Archive for the ‘Health’ category

Occupational Therapy and the Great War

shell shock during the Great WarBecause it was Remembrance Day on Sunday there have been many documentaries on TV about the Great War. One of the documentaries was about the poet Wilfred Owen who served and died as a soldier.

During the war he suffered (along with 20,000 other men) from shell shock. Because of the horrific conditions in the trenches, being bombarded with bullets and having to bury dead bodies everyday, it’s no wonder that so many men suffered mentally as well as physically.

Ignorance - Unfortunately back then people didn’t understand what shell-shock was. When men displayed symptoms of uncontrollable shaking it was thought it was caused by injury of the nerves or cowardice.

Horrific Treatments – One way that doctors dealt with the men was electric shock treatment. It was thought that the pain from the shock would be so much worse than anything experienced at war that the men would be more than willing to go back.

Wilfred was one of the lucky ones and instead went to Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh where a new form of treatment was being practised. What was this treatment? Occupational Therapy.

Occupational Therapy allowed victims to re-adjust to normal life by carrying out simple activities such as arts and crafts along with nature watching. For 90% of patients this simple treatment was successful.

Luckily our attitudes to such illnesses have changed over the years. It’s heart breaking to think that some men were convicted for “desertion” and punished by being shot to death. They were simply suffering from severe stress.

Natural Cures for Acid Reflux

For those suffering from the occasional heartburn to those suffering from GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disease, you know that the burning sensation in your chest and throat is enough to send you over the edge.

There are different prescription drugs that help with the symptoms of GERD, along with many drug store varieties that are good for the burning felt after eating a large bowl of gumbo. There is also a surgery that will help to relieve that GERD.

What About Natural Cure, Remedies

By far the safest way to cure heartburn is by simply changing your diet. By eliminating certain foods and drinks, you will be able to drastically help diminish the symptoms.

Coffee and some teas are very acidic and should not be consumed in huge amounts. Also, juices such as cranberry, orange, grapefruit, and even apple have high acidic levels and may aggravate things.

Alcohol should also be avoided all together or consumed in small amounts infrequently.

Eat slowly instead of rushing though your meal. Most aliments concerning your digestive system can be avoided by taking smaller bites and chewing each bite slowly and thoroughly.

Avoid things like smoking and chewing gum before meals. This, too, may aggravate GERD.

Sit at a table during meal time. I know this sounds like common sense, but so many of us have very busy lives and are always in a rush. We are either eating in our cars, over the sink or on the couch instead around the dinner table. This is not only a huge benefit to your digestive system, it will also be a good way to hang out with the family.

Wear unrestricted clothing. Tight clothing that pushes everything inward may make us look slimmer but it also smashes all of our organs including our stomach. If there is no room for the food to digest, it may move upward to find some.

Don’t do any extreme exercising after meals. On the reverse side of that, don’t go lie down and sleep either. Lying down may cause those acids, and food, to travel up the esophagus.

There are a few things that may help. Ginger is a great root for digestion issues. It also is great for nausea so if you are experiencing acid reflux with nausea this would help both.

WATER, WATER, WATER! This cannot be said enough. Water is one of those simple things that everyone can do. It is often found people who drink a lot of water tend to have less health issues. When we drink water throughout the day we eat less and are less likely to eat the foods that give us the biggest problems like things high in fat, sugar, and grease.

Acid Reflux Advice

Acid reflux AKA heartburn occurs when the stomach acids enter the esophagus. The esophagus is not equipped like the stomach is to handle strong acids. This is why a burning sensation is felt. This condition is often called heartburn because the burning feeling can be felt in the chest, in the same area as your heart. While heartburn may sound more like an uncomfortable aliment, it can be dangerous as well.

Causes of Heartburn

Heartburn can happen in anyone. Most often felt after a heavy or spicy meal and often aggravated by lying down soon after eating. Occasional heartburn is normal and can be remedied by any over the counter antacid.

Acid reflux that happens often should be cause for worry. Those acids are not meant to go up into the esophagus. When they do, they burn the lining. Over time that lining will become permanently damaged.

If someone has frequent acid reflux they may be suffering from GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disease. GERD is caused when the valve between the stomach and the esophagus becomes weak which then allows the acids to rise up into the throat instead of keeping them down. When the acids reach the throat, a burning sensation is felt which is described as heartburn.

