Fighting Allergies with Nutrition

Spring for many people is the start of allergy season. Good nutrition year-round can give you the energy you need to care for others as well as yourself. But during allergy season, the right foods can also help you minimize your body’s response to allergens. For example: Salmon, flaxseed oil, walnuts, pecans, and hempseeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, and there is evidence to suggest that omega-3s can help reduce inflammation of air passages. Onions, apples, citrus fruits, and broccoli contain quercetin, a bioflavonoid that can inhibit the body’s release of histamines, reducing allergic reactions. Water — staying hydrated will thin mucus while hydrating your mucous membranes. Fruit and fruit juices (as long as they are not loaded with high-fructose corn syrup) are rich in antioxidants that can reduce inflammation. Berries are particularly rich in antioxidants. Spinach, sunflower seeds, pinto beans, and artichokes are high in magnesium. Some studies have linked a lack of magnesium to asthma. Adding magnesium to your diet may ward off asthma symptoms by relaxing the muscles around the bronchial tubes. You also might want to consider cutting back on certain foods during allergy season, such as: Dairy and eggs — proteins from these foods increases mucus production. […]

Emotional Spring Cleaning: 4 Tips

Back in the days when houses were heated with coal and lit with candles, the end of winter was the first opportunity to open doors and windows, haul the furniture outside, and spend a day scrubbing away months of soot and ash. Today, although winter is less likely to cause a build-up of visible grime, spring still represents a fresh start, a clean slate, a new beginning. Emotional spring cleaning can be just as important to healthy living as physical spring cleaning was generations ago. This spring, go ahead and clean your home and your office, but save some time and energy to care for your emotional self as well. These four tips can help: 1. Clear out the clutter. Take a look at your calendar — are your days packed with obligations and commitments, to the point that you feel overwhelmed? Many people have difficulty saying “no” and find themselves involved in things that fail to support their values, utilize their gifts, or give satisfaction. Ask yourself why you are doing the things you’re doing — are you helping someone, relieving guilt, avoiding something else, investing in your future, keeping a promise, learning something new, being an example for […]

Understanding Dementia

An estimated 5 million Americans suffer some degree of dementia, and that number will grow as our population ages. Dementia affects approximately 1% of people in the 60-64 age group, and the percentage jumps to 30-50% of people older than 85 years. It is the leading reason families begin researching nursing homes or other skilled care options. Alzheimer’s Disease While dementia is an overall category that includes a number of brain diseases, Alzheimer’s Disease is a specific disease within that category. In fact, Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 50–70% of all dementia cases (according to the Alzheimer’s Association). Though Alzheimer’s Disease is increasingly common, it is not considered a normal part of aging. It is a progressive disease that worsens over time, unlike other forms of dementia that are medically treatable and can be reversed. Preventive measures There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, but research indicates that onset of the disease might be delayed through a variety of simple choices, including: Drinking enough water. Since the brain is about 75% water, providing it with fresh supplies can help keep it alert while ridding the body of waste. “Eight glasses a day” has become a popular mantra, […]

3 Surprising Heart-Health Tips

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. (Proverbs 4:3, NIV) February is American Heart Month, so in addition to celebrating love and romance and Valentine’s Day, many people are re-committing to healthy living. After all, healthy habits can help ensure that you and your loved ones will be able to enjoy each other’s company for a long time. Heart-health tips are available all over this time of year, and many of them are simple common sense: stop smoking, lose weight, reduce stress, exercise more. But Providence Life Services offers these three tips that may be different from what you were expecting: 1. Stop dieting Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial to heart health, but for many people “dieting” usually means a cycle of losing, gaining, fasting, bingeing, up, and down. If that’s you, stop dieting. Instead, commit to an overall healthier style of eating. Start with these two steps: Avoid fast foods and processed foods, and add more unsweetened fruits and vegetables to your meal plan. 2. Drink moderately For women, one serving of alcohol each day can raise good cholesterol and reduce inflammation and blood clots. For men, two drinks a day is […]

Residents and Presidents

FEBRUARY 16, 2011 – “There is little doubt that older Americans are highly engaged in political participation,” begins Robert H. Binstock’s article, “Older People and Political Engagement.” Binstock goes on to cite evidence that shows seniors (people age 65 and older) in the past seven presidential elections voted at a substantially higher rate than people 44 and younger. And it’s not just presidents and potential presidents that inspire political involvement by seniors. They are involved at state and local levels as well. Providence Life Services makes it a goal every year to host a Legislative Reception at each of our Retirement Living and Assisted Living communities, featuring state-level politicians. These events are always well-attended by our residents. Not only do they listen attentively to the guest legislator, but they also come prepared with questions to ask. These citizens are engaged! In 2010, for the first time in five years, every Providence community hosted a Legislative Reception — and some hosted more than one! The communities showed great variety in the types of events they got their state politicians to participate in: Emerald Meadows (Grand Rapids, Michigan) partnered with a local law office in April to do a presentation on Veterans’ […]