Health Blog

Natural Ways to Fight Depression This May


Depression is the most common form of mental illness. As much as 26% of the adult population in the United States suffers from depression. Since 1949, Mental Health America has observed that May as Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental Read more

The Benefits of Exercise and an Active Lifestyle


May is National Sports and Physical Fitness month. Now is a great time to spread awareness of the many benefits provided by engaging in an active lifestyle. Many Americans don't get enough exercise in their day to day lives. Read more

7 Ways Gardening Can Extend Your Life


In honor of April being National Garden Month, and this beautiful spring weather, we’d like to share some of the amazing health benefits gardening can bring into your life. Gardening is so healthy that it could, in fact, add Read more

8 Ways Pets Improve Our Health


If you ask any pet owner who their best friend is, they just might name one or several furry little friends. Scientists, doctors, and therapists all agree that having a pet is beneficial to both your physical and mental Read more

Good vs. Bad, Let’s Talk Fresh Fruits

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Good Fruit vs. Bad Fruit

If you use a Home Care Phoenix provider, you’ve probably noticed that fruits are commonly served at meal times. Here at MD Home Health, we treat fruits as a healthy snack and encourage you to replace those unhealthy sweets with the all natural, nutritious apples, grapes, and more! As a professional Phoenix Home Health Care provider, we love fruits and hope you will love them too! But are all fruits created equal? Let us answer that question now.

Credit: BigStock.com

artjazz/Bigstock.com

The Case of Good vs. Bad Fruit

Good fruit. Bad fruit. These are terms you no doubt have heard before or even said them yourself. But frankly, “good fruit” and “bad fruit” simply don’t exist in the fruit world. When we label a fruit as “good” or “bad,” we are actually more concerned about whether a fruit is “fresh” or “not fresh.” Just think about it, every time a fruit recall takes place, it always has to do with the freshness of the fruit. Spoiled fruits are “bad” because they have suffered certain level of contamination from harmful chemicals, toxins, and bacteria. They are no longer fresh and can impose detrimental health effects to your body. This is why U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) takes great pain to encourage consumers to not only store and prepare their fruits properly (and safely), but also exercise wise purchasing decisions by avoiding fruits that show signs of bruises or other suspicious marks and damages. 

But What About Sugar?

The word “sugar” has gained a pretty bad reputation in recent years. With American Diabetes Association declaring a diabetic epidemic that affects 25.8 million Americans (that’s 8.3% of the population), it is reasonable to be concerned. But as medical experts have clarified, people develop diabetes for their excessive sugar intake. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention further points out that sugars are carbohydrates and provide the much-needed energy source for your body. Plainly speaking, sugar is not the problem; excessive, artificial sugar consumption is. If you rid off your processed sugar treats and only consume fruits, your body is going to love the all-natural sugar and operate with improved wellness. As Dr. Robert Lustig observes, fruit fiber not only helps slow your absorption of fructose (the sugar in fruits), but also “changes our ‘intestinal flora,’ or microbiome, by helping different species of healthy bacteria thrive.”

Benefit of Eating Good, Fresh Fruits

Fruits are the primary source of many essential nutrients including potassium, dietary fiber, Vitamin C, and folate (folic acid). A study from Harvard has found that generous consumption of vegetables and fruits are linked to lowering blood pressure, risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and much more. Fruits are the primary source of many essential nutrients including potassium, dietary fiber, Vitamin C, and folate (folic acid). Dr. Lisa Young also finds that many fruits are rich in antioxidant with the ability to prevent and even cure certain ailments such as coronary heart diseases

When it comes to choosing good, fresh fruits, the rule of thumb is to buy local. Locally grown fruits tend to be more fresh because they don’t undergo the same extended transportation and packaging process imported fruits experience. Additionally, getting fruits in season ensures that your fruits are fresh and nutritious. This is because out-of-season fruits are picked prematurely to ensure that they don’t spoil along the way. However, harvesting fruits before they are ready not only negatively affects the fresh taste and aroma of your fruits and vegetables, it also causes vitamin degradation and nutrient loss. 

