arizona health care

Good vs. Bad Vegetables

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Whether you’re in the Phoenix Home Health Care system or simply concerned about what you put in your body, not all vegetables are created equal. Some should be eaten every day and others are just bad vegetables, in comparison.

Fresh farmers market fruit and vegetable from above with copy sp

Veggies: The Good, the Bad, the Fattening

According to Dr. Mercola, some vegetables offer better nutritional return than others. Broccoli, asparagus, kale, onions, collard greens, tomatoes, and fennel are just a few vegetables that come highly recommended. Spinach, essentially a superstar of the nutrition world, does as well.

The vegetables that should be used more sparingly include beets, carrots, eggplant, and winter squashes. This is because of their high carbohydrate levels. Likewise, potatoes should be used on occasion rather than as a staple of your food pyramid. Potatoes are very starchy and can cause weight gain (which causes a whole slug of other issues) if ingested too regularly.

The Game Changers

Most people who think of veggies are undoubtedly transported back to childhood, recalling memories of hiding lima beans in paper napkins and feeding peas to the dog. However, vegetables don’t have to taste bad. In fact, two vegetables can be enjoyed quite easily: one is highly tasty and the other doesn’t have much taste at all.

Avocadoes, though technically a fruit, are widely regarded as a vegetable. The main ingredient in guacamole, they aren’t only good for taste buds, but they’re good for your body as well.

Per the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, avocadoes are rich in oleic acid, a type of monounsaturated fat that can help lower bad, LDL cholesterol and raise good, HDL cholesterol. Avocadoes can also offer protection against breast cancer, stroke, and heart disease.

Mushrooms are game changers not because they are as tasty as avocadoes but because their subtle flavor enables them to be added to all sorts of dishes – salads, pizza, spaghetti, rice, and macaroni, just to name a few.

Adding mushrooms to your meals can also add protein, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B, antioxidants, and minerals to your body.

Organic Vs. Nonorganic

Once upon a time, organic vegetables were only found in the aisles of health stores and farmers’ markets; today, they’re everywhere. This largely has to do with pesticides.

Organic vegetables are grown in environments where pesticides aren’t used; nonorganic vegetables are grown in environments where pesticides are used.

According to the Pesticide Action Network, pesticides may be dangerous to human health: the pesticide chlorpyrifos has been linked to ADHD while the pesticide DDT increases a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer by as much as five-fold.

Still, whether there is true need for panic has yet to be established. This is because while pesticides have been linked to cancer, their correlation is usually only found in farmers and other people routinely exposed to very large amounts as an occupational hazard. The amounts on food are much lower and, therefore, likely much less dangerous. In fact, per the Cancer Research Foundation of the United Kingdom, no link has been found between the trace amounts of pesticides found on vegetables and cancer formation.

Even so, for people who want to err on the side of caution, organic vegetables should be purchased if possible. If you can’t afford or do not have access to organic produce, the benefits of eating nonorganic vegetables will likely far outweigh any theoretical risks. Yet, just to be safe, all vegetables should be thoroughly washed before consumption. This is especially important for people in homecare, Phoenix based or otherwise.

For more information on home care, Phoenix health, and how nutrition impacts your wellbeing, visit us at MD Home Health. Remember, it’s never too late to start eating your veggies.


Six Tips for Better Napping

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Cute family sleeping together in bed

6 Tips for Better Napping

Hear what our experts have to say about improving Phoenix home health care with smart napping. Read our tips for better napping and give a pop quiz to your home care Phoenix providers. You will understand why our company is the best of the best when it comes to offering quality Phoenix Home Health Care. 

A Few Words about Sleep AND Naps

Sleep is an everyday pursuit that promotes physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness. No matter how young or old you are, having quality sleep during the night will ready you for a whole new day. While a good night’s sleep is important, recent studies have found that snoozing away on the couch in the afternoon can make for a more functional body. According to scientists and psychologists, napping can improve your cognitive memory processing and give your alertness level a quick but generous boost. However, as with everything, there is a way to nap right as there is a way to nap wrong. To maximize your napping experience, here are 6 tips that will steer you to a better and smarter napping routine: 

Tip #1: Know Your Nap Time

The ideal nap time generally falls between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Because most people start to lose their energy after a hearty lunch, Mayo Clinic recommends people to nap around 2 or 3 p.m. Anytime after 4 p.m. will likely interfere with your bedtime. Don’t let your nap turn you into a miserable night owl with a low energy level the following day.

