Multiple sclerosis is a condition in which the immune system attacks the body’s central nervous system. The myelin sheath covering the nerve cells is typically attacked, and the communication between the brain and body parts gets affected. This can result in symptoms like fatigue, pain, vision problems, bowel movement issues, and loss of bladder control. While the disease has no permanent cure, it can be managed through treatment and changes in eating habits.
Multiple sclerosis patients are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular problems brought on by poor management of cholesterol levels. So, people with the condition should avoid saturated animal fats and trans fats, as cooking in unhealthy fats can increase cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes and can also cause inflammation. Saturated fats can sneak into one’s meals when food is cooked in coconut oil, palm oil, dairy fats, and meat fats. Additionally, one should avoid baked goods like cakes and cookies as these contain trans fats, which can trigger inflammation of blood vessels. Avoiding these fats can help one reduce the risk of developing severe cardiovascular problems.
Increased sodium levels in the system trigger many relapse cases of MS. Excessive consumption of salt increases the risk of high blood pressure, which can result in significant circulatory problems if left untreated. As an inflammatory ingredient, salt should be used in limited amounts to avoid health issues.
Refined grains are stripped of all the essential nutrients and minerals during processing and can hamper the proper functioning of the body. As these foods add no nutritional value, they should not be part of a balanced meal plan for MS patients. Instead, people with the condition should follow a high-fiber nutritional regimen, as whole grains are better than refined grains. Fiber-rich foods help relieve the effects of constipation—one of the common symptoms observed among MS patients. Whole grain foods are beneficial for one’s health, whereas refined grains can negatively impact the body and aggravate the symptoms associated with the condition.
Processed foods like readymade meals and meats like sausage and ham should be avoided by those affected by MS. Companies process foods to increase their shelf life, enhance appearance, and augment taste. These foods taste great and can be extremely tempting, but they can damage the intestines and digestive system. So, people with this condition should avoid processed foods.
Ajinomoto is an essential ingredient in some Chinese recipes and is essentially a flavor enhancer that is common in some households. However, Ajinomoto or monosodium glutamate is harmful to people with multiple sclerosis as their immune systems can react negatively to its consumption. It may damage the neurons, so one should avoid adding this ingredient to their meals.
Sugar-rich food can put a lot of strain on the heart and body and even cause fatigue, which is a common symptom of multiple sclerosis. Sugar is also an inflammatory component, which should be used in moderation. People with MS should strictly avoid refined sugar and sweet foods like cookies, sugary drinks, and sodas. Excessive sugar can aggravate the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and worsen one’s overall condition.
MS is a progressive disease that can disrupt the flow of information from the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Further, some patients can be affected by relapsing MS, which means one goes through periods of worsening symptoms and experiences a stable condition between relapses. Here, doctors might recommend a pill for relapsing multiple sclerosis to relieve severe symptoms. Such treatment can also help reduce the relapse rate.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a medical condition. The immune system attacks the body’s Central Nervous System (CNS). The myelin sheath covering the nerve cells comes under this attack. The condition affects the communication between the brain and body parts. It thus results in fatigue, pain, and vision problems. On the digestive front, bowel problems and loss of bladder control also happen. This article lists foods to avoid to reduce multiple sclerosis symptoms flare up.
MS is a slow and progressive disease. It disrupts the flow of information from the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Though there is no treatment for MS, taking care of a nutritional regime can help manage the flare-ups.
Common foods to avoid and better MS management
Unfortunately, there is no cure for MS yet. Its only management includes changes in lifestyle, medications, and targeted treatment. These methods help in overcoming common discomforts. Maintaining a balanced and healthy nutritional regime is a crucial element in this regard. Here are the common foods that you must avoid for better health.
Saturated and trans fat
Ensure a strict no-no to saturated animal fats. Cooking in saturated fats can increase cholesterol levels. In turn, it causes inflammation. High levels of cholesterol increase the risk of heart attacks and stroke. Saturated fats include cooking in coconut oil, palm oil, dairy fats, and meat fats. MS patients are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular problems.
These problems occur due to poor management of cholesterol. So, avoid saturated and trans fats in your daily foods. Baked goods and sweets have many trans fats. They are thus made with vegetable oils and hydrogenated ‘shortening’.
Foods rich in salt
Many relapse cases happen due to increased sodium levels in the system. Excess levels of salts increase the risk of high blood pressure. It might lead to significant circulatory problems if left ignored. As an inflammatory element of the food, it should get consumed only in the required amounts.