Are all fruits created equal? We believe all good and fresh fruits offer unique benefits that warrant your appreciation. Take a look at your fruit bowl. Feel free to pick and choose what you like — so long they are FRESH!

For more tips on how to keep your body healthy, visit us at MD Home Health, and see what other elements to consider in a healthy lifestyle. 


Not Enough or Too Much Sleep

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Young Woman Sleeps In Bed In The Bedroom.

Not Enough or Too Much Sleep

Sleep is important especially for those involved in home care. As a Phoenix Home Health Care provider, we encourage both our staff members and clients to practice a healthy sleep routine. Because we are passionate about home care in Phoenix, we have decided to share some tips about sleep deprivation and oversleep. Enjoy and have a sweet dream!

Sleep, Drowsiness, and Drunkenness

Everyone needs to sleep. A good night’s sleep will not only keep your body healthy but also your mind alert. Sleep deprivation, according to WebMD, will “dumb you down” by interfering with your ability to process efficiently. Because lack of sleep impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning and problem solving, drowsy people are more prone to accidents than those with sufficient sleep. In fact, drowsiness can impede reaction time the same way as drunkenness. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that “cognitive impairment after approximately 18 hours awake is similar to that of someone with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05%.” When that is extended to 24 hours, the impairment is equivalent to a BAC of 0.10%! The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also finds that fatigue is the cause behind 100,000 auto crashes that take place in the U.S. annually.

Sleep for Your Body and Mind

However, insufficient sleep can also take a toll on your body. As Centers for Disease Control and Prevention observes, insufficient sleep is associated with a myriad of chronic diseases and conditions. Diabetes, cardiovascular and obesity are some common physical problems incurred by sleep deprivation. Neuroimagining evidence has also shown that not having enough sleep also negatively affects a person’s prefrontal cortex, compromising critical cognitive capacities such as attention, memory and judgment. When it comes to the relationship between sleep and mood, you can only imagine that sleep deprivation is the cause behind depression and other mood disorders. Simply put, it is difficult to be happy when you are tired. Sleepiness turns a sweet little baby into a crying bundle of unhappiness. If you want to be liked and perform well in school, at work, or anywhere else, get some sleep!

How Much Sleep is Needed?

“How much sleep is needed” is a topic subject to debate. Generally, newborns are recommended to sleep between 16-18 hours; preschool-aged children should have around 11-12 hours of sleep. School-aged children demand at least 10 hours of sleep, while teens require 9-10 hours of rest per night. By the time you reach adulthood, you need only 7-8 hours of sleep. Nonetheless, these breakdowns are just government guidelines, not laws. A pregnant woman, for example, may need a few more hours of sleep per night and a couple of power naps throughout the day. And when you get sick, your doctors always tell you to “get as much rest as possible.” To make sure you get enough sleep, adhere to the guidelines with discretion and flexibility. No one knows your body better than you do, so watch for signs of yawning, feelings of drowsiness, and other suspicious physical, cognitive and emotional symptoms to determine whether your body covets a few more hours of sleep.

Too Much Sleep

While someone can suffer from sleep deprivation, another may fall victim of oversleep. In fact, hypersomnia, a fancy way to say “oversleep,” is actually a medical disorder. Instead of feeling better, people who suffer prolonged oversleep, actually wake up feeling tired and disoriented. Anxiety, restlessness, loss of appetite and other memory problems are common symptoms for someone who sleeps too much. If you are someone experiencing any of these, please contact a medical doctor immediately for diagnosis and treatment. Remember, you know your body better than anyone else in the world. Listen to what it says and plan your sleep accordingly!

For more tips on how to keep your body healthy, visit us at MD Home Health, and make sure you are getting the right amounts of sleep.


