Category Archives: Health Information

Letting Go Of Some Things , Is A Good Thing

Most people kick off January by creating resolutions that drastically aim to add healthy habits to their daily lives (which doesn’t always work, by the way ― and that’s OK). But sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is to let some things go instead.

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“The new year offers a fresh opportunity, while the weight of the past keeps us in a place of inaction,” said Olecia Christie, a certified life coach and owner of Optix Communications in San Antonio, noting that it’s important to discern when to release the things that no longer serve our own growth and happiness. 

With that in mind, here are a few things you should consider leaving behind in the new year, according to Christie and other experts:

Comparing your life to others’ on Instagram

In this era of social media, it always appears that everyone is living their best life — that is, everyone except you. Ibinye Osibodu-Onyali, a licensed marriage and family therapist at The Zinnia Practice in California, said you should remember that social media is a highlight reel. Comparing your daily life to a single picture capturing a perfect moment isn’t the best use of your time.

Instead, Osibodu-Onyali suggested engaging with the people you admire in 2020.

“Rather than spending so many hours per week scrolling mindlessly, begin to actually connect with people you admire on social media. Send them a DM, ask for advice, seek out actual mentorship,” she said. “You’ll be surprised how many new friends you will acquire just by reaching out, rather than being a jealous onlooker.”

Letting fear hold you back from something you want to do

Anthony Freire, the clinical director and founder of The Soho Center for Mental Health Counseling in New York, said in order to release fear, shame and guilt, you must first “shine a spotlight” on them.

“On your deathbed, you don’t want to be kicking yourself for not having completed your bucket list for any reason, but especially because of feelings like guilt, fear and shame — which are only problematic feelings because you’ve told yourself that you should feel that way,” he said.

Worrying about things you cannot control

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It’s unrealistic to suggest giving up worry or stress entirely ― these feelings are a normal part of life. Instead, try to focus just on the worries you can take action on.

“Focus your thoughts on things you can change. When you have a list of worry thoughts, write out what you can change and what you can’t. Work on the situation that you can change, and just release the rest. It takes a lot of time and practice to learn this skill, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find that you’ll worry less,” Osibodu-Onyali explained.

For some, this is easier said than done. If you find that you’re unable to manage your excessive worrying ― especially over things out of your control ― it might be worth seeking advice from a professional. This could be a sign of an anxiety disorder, which is a very real and common condition.

Old grudges or grievances

Research shows holding onto a grudge or anger for longer than necessary can be toxic for your physical and mental health. Right now is the perfect opportunity to work on letting go of some old baggage “by either working on repairing strained relationships or closing the chapter on relationships that cannot be salvaged,” Osibodu-Onyali said.

This doesn’t apply to people who have severely damaged or hurt you, but could be useful for someone you’ve grown distant with or just no longer envision as a healthy part of your life. You can either choose to move forward or let go.

“Although saying goodbye to a relationship can be tough, the closure can be very freeing,” Osibodu-Onyali said.

What other people think of you

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There’s a saying that goes “what other people think of you is none of your business.” It’s important to know what your values are and to be grounded in them, so that you’re not swayed by the thoughts of others. Osibodu-Onyali said she often challenges her clients by asking: “So what if they don’t like you? What happens next?” She said more often than not, the answer is usually “nothing.”

“The truth is that the world doesn’t end and you don’t have to be liked by everyone,” she said. “Stick to your core group of supporters who truly love and respect you, and don’t spend time worrying about the people who don’t quite get you. If they don’t get you, that’s OK. You can’t be a part of every group.”

The need to be right in every conflict

We’ve all strived to win arguments; however, that can cause more stress than it’s worth. Freire said letting go of the need to win “takes up enormous energy because people tend to want to be right.”

“How many times do we fight with someone and we’re simply fighting to be right?” he said. “We say things we can’t take back and later we apologize and think to ourselves ‘I overreacted’ or ‘We fought over something so stupid.’ Sometimes we don’t even remember why we were fighting to begin with. Sometimes trivial things we get stuck on are just smaller manifestations of larger underlying issues.”

These kinds of interactions can often lead to “negative self-talk and anxiety as [we] overanalyze the situation and stress about the impact of the interaction,” according to Elise Hall, a licensed and independent clinical social worker in Massachusetts.

