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National Peanut Butter Day

National Peanut Butter Day

Yesterday was National Peanut Butter Day! Peanut butter is an American favorite, and on average each person eats 3 pounds of peanut butter per year.

A serving of peanut butter (2 tablespoons) has 8 grams of protein, making it an excellent plant-based protein source. Peanut butter is low in carbs and high in fiber, meaning that it causes low rise in blood sugar and is a perfect option for people with type 2 diabetes. It has been found to be beneficial to heart health, colon cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, gallstones, and diabetes. Peanut butter is rich in antioxidants, including p-coumarin and resveratrol. Lab studies have indicated that these compounds may reduce arthritis, and lower risk of heart disease.

Peanut butter is also a superfood! Peanuts are a great source of antioxidants like manganese, vitamin E, and B vitamins. These compounds act to prevent and repair cell damage in your body, and this effect can reduce your risk of chronic diseases like cancer.

A powerful antioxidant found in peanut butter is coumaric acid — and research found that its activity is boosted by 22% if you roast peanuts before whipping them into a butter. One of the main fats in peanut butter is oleic acid. When substituted for other fats in your diet, oleic acid is shown to help maintain good cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. Managing these levels in your body can lower the risk of heart disease. The high amounts of phosphorus and copper found in peanuts can support bone health and may help prevent osteoporosis.

Depending on how people use peanut butter in their diet, it can help them lose weight, or put on pounds during weight training or bodybuilding. However, peanut butter is high in calories and fat, so people should enjoy it in moderation. A standard portion of peanut butter is about two tablespoons, which has 207 calories, 9 grams of protein, 18 grams of fat, and 3 grams of fiber.

Be mindful of ingredients – often food producers add sugar and oil to peanut butter, which reduces nutritional benefits to the point where it may no longer be considered a health food. Instead, look for peanut butter that is just plain pure roasted peanuts that have been ground into a paste, organic is even better.

At Private Home Health Care, we love peanut butter! Happy National Peanut Butter Day!

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Your Brain on Compliments

Your Brain on Compliments

To the brain, receiving a compliment is as much a social reward as being rewarded money. There is scientific proof that a person performs better when they receive a social reward such as a compliment after completing an exercise. Complimenting someone could become an easy and effective strategy to use in the classroom and during rehabilitation.

The researchers had previously discovered that the same area of the brain affected in this study, the striatum, is activated when a person is rewarded a compliment or cash. Researchers in Japan have found a scientific explanation. According to their study, compliments activate the same region of the brain, the striatum, as cash does, and both encourage people to perform better.

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Health Benefits of Compliments

Health Benefits of Compliments

Giving and receiving a compliment is healthy. A well-chosen compliment has all kinds of health benefits. A compliment is an effective way to achieve two fundamental needs: self-esteem and connection with others.

A compliment enhances someone’s happiness and self-image and gives a compliment to the production of dopamine in the brain, which gives you a blissful, positive feeling. Compliments can be considered small gifts for your mental health. And not only that: from Japanese research it appears that a compliment also improves performance at work and social interaction.

The giver also benefits, provided the compliment comes across well. Doing something for someone else makes sure that more of the cuddle hormone oxytocin and the happiness hormone serotonin is released.

Compliments are a form of gratitude. A healthy compliment is therefore about the connection you make with yourself and with each other. You show what you find important in each other and that you accept each other, which is why a compliment is a form of gratitude.

Now during COVID is it even more important than ever to be socially connected. With social distancing, that can be difficult. A good start is to take small steps and make a goal of giving 2 compliments a day. And don’t forget to compliment yourself!

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Zen and the Art of Bubble Wrap

Experts also say the enjoyment of bubble wrap may be tied to human evolution because early humans had to be on their toes all the time. They needed to be ready to run from a predator at a moment’s notice. Today, people spend a lot of time sitting, especially at school and at work. As a result, the body may build a lot of muscle tension from lack of movement.

