Best Foods to Eat and Vitamins to Take to Stay Healthy!

Photo by Trang Doan from Pexels
You can never go wrong with fresh fruit! (Photo: Trang Doan/Pexels)

Feeling tired, sluggish, or getting sick a lot? Maybe you’re not eating the right foods!

Proper nutrition and hydration are important to keep up a strong immune system, which is more important than ever now during this COVID pandemic.

People who maintain a well-balanced and healthy diet have a lower risk for infectious diseases and even chronic illnesses. 

Here are the best foods to eat and vitamins to take to strengthen your immune system and lower the risk of developing serious complications from COVID-19. 

Eat Fresh Foods and Avoid Processed Ones

Among the best foods to eat and vitamins to take is by eating fresh foods. Eating vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and foods sourced from animals is a great idea. You can make lots of meals out of beans, lentils, potatoes, wheat, oats, rice, eggs, milk, fish, meat, eggs, etc. 

The daily recommended intake is to eat two cups of fruits, 2.5 cups of vegetables, 160g (~3 oz) of beans and meat, and 180g (~5.5 oz) of grains. For snacks, you can choose fresh fruits and raw vegetables rather than going for foods that are high in salt, fat, or sugar. Avoid overcooking the fruits and vegetables since that can strip away the vital nutrients. If you are going for dried or canned fruits and vegetables, you should try varieties that don’t have a lot of added sugar or salt. 

Staying Hydrated by Drinking Enough Water 

Girl Drinking Water After Aerobics ExerciseWater is the most important nutrient you can have. It helps to regulate the temperature of the body, transports compounds and nutrients and cushions and lubricates the joints. Everyone needs to drink eight to ten cups of water daily to make sure their immune system is working in optimum condition. 

A lot of people don’t like the plain taste of water, but you can incorporate fruits, drinks, and vegetables that also contain water. Lemon juice mixed in with water can be nourishing for the body too. You should remember that many beverages do not actually hydrate you. Having too many caffeinated drinks or sweetened drinks can be worse for you. Try some of those real fruit smoothies! 

Fast and Oils are Important in Moderation 

It is better to eat unsaturated fats like avocado, fish, nuts, soy, olive oil and sunflower oil is better than saturated fats like butter, fatty meats, cheese, cream, lard, ghee, or coconut oil. Avoiding red meat. Having white meat like fish and poultry is better since it is lower in fat. Processed meats can also have a high content of salt and fat, such as deli meats. Even dairy and milk that have reduced or low fat can be great options. 

One thing that you should absolutely avoid is trans fats, which are often found in snacks, fast food, processed food, cookies, spreads, pies, and frozen pizza. 

Eat Less Sugar and Salt 

Can of sugar cubesWhile preparing and cooking food, you should reduce the amount of high-sodium ingredients and salt. Going easy on the fish or soy sauce can be a good idea. The daily intake of salt should be less than 5g or a teaspoon. It is also better to use iodized salt and avoid snacks that have a lot of sugar and salt. 

Limiting the intake of your sodas and soft drinks that have a high amount of sugar like syrups, flavored milk, and juice concentrate, not to mention the weight gain! Selecting fresh fruits instead of eating sweet things like chocolate, cakes and cookies can go a long way. 

Reduce Eating Out 

While it can be important to support local businesses at this time of need, cooking at home as much as possible helps limit the rate of coming into contact with others, but if you do go out, be sure to maintain the six-foot required distance between you and others and wear your mask. Also, pick a restaurant that you know goes the extra effort to keep the chairs and tables disinfected. Eat outside the restaurant if possible.

If you order take-out, make sure to go for no-contact deliveries where you pay without cash. Remember to tip well too! 

September 16, 2022 Update: Now with the Covid crises almost over, you can gradually return to you normal lifestyle, which means visiting restaurants without those stringent Covid rules and fear looming over your head, but we would still recommend precautions. Bring a sanitizer with you. Wash your hands before you eat and wash the table as well. Masks are still recommended.

Vitamins and Minerals 

Eating healthy foods is one of the best ways to go

The best foods to eat and vitamins to take during the pandemic (and during normal times as well) include the following. 