Refined grain strips off all essential nutrients and minerals that the body requires. They hamper the proper functioning of the body. As these foods add no nutritional value, they should be a red flag in a balanced meal. Multiple sclerosis patients should follow a high-fiber meal plan.
As whole grains are better than refined grains, this meal plan will give positive results. Fiber-rich foods help relieve the effects of constipation. Constipation is one of the common symptoms observed among MS patients. Whole grain foods are better for your health, while refined grains are the opposite. It impacts MS patients and causes a rise in symptoms.
Processed foods available in the market are a big no to MS patients. Food companies process food to increase shelf life, exalt appearance, and augment taste. They might taste excellent and tempting but damage your intestine and digestive system.
Ajinomoto (Monosodium Glutamate)
Ajinomoto is an essential ingredient in all Chinese cuisines and has infiltrated our kitchen as a critical element of the food we prepare these days. Ajinomoto/Monosodium Glutamate damages the nervous systems of even unborn children. Avoid it for an improved treatment during multiple sclerosis.
Foods rich in sugar
Sugar contributes to unhealthy weight gain. Excess pounds of sugar-rich food put a lot of strain on the heart and body. Obesity is the most common implication of eating excess sugar-based products. As fatigue is a common symptom of multiple sclerosis, avoid sugar-processed food. Sugar is an inflammatory component of nutrition whose use should only be in moderation. Direct consumption of sugar needs strict control. Symptoms of this condition increase with the imbalanced condition of sugar.
So, these are some of the food items that one needs to avoid while suffering from multiple sclerosis. A proper nutritional regime can be healthy and help one live a lively and healthy lifestyle. For someone with MS, it is best to consume gluten-free foods, nuts, vegetables, fruits, lean meat, etc.
Crohn’s is a type of inflammatory bowel disease believed to occur due to poor eating habits and stress. This disease causes uncomfortable symptoms such as pain in the lower abdomen, bowel obstruction, nausea, and inflammation. One of the main ways to manage the condition is by cultivating proper eating habits. One can aggravate its symptoms by having oily or fatty food. Thus, here is a list of things to avoid if you have Crohn’s disease.
Foods to avoid by those with Crohn’s disease
Food items that contain higher amounts of fiber can cause irritation with Crohn’s. These items are more difficult to digest and further pressurize the gastrointestinal tract. So, avoid whole grain foods or switch to gluten-free.
Specific fruits and vegetable
Fruits and vegetables have huge health benefits. However, some of them can have a negative impact on Crohn’s. You should reduce the intake of or avoid including certain foods in your meals. Examples of foods to leave out of meal plans are gassy foods such as broccoli and cabbage and any vegetables and fruits with the skin and seeds intact.
Nuts and seeds
People tend to gravitate towards nuts and seeds for their beneficial nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. However, the nuts and seeds can be rough on people with Crohn’s disease. Their sharp edges are not crumbled into tiny pieces in the intestine, possibly causing damage to the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, if you want to eat seeds or nuts, you can make them into a paste first or try them in semi-solid forms like peanut butter.
Refined sugar or sugary drinks like lemonade, or soda, can cause diarrhea to flare up. The sweeteners used in products go by the names—Maltitol, sorbitol, and xylitol. These ingredients are not absorbed completely in the intestine. Thus, resulting in diarrhea, gas, and bloating.
There is no denying that spicy foods cause irritation in the GI tract and adversely affect bowel movements. Dipping your sandwiches in hot chili sauce, having spicy curries, and the like can cause inflammation in your intestines and stomach lining.
It is recommended for most of us to eat fried foods in strict moderation since these items are rich in trans fats, which harm the body over time. However, if one has Crohn’s, they must avoid fried, greasy foods completely as it exacerbates their chances of developing further health conditions.
Coffee and chocolates
While coffee and chocolates can be difficult to avoid, they are not the best choice for individuals with Crohn’s disease. Caffeine increases the wave-like motion in the GI tract, leading to waste moving through the system faster. This can, in turn, add pressure to the system.
Individuals diagnosed with Crohn’s disease are likely to face digestive problems. They will also have an inability to properly break down whole-fat milk and other rich dairy products. It is suitable and more dependable to switch to other milk alternatives like soy or almond milk. Go with harder cheeses rather than soft ones like mozzarella cheese. Harder cheeses have less lactose than soft cheeses.