Easy Ways For the Elderly to Stay in Shape

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Though regular exercise has long since been proven to have a multitude of health benefits, many fail to make the effort to stay in shape.  As we get older and our bodies slow down, it can be even more difficult to pick ourselves off the couch for a jog around the park.  Multiple studies, however, show that exercise is extremely beneficial for the elderly, not only does it offset and prevent diseases typically associated with old age, it’s also been linked to improved mental health and higher life-expectancies.  This holds true even for those who have not previously engaged in an exercise routine.  Health experts recommend the elderly engage in a program that incorporates aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility.

Aerobic Exercise for the Elderly

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic, or ‘cardio’, exercise is any activity that increases your heart rate, whether it’s biking, running, or dancing.  Engaging in aerobic exercise is key for the elderly to maintain a healthy weight by burning calories quickly.  To be effective, any aerobic activity should be at least 10 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity.  The level of intensity any activity has will depend on each individual’s personal fitness level and it’s imperative that whatever regimen you participate in you start at a level you are comfortable and build slowly.

Strength Training

One of the most pressing problems for seniors is muscle loss and associated disease, occurring at higher rates for women than men. Strength is essential to everyday function, from lifting objects to walking up stairs, and incorporating even a little bit into an exercise program will help maintain muscle mass and improve balance.  Using free weights, machines, elastic bands, or your own body weight are all ways you can engage your muscles.  

Strength Weights for Elderly

Flexibility

As a rule, flexibility should be part of any exercise program and no where is this more true than for the elderly.  Stretching will help keep your joints healthy and increase your range of motion which makes you less prone to injury.  Tai chi and yoga are both excellent for choice for improving flexibility, but even a simple stretch routine will help.

Remain Physically Active & Choosing What You Love

The range of fitness levels in the elderly are extreme, some may be ready to run a marathon while others have a hard time getting out of a chair.  Building up an exercise regime will help you get the most out of your movement, but remaining physically active in everyday life is equally important.  For older seniors, simply increasing physical activity may be the first step to starting an exercise program. There’s ample opportunity to choose activities you love, whether it’s gardening or walking the dog.  Developing a program you enjoy will also help you stick with it as will doing so with a friend.   

For more tips on how to keep your body in shape, visit us at MD Home Health, and don’t forget to grab your best mate, get up, and get your heart pumping.


Keep Your Brain Healthy By Feeding It With Words

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A good book is good for your health

In this digitally age, the Internet offers fast connections, videos at an accelerated speed and instant access to information  – all at a much faster rate than reading a traditional book. After all, why spend time flipping through 476 pages of Harry Potter when we can watch it in 3 hours on TV with sound effects and captivating graphics? Why waste time skimming the newspaper when we can access YouTube or even turn on NBC to the charming Brian Williams for updates instead? Even though we know that 99.9% of the time books offer a better experience, we still opt in for convenience and snuggle up to Netflix blockbusters instead of perusing through great novels.

However, recent studies suggest that reading information rather than streaming it online has better long-term benefits for the brain. Swapping the remote for a book can help fight against diseases while increasing memory and improving your social cognitive skills. Below are three benefits to how being a bookworm can boost your mental state and keep your brain healthy.

Reading may prevent Alzheimer’s disease

Just like exercising to keep the heart healthy, we need to stimulate the mind for a good workout to enhance our brain horsepower. According the study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, adults who regularly challenge their intellectual curiosity with hobbies like reading, playing chess, or solving a Sudoku puzzle are 2.5 times less likely to be develop Alzheimer, a fatal brain condition that typically occurs after the age of 60.

The research conducted by Dr. Robert Friedland surveys people in their 70s and collected data on how participants enjoy their pastimes during early adulthood from age 20 to 39 through midlife from 40 to 60 years old. The study finds that subjects engaging in regular stimulating hobbies like reading a novel or knitting a sweater reduce the risk of Alzheimer from early on because they produce healthier brain cells to fight off destructive Alzheimer cells that kills off our brain neurons. The research emphasizes that though intellectual stimulation from early childhood does not completely immune individuals from the disease but trading in TVs for books will help delay the process.

