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More than just feeling down: symptoms and treatment of clinical depression

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It’s not unusual to feel sad, lonely or unmotivated at times, especially after a loss or during a difficult time. However, when feelings of sadness become overwhelming and persist over a long period of time, it may be time to speak with your clinician about clinical depression. Many people use the word “depressed” to describe a sad mood, but depression is actually a serious medical condition with both physical and mental symptoms that prevents sufferers from enjoying a normal life. It’s also more common than you may think: up to one in four adults in America suffer from depression. Having depression does not mean you’re weak, crazy or weird. Too many—approximately half the people who suffer from symptoms of depression—do not seek diagnosis or treatment. In these untreated cases, clinical depression may worsen or lead to suicide.

Symptoms of clinical depression
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of depression may include:
• Persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety or emptiness
• Difficulty concentrating, remembering details/or and making decisions
• Fatigue and decreased energy
• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness or hopelessness
• Changes in your sleep pattern including: insomnia, excessive sleeping or early-morning wakefulness
• Irritability
• Restlessness
• Loss of interest in activities or hobbies
• Overeating or appetite loss
• Persistent or worsening of aches or pains
• Digestive problems that resist treatment methods

Any one of these symptoms would make it difficult to function normally, and combined they can be overwhelming and lead to thoughts—or attempts—of suicide. Continue Reading »

Effective ways to manage fibromyalgia

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Sometimes the aches and pains of getting older are more than average body fatigue. If you are experiencing all-over body pain, increased tenderness to the touch, fatigue and problems with sleep and memory, you could be suffering from fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a non-life-threatening, chronic health problem that occurs most commonly in middle-aged women. It is less common—but not unheard of—in men as well as in younger individuals.

Aside from the commonly experienced symptoms mentioned above, individuals might also experience depression, anxiety, headaches and digestive problems. The symptoms of fibromyalgia can vary in intensity, sometimes leaving the person feeling as if the pain is taking over their life.

Research is ongoing to determine the cause of fibromyalgia, but there are several theories that are currently being studied. These theories include possible genetic or hereditary links, changes in levels of brain chemicals related to stress, and possible changes in the brain’s processing system regarding pain. Continue Reading »

10 non-meat foods that are protein-rich

Whether you eat meat or not, protein is a vital part of our diets. Below are just a few of the foods that will help you reach your protein intake for the day.

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Change of the cholesterol tune?

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For years we have been cautioned about consuming cholesterol-containing foods as a way to control our blood cholesterol levels. Perhaps that is why a collective gasp was heard when the 2015 Dietary Advisory Committee Scientific Report recently proposed lifting dietary cholesterol-limiting recommendations.

The Dietary Advisory Committee is made up of health experts who are charged with researching scientific and medical literature and making recommendations that guide dietary health practices. They make suggestions that other organizations review; organizations such as the United States Department of Agriculture or the United States Department of Health and Human Services, which jointly publish the Dietary Guidelines for Americans every five years. The last published set of Dietary Guidelines was in 2010 and the 2015 Dietary Guidelines will be published later this year. The guidelines are just that, a highly referenced nutrition guide for not only nutrition professionals, but also the general public.

The current dietary guidelines advise Americans to limit dietary cholesterol to less than 300 milligrams per day. For egg lovers this poses a challenge, with the average egg taking up most of this allowance. So why the change in recommendations by the Dietary Advisory Committee? Continue Reading »

Think green: celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in a healthy way!

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You know it is almost St. Patrick’s Day when McDonald’s starts advertising the return of its highly anticipated Shamrock Shake and stores start changing their decor to highlight different shades of green. After a long, seemingly never-ending winter, March 17 brings a rush of excitement, not only for the celebration of the patron saint of Ireland, but for the feeling that spring weather is upon us.

St. Patrick’s Day is full of tradition: parades, leprechauns, shamrocks, and corned beef and cabbage, just to name a few. But don’t use the celebration as an excuse to forget all the healthy habits we vowed to make when that ball dropped in Times Square just a few short months ago!

Give yourself a push to get your daily servings of fruits and vegetables. The latest dietary guidelines from the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion recommend 1 ½ -2 cups of fruit and 2 ½-3 cups of vegetables per day for the average adult. It is important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, which is why the guidelines also recommend at least 1-2 cups of dark green vegetables per week. Dark green vegetables include broccoli, spinach, bok choy, kale and turnips. So, fill up half of that St. Patrick’s Day plate with green fruits and vegetables!

Here are some ideas on how you can think green this St. Patrick’s Day and make some healthy swaps. Continue Reading »

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