Symptoms of Acid Reflux

Burning in the chest and throat are the first signs of acid reflux. This can be felt at night when going to bed, bending over or eating a spicy food.

Most chronic GERD sufferers experience symptoms at night when they are in bed. This is because the acids are more likely to travel to the esophagus when laying flat on your back.

Other symptoms are a feeling of being full, nausea, having food raise into the esophagus and pain in the upper abdomen. Not so common symptoms are dryness in the throat, a hoarse voice, trouble swallowing, chest pain and even a sore throat from the acids.

Dangers in Acid Reflex

Chronic acid reflux that is continually burning the lining of the esophagus can eventually lead to cancer. It is very important that if you feel that heartburn is plaguing you, go see a doctor to discuss your options.

Barret’s esophagus happens when the cells in the esophagus, due to over exposure to stomach acids, become damaged. This happens in about ten percent of the people who suffer from GERD. Barret’s esophagus can turn into cancer.

Things to Avoid

Try avoiding foods and beverages that are highly acidic. Coffee, some teas, juice, spicy and greasy foods should either be completely avoided or at least eaten very seldomly.

Things to Remember

It is important to remember that having occasional heartburn is normal. There are different ways of treating acid reflux from over-the-counter treatments for the random occurrences to surgery for those with more extreme cases. It is important to speak with a doctor to review your options.

Do Digestive Enzyme Supplements Work?

Many glossy magazines have a special knack of convincing us that we can’t live without a particular supplement. Before you know it, your kitchen cupboard resembles a mini-health store. Yeah, so there are a number of supplements that are very good for you such as Evening Primrose Oil, Cod Liver Oil and Spirulina, however if you had to choose just one what would it be?

For me I think I would have to choose Digestive Enzymes.

What are Digestive Enzymes?

Digestive enzymes digest our food so that we can use the nutrients to keep our body healthy. There are many types of enzymes, each with a specific role. For instance, amylase digests starch, whilst lipase digests fats. Without these enzymes we will suffer from indigestion, malnutrition or even a weakened immune system.

How do We Normally Get Digestive Enzymes?

If you are eating a diet largely made up of processed food then it’s unlikely intaking enough enzymes. This means your body then has to produce its own enzymes. Unfortunately our bodies have a limited supply, so when they’re gone, they’re gone. Even eating raw fruit and veg may not be enough if they have been grown thousands of miles away or in soil that is poor quality.

What Digestive Enzymes to Take?

As I said, there are a number of types of enzymes available each with its own role. You can buy them either individually, for instance people who are intolerant to milk can take lactase or you could take a protease capsule with a protein drink. It you aren’t sure then it’s probably best just to take one which has the most important enzymes in it along with your main meal.

At the moment I’m taking a Bromelain (from pineapples) and Papain (from papaya) tablet with my protein shake every day. My boyfriend on the other hand takes Now foods Plant Enzymes because he suffers from indigestion. When taking the enzymes he doesn’t need to take any indigestion tablets. I call that a success.

(If you live in the UK, I buy these enzymes and protein powders from MyProtein.co.uk as I find they have a very good selection at competitive prices.)

So basically, it’s all very well to take lots of supplements however if you aren’t digesting them properly it could all be a waste of time (and money).  I don’t know, but it might even help with cleansing your liver.

Bizarre: Dentist Fondles 27 Female Patients

The award for the worst excuse ever goes to dentist Dr. Mark Anderson who claimed that the breast fondling of 27 female patients was purely “professional”. He claims that the massaging of his patients’ chests was to treat temporo-mandibular joint disorder (TMJ), which is the cause of neck and head pain.

Not only that but attorney Rober Zao told administrative law judge Jonathan Lew that his client should be able to keep his licence so that he can feed his seven children and pay for his defence.

Having looked more at TMJ I cannot find anything about massaging the breasts and there is certainly nothing to suggest that having a sleazy dentist shove his hands into your bra is going to help.

Some thinng to think about the next time you undersgo sedation dentistry.  It seems the judge has made no final decision. I say send him to the slammer!

Spray Cleaners Linked to Asthma: Discover Alternatives

Any asthma sufferers out there? If the answer is yes then you’ll be interested to know that spray cleaners have been linked to 1 in 7 cases of adult asthma. You don’t even have to use spray cleaners everyday, just once a week is enough to set off an attack a study by he Municipal Institute of Medical Research in Barcelona, Spain has revealed.