 “Brain power unused is brain power lost”

Additionally, reading in the long run keeps your mind sharp when as you age. A study published in Neurology journal assesses that subjects participating in stimulating activities like reading throughout their life develop 32 percent slower cognitive decline compared to those who suffer 48 percent faster memory loss due to passive activity like watching TV or talking on the phone. Since the task of reading requires more processing than digesting a speech, sound, or image, your brain requires more function to infer information from sentences. It involves greater concentration skill to formulate and create a visual from just words alone. Therefore, invest in your memory by exercising it with books and physical activities. Instead of a movie night, have a slumber party with your family and friends for some intellectual fun, food and fiction!

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Reading enhances your social awareness

According to NPR, losing yourself in a literary fiction can expose you to a greater understanding of how “other people are thinking and feeling” (http://n.pr/1nqSAQz). In contrast to the clear-cut, drawn out protagonists and antagonists from popular movies, characters from literary writing require more complex analysis since they are usually not fully developed. They rely on readers to interpret their actions and push the audience to extrapolate their thoughts and emotions in order to create a complete narrative. “This is really the very same processes that we engage in when we try to guess other people’s thoughts and feelings and emotions, and to read their mind in everyday life,” Emanuele Castrano, Psychology professor of The New School for Social Research, further explains.

Whether you’re indulging yourself with the latest celebrity gossips, restaurant reviews, or political opinions, save at least an hour out of the day to immerse yourself in some compelling paperbacks and plot twists. Processing words not only improves your intellect and critical thinking skills but it also gives you the unique power to pause, think, and reflect—habits that will keep your brain healthy over time!

For more tips on how to maintain a healthy mind, visit us at MD Home Health, until then read a book.  

 

 


Memory Exercises

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memory exercises

In an article from the Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publications “HEALTHbeat,”
the author states that its normal to forget things sometimes, and that “healthy people can
experience memory loss or memory distortion at any age.” Some “memory flaws”
can become more pronounced with age, but there’s nothing to worry about as long as those
memory problems do not become extreme and persistent and are “not considered
indicators of Alzheimer’s or other memory-impairing illnesses.” Seven normal memory
problems include: Transience, absentmindedness, blocking, misattribution, bias and
persistence. You can read more about them here.

So if your memory loss is considered normal, what can you do? Here are some memory
exercises you can practice on a daily basis.

1.) Play Games – You can improve your brain health and performance with brain games.
Lumosity.com was designed by neuroscientists to exercise memory and attention. When
you create an account at Lumosity.com you will be asked to “build your own personalized
brain training program,” an option which takes you through five areas — memory, attention,
speed, flexibility and problem-solving — and asks which aspects you want to improve. For
instance, under memory, you can click on “remembering names after the first introduction,”
“learning new subjects quickly and accurately,” “recalling the location of objects,” and
“keeping track of several ideas at the same time.”
[source: Howstuffworks.com, Lumosity].

2.) Use Mnemonic Devices – You can use association to remember facts and numbers. Just
create an image in your mind to help you remember a word or an image. For example:

3.) Use Acrostics – Does “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally” conjure up memories from
grade school? If you remember, it stands for Parenthesis, Exponents, Multiplication,
Division, Addition and Subtraction. Acrostics is where you can remember a new sentence
made out of the first letters of a set of words that you have to memorize in a certain order.

4.) Move Your Eyes – “Horizontal eye movements are thought to cause the two
hemispheres of the brain to interact more with one another, and communication between
brain hemispheres is important for retrieving certain types of memories.” [Melinda
Wenner, Livescience.com] So try moving your eyes from side to side for just 30 seconds
once a day to align the two parts of your brain and make your memory work more
smoothly.

5.) Drink in moderation – Still like to enjoy a glass of wine? That’s perfectly OK. Light to
moderate alcohol consumption can improve memory and cognition. It has been shown that
light to moderate drinkers can perform better on certain tests of memory and cognition
than nondrinkers and heavy drinkers [sources: Victoroff, Minerd]

What are some of your memory tricks? Please comment below and share!

