Blog Posts by HealthyWomen

  • Is it a Cold or is it the Flu?

    The flu season is here, and it's the earliest start since the season of 2003.by Sheryl Kraft

    On a recent trip to the supermarket, I nabbed the last two boxes of tissues on an otherwise empty shelf. I wasn't surprised; all around me, people are hacking, snorting, sneezing and honking-and suffering plenty, too.

    The flu season is here, and it's the earliest start since the season of 2003. Flu activity usually peaks in January or later. Like 2003, which was a "moderately severe" flu season, this year is also seeing the H3N2 strain of flu. Fortunately, if you choose to get a flu vaccine, the one offered this year covers this strain.

    READ: Natural Ways to Prevent and Manage the Flu

    Based on various tracking methods, so far flu-like illnesses seem to be widespread in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and South Dakota. Moderate activity is being seen in most southeastern, south central and central states, as well as in Alaska and Hawaii.

    More of the United States can't be far behind, especially since many people will be gathering

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  • Kate Middleton’s Pregnancy Symptoms: What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?

    Kate, Looking the Picture of Health!Kate, Looking the Picture of Health!By Sally Jones

    Britain's Royal family announced that the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton is pregnant and was admitted to a London hospital with severe morning sickness. The hospitalization prompted an early public announcement of the pregnancy -- she is said to be less than 12 weeks pregnant.

    Morning sickness is often the first sign of pregnancy. It can occur as early as two to eight weeks. Nausea tends to happen because elevated hormone levels may cause food to empty the stomach slowly. Also, pregnancy may make women more sensitive to smells, making certain odors more likely to trigger nausea.

    First Signs of Pregnancy

    Up to 90 percent of pregnant women experience nausea with or without vomiting and there are things they can do to generally alleviate symptoms, including:

    • Eating saltine crackers or dry bread just before bed at night and first thing in the morning
    • Eating smaller, more frequent meals so the stomach never completely empties
    • Avoiding
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  • How to Eat Those "Bad" Foods - and Feel Virtuous

    You Can Eat Without the Guilt. Just Eat Right.You Can Eat Without the Guilt. Just Eat Right.by Sheryl Kraft

    If you're watching your weight and/or eating for health (and isn't that most of us?) and the holiday cheer is making you grumpy because you feel deprived, better not pout.

    You don't have to give up treats like ice cream and pizza. Here are some ways you can have your, er, cake and eat it, too.

    READ: Simple Food Swaps for Healthy Holiday Eating

    If You Must Have...Pizza

    The Unhealthy Way: Deep-dish pies are so good because of their thick, dense crusts, which considerably raises the calorie and carb count. And the pie is usually not without globs of fattening whole-milk cheese and greasy toppings like pepperoni, bacon or sausage.

    Have It This Way: Order thin-crust pizza. Better yet, opt for one with a whole-wheat crust. Substitute meat toppings with grilled chicken and lots of veggies like onions, mushrooms, peppers and broccoli. They'll help fill you up and are nutritious to boot. Swap out the full-fat cheese with reduced or no-fat

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  • 5 Easy Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving

    How can you keep the thanks in your Thanksgiving and make sure the day --– and the days following --– keep you smiling and happy?by Sheryl Kraft

    A reason to celebrate. Travel. Visit. Take a few days off from work.

    Eat.

    And eat … and eat some more.

    Ah, Thanksgiving.

    MORE: A-Z Thanksgiving Thanks

    But with all the fun and celebration can also come the inevitable I've-eaten-too- much-and-feel-oh-so-out-of-sorts. Aside from that, hectic travel (can you really stay cool facing long lines or being stuck in traffic?) and family reunions can be fraught with anxiety and stress.

    What it can all add up to is a body thrown out of whack. But it doesn't have to be that way.

    How can you keep the thanks in your Thanksgiving and make sure the day --- and the days following --- keep you smiling and happy?

    Day of:

    1. Don't starve. With a big feast looming, you may be tempted to save all your calories for that one sit-down and skip breakfast and lunch. But don't: come mealtime, you'll be starving and it'll be tougher to make smart food choices.
    Better: Stick to your normal routine as much as possible; eat a healthy

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  • Keeping food safe when you lose powerby Sheryl Kraft

    While for some of us the memories of two-week-old Hurricane Sandy might be relegated to second-hand accounts of what we've heard and read, the effects on those who experienced it firsthand can be far-reaching.

    MORE: Treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

    I recently spent some time with my elderly dad (for an unrelated cause) at a hospital on Long Island, close to one of the towns that suffered some of the most devastating effects of the destructive storm. Still evident were downed power lines and trees; utility trucks bearing out of town license plates and weary-looking staff rolled down the streets. The hospital - on any given day a very busy place - was filled to, and beyond, capacity, especially since a nearby hospital remained closed since the night the storm hit. Inside, the emergency room overflowed with needy patients. Outside, one of the government's agency, Health & Human Services, had tents set up for additional triage services to handle the

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  • I'm Healthy—Do I Still Have to Watch My Salt?

