Our sensory organs are extremely essential in our daily life. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to stand straight, see things, taste, communicate, and live the way we do. But the power of sight is one of the most important of them all. Maintaining good eye health is necessary, and, unsurprisingly, making healthy lifestyle and dietary choices is crucial for this. So, here are a few nutrients you should add to your daily diet to keep your vision in top-notch condition:
The deficiency of vitamin A is one of the most common causes of blindness across the globe. Why is this vitamin so important? Well, for starters, it helps manage and maintain the light-sensing cells in your eyes. A lack of vitamin A can cause dry eyes and other serious eye conditions.
Best food with vitamin A content: To get the right amount of vitamin A in your diet and maintain optimal eye health, include foods like apricots, carrots, spinach, and yam in your diet in plenty.
Vitamin C is present in high concentration in the aqueous humor (the liquid in the outermost part of the eye). The amount of this vitamin in the aqueous humor is proportional to the amount in your diet, and research has proved that people with cataracts tend to have low amounts of vitamin C in their bodies.
Best dietary sources of vitamin C: Citrus fruits like oranges, kiwi, lime, and strawberries are all great sources of vitamin C. Broccoli and Brussels sprouts are also healthy sources of this vitamin.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are essential to maintain good eye health. DHA aids eye function. It is present in the retina and is an integral part of brain and eye development in children. Evidence also proves the benefits of omega-3 supplements for people with dry eyes.
Best food sources of omega-3 fats: Fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines are the best sources of omega-3 fats, but you can opt for flaxseeds and walnuts if you want to stick to a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Zinc is necessary for the immune system and throughout the body but more so in the eyes. It helps form visual pigments in the retina, which is why its deficiency can cause night blindness. This mineral also helps create the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase.
Best dietary sources of zinc: To get the right amount of zinc from your diet, you can add foods like oysters, yogurt, and chickpeas to your meals.
Other foods like almonds, peanut butter, kale, corn, and wheat germ also help promote eye health. The bottom line is that a healthy lifestyle with regular exercising and nutritious foods helps maintain overall and eye health.
You might have heard people saying “you are what you eat,” but do you know what it means? The connection between food and mood comes from the relationship between the brain and the gastrointestinal tract, which houses bacteria that influence the production of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that transmit messages to the brain. Consuming specific foods enhances the development of bacteria that positively affects neurotransmitter production, boosting mental health and reducing anxiety and depression.
Here are a few foods that boost the production of “good” bacteria and enhance mental wellbeing:
Raw foods and fruits and veggies
Eating fresh foods and veggies regularly is the first step to ensuring long-term positive effects on mental health. Researchers have found compelling evidence that people who consume more fruits and vegetables show fewer depressive symptoms and experience lower stress levels as compared to those who eat more canned, cooked, and processed food. Studies have also revealed that people who consume raw food are usually happier and feel more satisfied and fulfilled in life. These foods include leafy greens like kale, spinach, collard greens, carrots, apples, bananas, kiwifruit, and grapefruit.
People across the world prefer yogurt for the added benefit of probiotics. Probiotics are friendly bacteria that assist the digestive system to function smoothly. That said, many recent studies have shown that the probiotics present in yogurt can also greatly affect mental health because of the brain-gut connection. These healthy bacteria help alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression, promoting mental health. Other fermented foods like kefir, kimchi, tempeh, and certain pickled vegetables are also known to affect the production of neurotransmitters positively.
Several types of berries like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries make for great antioxidant-rich snacks. Antioxidants are necessary for cell repair and help fight inflammation caused by free radical damage. Free radicals are found in pollutants, cigarette smoke, and other harmful substances. Antioxidants present in berries help reduce the damage caused by free radicals and alleviate the symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, and poor mental health. Plus, blueberries and strawberries contain polyphenolic, a compound that’s known to boost memory and concentration levels.
Often touted as “brain food,” fish is particularly good for mental health because of the presence of healthy fatty acids known as DHA. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that enhances short- and long-term memory, which, in turn, improves overall mental health. Studies have also confirmed that omega-3 levels are lower in people with depression, especially in severe cases. A diet rich in omega-3 fats helps boost the feeling of happiness and wellness and lowers anxiety levels. Oily fish like mackerel, salmon, sardines, and herring are great sources of these healthy fats. Fish oil supplements are a beneficial alternative for people who are not seafood fans.
Dehydration is the loss of fluids from one’s body. It can be caused due to something as simple as not having an adequate water intake or perhaps a severe medical side effect. The symptoms of fluid loss caused due to this condition can affect people of all ages. From toddlers and infants to older adults, one can experience mild to severe dehydration depending on the primary cause of the same.
