• healthevisits

Chia: not just your average seed

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When it comes to recent food trends, it is almost impossible to ignore the increased use and popularity of Salvia hispanica L.

Salvia hispani… what?

Salvia hispanica L. is popularly known as chia seeds. This mint-related plant is leaving its mark on the food industry and is ever so prevalent on the Internet. If you do a quick Google search you will find plenty of recipes using chia seeds, and you are likely see people raving about this gluten-free seed on Pinterest and other social media networks, too.

Chia seeds, which date back to the ancient Aztecs, have shot to the top of the “superfood” lists, creating a craze with consumers. Perhaps it is their versatility that is so appealing. You can use chia seeds to make beverages, desserts, crackers, breading and more.

The seed can be consumed whole or ground, and may be easily added to foods such as yogurts, smoothies, oatmeal and other cereals. A unique property of the seed is its ability to turn gelatinous or gummy when soaked, allowing it to be used as a thickening agent in recipes.

This feature comes in handy when using chia seeds as a substitute for eggs in baking. To use chia seeds instead of eggs, soak one tablespoon of ground chia seeds in three tablespoons of water for five to 10 minutes. This is usually the equivalent of one egg. In a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, it was found that 25 percent of eggs or oil in a recipe could be replaced with the chia gel without affecting the functional or sensory properties of the result. By using chia seeds instead of oil or eggs, it decreases the caloric and fat content of the final product. Continue Reading »

How to store breast milk (Infographic)

Your biggest questions about breast milk storage are answered here:

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Essential oils: mankind’s first medicine

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Essential oils were mankind’s first medicine. Shown in Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese manuscripts, we know that priests and physicians have been using essential oils for thousands of years. Essential oils are extracted from plant leaves, flowers, stems, roots or bark and carry the essence of the plants in such a potent form that a single drop of essential oil can equal multiple teaspoons of the dried herb. One drop of peppermint oil, for instance, equals more than 25 cups of peppermint tea!

Essential oils can be used or applied in a variety of ways and combinations to bring powerful results. Lavender, for example, can be used for issues such as burns, insect bites, headaches, PMS, insomnia and stress. Oils can be applied directly on the skin or within compresses, by inhalation, in baths or through cooking. Many essential oils have antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibiotic properties.

As essential oils become more mainstream, more choices flood the store shelves. Keep in mind that the purest therapeutic-grade essential oils are the most effective and worth the cost. Anything less than pure, therapeutic-grade essential oil may not produce the desired result and can in some cases be extremely toxic. It is also a good idea to consult your provider before beginning use of essential oils, especially if you are pregnant. Continue Reading »

Baby Teeth Chart (Infographic)

Our pediatricians are often asked about teething timelines for babies. To help, we thought we’d make a baby teeth chart for you to download, save and print.

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What your doctor listens for when checking your heart

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It’s a practice we’re all likely used to, whether it’s for a checkup or an illness-specific appointment. Your provider pulls out his or her stethoscope as he or she listens to different areas of your chest, you may also be asked to take several deep breaths. Have you ever wondered exactly what your provider is listening for?

The sounds our hearts make can warn of several different issues. Typically, your heart should be sounding out a regular, steady rhythm with a strong beat of about 60 to 100 times per minute. A heart sound is produced by the closing of your heart valve, a sound that is described as a “lub” noise as the valves between the atria and ventricles close and a “dub” noise as valves between the ventricles and large blood vessels close. If your provider hears a rapid or irregular heartbeat, a heart murmur or additional heart sounds, further testing could be needed to rule out the following potential issues.

Heart murmur
A heart murmur is essentially a noise, not a specific disease. Murmurs are generated by the turbulent flow of blood inside or outside the heart. Heart murmurs can be innocent or abnormal. An innocent heart murmur is one that is not indicative of any underlying health problems, and may disappear over time.

Abnormal heart murmurs are often caused by valve or blood flow abnormalities. Your provider will determine whether a murmur is innocent or abnormal and a sign of a health issue by listening to your heartbeat and assessing how long the murmur lasts, when it happens, what activities prompt it, and where it is the loudest. Continue Reading »

Disclaimer: The information found on Affinity's blog is a general educational aid. Do not rely on this information or treat it as a substitute for personal medical or health care advice, or for diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your physician or other qualified health care provider as soon as possible about any medical or health-related question and do not wait for a response from our experts before such consultation. If you have a medical emergency, seek medical attention immediately.

The Affinity Health System blog contains opinions and views created by community members. Affinity does endorse the contributions of community members. You should not assume the information posted by community members is accurate and you should never disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this site.