Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In October, we wear pink! Each year, October is presented as breast cancer awareness month; an annual campaign to spread awareness of the disease. During this time, you might see a lot of companies, schools, sports games, flyers, events wearing pink or advertising breast cancer. The goal is to educate, celebrate, emphasize, and give support to all individuals who may or may not be affected by this particular cancer.

What is Breast Cancer?

With there being so many forms of breast cancer, in general, it is a disease caused by the overproduction of cell growth in the breast tissues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Each year in the United States, about 245,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women and about 2,200 in men.” Though survival rates have increased over time, CDC still remains confident being that breast cancer is second-in-line a leading cause in death for women.

Common signs to beware of

Breast cancer is officially diagnosed by a medical professional after a breast screening. Symptoms can vary from each individual, though; sometimes they may or may not be detectable. The National Breast Cancer Foundation adds there are some signs you may still be able to recognize.

  • New lump(s) or tenderness around or in the breast
  • Enlarged pores on the breast skin
  • Change in breast size or shape without an explanation such as swelling or shrinkage
  • Change in breast or nipple color or texture
  • Skin dimpling
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Breast Cancer is one of the many diseases and sicknesses that have taken the lives of many people. This month sympathizes to the passing of those victims or grieving families from breast cancer, along with celebrating those still fighting or recovering from this disease. If you notice you or a loved one may have potential signs of breast cancer or any known history, please seek out to a doctor for a proper physical exam and screening

Happy Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

Healthful Perks from Both Coffee and Tea

Unfortunately, coffee, in this case, is always getting the short end of the stick when deciding what’s essentially ‘better’ for you. Often times, people tend to forget when you are enhancing your coffee or teas’ flavor with added sugars or creams, you are reducing the benefits from its organic state. So, why not both? Coffee and tea share very similar health benefits, the big deciding factor should be, ‘which one delights your taste buds?’

Energy

Both coffee and tea naturally stimulate energy from their high source of caffeine. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest research, despite the amount of caffeine consumed, high or low, the effects on the body are determined neutral. Healthline extents this conversation, elaborating that caffeine is consumed by many to become energized and alert. They mention, “80% of the world’s population consumes a caffeinated product each day…” and those products are commonly coffee, tea, energy drinks or soft drinks.

Comforting

Whether it’s coffee or tea, the smell, and feel of a hot beverage can be soothing, promote relaxation and positive energy. In the Guardian article, research results from the University of Colorado Boulder experiment predicted that “participants who briefly held a cup of hot coffee judged a target person as having a ‘warmer’ personality (generous, caring)”. This was a case study, which tested the idea of a hot drink is one of many solutions to peaceful restoration to your mood. Think of your drinking session as the time to get away from your active day or even to prepare for the energy and motivation soon to be provided from your tea or coffee. 

Promotes weight loss

As noted, both beverages contain amounts of caffeine; caffeine is a key ingredient in weight loss by increasing metabolism. An obesity research article was published on the Wiley online library; their theory was confirmed that “Weight loss was significantly higher (6.7 ± 1.4 kg) in the high caffeine intake groups than in the low caffeine intake groups…” These results were calculated over a month trial of subjects’ in-taking high amounts of caffeine and revealed signs of a reduction in weight, BMI, and waist size. Obviously, caffeine isn’t the only solution to losing significant weight, but it is definitely shown that it can be an encouragement.

Nutritional

It is evident that coffee and tea are made up of different things, so that means both give off great health benefits diversely. For example, Medical Daily highlights the stimulation released from caffeine can soothe the airways of the lungs for people with asthma and caffeine can also relax the brain’s blood vessels to reduce the side effects of migraines. Tea, on the other hand, consists of many antioxidants; one highlight is that tea can possibly prevent the development of cancer. The national cancer institute discusses the benefits of polyphenol a prominent antioxidant in green tea. It was noted that polyphenol “may protect cells from DNA damage caused by reactive oxygen species.” Tea polyphenol can even limit that amount of damage from sun UV rays and blocking the expansion of tumor cells 

Overall, just try not to overthink what is not best for you, but what is better for you. Tea and coffee both share very similar healthful incentives; it’s just deciding what works or ‘taste’ better to you. In the end, we are all trying to either find a way to relax, regroup or get motivated during our lively days but with a little extra boost!