Instead, try looking at a fight as a problem to be solved (experts say there’s one phrase that can easily help you do this with a partner). This can help you let go of the need to be right and put your focus on a solution.

This all might be challenging, but it could be worth it to increase your joy — even just by a fraction.

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Deficiency in Vitamin B12? Start looking at your eyes!

Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world, especially among the elderly age group. Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is very important in keeping the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy. So when there is insufficient levels of this vitamin, the body suffers.

Vitamin B12 plays an important role in the production of DNA and RNA, two molecules that are quite essential in the coding, decoding, regulation and expression of genes. Moreover, just like other B vitamins, B12 plays a role in the conversion of carbohydrates into energy.

Given its many uses in the different bodily processes, one is bound to suffer when this vitamin is lacking. For pregnant women, low levels of vitamin B12 could mean an increased risk of neural tube defects. For others, they may be at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and other health issues.

Fortunately, vitamin B12 deficiency can be easily addressed once identified and diagnosed. What’s also good here is there are certain signs and symptoms that could help determine the presence of this condition. There are even those that could be seen just by examining the eyes.

According to Mercola, a slight yellowing of the eyes could be indicative of the condition. Eye twitching and eyelid spasms are also signs that could help pinpoint vitamin B12 deficiency. In rare cases, optic nerve damage that could lead to vision loss may happen.

Should these signs become evident to you one day, you need to go see a doctor right away. Vitamin B12 deficiency may be easily reversed with intravenous vitamin B12 treatment and supplementation. The signs and symptoms may appear suddenly or gradually, so it’s best to have regular checkups.

Vitamin B12 can be obtained through diet. Meat and meat by-products are good sources of this nutrient. This means strict vegetarians and vegans are at a higher risk of developing this deficiency. For these types of eaters, Medical News Today recommends consuming yogurt, low-fat milk, cheese, eggs, fortified cereals and nutritional yeast.

It’s also important to note that even meat-eaters are at risk of developing this deficiency. Apparently, there are people that absorb nutrients poorly due to the insufficient stomach acid needed to break the protein bond in the different meats consumed. So experts advise to take vitamin B12 supplements.

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Easy Non-Equipment Exercises

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Diamond Push Ups

Start in a plank position. Bring index fingers and thumbs to meet, forming a triangle under chest. Bend elbows and lower torso as close to ground as possible. Push through palms to straighten arms. Modify this move by dropping to knees. Do 10 reps.

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PLANK UPS

Start in a forearm plank. Keeping abs tight and spine long, pick up right arm and right palm on ground. Repeat on left side, ending up in a high-plank position. Now reverse the movement, replacing right palm with right elbow and left palm with left elbow. That’s 1 rep. Be sure to keep hips still and facing the ground throughout the routine. Do 10 reps, alternating starting arms with each rep.

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50 or Older? Some Exercises Here For You, Check It Out.