Crohn’s disease is an illness in which the tissues inside the digestive tract swell up, which leads to complications like abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, malnutrition, fatigue, and weight loss. Such an inflammatory bowel disease needs significant management to avoid flare-ups in the digestive tract. One of the important factors in dealing with Crohn’s disease is nutrition. Herein, we’ve listed five food groups one needs to avoid to help manage symptoms.
Frains are generally crucial for a healthy stomach, But for those with Crohn’s disease, it is advised to limit or avoid eating grains. The insoluble fiber in grains passes through the digestive tract and can trigger diarrhea or abdominal pain in those with Crohn’s disease. Grains also include gluten, which can cause a reaction along with the fermentable carbohydrates in this food source. Avoid grains like whole wheat, rye, barley, and any products made from these, including bread or pasta. Choose alternatives like rice, gluten-free bread, cornmeal, and polenta.
Studies have shown that it is harder to digest red meat and hence should be avoided to minimize inflammation or pain in the abdomen. Avoiding red meat, sausages, and dark meat poultry can help manage the symptoms. Researchers suggest that leaner meat and types of meat with beneficial fats, like in bison or elk, should be considered over inflammatory fats. Also, other protein sources include adding fish, pork tenderloin, white meat poultry, eggs, shellfish, and plant-based options like tofu and other soy products.
It is studied that those with Crohn’s disease often develop lactose intolerance, which can be an issue if you consume dairy. Studies suggest that lactose is a sugar in milk that can trigger bloating or gas production, leading to abdominal pain and, in some cases, even diarrhea. It is also noticed that dairy products’ high-fat content makes it difficult to digest them. Avoid eating butter, cream, margarine, or full-fat dairy products. You can look for plant-based sources like almond, oat, or soy milk if you enjoy milk. There are several safer substitutes available in the market now.
Beverages like coffee or tea with high caffeine content need to be avoided. Caffeine can irritate the digestive tract, leading to inflammation and triggering symptoms. Coffee, black tea, soda, or other unhealthy drink choices must be replaced with healthier choices. As diarrhea is a common disease symptom, one is also advised to stay hydrated. So stick to plain water. However, sparkling water is preferable if the digestive tract can tolerate it. If you like herbal teas, ensure they are non-caffeinated to avoid any triggers.
Spices, as the name suggests, can irritate the digestive tract for some people. This irritation can lead to inflammation and other complications mentioned. So limit or avoid the usage of spices like chili powder, cayenne powder, black pepper, jalapenos, garlic, white, yellow, or purple onions, allspice, wasabi, and paprika. However, not all spices are irritants; many also have healing properties that need to be acknowledged and can be used to manage the symptoms. Include spices like turmeric, ginger, chives, green onion, cumin, mustard, fresh herbs, and even lemon peel. Always make sure that the produce is fresh and organic to get the most benefit from these ingredients.
Some fruits and vegetables should be avoided, like apples with skin, plums, peaches, broccoli, artichokes, cherries, cabbage, and cauliflower. Due to the insoluble fiber content in these ingredients, it becomes difficult for some people with Crohn’s to digest the food without causing a reaction. Always speak to your doctor before implementing any food changes in your meal plans to ensure maximum safety and precaution.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune condition that affects the body’s CNS or central nervous system. It destroys the myelin sheath (covering of the nerve cells), which impacts the communication pathway between the brain and the body. Some symptoms include loss of bladder control, fatigue, vision problems, pain, and problems related to bowel movements. The condition does not yet have a cure. Its management involves a combination of treatment, food habits, and a healthy lifestyle.
Foods rich in saturated fats have often been labeled bad for patients with various health conditions, including multiple sclerosis. They increase the levels of low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) in the body, which raises the risk of heart attack, stroke, and atherosclerosis. A few common sources of saturated fats in daily meals include processed meat, red meat, butter, and cheese. It is highly advisable for patients with this condition to either avoid or cut down on these.
Many are ignorant of the ill effects of excess sugar intake. Some of these harmful effects include increased inflammation in the body and lethargy. These, combined with decreased physical activity, can cause frequent flare-ups in patients. Therefore, to avoid worsening symptoms, one must avoid foods rich in refined sugars like soft drinks, candy, and chocolate bars.