  • Vitamin D: Probably the most important vitamin you can take (either via natural foods or over-the-counter). This nutrient is filled with important benefits, which include the following:
      • Supports lung function
      • Supports your heart
      • Strengthens bones and teeth
      • Supports your immune system
      • Supports the brain and nervous system
      • It may help to reduce some cancers

And the foods you should eat that contain vitamin D are:

      • Fish, especially tuna and salmon
      • Orange juice, soy milk, and some cereals (read the ingredients on the box)
      • Cheese
      • Egg yolks

Other important vitamins for your body’s health are:

      • Vitamin A: This can help maintain the health of your respiratory system and intestines and since COVID attacks the lungs, this would be one vitamin to take very seriously. Foods rich in vitamin A include spinach, sweet potatoes, carrots, red bell peppers, and broccoli.
      • Vitamin C: Vitamin C is best known for keeping your bones in good shape and builds up your immune system. You can have kiwis, red bell peppers, and citrus fruits to up your vitamin C intake. The recommended daily amount for vitamin C is 65 to 90 milligrams (mg) per day.
      • Vitamin E: Helps to neutralize free radicals by acting as an antioxidant. Vitamin E exists in nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, and avocados.
      • Zinc: Many enzymes in the body are dependent on zink and a deficiency can lead to a dysfunction in the immune system. Foods rich in zinc include nuts, seeds, beans, poultry, meat, and seafood.
      • Protein: Amino acids are a good protein and is needed for the T-cell function that protects the cells from pathogens, like the COVID-19 virus. Items like seeds, nuts, beans, eggs, seafood, poultry, and meats have plenty of protein that can be good for you. 


Two Men Exercising on MatAt the end of the day, you have to remember that foods aren’t the only thing that will keep you safe. While the items mentioned here are considered the best nutrients and vitamins to take, especially during this pandemic, good exercise is also highly recommended.

And remember, these guidelines do not only apply when there is a pandemic, such as the coronavirus, but they are recommendations you should follow every day. 




Processed Meat and the Industry Built on Cancer

A fork holding a slice of smoked pork meatWhat is Processed Meat?

Meat that is ‘processed’ is any meat which has been modified so that it can improve its taste or to extend its shelf life and usually falls into the categories of meat that has been smoked, salted, cured, dried or canned. For decades, the processed food industry has been leading us into believing that their products are nutritious and healthy. The processed meat industry, in particular, has been a dominant player in the market with products being served everywhere, from supermarkets to fast food chains,which appeals to children and adults alike, but this is most likely not the case.

Processed meat was inspired by the need for convenience. Hectic schedules, busy family lives, and an ever-increasing workload meant that everyone was looking for a quicker alternative than cooking from scratch. And processed meat appeared as the perfect answer which offered not only convenience but potentially essential nutrients as well. However, the price of convenience has taken a heavy toll on our health.

Processed food has always been an integral part of our cooking culture. We cut, rinse, cook, ferment and dry our food. All these are part of the process, but the processed meat industry which includes meat like bacon, ham, sausages, and salami to name a few, has added industrially processed chemicals to our daily diet.  The industrial process, which is standard for all mass-produced processed meat, strip the food of its nutrients while adding chemicals, preservatives and synthetic food additives.

Processed Meat, Addiction, and Overeating

Processed Meat with VegatablesFresh meat consists of proteins, fats, and water. When the meat is processed, the components change, which in turn transform how the meat is digested and assimilated in our bodies.  

Eating processed meat releases dopamine (the pleasure neurotransmitter) which increases our chances of getting addicted to such types of food. This leads to a lifestyle where an individual consumes fewer nutrients and fiber but actually eats more as they derive greater pleasure from it. This is how addiction to processed meat starts – an individual feels good after eating and that leads to a repetitive cycle of consumption of such foods.

You might think that the relationship between dopamine and processed meat consumption is coincidental, but the reality is quite different. Processed meat companies are billion dollar empires such as McDonalds and Tyson Foods that pour in hundreds of millions of dollars into marketing and lobbying.  

The marketing campaigns of such companies aim to rope in consumers from the earliest time possible so they remain customers well into adulthood. The need for bacon to be an essential breakfast item and happiness can be found in a happy meal box are part of a campaign carefully derived to keep customers hungry for more.

Processed Meat and the Cancer Link

The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a report which classifies processed meat such as ham, bacon, salami and frankfurters as a Group 1 carcinogen. This translates into strong evidence suggesting that processed meat causes cancer. Epidemiological studies conducted by the WHO has found sufficient proof that the consumption of processed meat causes colorectal cancer.

Experts from multiple countries reviewed more than 800 studies to reach a definitive conclusion. The studies found that consuming fifty grams of processed meat every day increases the chance of colorectal cancer by 18%. That translates to about four strips of bacon or one hot dog each day.

So Why Does Processed Meat Pose Such a Grave Threat?

