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Junk Food

Junk Food

July 21st dedicates a giant menu of items to National Junk Food Day. Each year, the day permits us to chow down on the foods we usually don’t include in our daily diet. Junk foods, by definition, typically contain high fats, sugars, salt, and calories and very little nutritional value.

How did junk foods come to be?

With the advent of packaged foods during the late 1800s, junk food made its way into American life. Still, home-cooked meals remained the standard for several more decades. Eventually, after World War II, the artery-clogging industry took off. Since the population ate out more, traveled more, the industry was primed to produce products at an increased rate.

From the frozen food aisle to fast food chains, a myriad of choices for consumers flooded the market. Potato chips, baked goods and so much more filled supermarket shelves, prepackaged and ready to go.

By the 1970s, junk foods earned a name and a bad one, too. Michael Jacobson, a microbiologist, is credited with coining the phrase. He also set out to curb our appetite for the high sugar, high salt, high preservative foods Americans consumed at an alarming rate.

While deep-fried, fat-laced foods increase our waistlines, cholesterol, and blood sugar numbers, an occasional indulgence shouldn’t impact a healthy, diverse diet and lifestyle. That means there is room for occasional, reasonable indulgence. This does not mean eat a fast food cheeseburger every day! This means that it is ok to enjoy a small slice of cake at a birthday party with a healthy meal! Balance is key. For instance, if you want pizza for lunch, have a single slice with a nice, big, yummy salad. 

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National Junk Food Day

Today, July 21, is National Junk Food Day. Over the past few months, COVID and social distancing have been challenging experiences for people. When you are stuck in the house for a long time, it is easy to turn to junk food even though we know it is not the best choice. Frequently eating junk food can become a very unhealthy habit.

“It is hard to resist junk food especially because it is made to be addictive, hitting our taste buds with potently enhanced chemicals that are designed to stimulate our domaine. Cravings hit, often as our mood or energy drops and it’s tempting to turn to that bag of chips or sugar-laden cookies. But it’s important that we remind ourselves that junk food and poor quality nutrition in general, contribute to and exacerbate physical and mental illness. This is true for short term as well as long term health.”

Luckily, it is now summer and the weather is beautiful! Being outside can do wonders, and when people enjoy the fresh air and get exercise, they are happier and less likely to turn to junk food. Take advantage of the season – get outside, exercise and visit farmer’s markets with lovely, healthy foods.

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International Jump Day!

Jump for joy, it is international jump day! Today we talk about jumping!

When we ‘jump for joy’, it means that we are so excited and happy that we literally jump! Try to incorporate more of that happiness in your life and find reasons to jump for joy!

Jumping is also a great exercise! That is why we always see boxers doing it. You can get fit and achieve results from home with a simple jump rope!

Benefits of jumping and jumping rope:

-Burns calories

-Builds up different muscle groups – there are many muscle groups used when jumping!

-Decreases risk of foot and ankle injuries (because muscle groups are strengthened!)

-Increases bone density

-Improves coordination

-It is fun!

-Better balance

-Great for cardiovascular health

-Improves breathing efficiency

-Enhances ability to stay calm – improved ability to jump rope and be synchronous with your body, mind and the rope, can actually help you be more calm in other situations.

So remember to jump for joy and jump for fitness today!Grab a jump rope, get hopping and be amazed by the different ways your body and mind will benefit.

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Massage for Arthritis and Well Being

Massage for Arthritis and Well Being

The third week in July celebrates ‘National Everybody Deserves a Massage Week’. This is a touching week, and we are highlighting the benefits of massage for those suffering from arthritis. At Private Home Health Care, we value integrative therapies and medicines to best benefit our clients, and massage therapy is a proven method to help ease symptoms.

Massage therapy from a registered massage therapist can be a great short-term, drug-free way to soothe arthritis pain and stiffness, as well as help you keep moving. Massage helps relieve pain and eases the muscle stiffness associated with arthritis by improving circulation, helping to reduce inflammation. That translates to enhanced blood flow to arthritic joints, improved movement, and reduced pain.

Benefits of massage are as much physical as they are mental and emotional. Massage also lowers the body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol while boosting production of serotonin, which can improve mood. Additionally, massage can lower production of the neurotransmitter substance P, often linked to pain, and improve sleep as a result.

