How To Stay Healthy When Seasons Change

As we begin to transition from winter into the warmer temperatures of spring, we find ourselves shifting gears and coming back into more structured routines.

Winter chills may have caused you to let go of your active lifestyle and instead settle for lazing around the house, watching more TV than you should, and making unhealthy meal choices – now you can officially say goodbye to those days.

Spring is here, you can now refresh your exercise regimen and make better food choices, no excuses!

If you’re not sure how to stay healthy, here are a few tips to help you stay healthy this season:

  • Get Active:
    Now that the days are longer and bursting with warmth and fresh air. You don’t need a fancy gym membership to keep fit; there are alternative ways to ensure you keep an active lifestyle. Making a few changes to your daily routine can also do wonders for your health:

    -Take a walk
    -Go cycling
    -Go hiking
    -Turn household chores into workouts
    -Go jogging

  • Spring Clean Your Eating Habits:
    It’s vital to fuel your body with good nutrition. Looking best is not only about exercising, but it has a lot to do with what you feed your body. The first step is to get rid of all junk, the unhealthy food items in your household. Fill your fridge with fresh vegetables, seasonal fruits, protein and healthy snacks.
  • Be Sure to Hydrate!

Staying healthy is one of the most important ways to keep healthy. According to [1]Harvard Health Publishing, drinking water is crucial to maintaining the function of every system in your body, including your heart, brain, and muscles. Fluids carry nutrients to your cells, flush bacteria from your bladder, and prevent constipation. A hydrated body is a healthy body!

  • Strengthen Your Immune System:
    [2]Health24 suggests the following tips to help boost your immune system:

    -Increase your intake of the antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin A, beta and mixed carotenes, vitamin E and selenium.
    -Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and drink a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice every day.
    -Take an antioxidant food supplement combination throughout winter.
    -Control your stress levels with daily relaxation techniques.
    -Do regular moderate exercise, but listen to your body and take a break when you’re feeling under the weather.
    -Herbs like Echinacea, garlic, chickweed, liqourice root and golden seal are excellent immune system boosters.

  • Get Enough Rest
    Your body needs rest. Not getting enough sleep can take a toll on your body, resulting in fatigue and muscle aches. According to [3]Brandon Berman, in-house expert from Bustle, “Sleep gives your body energy by allowing it to reset, recover, and rebuild; without sleep, your body is left feeling sluggish, depleted, and weak.”

Make a decision today to live a healthy lifestyle. It might not be an easy adjustment after winter, but you’ll agree that the rewards will make the sacrifice worth it. Are you ready to spring into a healthier lifestyle?

[1] https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-importance-of-staying-hydrated

[2] https://www.health24.com/Lifestyle/Healthy-you/is-there-a-difference-between-winter-and-summer-colds-20161010-4

[3] https://www.bustle.com/articles/182023-11-ways-to-know-that-your-body-is-slowing-down-needs-rest

Traditional Medicine vs Modern Medicine

Although modern medicine is one of the largest industries in the world, it is hard to ignore the fact that the use of herbal remedies and traditional medicine continues to be on the rise in Africa.

In a report conducted by the World Health Organization Africa[1] it indicated that 80% of Africa’s societies entrust on traditional medicine as a major provider of healthcare service especially in the rural Africa, where traditional medicine is the only form of treatment that exists.

However, one third of the population lacks access to necessary medicines and the provision of safe and effective traditional medicine becomes an important way of increasing access to health care services.

Traditional African medicine is a comprehensive discipline which involves indigenous herbalists.

Most of the African medicinal plants are growing interest to Western societies as they are mostly used in the treatments of many diseases and illnesses.

According to the South African Society of Integrative Medicine[2] traditional medicine was the dominant medical system for millions of people in Africa before the establishment of cosmopolitan medicine. But just after the Europeans arrived in Africa a turning point was seen in tradition. And after that it was seen that there is truly a lack of traditional knowledge

Every year around August, different traditional healers from all across Africa come to together to celebrate the importance of African medicine in our societies and the values.

Africa is endowed with many plants that can be used for medicinal purposes to which they have taken full advantage. In fact, out of the approximated 6400 plant species used in tropical Africa, more than 4000 are used as medicinal plants.

South African traditional plant medicines are fascinating with so many colour forms and effects. It is an art to know these and to use them correctly to bring about health and harmony, the aim of all true traditional healers.

African traditional medicine holds within it much wealth on knowing ourselves and how to live correctly and in balance with ourselves and others. This holistic medicine heritage that all cultures have as traditional knowledge; including European, Asian, American, African heritage etc is under threat from culture change and modern society would benefit from embracing holistic medicine so as to not forget our roots to nature and healing.

