and duration of colds and flu.

Leafy Greens

Dark, leafy greens such as kale, spinach, arugula, and Swiss chard, all contain significant amounts of Vitamin C which:

  • If consistently taken, they will shorten the duration of a cold or possibly prevent it altogether.
  • If cooked, they will shrink in size so you can consume more of them.
  • Increases white blood cell production.

Carrots and Sweet Potatoes

These vegetables are rich in beta-carotene. Our bodies convert beta-carotene to Vitamin A that:

  • Keeps the mucus membranes that line your nose, throat, and gastrointestinal tract, along with your skin, healthy.
  • By keeping these membranes healthy, it builds your first line of defense against colds and flu.

Chicken Soup

You really should eat chicken soup when you’re sick, and when you’re not. It combines many elements that boost your immune system. Hot chicken soup:

  • Raises the temperature in your airways, which loosens mucus secretions.
  • Releases cysteine, an amino acid that resembles a drug used to treat bronchitis.
  • Contains a high concentration of vegetables and protein that provide many different vitamins.

Garlic

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, garlic contains allicin, which has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Garlic has been shown to:

  • Cause you to experience fewer and less severe colds.
  • Promote balanced gut flora, which rids the body of viruses, bacteria, and toxins.
  • Contain the most antioxidants when eaten raw.

Yogurt

Yogurt contains microorganisms, or “good bacteria”, that keeps you healthy. It:

  • Is a probiotic food that replenishes this good bacteria.
  • Promotes digestive health.
  • Helps prevent stomach ailments.
  • Lowers the risk of upper respiratory infections.

Tea

While a hot cup of tea can soothe a sore throat and break up chest congestion, it also provides other benefits. All tea, green, black, or white contains catechins, which:

  • Are a group of antioxidants that contain flu-fighting properties.
  • Protect you from cancer and heart disease.
  • Increase your metabolism.
  • Boost your overall immunity.

Dark Chocolate

The nutritional benefits of cocoa are often overlooked, because many chocolate treats contain sugar and saturated fat. However, chocolate:

  • Contains polyphenols that are disease-fighting antioxidants.
  • Also contains a high concentration of zinc.
  • Can be consumed daily if you stick to 1/4 ounce servings.

The following foods are also recommended:

  • Oysters
  • Anise Seeds
  • Citrus
  • Milk
  • Mushrooms
  • Skinned Turkey Breast
  • Blueberries
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Oats

With this abundant selection of immunity-boosting foods, we can enjoy better health during cold and flu season and all year around.

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Taking Care of Your Bladder

Woman Drinking Water

Your bladder is a hollow organ that holds the urine that is produced by the kidneys. The urine remains stored in the bladder until you go to the bathroom. If you don’t take care of your bladder properly, there are certain conditions that you can suffer from both now and in the future. A few of the most common bladder issues include:

  • Frequent bladder infections
  • Interstitial cystitis: A chronic bladder condition that causes bladder pain and frequent and urgent urination.
  • Overactive bladder: A serious condition that squeezes urine out of the bladder at inopportune times.
  • Urinary incontinence: A condition where a person is unable to control their bladder.
  • Bladder cancer

To avoid these conditions and to ensure the health of your bladder, there are a few tips that you should follow.

#1 Let It All Out

Women are especially susceptible to urinary tract infections that involve the bladder. Frequent infections of the urinary tract and the bladder can cause permanent damage to your bladder over time. When you go to the bathroom, it is important to empty your bladder completely each time. If you tighten up your muscles and you stop urinating before your bladder is empty, the urine that didn’t make it out of the bladder will bring bacteria back into the urinary tract and bladder which will cause an infection.

#2 Drink Plenty of Fluids

Drinking plenty of fluids will help to flush out your bladder. It will also flush your urinary tract, preventing you from developing an infection. It is recommended that you drink six to eight glasses of water each day. If you find that you are urinating too often, cut back slightly.

#3 Get Moving

If you spend your day sitting at a desk, fluid can build up in your legs during the day. At night, the fluid build-up will cause you to empty your bladder. The longer you leave the fluid in your bladder, the higher the chances are of developing an infection. To prevent this, try walking throughout the day. You can also try raising your legs to your waist and flexing your calf muscles.

#4 Avoid Tobacco

Each year, over 50,000 people are diagnosed with bladder cancer. According to a recent study, cigarette smokers are two to three times more likely to develop bladder cancer than non-smokers. If you are a smoker, now is the time to quit. It will greatly reduce your risk of developing bladder cancer and a variety of other health conditions.

#5 Drink Cranberry Juice

The best way to avoid bladder infections is to drink cranberry juice. The ingredients in the juice can keep harmful bacteria from sticking to the walls of your urinary tract. This will keep the bacteria from moving up into your bladder. If you don’t like cranberry juice, you can also take cranberry tablets.

#6 Watch What You Eat

There are certain foods that can cause bladder pain and frequent urination. If you suffer from these issues, avoid acidic food such as orange juice and tomatoes.

#7 Drink Less Before Bed

It is not healthy for your bladder to remain full all night. This is why you should drink fewer fluids two hours before bedtime. Also, avoid caffeinated drinks before bed because caffeine will make you urinate more often. If your bladder remains empty at night, the chances of an infection greatly decrease.

If you want to avoid bladder infections and chronic bladder problems in the future, you should start taking care of your bladder now. Each of the tips listed above will ensure a healthy bladder now and in the future.

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