Tag: health

HEALTH: 6 Questions You Should Ask Your Doctor About Multiple Sclerosis

stock-footage-black-woman-talking-to-sincere-african-american-doctor-at-office-deskWhen you’ve been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, all sorts of questions and concerns start racing through your mind:

“Am I going to be bound to a wheelchair for the rest of my life?”

“Will I no longer be able to do the activities I love?”

These are very legitimate concerns and you may even feel as if you’re losing control over your life, which is understandable, but one of the best ways to regain control is by gathering your thoughts so that you can ask your doctor all the right questions.

Multiple Sclerosis is a disease to the damage of the covers of nerve cells which disrupts the ability of parts of the nervous system to communicate, resulting in physical, mental and sometimes psychiatric problems. It is the sisease that forced comedy legend, Richard Pryor, into a wheelchair in the last days of his life

With the help of Dr. Bola Oyeyipo, a family physician in San Antonio, Texas, we’re answering some of your most common questions regarding MS so that you can live your best life.

1. “What kind of MS do I have?” There are four types of MS: Relapsing-remitting MS, Primary-progressive MS, Secondary-progressive MS, and Progressive-relapsing MS. Knowing which form you have is essential in fighting the disease because you will know what to expect in terms of how it effects your body.

“The conventional treatment for MS is often not pleasant – injections of immune-suppressing agents so it’s important to know the type of MS you have so your treatment can be tailored accordingly,” Dr. Oyeyipo says.

2. “How far along is my MS?” MS can be difficult to diagnose due to the fact that it cannot be detected by one single test and the symptoms tend to vary from person to person. As a result, many individuals have MS for quite some time before being diagnosed. By then, the disease will have progressed.

“The current way of diagnosing MS is finding evidence of damage in at least two separate areas of the central nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves,” Dr. Oyeyipo says. “This usually start months to years before the physical symptoms show up.”

She adds, “Knowing the extent of demyelination of the brain and spinal cord helps to guide what treatment options to take. The more extensive the disease is, [the patient will require] a more aggressive approach, [such as treatment] with immunoglobulins and steroids to preserve physical function and to achieve remission.”

MUST READ: Do You Know The Different Types Of Multiple Sclerosis? 

Continue reading “HEALTH: 6 Questions You Should Ask Your Doctor About Multiple Sclerosis”

HEALTH: TOMS Celebrates World Sight Day on October 9 to Help Restore Vision to Those in Need Around the Globe

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 4.11.04 PM

by Lesa Lakin #givesight
article by Lesa Lakin

One of the great things about being the Lifestyle Editor for GBN is that I sometimes get to share positive stories about things that people and companies are doing purely for the betterment of society. When I heard about World Sight Day and TOMS I had to share.

From a fashion standpoint, I simply love the styles. I discovered TOMS had an eyewear line when my own eyesight started to de-crisp a few years back. Since no one wanted to read me food labels, pill bottles or menus anymore, I knew it was time for glasses to become a daily part of my life. But it wasn’t really that big of a deal because I had the privilege of going to the doctor, getting a prescription and driving the saleswomen completely nuts when I couldn’t decide which frames best flattered my face. I’m lucky. But what about the millions globally who can’t afford glasses or don’t have access to proper eye care? Everyone on the planet knows someone who is affected by some sort of visual impairment and TOMS wants to help out.

TOMS is asking a very important question: WHAT DOES SIGHT MEAN TO YOU? Every year, World Sight Day raises global awareness about blindness and visual impairment. This year, World Sight Day is on October 9 and TOMS is hosting an all-day event at the their Flagship store in Venice, California. TOMS is also supporting the day by encouraging fans to take to social media and contribute to an Instagram gallery with images of what sight means to you with the hashtag #givesight. The images collected with the designated hashtag will be curated online leading up to October 9, and select images will appear in TOMS stores around the world on World Sight Day.

Continue reading “HEALTH: TOMS Celebrates World Sight Day on October 9 to Help Restore Vision to Those in Need Around the Globe”

HEALTH: Five Superfood Smoothie Recipes

assorted fruit smoothies

Forget your go-to strawberry and banana smoothie combo and sip on something healthy AND exciting this fall!  Thanks to antioxidant-rich berries, nuts and green tea, these five recipes are packed with superfood power.

To Make:  In the order listed, place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth.  If you are using frozen fruit instead of fresh, only use 3/4 cup of ice.

1. Berry-Cherry Chiller

1 cup ice cubes
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1/2 cup pitted and halved cherries
1/2 cup lowfat plain Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons ground flaxseed
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sip Tip: Pure vanilla extract has less calories than flavored syrup, so try not to substitute.