Slide 2 of 7: Core muscle fibers tend to shrink and become less supple as we age, which can put more strain on your back. Planks are one of the best moves you can do to keep your core muscles strong. How to do it: Place your forearms on the floor with your elbows aligned below your shoulders and your arms parallel to your body about shoulder-width apart. Close your hands into fists. Push your toes into the floor and squeeze your glutes to stabilize the bottom half of your body. Be careful not to lock your knees. Neutralize your neck and spine by looking at the floor about a foot in front of your hands. Your head should be in line with your spine. Try to hold this position for 20 seconds. As you get more comfortable and your core gets stronger, hold the plank for as long as possible without sacrificing form or breath.
Forearm Plank
Core muscle fibers tend to shrink and become less supple as we age, which can put more strain on your back. Planks are one of the best moves you can do to keep your core muscles strong.
How to do it: Place your forearms on the floor with your elbows aligned below your shoulders and your arms parallel to your body about shoulder-width apart. Close your hands into fists. Push your toes into the floor and squeeze your glutes to stabilize the bottom half of your body. Be careful not to lock your knees. Neutralize your neck and spine by looking at the floor about a foot in front of your hands. Your head should be in line with your spine. Try to hold this position for 20 seconds. As you get more comfortable and your core gets stronger, hold the plank for as long as possible without sacrificing form or breath.
Slide 3 of 7: This is another great move for the core. It is particularly good for strengthening the obliques (the muscles on the sides of your core).How to do it: Start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Spread your fingers wide apart and press firmly through your knuckles and palms, distributing your weight evenly across your hands. Tuck your toes and lift your butt toward the ceiling as you extend your legs without locking your knees. Bring your body into the shape of an upside-down “V.” Then raise your right leg to move into the downward dog split. Bend your right knee and pull it toward your tummy and then toward your forehead. Then straighten and raise your leg back up toward the ceiling. Bend your knee and this time, bring it in toward your tummy and eventually toward your right elbow. Straighten your leg again, then bring your knee across your tummy and toward your left elbow. Repeat three times. Switch legs and repeat.
Downward Dog Split with Knee Drive
This is another great move for the core. It is particularly good for strengthening the obliques (the muscles on the sides of your core).
How to do it: Start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Spread your fingers wide apart and press firmly through your knuckles and palms, distributing your weight evenly across your hands. Tuck your toes and lift your butt toward the ceiling as you extend your legs without locking your knees. Bring your body into the shape of an upside-down “V.” Then raise your right leg to move into the downward dog split. Bend your right knee and pull it toward your tummy and then toward your forehead. Then straighten and raise your leg back up toward the ceiling. Bend your knee and this time, bring it in toward your tummy and eventually toward your right elbow. Straighten your leg again, then bring your knee across your tummy and toward your left elbow. Repeat three times. Switch legs and repeat.
Slide 4 of 7: You’ll tighten weak and flabby triceps with this exercise.How to do it: Sit on a sturdy chair. Place your palms against the seat of the chair, next to your hips, and scoot your butt forward until it comes off the chair and you are supporting your body weight with your arms and legs. Bend your legs at a 90-degree angle. Bend your elbows back and slowly lower your butt toward the floor. Keep your elbows tucked in. Your body should just clear the seat. Push back up until your arms are extended straight, but don’t use your feet for help. Do 8 to 15 reps.
Chair Dip

You’ll tighten weak and flabby triceps with this exercise.
How to do it: Sit on a sturdy chair. Place your palms against the seat of the chair, next to your hips, and scoot your butt forward until it comes off the chair and you are supporting your body weight with your arms and legs. Bend your legs at a 90-degree angle. Bend your elbows back and slowly lower your butt toward the floor. Keep your elbows tucked in. Your body should just clear the seat. Push back up until your arms are extended straight, but don’t use your feet for help. Do 8 to 15 reps.
Slide 5 of 7: Tone and strengthen your biceps, which will help you with independence and mobility as you get older. How to do it: Place a resistance band under your right foot. Hold one end of the band in each hand. Bend your elbows as you curl your hands toward your upper arms. Pull up for 2 seconds, breathing out as you raise the band, then release for 3 seconds. Make sure that you only move your arms, not your upper body. Do six reps, then switch to the left foot and do six more. For an added balance challenge, try standing on one leg while you perform the curls.
Biceps Curl

Tone and strengthen your biceps, which will help you with independence and mobility as you get older.
How to do it: Place a resistance band under your right foot. Hold one end of the band in each hand. Bend your elbows as you curl your hands toward your upper arms. Pull up for 2 seconds, breathing out as you raise the band, then release for 3 seconds. Make sure that you only move your arms, not your upper body. Do six reps, then switch to the left foot and do six more. For an added balance challenge, try standing on one leg while you perform the curls.
Slide 6 of 7: Squats are a fantastic way to tone your legs, glutes, and core muscles all at once. They help with balance and flexibility to prevent age-related falls.How to do it: Stand with your feet flat on the floor. Push your butt back and bend your knees down into a squat, no farther than 90 degrees. As you lower, raise both arms forward. At your lowest point, your glutes should be back as if you were going to sit down in a chair and your weight should be on your heels. If you are in the proper position, you should be able to raise your toes off the floor and you should be able to see your toes. Return to starting position as you lower your arms to your sides.

Squat

Squats are a fantastic way to tone your legs, glutes, and core muscles all at once. They help with balance and flexibility to prevent age-related falls.

How to do it: Stand with your feet flat on the floor. Push your butt back and bend your knees down into a squat, no farther than 90 degrees. As you lower, raise both arms forward. At your lowest point, your glutes should be back as if you were going to sit down in a chair and your weight should be on your heels. If you are in the proper position, you should be able to raise your toes off the floor and you should be able to see your toes. Return to starting position as you lower your arms to your sides.

