Strategies to Address and Reduce Holiday-Related Stress and Grief

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For many, November and December are a favorite time of year, with major holidays bringing family and friends together, but it can also be an incredibly stressful time Continue reading

Pomegranate and Chamomile Help Heal Bleeding Gums

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Researchers from Brazil’s Paraíba State University have determined that extracts of pomegranate and chamomile can help heal bleeding gums. Continue reading

Cleansing the Body of Parasites

The Human Body is host to over 130 different types of parasites. Infections can range from mild, hardly noticeable to serious. You may ask, what really is a parasite?

It is a simple celled animal that lives on or in another organism or body of another species from which Continue reading

Nasty Pesticide Broken Down by Probiotic Used In Culturing Food

A new study published in Letters in Applied Microbiology shows that a commonly used food probiotic known as Lactobacillus plantarum is capable of degrading dangerous pesticide residues in wheat (pirimiphos-methyl), confirming the traditional fermentation-based food-processing technique Continue reading

Drink This to Improve Lactose Intolerance

Do you know anything about kefir? Kefir is a cultured, enzyme-rich food filled with friendly microorganisms, much like yogurt.

In recent health news, however, some health pundits say kefir may be more nutritious and therapeutic than yogurt, ounce for ounce. Kefir could help in the reduction of lactose intolerance symptoms, in the stimulation of Continue reading

Benefits of Probiotic Yogurt

Studies have shown for some time that yogurt can boost your nutritional health when added to your diet. What’s not as clear from recent health news is whether probiotic yogurt is any better for you than conventional yogurt. Continue reading

Long Working Hours Make Parents Compromise on Food Choices

ITHICA – Long work hours and irregular schedules are forcing people to compromise on food choices for themselves and their children, suggests a new study.

The research team from Cornell University measured food choice coping strategies in low- to middle-income families in five categories: (1) food prepared at/away from home; (2) missing meals; (3) individualizing meals (family eats differently, separately, or together); (4) speeding up to save time; and (5) planning.

They found that fathers who worked long hours or had nonstandard hours and schedules were more likely to use take-out meals, miss family meals, purchase prepared entrees, and eat while working.

Similarly, mothers were also likely to purchase restaurant meals or prepared entrees or missed breakfast.

About a quarter of mothers and fathers said they did not have access to healthful, reasonably priced, and/or good-tasting food at or near work.

The findings suggest that better work conditions may be associated with more positive strategies such as more home-prepared meals, eating with the family, keeping healthful food at work, and less meal skipping.

 “This study examined how work conditions are related to the food choice coping strategies of low- and moderate-income parents,” said Dr Carol M. Devine, RD, Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, and colleagues.

 “Study findings will enhance understanding of social and temporal employment constraints on adults’ food choices and may inform workplace interventions and policies…The importance of work structure for employed parents’ food choice strategies is seen in the associations between work hours and schedule and food choice coping strategies, such as meals away from home and missed family meals.

 “Long work hours and irregular schedules mean more time away from family, less time for household food work, difficulty in maintaining a regular meal pattern, and less opportunity to participate in family meals; this situation may result in feelings of time scarcity, fatigue, and strain that leave parents with less personal energy for food and meals,” the researchers added.

Scientists Developing Probiotics to Ambush Disease-Causing Gut Bacteria

Scientists Developing Probiotics to Ambush Disease-Causing Gut Bacteria

ADELAIDE – Scientists from University of Adelaide are working on developing diversionary tactics in a bid to fool disease-causing gut bacteria that often lead to infections, such as cholera.

According to Professor James Paton, bacteria produce toxins that damage human tissues when they bind to complex sugar receptors displayed on the surface of cells in the host’s intestine.

In the new study, researchers have shown how they had added molecular mimics of these host cell receptors onto the surface of harmless bacteria capable of surviving in the human gut.

If given during an infection caused by a toxin-producing bacterium, these “receptor-mimic probiotics” will bind the toxins in the gut very strongly, thereby preventing the toxins from interacting with receptors on host intestinal cells and causing disease.

An advantage of this approach to treatment is that the pathogenic bacteria are unlikely to develop a resistance to it, as that would destroy the basic mechanism by which they cause disease.

Moreover, receptor-mimic bacteria bind toxins more strongly than previous technologies.

They are also more cost effective, as the bacteria can be grown cheaply in large-scale fermenters.

“We initially developed this technology to prevent disease caused by strains of E. coli bacteria that produce Shiga toxin. These include the infamous E. coli O157 strain, which causes outbreaks of severe bloody diarrhoea and the potentially fatal haemolytic uraemic syndrome,” said Paton.

“Our prototype receptor mimic probiotic provided 100% protection against otherwise fatal E. coli disease in an animal model. We have also developed similar receptor mimic probiotics that are capable of preventing cholera and travellers’ diarrhoea.

“As well as being able to treat disease, these probiotics could be given to vulnerable populations following natural disasters to help prevent outbreaks of diseases like cholera,” he added.

The findings were presented at the Society for General Microbiology’s meeting at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.

Reduce the Side Effects of Antibiotics

If you’ve got a bacterial infection, taking a course of antibiotics should help restore you to health. But these powerful drugs (which include penicillin, amoxicillin, and tetracycline, to name a few) can cause some unpleasant side effects, such as yeast overgrowth and gastrointestinal trouble.

The first step in protecting yourself from these adverse effects is to avoid unnecessary use of antibiotics. Since antibiotics can only treat bacterial infections (like strep throat, urinary tract infections, and severe sinus infections), they won’t be effective against viral infections that cause the common cold, flu, or bronchitis. In addition to the risk of unnecessary side effects, inappropriate use of antibiotics can promote the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and leave you vulnerable to incurable infections later on.

If you find yourself in need of antibiotics, however, you might want to consider ways to reduce your risk of side effects.

Complementary Care for Antibiotics Users

Here are three ways to support your system while you’re on antibiotics.

1) Probiotic Supplements

Antibiotics don’t just kill the bacteria causing your sickness; they also wipe out beneficial bacteria (called probiotics) that contribute to a healthy digestive system. Taking a probiotic supplement could help prevent gastrointestinal problems resulting from antibiotic use, according to a research review published in 2008. Probiotics, also found in fermented foods like yogurt and kefir, can help stave off yeast infections as well.

2) Herbal Tea

If you experience nausea while taking antibiotics, try sipping ginger tea to soothe your stomach. Another common complaint among patients on antibiotics? Loose stools, which may be relieved by drinking raspberry leaf tea.

3) Milk Thistle

Taking antibiotics can tax your liver, which is responsible for breaking down the medications you ingest. The herb milk thistle has been associated with protective antioxidant effects on the liver.

Prevent Bacterial Infection

To reduce your risk of bacterial infections and lower your chances of having to use antibiotics, strengthen your immune system by following a healthy diet, exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep, and managing your stress with the help of relaxation techniques.