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5 FABULOUS FALL FRUITS FOR YOUR HEALTH & WELLNESS

fruits-664778_1920                  THE HEALTHY BOUNTY OF FALL

Welcome everyone! It’s #MENU MONDAY and officially Fall. It’s that time of year when trees show their beautiful autumn color, the days become shorter, the nights cooler and a bounty of fruit is ready for harvest.

So, let’s kick the season off by reviewing the perennial favorites you don’t want to miss. They not only smell and look great, but they’re filled with vitamins, minerals and nutrients that will stoke your fire and keep you going strong all season long.

5 HEALTHY AUTUMN FRUITS YOU CAN’T DO WITHOUT:

  1. APPLES. This fruit is always at the top of our “go to” list. Apples are rich in fiber with 4 grams per serving. So they not only aid our digestion, but they fill us up without adding a lot of calories. Apples also contain riboflavin and thiamin, which are good sources of B-complex vitamins. And, this fruit is loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants, both of which boost our immune system and protect us from illness and disease, including cancer. There are over 7,500 varieties of this fruit so eating an apple a day – no matter where you may be – is always an easy thing to do. The harvest season lasts through November so apples will make a great addition to every holiday meal coming up. Just make sure you leave the skin on – as this part contains all the heart healthy, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer flavonoids.
  2. PEARS. Here’s another plentiful and inexpensive fruit you’ll find all autumn long. Like apples, pears are great sources of fiber, which aids digestion and helps our body absorb the vitamins and minerals from our food. One medium pear contains 212 milligrams of potassium to maintain a healthy heart beat and strong, flexible muscles. And, pears supply 10 percent of our daily requirement of vitamin C – necessary for preventing infection, keeping our immune system strong and protecting from certain types of cancer. The vitamin K in a pear helps our blood clot properly and the vitamin A supports healthy eyes protecting them from degenerative eye disease. Make sure to take advantage of this fruit’s long harvest season, which began in August and will run through February.
  3. DATES. This Middle Eastern favorite has become a staple in cooking around the world. And, with good reason. The sweet flavor of this fruit blends perfectly in everything from salads, to stews, to desserts. Dates are low in fat and high in fiber. They are a wonderful source of potassium, which maintains heart health by reducing our risk for stroke and lowering blood pressure. As a wonderful source of magnesium, dates offer anti-inflammatory benefits for those suffering with arthritis and may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. And, the levels of vitamin B6 can improve brain performance and improve mental clarity and cognitive functions. The rather short harvest season for dates runs from September through December, although they can always be purchased from online vendors and specialty markets.
  4. CRANBERRIES. Cranberries are not just for the holidays. They are a superfood that can be enjoyed all year long with fresh cranberries available from October through December. These berries are nutrient dense and are loaded with fiber for digestive health and vitamin C for our immune system. Cranberries are rich in disease-fighting antioxidants, with a total antioxidant capacity of nearly 9,000 in one single cup. They contain phytochemicals that guard against aging, inflammation, bacterial infections and certain types of cancer. The berries only have 45 calories per cup and are famous for maintaining kidney and urinary health. But remember, while fresh and dried cranberries are equally beneficial, cranberries in juice or “cocktail” form are less nutritious.
  5. POMEGRANATES. Now, here we have a very underrated and overlooked fruit. Perhaps because it’s not the easiest fruit to eat? But, it’s an antioxidant powerhouse that protects against illness, infection and disease, including breast and prostate cancer. It contains insoluble dietary fibers for digestion, vitamin C for boosting immunity and ellagitannin compounds that are effective in reducing heart disease. One pomegranate also is rich in vitamin K, calcium, copper and potassium that help fight arthritis and joint pain, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation and improve memory. To harness its health benefits, cut the pomegranate in quarters and put the pieces in a bowl of water. The seeds will separate and sink to the bottom of the bowl. Once these are juiced, be sure to save the seeds and use them in your favorite salads.

And that, my friends, is the skinny on five fall fruits that you can enjoy right now and throughout the coming months. Autumn – it’s a cornucopia of healthy benefits!