Possessed sausage on a tableCertain chemicals such as N-Nitroso compounds and polycyclic hydrocarbons, which are carcinogenic in nature, are produced during the production of processed meats. Cooking processed meats also produces heterocyclic aromatic amines as well as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which are found in air pollution. Furthermore, nitrite and nitrate preservatives used to increase the shelf life of processed meats also release chemicals upon digestion that can lead to bowel cancer.

A recent outbreak of food poisoning in South Africa led to a discovery of high amounts of bacteria in uncooked processed meats such as frankfurters. This type of bacteria was found to be exceptionally dangerous for children, the elderly and pregnant women.

Alternatives to Processed Meat

The average person would be surprised that many healthy and budget-friendly alternatives already exist on the market. These substitutes offer a healthier and better lifestyle than processed meats without compromising on taste.

Replace processed meats such as ham, bacon or prosciutto with healthier proteins such as chicken, tuna, salmon or eggs. To make meals more exciting and healthier, the addition of tomatoes, mushroom, baked beans, hummus or avocado are a good choice to start off with. For more flavor, herbs, chili or smoked paprika can be used.

Response of Processed Meat Producers

The PR managers of processed meat companies have tried to dismiss the WHO’s report that links processed meat to an increase in cancer. They suggest that the study was not conclusive and not backed by enough members. They refute the claims of the report and have since published their own studies as a counter-argument to protect the industry and the massive profits from the sale of processed meats.


The ramifications of the evidence found by the World Health Organization basically identify processed meat as a Group 1 carcinogen, which is the same category as tobacco. It essentially translates into a call for action to drastically transform heavy processed meat diets into healthier diets.

Heavy advertising and lobbying by processed meat companies have made it harder to overcome mental and social barriers for what is a radical change. Large amounts of money are spent to ensure that people continue with their current choice of processed meats. These factors grouped together with the convenience of on the go meat make it even harder to get rid of foods which have become an integral part of our culture.

For a brighter and healthier tomorrow, it is essential to get rid of foods that are causing deaths and illnesses. Children should be encouraged from a young age to eat healthily and adults can opt for a healthier lifestyle with alternatives that are proven to be better for health.

Everything You Need to Know About Choline

basket of eggs
Photo by BDS –

People love eating eggs because they are delicious, easy to cook, and offer plenty of nutritional benefits. Packed with protein, healthy fats, selenium, vitamin D, and a variety of other minerals and vitamins, eggs are an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet.

There is, however, one nutrient that eggs contain that people do not know a lot about –  choline. Note to be confused with chlorine, choline is a B vitamin, which also happens to be an essential nutrient. Choline is a nutrient that plays an important role in the biological processes of the human body. It has an important part to play when it comes to the signaling between cells and nerves, transportation of cholesterol in the body, and even energy metabolism.

Acetylcholine is a chemical produced by the brain, which is part of the processes involved with our memory. This vital chemical compound cannot be made without the intake of choline. Choline also contributes to the production of sphingomyelin and phosphatidylcholine – both of which are vital parts of cell membranes.

The human body can produce choline naturally but only in small amounts. To furnish healthy levels of choline, it is necessary to add nutrients to your diet that contain this essential element. Choline can be found in several different foods and if there is a serious deficiency, you can take choline supplements that are available in retail markets.

Health Benefits of Choline

There are several benefits that you can reap by having this nutrient as a part of your dietary intake. Here is a look at some of the most prominent ones.

Better Liver Health

If the human body does not get enough choline, it can contribute to liver issues. According to a study published by the American Journal of Nutrition in 2007, you need a healthy intake of choline to help your liver function properly.

This study saw almost 60 adults given a diet which contained 550 mg of choline for 10 days. After that, the sample of adults being tested was fed a diet that contained less than 50 mg of choline for up to 42 days. There was a massive difference in how things turned out. Almost half of the women who had not yet undergone menopause developed muscle damage and a fatty liver problem. Similarly, 80 percent of the women who had undergone menopause developed fatty livers and muscle problems. Furthermore, 77 percent of the male demographic in the sample developed similar issues with their livers during the second phase of the test.

Cognitive Function

An observational study suggested that choline played a significant role in the cognitive functioning of men and women. This proves that choline is necessary for the normal development of the human brain and the neural pathways, which are responsible for enhancing memory. The cognitive performance of participants who had lower levels of choline was poor compared to the participants who had proper levels of choline in their systems. Their performance was measured through their speed of perception, global cognition, sensorimotor speed, and executive function.  

Choline and Pregnancy

Building on the necessity of choline for the healthy development of cognitive brain functions, a report was published by the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The report stated that increased consumption of foods containing high levels of choline contributed to the development of the brain in the fetus of pregnant women. Studies conducted on animals have shown that if they consume a high choline-based diet in the first year after their birth, they have enhanced memory skills throughout their lives.