2. Island Mango Madness

1 cup ice cubes
3/4 cup chopped mango
1/2 cup canned pineapple chunks
2 tablespoons canned pineapple juice
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
1 tablespoon lime juice
Pinch cayenne pepper

Sip Tip:  The mango does not need to be soft. Continue reading “HEALTH: Five Superfood Smoothie Recipes”

HEALTH: The Five Amazing Powers of Avocados

Nutrition of Avocado

Avocados are one of the most rich, delicious, and satisfying foods on the planet. But as a nutritionist, I’m also happy to report that an avocado is a powerhouse superfood. These luscious gems—which are technically fruits, although I categorize them as “good” fat—are packed with anti-aging, disease fighting antioxidants, and nearly 20 different vitamins and minerals.

One study out this year found that regular avocado eaters have higher intakes of fiber, vitamins E and K, magnesium and potassium—pretty darn impressive! I eat avocado in at least one meal each day, and I love how versatile they are for cooking (more on that below), but there’s also more health-related news to share.

Check out these five amazing avocado benefits.

They boost satiety

Eating good fats helps to slow stomach emptying, which keeps you fuller longer and delays the return of hunger. Avocados, which provide about 22 grams of fat each (mostly as heart healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs), certainly fit the bill. In one recent study, volunteers rated feelings of satisfaction and appetite after dining on meals with or without avocado. The addition of half of an avocado to meals resulted in a significant boost in self-reported satiety and a reduced desire to eat for up to five hours. This is one of the reasons I often reach for guacamole as my salad dressing.

They’re waist whittlers

According to a recent survey, Americans are still fat-phobic, probably due to the notion that eating fat makes you fat. But the truth is eating the right types of fat is actually a savvy weight-loss strategy. In addition to upping satiety, plant-based fats like avocado provide antioxidants and fight inflammation, which have both been linked to weight management. That may be why recent research revealed that regular avocado eaters weigh less and have smaller waists, even without eating fewer calories.

They protect your heart

The MUFAs in avocados have been shown to slash “bad” LDL cholesterol, and up “good” HDL levels—a double whammy effect that helps to lower the risk of heart disease, the #1 killer of both men and women. A recent UCLA study also uncovered some remarkable heart protective effects of avocado consumption: Compared to eating a burger without avocado, the addition of half of a Hass curbed the production of compounds that contribute to inflammation, improved blood flow, and didn’t increase triglycerides (blood fats) beyond the amounts raised by the burger alone. Avocados are also a source of potassium, a nutrient that helps reduce blood pressure by acting as a natural diuretic to sweep excess sodium and fluid out of the body, which relieves pressure on the heart and arteries (bonus: that also means avocado is a natural de-bloater!).

They’re nutrient boosters

Enjoying avocado at mealtime can help your body absorb more antioxidants from other healthy foods. In one Ohio State study, when men and women ate salads and salsa topped with 2.5 tablespoons of avocado, they absorbed over 8 times more alpha-carotene and 13 times more beta-carotene—phytonutrients known to fight cancer and heart disease. Another recent study found that pairing avocado with tomato sauce and carrots boosts absorption of the veggies’ vitamin A, a key nutrient needed for healthy skin, vision, and immunity.

They’re not just for savory dishes

I adore guacamole, but one of my favorite things about avocado is that there are so many other ways to enjoy it, including in sweet dishes. I often whip avocado into fruit smoothies, whip it into chocolaty pudding, and substitute it for butter when baking. Just trade each tablespoon of butter in recipes like brownies and cupcakes for half a tablespoon of avocado. This swap slashes calories, upgrades the nutritional quality of your goodies, and still provides the creamy texture that will leave you feeling satisfied. Try it, and send us a picture of your healthy creation!

article by Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD via time.com

71 Year-Old Bodybuilder Sam “Sonny” Bryant Jr. Inspires at Health and Fitness Expo

Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 2.58.14 PM

Sam “Sonny” Bryant Jr. is a rarity.  He is a champion bodybuilder, and at the ripe old age of 71, he is still going strong.

“I just keep competing,” Bryant said at the I’m The Biggest Winner Family Health & Fitness Expo in Austell, Georgia. “I love it. It’s a lifestyle.”

With a body that puts most men half his age to shame, Bryant’s rippling physique is testimony to years-long hard work and dedicated commitment.

He works out twice a day alongside a full time, overnight job.  “I’ve got a room full of trophies,” said Bryant, who was invited to the Expo as part of a roster of quality experts and motivational speakers. “I can’t even count them all.”


He first hit the gym to relive the stress of a failing marriage. Within months, Bryant was hooked. Now, he can deadlift 425lbs.  “I’ve been doing this for 27 years,” he said. “I used to do three or four contests a year, and I’d always have at least two trophies when I come home, so I’ve got over 70 or 80 trophies.”

sam-sonny-bryant-bodybuilder-_s87dBryant wants to prove that living a full and active life is possible at any age. All you need is the right approach, he says.  “I don’t think about my age,” said the Georgia native. “You’re going to age, that’s inevitable, but you don’t have to get old. I know people younger than me, but they’re older then me.”

