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Slow Down Cognitive Decline

Some degree of cognitive decline is inevitable. This may include forgetfulness, trouble remaining focused, and decreased problem solving skills.

Cognitive decline can turn into more serious conditions such as dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease.

Luckily, there are dietary and lifestyle changes you can make that can reduce age related cognitive decline.

Dietary and Lifestyle Changes

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables instead of Switch from a western diet high in simple sugars and saturated fats to a Mediterranean diet with more fruits and vegetables.

 

  • Restricting calories could improve memory and learning.

 

  • Exercise stimulates your mind and can lead to enhanced cognitive function

 

Balance Your Hormones

Throughout your brain there are hormone receptors that transcript all of your genetics, including cognition and behavior. Keeping your hormones balances can prevent cognitive decline and emotional turmoil.

Some of the hormones you should keep in check:

  • Estrogen

Studies show that postmenopausal women with higher levels of endogenous estradiol display better semantic memory than those who are deficient

  • Testosterone

Higher testosterone levels were linked with better performance on the Mini-Mental State Examination at baseline. Aging men given testosterone replacement showed improved cognition function in a recent study.

Anxiety and Stress

Research shows that those with higher anxiety levels have to exert more energy to function compared to those with little to no level of anxiety. This means that in those with higher stress levels and anxiety that an environment for deterioration of the brain is created.

Meditation is an amazing way to combat stress and anxiety. Studies have revealed that meditation significantly increased cerebral blood flow in several major brain regions.

 

Sources: Life Extension

 

 

 

 

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Improve sleep to lower chances of heart disease and stroke

Good quality sleep is essential to having a healthy body, and preventing serious illnesses. Lead researcher, Dr Nobuo Sasaki, states, “Poor sleep is associated with cardiovascular diseases such as ischemic heart disease and stroke but the kind of sleep disturbances that are most risky is not well documented. Poor sleep includes too short or too long sleep, difficulty falling asleep, and difficulty maintaining sleep.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mayo Clinic offers some great tips to achieve better quality of sleep.

Stick to a sleep schedule

  • Pay attention to what you eat and drink
  • Create a restful environment
  • Limit daytime naps
  • Include physical activity in your daily routine
  • Manage worries

Sources:

Science Daily

Mayo Clinic

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Mercury’s effect on gene expression

Mercury is a neurotoxin that may trigger a broad range of illnesses when exposed in large, or small amounts. It is a naturally occurring component. Although, the burning of fossil fuels and other forms of pollution increase concentrations of mercury in our air, water, and food.

In large amounts mercury causes severe neurological disorders, most often in people who have consumed highly contaminated fish.

A team of researchers from the Universtiy of Geneva, Switzerland, ran a study that suggest how smaller concentrations of mercury affects gene expression. Even with low exposure, algae showed altered genetics. This can affect the central nervous system of top consumers as mercury concentrations accumulate through the food chain.

Possible symptoms of mercury poisoning include:

  • Loss of peripheral vision
  • “pins and needles” feelings usually in the hands, feet, and around the mouth
  • Lack of coordination
  • Impaired speech, hearing, and walking
  • Muscle weakness

How to detox from mercury exposure

  • Diet – avoid all sugar and milk, limit processed foods
  • Beneficial Bacteria – take one quarter to one half teaspoon a day of a high quality probiotic.
  • Use bathroom regularly
  • Eat garlic and cilantro – both herbs aid in removing toxins from your body.

Sources:

Science daily

Environmental Protection Agency

Mercola

epa.gov

 

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Brain Health Awareness

Are you taking the steps necessary to maintain a healthy brain? What is brain health exactly? Having a healthy brain means that one of your most important organs is functioning at optimal level. This includes your ability to recall memories, problem solve, learn, concentrate, and how you oversee life. It is never too late to adopt healthy lifestyle habits that can reduce your risk of declining brain health. Let’s go through some of the top ways to stay on top of brain function…

Move your body!

Exercising on a regular basis is essential to having a healthy brain. Aerobic exercise increases your heart rate, sending blood to the brain and body; researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas published a new study that found regular exercise improves brain health in aging adults. Those who follow an exercise regime showed an increase in blood flow to the anterior cingulate (region linked to excellent cognitive function in mature brains) and the hippocampus (key region affected by Alzheimer’s disease). You don’t have to spend money or do anything extravagant; even a short, daily walk can promote good brain health.

Don’t just exercise your body, exercise your brain too.