For more information on memory exercises, visit us at MD Home Health. Start taking care of your memory now, before it’s too late. 


12 Life Lessons From People Who Have Lived

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lessons learned

“If I only knew then what I know now.” Do you find yourself thinking that sometimes? It
could be a new chapter in your life, or a huge hurdle you overcame and suddenly –
everything seems clear and a wave of gratitude or possibly regret washes over you.

No matter what your reaction to new clarity in your life, remember you can make a
difference in someone younger than yourself. It’s important for us all to pass on life’s
lessons to help younger generations grow and become better people. Below, are life lessons shared by people of all ages. We do hope you’ll add your own life lesson when you share this article with friends and family.

1. Never walk away mad from a loved one.
My father died unexpectedly from a heart attack when I was 19 years old. Just a few weeks
before he died, we’d had a fight because I overslept. A week later we made up. Then he died.
Life is precious. One moment someone is here and the next moment they might be gone… so treat every last word with loved ones accordingly. Jason Wachob, CEO and Founder of
MindBodyGreen.

2. Deferring your happiness to the future is a terrible idea
Too many people presume that when they have that one thing they can work towards for
years then “everything will be alright”. Benny Lewis, world traveler, fluentin3months.com.

3. Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself
A lot of people think that the moment they decide to forgive somebody who once hurt
them, the person who receives the forgiveness is the only one who will benefit from this
kind gesture, but that’s not the case. I can tell you that the person who will benefit the most
is the person who does the forgiving. Holding onto anger and resentment can do you no
good; it’s like having a clenched fist 24/7. PurposeFairy – Luminita D. Saviuc

4. No One Actually Knows What the Hell They’re Doing
Almost nobody has any idea what they’re doing in their 20s, and I’m fairly certain that
continues further into adulthood…Out of the dozens of people I’ve kept in touch with from
high school and college (and by “keep in touch” I really mean “stalked on Facebook”), I can’t
think of more than a couple that have not changed jobs, careers, industry, families, sexual
orientation or who their favorite power ranger is at least once in their 20s. For example,
good friend of mine was dead-set when he was 23 of climbing the corporate hierarchy in his
industry. He had a big head-start and was already kicking ass and making good money. Last
year, at age 28, he just went and bailed. Mark Manson, Lifehacker.

5. Mistakes are learning tools.
Mistakes happen. You can’t take back what’s done or what’s said. Take responsibility for
what you did and move on. Learn from it. Apologize if necessary, but learn from it or you
will repeat it. Taking responsibility for the mistake puts you in control. G. Nelson, blogger.

6. Possessions
Possessions are worse than worthless — they’re harmful. They add no value to your life,
and cost you everything. Not just the money required to buy them, but the time and money
spent shopping for them, maintaining them, worrying about them, insuring them, fixing
them, etc. Leo Babauta, blogger & author Zenhabits.net

7. A Near-Death Experience Inspired Her To Chase A Dream
“I faced my own mortality and realized that I never really had done what I wanted to do,
which was singing and performing. I began to live for each day, treating each day as a gift.
That’s why they call it the ‘present’ you know…Once you let go of all the anger, everything
becomes simple…I no longer let people live rent-free in my body.” Serenity Stewart,
Contemporary jazz artist suffered a brain aneurysm and told her story to the Huffington Post
in 2012 (then 56 years old).

8. What My Grandparents Taught Me About Life.
Share what you have learned with the next generation. Teach them by your actions.
They are curious observers and they want to learn from you. Important lessons stay with
them for the rest of their lives. Be sure to choose the lessons consciously and wisely. Brandy
Shirley, blogger.

9. Maintain, or “Get”, a Sense of Humor – More than one senior I have had the honor of
caring for has maintained a sense of humor about their life as it is or was. Humor, a laugh, a
chuckle, a reminder of what we live for helped them get through their day even when their
mind or body had other ideas. I remember the “Golden Girls” holding court in front of the
lobby and commenting on everyone and everything that passed by. This small talk not only
got them through their day — it made for some great conversation in the dining room
where everyone would get in on the topics and laugh about it. Humor helps reduce stress,
connects us, and allows the day to pass more easily and be more enjoyable. Maria Shriver,
Peabody and Emmy-winning journalist, California’s First Lady from 2003 to 2010.