How Can You Detect Choline Deficiency?

A person may experience several health issues due to choline deficiency. These include memory problems, muscle damage, insomnia, and excessive fatigue. If an individual has a problem of severe choline deficiency, they might experience nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and significant liver damage.

What Are The Sources of Choline?

Several foods are rich in choline content. Eggs, beef liver, and soybeans are some of the choline-rich foods. Choline can also be found in good quantity in some other foods like mushrooms, potatoes, chicken, dairy products, fish, nuts, seeds, and whole grain foods.

Here is a look at the example of foods containing choline and the quantity of choline in them:

    • Wheat germ: 51 mg of choline per ounce
    • Broccoli: 31 mg of choline per every half cup
    • Chicken breast: 72 mg of choline per 3 ounces
    • Eggs: 147 mg of choline for every large egg
    • Beef liver: 356 mg of choline per 3 ounces (the highest amount)

Precautions When It Comes to Choline

While choline is an essential part of our diet, there are some considerations that you should keep in mind when consuming it. If taken in high dosage, choline can cause certain adverse effects, including body odor, nausea, vomiting, sweating, low blood pressure, salivation, and liver damage.

According to a study, the deficiency of choline can increase the levels of certain amino acids in the body which are linked to heart disease. This is why having a good intake of this nutrient has also been linked to healthier hearts.

It is important to take notice of the fact that choline supplements should never be solely relied on for the intake of choline. It can cause health concerns. It is always better to rely on regular dietary items to fulfill your choline needs.

Recommended Intake of Choline

While it has still not been established exactly how much choline a person should take in a single day, there are certain guidelines about the recommended intake. The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends that the proper intake of choline per day for men is at 550 mg. For women, the recommended choline intake should be at 425 mg per day.

Final Thoughts

A lot of people can meet their daily needs for the intake of choline through their regular diet without having to take any extra precautions for it. Of course, there are some cases where a person is unable to fulfill their basic daily requirement of choline intake. If you are worried about the possibility of choline deficiency, it is recommended that you do not start taking supplements of choline on your own.

It is best to go to a certified dietician or your physician to share your concerns about the matter so that if you do need to take supplements, you can get the best possible dosage based on expert opinion.

Why are More People Suffering from Vitamin D Deficiencies Each Year?

Woman and child in a park
Photo by Anna Om –

Considering the number of ailments that are being resolved with medical breakthroughs, it is surprising to see that the number of people suffering from vitamin D deficiency is rising each year. Moreover, it is a vitamin that is naturally produced in the body, so this aspect can be a little disconcerting. Whatever the reason, let’s take a look at what happens if you are not up to par with your daily vitamin D intake.

What is Vitamin D good For?

Vitamin D is a nutrient that is fat soluble, and runs a wide array of vital functions in the body including the following:

  • Maintaining Healthy Bone Density and Strength – Vitamin D can help with better absorption of phosphorous, magnesium, and calcium in the body. This helps improve bone strength and density, effectively keeping conditions such as osteoporosis, osteomalacia, or rickets at bay.
  • Supports the Immune System – You can also get a healthier immune system with the help of vitamin D. In children, it reduces the risk of developing influenza by at least 40% whereas adults are less likely to catch the flu. It also reduces the risk associated with cancer and other autoimmune diseases.
  • Improves the Nervous System – Healthy amounts of vitamin D in the body can also help keep your nervous system in good condition. It improves neuromuscular function and reduces muscle pain which in turn, end up reducing your risks of developing conditions such as fibromyalgia.
  • Keeps the Brain Healthy – Brain health and brain function are enhanced by vitamin D. It promotes healthy activity, which reduces depression and anxiety. It has also been linked with reducing the chances of someone developing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or schizophrenia.
  • Supports Healthy Cardiovascular Function – Conditions like hypertension and high blood pressure can also be reduced or prevented with the help of vitamin D. Healthy heart health also means that you are not at risk from other cardiovascular conditions that could afflict you and are related to hypertension and high blood pressure.
  • Regulates Insulin – Conditions such as diabetes can be prevented with healthy levels of vitamin D in the body. Insulin production, as well as release and breakdown, are regulated and stay in check with a good amount of this nutrient in your body.

With so many tangible benefits and more, it is easy to see that vitamin D plays an essential role in maintaining good health.

