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Protecting Your Vision: Facts and Fiction

Published August 4, 2016 by teacher dahl

vision

Whether you’re nearsighted, farsighted, or have 20/20 vision, it’s important to take good care of your eyes.
May is Healthy Vision month, and a good time to examine the facts—and fiction—surrounding healthy vision. Take a look at the following statements about eye safety and ask yourself: Fact or fiction?

1.It’s legal to market decorative contact lenses as over-the-counter products—and they’re safe to wear, even if an eye doctor hasn’t examined them on you first.

Fiction. Decorative contact lenses are medical devices regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Places that advertise them as cosmetics or sell them without a prescription are breaking the law. Moreover, an eye doctor (ophthalmologist or optometrist) must examine each eye to properly fit the lenses and evaluate how your eye responds to contact lens wear. A poor fit can cause serious eye damage.

2. Laser pointers and toys containing lasers can cause permanent eye damage.
Fact. According to Dan Hewett, health promotion officer at FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, “A beam shone directly into a person’s eye can injure it in an instant, especially if the laser is a powerful one.” In fact, when operated unsafely, or without certain controls, the highly-concentrated light from lasers—even those in toys—can be dangerous, causing serious eye injuries and even blindness. And not just to the person using a laser, but to anyone within range of the laser beam.

3.Eating lots of carrots is good for your vision.
Fact. Carrots are a good food for healthy eyesight because they contain carotenoids, which are precursors of vitamin A, a nutrient important to your eyes. However, a well-balanced diet can contain lots of foods that offer similar benefits, such as other darkly colored fruits and vegetables like peas and broccoli. Eating a well-balanced diet also helps you maintain a healthy weight, which makes you less likely to develop obesity-related diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, the leading cause of blindness in adults.
4.Sitting too close to movie, television, and computer screens will damage your eyes.
Fiction. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), watching televisions, including flat screens, can’t cause your eyes any physical harm. The same is true for using the computer too much or watching 3-D movies. AAO says your eyes may feel more tired if you sit too close to the TV or spend a lot of time working at the computer, but you can fix that by giving your eyes a rest.
5.It’s okay to use an over-the-counter eye reliever every day.
Fiction. According to FDA‘s Wiley Chambers, M.D., doctors don’t recommend long term use of redness-alleviating drops. Although initially they help to constrict the blood vessels in the eyes (getting the so-called “red” out), continued use leads to a rebound effect. After continued use, the drops can become the reason that your eyes are red. It is best to use them just for a day or two, Chambers says.
6.Smoking increases your risk of developing macular degeneration.
Fact. Smoking is a major risk factor for developing macular degeneration, a disease that gradually destroys sharp, central vision. Other risk factors include genetics, diet, exposure to bright sunlight, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension (high blood pressure).

Source: fda.gov

The truth about fats: the good, the bad, and the in-between

Published July 31, 2016 by teacher dahl

 

Fats2

The Family Health Guide
For years, fat was a four-letter word. We were urged to banish it from our diets whenever possible. We switched to low-fat foods. But the shift didn’t make us healthier, probably because we cut back on healthy fats as well as harmful ones.
Your body needs some fat from food. It’s a major source of energy. It helps you absorb some vitamins and minerals. Fat is needed to build cell membranes, the vital exterior of each cell, and the sheaths surrounding nerves. It is essential for blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation. For long-term health, some fats are better than others. Good fats include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Bad ones include industrial-made trans fats. Saturated fats fall somewhere in the middle.
All fats have a similar chemical structure: a chain of carbon atoms bonded to hydrogen atoms. What makes one fat different from another is the length and shape of the carbon chain and the number of hydrogen atoms connected to the carbon atoms. Seemingly slight differences in structure translate into crucial differences in form and function.
Bad fats
The worst type of dietary fat is the kind known as trans fat. It is a byproduct of a process called hydrogenation that is used to turn healthy oils into solids and to prevent them from becoming rancid. When vegetable oil is heated in the presence of hydrogen and a heavy-metal catalyst such as palladium, hydrogen atoms are added to the carbon chain. This turns oils into solids. It also makes healthy vegetable oils more like not-so-healthy saturated fats. On food label ingredient lists, this manufactured substance is typically listed as “partially hydrogenated oil.”

