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Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19

  • 3.17.2020

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19

COVID-19 Basics

Q: What is COVID-19?

A: COVID-19 is a virus strain, first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, that has only spread in people since December 2019.

Health experts are closely monitoring the situation because little is known about this new virus and it has the potential to cause severe illness and pneumonia in some people.

Q: How does COVID-19 spread and what are the symptoms?

A: COVID-19 is primarily spread through respiratory droplets, which means to become infected, people generally must be within six feet of someone who is contagious and come into contact with these droplets. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Symptoms of COVID-19 appear within two to 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, runny nose and difficulty breathing.

Q: How long does it take for symptoms of the COVID-19 to appear?

A: CDC believes that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days, or as long as 14 days after exposure. To be cautious, many governments are requiring an isolation period of 14 days for people returning from endemic areas

Q: How is COVID-19 treated?

A: There is currently no FDA approved medication for COVID-19. People infected with this virus should receive supportive care such as rest, fluids and fever control, to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.

Prevention

Q: Is there a vaccine?

A: Currently, there is no vaccine available.

Q: How can I best protect myself?

A: Practice the following:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 15-20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact (within 6 feet) with people who are sick.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Standard household cleansers and wipes are effective in cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
It’s currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting vaccinated, taking everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.

Q: Should I wear a face mask? Will that help protect me?

A: If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room. Learn what to do if you are sick.

If you are not sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19

The Skinny on Fat

  • 2.14.2020

The Skinny on Fat
It’s likely that you’ve heard the phrases “good fat” and “bad fat” before.

You might have even used them to justify eating the flesh of a ripe avocado right out of its skin with a spoon…or maybe that’s just me. But I’m not a fan of this harsh dichotomy of good-versus-bad when it comes to nutrition. Instead, I like to focus on the role these nutrients play when they’re inside your body. Now introducing: helpful fats and unhelpful fats.

Helpful Fats

There are 4 basic types of fats: monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, saturated fats, and trans fatty acids (or trans fats). The first two are what you might have heard of as “good” fats. They still have the same dense nine calories per gram as all the other fats, but once they’re in your body they support processes that are vital to maintaining your health. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats help to transport vitamins A, D, E, and K, so they can be absorbed by your body.

They also can increase HDL cholesterol, the type of cholesterol that helps flush dangerous plaque from your arteries. By eating foods with unsaturated fat in place of carbs or foods with saturated fat, you may be able to decrease your overall risk of heart disease.

Sources of monounsaturated fats: olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, nuts, avocados, and seeds.

Sources of polyunsaturated fats: corn oil, soybean oil, and some fish like salmon and trout.


Unhelpful Fats

Saturated fats and trans fats are considered unhelpful because they raise LDL, the type of cholesterol that can cause plaque build-up in arteries and increase your risk of heart disease. Saturated fats are largely found in rich animal products, and they are usually solid at room temperature. While these are natural sources of fat, they still can put your body at risks if you’re not limiting your intake.

Trans fats, on the other hand, have the potential to cause serious harm. In November 2013, the FDA released a statement that trans fat could no longer be “generally recognized as safe.” Rarely found in nature, trans fats are created through a process called hydrogenation where extra hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oil, rendering it solid and dangerous.

One of the most popular sources of trans fats is shortening–the butter-like substances reputed for its long shelf life and its ability to maintain structure in baked goods. This type of fat doesn’t play fair. It not only raises LDL, but has been known to lower HDL too.

Sources of saturated fats: whole milk dairy products like butter and ice cream, red meat, poultry with skin, certain nuts like macadamia, and coconut oil.

Sources of trans fats: baked goods made with shortening such as pie crusts and packaged cookies, certain brands of margarine, and non-dairy creamers.

Where to Buy: Healthy foods, iHerb.com

The Skinny on Fat

The Surprising Benefits of Turmeric

  • 2.11.2020

The Surprising Benefits of Turmeric
You’ve probably heard about turmeric by now. It is after all one of the most researched nutrients today.

What makes turmeric so interesting?

Although the use of turmeric has been known for years in traditional medicine for managing several conditions such as gastrointestinal symptoms, arthritic pain, and even help with lack of energy, only now through many studies, are we fully aware of how good this root can be for our health.

Benefits associated with turmeric:
  • Supports cardiovascular health
  • Protects against neurodegenerative diseases
  • Helps with symptoms related to the gut

Also, turmeric acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant!

How can I get these benefits?

This spice can easily add flavor, aroma, and color to some of your favorite dishes and even some smoothies.

You can also find turmeric and curcumin (the phytonutrient derived from turmeric that gives the spice its yellow color) as nutritional supplements, which offer these nutrients in higher concentrations that aren’t naturally found in foods. Because of this, always remember to ask you healthcare practitioner if this super nutrient is right for you.

Fun Fact

Did you know that turmeric is derived from the root of the Curcuma longa plant, which is a member of the ginger family? No wonder they are both considered one of nature’s best anti-inflammatories!

The Surprising Benefits of Turmeric

Are You Resting Enough?

  • 2.07.2020

Are You Resting Enough?
Take a look at the question in the title again. If you sincerely try to answer it, chances are pretty good that the answer is: No. Often, this is motivated by necessity and/or a well-intentioned to desire to get things done. The truth is, though, that forcing yourself to skip sleep or “power-through” when you should be resting is incredibly counterproductive. In fact, the practice could even be dangerous.