Furniture Sprays

Personally I hate these sprays, not only does it make me cough and sneeze but furniture experts say they are really bad for wood. Instead you should buy a traditional beeswax made from natural ingredients.

Here are a couple of other methods I’ve read about but not tried:

Surface cleaners

Look out for eco products in the supermarket which use natural ingredients. If you want to clean your home with natural alternatives whilst saving money, here a few suggestions:-

  • Vinegar – Wipe over kitchen countertops and your toilet bowl with a cloth. Easy.
  • Bicarbonate of Soda – This is great stuff, it was the only thing that worked when my hair went really greasy. Can also be used to clean stains and remove odors.
  • Orange Oil – we used to have a cleaner that was made with orange oil. Don’t know where it is now but it smelt great.
  • Grapefruit juice – if your bath is really dirty try equal amounts of grapefruit juice and salt.
  • Lemon juice can also be used as Grapefruit above, you can even detox with lemon juice.

Airfreshers

Essential oils – If you haven’t done so already, get yourself a nice essential oil burner. Not only will it make your home smell nice but you’ll receive other health benefits depending on what oils you choose.

Bicarbonate of Soda – Sprinkle some onto your carpets before vacuuming.

Buy House Plants – According to studies by NASA, house plants can remove all sorts of horrible chemicals from the air. You don’t have to turn your home into a tropical jungle either, just a few plants per room will be enough.

Why Are Americans So Greedy?

When my Mum and Dad were on a Hawaiian cruise a few years ago they were repulsed by the amount of gluttony displayed by the American passengers. Instead of people just putting what they could eat on the plate, they cram everything on as if it were their last meal before they died. What was really disgusting was that half of it ended up being thrown out.

Why Do They Act Like This?

Why can’t they just help themselves to what they know they can eat instead of being so wasteful? Do they not have the self-control just to eat sausage and eggs one day and bacon and beans the next?

My old dog used to live for food and would sometimes escape to raid the bins behind restaurants and takeaways. She would eat so much she had to be carried home. At least she had an excuse! She was a stray found by my Gran begging for food outside a butcher shop. Even although we gave her regular meals still had the fear of not knowing when her next meal would be.

Difference Between Americans and Europeans

Although things are far from perfect here, whenever I’ve been on holiday in Europe people tend to just put on their plate what they can eat. If they are still hungry they’ll go up for seconds or even thirds (or fourths).

If white Americans are descended from Europeans why is there such a gap in attitudes to food? I know that Burger King and MacDonalds are big business here too but what I’m talking about is the “eyes bigger than your stomach” syndrome. Although I’ve seen people act like pigs at these “all you can eat” buffets, they seem to be in the minority compared to in America.

On a side note, I find it really funny how people on the cruise seemed to think that eating low-fat yoghurt, low calorie maple syrup and diet cola would somehow improve their diet. Talk about being delusional!

Question: Do all Americans act like this or is it just people on Cruise ships?

What’s all the Fuss about Artificial Ingredients?

I’ve been noticing an increase in the number of TV shows about artificial colourings, flavours and preservatives (aka E numbers) in children’s food. One show was about children going on a “War Time” diet whilst others simply were complaining about E numbers in general.

The one thing that strikes me about all of these shows is how parents want to blame everyone else for these foods except themselves. Often to demonstrate the problem they would show huge amounts of “kids” foods laid out on a table. There would be fairy cakes, sweets, jelly beans, cola, 1950s Candy and all sorts of other junk.

The parents would then be shown the foods and be told about all the bad stuff in it. I find it difficult to believe it when the parents turn round and say they didn’t realize the food is unhealthy.

C’mon, if something is fluorescent pink it’s hardly going to be healthy is it??!!

Of course it’s the supermarkets that get the blame for it all. I’m not saying that supermarkets are holier than thou but there are a lot of foods clearly marked as not having artificial additives in it too.

What ever happened to home baking?

I think back on my childhood with fond memories of baking cakes, pancakes and flapjacks. Because they were home made we had total control over the ingredients. Don’t parents bake with their children any more? Is really all too much bother? If it is I think it’s really sad.

Why is Kids Food also Junk Food?