Bad Fats

Early in the 20th century, trans fats were found mainly in solid margarines and vegetable shortening. As food makers learned new ways to use partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, they began appearing in everything from commercial cookies and pastries to fast-food French fries.
Eating foods rich in trans fats increases the amount of harmful LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream and reduces the amount of beneficial HDL cholesterol. Trans fats create inflammation, which is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. They contribute to insulin resistance, which increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.Research from the Harvard School of Public Health and elsewhere indicates that trans fats can harm health in even small amounts: for every 2% of calories from trans fat consumed daily, the risk of heart disease rises by 23%.
Trans fats have no known health benefits and that there is no safe level of consumption. Today, these mainly man-made fats are rapidly fading from the food supply.
In-between fats
Saturated fats are common in the American diet. They are solid at room temperature — think cooled bacon grease. Common sources of saturated fat include red meat, whole milk and other whole-milk dairy foods, cheese, coconut oil, and many commercially prepared baked goods and other foods.
The word “saturated” here refers to the number of hydrogen atoms surrounding each carbon atom. The chain of carbon atoms holds as many hydrogen atoms as possible — it’s saturated with hydrogens.
A diet rich in saturated fats can drive up total cholesterol, and tip the balance toward more harmful LDL cholesterol, which prompts blockages to form in arteries in the heart and elsewhere in the body. For that reason, most nutrition experts recommend limiting saturated fat to under 10% of calories a day.
A handful of recent reports have muddied the link between saturated fat and heart disease. One meta-analysis of 21 studies said that there was not enough evidence to conclude that saturated fat increases the risk of heart disease, but that replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat may indeed reduce risk of heart disease.
Two other major studies narrowed the prescription slightly, concluding that replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fats like vegetable oils or high-fiber carbohydrates is the best bet for reducing the risk of heart disease, but replacing saturated fat with highly processed carbohydrates could do the opposite.

Good fat
Good fats come mainly from vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish. They differ from saturated fats by having fewer hydrogen atoms bonded to their carbon chains. Healthy fats are liquid at room temperature, not solid. There are two broad categories of beneficial fats: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Monounsaturated fats. When you dip your bread in olive oil at an Italian restaurant, you’re getting mostly monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fats have a single carbon-to-carbon double bond. The result is that it has two fewer hydrogen atoms than a saturated fat and a bend at the double bond. This structure keeps monounsaturated fats liquid at room temperature.
good fats
Good sources of monounsaturated fats are olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados, and most nuts, as well as high-oleic safflower and sunflower oils.
The discovery that monounsaturated fat could be healthful came from the Seven Countries Study during the 1960s. It revealed that people in Greece and other parts of the Mediterranean region enjoyed a low rate of heart disease despite a high-fat diet. The main fat in their diet, though, was not the saturated animal fat common in countries with higher rates of heart disease. It was olive oil, which contains mainly monounsaturated fat. This finding produced a surge of interest in olive oil and the “Mediterranean diet,” a style of eating regarded as a healthful choice today.
Although there’s no recommended daily intake of monounsaturated fats, the Institute of Medicine recommends using them as much as possible along with polyunsaturated fats to replace saturated and trans fats.
Polyunsaturated fats. When you pour liquid cooking oil into a pan, there’s a good chance you’re using polyunsaturated fat. Corn oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil are common examples. Polyunsaturated fats are essential fats. That means they’re required for normal body functions but your body can’t make them. So you must get them from food. Polyunsaturated fats are used to build cell membranes and the covering of nerves. They are needed for blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation.
A polyunsaturated fat has two or more double bonds in its carbon chain. There are two main types of polyunsaturated fats: omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. The numbers refer to the distance between the beginning of the carbon chain and the first double bond. Both types offer health benefits.
Eating polyunsaturated fats in place of saturated fats or highly refined carbohydrates reduces harmful LDL cholesterol and improves the cholesterol profile. It also lowers triglycerides.
Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, flaxseeds, walnuts, canola oil, and unhydrogenated soybean oil.
Omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent and even treat heart disease and stroke. In addition to reducing blood pressure, raising HDL, and lowering triglycerides, polyunsaturated fats may help prevent lethal heart rhythms from arising.

Evidence also suggests they may help reduce the need for corticosteroid medications in people with rheumatoid arthritis. Studies linking omega-3s to a wide range of other health improvements, including reducing risk of dementia, are inconclusive, and some of them have major flaws, according to a systematic review of the evidence by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Omega-6 fatty acids have also been linked to protection against heart disease. Foods rich in linoleic acid and other omega-6 fatty acids include vegetable oils such as safflower, soybean, sunflower, walnut, and corn oils.