Trans fats, also called bad quality fat, can harm the body. They are one of the compounds responsible for the deteriorating condition of a person’s immune response. A few examples of foods with trans fats are French fries, frozen pizza, and baked goods. Besides trans fat, these items have chemical coloring agents and additives that lead to compromised immunity. Like sugars, trans fats lead to increased inflammation in the body and increase the frequency of flare-ups.
Refined carbohydrates are found in many foods in this day and age. Bread, pasta, cereals, and most fast foods contain them. Refined carbs are, however, to be avoided by people with multiple sclerosis. The switch from refined to whole food can be difficult, but it is worth the hassle. Reducing refined carbohydrates can help stabilize the irregular spikes and dips in blood sugar levels that cause the deterioration of the myelin sheath.
High salt levels in food contribute to worsening symptoms in patients with this disorder. Excessive sodium or salt intake has been associated with increased flare-ups. It can also cause discomfort because of bloating and excessive water retention in the body. Further, it can increase blood pressure levels, which is also a concern in patients.
Studies suggest that people with multiple sclerosis may be susceptible to gluten sensitivity or intolerance. The sensitivity, combined with the increased inflammation levels caused by gluten intake, can worsen this disorder. Therefore, patients must avoid foods containing gluten, even in the tiniest amount. A few examples are wheat-based foods like bread and crackers.
Ready-to-eat meals or foods that are packaged and highly processed must be avoided. They have better taste and color and an increased shelf life because of the preservation processes they are subjected to. However, these processes involve the use of harmful chemicals that can damage the digestive and intestinal tract. A few items to avoid are processed meats, processed juices, cereals, pasta, and bread.
Multiple sclerosis is a progressive disease that either speeds up or slows down depending on the food, lifestyle, and treatment followed by the patient. The condition can obstruct the message flow from the optic nerve, spinal cord, and brain. Its progressive nature also means patients can experience periods of stabilization of the condition spaced with worsening symptoms. Doctors can prescribe special treatment options to help with relapsing multiple sclerosis in such cases. These treatments might help bring down the rate of relapse. Individuals must consult a doctor if unsure about the foods, treatments, and lifestyle changes to be followed to manage the ailment efficiently.
Multiple sclerosis is a condition that is triggered by external forces. It causes the immune system to attack the nerves of the body, making it difficult for the messages to be carried from the brain to different body parts. This leads to the inability to continue with day-to-day activities. There is no cure for this disease yet, but avoiding certain foods and changing lifestyle habits may help manage the illness and its symptoms.
Foods to avoid to manage multiple sclerosis
Food is an essential source of energy and nutrition. It provides the body with vitamins and minerals that help fight against diseases and bacteria. Even though there are no proper guidelines that multiple sclerosis patients can follow, avoiding certain foods can help them manage their symptoms better. Let’s look at some of them:
Foods with saturated fats
Some of the significant sources of saturated fats are animal products and other by-products such as dairy and red meat, which have also been linked to various heart diseases and inflammation. A recent study also pointed out that foods containing high amounts of saturated fats are connected to the relapsing Multiple sclerosis symptoms. Hence it is advised to steer clear of them.
Processed foods usually contain additives to increase their shelf life. These additives are known risk factors for health and can cause multiple illnesses. They also damage the intestinal mucosa, weakening the immune system. So, only consume fresh food and stick to all-natural ingredients to avoid any relapses of MS.
Foods containing MSG
MSG is an additive that is usually found in a lot of foods, it acts as a flavor enhancer and helps the food remain fresh for a longer period. But it is an excitatory neurotransmitter that may cause damage to the neurons in the body, increasing the discomfort caused by Multiple Sclerosis. So, always check the labels of the products before buying them and avoid restaurants known for using MSG in their food.
As caffeine is a known natural diuretic, the consumption of it may cause MS patients to experience discomfort due to an overactive bladder. Hence, it is advisable to avoid all food products that contain caffeine. But before considering it, please speak to a healthcare expert so that they can provide proper advice after considering all the symptoms and triggers.
In the case of multiple sclerosis patients, it is quite important to get tested for gluten intolerance. Research has found a considerable link between Multiple Sclerosis and Celiac disease, where the consumption of foods containing gluten causes harm to the small intestine. So it is advised to try gluten-free products and consider whole grain options that can provide nutrition to the body.
Many foods and drinks like cakes, cookies, energy and aerated drinks, etc., contain high amounts of sugar, which might cause immense harm to people suffering from MS. It can lead to fatigue, making them incapable of performing day-to-day activities. Too much sugar can also cause other problems, such as uncontrolled sugar levels and diabetes which may add to the discomfort of the patient. Instead, drink fresh fruit juices daily for added nutrition and to feel better throughout the day.