10. Focus on the Good in People
If a friend acts thoughtlessly, don’t dwell on it; you can fix your attention on the good in that
person instead. Jessica May, 34, Substitute teacher.

11. Life lessons from my grandfather
He and other men taught me many lessons. Among them: Be responsible. Don’t wallow in
your sin or sorrows. Accept your imperfections. Acknowledge your mistakes, repent and
move onward and upward. Forgive yourself. How to change a tire. How to tie a tie. How to
catch with a glove. How to hit a baseball. But no lesson was greater than this one from
Grandpa: Love family. Give your life for it. John W. Fountain, Chicago-Sun Times

12. Believe in Yourself
I would have expected more of myself as an athlete. I constantly doubted my abilities, which
held me back a lot. I am 37:-( Maureen Brooks Herr, Figure skating coach.

What’s your life lesson? Visit us at MD Home Health, We would love to learn from you! Share your life lesson in the comments below.


How to Make Your Mind Happy

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Make your mind happy

Most of us go throughout our day thinking several thoughts, allowing our minds to take over our ability to be aware. A person could be generally happy but spend most of the day stressing over life, or constantly thinking ahead to the future and then wonder why they don’t feel so good. When we allow our thoughts to take over, we don’t allow our mind to be aware, at peace and happy. To make your mind happy, is to be healthy in soul and spirit.

If you would like to start to give your mind a break and “live in the moment” as they say, read our tips for mindful happy bliss:

Meditate – “Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh
You are never too young or too old to start meditating. Meditation will help to clear your mind and calm you down. There have been several studies proving how meditation is the single most effective way to live happier! A recent study published in the neuroscience journal Brain Research Bulletin showed how the brains of people who meditated had elevated alpha rhythms. The alpha is part of five different wave frequencies that occur in the brain, and most of us are usually in the beta state, where we are very alert but “too much time spent in the beta state can lead to excess stress, worry, and anxiety.” When we meditate and turn on the alpha state, studies have shown we can experience extreme focus, relaxation, learning, creativity, and peak performance.

Make your mind happy

Exercise – Even if you only have ten minutes, a walk can do much to relax your mind and body at the same time. Take in long, slow breaths and look at everything around you. If you can’t get outside, get out your headphones and put on some classical music as you walk (or anything soothing, preferably without words). If you’re a savvy boomer and have a Smartphone, make sure you know how to you turn off ALL notifications from your phone, including incoming calls, text messages, FaceTime from the grandkids or social media.

Sleep – “Many people are surprised to learn that researchers have discovered a single treatment that improves memory, increases people’s ability to concentrate, strengthens the immune system and decreases people’s risk of being killed in accidents.” It’s free and it’s called sleep. Sleep researchers and doctors say that getting between seven to nine hours of sleep per night can greatly impact health and happiness. Getting enough sleep is not only refreshing; it can also help you to deal better with negative situations, making you less likely to overwork the mind by sending stress signals to the brain.

Eat – Choose foods wisely! Many people do not think about the foods they put in their mouths and how food affects our bodies and emotions. Processed, packaged, sugar or foods with hormones do not supply enough of the vitamins and nutrients you need. Choose mood-boosting foods to help keep your mind happy. Drew Ramsey, MD, coauthor (with Tyler Graham) The Happiness Diet: A Nutritional Prescription for a Sharp Brain, Balanced Mood, and Lean, Energized Body says: “The moment you make a better food choice you are instantly building a better brain.” When in doubt, make sure you are drinking enough water and then reach for leafy greens, bright fruits, lean protein or organic fair-trade dark chocolate!