To be clear, however, the topic of “rest” includes more than just sleep. For exercisers and athletes, there is also concern over giving yourself enough time between workouts to fully recover. Let’s take a brief look at this – generally broad – topic to see how you can use rest as a tool to improve both your health and performance.

Sleep

Obviously, the first thing people think of in a discussion on rest is sleep. And this is a logical connection. Sleep is the primary form of recovery from the day’s activities for both your body and brain. Interestingly, we aren’t entirely sure why sleep is so important or even exactly what is happening while we’re asleep. But scientists have uncovered a few useful details.

Throughout the day, your brain takes in a huge quantity of information about the world around you. This all needs to be processed and stored – which happens each night when you sleep. But this isn’t just about packing away information. Physical connections in your brain – pathways that carry information and influence mental performance – are built, repaired, and reinforced while you sleep. This explains why, in numerous studies, just small degrees of sleep deprivation – missing only a few hours each night – has been shown to greatly reduce cognitive performance.

But the brain isn’t just taking care of itself during the night. That command center is responsible for directing recovery work throughout your entire body. During the day, your body is exposed to pollutants, allergens, and possibly infectious foreign organisms that all need to be dealt with. We’ll talk about the details more in the next section, but your body also has to recover from exercise or any other activity that you took part in that day.

Clearly, a lot happens while you’re sleeping. According to the National Sleep Foundation, seven to nine hours of sleep each night is enough for most adults. It may take some experimentation, though, to figure out exactly what you need.

Rest Days

Included in “rest,” are rest days, as well. These are days that you take off from strenuous activity or workouts. This might seem counter-intuitive or even frustrating if you’re working toward specific goals, but it’s important to realize that fitness does not improve during workouts; it improves while you’re resting.

When you exercise, your muscles are actually damaged at the cellular level. Your brain interpretes this as a stressful, even dangerous, event. In response, the muscles are not only repaired, but they are improved so that you can be better prepared to handle the next problem. This can only happen if your muscles are given a chance to recover.

It’s incredibly important, then, to not only get enough sleep each night but to make sure that you take off a few days during the week to allow your muscles to recover. The exact number of rest days you take will depend on your fitness level and goals but at least one day each week is recommended. Many experienced athletes will periodically take a full week – or even two – off to allow for a thorough recovery. Granted, the thought of skipping your workouts for this long might seem terrifying but you likely will not lose any of your performance ability in this short time. In fact, many find that they perform better after this type of extended rest.

Are You Resting Enough?

What Are the Benefits of Green Tea?

  • 2.05.2020

What Are the Benefits of Green Tea?
As a so-called “health food,” green tea has a remarkably sterling reputation. The humble beverage, over it’s long history, has been hailed as a cure, preventative or treatment for a huge number of ailments. The more we learn, though, the more impressive green tea really is. Let’s take a closer look at what’s going on in your cup and how you can benefit more from green tea.

What’s In Your Cup

Green tea – along with white, oolong and black – is produced from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis tree. Exactly what variety of tea is produced from the leaves depends on how they are processed. Green tea leaves are quickly dried and rolled to break up the plant cells, without allowing them to oxidize. This preserves the antioxidant content of the tea leaves – and these antioxidants are the key to most of green tea’s benefits.

Specifically, green tea contains high levels of catechins – four antioxidant chemicals that have positive effects on several aspects of the human body and are infused into the liquid of your tea.

In numerous studies, these catechins have shown themselves to be useful when it comes to the health of your heart, brain, joints and liver. Green tea catechins might also be useful in preventing diabetes – since it has a normalizing effect on blood sugar – and obesity.

It’s also important to note that green tea does contain caffeine – which can be a pro or a con, depending on what you’re looking for. Clearly, many of the neurological benefits associated with green tea like increased focus and energy are associated with its caffeine content. What many people don’t realize, though, is that the touted fat burning effects of green tea are also influenced by caffeine. If you already have a strong tolerance to caffeine, you are not likely to see any significant weight loss from green tea supplementation.

That being said, green tea contains another substance called L-Theanine, which could be linked with the unique sort of focus commonly linked with green tea consumption. This amino acid has a calming but non-sedating effect on the human body. Combined with caffeine, this can produce a kind of clean, focused energy, not typically enjoyed from coffee or other caffeine-containing substances.

Things To Consider

After all these positive studies started gaining traction, green tea extract enjoyed an impressive jump in popularity. And these supplements have their usefulness; they can provide a set amount of the various useful compounds in green tea and are much more accessible than a cup of green tea.

You should also know that many of the metabolic benefits of green tea are caused by the catechin EGCG. However, this doesn’t mean that EGCG is the only component of green tea worth your attention. If you decide to go the supplement route, it’s better to pick a product that offers all of the catechins rather than an EGCG-isolate.

All that being said, a regular cup of green tea can offer the same benefits as most extracts – unless you are concerned about specific amounts and serving sizes. Since one cup of tea can vary widely from the next in catechin and caffeine content, the beverage is somewhat unreliable. Despite this, a regular cup of green tea is usually enough to grant mild general benefits.

Where to Buy: Green Tea, iHerb.com

What Are the Benefits of Green Tea?
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© The Natural Way: Health & BeautyMaira Gall