Thanks again for joining me everyone. Until next time, stay in GOOD HEALTH and,

TAKE THE COURSE AND TAKE CHARGE!

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beyond-1063297_1280

THE HEALING POWER OF PETS – 5 PROVEN HEALTH BENEFITS

beyond-1063297_1280THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF PET OWNERSHIP

Welcome everyone to another #Wellness Wednesday. Today, this blog is going to the dogs – and cats – and, actually pets of every sort, shape and size. Because, today we’re going to discuss the Health Benefits of having a pet.

The French novelist Anatole France once wrote,  “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”

Of course, for those of us who have pets, we understand and agree with that statement completely. But, there’s more to our relationship with our pets than mere comfort and enjoyment. Our pets are actually good for our emotional, physical and mental health.

As a survivor of three different cancers, I can fully attest to this. My beloved dog Lady was instrumental in helping me through my first two cancers. And, my sweet Angel not only helped me through my third cancer, but continues to inspire me every day to do more, feel more and remain positive no matter what may come next. And, as a registered Therapy Dog, she does the same for so many individuals in our nearby hospitals and assisted living facilities.

Now, modern Pet Therapy actually dates back to the 1860s and the famed nurse Florence Nightingale. Through her work with the ill and disabled, she recognized the social support animals provided for her institutionalized and mentally ill patients.

The American Red Cross later followed her example and deployed dogs to convalescent and military hospitals after World War II – and other relief organizations utilized dogs, cats and rabbits to help victims of Hurricane Katrina recover. And, once again in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and the Sandy Hook tragedy dogs were used to calm and reassure the survivors.

Indeed, oncologist Edward Creagan of the Mayo Clinic stated, “If pet ownership was a medication, it would be patented tomorrow. Having a pet around is like an effective drug – but without any side effects. I can’t always explain it.”

No, we can’t always explain it. But, we can objectively verify it. Based on findings from several studies, here are 5 GREAT HEALTH BENEFITS OF PET OWNERSHIP:

  • DECREASED DEPRESSION. Petting, playing with and talking to our pet increases the levels of our “feel good” chemical dopamine. This is turn relaxes our nervous system, decreases mental anxiety and improves our emotional outlook.
  • REDUCTION IN STRESS. On a chemical level, owning and interacting with your pet appears to decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the blood, which can damage the body. As a result, we become more physically relaxed and mentally alert.
  • LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE. Focusing on our pets can shift our attention away from our problems and worries. This interaction can increase our body’s level of oxytocin, the hormone that promotes love and trust and is linked to a reduction in blood pressure and heart rate. And, this can provide us with a lower risk for developing heart disease and an increased chance for surviving it.
  • IMPROVED IMMUNE SYSTEM. Maximize the healing powers of your pet not just by talking, but by reaching out and petting her or him. The importance of touch in our relationships with our pets cannot be overemphasized. People who pet dogs, for example, experience an increase in immunoglobulin A, an antibody that supports and improves the immune system.
  • ELEVATED MOOD & FEELINGS OF WELL-BEING. The physical contact we have with our pet decreases feelings of isolation and loneliness. The increase in our “feel good” chemicals of dopamine and serotonin just make us feel better — and allow us to remain happy and relaxed while maintaining a stronger and more positive self-image.

So, perhaps it’s not really important that we understand all the “whys” of pet ownership and the resulting health benefits.  Maybe it’s just enough that we simply recognize the result J

As psychologist Debbie Custance of Goldsmiths College, University of London says, “When humans show us affection, it’s quite a complicated thing that involves expectations and judgments. But, with a [pet] it’s a very uncomplicated, non-challenging interaction with no consequences.”

However you look at it, pets can greatly influence the way our body functions – and as a result, the way we feel about ourselves and the world around us. They are our friends, teachers and healers – and wonderful conduits to a world of trust and empathy.

Thanks so much for joining me again everyone! Until next time, stay in GOOD HEALTH and . . .

TAKE THE COURSE AND TAKE CHARGE!