A Little Sunshine Wouldn’t Hurt

Man by Sun representing vitamin D
Sr. Airman Michael Cossaboom pretends to eat the sun in Asheville N.C., April 18, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jensen Stidham)

Vitamin D, also known as the Sunshine Vitamin, is naturally produced when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Around 50% to 90% of vitamin D in the body is made through sun exposure.

While you can take supplements or make sure you are eating foods that have vitamin D in them, it is usually not enough and cannot even cover 50% of your body’s daily requirement. For this reason, spending time in the sun is a better option. A recent study has shown that the best time to allow your body to create vitamin D is early morning and between 11:00 and 1:00 under direct sunlight. Unfortunately, many people do not spend as much time in the sun as they should. 

Given the risks you face, it is troubling to see why there is such a major deficiency of Vitamin D on a global level. The main reason is that people no longer spend as much time in the sun as they previously used to. 

Three Reasons Why People Don’t Spend Time in the Sun

Unfortunately, despite all the data pointing to this factor, people are still avoiding time in the sun. The following are four major reasons why people don’t spend time indoors:

    • Spending More Time Indoors

We have slowly crafted our lives to spend them indoors. Whether one is at work, school university, or even shopping, your time in the sun is extremely limited. Even when someone is at home, our hobbies are such that we would much rather watch television or play video games than go outdoors.

    • Skin Cancer and Sun Exposure

Sun exposure has been linked with increasing the risk of developing skin cancer, which is why many people actively avoid sun exposure. While you only need to spend 15 to 30 minutes in strong sunlight to make vitamin D, many people are not keen on spending time in the sun. Even if they are outdoors, they will have sunscreen on, which inhibits UVB rays from being absorbed by the body.

    • Beauty Standards

Sun exposure has also been linked with skin damage and increases the appearance of fine lines which makes people more hesitant about going outdoors. Even when they do, they will make sure to keep the skin covered and apply sunscreen.

These reasons might appear small, but avoiding the sun at all costs can cause a vitamin D deficiency in a person. At a global level, it is estimated that more than a billion people have a deficiency when it comes to this vitamin.

Four Major Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency

Another surprising factor is that the symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency can often be overlooked as some other ailment. The following are some major signs that can point to a deficiency in the body:

    • Weak Immune System

From the flu to pneumonia, influenza, and more, if you are constantly falling ill, you might have a vitamin D deficiency.

    • Fatigue

Chronic fatigue syndrome or unexplained tiredness, even when you aren’t overworked, can point to a vitamin D deficiency.

    • Pain in the Bones

Pain in your bones can occur when they are brittle or soft. Before the condition worsens, the pain can be the only major factor regarding it.

    • Depression and Moodiness

Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked with moodiness, depression, and anxiety. It is also the reason why many people often experience SAD – seasonal affective disorder during the winter.

If left unchecked, your vitamin D deficiency can cause serious complications to your health. If you or someone you know is exhibiting any of the signs of a deficiency, be sure to get some tests done to determine this factor. Never self-diagnose to avoid any further complications. Contact your physician for a vitamin D checkup.

Foods Rich in Vitamin D

Wild salmon is one of the best sources of vitamin D, as well as light tuna. Mushrooms, milk, and orange juice are also great sources of this nutrient. And don’t forget about egg yolks. In addition, you may want to consider taking a vitamin D supplement. Speak to your doctor for professional advice if you think you are vitamin D deficient. 

Amazing Health Benefits of Palm Oil

Oilpalm trees malaysiaIf we are careful of what we eat and in what oil our food is made, we can reduce the risk of many kinds of health issues. One such cooking oil that holds benefits for us is palm oil.

Palm oil is a popular vegetable oil derived from different types of oil palms. The core varieties that are used in its production are American oil palm (Elaeis oleifera) and African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis). The natural color of palm oil is reddish-orange because of its high beta-carotene content. It is also among very few naturally saturated vegetable fats.

Although palm oil is most commonly used for cooking purposes, not many people know that it is very versatile. It is also used in the manufacturing of many beauty products around the world and palm oil’s nutritional benefits are the reason it is used in the production of many edible and non-edible products.  

Let’s take a look at some of the health benefits of palm oil.  

  • Improved Energy Level

Beta-carotene has been proven to improve energy levels in a person and also boost hormonal balance.

  • Better Vision

In addition to boosting energy levels, beta-carotene is very significant in improving vision. Many antioxidants are present in palm oil, which provide the body with powerful defensive mechanisms. These antioxidants are byproducts of cellular metabolism and can effectively protect the body from free radicals that can lead to vision issues.