Tip #2: Plan Your Nap

Planning your nap for the same time everyday will keep your body’s circadian clock in tune with your energy flow and recuperation need. Be consistent with your nap by setting apart a time to let your body relax and steal a few snoozes. Experts have also found that a regular nap can help you to sleep faster and wake up quicker!

Tip #3: Watch Your Time

Timing is everything when it comes to napping. As a government study finds, “long naps are often associated with a loss of productivity and sleep inertia.” Short naps that last under 30 minutes are said to promote alertness, performance, and learning ability. Plan you nap and set an alarm for 20 or 30 minutes to reap the full benefits of napping.

Tip #4: Set the Stage

According to National Sleep Foundation, the environment you choose to nap plays a role in determining the quality of your nap session. Make sure that the room is at a comfortable temperature and try to rest in an area where noise is at the minimum. A quiet and dark room instills a feeling of calmness that is perfect for a cozy rest.

Tip #5: Watch Your Caffeine Intake

Having that second coffee in the morning may not be the best idea if you plan on napping later in the day. Caffeine may not be able to keep you going all day but it can definitely impede your ability to sleep in the afternoon. So, keep your caffeine intake down and help yourself to nap more soundly.

Tip #6: Find Your Personal Balance

It is important that you find your personal sleep balance. The recommended amounts of sleep (8 hours each night) is a guideline not a rule carved in stone. If you find that your afternoon nap is impeding your ability to get a good night’s sleep, then try napping a little earlier in the afternoon. Remember, sleep is not like a bank account so even if you make a deposit in the afternoon, you still need to sleep at night. So plan accordingly and have a great nap!

For more tips on how to keep your body rested, visit us at MD Home Health, and don’t forget to rest and find your balance.


Benefits of Swimming for the Elderly

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Elderly couple in pool

Benefits of Swimming for the Elderly

Swimming is an aerobic activity that gets the muscles going and is a perfect way for people to stay in shape, particularly the elderly thanks to its low-impact nature. As the fourth most popular sport in America, swimming for just two and a half hours a week can reduce the risk of chronic illness and cut the risk of death in half compared with those who are inactive, says the CDC. Older people who swim on a regular basis as part of homecare Phoenix experience improvements in their health related to diabetes and heart disease.

Physical Health Benefits

Swimming is perfect for the elderly because it’s easier on the joints and muscles than exercise on hard land. This is good news for those with chronic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis, which is a decrease in bone density as a person ages. Water-based exercise has also been known to boost quality of life and decrease disability, helping to maintain bone health, particularly in older women. Swimming also boosts flexibility, especially in the neck, legs, arms and hips, leading to reduced back pain and sore muscles, as well as better posture and muscle coordination, according to the National Swimming Pool Foundation. Muscles tend to tone up easier, as every single muscle in the body is working hard to cut through that water, providing a resistance training of sorts. Building muscle strength can equal less flabby skin on the arms and legs. Because swimming is aerobic in nature, it boosts the health of the heart, leading to a reduction in coronary heart disease through lowered risk of inflammation.

Mental Health Benefits

The physical benefits of swimming are plenty, but the mind also benefits from a regular swimming regimen in seniors. This popular activity is a natural stress reliever which can improve moods and fight off depression. Seniors also experience a heightened sense of camaraderie when swimming in a public pool with friends or at a family member’s home. These situations create positive memories with children, grandchildren, spouses and friends, giving the elderly an outlet for socialization. This in turn combats feelings of isolation and loneliness, leading to better mental health overall thanks to the interaction and intimacy provided by swimming with others, according to Livestrong.

For more tips on how swimming helps keep you in shape, both physically and mentally, visit us at MD Home Health, where you can learn more about home care Phoenix. Keep your heart pumped, muscles toned, bones strong and attitude positive when you engage in swimming as part of Phoenix home health care!


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. 


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.


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.