Our motto – ‘Compassion is at the Heart of Our Care’ rings true for family members of our clients as well! ‘Everybody Deserves A Massage Week’ reminds us of the importance of self care. At Private Home Health Care, our job is to provide the very best care for your loved ones and support aging in place. We encourage their family members to take the very best care of themselves! Massage therapy is a proven method for stress relief and relaxation, and a great way to do self care. This week, give or receive a massage from someone close, or book a massage this week with your favorite massage therapist, because everybody deserves a massage!

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National Lollipop Day

National Lollipop Day

July 20th recognizes National Lollipop Day as a way to celebrate this enduring and ever-popular treat. Pick up your favorite flavor to savor! 

Ever delightful and sweet, lollipops have satisfied generations of sweet tooths. And it’s possible they’ve been doing that for centuries. However, no one is sure how old the lollipop is. During prehistoric times, a form of lollipop may have preserved nuts and berries in honey.

In the United States, confectionaries and medicine shops as early as the 1860s sold lollipops in various forms. However, George Smith gave this sweet treat an official 20th-century story in 1908. Smith earns credit for inventing the modern style lollipop. In 1931, Smith trademarked the name which he claims came from his favorite racing horse, Lolly Pops.

Nowadays, lollipops are now more than just a fun candy! There are cough drops in lollipop shaped form, which is important for seniors who may be prone to choking on cough drops. Have a loved one who is a big lollipop fan? Healthier lollipops are becoming popular! These lollipops are organic and infused with vitamins, which is a fun way to take a multivitamin!

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Your Brain on Chess

Your Brain on Chess

Today is international chess day!

In the game of chess, two opponents go head to head with 16 playing pieces each. These pieces include eight pawns, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, one queen and one king in each color. Their objective is to capture the opponent’s king through a series of strategic moves.

Chess is recognized and scientifically proven as a powerful tool against dementia and Alzheimer’s. It is known that mental stimulation, including games, helps delay, reduce, or even improve cognitive decline and associated diseases. Chess in particular has been recognized as a leading activity for brain health. As we know, the brain is just like a muscle – if you don’t use it, you lose it, and you need to continuously exercise it in order to maintain top brain functioning.

But what about chess makes it so good for your brain?

Improves memory – Being a good player means remembering how your opponent has operated in the past and recalling moves that have helped you win before. 

Grows Dendrites – This means that chess physically bolsters your brain. Dendrites are the tree-like branches that conduct signals from other neural cells into the neurons they are attached to. Think of them like antennas picking up signals from other brain cells. The more antennas you have and the bigger they are, the more signals you’ll pick up. Dementia and Alzheimer’s involve dendrites becoming weakened or tangled, which lessens memory and brain functionality. But, learning a new skill like chess-playing causes dendrites to grow!

Improved concentration – Looking away or thinking about something else for even a moment can result in the loss of a match, as an opponent is not required to tell you how he moved if you didn’t pay attention.

Problem solving – A chess match is like one big puzzle that needs solving, and solving on the fly, because your opponent is constantly changing the parameters.

Enhances Creativity – Since the right hemisphere of the brain is responsible for creativity, it should come as no surprise that activating the right side of your brain helps develop your creative side. Specifically, chess greatly increases originality. 

Chess uses BOTH sides of the brain – Chess is an encompassing brain-game, which means that it involves many parts of your brain! The game is considered a science and an art. Studies show that in order to play chess well, a player must develop and utilize his or her brain’s left hemisphere, which deals with object recognition, as well as the right hemisphere, which deals with pattern recognition. Over time, thanks to the rules and techniques involved in the game, playing chess will effectively exercise and develop not one but both sides of your brain, which is ideal for brain health!

Improved reading and raises IQ – Many studies have shown that playing chess improves reading and raises IQ for children, teenagers, adults, and seniors!

Strengthens planning and foresight – A telling symptoms of cognitive decline is decreased planning and foresight. Strategy games like chess can promote prefrontal cortex development and help them make better decisions in all areas of life, especially those affected by dementia.

Did you know: Millions of people all over the world have been playing chess for over a thousand years! Chess developed in India during the fifth century. Also, the term ‘Checkmate’, used when defeating an opponent in chess, derives from the Persian phrase Shah Mat. The phrase means “the King is dead.”

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Emojis Are for Seniors, Too!

Emojis Are for Seniors, Too!

Today is World Emoji Day! World Emoji Day on July 17 is a holiday that validates our obsession over these little digital graphic icons. While sometimes they may seem silly, according to various psychologists and researchers, they may play a vital role in the way we communicate today. In fact, Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year for 2015 was the “emoji” – Light up your friends’ phones with all the emojis you want today – it’s a healthy obsession.