Popping bubble wrap helps relax that muscle tension. It reduces stress and anxiety. When you dwell on things that upset you, it gets harder to salvage your day. Bubble wrap is a great distraction so you’re not left with negative thoughts. In fact, studies have shown that, sometimes, the human brain receives feel-good chemicals like dopamine after popping bubble wrap. So that may be why it feels so satisfying!

Compared to meditation, popping bubble wrap can help you de-stress faster. This is because popping a row of bubbles gives you instant gratification. A study suggests that popping bubble wrap for 60 seconds relieved as much stress as a 33-minute massage. Though that is still up for debate, you can’t deny the simple joy of popping bubble wrap sheets. It’s a universal truth that people of all ages love to pop bubble wrap.

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National Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day

National Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day

It is National Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day!

In 1957, Two engineers, Marc Chavannes and Alfred Fielding, created the first bubble wrap, first trying to sell it as wallpaper and later marketing it as greenhouse insulation. The rest is history.

Though it is meant to be used as padding for shipping items, bubble wrap has a cult following for another reason. It is fun to pop! And, it has been proven to help with focus and be a great stress reliever. There is something irresistible about popping bubble wrap. Some experts believe it’s similar to the need to fidget. Do you click a pen or bounce your leg while you’re listening? While some people think fidgeting is distracting, it’s actually been shown to increase attention span. It also helps with the retention of information. Similarly, a study revealed that people report feeling more alert after popping bubble wrap.

On this Monday morning, Private Home Health Care encourages you to sharpen your focus and pop bubble wrap!

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National Soup Month

Oh, there are a million ways to enjoy soup! And now there is another reason to do so. January is National Soup Month. Perfect isn’t it because nothing drives away those chilly winter blues like a hot bowl of your favorite soup. And it’s nutritious too! So, go ahead, indulge and get souped-up on soup this month.

They say that chicken soup is like penicillin when you have a cold or seasonal flu. Now science confirms that it is in fact true! There is a reason why you felt better after your mother or grandmother made you chicken soup when you were fighting an illness.

Chicken soup appears to help fight colds, according to several studies. The chicken and broth itself has protein, which is important for keeping your body strong because it is weakened when you are sick. Often when you feel under the weather, you don’t have much of an appetite, and chicken soup is the perfect thing to consume when you need nutrients but don’t feel up to eating much. 

Hot soup helps clear nasal congestion as well as thin mucus so you can better cough it up. The compounds found in onions and garlic found in chicken soup also play a part in getting rid of congestion. In addition, research shows it may have a mild anti-inflammatory effect than can help ease symptoms. Garlic and onions are at the rescue again – they are both high in antioxidants, which play a key role in helping your body heal!

Next time you are feeling sick, or even just chilly during the cold winter, have a nice hot bowl of chicken soup! Private Home Health Care knows that it will do just the trick!

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Spice Up Your Life

It’s time to spice up your life – today is National Hot Sauce Day! There are so many varieties of hot sauce and they are a staple in the culinary cultures of many countries throughout the world.

There is a reason behind this – hot sauce has many health benefits! Chili peppers contain a compound called capsaicin, which causes the burning sensation you feel after eating them. But capsaicin also can also help to alleviate pain by depleting the body’s supply of Substance P, a neurotransmitter that sends pain signals to the brain.

Weight loss – Spicy foods have been shown to help with weight loss. Capsaicin helps increase your core temperature which increases metabolism and helps burn calories faster. Research has shown that it could increase your metabolism by up to 5 percent. A recent study also showed that people consume about 75 fewer calories after eating food with red chili peppers compared to eating bland food.

Depression – Capsaicin has been shown to work as an endorphin. The body produces endorphins, like serotonin, in response to the heat, which it mistakes for pain. This makes you feel better and decreases the risk for depression or stress.

Cancer Prevention – Capsaicin works as an antioxidant, protecting cells from harmful molecules called free radicals that can cause cancer. In lab studies, Capsaicin, an active component of chili peppers, has been shown to slow and destroy cancer cells.