We live in a fast-paced environment where most people require immediate results, this is why people in urban areas lean more towards modern medicine.  Should we fall sick, we want to have a prescription within hours and medicine to cure us in a day or so – modern medicine offers us exactly that.

[3]Medical Technology Avenue offers the following description for modern medicine:

  • Unlike traditional medicine, modern medicine is based entirely on a scientific approach. It heals by creating synthesized drugs in treating disease.
  • This healing approach involves invasive surgical procedures in addressing several conditions.

Without a doubt, modern medicine has been highly effective in the prevention and treatment of many illnesses.

Follow the #AfricanTraditionalMedicineWeek hashtag for updates.

[1] https://www.afro.who.int/health-topics/traditional-medicine

[2] http://integrativemedicine.co.za/african-traditional-medicine/

[3] http://medicaltechnologyavenue.blogspot.com/2016/05/traditional-medicine-vs-modern-medicine.html

Top Foods To Eat For Better Skin

Most of us are aware that diet and nutrition helps us live and maintain healthy lifestyles and most importantly, to avoid chronic diseases. It should therefore come as no surprise that the key to flawless skin begins with the food choices you make every day.

Everywhere we look, famous beauty brands are launching and pushing product after product on us, many of which we don’t actually need. Contrary to popular belief, beautiful and glowing skin is not dependant on expensive beauty products and expensive procedures.

Most of the time, the simple solution to a good skin regimen is opting for a balanced, adequate and varied diet.

According to [1]BBC Good Food, older cells are constantly shed and replaced by younger ones and a steady supply of key nutrients is essential to support this rapid growth. Eating the correct balance of foods will feed your skin the vital nutrients it needs to help it stay soft, supple and blemish-free.

Jonele Hart, author of Eat Pretty: Nutrition for Beauty Inside and Out, further elaborates “Your diet also directly influences hormone levels, which affect your complexion and impact how your genes perform.”[2]

“The nutrients in your food determine how well your skin can repair itself, defend against damage, and partake in other beauty related actions,” she adds.

Here is a list foods that will nourish your skin while satisfying your taste buds.

  • Nuts and Seeds:
    Nuts contain Vitamin E, which helps protect skin from cell damage while supporting a healthy skin growth. “[3]The healthy, monounsaturated fats founds in almonds can also keep skin less inflamed and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, which can occur from the aging process.”
  • Avocados:
    [4]Avocados are also a good source of Vitamin E. Regularly eating avocados will help protect your skin from sun damage, relieve irritation and reduce wrinkles.
  • Salmon:
    Most doctors and dermatologists view salmon as a super-food when it comes to skin health. The omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon are essential ingredients that help keep skin healthy.
  • Sweet Potatoes:
    Sweet Potatoes work wonders for your skin complexion. [5]According to Bustle, sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta carotene– which is an antioxidant that turns into vitamin A in our bodies. Antioxidants protect our skin from free radicals and vitamin A deficiency is a huge reason for dull, dry skin.
  • Spinach:
    Spinach is a goodsource of vitamins A, B2, C and K. The folate in spinach helps maintain and repair DNA, reducing the likelihood of cancer-cell growth.
  • Tomatoes:
    Tomatoes are considered to be one of the most effective remedies for a clear and healthy skin. They are beneficial for skin health mainly because they have high antioxidant content.
  • Watermelon:
    According to experts, [6]watermelon contains Lycopene which is good for skin. Antioxidants help in decreasing the free radicals produced by the body. Lesser free radicals directly implements to retarding process of aging very effectively.
  • [7]Cucumbers:
    Cucumber contains mostly water, which helps to keep skin hydrated. P&G Reward Me notes the following about cucumbers, “Beauty benefits extend to healthy gums and fresh breath, sparkling eyes without the bags, dark circles and puffiness, and beautiful skin owing to the nutrients it contains like biotin, vitamins A, B1 and C, and potassium.”

We hope this helps you make better food choices! Happy eating!

[1] https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/eat-your-way-fabulous-skin

[2] https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/beauty-style/8-best-foods-skin-conditions

[3] https://www.bustle.com/articles/170712-13-surprising-foods-that-can-protect-you-from-sun-skin-damage

[4] https://www.medicaldaily.com/avocado-skin-hair-and-breath-health-benefits-guacamole-408932

[5] https://www.bustle.com/articles/50624-use-sweet-potato-for-skin-hair-and-other-beauty-recipes-because-those-thanksgiving-leftovers-shouldnt-end

[6] http://lookgood.expertscolumn.com/article/watermelon-beauty-benefits-face-how-use-watermelon-juice-for-skin-summer

[7] https://www.rewardme.in/beauty/skin-body/article/6-benefits-of-cucumber-for-face-skin

How to take care of your your health in winter

Health issues such as colds, joint pain, and dry skin can be worsened by the cold weather. Help keep yourself and your family healthy through winter by using these tips.