Excessive salty foods
Research has shown that the high or moderate consumption of salt may cause a relapse of Multiple Sclerosis symptoms. This can also increase inflammation and further lead to health issues such as hypertension and heart strokes. So decrease the amount of salt in the foods and consume fresh fruits and vegetables daily.
Fried foods have always been deemed unhealthy. They can cause various health issues and increase discomfort for people suffering from MS. Foods such as fried chicken, and French fries also contain a lot of saturated fat that can lead to the relapse of the symptoms. So it is advisable to avoid them completely.
The heart is the most crucial organ in the body and as the system will cease to function if the heart stops or loses momentum pumping fresh oxygenated blood. This is why it is vital to not neglect your heart health at all and responsibly maintain a healthy, stress-free, and more importantly, a happy lifestyle.
Here are a few simple lifestyle changes that will help support a healthy heart function.
Switch to a healthy diet
Avoid eating foods that are rich in trans and saturated fats. Most foods you find on the shelves of the supermarket contain large quantities of one or the other. Instead, switch to low-fat high fiber alternatives to help manage cholesterol. Maintaining a healthy cholesterol level in the body automatically reduces the risk of heart diseases. The simple reason for this is that fats that normally block major arteries and blood vessels are eliminated from these foods choices. It is also advisable to limit the salt (sodium) intake to control blood pressure and sugar to reduce the risk of diabetes simultaneously.
Change certain lifestyle habits
Reduce the number of alcoholic or carbonated drinks you have regularly. For men, it is advisable to have not more than two drinks and day and women must have only one. It is great if you can stop drinking completely. Also, it is crucial to avoid smoking as this change will help improve lung health to a great extent and promote the pumping of more healthy oxygen-rich blood in and out of the heart. Your lung’s capacity to absorb and release oxygen thus improves significantly in the long run.
Maintain a healthy weight
As you know, the heart has to replenish the oxygen-rich blood supply over and over. Obesity or generally being overweight can put a lot of stress on the organ that, in turn, affects the rate of blood flow through the system. Fat buildups in the arteries can raise the blood pressure and force the heart to work overtime due to the sheer physical stress. Obesity also limits and, in many cases, restricts movements, making it difficult to perform cardio exercises. Maintaining a healthy weight greatly reduces the risk of heart diseases. Doing cardio daily further improves heart health and increases the organ’s efficiency, thus prolonging longevity.
Manage stress as best as possible
Stress is the root cause of major health complications, including heart diseases. It is also one of the triggers of overeating, drinking, or even smoking as these activities tend to give temporary relief from stress. However, this doesn’t mean one stops stressing, and in fact, increased tolerance to such substances further increases their risk of heart diseases. Stress can also increase the risk of suffering from a stroke due to high blood pressure buildup.
It is advisable to consult with a medical professional periodically to assess blood pressure and blood sugar levels. You must exercise regularly and refrain from doing certain unhealthy activities to avoid heart diseases.
Affecting an incredible eight million-plus people in the United States, Gout is a serious form of arthritis that causes insurmountable pain in the joints. The condition, which is one of the oldest prevailing medical illness in society, develops due to the accumulation of uric acid in the joints, mostly troubling overweight adults and men. Delving further, here are seven must-know facts about this condition.
In women, it is more common after menopause
Gout basically occurs due to the accumulation of uric acid, which then forms needle-shaped structures in the joints and leads to pain, inflammation, and redness. Estrogen, a hormone found in women, naturally leads to uric acid being released through urine. However, after menopause, their estrogen levels start to drop, which makes the uric acid content in their blood rise.
Gout can take birth even with normal levels of uric acid
While most patients suffering from gout have a high concentration of uric acid in their bloodstream, some gout attacks can even occur with normal uric acid levels — a rare condition termed as asymptomatic hyperuricemia.
Alcohol increases its risk
Along with meat, fish, and poultry, alcohol consumption drastically increases the chances of developing gout. This is because alcohol has a high content of purine, a chemical compound that breaks down into urea in the body. Excess consumption can increase the concentration in the bloodstream, with the kidneys not able to excrete it as quickly from the system. This ultimately leads to the accumulation of uric acid and subsequent gout.
The occurrence of gout safeguards the brain?