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Childhood Anxiety

Children with anxiety may experience some physical symptoms we typically associate with physical illnesses — like stomachaches and headaches, for example. It’s important to be aware of these physical signs of childhood anxiety because more and more children are affected by anxiety every day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the U.S. alone, over 4.4 million children between ages 3 and 17 have diagnosed anxiety.

Here’s what our community shared:

1. Stomachaches and/or Vomiting

One of the most common symptoms of childhood anxiety is abdominal pain, or stomachaches, which can sometimes lead to vomiting. This is because the brain and gut are highly connected.

“If we think of the brain as a stereo receiver and speakers, it helps us understand how the gut-brain axis works. The gut reports pain to the spine, which relays the pain signals to the brain,” Nicole Sawangpont Pattamunch, Ph.D., director of general GI and GI education director at Seattle Children’s hospital said. “Children under stress, whether it be physical or emotional, will often have the volume dial turned up on their stereo receiver. How the brain receives and interprets the pain signal is highly tied to our emotional state.”

Awful stomachaches to the point where the nurse called my mother and said I was faking. I would be on the floor before school with such awful pains in my stomach. I went to so many stomach doctors and was told it was IBS, but now that I know how I feel when my anxiety is bad, I know that the doctors were wrong. None of them took a minute to think it could have been anxiety. — Amber A.

I vomit when I have severe anxiety. Did as a child growing up. — Deborah A.

A symptom of anxiety I had as a child was stomach aches. It got to a point where I needed ultrasounds to see why my stomach hurt, but as an adult I see it was because of anxiety. — Savannah W.

2. Headaches

Like adults, children can experience headaches as a result of anxiety or heightened stress. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), migraines and chronic daily headaches are also common in people who live with anxiety disorders.

Debilitating headaches that would last hours a day, nearly every day from middle school throughout high school. I got used to them because I had to, but they made everything so much harder to do. My mom would ask my doctors about them and they always blew them off, leaving me feeling like I was making them up and that they weren’t really as bad as they were. I never knew if they were tension headaches or migraines or what to call them. — Kimberly B.

3. Dizziness or Fainting

Dizziness in children is often linked to dehydration, but can also be due to anxiety. According to the Boston Children’s Hospital, a child who feels faint or dizzy might use terms like, “woozy,” “foggy” or “cloudy” to describe what they are experiencing.

Dizziness. I used to get so dizzy and convince myself I was going to faint. — Tracy K.

Was dizzy often and always scared. — Kellee S.

4. Heart Palpitations or Chest Pain

In adults, chest pain is often linked to cardiac problems, but in children, less than 2% of patients receive a cardiac diagnosis for their chest pain, according to a 2012 study. In the study, researchers found children with noncardiac chest pain reported higher levels of anxiety sensitivity.

Heart palpitations. I think every single time I’d have anxiety I’d feel my heart rev into gear and then go into full-blown panic. — Kristi A.

Left me with reoccurring chest pain throughout my adult life as an adult with anxiety. — Justine H.

Chest pain/heart palpitations and headaches/dizziness. I didn’t know it was anxiety at the time so I always thought I was going to die because of a heart issue or something. Missed so much class due to sick days and the times I was at school I remember hiding in the washroom trembling uncontrollably waiting for my panic attacks to end but wondering if/when I was finally gonna die. Not fun times. — Alicia C.

5. Hives

Ever notice when you get stressed, your skin starts to break out? Stress and anxiety can trigger acne breakouts or can even cause you to get hives on your skin. For children or adults who already have skin conditions like psoriasis, an autoimmune skin disease that causes red, scaly patches to appear on the skin, stress can trigger a flare-up.

I had hives on my arms and neck. — Katy K.

I broke out in hives constantly on my face as a child with anxiety. — Lisa D.

Severe blushing all over my body. At the time, I didn’t know it was related to anxiety. I just thought I was weirdly sensitive to heat and touch but now I know I was having severe panic attacks that would leave me bloodshot all over my body. — Mary T.

6. Loss of Appetite

Stress and anxiety sometimes suppress our appetites to help us deal with pressure. This can be true in cases of childhood anxiety. In many cases, once the stress resides, a child’s appetite will return.