When I was on a bus in Malta a couple of years ago I noticed an English couple with two kids. One of the children probably wasn’t even a year old yet the mother was stuffing marshmallows into its mouth. You’d think it was something healthy the way she was shoving them down, the kid didn’t even look like it wanted them.

Then my parents saw a woman feeding a baby cola from a babies bottle along with white chocolate. Wow, I suppose that’s considered a balanced diet in some parts!

Am I the only person who sees the madness? Yes, of course I think artificial ingredients should be removed from food but ultimately we all have a choice in what foods we eat. No one is forcing us to buy these unhealthy foods.  However there are those who concern themselves over such topics as how to clean your liver but then eat all the junk of the day.  There isn’t any point.

Are Fruit Smoothies Healthy?

I just love it when you think you’re doing your body good then some journalist decides to ruin it all for you. The other evening I was watching a show called The One Show which raised the question of fruit smoothies being good for you.

Acid Test

You may already know that when you drop a dirty coin into some cola that it’ll come out clean. Well, they decided to carry out the same test with cola, fruit smoothie, coffee and water. When the coins came out of the cola and smoothie they were clean however the coins that were placed in the coffee and water were still dirty.

What this proves is that cola and fruit smoothies are acidic which can, over time, cause erosion of tooth enamel, so be very careful of those Beverly Hills porcelain veneers. To prevent this happening you should drink through a straw so that the liquid goes straight down your throat. Alternatively you can eat cheese because when acid levels in the mouth were tested, the acidity dropped to normal.

Sugar

They said that in a glass of fruit smoothie there’s 8 teaspoons of sugar. This is what I’m not too sure about. I’ve always believed that fruit is healthy for you and that sugar from fruit is different from refined cane sugar. Even if it does have high amount of sugar you do also get fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Lazy

It seems a lot of people are drinking pre-made smoothies from a carton because they can’t be bothered to eat raw fruit and vegetables. I wouldn’t suggest people do this, if you prefer to drink your daily amount of fruit and veg instead of preparing it yourself, then you’d be better off buying vegetable juice like V8.

I drink smoothies from time to time if I fancy something sweet and filling. I will continue to do so too however to me it’s more of a treat. The key is moderation. Ultimately fruit smoothies have got to be healthier than Sunny D. Surely?

If you are keen to make your own smoothies, then getting yourself a recipe book such as The Big Book of Juices and Smoothies.

Is Eating Chocolate Healthy?

A lot of health products are pretty controversial but chocolate probably tops the list. There’s been new study after new study, each raises doubts on the finding of the previous. The problem is that we all naturally crave sweet things and if we’re told that chocolate is good for us then we’re more than willing to believe it.

Flavonoids

The main reason chocolate often makes the health news is that it contains flavonoids (a class of phytochemicals). Flavonoids have been found to improve the circulatory system plus they are also antioxidants which remove free radicals from our bodies.

For some people this is enough evidence to continue eating bars of chocolate every day. However in reality chocolate also contains fat and sugar which somewhat outweighs any benefits you may enjoy from the antioxidants. Plus there are much healthier sources of antioxidants such as tea, fruit and vegetables which don’t contain fat and sugar.

That’s not to say you should deny yourself some chocolate from time to time. I often have a few squares when I’m out walking at the weekends, I just avoid eating any during the week.

Sugar and Fat can be Good?

Ideally you should stick to eating complex sugars but simple sugars can still help give you needed energy when you need it, for instance when cycling or running long distances. Fat can also regulate some hormones in the brain and give us a boot of energy.

There are many types of fat, the type that’s in chocolate is a saturated fat called stearic acid. Normally you should avoid saturated fat as it increases “bad cholesterol” however stearic acid may actually help lower it.

In addition to the above reasons, chocolate also contains the following…

  • Chocolate contains 10-30% less caffeine than coffee but that may actually be a good thing. Apparently a small amount of caffeine can be good for you.
  • Theobromine is related to caffeine and is a mild stimulant and helps us stay alert and give us a positive outlook to life. Is it any wonder that so many people are chocoholics?
  • You’ve probably already heard about Serotonin and how it can help elevate your mood. Well, chocolate contains Tryptophan which is a precursor to serotonin. Chocolate is also thought o help you release endorphins which is normally associated with exercising.

Whatever you do, don’t go rushing out to buy loads of chocolate thinking you can help improve your health. A little amount as a treat is fine, just don’t go crazy.