Cardiovascular exercise may show regional blood flow, but if you really want to optimize your brain health mental training is essential. Complex mental training increases your entire brain’s blood flow. This can mean signing up for a class at a local college or online, or reading at home on a regular basis. Not only will you see changes in your memory, mood, and confidence, but your overall quality of life will improve as well. Combining physical and mental exercises could be the best way to improve your overall cognitive function.

Relax.

Even though stress can motivate people to perform and get things done, too much of anything is bad for you, and your brain health. Studies show that stress can have a negative effect on multiple illnesses, and cognitive function. Adding meditation into your routine can reduce stress levels, improve emotional wellbeing, and overall health. The best part is you can practice it anytime, anywhere. There are many variations of meditation you can try to see these benefits, including: guided meditation, mindfulness, yoga, focused attention, or simply relaxed, deep breathing. Keep an open mind, and know that there is no “wrong” way to meditate. Lower daily stress, and bring balance to your mind and body.

Cut out the junk.

Food is fuel, what is in your fuel determines how well your brain and body function. Studies have found that processed food worsens your ability to regulate insulin, promotes inflammation and stress, and impairs brain health. Depriving your brain of quality nutrition is a sure way to speed up cognitive decline. Eating a balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke, and mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety.

Get enough sleep.

Nobody enjoys feeling sluggish and tired. Not getting enough rest impairs your ability to problem solve, reason, and concentrate. Studies show that sleep restores your brain health by flushing out toxins, and repairing cells. The glymphatic system drains waste from the brain by sending fluids through channels that surround your brain’s blood vessels. Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center discovered that this system can help remove a toxin known as beta-amyloid, a protein found in the brain tissue of patients with Alzheimer’s. Getting the sleep your body needs is essential to cognitive function.

Get started today!

A healthy lifestyle reciprocates a healthy brain. No matter what your age is you can embark on the journey of improving your life. It may take a few tweaks and adjustments to your daily life, but with consistency you will begin to see the benefits in no time.

Sources:
Brain Health

Mayo Clinic

Harvard Health

Nih Gov

 

 

 

 

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Food and Alzheimer’s prevention

What we eat every day is a main source of health, and our natural disease killer.

The best way known to prevent Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases is to have a healthy lifestyle. It includes great nutrition (with nutrient-dense foods- high in minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, low in sugar and toxins); regular aerobic exercise (especially when you enjoy it); good sleep (in a routine and truly restful); and being happy (doing what you love, building healthy relationships, and managing stress).
It is essential to be aware that lifestyle is constant, habitual, and built throughout our lives. Thus, start with one of its areas and improve – you will definitely see results with consistency.
On this post the main goal is to share information about how to use food in our favor. As the father of medicine Hippocrates said once: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Today, learn about some foods that are great for the body and for the mind. These are exceptional foods, great for Alzheimer’s disease prevention but also for overall health.

 

 

The Brain Foods

1.Blueberries

The anthocyanins and flavonoids found in blueberries are polyphenols that act as powerful, natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, so they help protect the entire body from free radicals and inflammation. Studies have shown that diets rich in blueberries significantly improved both the learning capacity and motor skills of aging rats, making them mentally equivalent to much younger rats. It is not fully understood how these plant nutrients affect the brain, but it is likely that the polyphenols improve nerve connections and stimulate cell repair. Make sure you implement your diet with some blueberries.

 

2. Wild Salmon

This and other deep water fish (mackerel, sardines) are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are an essential part of brain structure and function. This fatty acid can lower blood levels of beta-amyloid, a protein related to Alzheimer’s. A Columbia University study found that the more Omega-3 fatty acids a person eats, the lower their blood beta-amyloid levels. The recommended is about 8oz per week.

 

3. Nuts and Seeds

There are so many different options of flavors,presentation and ways to use these amazing foods that no one can get bored! Walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, filberts, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, flax seed, as well as nut butters (without sugar) and tahini. Almonds and Hazelnuts are two of the most concentrated sources of vitamin E available, and vitamin E intake is generally associated with less age-related cognitive decline. Walnuts are the top nut for brain health. They have a significantly high concentration of DHA, a type of Omega-3, which has been shown to protect brain health in newborns, improve cognitive performance in adults, and prevent or ameliorate age-related cognitive decline. DHA is also related to neurogenesis, the regeneration of neurons.

 

4. Avocado

Healthy unsaturated fats in avocados help keep your brain cell membranes flexible, according to Kansas State University. A study published in the October 2012 issue of the “Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology” found that monounsaturated fatty acids helped protect nerve cells in the brain known as astrocytes, which provide support to information-carrying nerves. Its monounsaturated fats also help in lowering the blood pressure, associated with brain health. Enjoy it in your guacamole, a green avocado smoothie or as a side.