Herein, we shall try and understand the severity and risk factors associated with dehydration in people of different ages.
Children and infants
At a very young age, infants and children are more susceptible to bacterial infections that cause vomiting and diarrhea. Both result in the rapid loss of fluids. Note that infants lose more fluids in comparison to adults. Young children, especially toddlers, unlike adults, may also not realize when they are thirsty. This increases the risk of staying dehydrated unknowingly until severe symptoms indicate the same. It is one of the main reasons why doctors prescribe electrolyte-rich fluids for children experiencing a high fever to help replenish the lost fluids.
Seniors and older adults
Adults after a certain age face more difficulties as the body gradually loses its ability to conserve water. One’s sense of thirst also becomes acute with old age, which further increases the risk. Individuals might not feel thirsty enough to have the recommended intake of water every day, further causing problems due to the loss of fluids. Furthermore, dehydration can be a direct result of certain prescription medications used for treating diabetes. The side effects can result in a fluid imbalance as medications increase the urine output, thus resulting in a higher loss of fluids from the body. Many medications also list vomiting and diarrhea as potential side effects and both can trigger a severe loss of fluids in the body.
People suffering from chronic illness/stress
A chronic illness, especially one that is associated with the normal kidney function, significantly increases the chances of suffering from dehydration. Disorders of the digestive tract, including irritable bowel syndrome present nausea and chronic diarrhea as the primary symptoms, automatically triggering an involuntary fluids loss. Stress is also a contributing factor as elevated stress levels in the body can compromise the production of aldosterone, a vital hormone that regulates fluid and electrolyte levels in the body. Loss of this regulatory function compromises the body’s ability and can result in more complications with associated medical conditions.
Pregnant women or women experiencing their period
Fluids are essential for blood circulation and to help maintain the right viscosity in the body. Heavy periods result in blood loss that, in turn, can cause severe dehydration if the fluids are not replenished. It is also during the time of periods that women experience a drop in the body’s hydration levels due to high estrogen and progesterone activity. During pregnancy, nausea and vomiting are common discomforts experienced due to morning sickness. In this time, one’s overall blood output and cardiac activity are high and that demands more fluids to support vital functions. It thus becomes crucial to supplement the body with natural and artificial supplements to counter the loss of fluids.
Heartburn is an unpleasant, burning sensation in the chest that is more common than a lot of individuals realize. Pregnant women, older men, and even young adults experience it frequently. Despite it being such a prevalent experience, not many know that heartburn has actually nothing to do with the heart and everything to do with the stomach and the esophagus. Unsurprisingly enough, heartburn is also used interchangeably with GERD. But, before we get to deciphering heartburn and GERD, let’s understand what acid reflux is.
What is acid reflux or GER?
Acid reflux occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter or LES becomes weak, allowing the contents of the stomach to travel in the wrong direction, back up the esophagus. Acid reflux is also called GER or gastroesophageal reflux as it involves the stomach and esophagus. This condition can usually be resolved with over-the-counter medication.
What is heartburn?
Heartburn is a burning or painful sensation that is experienced in the chest. Since the lining of the esophagus is not as strong as the lining of the stomach, the acid from the stomach can cause a burning sensation in the chest. This pain or burning sensation that is heartburn can often be misconstrued for a heart attack. Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux. It generally occurs when someone bends over or lies down immediately after eating.
What is GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease?
GERD, unlike acid reflux, is a far more chronic and long-lasting condition. But, in a manner similar to acid reflux, it affects the stomach and esophagus. If GERD is left unattended or untreated for a long time, it can cause major damage to the esophagus and stomach and even lead to cancer.
If GERD is diagnosed in the initial stages, it can be treated with medication. Extensive damage or diagnosing GERD in the later stages will require surgery.
How to distinguish between GERD and heartburn?
Now, the big question is, “if GERD and heartburn both affect the stomach and esophagus, how do you distinguish between them?”
The first step to identifying GERD is to keep track of how many times you’re experiencing acid reflux. Experts say that if you are having reflux more than twice a week, there is a possibility that you have GERD.
GERD can also be identified by its other symptoms, that include:
How do you treat GERD?
GERD is long-lasting but can be managed with the help of medication. In worse cases, the person may need to undergo surgery to help their LES function properly. But, irrespective of this, the only way to truly curb GERD is by making changes to your lifestyle.
