Tagged in: Wellness

Breastfeeding Helps Your Baby’s Immune System

Babies, for nine months, live a rather nurtured life, securely protected in their mothers’ wombs with all the antibodies present in the placenta. However, when they are born, they face a completely different environment. Therefore, it’s imperative that the baby receives the required nutrition that supports and enhances its growth and development after birth.
 

Here’s where breastfeeding comes into play. Breastfeeding is proven to improve babies’ immune systems while simultaneously providing the comforting and soothing physical contact with their mothers. This is absolutely essential for the all-around development of your baby. A baby starts producing antibodies to combat infections between 5 to 6 months; however, its immune system may take up to 6 years to be fully developed. In the interim the newborn requires some sort of immunity boost to keep it away from infections and other serious illnesses. These illnesses and infections are usually caused by the numerous bacteria present in the atmosphere. This much needed immunity boost can be provided in the form of nutritionally abundant mother’s milk.
 
Breastfeeding is undeniably the most complete form of nourishment for babies and its benefits include better health, physical growth and mental development. Here are few of the numerous advantages that breastfeeding has over baby formula.
 
Breastfeeding is Irreplaceable
 
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Mother’s milk is known to be an abundant source of proteins, fat and sugar, and is extremely nutritious for your baby. It helps protect your infant from various illnesses while reducing the chance of your baby developing an ear infection, diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory tract infections, gut infections, or pneumonia. Some mothers prefer putting their babies on formula milk, as they believe that formula milk comes loaded with proteins and vitamins, however, this may not be entirely true. Formula milk is a good option for those who do not produce adequate breast milk to breastfeed their babies. One does need to be aware that while breast milk is an absolutely pure form of nutrition, formula milk needs to be mixed with water for its preparation and this increases the risk of infections contaminating the mixture with water. Breastfeeding also helps mothers create a special bond with their babies.
 
Breastfeeding Averts Infections
 
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A mother’s milk consists of antibodies and enzymes that prepare the baby’s body to fight various illnesses and infections. Studies have proven that compared to babies on formula milk, it was the breastfed babies who showed signs of better health and illness combating behavior. Breast milk improves the baby’s ability to fight diarrhea by enhancing the production of useful bacteria in the intestines of the baby.
 
Allergy Reduction through Breastfeeding
 
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With the various studies carried out to understand the benefits of breastfeeding infants, it was found that breastfed babies displayed lower signs of hereditary allergies as compared to those who were not breastfed. While doctors strongly recommend breastfeeding for numerous medically profitable reasons, this is one of its long-term benefits.
 
Quicker Maturity of The Immune System
 
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The approximate time taken for a baby’s immunity system to build up is 6 years. Studies show that babies that are breastfed tend to have a quicker immune system maturity than those who are formula fed. Their bodies react positively to keep away harmful germs and infections, thus evading serious illnesses.
 
Breastfeeding is therefore strongly recommended for the initial six months after birth. Many mothers continue breastfeeding for 2 years and more. This, of course, could be carried out along with the introduction of other food sources like fruits, vegetables and pulses. It’s preferable not to substitute breastfeeding with formula or other foods for a minimum of six months.
 
In conclusion, breastfeeding not only influences a baby’s health positively by strengthening the immune system, it also enhances the baby’s growth and development.
 

 

The Harmful Effects Of Skin Whitening Creams

People often associate beauty with fairness and it’s this belief that exists in most societies around the globe that has caused people to take the opportunity to create products that will lighten your skin. The product is marketed and advertised using the most alluring approaches and before you know it, you’re a customer.
 
The sad part is that we only look at skin whitening creams and lotions as a product with a hundred percent positive results. We fail to see the possibility of the harmful side effects associated with the use of such products, some that could not only damage the skin, but the damages could be long lasting, or even permanent, in some cases.
 
Fairness creams can give rise to some serious problems and it’s best to understand what you’re getting into before you decide to use any such skin lightening products.
 
Lighter Skin – A Dangerous Obsession
 
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The obsession linked with obtaining lighter skin is a dangerous one as it makes you want to try any product that could possibly lighten your complexion and give your desired skin shade. Sometimes, if one product doesn’t provide the ideal results, people try many different products with the hope that at least one of them will work. However, in the process, there is more harm caused than good.
 
The Darker Side of Lightening Creams
 
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Women use fairness products usually after seeing an ad or taking advice from friends. They rarely read the labels that show the various chemical compounds used in these creams. Every skin type is different and requires different skin products. The chemical compounds used in skin lightening creams could prove very harmful as they may not agree with your skin type. So instead of a lighter complexion, you may develop acne, skin irritation, or even skin pigmentation that leaves marks on your face and body.
 
Dermatologists’ Advice
 
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Skin lightening creams use chemical compounds such as hyrdroquinone, tritinoin, and steroids in order to lighten the skin. These chemicals also cause health problems such as skin cancer, permanent skin pigmentation, and skin allergies. Dermatologists rarely prescribe skin lightening creams and lotions as they know about the poisonous compounds used in these creams that cause harm.
 