 

 

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september-1

PROSTATE CANCER AWARENESS MONTH – 4 RISK FACTORS & 4 COMMON SYMPTOMS

september-1                       PROSTATE CANCER –                      THE RISKS AND SYMPTOMS

Hello everyone and welcome back to another #Wellness Wednesday. It’s September – a month that’s often associated with PROSTATE CANCER AWARENESS. You see, one out of every seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. And, the numbers go up as men age. For example, of those men who live to be eighty, 80 percent will be diagnosed with this cancer. In fact, it is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in men the world over.

The good news, however, is that while prostate cancer is common and serious — it is a cancer from which most men will recover and successfully survive.

And, the key to surviving prostate cancer is the same as it is for most other cancers — Early Detection. This one thing will make all the difference in the world when recovering from and successfully surviving cancer.

But, in order to detect a problem early we need to understand what our personal risk is for a particular cancer and what the symptoms are for the cancer.

So, let’s get started with 4 BASIC RISK FACTORS for PROSTATE CANCER:

  1. AGE. Of course, age is a predominant risk for developing prostate cancer. And, this is true of most cancers. Sixty-five percent of prostate cancers typically are diagnosed in men over the age of sixty. The average age of a prostate cancer patient is around 70. And, the risk only increases as men grow older.
  2. ETHNICITY. Studies are consistent in finding that African American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer than Caucasian men. And, these studies also indicate that prostate cancer in African American men is likely to be more serious and without early detection, it’s more likely to be terminal.
  3. FAMILY HISTORY. This cannot be stressed enough. Heredity and Genetics play an extremely important part in the development of cancer. Men who have a first-degree relative (father, sibling or child) who was diagnosed with prostate cancer before the age of 65 are twice as likely to develop this cancer than other men. When a cancer is diagnosed earlier than the average age, it may indicate a genetic anomaly that must be monitored. And, it’s been estimated that 5 to 10 percent of all prostate cancers are linked to a family predisposition for the disease.
  4. LIFESTYLE. This is an important issue for any cancer. The development of most cancers can be influenced by inadequate exercise and poor diet. The misuse of alcohol and the use of tobacco products also will contribute to the development of many cancers, including prostate cancer.

Now that we know the risk factors of prostate cancer, let’s review 4 COMMON SYMPTOMS:

  1. INABILITY TO ACHIEVE AN ERECTION. Problems in bed. Every man experiences them from time to time. But, if this inability continues for any length of time it could indicate a more serious problem, including prostate cancer.
  2. PAINFUL EJACULATION. There may not be a problem in achieving an erection, but if there is pain in ejaculation prostate cancer may be indicated.
  3. BLOOD IN URINE OR SEMEN. The presence of blood can be due to other less serious conditions. But, if this symptom persists one should always be examined for the presence of prostate cancer.
  4. CHANGES IN URINATION. This includes a change in the frequency or urgency of urination. It also includes a slow flow or hesitancy in urination.

And, there we are Gentlemen. Understanding your risk factors and knowing the most common symptoms associated with prostate cancer will enable you to take a proactive approach to your personal healthcare. Remember, these symptoms may indicate other less serious conditions. But, always contact your primary care physician and make sure you know what you’re dealing with. Because, in Cancer Care Early Detection is one of our best defenses.

DON’T BE SURPRISED – BE PREPARED!

Thanks again for joining me everyone   –   Until next time stay in GOOD HEALTH and . . .

TAKE THE COURSE AND TAKE CHARGE!

 

 

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5 ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS FOR 4 COMMON COMPLAINTS

balance-1107484_1920A PERFECT BALANCE OF YIN AND YANG

Welcome back to #Wellness Wednesday everyone. As a survivor of 3 different cancers I’ve undergone just about every treatment for acute and chronic illness that exists in the world today. And, I believe there is value in everything. During my cancer treatment, for example, I remember weeks in which I would receive chemotherapy on Thursday – acupuncture on Friday – and massage therapy on Saturday.

I also believe that with a little trial and error, we can develop a harmonious marriage between western medicine and eastern tradition and philosophy. A perfect balance of “yin and yang” if you will.

