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Being anxious occasionally is a normal part of life. We might worry about things like health, money, or family problems. In fact, a speaker at a seminar on anxiety once said that ‘’it is irresponsible not to worry at all about these things. 

But people with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), do not just worry occasionally or spare a thought about their health, money or family. They feel extremely worried or feel nervous about these and other things—even when there is little or no reason to worry about them.

My friend ‘’Jasmine’’ who was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder describes it as a total feeling of impending doom, excessive worry and feeling of helplessness and losing control. I found out that telling someone with anxiety disorder that they are in perfect health, have a secured well-paid job or a beautiful family, does nothing to make them feel better, the helplessness and loss of control in itself is what makes it a ‘’disorder’’.

‘’Jasmine’’ has called or shown up at my house several times to talk about how she feels she will lose her job, or how she is very convinced she will have a debilitating illness and die and her husband will remarry and the new wife will mistreat her two young children. She will drown herself in tears, trying to extract a promise from me that when that happens, I will always look out for her kids and will never let them suffer. Needless to add that I always promise, just to help her calm down, albeit my confusion of what might be really going on inside her mind.

On another occasion, ‘’Jasmine’’ called frantically asking to see me immediately. With the news of the novel coronavirus, causing significant income loss and breeding fear among nations, many who suffer anxiety disorders might have relapses (a deterioration in a patient’s condition after a partial recovery,” a return of symptoms or total breakdown) during this pandemic. So on receiving this recent scary call from ”Jasmine,” I was so worried that this time, the reason for this call may be related to COVID-19 and as such, may be sincerely genuine, so I left everything I was doing and ran off to see her, while praying silently in my heart for my fears not to come through.

Watch out for the succeeding article, next week to find out what happened next and get insights and tips on how to keep a positive mental attitude during this global pandemic.

In the meantime, stay safe.

This too shall pass.

Kembet Bolton

 

Today, we live in a time when manufactured medicines and prescriptions prevail, but do they have to be the only approach to healing?

Even with all of these engineered options at our fingertips, many people find themselves turning back to the medicinal plants that started it all: Herbal remedies that have the ability to heal and boost physical and mental well-being.

In fact, at the beginning of the 21st century, 11 percent Trusted Source of the 252 drugs considered “basic and essential” by the World Health Organization were “exclusively of flowering plant origin.” Drugs like codeine, quinine, and morphine all contain plant-derived ingredients.

While these manufactured drugs have certainly become paramount in our lives, it can be comforting to know that the power of nature is on our side, and these herbal choices are available to complement our health practices.

One plant that has been known for enormous health benefits is the basil leaf.

It is a commonly used leaf for cooking but may not be referred to as the Basil leaf. Below are possible names based in some of the world most spoken languages, this is to create an understanding of what we are talking about in this article. 

The leaf is regionally grown mostly in Africa, India and some parts of Asia. In West Africa, it is believed to chase mosquitos where the name nchu-anwu originated for the Igbo tribe in the Eastern part of Nigeria.

Apart from chasing mosquitoes, it has great nutrients and other surprising benefits such as being rich in eugenol, rosmarinic acid, geraniol and others. Its minty flavor does a lot of wonders to a meal.

Basils also come in different types. Some are even packaged dry. Research shows that a pinch of the Basil leaf is said to contain a high amount of protein, vitamin A and fiber, potassium, iron and a little calorie.

Health benefits 

In India and Africa, the Basil is believed to be a natural medicine discovered to aid in the cure to problems such as:

  • Cold
  • Indigestion
  • Headaches and migraines 
  • Increase Libido
  • They have been discovered to be very effective for weight loss.
  • It helps with pain reduction 
  • It even sometimes aids with cardiovascular health. This is due to its high levels of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that stops free radicals from damaging cells. It also prevents the free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol in the bloodstream
  • Prevention of cancer due to its wide range of phytochemicals and other active ingredients
  • Helps improve sleep
  • Reduces stress
  • Excellent for skin care due to its combination of antioxidant chemicals with antibacterial benefits. It aids in preventing acne and keeping your skin younger looking. It also helps reduce signs of aging such as wrinkles and increase skin elasticity.

There are countless ways to consume this herb though cooking seems to be its major purpose in many countries; it is good to also know its medicinal value. But it is advised that you speak to a trained herbalist or natural healer about the best means of consuming it therapeutically based on what effects you would like it to have. 

Vivian K

By: Yomi Henry-eyo

There is a health fad going round telling people when it is best to eat fruits.  