  • Healthier Cardiovascular System

The content of both HDL and LDL cholesterol is very high in palm oil. Although one is beneficial (HDL) and the other one is bad (LDL), palm oil can still provide a healthier balance to your body. If you ensure a healthy balance of both types of cholesterol that are needed for the body, your cardiovascular system can improve.

  • Cancer Prevention

Palm oil is rich in Vitamin A and E. Vitamin E contains natural antioxidants and Vitamin A contains retinol. Tocopherols are such natural antioxidants that can activate a powerful defensive mechanism in the body by producing compounds to neutralize free radicals. Free radicals can inject cancer into healthy cells, therefore, high levels of tocopherol are necessary to prevent cancer.

  • Prevents Vitamin Deficiency during Pregnancy

Pregnant women are often faced with complications arising due to vitamin deficiency that does not only pose threat to them but their unborn child too. Palm oil contains good quantities of Vitamin A, D, and E. Since our bodies are not capable of naturally retaining these vitamins, it is essential to consume them through our diet. If pregnant women include palm oil in their diet, they can prevent vitamin deficiencies from occurring.

Using palm oil for cooking purposes is generally considered as a good health choice due to the above-mentioned benefits. Interestingly, palm oil can also help prevent premature aging.

Seven Ways to Stay Healthy

Which vitamins are good for me? What’s the best way I can lose weight? When should I get a flu shot? And on and on… So we decided to provide a guideline that is straightforward and simple to follow. If you should you feel you want to learn more, just click the links provided.

See Your Doctor on a Routine Basis

Doctor with ChildYou don’t avoid bringing your car in for routine maintenance, right? Then you should do the same thing with your body. With that said, the older you are, the more this should apply.

Bottom line: Make routine visits to your physician. At the very least, make it a point to have yearly checkups where they can do a complete workup and confirm that everything is alright. 

If there are issues, that doesn’t mean that you have reached your end-of-life cycle. But it does mean that you might need some extra nutrients or some other non-threatening additions for you to have a healthier lifestyle. And if you are told that there is a need for follow up (e.g. X-Ray, MRI or to see a specialist). Just do it. Many times, it is just to confirm there is nothing wrong. 

Woman Brushing her TeethAnd we don’t mean just your doctor. Make sure you visit your dentist for checkups as well. Dental checkups and cleaning is an essential part of staying healthy for not just your teeth but your heart as well. 

Wash Your Hands!

One person told us (but this applies to millions of others who do the same thing) that he washes his hands many times a day and he attributes that to not having a cold or similar illness for years. This doesn’t mean that you need to turn into a germaphobe, but even if you do, so what?

Howie Mandel is one and so is Jennifer Lawrence and there is nothing wrong with being a little obsessed with keeping clean (although Mandel is a little more on the extreme side).

Carry some of those $1.00 anti-bacterial bottles or wet wipes, but the bottles may be more practical since you can get more cleaning done with them.

Hand Soap

While we are on the subject of obsessive cleaning (which we are saying is a good thing), wash your hands after touching a door handle, especially one of those restroom door handles. Just because you washed your hands before leaving doesn’t mean that you won’t get contaminated with bacteria on your way out. Who knows what germs are on those things?

When you leave public transportation, wash your hands. That’s where these antibacterial bottles come in. And those airline tray tables! Clean them before with anti-bacterial solution or wipes before you eat on one. 

Have kids? If yes, you need to raise the bar and keep your house as clean as possible. Kids, especially the younger ones are magnets when it comes to dirt and bacteria and schools are notorious for breeding these magnets.

Teach your children when they are young the importance of keeping clean and why. Carry antibacterial cleansers with you. Going to a restaurant? Give them the wipes to wash prior to eating. Do the same everywhere you go with your kids. Start them early and they will be doing this on their own by default before you can say “dirt”.

What Are the Healthists Foods to Eat?

FruitsWe are not talking about dieting, although much of what is discussed here can apply to  a healthy diet.

You know what they say: “An apple a day…”, and that is so true as you can’t go wrong with fruits and vegetables, blueberries, raspberries, grapes, oranges, bananas, avocados, broccoli and garlic, just to name a few. These are some of the most nutritious foods you can eat.

Then there is fish. Salmon is rich in nutrients, especially vitamin D, but just about any fish, even tuna will be a boost to your body’s health. Some seafood such as lobster and crab provide zinc which helps keep the immune system working properly and they are not big weight gainers. All these foods help enrich your immune system, keep your heart healthy and your bones too. Some even help keep the wheels in your brain moving like a well-oiled machine.

Don’t forget to go nuts! That’s right. Find some packages of cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans or any nuts from this family of super nutrition. Macadamia nuts are said to contain some of the highest concentration of nutritional items.