Credit: healthharvardedu.com

Fiesta Float

Published May 7, 2016 by teacher dahl

fiesta afloat

Cooking Tools Needed:
Bowl
Pan
Spatula
Measuring Cups
Ingredients
1 pack (200 grams) Graham Cracker
2 packs (250 ml each) All-Purpose Cream (refrigerated)
¼ cup Condensed Milk (sweetened)
1 can (832 grams) Del Monte
Fiesta Fruit Cocktail (drained)
Cooking Procedure:
Arrange pieces of graham crackers to cover bottom of an 8” x 8” or similar pan.

Mix all-purpose cream and milk. Spread a portion on top of graham crackers. Arrange a portion of DEL MONTE Fiesta Fruit Cocktail over cream. Repeat layering using the remaining graham, cream mixture and fruits.

Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Slice and serve.

Optional: Crush remaining graham crackers and sprinkle on top.

*possible substitutes: 50-60 pieces broas, milk biscuits or chocolate cookies

Makes 16 servings

Health  Notes: Milk is rich in calcium and promotes strong bones and teeth.

Source: DelMonteKitchenomics

 

 

The Simple Breathing Technique That Will Help You Sleep

Published November 26, 2015 by teacher dahl

breathing pix

QUESTION: I’ve had trouble sleeping as I’ve gotten older—is this a big problem?

ANSWER: Persistent insomnia becomes more common as we age. It’s a risk factor for weight gain and can disrupt the body’s regulation of blood sugar, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Continued lack of sleep can also affect cognitive function and increase stress-hormone levels that raise blood pressure and promote inflammatory changes associated with chronic disease. In other words, this is one problem you need to address.

For better sleep, try a technique like this relaxation breath exercise when you get into bed tonight. (For more help sleeping, check out these 20 ways to sleep better every night.)

  • Exhale through your mouth.
  • Close your mouth and inhale through your nose for a count of 4.
  • Hold your breath for 7 counts.
  • Exhale for 8 counts.
  • Repeat the sequence 3 times.

Credit: Prevention.com

Five (5) Unconventional Signs of Breast Cancer

Published March 13, 2015 by teacher dahl

early detection

Breast cancer is one of the most common form of the disease in the world that affects both men and women. The chances of getting the disease increase as you age, but detecting it at an early age could be life saving.

There are several signs that the American Cancer Society claim should be analyzed closely by a specialist. It is important to remember that these signs aren’t definitive proof of existing breast cancer. They can sometimes indicate smaller hormonal or health factors, so visiting an expert can clear any ambiguity.

Some of the more obvious signs are:

  • Change in breast structure
  • Appearance of lumps
  • Changes in the skin or nippleHere are a few of the sneakier breast cancer indicators that many people overlook:

1. Itching, redness and pain

It’s common for breasts to be sore and sensitive during menstruation, but this symptom could mean something more serious if the sensitivity persists after the period. There may also be swelling involved with skin that is warm to the touch, indicating the less common (about 3% of cases) forms of inflammatory breast cancer.

Inflammatory cancer may also cause swelling, itching and pain in the chest. The skin may look scaly or have small blue marks similar to hemorrhages, somewhat like cellulite holes on the breast. Some women misunderstand the symptom for an allergic reaction on their breasts that refused to leave after several days. It’s important to know that this form of cancer is characterized by a rapid development, which blocks the blood vessels feeding the skin to cause redness, warmth and sensitivity.

2. Back pain

Patients typically feel back pain in the upper back between the shoulder blades before any other sign of breast cancer reveals itself. The discomfort is usually attributed with muscle pain, inflammation of the spine or stretching the tendon and ligaments in the back. It’s important to know that tumors will sometimes develop deep within the breast tissue of the chest and felt in the spine or ribcage. There is also the possibility of metasis, a malignant spreading of the disease to the ribs or spine.

3. Pain and tenderness in the armpit

According to studies, the first place breast cancer spreads to is the axillary lymph nodes. The axillary lymph nodes indicate breast cancer in the same way the lymph nodes in the neck and throat indicate a flu, making the axillaries an essential place for onset discovery. Swollen lymph nodes in the armpit or pain and tenderness could indicate the presence of a tumor before it becomes noticeable in the breast. Any pain or discomfort in the armpit is something that should definitely be tested.
First the person testing should compare it to their other armpit. If the difference is persistently evident, it’s worth consulting an expert. There is sometimes a hard lump that appears in the armpit and tissue surrounding it that won’t move when touched. There may also be tissue that is thicker and dense when compared with the other armpit. A sore spot could indicate many things that aren’t a tumor. It never hurts to be safe and get a medical evaluation, however, as the underarm tissue does have a close connection to breast tissue.