I couldn’t eat. Started not eating at school and only at home. Eventually stopped eating at home as well. I was in second grade. It continued until fourth grade. I still periodically can’t eat due to nerves and nausea, but it’s nothing like it was. I didn’t know it was anxiety when I was small. I just knew I felt sick and couldn’t swallow food. — Melissa H.

7. Skin Picking or Other Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors

According to the TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors, body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) like scratching, compulsive skin picking or hair pulling are seldom self-harm. In most cases, people engage in BFRBs as a way to self-soothe or alleviate anxiety.

I have scarring on the inside of my mouth thanks to chewing my cheeks when I was anxious. — Amity L.

I used to pull out my hair, one strand at a time, until I had bald spots all over my scalp. It was so embarrassing, but I would do it without even recognizing what I was doing. — Jillian H.

Chewed on my fingers and nails and skin around my nails until they bled. If that wasn’t working I would, and still do, chew on the skin on my upper and lower lip. — Katherine S.

8. Shortness of Breath

Children who have difficulty breathing sometimes have health issues like asthma, lung disease or pneumonia, but in some cases, shortness of breath can be related to anxiety. Anxiety-reducing strategies like exercise and deep breathing may help a child with this symptom.

Shortness of breath. My pediatrician kept dismissing it as my asthma. I didn’t find out it was anxiety until I was 15 and went to a new doctor. — Arena G.

9. Gas and Diarrhea

Indigestion, gas and diarrhea can be common physical symptoms of anxiety in adults and children. Whether related to anxiety or a different physical condition, if you or a child in your life is experiencing gastrointestinal issues, it’s important to seek treatment.

My anxiety hit my gut resulting in cramps, gas and sometimes diarrhea which, as you can imagine, caused some pretty rough times in social situations. To make matters worse, the fear and anxiety of having those embarrassing moments, led to more intestinal irritation, so I was caught in a vicious cycle. Trying to go to college a few years ago (at age 56), the issues almost caused me to drop out. — Vicki L.

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Good Bacteria~These Foods…

Foods with good bacteria, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins for gut health

1. Yogurt

If you’ve been toying with the idea of embarking on the Activia challenge, let this be your inspo to take the leap. “Live yogurt is an excellent source of so-called friendly bacteria, also known as probiotics,” says Dr. Sonpal. To maximize your yogurt’s health benefits, he recommends adding your own fresh fruit (instead of opting for sugary fruit-on-the-bottom types), as well as avoiding sugar-free or full-fat versions.

2. Miso

You don’t need to wait for your next sushi night to treat yourself to the gut-healing powers of miso, which is a staple in Japanese cooking made of fermented soya beans, and barley or rice. Like Dr. Sonpal, use the paste in dips and dressings or marinades for salmon and tofu. “It contains a range of helpful bacteria and enzymes [and is] suitable if you’re avoiding dairy,” he says.

3. Sauerkraut

Who knew one of the most popular hot dog toppings is actually super gut-friendly? “It’s a naturally fermented food that has the microorganisms Lactobacillus bacteria, which crowds out bad bacteria in the gut and allows the beneficial gut flora to flourish,” explains Dr. Sonpal. “This helps to lower irritable bowel syndrome symptoms like gas, bloating, and indigestion.” Plus, that tart taste you get from sauerkraut is an especially beneficial way to add flavor to your meals, since it comes from organic acids that help probiotics do their job, he says.

4. Wild salmon

Sure, you’re bound to reap more gut benefits from salmon than you would, say, red meat, but Dr. Sonpal says you should definitely aim for the wild variety, meaning the salmon was caught with a fishing pole in its natural environment, as opposed to farmed. “Wild salmon has an abundant source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory and is critical for healing an inflamed gut and preventing future episodes,” says Dr. Sonpal.

5. Kimchi

Whether eaten alone or part of a stew, kimchi is a mainstay in Dr. Sonpal’s diet for its gut-healing properties. “Because it’s made from fermented vegetables, this Korean side dish is a good choice for those who don’t consume dairy, and it’s a great source of dietary fiber, and vitamins A and C,” he says.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/nutrition/the-5-foods-a-gastroenterologist-always-always-keeps-in-the-fridge/ar-BBXUA1n?ocid=spartandhp

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