Dark Chocolate Almonds
Dark Chocolate Almonds are a great source of nutrition for your heart and health in general

Let’s not forget about dark chocolate and there are many combinations of foods that contain both dark chocolate along with other nutrients. On the con side, it does contain a certain amount of sugar, but the antioxidant content in dark chocolate is extraordinary and the main idea is to find foods that are rich in antioxidants. By absorbing these vitamins and antioxidant-rich foods, you will be moving in the right direction towards a healthy body and mind.

Want to go further? Try organic foods. They contain fewer pesticides and since some pesticides can be destructive to your immune system, they can be an added benefit.

Best vitamins to help fight off diseases are vitamin C and vitamin D. Make sure your body gets the recommended dosage every day and keep an eye out for those foods that have a high level of antioxidants and there are many, some mentioned here.

As far as avoiding colds, follow what is mentioned in this article as well as these guidelines which provide more detailed information.  

Drink Right

Eight ounces of water a day is still the recommended dosage. Water is the most natural liquid you can put in your body and by doing so, it helps to clean out those elements that don’t belong there. It is a great weight reducer too!

Glasses of Red Wine on a TableGreen tea is a winner. Great for the heart and has loads of antioxidants.

What not to drink: Soda which has many non-nutritional factors is not recommended to be your daily drink, as well as other drinks high in sugar. Drinking alcohol doesn’t have many benefits either, but red wine can be advantageous for your heart and help prevent cancerous diseases as well.

Get Vaccinated

Flu season is among us now. Don’t go without a shot, especially if you are a senior or have young children. But in general, taking precautions for any of the recommended vaccinations is of extreme importance. Besides the flu, there are vaccines for pneumonia, shingles, and Pneumococcal conjugate to name a few. If you are traveling, definitely find out what medical precautions you need to take before leaving. Speak to your doctor about what vaccines are needed for you.

Get that Body Moving

Woman doing yogaDid you really think that we were not going to let you read this article without the mention of exercise? Well, here you go! Make those 10,000 steps a daily routine. Getting the blood pumping is vital! 

Those Eight Hours Do Mean a Lot

Just about every sleep study has concluded that humans need a good seven-eight hours of sleep every night.

Sleep apnea

Many people who have this sleep apnea, also called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) don’t know it, but their partner might. That is because snoring is a common sign that you might be one of those individuals who have this illness. We’re saying ‘illness’ because technically that’s what it is. For the most part, it is not life-threatening for most people, but if an oxygen denial event termed hypoxia develops, it can become dangerous and life-threatening.

With that said, sleep apnea can be a destructive element to your body and mind, because you can walk around tired for different times of the day and subsequently, your cognitive abilities may be diminished. Additionally, if you don’t get the recommended 7+ hourse of noghtly sleep, your body loses its chance to replenish and recuperate, especially if you already have an illness or injury. 

What does sleep apnea do exactly?

Student sleeping in computer labOSA consists of the complete obstruction of the airway while sleeping. This obstruction prevents air from entering the lungs. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is characterized by recurrent episodes of airway collapse during sleep. A critical issue with an apnea event is how long oxygen is cut off. When the airway is blocked for more than ten seconds oxygen loss begins to occur.

Bottom line: Your body needs at least seven hours of sleep per night. If you do not get it, you can be prone to tiredness during the day and more importantly, you are not giving your body the ability to heal or strengthen. To learn more about sleep apnea, go here.

If you don’t feel you are getting enough sleep, regardless if you have sleep apnea or not, see your doctor.

Stay Calm

We all can get a little stressed out now and then, but if you are finding that you are more stressed than you should be, this will have a negative impact on your body. There are many ways to reduce stress. Work on it and do your best to stay stress-free.

Bottom line: Stay clean. Eat right. Dring right and sleep the recommended hours for a healthier lifestyle. See your doctor and dentist on a routine basis even if it is just for a checkup.

Potassium Deficiency: Signs and Consequences


Children holding up potassium signs
Photo by Wavebreakmedia –

From cell signaling to muscle contractions and nerve functions, potassium plays an important role in the healthy functioning of the body.  But unfortunately, a majority of the US population is not consuming enough of this micronutrient in their daily diets. According to a national survey, 98 percent of US residents have potassium-short diet routines. One of the reasons why this large majority of the population is not getting their potassium is because of the diminution of plant-based foods in our lifestyles. You might not notice an immediate effect of potassium deficiency, but there are multiple health and everyday issues that are associated with the shortage of this mineral in the body.