4. Nipple discharge or changes

One of the most common locations of breast cancer is beneath the nipple. The presence of a cancerous lesion may cause changes in appearance and sensitivity. Different texture, color and shape might occur. The nipple may also feel much more tender and have an unusual texture. Some women describe a lack of sensitivity within the nipple, especially during intimate relations.

A discharge of clear liquid, blood, or milk that doesn’t happen during breast feeding might also be a sign of breast cancer. This happens when a tumor forms in the milk duct on the nipple or behind it. When this happens the skin jostles to one side, allowing the tumor to cause irritation and inflammation that results in an unusual discharge from the nipple. Medical evaluation and followups are needed for early detection, but it is important to remember that many tumors are harmless.

5. Changing shape from a circle to oval

Many women around the world believe that an easily visible and touchable lump close to the surface of the skin is a sign of a breast tumor. Far less women, however, report the fact that one breast has taken on an elliptical shape while the other remains normal. Other women have reported the progression of breast tissue on one side of the breast, looking uneven. Some women notice a change in appearance and feel when they put a bra on. Many times it’s the spouse that notices these physical indicators instead of the patient.

The best way to detect the changes that aren’t associated with pain or strange sensations is by learning about the appearance and size of your breasts. Breast cancer organizations recommend that you sit in front of a mirror and examine the structure of the breast. Use your hands to lift the breast and check the variability of skin stretching on both sides.

Don’t forget to do this often to make sure you don’t miss any sudden changes in appearance. Any of these symptoms should be analyzed by a medical professional for a conclusive verdict. If not professionally examined you’ll be left in a worrying state of uncertainty. Hopefully everything is fine, but even if it isn’t, detecting breast cancer in the earlier stages could very well make your chances for survival exponentially better.

Source: healthyandnaturalworld.com

Seven (7) Tips to Prevent Uric Acid Disease (GOUT)

Published September 27, 2014 by teacher dahl

Ujric acid pix

Some of these tips can help prevent an increase in uric acid in the blood. These tips include changes in lifestyle and diet should be regularly and strictly adhered to, if not affected by gout or uric acid disease relapse.

1. Lose Weight In Stages
If overweight, reduce gradually, because losing weight can help lower uric acid levels. But avoid excessively strict diet, follow a healthy diet here. Losing weight drastically with excessive dieting may precipitate an attack of gout. That’s great if accompanied with regular exercise.

2. Eat Foods Low Purine (Diet Low Purine)

  • Purine is an organic component that causes gout. These substances are needed in the body to normal limits are met.@Restrict foods high in purines –
    Organ meats such as liver, kidney, heart
    Selected fish and shellfish
    Meat & yeast extracts brewers and bakers yeast
    Meat soups & stock cubes. Foods that can cause gout such as beans, mushrooms, cooked spinach, and mustard greens, goat meat, offal and lard (fat), shellfish, duck and turkey, salmon, mackerel, sardines, crab, shrimp , anchovy and some other fish, cream and ice cream, and sweet bread. Some foods containing purine content seen in the list below. It should be remembered that the sensitivity of a person to be exposed to uric acid after eating these foods will vary.

3. More White Water Consumption

Approximately 90% of gout is caused by the inability of the kidneys remove uric acid from the body completely through urine. Water consumption is believed to improve the disposal of substances that are not useful as excessive uric acid from the body. Drink at least 6-8 glasses a day.

4. Expand Food Containing Calcium and High Antioxidant

Eating calcium-rich foods such as vegetables and fruits such as bananas, potatoes, avocados, milk and yogurt. Eating fruits rich in vitamin C, especially citrus and strawberry.

5. Avoid Alcohol and Soft Drink Consumption

Alcohol can lead to increased production of uric acid, while soft drink consumption may inhibit the absorption of calcium and calcium even throw in vain.

6. Limit your consumption of fried food

Fats and oils turn rancid at high temperatures such as in frying time. Moreover, if the used oil is oil that is used repeatedly. Rancid fats which can quickly destroy vitamin E and causes an increase in uric acid in the blood.

7. Increase Sexual Activity

These tips are more appropriate for those who have become husband and wife. Sexual activity, such as a kiss can make the body become more relaxed, so easy to boost the immune system. In addition, sexual intercourse can facilitate the production of urine so it can reduce the concentration of uric acid in the blood.

Discipline, Awareness and Healthy Habits.

Again the key here is discipline. You should also take the time to learn about the food you eat, and take note of foods that seem to trigger your gout. There is no set uric acid level that triggers gout attacks, each person has a different threshold so you should pay attention to how your body reacts. You should also form some healthy habits to reduce uric acid and prevent gout attacks.

