Friday, August 14, 2009

H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu): 4 reasons not to panic

1. Swine Flu is not a killer disease. It is curable but timely detection and treatment are necessary.

2. Swine Flu causes fever, sore throat, cough, running nose and in some cases, vomiting. The disease can be cured by taking medicines prescribed by the treating hospital.

3. The illness lasts up to a week in most cases. During this period avoid mixing with others and take plenty of fluids and rest.

4. Enough medicines and masks are available in the hospitals, therefore, panic in any case is not good for your health.

Take Precautions:

1. Wash your hands often.
2. Home is where you stay when you are sick.
3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands.
4. Cover your coughs and sneezes with a handkerchief.
5. Keep your distance from people who are coughing and sneezing.

Chocolate cuts risk of another heart attack

Heart attack survivors who eat chocolate two or more times per week cut their risk of dying from heart disease about threefold compared to those who never touch the stuff, scientists have reported. And the more chocolate, the greater the benefit.

There is big money behind recent studies that have shown that chocolate is good for your health – and plenty of chocolate manufacturers that have jumped on the “chocolate as medicine” bandwagon. There has been some great news for heart patients – many don’t have to give up all of the foods they love to have a healthy lifestyle, some chocolate is actually good for heart health.

Plain dark chocolate has been found to be rich in flavanoids, which in turn help to reduce blood pressure, strokes and heart disease. It has even been claimed to lower one's levels of LDL cholesterol, the bad cholesterol. However chocolates being also rich in fats and sugars may offset the benefits offered by flavanoids according to some researchers. Flavonoids are also found in many fruits and vegetables as well as tea and red wines.

Consumption of chocolate two or more times in a week actually showed a positive association in reducing death rates in heart attack survivors compared to those who never eat them.

The study found chocolate consumption was associated with lower cardiac mortality in patients free of diabetes surviving their first heart attack. Previous studies have found that chocolate offers heart protection to older men and women, and lowers blood pressure and improves blood flow. People who eat dark chocolate regularly, in small servings, have significantly lower levels of C reactive protein, according to the study. This holds true even after accounting for any other potential confounding factors (such as differences in other dietary practices).

A piece of dark chocolate a day -- a very small piece -- keeps the doctor away.

Dark chocolate can be a flavorful and healthful treat to our heart disease prevention program. We should note that the benefit is provided by the flavanoid content of the cocoa. Not all dark chocolate has high cocoa content. In fact, the flavanoid content can be destroyed by processing. We must rely on manufacturers to state the flavanoid content as part of their future marketing strategies. Though far from perfect, use a minimum of "70% cocoa" labeling as a temporary guide in the absence of flavanoid content labeling.

How much dark chocolate should you consume?

Unfortunately, only a small amount is recommended. Most studies seem to suggest that you should limit the amount of dark chocolate to just 3.5 ounces or less a day.

The problem with consuming large amounts of dark chocolate is the extra calories you would be getting from the chocolate. If you are adding dark chocolate to your diet for your health, you need to balance the additional calories by eating less of some other snack food. Avoid chocolates with fillings such as caramel and nougat. These fillings are delicious, but they pile on the calories.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Keep Swine Flu Away with Basic Precautions

Swine flu in India is spreading like wildfire, taking the toll to six. Officials say there are currently more than 800 cases of the H1N1 flu strain in India. Governments from all around the world are finding ways to combat this deadly disease. So what can you do to protect yourself? Stay calm and practice these 10 effective prevention tips.

1. Wash your hands frequently

Use the antibacterial soaps to cleanse your hands. Wash them often, at least 15 seconds and rinse with running water.

2. Get enough sleep

Try to get 8 hours of good sleep every night to keep your immune system in top flu-fighting shape.

3. Keep hydrated

Drink 8 to10 glasses of water each day to flush toxins from your system and maintain good moisture and mucous production in your sinuses.

4. Boost your immune system

Keeping your body strong, nourished, and ready to fight infection is important in flu prevention. So stick with whole grains, colorful vegetables, and vitamin-rich fruits.

5. Keep informed

The government is taking necessary steps to prevent the pandemic and periodically release guidelines to keep the pandemic away. Please make sure to keep up to date on the information and act in a calm manner.

6. Avoid alcohol

Apart from being a mood depressant, alcohol is an immune suppressant that can actually decrease your resistance to viral infections like swine flu. So stay away from alcoholic drinks so that your immune system may be strong.

7. Be physically active

Moderate exercise can support the immune system by increasing circulation and oxygenating the body. For example brisk walking for 30-40 minutes 3-4 times a week will significantly perk up your immunity.

8. Keep away from sick people

Flu virus spreads when particles dispersed into the air through a cough or sneeze reach someone else nose. So if you have to be around someone who is sick, try to stay a few feet away from them and especially, avoid physical contact.

9. Know when to get help

Consult your doctor if you have a cough and fever and follow their instructions, including taking medicine as prescribed.

10. Avoid crowded areas

Try to avoid unnecessary trips outside. Moreover, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.