Survival Guide: Night-Shift

For those of us that workdays, you can almost feel the sleepiness when thinking about taking on a night-shift. Though this particular shift may be challenging, there can be benefits. Here are some solutions that will encourage you to adjust and embrace it.

Survival Tips 

  • Stick to a routine. By setting a daily schedule, you are aiding your mind and body into expecting and preparing for what’s to come for a long night shift. Over time as you stay consistent, your body will reduce in feeling sluggish or overworked.
  • Incorporate a healthy diet. University of Nottingham article adds, “We consume at least a third of our daily calories whilst at work…” Consider what we put into our body reflects our performance and health at work. Try eating meals that keep you full and restore your energy. Pack healthy easy snacks and drink a lot of water. Hydrated muscles are very important when you are on the go.
  • Exercise keeps you fit and physically prepared for your active shift. Exercising before your night- shift also influences a positive mind, allows you to feel more alert and awake. The Mayo Clinic supports a daily exercise routine prior to work and suggests you intake “both carbohydrates and protein within two hours of exercise” for muscle recovery and to avoid fatigue.
  • Take your scheduled naps. If allowed, take advantage of your time to sleep. It is important not to burn your body out from exhaustion as it can affect your work performance. The National Sleep Foundation encourages employers to “nap strategically”. For night shift workers try breaking up your sleep in two’s, meaning sleep at home after work and again before you go back in. In doing this, you will be able to meet your essential hours of sleep. 
  • Build relationships with co-workers. Healthy friendly relationships can be beneficial as you can seek work advice, emotional support and a more exciting boost to going to work. 
  • Set small goals throughout the day. Goals are important because they can increase your work productivity and allow your shifts to feel swifter. By setting and achieving small goals, you’re more focused and excited about your work accomplishments than dwelling over the duration of your shift.

In reality, give yourself time to adjust to your new overnight position. Everyone’s body and way of coping are going to be different. It may take various trials and errors to figure out what works best for your body and mental wellness.

Why A Glass of Wine Is Essential

You come home from work after a busy day and you feel like your head has increased in size. You may investigate your medicine cabinet trying to find some pain relief medicine to release the stress in your brain. However, you should check your cabinet and pull out your favorite bottle of red wine.

Wine has wide list of health benefits such as protection from Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular health, dental, and weight loss. However, it’s all about how much you should consume. According to the American Heart Association “An average of one to two drinks per day and one drink for women.” Here are a few tips to encourage moderate consumption of wine. Remember to always drink responsibly.

Could Help Prevent Alzheimer’s – According to USC News, “A Swedish study that spanned 34 years found that wine protected women against developing Alzheimer’s disease, especially when their only alcohol was wine.” Everyone has precious moments in their life. Lower your risk of memory.

Healthy Heart – Consuming your favorite wine brings a happy heart. In addition, it can help prevent heart disease. Wide Open Eats explains “After 21 consecutive days of consumption was that blood vessel cell health was enhanced, improving the flow of blood.” Your heart requires blood to keep you moving. Therefore, consuming wine should help ease a pathway to your heart.

Dental – Drinking wine can fight some dental diseases. Polyphenols referred to like red wine and grape seeds can have the ability to lower bacteria from sticking to your teeth. Ask yourself, “how often do I visit the dentist?” Answers are not many visits. Stay ahead of the game and become your own dentist (not really) and combat diseases cavities and gum disease. You’d be surprised what the power of wine can do for your teeth.

Weight loss –Polyphenols can also regulate your weight. Entertaining Times present “Polyphenol converts white fat, which are larger cells that store energy and expand as we gain weight, into obesity-fighting beige fat and this fat is much easier to lose.” Could wine possibly be the next treadmill? Keep in mind that it’s how much you’re indulging.