Hearing loss, deafness, or impairment is the partial or total inability to hear sounds. People with low to moderate hearing impairment face challenges in understanding what the other person is saying in a noisy environment. Whereas, people with severe deafness cannot hear anything, and rely completely on lip-reading and sign language skills. There are three main types of hearing loss: sensorineural, conductive, and a combination of both. Let’s understand these types in detail and learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatments of each type.
Sensorineural hearing loss
It’s the most common type of hearing loss. Sensorineural is permanent hearing loss often caused by damage to the tiny hair cells that line the inner ear or the auditory nerve. The damage stops or weakens the transfers of nerve signals to the brain. These signals are essentially the intensity and clarity of sounds.
Conductive hearing loss
It’s a less common type of hearing loss that can be either temporary or permanent, depending on the cause. The hearing loss occurs as a result of an obstruction or damage to the middle or outer ear. The damage does not allow the sound signals to reach the inner ear.
Mixed hearing loss
As the name suggests, it is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.
Hair loss is a natural process that automatically gets rid of old tissue and hair to promote new growth. So don’t be alarmed when you do find a few strands of hair tangled in your comb. However, a clearly visible scalp and a receding hairline are indicative of developing the problem of permanent hair loss. There are several internal and external factors that can accelerate hair fall, leading to pattern baldness in both men and women.
Here are the top four reasons that trigger unnatural hair fall.
Stress ranks among the top risk factors associated with many medical conditions. In fact, one way or the other, taking physical or psychological stress harms the body more than you can imagine. For hair loss, especially, excessive shedding starts right after the body undergoes physical or psychological distress. A few examples include experiencing high fever, blood loss due to accident or injury, or even post-surgery recovery can result in stress that causes hair loss. Stress, coupled with anxiety, results in accelerated hair loss. To cope with this problem and reduce its effects, stress management is of crucial importance.
Men and women both experience hormonal changes throughout their lifetime. However, an imbalance associated with various conditions can trigger hair loss. For example, following childbirth or after menopause, women may experience more hair fall. Note that men start experiencing male pattern baldness after a certain age and for many, hair fall may occur even in their teens. The hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is crucial to maintain healthy follicles and promote hair growth. A reduction in DHT can lead to unwanted hair loss.
Understand that the food you eat plays a critical role in maintaining your overall hair health. The body needs the necessary nourishment to sustain natural functions, one of them being active hair growth. Lack of iron and zinc in your daily diet can trigger hair loss, irrespective of your age. In fact, recent studies have shown that deficiency of vitamin D, B-12, C, A, selenium, and biotin results in hair fall. To counter the mineral deficiency, you must include staples across the pantry in your daily diet. A wholesome diet will replenish the lack of nutrients naturally without the need for supplements.
Side effects of medications
The composition of certain medications has varying levels of side effects that can impact adults of all ages. There are many over-the-counter and prescription medications, the regular use of which can trigger unnatural hair fall. Medicines prescribed for reducing blood clots (anticoagulants), for depression treatment (antidepressants), and even seizures (anticonvulsants) can trigger loss of hair. Even women who use oral contraceptives may experience some amount of hair fall due to the hormonal changes. Note that not all medications possess the chemical composition to trigger unnatural hair fall.
Doctors recommend a decent 8 hours of sleep every night for adults because sleep is essential for both physical and mental health. From managing hormone levels and relieving fatigue to affecting mood, a decent sleep cycle helps regulate various body processes. While there’s nothing one would love more than a good night’s sleep after a tiring day, sleep disorders often disrupt sleep cycles and reduce the quality of sleep.
Here are some common sleep disorders and their symptoms that you should know about:
Causes of sleep disorders
Sleep disorders can be caused by scores of factors. Some are caused by an underlying physical health condition, while others may be triggered by poor mental health. Irrespective, here are a few common factors that affect the quality of sleep:
Many fitness websites focus on weight loss tips, but nobody talks about how hard it can be to maintain your ideal weight. Weight management is unlike shedding pounds; it is much more complex. It requires a sheer amount of discipline and dedication, along with maintaining a consistent routine. So, here’s a 5-step guide to weight management to make the process easier for you:
Step 1: Maintain a consistent exercise routine
Exercising is a common way to lose weight, but do not brush it off just because you’ve shed those extra pounds. You throw your routine out the window, and chances are that you’ll be off your ideal weight again. Exercising is essential, as it helps the body burn fat and improves overall health. Also, keep in mind that the type of exercise does not matter, so you can choose any physical activity you like to indulge in.