    Nearly 80 percent of our salt intake comes from processed and restaurant foodsNearly 80 percent of our salt intake comes from processed and restaurant foodsby Sheryl Kraft

    When doctors tell their patients with hypertension to shake their salt habit, there's no surprise there. Salt has been associated with high blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease, stroke and heart-related death. Salt is deadly, some say. A public campaign to curb sodium intake is essential. After all, nearly 80 percent of our salt intake comes from processed and restaurant foods.

    Over the years the research and connection linking high sodium intake to heart disease and early death have been disputed numerous times with opinions as varied as the diverse colors of salt. (Yes, salt comes in many colors: pink, gray, red and even black). Scientific studies are murky; results can be difficult to obtain because of sampling sizes, inability of test subjects to stick with a diet for a long time and recollect what they ate accurately as well as the challenges of designing a reliable study. As a result of the mixed messages, many people think that if they don't

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  • Energy Zappers that Might Surprise You

    Are you tired of being tired all the time?By Sheryl Kraft

    Are you tired of being tired all the time? Raring to go but unable to move very far? There may be forces at work that are putting undue stress on your body, zapping you of any spare energy and sending your motivation and enthusiasm into a downward spiral. Don't panic-the reason might be right in front of you.

    Take a look below; maybe you'll recognize yourself in one or some of the possibilities. If so, that's one step closer to taking back your energy.

    Examine Your Lifestyle.

    Ask yourself these three questions. How's my:

    1. Eating. Is your diet healthy and balanced, with a good variety of fruits, vegetables and lean protein? Or are you relying way too much on sweets and caffeine? If so, you may be playing seesaw with your blood sugar levels, causing them to move up and down too frequently, only leaving you more exhausted. Maybe you're dieting and not eating enough: without proper fuel, your body cannot operate at its peak.
    READ: 10 Sneaky Ways

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  • Want to Solve a Problem? Sleep on It

    Ah, naps. The benefits are many: They can lower your risk of heart disease, reduce stress, boost your mood and increase your productivityby Sheryl Kraft

    You snooze, you lose?

    Not necessarily.

    We've oftentimes pampered ourselves with that certain kind of "indulgence": a few stolen minutes of shut-eye come late morning, early afternoon or whenever we need an extra surge of energy. While not putting us into a deep slumber, it's just enough to wake us up feeling refreshed and reenergized.

    Ah, naps. The benefits are many: They can lower your risk of heart disease, reduce stress, boost your mood and increase your productivity. Not a bad payoff for a mere 15 to 20 minutes of your time (the recommended length of a nap).

    Why only 15 to 20 minutes? Well, aside from being realistic and fitting into your busy day, it will take you through the first two, relatively light, stages of sleep. And when you wake at the end of the light cycle of sleep, you're less likely to wake with that groggy I-have-cobwebs-in-my-brain feeling.

    MORE: The Habit One in Three Adults Admits To

    Now researchers are finding

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  • Breast Cancer: What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

    How you can lower your breast cancer risk factorsby Sheryl Kraft

    Few diseases elicit as many emotions as breast cancer. We all know someone who has dealt with it; we all fear it and feel powerless over it. But despite some contributing factors like family history, toxins in the environment and too many unknowns about what else might cause it to develop, there are some things that can be controlled.

    Want to gain some extra information about your risks? Here are some myths and truths that can help you manage the information at hand.

    1. Truth: Extra pounds are a risk factor.

    Not only does obesity increases your chances of getting breast cancer in the first place, it worsens the outcome in women who have already been diagnosed, according to studies. What's the connection? Fat cells make more estrogen, which can make hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers develop and grow.

    MORE: 9 Strategies for Weight-Loss Success

    2. Myth: You're only at risk if breast cancer runs in your family.

    While there is a genetic

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  • The Hunger Fix Breaks Food Addiction

    By Sally Jones

    Weighing in on Food AddictionWeighing in on Food Addiction A study published in the British Medical Journal this week, warns that obese children could be at 30 to 40 per cent higher risk of stroke and heart disease than normal-weight children if the obesity continues. In the study, obese kids as young as five-years-old were already showing risk factors for stroke and heart disease -- risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

    "Weight and especially obesity has a significant effect on the risk parameters for cardiovascular disease," the study authors say.

    This is sad. But is it even news to us? It seems like every other day we hear of some new study saying, basically, that obesity is worse than we had thought and that rates are rising.

    We health writers have been writing the same standard advice year after year -- "eat less, exercise more". And still, obesity rates continue to increase, to the point where now one in three adults in the U.S. is overweight or obese compared to 20% a few

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