Now, just to review, traditional western medicine – especially when it comes to cancer – typically includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Eastern traditional treatments for illness and pain include acupuncture, yoga, tai chi, massage therapy and relaxation among many others. The latter are referred to as CAM – or Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

As we’ve discussed before, many hospitals, medical centers and research facilities around the world are now incorporating CAM procedures into their traditional western treatments for patients suffering from a variety of conditions, including pain, inflammation, illness, injury and disease such as cancer.

And, an incredible amount of research has been conducted substantiating the need for and usefulness of CAM procedures in everyday medicine.

Now, another recent study from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health echoes past research. Specifically, this study focused on 5 SPECIFIC CAM PROCEDURES and the PAINFUL CONDITIONS they can help improve:

  • ACUPUNCTURE: Decreases back pain and pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knee.
  • YOGA: Very useful in treating tension, back pain and joint pain.
  • TAI CHI: Also useful in reducing back pain, joint pain and muscle tension. In addition, it helps reduce the pain associated with fibromyalgia.
  • MASSAGE THERAPY: Can be used to treat neck pain in particular. It can also help reduce overall body muscle stiffness and soreness.
  • MEDITATION: Along with the relaxation techniques of Yoga and Tai Chi – the mental techniques of Meditation are effective in treating headaches and chronic migraines.

Not surprisingly, national surveys over the last 25 years have found that CAM procedures are used by about 30 to 40 percent of the public in a given year in the United States alone.

Recognized in eastern tradition for centuries, these procedures have now found their rightful place in the practice of western medicine as well. Together, modern medicine and ancient techniques offer patients many hopeful options for medical treatment without the need for strong drugs and opioids – and the side effects these drugs often present.

So, the next time you experience headaches, pain from osteoarthritis or fibromyalgia, muscle stiffness or joint, neck and back pain – either from everyday activities or from treatment for a chronic illness — why not consider a CAM procedure as part of your wellness program? Speak to your primary care physician. You just might be pleasantly surprised by their results – the ease of their application – and their compatibility with all your other medical treatments and therapies.

Thanks again for joining me everyone! Until next time, stay in GOOD HEALTH and . . .

TAKE THE COURSE AND TAKE CHARGE!

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sunsets-1328102_1920

LABOR DAY WEEKEND – 10 GREAT REASONS TO GET SOME REST

sunsets-1328102_1920             LABOR DAY WEEKEND AND              THE IMPORTANCE OF REST

Hello everyone! I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe another summer is coming to an end. It’s the beginning of Labor Day Weekend and #FACTUAL FRIDAY. So, today we’re going to discuss the importance of taking time off with 10 GREAT REASONS to GET SOME REST over the Holiday.

Although it may sound contradictory, Labor Day is not a day of work. Historically, it’s a day to relax and celebrate the labors of all American workers.

Specifically, this holiday was organized to support a variety of labor issues. It began on the East coast with a pivotal event in New York City on September 5, 1882.  This event featured a huge picnic, which was attended by 10,000 laborers, including carpenters, bricklayers, jewelers and workers from every occupation AND their families.

Of course, it was a great success and the tradition continues today with more picnics, barbeques, parades and celebrations marking this holiday weekend throughout the United States.

And, taking time off from our labors – and allowing ourselves to have fun, rest and relax is one of the best things we can do for our overall Health and Wellness.

So, while you relax this weekend, here are 10 GREAT BENEFITS OF REST you can look forward to:

  1. Health for our heart as it lowers our heart rate and gives our heart a rest.
  2. Reduced muscle tension.
  3. Increased mental clarity and concentration.
  4. Improved physical efficiency.
  5. Reduced blood pressure.
  6. Increased energy.
  7. Fewer headaches.
  8. Improved immunity from illness and disease.
  9. Decreased stress as the level of our stress hormone cortisol drops.
  10. Improved sleep patterns.

And, all this we get from doing practically nothing 🙂 It really is true. Sometimes less is more.

So, have a wonderful weekend. Spend time with friends and family. Enjoy the last languid days of summer. And, make sure to get some rest!

Thanks for joining me again everyone. Until next time — HAPPY LABOR DAY, stay in GOOD HEALTH and . . .

TAKE THE COURSE AND TAKE CHARGE!!

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