All You Need To Know About Hepatitis

Hepatitis is a public health threat that affects millions of people across the globe. Although it is usually caused by a viral infection, there are other common causes – there is autoimmune hepatitis and one that occurs as a result of medication, drugs and alcohol.

 

A recent study by The [1]Lancet reveals that 1.45 million people died of the disease.

 

There are three major types of hepatitis; Hepatitis A, B and C.  Although the symptoms are similar, they each have different treatments.

 

According to the [2]World Health Organization (WHO), Hepatitis A is caused by the hepatitis A virus which is transmitted through eating contaminated food and water or by being in contact with an infected individual. Here are a few facts about the disease:

  • Unlike hepatitis B and hepatitis C, hepatitis A does not cause long-term sickness.
  • It tends to only occur during epidemics and outbreaks.
  • The virus is found in the feces of an infected person and is extremely contagious.
  • Many infected people can go for long periods without showing any symptoms at all
  • Symptoms usually develop between 2 and 6 weeks.

 

[3]WebMD describes hepatitis B is an infection that can cause liver failure, scarring of the organ and cancer. If it remains untreated, it can lead to death. Here’s what you need to know about hepatitis B:

  • It is spread when people come in direct contact with blood, open sores of infected individuals.
  • It can also be spread through unprotected sex
  • It can lead to cirrhosis or hardening of the organ.
  • Carriers of the disease are advised to not donate blood, body organs, tissue or sperm.
  • Warning signs include jaundice, fever and fatigue that persists for months.

 

[4]Hepatitis C also affects the liver. According to [5]Mayo Clinic, hepatitis C causes liver inflammation, which can lead to serious liver damage. Here’s what you should know about Hepatitis C:

  • Symptoms include fatigue, poor appetite, itchy skin, fluid build-up in your abdomen, swelling in your legs and weight loss.
  • Chronic hepatitis C starts with an acute phase, which usually goes undiagnosed because symptoms rarely show.
  • Hepatitis C can cause significant complications including scarring of the liver, and liver failure.
  • Your risk of hepatitis C increases if you were born between 1945 and 1965, the age group with the highest incidence of hepatitis C infection.

 

Hepatitis B Foundation offers the following tips for people living with Hepatitis B:

  • Get monitored regularly
  • If you’ve been prescribed an antiviral, take it every day
  • Demand to be screened for liver cancer
  • Practice safe sex and never re-use needles

 

World Hepatitis Day is observed every year on the 28th of July to help raise awareness about viral hepatitis and to influence real change in disease prevention. Under the theme “Find the Missing Millions,” this year’s focus is on the millions of people living with chronic hepatitis B but are unaware of their diagnosis.

 

[1] https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langas/article/PIIS2468-1253(18)30056-6/fulltext

[2] http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/hepatitis-a

[3] https://www.webmd.com/hepatitis/digestive-diseases-hepatitis-b#2

[4] http://www.hepb.org/blog/ten-things-people-with-hepatitis-b-need-to-know-in-2016/

[5] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hepatitis-c/symptoms-causes/syc-20354278

What Employers Can Do To Alleviate Poor Health At Work

Lack of productivity among employees is often associated with ill health in the workplace and looking at the consequences, it comes as no surprise that more global brands are starting to recognize the impact that workplace health and wellness can have on productivity.

Looking at the high rate of obesity in the country, one has to wonder if this is the case for companies in South Africa.

A study conducted by the [1]Institute for Health Metrics revealed that obesity among South Africans is on the increase.

Another study by [2]Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC) found that a huge number of South Africans are prone to diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension and cancer. It also found that young adults in their twenties are at a high risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

[3]Augment HR defines corporate wellness as the encouragement of healthy activities and a healthy lifestyle in the corporate environment. This is put forward as a means to reduce ailments in employees, mental and physical stress, and overall costs resulting from the sick day. Examples include the implementation of corporate wellness programs, individual sessions with wellness coaches, etc.

Given that people spend most of their days in the office, prioritizing corporate wellness should not even be a question. Focusing on wellness means a happier, healthier environment in your company.