Heart Disease – Chili peppers reduce the damaging effects of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which is your bad cholesterol. And capsaicin helps fight inflammation, which has been proven as a risk factor for heart issues.

The vitamin A and C found in these plants may help strengthen the heart muscle walls, and the heat of the peppers increases blood flow through your body. All of these factors working together may help lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health.

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National Hot Sauce Day

National Hot Sauce Day

Today is National Hot Sauce Day! It is a spicy and delicious condiment, but did you know that there are great health benefits for your gut and digestive health?

Your taste buds and your gut may be more connected than you think. When you bite into a pepper, the capsaicin attaches to a receptor that communicates with other cells. That communication causes a nerve on your tongue to immediately tell your brain that it’s hot.

That same receptor is found in your digestive tract. When capsaicin enters your digestive tract and attaches to the receptor, it creates a chemical called anandamide. Anandamide has been shown to lead to less inflammation in the gut, which can be caused by conditions such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

Also, this very reaction that calms down your gastrointestinal tract may also help prevent cancer and keep it tumor-free. Private Home Health Care encourages you to add some hot sauce to your food today in honor of your health!

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National Cheese Lover’s Day

National Cheese Lover’s Day

Cheese – it’s always a good idea.

On January 20, get ready to ‘havarti’ a ‘gouda’ time, because it’s National Cheese Lover’s Day! We know that cheese is love at first bite; when the first human tasted the salty, tangy, delicious goodness of cheese, they were hooked. And we can definitively say that human history was forever changed. Cheese might have had mysterious beginnings over 7,000 years ago, but it’s insanely popular today. In the U.S, one-third of all milk produced in this country goes into cheese production. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry! We’re ready to celebrate it.

There are so many varieties: cheddar, mozzarella, stilton, gouda, parmesan, feta, American, goat, pepperjack, bleu, ricotta, brie, gorgonzola, swiss, provolone, manchego, jarlsberg, labne, assiago, cottage, camembert, chevre, string, monterey jack, queso blanco, munster, burrata, haloumi, pecorino, and paneer, there is certainly a cheese for every time, place, meal, and taste preference! Because it is made from milk, cheese is full of protein, and calcium. Protein is important for building muscle and keeping our bodily functions going, and calcium helps build strong bones and brain health. Certain cheeses, especially organic or unprocessed cheese, have omega nutrients in them, and boast more probiotics. In fact, cheese made from the milk of 100 percent grass-fed animals is the highest in nutrients and also contains omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin K-2. Cheese is also rich in Vitamins A and B-12, along with zinc, phosphorus, and riboflavin.

On National Cheese Lover’s Day, go beyond your usuals and make a cheese plate with lesser known or unfamiliar cheeses. You will be surprised as to what you may like and discover! You can also celebrate by indulging in cheese fondue. Dipping things such as bread and pretzels in melty cheese goodness is always a great idea in our books. You can also make your own! Certain cheeses, such as ricotta, are easy to make in your own kitchen. All you need is whole milk, lemon or vinegar, a big pot and cheesecloth for straining.

Today, Private Home Health Care encourages you to enjoy one of our favorite foods – cheese!

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More About National Popcorn Day!

Popcorn is great if you are trying to manage your weight because it is a snack solution that can help you avoid weight gain. Its high fiber content, in addition to its low calorie count, contributes to this important health benefit. These properties of the snack can make people feel more full than a less healthy, fattier snack would. And, it is a fun snack!

However, it is sometimes prepared with high amounts of fat, sugar, and salt, which is not only unhealthy in itself, but can also lead to overeating. That is why it is very important to prepare your popcorn the right way. Movie theater or microwave popcorn loaded with butter and mountains of salt is not a very healthy choice. However, buying lightly salted pre-prepared bagged popcorn or making your own at home is a much healthier choice.

Did you know: The oldest piece of popcorn was discovered in New Mexico and is said to be over 5,000 years old. Today around 1.2 billion pounds are consumed by Americans every year, making it America’s most popular snack food by volume.

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