“I can’t see giving up; this is my life. People ask me when I’m going to retire. I’m still working a 40 hours a week job. I say, why should I quit? I’ve figured this stuff out. More people die retired than die working.”

He believes it is never too late to improve your health. Bryant, who said he has never ever taken steroids or performance-enhancing drugs, advises fitness newbies to start off slow and keep doing the work.

“There is no age limit on exercising,” he said. “People got life but they’ve not living. Life is getting out and enjoying yourself. You’ve got to be physical. You’ve got to keep your heart strong.”

“You are not going to jump right in and start out wide open. That’s what happens to most people, they jump right in and think they’re going to look for instant results.”

“Once you start pushing your body, then your body is going to get used to it,” he said. “You just keep doing it, keep doing it, take your time and don’t look for that fast-paced stuff, and I’ll come to you.”

article by Kunbi Tinuoye via thegrio.com

Are You Always Tired? Nine Ways To Identify and Relieve Constant Fatigue

Are you always asking “Why am I so tired?” Are you having trouble staying awake during watching your evening TV shows? Most of us know what it’s like to be tired, especially when we have a cold, flu, or some other viral infection. But when you suffer from a constant lack of energy and ongoing fatigue, it may be time to check with your doctor.

Fatigue is a lingering tiredness that is constant and limiting. With fatigue, you have unexplained, persistent, and relapsing exhaustion. It’s similar to how you feel when you have the flu or have missed a lot of sleep. If you have chronic fatigue, you may wake in the morning feeling as though you’ve not slept. Or you may be unable to function at work or be productive at home. You may be too exhausted even to manage your daily affairs.

In most cases, there’s a reason for the fatigue. Here are 9 reasons why you might be tired:

1. You drink too much coffee

If you rely on caffeine to get through your day, you can develop a dependence—so without it you can go into withdrawl, needing several cups of coffee or tea just to feel “normal.” And the worst point of withdrawl? Right in the morning. To make matters worse, caffeine can still course through your system when you’re sleeping if you’ve had any coffee or tea in the evening, which can interfere with normal REM sleep and leave you feeling even more tired. An easy solution is to cut back on the amount of caffeine you consume during the day and steer clear of caffeinated beverages within hours of your bedtime.

2. You don’t eat breakfast

There’s a reason that breakfast is called the most important meal of the day, and everyone has told you not to forget it—from your doctor to your mother, to probably every teacher you’ve ever had. And yet so many of us still skip it on a regular basis, or just cram down a few pieces of toast before heading out the door. Take the time to fit in breakfast every morning and it will help you avoid that mid-afternoon crash.

3. You don’t exercise

It may seem counter intuitive, but exercising produces all kinds of helpful biochemicals that ward off fatigue and help you feel upbeat the rest of the time. Think of it as positive feedback: the more energy you put in, the more you get out.

Continue reading “Are You Always Tired? Nine Ways To Identify and Relieve Constant Fatigue”

Break A Sweat During Exercise To Keep Stroke Risk Low

Women Powerwalking © Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporation
Women Powerwalking © Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporation

Everyone knows that exercise is good for your health, integral to keeping your risks of conditions like heart attack, diabetes and stroke low. Now, a new study shows that at least for stroke, the key to reaping those benefits is to work out to the point where you break a sweat.

Researchers from the University of South Australia found that stroke risk is 20 percent higher for inactive people compared with those who regularly work out at a moderate to vigorous level — a level that would cause a person to break a sweat.

The study, published in the journal Stroke, included 27,000 Americans ages 45 and older who were part of the Reasons for Geographic and Ethnic Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study. The researchers noted that there were about equal numbers of male and female, white and black participants in the study; many of the pariticipants were part of the “Stroke Belt” in the south.

Researchers followed them for 5.7 years on average to gauge how many would go on to experience a stroke, as well as their self-reported regular exercise habits. They found that about one third of the participants were considered “inactive,” meaning they exercise fewer than one time a week.

Continue reading “Break A Sweat During Exercise To Keep Stroke Risk Low”

For Your Health: Four Ways to Reverse Diabetes

A close-up of an apple being held by a womanThere are many benefits to finding ways to reverse type 2 diabetes. A big one is its expense. According to the American Diabetes Association, the combined cost of medical care and lost productivity due to diabetes in the United States exceeded $174 billion in 2007.

People with diabetes pay 2.3 times as much for health care as non-diabetics, and $1 in every $10 spent for health care is attributable to diabetes.

Sadly, even though type 2 diabetes was once considered an adult disease, so many children now receive this diagnosis that it is no longer referred to as adult onset.

Recent guidelines from the American Diabetes Association advise that some new patients try healthy eating and exercise before they begin medication. Now, the latest science reveals that fine-tuning many long-held health habits may lead to even better results.