Seniors are now using emojis in record numbers! Today’s seniors have embraced technology, which is very important for staying in touch with family and friends! The fun emojis in text messages, emails, and on social media make for an even better experience that helps express emotions and messages. Emojis help increase the sense of emotion in digital messages, which helps combat loneliness and isolation that can be challenging for seniors.

In fact, in 2016 an older adult was frustrated that she was not being represented in emojis, so she designed her own for senior citizens. In 2018, The Unicode Consortium – a group that helps to standardize text and symbols – has just approved 12 grey haired emojis. Now seniors have one more tool in the toolbox for discussing issues that impact older adults.

The release of the first iPhone by Apple in 2007 had an emoji keyboard embedded into the phone to nab the Japanese market. While not intended for U.S. users to find, they did and quickly figured out how to use it.So go ahead, send as many emojis today as you can!

World Emoji Day encourages us to use emojis to send unique messages. From transportation, food, an assortment of wild and domesticated animals to social platforms, weather, and bodily functions, emojis virtually speak for themselves.

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Peachy Keen!

Peachy Keen!

Another reason why we love peaches at Private Home Care is because peaches are very nutritious!

Peaches are high in iron (36% of daily recommended intake!), which is important for many bodily functions, especially for promoting healthy blood cells. Eating peaches can help heart health because the help reduce factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure, ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels.

Peaches boast many nutrients and antioxidants, and are a great source of Vitamin C and Vitamin A! Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that promotes important for immunity, reducing free radical oxidative damage, and reducing the risk for chronic diseases. As we know, all of this is very important for brain health! Vitamin A is important for healthy skin and eyes, reducing inflammation, boosting the immune system, and building a healthy gut lining.

They also can aid digestion. Peaches are a good source both insoluble and soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is important for a smooth and healthy digestive system and compounds in soluble fiber provide food for beneficial bacteria in your intestines. In turn, these bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids — such as acetate, propionate, and butyrate — which feed the cells of your gut. That means that eating peaches can help reduce inflammation, improve symptoms of digestive disorders (such as Crohn’s or IBS), and decrease risk of stomach or bowel cancer. The fiber in peaches also helps keep blood sugar levels stable, and keep you fuller for longer so weight loss is easier.

Peaches are good for your skin (there is a reason why they call soft skin ‘peach fuzz’!). Compounds in peaches and peach flowers may help keep your skin healthy by maintaining moisture and protecting against UV sun damage. Antioxidants in peaches also promote younger looking skin! Additional peaches include reduced allergies, a great source of potassium, and they are widely available and easy to add to your diet.

Sounds peachy keen!

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National Peach Ice Cream Day!

Fresh Peach Sorbet

Today, July 17, is National Peach Ice Cream Day!Taking a bite into a ripe, juicy, peach on a hot day is one of the best simple pleasures of summer! Another reason why peaches are perfect to eat during summer months is that peaches keep you hydrated because they are 85% water!

For seniors, peaches can bring back nostalgic memories of beloved summer days and they are soft fruits that can be easy to eat when cut up. Peach ice cream is even easier to eat, and it cools you off during hot weather!

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Private Home Care is a Sure Bet!

Private Home Care is a Sure Bet!

Happy National Lottery Day!

If you feel extra lucky on July 17th, it might be because it’s National Lottery Day! However, you do not need to buy a ticket to win! Our clients have described Private Home Care as ‘winning the lottery’ in terms of home health care and our high quality services. Our expert, compassionate caregivers ensure the best care for our clients. Private Home Care is a sure bet for you and your loved ones!

Lotteries date back to the 15th century. While early lotteries funded village needs by feeding and clothing the poor, they also strengthened defenses. According to Random Riches author, Manfred Zollinger, one of the oldest lotteries dates back to 1441 in Bruges, Belgium.

In early lotteries, merchants paid for the chance to win money prizes. Often, the grand prizes included the tax farm on the wijnscrooderschap (wine transporters). These early Renaissance lotteries granted one grand prize winner the opportunity to own the tax farm. Their winnings also included quality control of the wine. There’s no question, merchants gained a lucrative position if they won this lottery.

In the United States, early lotteries paid for cannons during the American Revolution. Lottery money also paved roads up and down the East Coast. Today, states own and operate the lotteries. The funds they gather support government programs and the communities they serve.

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