Some scientists are of the belief that the emergence of gout reduces the risk of neurological disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Could uric acid, despite being a waste product, be a powerful antioxidant and prevent the brain cells from damage? It is still only a hypothesis, with multiple studies needed before a conclusion can be reached.
Kidneys are exposed if gout is not treated
Besides causing immense pain and leading to gout, excess uric acid can also prove dangerous to the kidneys. The urate crystals, which are the needle-like structures that cause gout pain, pass through the kidneys and might end up causing scars, and even kidney failure over time.
Certain medicines trigger gout attacks
Changing lifestyle is an important part of treating gout. This also includes getting rid of specific medications that accelerate gout attacks. Aspirin, diuretics which is used to treat high blood pressure, cyclosporine, and niacin, among others, are all known to trigger gout attacks and, thereby, must be avoided.
Greatness is vulnerable to gout
While it is hard to find a silver lining in the gout pain, the condition has a history of affecting great people from history! Sir Issac Newton, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Charles Dickens, among others, were all diagnosed with gout.
Think of the human body as a car. Pouring the cheapest gasoline (unhealthy food) in a car can damage the engine (bodily organs). Instead, if you can take care of yourself by committing to fitness via proper nutrition, it can take you a long way. In a recent study, it was found that approximately 55 percent of people derive daily calories from refined and processed foods. This can be counterproductive as these foods are full of unhealthy fats and devoid of essential nutrients.
How are fitness and nutrition related to each other?
Fitness and nutrition go hand in hand. Consuming foods containing healthy nutrients enables your body to function in a way conducive to physical and mental well-being. You may find yourself becoming more active, and burning calories off in a healthy manner. If you continue to maintain an exercise routine without getting adequate nutrition, it will have an adverse effect.
So, here are some useful tips that can help you to be at the top of your health game:
The key to optimum fitness is optimum nutrition. Fitness is also about both, physical and mental well-being. So, make sure to indulge in activities that help you release stress and take you a step closer to being fit.
Flu or influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. It can result in mild to severe illness and health complications. A severe flu infection can result in hospitalization and can even prove to be fatal, especially in young children, older people aged above 65, and people with underlying health conditions. There are two main types of flu viruses: Type A and Type B virus. The illness can be periodical and result in seasonal flu epidemics each year.
The cold, flu, and its symptoms such as cough is caused due to the type of the viruses mentioned above. Influenza may not always be considered by most people as a serious illness, its symptoms comprising a runny nose, headaches, cough, and muscle pain can be confused with those of a heavy cold. Yet reports suggest that seasonal influenza can claim up to 650,000 lives every year. That is why influenza vaccinations are important because they protect people, especially those in at-risk categories, such as young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with vulnerable immune systems or underlying health conditions.
What most of us call “the flu” is essentially seasonal influenza because it comes around in the coldest season twice a year, once in the Northern hemisphere’s winter, and once in the Southern hemisphere’s winter in temperate zones of the world. The flu circulates year-round in the tropics and subtropics, which makes it more contagious.
The worst part about the influenza virus is that it constantly mutates, enabling it to evade the mechanisms of our immune systems. The virus learns from the responses of the human body and creates a suitable defensive mechanism to survive the attack by the immune system. When a new virus emerges, it can easily infect people and spread due to its contagiousness. Very little to no immunity to a new strain can lead to a simple outbreak becoming an epidemic or a pandemic within no time. Many health experts believe that more than one virus strain of the influenza virus can cause a pandemic. But the certainty of this happening cannot be known, which makes the outbreak more dangerous. This is because the nature of the strain cannot be gauged or how severe the infection will be. This uncertainty makes influenza very different to many other pathogens.
2018 has already marked the 100th anniversary of one of the most globally catastrophic public health crises in modern history — the 1918 influenza pandemic, also known as “Spanish flu.” Looking at the past epidemics and pandemics, it is crucial to focus on the lessons learnt and dedicate energy towards as many preventive measures as possible, alongside boosting the immunity, to avoid maximum casualties.
Donating to charities is a meaningful way for individuals to contribute to society and gain personal benefits. Unbeknownst to many, charitable contributions made in the country make an individual eligible for tax advantages, creating a win-win scenario. Contributions like cash donations, non-cash donations like clothing or household items, stocks, etc., can lead to tax benefits. Explore some tax-deductible charitable gifts and donations below to understand how to make a positive impact while enjoying financial advantages.