1. Eat fruits and vegetables. They can reduce your diabetes risk and protect your heart. In a new study, people who ate at least 12 types each week had a lower diabetes risk than those who ate a less diverse mix—regardless of overall quantity. Mix arugula with your romaine, snack on fruit salad, pile new veggies onto your sandwich.

2. Lose weight—even just a little—for better blood sugar control. Don’t worry if it’s taking a while to slim down. In a 2012 review paper, Sheri Colberg-Ochs, PhD, noted that exercise alone improved the ability of previously sedentary, middle-aged adults to metabolize sugars, regardless of whether they lost any weight. Their total cholesterol dropped too.

Continue reading “For Your Health: Four Ways to Reverse Diabetes”

Quincy and Rashida Jones Raise Awareness for Prostate Cancer [VIDEO]

Rashida Jones and Quincy JonesThe clip, entitled “Cherishing Life’s Special Moments,” seeks to raise awareness about the importance of speaking with your doctor about prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death for men in the United States, affecting one in six men, according to PCF. In the U.S. alone, 2.5 million American men and their families are currently living with prostate cancer.

“As a father, I cherish the special moments in life and understand how they can fly by in an instant,” said Quincy Jones. “Prostate cancer has affected dear friends and family of mine, so I am honored to be part of this campaign with Stand Up To Cancer and the Prostate Cancer Foundation to reinforce how incredibly important it is for men to talk to their doctors about prostate cancer.”

“I was excited to shoot this PSA with my father,” said Rashida Jones. “We have to protect the men we cherish, so please talk to your fathers, your grandfathers, husbands, brothers and sons and make sure they speak to their doctors about this disease and how to reduce their risk.”

“Men are 40 percent less likely than women to have visited a healthcare provider in the past year…But talking to one’s doctor about prostate cancer is critically important,” said Stand Up To Cancer President & CEO Sung Poblete, PhD, RN.  “We are thrilled to have the father and daughter pair of Quincy and Rashida Jones spread that message through this PSA, and hope it empowers men to speak with their doctors about prostate cancer and when screening is right for them so they can make informed decisions.”

To learn more, visit StandUp2Cancer.org or PCF.org.

article via thegrio.com

Like Angelina Jolie, Vanessa Bell Calloway Chose a Mastectomy for Her Health

Actress Vanessa Bell Calloway. (Joe Kohen/FilmMagic, via Getty)

From The Daily Beast: 

Actress Vanessa Bell Calloway couldn’t helped but be moved by the recent editorial by fellow actress Angelina Jolie discussing her decision to have an preventative double mastectomy. In 2009, the veteran of stage, television, and film went in for a mammogram and was told the results looked “suspicious.” The co-star of the Showtime series  “Shameless”—who appeared in the original Broadway production of “Dreamgirls” and became a familiar face to fans in the hit films “Coming to America,” “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” and “The Crimson Tide”—shares with Allison Samuels of The Daily Beast her head-butting battle with breast cancer, the lessons she learned about relinquishing control, and her plans for a healthier future for her two daughters.

I can still remember sitting straight up in my bed one morning thinking something’s wrong. I didn’t know what it was and I didn’t know where it was, I just knew something wasn’t right and I couldn’t explain it. I told my husband, an anesthesiologist, about the feeling I had. First he asked if I was in pain and I said no and then he said not to worry, but of course I did anyway. I had that nagging feeling that all women get at one time or another when that little voice in our heads just won’t be silent.

I’d always been very diligent about getting my yearly mammograms, pap smears, and anything else related to my health since I’d become an adult woman. Sometimes I’d even get them twice a year if the spirit hit me. I took care of myself in other ways as well. I’d been a dancer since childhood so exercise was a part of my daily regiment, and because I’m an actress, being fit goes along with the job description. A healthy lifestyle was an attitude I wanted to pass down to my two daughters, Ashley 22, and Alexandra, 18.

But despite all those years of dogged dedication to my well-being and the fact that there is no history of breast cancer in my family, four years ago I heard the dreaded words no woman wants to hear: the results of my mammogram were “suspicious.” In my mind I knew “suspicious” could mean cancer, but as much as I tried not to dwell on that reality, I somehow couldn’t stop myself. I told as few people as possible as my husband and I waited for the doctors to probe deeper.
It was cancer in its early stages in my left breast. Yes, at 51 years old I was stunned, but I had a plan that I put into action quickly. To know me is to know that I’m a “planner.” This would be no different. I would simply have a lumpectomy. Then I’d have radiation to complete treatment. There would still be no need to tell my parents, my husband’s parents, or my two daughters as my youngest was a sophomore in high school and my oldest was a sophomore in college. My girl’s lives wouldn’t have to be turned upside down and I could continue to go on auditions for television roles in-between treatments.