Create – “Positive emotions and creativity make us feel interested in the world around us.” You can take your mind off of just about anything if you start a creative project. Creativity can come from writing, cooking, baking, gardening, drawing, painting, photography, dancing, singing, playing music, or making things like furniture or jewelry. If you have grandchildren or any friends of whom you like to spend time with, find a fun craft or project you can do together.

Socialize – Put away your computer and phone and set up a date with friends or family. Ask everyone at the table to put their phones away and take advantage of your time together by keeping the digital distractions at bay. Go out for a healthy dinner, on a hike or play an outdoor sport. Your mind will be connected, stimulated and most of all, happy.

And our last tip? SMILE! Smiling triggers activity in your brain and the act of smiling can actually make you feel happy even when you’re not happy at all. When you’re happy, your body releases endorphin’s, or brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters, which function to transmit electrical signals within the nervous system, allowing us to feel less pain and fewer negative effects of stress.

For more tips on a happy mind, visit us at MD Home Health, until then take a deep breath into mindful bliss.  


Benefits of Cuddling and TLC

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cuddling benefits

Did you know that the benefits of cuddling are actually really great for your health? That’s right, the second you touch someone else, the posterior lobe of your pituitary gland (at the base of your brain) secretes a hormone called oxytocin. This hormone makes us feel good, and is often referred to as the “cuddle hormone.” When we secrete oxytocin, a whole slew of health benefits ensue. The release of oxytocin makes us feel great, as if nothing can harm us, and allows for the release of germ and disease fighting hormones — increasing our immune systems. Oxytocin is also a natural pain reliever that helps to raise our pain threshold. When cuddling with another, one will experience a lowering of anxiety, blood pressure, and cortisol in our hearts. Furthermore, it protects against inflammation and oxidative stress. There really is no negative benefit from cuddling, even if you are single.

There are several ways to benefit from cuddling if you do not have a significant other. Cuddling can take place with anyone at any capacity, be it a rub on the back, or even you rubbing yourself on the back. There are several alternative ways to increase the secretion of oxytocin in the body without another human being. You could cuddle with a pet and receive the same results, or even take a warm bath. If human interaction from someone other than yourself is a personal necessity, why not try getting a massage, or hugging a friend?

Cuddling can bring new depth to personal relationships whether they are romantic or platonic. It can also help women to increase their bond with other human beings, in particular, their babies. This has become a popular form of therapy for women struggling with post-partum depression. Not only can cuddling reduce stress, it has also been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. It is clear to see that your lifespan development depends on the amount of cuddle time you allow into it, and the positivity of the relationships you hold most dear to you. So before you second guess giving that special someone a hug, remind yourself of the health benefits you will be extending to not only yourself, but the receiver of you affections as well.

Want more tips on fun ways to increase your longevity? Check out our other blog posts! Until then, get out there and hug someone, or at least give yourself a nice pat on the back. You deserve it.


Healthy Indoor Plants for a Healthy Home

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It is well known that spending time outdoors in nature is proven to reduce anxiety and depression. But, there can also be many health benefits of bringing nature inside. Adding a few indoor plants to your home will not only boost your mood by adding splashes of color, but will also improve your health. Indoor plants naturally filter the toxic air in your household. Toxins can come into your house in many ways, through dry cleaning chemicals, household-cleaning products (such as furniture polish and oils), and from dish and laundry detergents. By selecting a few of your favorite plants or flowers and bringing them into the house, you will minimize the respiratory and neurological damage outside toxins can cause.

Flower Power

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Indoor flowers will require a little work and a lot of light. However, they bring cheer, fragrance, and cleaner air into any room you place them. Gerbera Daisies are beautiful flowers that come in a wide variation of pinks, reds, and yellows. These flowers can assist in removing the toxins benzene, which is present in many inks and dyes, and Trichloroethylene (also known as TCE), which contaminates our drinking water.

 

The popular Chrysanthemum, or ‘Mum’ is another fun, colorful flower option for your home. With lots of water and light, Mum’s will flourish in your home and clarify your air from benzene. For an added health benefit, use the leaves to make your own Chrysanthemum tea. The tea is known for its amazing health benefits, which range from helping clear sinuses, to preventing eye deterioration as you age.