Cash donations are one of the simplest ways to contribute to charitable causes and get tax benefits. Cash donations can be made in various ways, including checks, credit cards, or through payroll deductions made by one’s employer. If one is donating cash to qualified public charities, it allows them a tax deduction of up to 60% of their adjusted gross income (AGI) in a year. Furthermore, making cash donations to private foundations allows individuals a tax deduction of up to 30% of their AGI. To claim tax deductions, one must keep records of their donations, such as bank statements, canceled checks, or receipts and acknowledgment letters from the charity.
Besides cash, donating goods such as clothing, furniture, or household items can also yield tax benefits. When donating these, one must ensure the items are in good condition. It is also necessary to obtain a receipt from the charity specifying the donated items. One can also find estimated donation values for such in-kind donations on various websites to get an idea about the tax-deductible amounts for each.
One can also donate stocks or other appreciated assets to charities and get tax deductions. If one has stocks that have grown in value, donating them directly to a qualified charity allows them to avoid capital gains tax. The IRS allows them to deduct the fair market value of the donated stocks. However, the deductible amount differs for public charities and private foundations. For donating to public charities, one can get a tax deduction of up to 30% of their AGI, and for donating to private foundations, one can get a tax deduction of up to 20% of their AGI.
Donating real estate or other capital assets to charities also has significant tax advantages. This category includes land, buildings, machinery, and closely held securities that one has owned for at least one year. By donating these assets to a qualified charity, one can support a cause close to their heart and benefit from a substantial tax deduction.
Individuals aged 70.5 years or older have a unique opportunity to contribute to charitable causes while enjoying tax benefits through Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) from their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). Instead of taking required minimum distributions (RMDs), one can direct those funds, up to $100,000, directly to eligible charities. This fulfills their RMD and keeps the distributed amount out of their taxable income. QCDs provide a tax-efficient way for retired individuals to support charitable causes.
Going on a cruise is one of the best experiences one can have at any age—childhood or adulthood. However, not all cruises are ideal for everyone. Some cruise lines offer special packages that meet all the needs of seniors, ranging from arranging flights, finding restaurants, booking excursions, and even checking in and out of hotels. Keep reading to know more about some of the best senior-friendly cruises and their features.
Popular companies like Viking offer ships that can cater to approximately 930+ passengers on the sea. However, these cruises do not allow anyone under 18 on board. Further, the ships are designed to serve passengers aged 50 and above. Viking cruises are ideal for seniors, as they offer informative lectures and destination-specific entertainment on board. Further, Viking cruises focus on getting seniors to key attractions and UNESCO world heritage sites all over the world. In most cases, everyday shore excursions are included in the cruise fare. These include voyages such as the Mediterranean odyssey and the Atlanta crossing, to name a few.
Among the top river cruise lines around the world, AmaWaterways has a total of 24 ships with extraordinary itineraries aimed at seniors. The cruise packages here usually offer exploring ports across Europe but just a few trips to Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. In most cases, their range of shore excursions meets everybody’s interests and abilities. These excursions include guided hikes, bike rides, and cooking demonstrations. In addition to the above, the cruise line also offers seniors concierge services, hotel reservations, and flight transfers as a part of the packages.
This cruise line offers trips as short as four to five days. So, if one is going on a cruise for the first time, they can book Avalon Waterways packages to test the waters. Further, Avalon Waterways offers its senior customers several options to travel across Europe, South America, Africa, and Asia. Its long cruises also provide passengers with special entertainment activities such as the Storyteller series, which may include popular authors like Candace Bushnell onboard. Additionally, the cruises may also have off-shore activities such as picnics and kayaking. One feature that sets this senior-friendly cruise apart is the availability of open-air balconies in the cabin, providing the seniors with a comfortable place to relax and enjoy the view.
This cruise line offers ships that can carry up to 700 passengers and is one of the niche companies that cater to all the needs of well-traveled seniors. Additionally, Azamara is one of the best cruises for seniors that do not wish to splurge but still want top-notch service, ambiance, and amenities. Usually, cruises offered by Azamara involve trips to Europe. However, some packages may offer overnight stays at key destinations, making these cruises ideal for passengers who wish to travel on their own.
Usually, the cost of cruises depends on the length, time of the year, and extent of luxury. However, the average price for a seven-night cruise may be anywhere between $1,000 to $2,000. Nevertheless, the above-mentioned cruise lines can offer special deals and discounts for seniors.