[4]Benefits Pro offers the following reasons why companies need wellness programs:

  • Employee health affects organizational health: Employee wellbeing is critical to workplace health. A company with employees that are cared for and supported emotionally, physically and mentally can expect productivity.
  • It creates better results: A healthy working environment promotes creativity in employees.
  • Wellness and business strategy aligns: Corporate wellness is inarguably one of your company’s best assets. The healthier your employees are, the more successful your business will be.

According to [5]Everyday Health, implementing corporate wellness programs in your company can result in significant changes in the following areas:

-Reduced Hospital Admissions
-Weight Loss
-Quitting Smoking

If you’re still trying to find the right way to start a wellness program in your company, [6]Benefit News provides the following tips:

  • Customize a strategy for your workplace
  • Offer incentives to get employees to participate
  • Influence the workplace
  • Communicate your program (e.g. using digital channels)
  • Evaluate results and solicit input

Companies with good wellness programs prove the organization’s concern for their employees thus encouraging them to work harder and more efficiently.

It is clear that a corporate wellness program can bring multiple benefits to both small and large corporate businesses. As the world observes Corporate Wellness Week – if your company has not yet jumped on the bandwagon, perhaps it is time for you to also look into prioritizing corporate health.

Remember, implementing this program doesn’t necessarily need a major investment. You can also start small! A healthy employee is a focused, high performing employee!

 

 

[1] https://bit.atkasa.com/2IfvRXI

[2] http://www.hsrc.ac.za/uploads/pageNews/72/SANHANES-launch%20edition%20(online%20version).pdf

[3] https://www.augmenthr.com/blog/why-does-workplace-wellness-matter/

[4] https://www.benefitspro.com/2015/06/30/top-10-reasons-you-should-implement-wellness/?slreturn=20180522080840

[5] https://www.everydayhealth.com/news/reasons-corporate-wellness-programs-are-still-worth/

[6] https://www.benefitnews.com/list/5-tips-for-starting-or-refining-a-wellness-program#slide-2

Almost A to Z – Our top fruit picks

Winter is around the corner, thus it’s time to prepare our immune systems accordingly. Vitamin C is probably the one vitamin that’s most frequently mentioned during winter but you require all vital vitamins and minerals to build up your immune system.

Fruit aka nature’s candy, is the most delicious and nutritious way to consume vitamins. Let’s share some of our favourite fruits for winter from A to Z.

 

Apple: Antioxidants, flavonoids and fibre.

Banana: Potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, folate and vitamin B6.

Cantaloupe: Vitamins K, B1, B3, B6, fibre and magnesium.

Date: Vitamins A and K, potassium and zinc.

Elderberry: Flavonoids, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Fig: Vitamins A, B1, B2, calcium, iron and phosphorus.

Grapes: Antioxidants and flavonoids.

Honey dew melon: Vitamin C, potassium and thiamine.

Indian prune/plum: Fibre, antioxidants, vitamin C and potassium.

Jackfruit: High in protein, vitamin A and calcium.

Kiwifruit: Vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, folate and potassium.

Lemon: Vitamin C.

Mango: High levels of fiber, pectin and vitamin C.

Nectarine: Vitamin A, vitamin C, dietary fibre and potassium.

Orange:  Fiber, potassium, vitamin C and choline content.

Pear: Phenolic compounds, folate, dietary fibre, copper, manganese, magnesium, as well as B-complex vitamins.

Quince: Vitamin C, zinc, potassium, copper and iron.

Raspberry:  Vitamin C, manganese, dietary fibre, rich in B vitamins, folic acid, copper, and iron.

Satsuma: Vitamin C, antioxidants and fibre.

Tamarind: Thiamin, iron, magnesium and phosphorus.

Ugli fruit:  Vitamin C and fibre.

Watermelon: Vitamins A, B6, C, magnesium and potassium.

Xigua: Vitamin C, vitamin B, Beta-carotene and dietary fibre.

Zuchinni: low score on the glycemic index,  potassium, manganese and  vitamin A.

 

Quick tips on how you can get the most out of these nutritious fruits

  • Squeeze some lemon juice into warm water and drink it every morning.
  • Ensure that you have fruit that is easily accessible. Keep a bowl of fruit on your kitchen counter, pack some for lunch to snack on at work.
  • Add some berries or banana slices to your cereal or yogurt.
  • Make a smoothie! There are loads of delicious recipes that can be found online.
  • Enjoy fruit salad as a healthy dessert option.
  • Some fruit such as bananas, for example, can be turned into a great face mask when mixed with honey and oats.
  • Enjoy a melon, cantaloupe or grapefruit fro breakfast.
  • Add some fruit to your vegetable salad.