Long Term Effects
 
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Fairness creams and lotions is one of the largest markets in continents where people have a darker skin tone. Most of these creams have long term side effects and the skin damages are, at times, irreparable. Various surveys carried out at skin treatment centers confirmed that a large category of their patients consisted of people who regularly used such skin fairness products and were now experiencing skin troubles. These patients were mostly women within the age groups between 20 and 40. While being obsessed with possessing fairer skin, these women faced long term effects of dark patches on the skin, acne, skin allergies, dry skin, and even skin cancer.
 

People want fair skin for their own personal reasons and this is perfectly understandable behavior. There is no harm in wanting a fairer complexion, but it is the unwarranted obsession that leads to trouble. When you are obsessed with gaining fair skin, you are likely to try out any product without weighing the pros and cons.
 
Another problem lies in the fact that most of the companies that manufacturer such products do not enlist all the compounds used in the making of these products on their packaging labels, thus leaving their customers in the dark. It’s only when users experience the harmful side effects that they understand the product’s flaws.
 
It’s therefore extremely necessary to exercise caution before using these skin whitening creams.
 

 

Pets: A Positive Influence On Alzheimer’s Patients

Various studies and investigations have been carried out over decades to understand the improvement in mental health of patients who undergo treatments in the presence of animals. While there is no hardcore data to prove its efficacy, people strongly believe that animals have a positive effect on the mental health of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s patients and their families who have been battling with treatments and medication can now find solace in the love and care of a pet.
 
A number of tests were conducted with the use of dogs, cats, and even birds to determine the benefits associated with animal-assisted treatments. The results, while unmeasureable, were visibly positive.
 
So how exactly does the use of pets positively influence the healing of patients with Alzheimer’s?
 
Curative Effects of Companion Animals
 
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Dogs are considered to be “man’s best friend” and this sure has a reason behind it. Dogs can be trained and they’re easier to care for. Dogs are even used to help and assist people with special needs. Seeing-eye dogs are a common example. Dogs love their humans unconditionally and when they are put in the care of Alzheimer’s patients, they tend to bring out the best in them.
 
Medical centers have been placing trained dogs in homes where a family member has Alzheimer’s and the family has comeback with positive feedback on the mental health of that particular individual. Caring for a pet reduces the onset of anxious outbursts that are a common occurrence with Alzheimer’s patients. While the patient is allowed to care for the animal, the social and unbiased company provided is definitely a positive energy booster. Being able to take their pets for a walk relieves patients of stress and anxiety and provides them with much needed physical exercise as well.
 
Pet Therapy
 
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Numerous medical institutions have been exploring the possibility of curing disorders related to the mental health of patients. The result of the tests carried out by these institutions was, as expected, successful in the treatment of numerous mental disorders. Alzheimer’s was one of the degenerative brain diseases that was tested with the use of pets and turned out successful. Such pet therapies that are carried out with the use of specially trained animals can be done with a single patient or with a group of individuals. Such therapies are said to improve the overall functioning of the individuals concerned and there is a positive influence not only on their mental well-being, but also on their social, emotional, and physical functionalities.
 
Deriving the Most out of Animal-assisted Intervention Programs
 
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Experts on dementia related disorders have been constantly conducting tests on the improvement of the mental health of patients. They carefully create and conduct animal-assisted intervention programs and the outcomes are astounding. While the results of such treatments cannot be measured on any kind of scale, the improvement in the areas of communication skills, emotional reaction, and mental alertness of the patients were greater than that of patients who didn’t experience animal assisted therapies at all.
 
Animal-assisted therapy requires planning and careful selection, as the pets chosen to accompany the patient, either during therapy or as a lifetime companion, need to be assessed and tested so as to ensure that the personalities and traits of both, the animal and the patient are on a similar level. Alzheimer’s patients tend to have violent mood swings and stress related with forgetfulness. Such behavior needs to be positively restrained by the animal and hence it is imperative that the animals are trained before people can sign them up for such programs.
 

 

Indulge In Creative Activities And Reduce Stress

Our minds are gifted with limitless possibilities. While some of us fret and stress out about all the problems in our lives, some open their minds and pour out their emotions through creative activities and hobbies. Creativity or any sort of art form is an expression of the mind. It helps release stress and overcome foul moods. It’s also known to boost productivity and optimism.
 
Researchers have carried out various tests to understand how creativity impacts stress. Stress is usually an outcome of a suppressed emotion or uncontrolled situation. By unlocking our imaginative and artistic side, we let out our feelings through our creation. There are numerous therapies that focus on individuals being creative in order to reduce their stress.
 
But how exactly does creativity have a positive impact on our mind and help reduce stress?
 