It’s good to know that a glass of wine can help some people.  Of course, you know yourself and whether or not incorporating a glass can help you.  It’s most important to consume wine or any alcohol, responsibly.

An Introduction to Veganism

The Vegan Rise

Trying to figure out the evolution of veganism, too? I mean, is tofu really all that great?

According to The Vegan Society, since 2012, the vegan trends quadrupled surpassing vegetarian and gluten-free. People are rapidly converting to veganism and accepting that a plant-based diet isn’t a sacrifice, but can be beneficial, not to just their bodies, but the planet we live on.

There are many reasons why some people prefer a vegan diet, health is one of them. When following through with healthy vegan guidelines, you are receiving all nutritional body requirements. Oxford Martin School believes fruit and vegetable-based diet, “could save up to 8 million lives by 2050”. This carries on to the rising crisis of global warming. Food and agriculture organization of the United States (FAO) informs that the livestock sector contributes 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere.

Along with new rises in Vegan restaurants, existing restaurants are progressively altering their menu with vegan alternatives. Fast food giant, Burger King, introduced a new plant-based “impossible” burger. A veggie-based burger that tastes like a burger.

Vegan Influence

As veganism progresses, so does the variety of vegan influencers. Grey’s Anatomy actress, Ellen Pompeo, introduced her family to a happy vegan diet. She shares during her People interview, “I think we’re at a critical point for our planet and in the United States this health issue is out of control, the obesity, diabetes…” Pompeo believes, “The message of veganism is not one that they want to get out but not only will it help us, but it also helps the planet”.

Just last year, Beyoncé convinces fans to go vegan with her prior to her Coachella performance in 2018. She made it fun and initiated an incentive for free concert tickets to fans joining her vegan challenge!

Food for Thought

Being vegan is easier said than done. There are other alternatives and steps to creating a healthier eating lifestyle. Paul McCartney, a vegetarian since 1975, introduced Meat Free Monday. By encouraging one meat-less day during the week, McCartney’s campaign hopes to create awareness of the negative impacts of industrial fishing and animal agriculture. 

When it comes to different food trends, I have tried it all. I went through phases of being a hardcore juicer, calorie counter guru, and even a pescatarian lifestyle. Yet, even being surrounded by many vegan friends, I still couldn’t find the guts to go completely organic. I was oblivious to the various meal options vegans offer other than simply fruits and vegetables.

My favorite dish is vegan spaghetti! Super quick and easy, all you need is your favorite veggies!

Ingredients

  • Zucchini
  • Squash
  • Mushrooms
  • Kale
  • Wheat noodles
  • 1 tomato basil spaghetti sauce
  • 1 garlic spaghetti sauce
  • Gardein meatless crumbles

It’s Important to Know your Health Numbers

Your energy, emotions and physical wellness all go back to health. Taking care of yourself first is always more important. It is better to know about any health concerns early to prevent or treat the problem quickly, then not know and treatment options possibly being limited.

Advised by Sutter Health, the 4 key health numbers to monitor are our blood pressure, blood sugar, body mass index, and cholesterol. These are significant indicators of the status of your overall health. Before your health is compromised, there are ways to reverse your numbers to meet your healthful target During your annual check-up, be sure to ask your doctor to review your numbers with you and determine how those results may affect your health.

Blood Pressure is the pressure from blood circulating against the blood vessels walls. These numbers determine the rate and force of your heartbeat, along with the elasticity and diameter of your arterial walls. Maintaining a healthy and happy heart is vital, knowing that high blood pressure can accompany premature heart attacks and strokes. Things like reducing your sodium intake, limiting alcohol, and regular exercise can aid in managing healthful blood pressure.

Blood sugar is the sugar, or glucose, detected in your blood. This is how our bodies stay upbeat and energized. Unfortunately, too much glucose can develop into a disease, diabetes. The world health organization shares awareness affirming, “the number of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014”. To avoid being in these results, try reducing your sugar intake, keeping a healthy weight, and even incorporating more fiber into your diet.