 

5. Spinach, Kale, and other Leafy Greens

Full of antioxidants and fibers. The antioxidants protect your cells against free radical damage, either the naturally produced in our bodies or the one obtained from external stresses. Fibers are essential for the gut microbiome health (known to influence in all processes of the body), and they help in maintaining blood sugar levels, strongly related to brain diseases. There are many creative ways of including these great vegetables in your diet, and they do taste delicious!

 

 

6. Cocoa or Dark Chocolate

Research already shows that the cocoa in dark chocolate, which contains flavonoids (a plant compound that helps with the body’s circulation), can help combat heart disease. Also, flavonoids may help slow down the effects of dementia. Its is known to have powerful antioxidant properties, and it stimulates the production of endorphins, which helps improve mood. Always prefer chocolate 70% or more in cocoa. Enjoy with moderation for anything that has sugar or just freely enjoy it in unsweetened recipes!

 

Implementing good foods not just as part of a diet, but as part of a routine and leisure is the key to the healthy lifestyle we all look for. Start with small steps and build the best version of yourself!

 

Resources

Web MD 

Huffpost

BrainHQ

SFGate

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May: Skin Cancer Prevention and Detection Month

In May, the weather is warmer and people start going out to enjoy the sun. We all know that absorbing some vitamin D is essential for our health, but being aware and cautious about its risks is part of the strategy for a balanced and healthy life. Let’s be aware of melanoma and skin cancer detection and prevention. Melanoma and skin cancer are types of cancer – the most common ones in the United States – that develop in skin cells when they start to grow out of control, and may spread to other parts of the body. They are normally caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays, either from the sun, tanning beds or sun lamps.

 

Prevention of Skin Cancer

 

Prevent Always

  • Avoid burning and intentional tanning (in the sun or tanning beds).
  • Stay in the shade when sun’s rays are the strongest, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Use long-sleeved shirts and pants, hat and sunglasses whenever possible.
  • Apply sunscreen on exposed body surfaces; it should be applied on the face every day.
  • Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 or higher for protection from ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation.
  • Apply 15 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every two hours.
  • Be extra cautious around snow, water and sand as these are surfaces that reflect more sunrays.

Detect Early

  • Do monthly complete body self-examinations to spot any signs of developing skin cancer. Learn how to do the self-examination step by step in the website below:

http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/early-detection/step-by-step-self-examination

  • Invest in a first doctor’s examination and have it done at least once a year, along with your self-examination.
  • Remember: skin cancers found and removed early are almost always curable!

 

Resources

www.cancer.org  Accessed in April 23, 2017.

www.skincancerprevention.org/skin-cancer/prevention-tips

www.skincancer.org/

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April is National Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month. 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is the most common functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder individuals struggle with worldwide.   The disease can be difficult to diagnose, because there are no physical signs, or specific testing that can be done to confirm IBS.  Therefore, the diagnosis is a process of ruling out other conditions.  Women are more frequently diagnosed with the disease than men, but the reasons are unknown.

This disease is characterized by symptoms that last for at least 6 months and involve belly pain for at least 3 days in a month, for at least 3 months.  If you have two of the following symptoms you may have IBS:

  • Changes in bowel movement patterns (diarrhea or constipation, and change in structure)
  • Bloating and excess gas
  • Pain in lower belly
  • Mucus in stools

What causes IBS? 

The cause is not fully understood; however, there may be possible factors like genetics, prior infections, trauma, as well as, alterations in bowel bacteria, and increased intestinal inflammation.

How to manage IBS?

Lifestyle changes are important in managing IBS. These include the following:

  • Reducing stress
  • Hypnosis
  • Acupuncture
  • Exercise

Can Nutrition and Supplements help with IBS?

Nutrition plays a role in managing all disease including IBS.  First, avoid trigger foods, and stimulants (caffeine, tobacco), and non-nutritive sweeteners (sorbitol and Xylitol).   Supplements can help with managing the disease, turmeric, peppermint oil and probiotics, have been show to improve symptoms of IBS.  Probiotics help with building health bacteria in the gut, so they are something you want to take on a daily bases.  Not all supplements are created equally, verify the quality and select those with the most scientific research backing their benefits.

Inflammation Management ABCs

Inflammation is the root of all disease, and controlling it will help reduce symptoms.  Start with increasing fiber to feed healthy bacteria, add fish oil to help reduce inflammation, and add a food supplement supported by clinical trials that reduces inflammation.  Our experience has shown that Juice Plus+ is backed by clinical trials that support its inflammation busting properties, as well as studies that verify its support for healthy DNA, among numerous other health benefits.  Learn more about the product on our website under the nutrition tab.

 

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