If you are unsure about a part of your diet, consult your doctor about it. Even though there are a lot of resources online to help you, consulting with your doctor is still the best way to fine tune your diet and reduce uric acid levels.

source: learning petals

Coping With Exam Stress

Published August 23, 2014 by teacher dahl

eyes

As the examination period approaches, you may feel the pressure of the exams getting to you. This is not surprising — in fact it is quite normal to feel some anxiety about exams. Most people find that a bit of pressure spurs us on and enables us to get down and do some serious work.

General Exam Stress-Busting Tips:

  • Believe in yourself
    You wouldn’t have been given a place on the course if you didn’t have the ability to do it. Therefore, if you prepare for the exams properly you should do fine, meaning that there is no need to worry excessively.
  • Don’t try to be perfect
    It’s great to succeed and reach for the stars. But keep things in balance. If you think that “anything less than A+ means I’ve failed” then you are creating mountains of unnecessary stress for yourself. Aim to do your best but recognise that none of us can be perfect all of the time.
  • Take steps to overcome problems
    If you find you don’t understand some of your course material, getting stressed out won’t help. Instead, take action to address the problem directly by seeing your course tutor or getting help from your class mates.
  • Don’t keep things bottled up
    Confiding in someone you trust and who will be supportive is a great way of alleviating stress and worry.
  • Keep things in perspective
    The exams might seem like the most crucial thing right now, but in the grander scheme of your whole life they are only a small part.

lying examinee

 

Overcoming test anxiety:  General preparation

  • Building confidence

Review your personal situation and skills
Academic counselors can help you in these areas, or refer to our Guides on the topic:

  • Developing good study habits and strategies (a link to our directory)
  • Managing time
    (dealing with procrastination, distractions, laziness)
  • Organizing material to be studied and learned
  • Take a step by step approach to build a strategy and not get overwhelmed
    Outside pressures  success/failure consequences (grades, graduation), peer pressure, competitiveness, etc.
  • Reviewing your past performance on tests  to improve and learn from experience

Test preparation to reduce anxiety:  Approach the exam with confidence

  • Use whatever strategies you can to personalize success: visualization, logic, talking to your self, practice, team work, journaling, etc.
  • View the exam as an opportunity to show how much you’ve studied and to receive a reward for the studying you’ve done
  • Be prepared!
  • Learn your material thoroughly and organize what materials you will need for the test. Use a checklist
  • Choose a comfortable location for taking the test with good lighting and minimal distractions
  • Allow yourself plenty of time, especially to do things you need to do before the test and still get there a little early
  • Avoid thinking you need to cram just before
  • Strive for a relaxed state of concentration
  • Avoid speaking with any fellow students who have not prepared, who express negativity, who will distract your preparation
  • A program of exercise is said to sharpen the mind

Get a good night’s sleep the night before the exam

good sleep

Don’t go to the exam with an empty stomach

  • fresh fruits and vegetables are often recommended to reduce stress.
  • Stressful foods can include processed foods, artificial sweeteners, carbonated soft drinks, chocolate, eggs, fried foods, junk foods, pork, red meat, sugar, white flour products, chips and similar snack foods, foods containing preservatives or heavy spices

food

  • Take a small snack, or some other nourishment
  • to help take your mind off of your anxiety.
  • Avoid high sugar content (candy) which may aggravate your condition

exam stress pix

During the test:

  • Read the directions carefully
  • Budget your test taking time
  • Change positions to help you relax
  • If you go blank, skip the question and go on
  • If you’re taking an essay test
  • and you go blank on the whole test, pick a question and start writing. It may trigger the answer in your mind

Don’t panic    when students start handing in their papers. There’s no reward for finishing first

Use relaxation techniques
If you find yourself tensing and getting anxious during the test:

  • Relax; you are in control.
  • Take slow, deep breaths
  • Don’t think about the fear
  • Pause: think about the next step and keep on task, step by step
  • Use positive reinforcement for yourself:
  • Acknowledge that you have done, and are doing, your best

Expect some anxiety

  • It’s a reminder that you want to do your best and can provide energy
  • Just keep it manageable
  • Realize that anxiety can be a “habit”
  • and that it takes practice to use it as a tool to succeed

After the test, review how you did

  • List what worked, and hold onto these strategies
  • It does not matter how small the items are: they are building blocks to success
  • List what did not work for improvement
  • Celebrate that you are on the road to overcoming this obstacle

Source: studygs.net./humanities.manchester.uk

 

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