Body mass index (BMI) is your weight to height ratio; there are many tools accessible to keeping track of your BMI. Given that everyone’s body is different, first, consult with a physician to verify you are at a healthy weight. The goal of tracking your BMI is to manage your overall body fat and reduce any potential risks from obesity.

Cholesterol is the wax-like substance found in your blood. When your cholesterol is healthy, it successfully produces cells that the body needs. Too much cholesterol in the bloodstream can increase your risk of heart disease. Excitingly, September is National Cholesterol Education Month according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They encourage everyone to take steps into getting checked and taking steps to improve your cholesterol. This would be a great opportunity to learn more about a new diet and lifestyle adjustments catered to achieving a healthier mind and body.

With that being said, everyone’s body is different with different needs. The risks of health problems can be influenced by various factors such as sex, age, genetics, and different lifestyles. Consult with your doctor or physician on how to develop and maintain a personal plan for your own health concerns.

Tips for a Good Night’s Rest

A productive day begins with a great positive mood, but to even achieve that starts with a good night’s rest. I get it, after a long day of work and adulting, your body can still be “on the go” mode and it can be difficult to relax your mind and body completely. Keep in mind, patterns of bad sleep can result in other prolonged sleep disorders and sleep deprivation.

The National Sleep Foundation shows studies of progressive bad sleep can contribute to hypertension, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, depression, and possibly other chronic diseases. It was researched that 50 to 70 million Americans were tested positive in showing signs of chronic sleep disorders and intermittent sleep problems.

Pills are an easy solution to sleep problems versus organic alternatives to healthy sleep. Pill usage, to fall asleep, is on the rise. The Addiction Center announces that between 2006 to 2011 a sleeping pill, Ambien, had approximately 38 million prescriptions. Though sleeping pills can be a great short-term fix to treating disorders like insomnia, there are some possible risks, such as dependency.

I know it sounds intimidating, but of course, this can be all hypothetical when finding sleep aids that can work for you. Here are a few tips to incorporate into your night routine or to even create a new one.

  1. Develop a routine, and stick to it!  Try to go to bed at the same time, every night, and wake up at the same time.  As routine progresses, our body’s systems naturally prepare for and anticipate events. Eventually, your body will recognize when it is time to relax and become sleepy prior to bedtime and become more alert in the morning.
  2. Take a hot shower before bed. This will relax your muscles so you sleep without the fatigue from your busy day.
  3. Aroma Therapy. Scents such as, commonly used, lavender serves a purpose to reduce stress, anxiety, generate calmness and wellness.
  4. Avoid drinks before bed. About an hour or two before bed, don’t intake any liquids. This way you can avoid or limit your trips to the bathroom during the night. Just in case, keep a small light in the bathroom.
  5. Adjust room temperature. Making sure your sleep environment is comfortable and cool will be effective, especially if you get hot and restless during the night.
  6. Minimize electronics. The usage of electronic devices can alter or delay your body’s internal clock. Your alertness at bedtime is going up when it should be reducing. Which means your release of melatonin is being suppressed, making it hard to fall asleep.
  7. Limit noise. The less noise during the night, the higher the chances your sleep not being disturbed.
  8. Keep your sleeping space dark. Melatonin is a chemical released to the body to allow us to fall asleep and stay asleep during the night. So, even the slightest amount of light can interrupt this production.
  9. Don’t go to bed hungry. Who enjoys the feeling and hearing their stomach growl through the night?  Your sleep is enhanced when your stomach is satisfied.
  10. Exercise. Exercise increases body temperature, so your post-exercise temperature drop can trigger falling asleep faster. Exercise can even relieve symptoms of insomnia such as anxiety and depression.
  11. Possibly, see a doctor. After trials and errors trying to find the perfect way to sleep peacefully, reach out to doctor assistance in figuring out what could be keeping you up at night.

Houston Astros elite pitcher, Justin Verlander, gives his sleep expertise with the New York Times giving away his secret that more sleep is the key to a successful day. His methods include making sure he uses blackout blinds and preventing any cell phone distractions before bed.  “I just kinda do what makes me feel good,” Verlander says.  “Your body will tell you what to do.”