One myth says: You will get diabetes if you indulge in too many fruits.

If you have not been diagnosed with diabetes, you should not worry about having your occasional favourite chocolate cake and ice cream every now and then.

Our bodies and digestive system are complex and are incredibly intelligent machines.  Fruits can be eaten at any time and it can be eaten along with other foods. The body produces digestive enzymes for protein, fat, and carbohydrates which help it digest mixed meals.  Besides, since the stomach has a high concentration of hydrochloric acid, bacteria is killed before it is able to reproduce so fermentation cannot take place in the stomach. 

This gives you an opportunity to cancel out the myth that, “always eat fruit on an empty stomach, if it is eaten with other foods, it can cause fermentation and rot in the stomach, hence affecting digestion”.

As far as I am concerned, as well as many people like myself, I would not eat fruits at all if you tell me there is “a certain time” to eat them.  Honestly, I would turn to my good old calorie dense, nutrient poor and sugar loaded milk chocolates instead. The odds of fruit timing is not as dangerous as we think.

This belief started from a certain chef and then it was accepted all around the world. We should be careful about demonising fruits because there are enough processed foods in the supermarkets, and fruits are certaining not one of them. It is low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals higher mineral and vitamin content than we can ever get from other types of foods.

It is claimed that eating fruit can cause the stomach to empty more slowly.

The truth is that it does not cause food to sit in your stomach indefinitely. It is important to note that, this change in speed is significant, it does not slow down digestion, to a dangerous extent.  More so, is it not an advantage that the stomach holds the food for a while longer hence making you feel fuller for longer and consuming lesser calories in the day?
One study found that in healthy people, fibre slowed the time it took the stomach to empty half its contents from an average of 72 minutes to 86 minutes.

There is actually no scientific support behind the idea that, eating fruit with meals is the cause of bloating, diarrhoea and discomfort.

Another myth is that “eating fruits before or after a meal reduces its nutrient value.

It means that you have to eat fruits on an empty stomach if it’s not your first meal of the day, you have to wait for 30 minutes before eating fruits.  This is a topic of argument because the body was made to survive and extract the nutrients it needs from any pile of food in it. The body is efficient at separating what it needs to nourish the body from unwanted waste and so on.

Like all information on digestion, the body releases food from the stomach gradually into the small intestine gradually and carefully.

Fruits like pawpaw, pineapple and other exotic fruits like kiwi contain proteases; an enzyme that speeds up the breakdown of proteins – for example, meats and so on. 

Based on this information, it is definitely worth eating some fruits intentionally with your meal.

It can be added to salads and taken as an accompaniment with some stews.

Therefore the digestive system is more than able to digest and absorb the nutrients from fruits, whether it’s eaten on an empty stomach or with a meal.

Next time we will be considering some fruits that actually fight diabetes, and contribute dramatically to our nutritional health.

There is just one thing always willing to destroy the fun-filled summer experience you have always fantasized about and this is nothing else other than Summer health hazards.  It is true that with warmer weather comes an increased risk of sun exposure, heat stroke, and water injuries, among other, nevertheless, here’s how you can prevent them. 

According to the CDC, extreme heat sends an average of 65,000 Americans to emergency rooms annually. Stocksy Summer’s here, and with it comes longer days, summer Fridays, and weekend getaways. It’s time to get outside, hit the beach, and go on that camping trip you’ve been putting off because of uncooperative weather.

Although, just because flu season, snow, and ice-covered streets are behind us, doesn’t mean you can let your guard down when it comes to health. “It’s still important for people to be conscientious and aware,” even when summer fun is the season’s top priority.

Here, experts share the most common summer health hazards, symptoms to look for, and how to prevent them so you can stay safe and healthy all summer long.

  1. Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion — Limit Strenuous Outdoor Activity

When temperatures reach sweltering, it’s not just uncomfortable — it’s also dangerous and potentially deadly. Extreme heat sends an average of 65,000 Americans to emergency rooms annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Heat exhaustion and heat stroke, the most dangerous of the heat-related illnesses, can occur when the body is unable to properly cool down after prolonged exposure to excessive heat (such as working or exercising outdoors). Heat stroke is a more severe case of heat exhaustion, Dr. Kapur explains. The good news? It’s preventable.

