The pegan diet purports to focus on improving health by reducing inflammation and stabilizing blood sugar. Created by American physician Dr. Mark Hyman, it combines certain key principles from veganism and the paleolithic diet. Here’s a look at what the pegan diet entails.
Unlike veganism, this hybrid diet doesn’t prohibit eating meat. However, the pegan diet encourages eating grass-fed, pasture-raised sources of animal protein, and making meat a side dish rather than the main course. Fish and eggs are also permitted.
As for fruits and vegetables, they should make up three-quarters of your diet. However, low-sugar fruits and non-starchy vegetables are preferable. Gluten-free whole grains and sources of healthy fats, such as nuts and seeds, are allowed in limited quantities.
While the pegan diet is arguably less restrictive than a vegan or paleo diet, certain foods are strongly discouraged. These include:
• Processed foods
• Refined oils
• Food additives
• Dairy products
The diet also discourages eating most grains and legumes.
Pros and cons
On the plus side, the pegan diet focuses on consuming an abundance of healthy, nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, and fats. Eating these foods can help foster good heart health, prevent disease and reduce inflammation.
The downside is that the diet restricts a number of healthy foods, which can potentially result in nutritional deficiencies. It can also be an expensive and time-consuming diet to maintain.
Always keep in mind that before you make a significant change to your diet, you should consult with your doctor, a nutritionist, or a dietitian.
How to treat sudden lower back pain
Lower back pain can be caused by a number of conditions, some serious, but if it occurs suddenly or after activity, then it could be a muscle strain.
Strains are caused by activity and impact, according to Spine Health.
* Heavy lifting. Lifting improperly can cause back and muscle strains.
* Sudden impact. Jarring motions from sports, a fall, or a car accident.
* Repetitive motions. Common in sports such as rowing, golf, or baseball.
* Poor posture and weak abdominal and back muscles. Slouching puts added strain on lower back muscles. Tight hamstring muscles can also add strain to the back over time.
* New activities can put new, sudden strains on muscle groups.
Anti-inflammatory medicines, available over the counter, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or naproxen can reduce inflammation. Acetaminophen can minimize pain by interfering with the pain signals to the brain. Doctors might prescribe a muscle relaxant to reduce muscle spasms.
Lie flat to sleep or rest, so you can reduce strain on the back.
At home, limit strenuous activity and stop heavy lifting for one or two days. Then get back to regular activity, so muscles don’t become stiff and weak.
Ice packs can help right after the strain. Apply for 10 to 20 minutes at intervals throughout the day.
After two days, apply a heating pad for 10 minutes before getting out of bed or before painful movement.
Massage therapy can increase circulation and relax muscles. Short walks of three to five minutes can also help.
Suicide and grief
The emotional devastation that accompanies a loved one’s suicide can be different from other types of loss. While you’ll likely experience many of the usual emotions associated with grief, there are other intense feelings that may be triggered if a loved one dies by suicide.
Expect strong emotions
The grieving process after a suicide is different for everyone and can vary depending on your beliefs, family background, and your relationship with the deceased.
One emotion that you may experience after a suicide is guilt. This can first manifest as confusion over why the person took their own life, followed by imagining “what if” scenarios. You may even blame yourself for not doing more.
Additionally, the grief caused by suicide can lead to strong feelings of anger, either toward yourself and others for missing the signs or toward the deceased for abandoning you. This can result in feelings of rejection and despair.
Furthermore, the persistent stigma around suicide can make it difficult to talk about it. You might also feel a sense of relief that your loved one is no longer suffering.
It’s normal to experience a variety of difficult and conflicting emotions if a loved one dies by suicide. One of the best ways to work through your grief is to reach out to family and friends for comfort. It may also be beneficial to join a support group for people affected by suicide.
Expressing your thoughts and emotions rather than suppressing them is an important part of the healing process. Just remember to take things one day at a time and do what feels right for you.
If you’re struggling to work through your grief, there’s help available. A variety of health professionals and organizations can offer their support.
For some people, the experience of losing a loved one to suicide can cause symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder such as flashbacks, nightmares, and a persistent fear that another disaster will occur. These intense reactions can last for weeks or months, and recovery from symptoms is a gradual process.
3 reasons to have your teeth whitened by a professional
Do you want to whiten your teeth? While some over-the-counter products provide adequate results, you’ll likely be more satisfied with a professional treatment administered by a dentist. Here’s why.
1. Even results
Opting for professional treatment will ensure you get a uniformly white smile without any visible spots or patches. This is because your dentist will start by thoroughly cleaning your teeth to ensure the whitening product goes on evenly.
In addition, the trays used by your dentist to administer the gel-based treatment are customized to fit your smile. Plus, a trained professional can use UV or blue lights to enhance the effects of the whitening product.