As your sleep improves, so can your days. Soon your work-place may start to get friendlier, your energy a little brighter, the sky looking quite clearer, and your heart feeling a lot happier.

Running apps

Every Shoe Has A Purpose

Biofoot-me states that “We must, therefore, wear comfortable footwear suitable for every occasion.” However, Shoes are built and worn specifically for every occasion. You wouldn’t want to run on a treadmill in vans or wear sneakers with a suit and tie. You must wear shoes that will provide the best functionality.

If you are someone who walks a lot, you should consider buying shoes that support your arch and back. Avoid wearing shoes that have a flat bottom like vans or converse. Look into shoes that have the appropriate sole that will ease your walks. Shoes like crocs, sketchers, or new balance are fantastic due to having a good sole, well-rounded build, and comfortability. Spectrum foot clinics gave an insight on crocs stating “They offer good arch support, but also have very cushioned insoles, making them a very comfortable choice for people experiencing this kind of pain.” They’re also cost-friendly, with shoes and crocs ranging from $30-$60.

Like most jobs, you are usually seated and not doing much walking or standing. This can give you some flexibility on what type of shoes to wear. You can wear classic flat bottoms, sandals, dress shoes, heels or athletic footwear. However, make sure that you fall in line with dress codes that your employers have set.

If you’re a physical therapist, trainer, or coach, it’s recommended to wear shoes that will be best suited for physical activities. Look into running shoes that have ridges at the bottom. These ridges help increase balance and grip for when you walk, run, and jump. Running shoes will not only bring out the most of physical activities but can bring out the most out of your wallet. Athletic shoes can be expensive, so be ready to commit to a hefty price tag. However, it will pay off in the long run.

Construction and warehouse workers must wear shoes that provide a sturdy base and padded protection. Look into shoes that have a strong cushion in the interior. This can help soften and ease the load on your feet when lifting or pushing objects. Also, look into lightweight work boots. A heavy shoe can increase pain at your ankles and bottom of your feet. Check out your local retailer to see which work boot would be economical.

If you’re unable to purchase a pair of shoes, you could look sole inserts. A sole insert can fit into almost any type of shoe and can make one of the most uncomfortable shoes feel like you have pillows on your feet.  If you have really flat feet, and I mean almost parallel to the floor just like me, visit your local doctor. Have your feet examined and listen to their expert opinion on what type of soles you should purchase.

Shoes come in various shapes and sizes but serve the same purpose. Make sure to buy the right shoes for your feet as it brings health a long way.

 

Written by, Julien Gonzalez

Calisthenics

Having to pay for a gym membership can get pretty pricey, especially if you’re not attending. What if you could just work out at home or the park? Well, I want to introduce you to calisthenics, a type of workout routine that uses your body as the weight. You can do this almost anywhere you have space, and it’s a lot easier than you think. One great advantage that Calisthenics have overweight lifting according to Shape.com is “Calisthenics involves using the entire body and not emphasizing certain muscles over others.” Here are some of the workouts you can do without lifting weights.

Upper body:

Push-ups – Push-ups are one of the most popular routines you can do. Push-ups involve being parallel to the floor, arms should width apart, and declining your body back to inclining to the rest position. Push-ups focus on the chest and shoulders. If you’re starting off, try doing 3X10 and as you get better, add 5 more pushups for every set. This will ensure you’re intensifying your routine as you get stronger.

Pull-ups – Pull-ups can be pretty tricky and are one of the hardest routines to perform. Although, this one of the best routines to build arm strength, stamina, and back. Check out your neighborhood park and find some monkey bars. If none available, you can buy a pull-up bar for your door for about $20. If you’re new to pull-ups try 3X3 and add 3 for every time you get better. Soon enough, you’ll be a pull-up master.

Triceps dip – Don’t forget those triceps! Tricep dips consist of an object, like your couch or chair. First, you face away from the object, take a few steps forward; set your hand on the object while declining your legs in front of you. You then bend your arms down and spring back up to the rest position. Perform 3X10 and add 5 as you get the jiffs of it.