Constant Feeling of Tiredness and Weakness

One of the initial signs of potassium deficiency is you start feeling tired and fatigued without any explicable reason (of course there are many other reasons for feeling fatigued. Check with your doctor to confirm the exact reason). Potassium along with calcium is responsible for regulating cell functions, which are deemed important for muscle contraction. With low potassium levels in the blood, muscles produce weaker contractions, which get highlighted by a constant feeling of exhaustion even when you haven’t been part of a rigorous physical activity.

Furthermore, deficiency of potassium can affect the physiological activity of other nutrients. Research has suggested that the production of insulin can be affected by a potassium deficiency which then spikes the levels of blood glucose. A sludgy blood circulation where cells can’t get enough necessary nutrition and oxygen also set off the feeling of exhaustion and weakness.

Frequent Muscle Cramps

A sudden, elongated contraction of muscles is known as a cramp or spasm. They are quite normal when the body is involved in an increased physical activity (sports, gym etc). However, people with acute potassium deficiency can experience these sudden muscle contractions more frequently.

Signaling of muscle cells that are involved in contractions are regulated by potassium channels. The nerve signals sent by the brain to end and start muscle contractions are actually relayed through potassium channels.

When there is an insufficient amount of potassium in the blood, it becomes difficult for the brain to effectively relay the signals regarding muscle contraction, which results in frequent cramps and spasms.

Cardiac Palpitations

Cardiac palpitations, which is one aspect of a condition called arrhythmia can be associated with increased levels of stress and anxiety where an individual feels that his/her heart is beating too fast or skipping beats. Besides the chest, this feeling of unrest can also be felt in the throat and neck as well.

Although there are numerous reasons a change in a heartbeat to occur,  a shortage of potassium cannot be ruled out. As mentioned earlier, potassium plays a crucial role in cell signaling within the body. So, when there is a potassium deficiency, the regulation of heart cells maintaining the rhythm of its beat can lead to these palpitations.

Stiffness of Muscles

Muscle stiffness and pain inculcated by rhabdomyolysis can also be prompted by the deficiency of potassium in the body. Rhabdomyolysis is a condition where the muscles break down and rupture due to a lack of oxygen. This usually happens when the blood vessels contract more than usual due to low levels of potassium in the bloodstream.

Digestive Complications

Contraction of the muscles of the stomach helps in the movement and propelling the food through the gut. This contraction is regulated by the cellular function of potassium which relays the brain signals to these muscles.

With inadequate amounts of potassium, this communication gets disrupted resulting in irregular muscle contraction which often leads to constipation, bloating and other digestive issues.

Breathing Issues

Potassium also plays a crucial role in the contraction of lung muscles. With not enough of this nutrient present for the communication of nerve signals with lung muscles, this breathing pattern gets affected and culminates with a shortness of breath.

Some studies also link potassium deficiency with psychological disorders and mood swings. one study indicated that among a group of people suffering from mental issues, 20 percent were suffering from potassium deficiency. However, these findings associating potassium deficiency with psychological diseases is not conclusive.  

Increasing Potassium Intake Through Your Daily Diet

According to the Food and Nutrition Board, 4700 milligrams of potassium should be consumed through a daily dietary routine to ensure an optimal amount of potassium in the body. Increasing the number of fruits, vegetables and nuts can help you with getting sufficient potassium. Here, we are listing some of the daily food options that are rich in potassium and also considered healthy due to their other nutritional content.

Cooked Foods

Beet greens, clams, pinto and white beans in cooked form are good sources of potassium and other healthy nutrients.

Baked Foods

Baked potatoes (white and sweet) and yams are also a good option to fulfill your potassium needs. In addition, avocados and bananas contain a big percentage of the recommended daily intake of potassium, as well as horseradish.  

What About Potassium Supplements?

Nutritional supplements have become a rage among a large number of people. In some cases, they might help but they are not a permanent solution to the problem. Therefore, physicians usually don’t recommend nutritional supplements; however, a doctor may subscribe a prescription for this mineral, which would be much more potent than something from over the counter. If the doctor does prescribe it, it is most likely the result of a blood count reading that indicates a low potassium level.

Similar is the case of potassium supplements. Some studies have shown that taking such supplements can result in adverse medical conditions. Supplements with a high content of potassium can damage the digestive tract and cause cardiovascular abnormalities. Only take such supplements if they are recommended by your physician.

In a literal sense, not a single cell can do its work in the absence of potassium. Maintaining a balanced diet is the best solution to evade all the discussed health issues that can be prompted with the deficiency of potassium in the body.