Step 2: Don’t count every calorie
Diet plans that help lose weight count each and every calorie consumed and burned, but this does not work in the long run. Trying to stay fit is not possible when you’re on a restricted diet. You need to get all the required nutrients, and fats are also an integral part of the list. Instead, opt for a long-term diet that is high in protein and low in fat for optimal weight management. Don’t leave out the carbs and fibers either.
Step 3: Downsize food portions overtime
If you suddenly go from a heavy sandwich to one apple for breakfast, you’re bound to feel hungry and even develop acidity. You need not starve yourself. Instead, gradually decrease the amount of food consumed at each meal. To do this, you can start having your meals in a smaller plate (small plate equals small portions). This will help you curb your calorie intake in every meal. Also, eat your meals slowly, as the brain may take longer to ascertain that you’re full.
Step 4: Keep a food diary
If you’re keen on measuring your weight and calorie intake, do so by maintaining a food diary. This will help you understand which foods you’ve eaten in the past 24 hours and motivate you to reach your goal. It will also help you understand which foods do and which ones do not work for you.
Step 5: Join a support group and keep a positive attitude
Having a positive body image and a positive attitude toward a healthy lifestyle go a long way when it comes to weight management. You should maintain a healthy weight while your body gets all the required nutrients and you eat what’s healthy for you. It is very important to remember that someone else’s idea of a healthy weight and body has nothing to do with your weight.
If you’re too stressed about your body image, try joining a support group and talking about the stress and anxiety you feel with regard to your body. This will help you see yourself in a new light.
Research shows that at least 4 in 10 people suffer from digestive disorders that can disrupt their daily routine. From aches to chronic diseases, stomach conditions affect people of all ages, exhibit a myriad of symptoms, and are accompanied by mild to severe discomfort. Depending on the severity, certain changes in diet and lifestyle can help manage the symptoms. In severe cases, a combination of medications and treatment is recommended by medical professionals.
Here’s an overview of the four common stomach conditions and their causes:
Bloating and gas
This is, undoubtedly, one of the most common stomach conditions and digestive problems among both men and women. One may feel extremely bloated and pass gas regularly in this condition. In fact, it is not uncommon for a person to pass gas up to 21 times a day, indicating normal digestive activity. Gas is nothing more than a byproduct of food that the body releases during digestion. Veggies like asparagus, beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and onions can cause gas to form during digestion, and the resulting buildup can also lead to bloating.
Also known as heartburn, it is one of the more severe stomach conditions that results in a painful burning sensation from the upper part of the stomach all the way up to the chest. Overeating, consuming extra spicy foods, excess caffeine or alcohol consumption, stress, and even general inactivity after a heavy meal can cause reflux and lead to heartburn. Making changes in the daily diet can help a person manage the discomfort associated with heartburn, but one must avoid eating fatty, greasy, and fried foods and stay away from carbonated beverages like sodas and other bubbly drinks.
Constipation is persistent discomfort that results in a person having fewer or difficult bowel movements. The frequency of bowel movements is limited, and one might experience difficulty passing stools regularly. In some cases, people with constipation may have less than three regular bowel movements in a week. Several things cause constipation, including blockages in the rectum or colon, problems with the nerve endings that control these muscles, and conditions that prompt hormonal changes in the body. Pregnant women and people with diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and hypothyroidism may be more susceptible to constipation due to these conditions causing hormonal imbalances in the body.
Diarrhea is the exact opposite of constipation, as an individual is unable to control the frequency of bowel movements. People with diarrhea experience bowel movements multiple times a day. The condition can be acute or chronic, depending on the severity of its associated trigger. Bacteria from water, certain viruses or parasites, food sensitivity or intolerance, and side effects of medications are some of the possible triggers of diarrhea. It is one of the more common stomach conditions that affect millions of people each year.
The blood mainly comprises three types of cells: White Blood Cells (WBCs) that stave off infections and diseases, platelets that help heal wounds, and Red Blood Cells (RBCs) that carry oxygen throughout the body. A depletion in RBCs due to lack of nutrition or an underlying disease leads to anemia and manifests symptoms that can range from persistent fatigue to irregular heartbeats.
There are several types of anemia categorized on the basis of the causes and symptoms. Several health experts suggest that, apart from early diagnosis and timely treatment, following a healthy diet and ensuring proper nutrition are key to maintaining healthy levels of RBCs in the body. Here are a few power-packed foods that can help keep the symptoms of anemia at bay:
A person may develop anemia due to several reasons, including underlying health conditions. So, you must consult your nutritionist and doctor before incorporating any of the above-mentioned foods in your diet to prevent any side-effects.
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.