Lower body:

Squats – Never skip leg day, never! Squats are a very effective way to gain strength in your quads and glutes and are very easy to perform. All you do is stand up straight, arms out in front of you, and bend your knees until you’re parallel to the floor, then back up. you can 3X15 if starting out then adding 5 more as you begin to progress.

Lunges – Lunges are quite simple to execute but they sure do pack a punch. To perform this routine, all you do is step one leg out in front of you, bend it and don’t let your knee from your other leg touch the floor. You then interchange each leg and repeat the process. Try doing 3X15 then add 5 as you improve. For more advanced lunges, you can also do it stepping backward.

ABS:

Sit-ups – The body part that the girls love the most, sit-ups, whether in the gym or not; is still one of the most effective ways to obtain a strong core. All you do is lie down on your back, bend your knees while our feet stay planted on the floor, and lift your v body up while placing your hands behind your head. The trick is to make sure you harden your tummy for better results. Do 3X10 and add 5 to intensify the workout.

Planks – Planks, an enemy for all of those who wish to have rock hard abs, is one of the toughest routines to achieve. However, don’t be feared. Practice and perseverance is the key to getting better. To begin, you lie down on your stomach, legs together, and lift up with your elbows and hold still for 30 seconds to a minute. Try doing three sets and rest for about 30 seconds in between. As you get better, add 10 seconds after every set and no time, you’ll have no shame taking your shirt off at the pool.

Bodyweight workouts are easy, cheap, and show results. If you’re looking to build mass though, then this might not be for you. However, if you want to build strength for your entire body, then this is perfect. Repetition and persistence are key for the best results of any workout. So since you’re knowledgeable about calisthenics, give it a try and see results.

Are Video Games Bad?

There’s been a back and forth debate on whether video games are bad for you. One of the most common arguments includes whether or not violent video games, like shooter games, cause aggressive or anti-social behavior. Well in a study conducted by the LA Times “There isn’t a lot of evidence to support theories that video games, particularly violent video games, foster anti-social or violent tendencies in young people.”

However, there is a slight chance that people may develop violent tendencies, but the sample size is too small to shoulder the blame on games. There are other factors that lead to violent behavior.

Even though video games do have their fair share of health issues, they also have many benefits, starting with stress relief.

Sometimes life can be stressful and can throw many unexpected curveballs. It’s important to let your mind breathe and relax. One of the best ways to relieve your stress is to sit down for a few hours and play one of your favorite video games. This will allow you to shift your focus elsewhere and allow enjoyment for the levels you are trying to complete.

Video games work your brain just as much as your hands. It takes comprehension and intelligence to complete difficult levels. Your brain is a muscle and you have to exercise it to make it stronger. Video games can help your brain grow as iD Tech writes “playing video games increases grey matter (basically, the size of your brain) and helps refine learned and hardwired skills.” Who said video games make you dumb? Now that just sounds silly.

There are also many features gaming consoles have to offer. From streaming Hulu to surfing the internet, gaming consoles are mostly known for keeping communication with your peers. It’s essential to partner up and strategize with your friends to take down an enemy. However, the main reason why the party chat feature is so great is that you’re allowed to your closest friends or to people all over the world. Playing a video game alone is satisfactory, but there’s no other feeling than playing with other people. A healthy communication among peers defeats depression and loneliness. BBC News writes “being part of a team and making new friends is claimed to help with depression.”

Creative minds are able to think of unusual solutions and tend to think outside the box. Playing video games can be challenging and sometimes there isn’t an easy route to defeat the last boss. You have to rely on out of the box tactics or tricks. This can too apply to real-world situations. Playing video games can stretch your imagination beyond its limit. Think of how we evolved from Tetris to VR gaming. It’s incredible how far we’ve come and that’s thanks to people who strive to be game designers to innovate the playing field.

Video games aren’t all bad as some try to make it seem. Whether it’s Tetris or call of duty, pick up your phone or controller and escape from the world. Just like in a video game, there are levels to complete in life too.