 

Have fun with it and don’t be afraid to try new fruits!

How Much Do You Know About Lupus?

Welcome To Lupus Awareness Month!

May is celebrated worldwide in commemoration of people living with Lupus and also raises public awareness about the disease. Join us and let’s be in support of those fighting against this wicked illness and put on a PURPLE color this month.

According to Lupus Foundation statistics, it is estimated that at least five million people around the globe are faced with the daily struggles of lupus disease.

Historically, most people died from lupus primarily from kidney failure.  However, over the years lupus treatment had seen improvement and about 80 to 90 percent of lupus patients can live a normal lifespan.

What is Lupus?

According to Lupus Foundation and World Health Organization, lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body including internal organs such as the heart and lungs as well as a person’s skin and joints.

Normally the human body’s immune system produces proteins called antibodies that prevent the body from catching bacteria, viruses and germs.

In Lupus, autoimmune is created, which means that the immune system fails to recognize the difference between healthy tissues, germs, bacteria or viruses.

Usually when that happens, the body’ defense system becomes overactive and creates auto (self) antibodies that destroys the healthy tissues in the body and then the body attacks itself.

Lupus is not a death sentence and yes it is not curable but it can be managed with medication and a healthy lifestyle. Many people around the world today live with the daily struggles of lupus. It can affect anyone, at anytime.

Over the years, we have seen many celebrities come out openly about their health conditions. Toni Braxton is one of the celebrities that disclosed her lupus diagnosis in 2010. She has lived with the disease for about 8 years now. Singer, Selena Gomez also came out about her condition in 2015 and K. Michelle was also recently diagnosed and many others such as Nick Cannon etc. This is proof that lupus can be treated and manageable.

According the South African Medical Students Association some of the general symptoms include the swelling of hands, feet, legs and around the eyes, hair loss, headaches, fever, abnormal blood clotting, painful joints, fatigue, pain in chest, sun or light sensitivity.

Lupus Foundation said the central nervous system such as depression, stress and anxiety seizures, strokes, headaches and memory loss can also contribute to the symptoms of lupus.

Lupus is believed to be a mysterious illness that cause myriad of symptoms that can ravage different parts of the human body.  Studies have never been able to exact any reason why people get the disease; however it has discovered that the disorder is mostly prevalent in countries such as Africa and North America as compared to Caucasians.

Research has also found that lupus strikes mostly women of color and women of childbearing age. However, that does not exclude the fact that men, children and teenagers can still get lupus too.

Some of the factors that have been discovered to may play a role in lupus include:

  • Gender and sex hormones which in most cases mean women are the ones who end up with lupus because of their estrogen
  • Hereditary, it has tendencies to appear in most families
  • Environment, sensitivity to the sun, and medications that make you sensitive to the sun , infections, colds and viral infections
  • Physical and emotional stress, exhaustion to the body such as surgery, pregnancy, physical injury or giving birth.

There are currently four diagnoses of lupus:

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus – that is believed to account approximately 70% of lupus cases. With systemic lupus, a major organ or tissue in the body is affected such as the heart, lungs, kidneys or brain.  The disease may affect several other body systems hence it’s called systemic.

Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus- the disease usually presents itself as a dermatological disease and affects the skin. Exposure to the sun may trigger it making patients photosensitive. Usually the rash turns red, flat or slightly raised and may appear scaly.

Drug-Induced Lupus Erythematosus- is believed to be rare and can be caused by certain prescription drugs that are usually taken over a long period of time.

Lupus Foundation said, “the most common medications linked to this include isoniazid, hydralazine and procainamide yet there are common widespread other medications that are also known to trigger an onset of the disease.”

Signs and symptoms include joint pain, fatigue, inflammation of the heart, and muscle pain. It is advisable that people disclose the side effects of the medications they’re taking to their doctors.

Neonatal Lupus Erythematosus- is usually transferred from mother to child during pregnancy. It is a commonly rare condition in which the mother’s antibodies affect the fetus, which then weakens the immune systems to defend the body against the threat of viruses or bacteria.

Usually at birth, the child may have a skin rash, liver problems, low blood cell counts but the symptoms typically disappear in a few months with no lasting effects.

In South Africa, there are no accurate statistics on people living with the disorder; however many people are directly and indirectly affected by the disease.

We believe more work still needs to be done with raising awareness in the country.

At Healthshare, we are thankful for those who are working together in fighting this mysterious illness that kills bodies and raise awareness as well as funds for those directly affected.

Wear Purple Proudly This Month!