Pick a Plant

Indoor plants tend to be a bit more durable compared to their flower counterparts, but still offer amazing health benefits. For a no fuss option, consider a Rubber Plant, which can tolerate low temperatures and little light. Bamboo Palms can add a tropical flair to your home while removing toxins such as benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde. Your Bamboo Palm will do best in a window with direct sunlight, and you can enjoy watching it grow to be several feet tall. If you are someone who often forgets to water your plants, consider an Aloe Vera plant .The Aloe plant requires minimal attention but still detoxifies your air, and can also be used to treat minor cuts and burns.

For more creative ways to make your home and body healthier, read more on our blog or contact MD Home Health


Are You Cooking with Healthy Oils

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olive oil

Cooking with the Healthy Oils

As we age, more and more attention goes into making sure we are taking better care of our bodies. From diet to exercise, there are a plethora of ways in which we can make small changes toward a happier, healthier, body-mind-soul. One of the ways in which we might not think our health is being negatively affected is through the oils we use to cook. Often times throughout history, health studies and ideas have changed regarding healthy oils to cook with. With some up to date expert knowledge about cooking with oils, greater insight can be gained into your health; furthering down the path toward a happier, healthier you.

 The Facts

When cooking with oils, it is not only important to pick an oil that his healthy for you, but also an oil that will remain healthy once you cook it. The heating of oils can often times change their chemical makeup, releasing harmful toxins and carcinogens into your food and body. It is best to avoid polyunsaturated fats due to this, as they break up easily under heat. It is best to choose oils with a high level of stability under high heat, according to nutrition experts. This will prevent the oils from oxidizing, a process that releases the harmful free radicals aforementioned. It is also best to choose cooking oils and/or fats that are low in saturated fats, as these can raise the risk for high cholesterol and heart disease.

 What to Avoid

Now that it is known to avoid polyunsaturated oils, one may be wondering what those are. Common polyunsaturated oils include safflower oil, sunflower and sesame seed oil, corn and soy based oils, fish oil, flaxseed oil, as well as several other nut oils. Monounsaturated fats hold up better under heat and include olive, canola, peanut and avocado oils. The monounsaturated fats aren’t the greatest for you when cooking if using them all of the time, however they are certainly a lesser of the two evils. Other oils to avoid include cottonseed oil, grapeseed, and rice bran oil, as well as canola or rapeseed oils. While they do not all low heat indexes, some are highly processed, and to be avoided. Butter substitutes such as margarine and Crisco are also harmful to one’s health, as they contain hydrogenated oils which have been linked with higher cholesterol and even diabetes.

coconut oils

Oils Great for Cooking

Experts have concluded that substituting polyunsaturated and saturated fats in one’s diet with monounsaturated fats works well at lowering cholesterol. This is particularly important as we age. Because of this factor, as well as its incredibly high heat tolerance, coconut oil is the number one best oil to use in the kitchen. If one is to cook with olive oil, peanut oil, macadamia nut oil or avocado oil, it should be done at a lower heat so as to avoid free radicals. Other substances that are OK to cook with sparingly include butter and lard, however, they are high in saturated fats and not recommended as a healthy part of a diet if one is battling high cholesterol or heart disease.

When in doubt about the healthiest oil to cook with, it is best to simply gravitate toward the coconut oil, and use other monounsaturated fat based oils sparingly at low heat. If there is that special occasion where nothing but butter will do, go for the real thing rather than the margarine, as using a hydrogenated oil would be worse. Lard can be similar to butter with a low amount of polyunsaturated fats and high monounsaturated fats depending on the diet of the animal. Those fed grains will have a higher polyunsaturated fat makeup, while a grass-fed diet will yield high monounsaturated fats within the lard. One should note that it is best to consult a physician before applying and changes to your diet that you are unsure about.

For more great tips on healthy living, visit us at MD Home Health. Until then, start cooking your way into better health.