Creativity has No Defined Parameters
 
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The great thing about creative art forms is that it is not limited in any way. Whether you want to bake a cake, draw, sketch, paint, sculpt or embroider; creativity is boundless. One can spend minutes, hours or even days together, submerged in a creative activity. As long as it helps you maintain a balanced mind and keeps the stress away, you can do whatever your heart desires.
 
Motivational Boost
 
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Creativity is known to provide that much needed motivational boost. It brings about a sense of positivity and this in turn can make you perform even better at work. Creativity is an easy way of releasing your emotions and is one of the best forms of communication. Most people experience a hectic work schedule and look at their office as a place packed with statistics, documents, professional meetings and seminars. Introducing creativity, in some form or the other, will not only help boost your employees’ morale but will also contribute positively to enhance performance and productivity. This is a tried and tested theory.
 
Building Self Esteem
 
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In various surveys conducted, it was noticed that one of the main causes of stress was low self esteem, or a lack thereof. When these individuals were involved in creative tasks, they automatically started to display a positive outlook towards themselves and to their lives. These employees were able to celebrate even the smallest achievements at work, thus reducing the performance pressure laid on them and doing outstandingly well.
 
Limiting Stressful Distractions
 
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When individuals are involved in some form of creative activity, their mind is temporarily distracted from stressful situations and they are able to escape from stress, even if for just a short while. Under stress, you may find it difficult to work out a solution to the problem at hand and may make wrong decisions. However, when you get yourself involved in a creative art, your mind is calm and you have a clearer head to think with to arrive at better solutions.
 
Creativity Equals Productivity
 
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Work related stress created by performance pressures are a common problem. Stressed employees deliver lower performance as compared to non-stressed or less-stressed employees. Numerous work places have understood the problem and have hence created areas within the office premises where their employees can relax, play games, read books, listen to music and even paint. The introduction of such activities in the office has proved to be beneficial to both employees and managers as the employees can avoid burn-outs while managers are able to achieve higher levels of performance from their staff.
 
Creativity helps you zone out for a short period of time and think beyond the problem at hand. These few precious moments are eventually a great help in buying you the time to gain the mental strength you require to rid yourself of a stressful situation and derive a solution.
 

 

The Effect Of Energy Drinks On Your Body

There are many out there who gulp down energy drinks for that quick energy boost to help them work on a late night assignment or to ward off lethargy after a long and tiring day. However, we don’t really think about what goes into these drinks and how their consumption could affect us in the long run.
 

Energy drinks contain high levels of sugar and stimulating compounds that could have adverse effects on our health and over-consumption of such drinks can result in lower physical health and slower mental output as well.
 
The reason behind the popularity of energy drinks is that it stimulates your body to function longer and more efficiently, apparently without burning out. Taking a swig from a single average sized pack or even gulping down the entire can of energy drink wouldn’t really do any harm, as a single average sized drink contains anything between 75mg to 150mg of caffeine. This is much less than the amount of caffeine one would normally consume in a regular work day.
 
So where exactly does the problem lie? It’s a known fact that too much of anything is bad for our health. Similarly, when energy drinks are taken in excess, they result in health related problems.
 
Effect of Energy Drinks on your Brain
 
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Energy drinks stimulate your brain and activates neurons that make you more alert. This reduces the level of adenosine that is actually responsible for sleep. Excessive ingestion of energy drinks is likely to result in insomnia and other similar sleep related disorders. Frequent energy drink consumers also complain about headaches. This is a result of the sudden drop in the energy levels that occur hours after consuming these drinks. While some studies have even shown that these drinks cause seizures in some instances, this theory couldn’t be confirmed.
 
Young children and teenagers who consumed energy drinks displayed behavioral disorders, mood swings, heart problems, and sugar related illnesses such as diabetes.
 
Effect of Energy Drinks After it Enters Your Bloodstream
 
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Recent studies that were carried out on people between the ages 18 and 45, showed that those who consumed energy drinks had a higher spike in their heart rate when compared to those who didn’t. A rise is their systolic blood pressure was observed as well. These alterations, while not life threatening, can cause health problems. It takes a meager ten minutes for energy drinks to enter into the bloodstream. Once it enters the bloodstream, you feel fresh, energized and alert as the caffeine starts going to work. Once the caffeine is absorbed by the body though, there is a sudden peak in the sugar levels in your blood.
 
Increase in Calorie Count
 
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Energy drinks are loaded with artificial sweeteners that increase the glucose levels in your body, thus improving and enhancing your energy levels. This sudden boost in energy only lasts for a few hours, after which you will experience a sudden drop in energy. This lethargy, fatigue and irritation eventually results in mood swings and lower productive output.
 
Removing energy drinks from your diet completely is not a solution. Before consuming any energy drink, it is best to read its contents. Energy drinks are good when you actually feel the need to take one, as they immensely impact and improve your physical and mental performance. However, it is best to restrict the consumption of such energy boosters as much as possible. Instead, a cup of fruit juice to rejuvenate yourself is a much preferred option.