Prevention:

Kim Knowlton, PhD, assistant professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University in New York City, advises people to slow down and adjust work and activity schedules to keep cool during midday, when the sun tends to be the strongest. Dr. Knowlton recommends checking on friends and neighbors to make sure they’re okay. This is especially important for the young and the elderly, who are most at risk for heat-related illnesses.  “If you start feeling sick, take the heat seriously.”

Some Symptoms include:

  • A body temperature of 103 degrees F or higher
  • Hot, red, dry, or damp skin
  • A fast pulse
  • Headache, dizziness, or confusion
  • Lost of consciousness
  • Heavy sweating
  • Cold, pale, clammy skin
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle Cramps
  1. Mild and Severe Dehydration — Don’t Skimp on Water Intake

We hear it all the time: Drink more water, but when out soaking up the sun, imbibing summery   cocktails, or playing sports, it’s even more important to make drinking water a priority. Skip it for too long and you could suffer from dehydration, which can range from mild to severe, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Prevention:

Simply put, drink lots of water throughout the day, especially when spending time outdoors in the sun. Kapur tells patients who plan to be lounging or sweating outside to aim for 16 ounces of water every hour, and to consider dialing back strenuous activity between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m, when the sun is strongest.

  1.   Sunburn and Sun Damage — Make Applying Sunscreen a Daily Habit

Long, sunny days are arguably one of the best parts of summer, but can be a danger to our largest   organ which is our skin. Venture out too long without sunscreen and you could not only get a severe sunburn and age the appearance of your skin with wrinkles, fine lines, and sun spots, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but could also increase your risk for skin cancer, the most common cancer in the United States.

Prevention:

Again, limit your time in the sun and choose a shady spot whenever possible, says Kapur. Most importantly, make sunscreen a daily habit, whether or not the sun is even shining. Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30 that protects against both UVA and UVB rays and be vigorous about reapplying. Spots to apply sunscreen that are commonly overlooked? The front and back of the neck, chest, the back of the knees, ears, scalp, and top of the feet, adds Natasha Mesinkovska, MD, director of clinical research for the department of dermatology in the School of Medicine at the University of California in Irvine. Once you’ve properly applied sunscreen, don’t forget to don sunglasses for more than style; UVA and UVB rays can also damage eyes.

  1. Water-Related Injuries — Practice Safe and Supervised Swimming

Nothing says summer like a beach or pool day. But swimming has plenty of dangers, from infections to diving injuries and even drowning, which is the leading cause of unintentional injury death among children ages 1 to 4, according to the CDC. This danger is only increased by the ubiquity of cellphones. With more adults scrolling on devices, they can be more distracted from keeping a close eye on kids while they’re in the water. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute suggests having one adult be the ‘designated water watcher,’ similar to a designated driver.

 Prevention:

Consider these tips from the American Red Cross for safe swimming setups, especially at pools:

  • Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
  • Swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
  • Don’t leave young children unattended or without adult supervision.
  • Avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
  • Have children or inexperienced swimmers wear life jackets but do not solely rely on them.
  • If a child is missing, check the water first. Every second is important in preventing death or disability.
  • Additionally, if you often find yourself predisposed to swimmer’s ear, an infection of the outer canal of the ear, per the CDC, try wearing earplugs when taking a dip, suggests Kapur.

5       Insect Bites and the Spread of Diseases — Be Mindful of Yourself and Your Surroundings

When traipsing through hiking trails and exploring the outdoors, don’t forget to be mindful of insect   bites, which “are not only annoying, but can transmit serious illnesses,” says Knowlton. Be especially wary of ticks and mosquitoes — mosquitoes can transmit diseases such as West Nile virus and Dengue fever, and for people who live in the Northeast, ticks can carry up to 16 different infectious illnesses, per the CDC, including Lyme disease.

Prevention:

  • Use insect repellent even on short hikes, says Kapur. If you’re camping, consider pretreating your tent or hammock with repellent as well. If you can, even in the heat, wear long sleeves and pants and tuck your socks into pants, Knowlton adds. Also be sure to check yourself, plus friends, family, and pets, for ticks after outdoor activities.
  • The CDC also suggests staying in the center of trails when going on a hike and avoiding areas with tall grass, as well as treating clothes with products that contain 0.5 percent permethrin, an anti-parasite medication that also acts as an insect repellent. If you’re worried you’ve been in a tick-infested area, they also advise bathing or showering within two hours after an outing and washing clothes in hot water — and drying them on high heat, too.

As you make superb plans for this summer, also make well-targeted safety plans to help ensure that your summer enjoyments are not short-lived by the presence of summer hazards. 

Sophia F. Gottfried