2. Safer process
The risks for enamel damage, gum inflammation, and tooth sensitivity are higher if you opt for an over-the-counter whitening product. While it might not cost as much, you could end up paying the price for using it.
At a dental clinic, your whitening treatment will be closely supervised by a professional. In addition to confirming that you’re a good candidate for whitening, your dentist will make sure to use the right amount of gel and guarantee that the treatment is applied for the proper duration.
3. Longer lasting
Since the teeth whitening treatment you receive at a dental clinic is administered by a professional, the products are stronger and deliver longer-lasting results. Plus, you can return for touch-up treatments in the months that follow as needed. For best results, you should avoid things that are likely to stain the enamel on your teeth such as coffee, tobacco, and red wine.
It’s impossible to beat the quality of professional teeth whitening treatment. If you want a radiant smile, schedule an appointment at a local dental clinic.
3 tips to improve your circulation
Do your extremities often tingle or feel numb? Do your hands and feet frequently get cold? If so, these and other symptoms could indicate you have poor circulation. Here are three tips to improve blood flow throughout your body.
1. Eat healthy
Opt for food and beverages that are rich in flavonoids, omega-3, and vitamins C and E. These nutrients help strengthen blood vessels, improve circulation and prevent clots. Some top picks include salmon, watermelon, garlic, green tea, turmeric, dark chocolate, and goji berries. In addition, make sure to drink plenty of water.
2. Stay active
Exercises that get your leg muscles moving improve your circulation. Aim to spend at least 30 minutes a day walking, cycling, swimming, or doing yoga. Additionally, if you work all day sitting down, be sure to walk around for a few minutes every hour. Conversely, if you spend a lot of time standing, remember to sit down during your breaks and, ideally, put your feet up.
3. Laugh often
In addition to relieving stress, research shows that laughter can improve circulation and increase blood oxygenation. Look for opportunities to laugh throughout the day, whether it’s by watching comedies, spending time with friends, or playing silly games with your grandchildren.
In addition to adopting these healthy habits, it’s a good idea to consult your family doctor if you have symptoms of poor circulation. A medical professional can assess your overall health and recommend personalized solutions, such as wearing compression socks or doing specific exercises.
4 things everyone should know about cancer
April is Cancer Control Month and a time for people to reflect on how cancer impacts their lives and communities. Last year, approximately 1.8 million Americans received a cancer diagnosis. Here’s what you should know about this disease.
1. Prevention is possible
According to the World Health Organization, between 30 and 50 percent of all cancer cases are preventable. The adoption of healthy habits can therefore put you at a reduced risk for getting cancer. Eating a healthy diet, quitting smoking, being active, minimizing alcohol consumption, and practicing sun safety are among the behaviors that will most reduce your risk of getting cancer.
2. Screening is essential
If you do develop cancer, early detection of the disease greatly increases the chances that treatment will be successful. It’s a good idea to speak with your doctor to determine which cancer screening tests are recommended for you and when they should be given.
3. Outcomes can be improved
Not all cancers can be prevented, but medical advances can increase survival rates and save lives. That’s why researching treatments continues to be a priority. If you can, consider making a donation to cancer research. If you’re unable to make a monetary contribution, consider volunteering with a local organization instead.
4. Social support is key
A cancer diagnosis can be difficult to navigate for patients and their families. Therefore, social support during and after a diagnosis is important and can make a tremendous difference. Some studies indicate it can even improve survival rates. If you know someone who’s fighting cancer, consider reaching out to offer a sympathetic ear or a helping hand.
While progress has been made in the fight against cancer, it remains the second-leading cause of death in the United States. Fortunately, raising awareness and supporting research initiatives can help save lives.
What does efficacy mean with vaccines?
You may have seen the numbers: The COVID-19 vaccines have a 95 percent efficacy rate.
But what you may not know is that 95 percent efficacy does not mean that five percent of vaccinated people will still get COVID. According to Live Science, the actual percentage of vaccinated people who still got COVID-19 was a hundred times less than five percent: Just .04 percent. (Pfizer and Moderna trials). This means that the vaccines are highly effective in preventing the worst outcomes of COVID-19.
The 95 percent efficacy rate means that vaccinated people had a 95 percent lower risk of getting COVID-19 symptoms compared with individuals in the control group, who didn’t get vaccinated at all.
As a matter of fact, the vaccines were all 100 percent effective in preventing severe disease (hospitalization and death) within six weeks after the first dose (Moderna) or seven weeks (Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson).
Zero vaccinated people in any trial were hospitalized or died of COVID-19 after the vaccines had fully taken effect.
Every vaccine trial looked at protection from experiencing symptoms, not protection from getting infected at all. Although it is possible that the vaccines also reduce the number of viral particles in the body — which would cut transmission — scientists are not yet sure if vaccinated people can still transmit the virus. That’s why people should still wear masks.