U The Caribbean Health Digest - Issue 42

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APR - JUN 2022 ISSUE 42

DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS and why they may be needed with today’s dietary choices.

AGEISM THE IMPACT OF AGE STEREOTYPES. ADDICTIVE BEHAVIOR AN OVERVIEW OF BEHAVIORAL ADDICTION. HOLISTIC HEALTH AN APPROACH THAT INCORPORATES MULTIDIMENSIONAL ASPECTS OF WELLNESS.


is the first step in winning THE FIGHT AGAINST CANCER Cancer is often unpredictable but there is always something you can do to help reduce your risks. The Trinidad and Tobago Cancer Society recommends and promotes screening for early detection of certain cancers. OUR SCREENING SERVICES INCLUDE: • • • •

Mammograms Clinical Breast Examinations Pap Smears Ultrasounds: Breast, Abdomen, Pelvic, Obstetric, Doppler, Thyroid • Biopsies • Prostate Examinations: DRE (Digital Rectal Examination), PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) • Blood Tests • Consultations • Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) - A new way to test for colon cancer

OUR MOBILE CLINICS: The TTCS also operate Mobile Clinics which provide screening services throughout Trinidad and Tobago. These mobiles are available by appointment to business institutions for the benefit of their staff and/or sponsored public health fairs. These are fully equipped to conduct Pap Smears, Clincal Breast Examinations and Prostate Examinations, PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) testing.

GET REGULAR CANCER SCREENING. For more information on our screening services or to make an appointment

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This information is of a general nature only and is not intended as a substitute for professional health advice and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided and at all times should obtain specific advice from a health professional. Eidetic Publishing has made reasonable efforts to ensure that the health information contained herein is accurate and up to date. To the extent permitted by law, Eidetic Publishing, their employees, agents and advertisers accept no liability

(even if negligent) for any injury, loss or damage caused by reliance on any part of this information. U also contains information supplied by third parties. This information is identified with the name of the source and has been chosen for publication because we believe it to be reliable. To the extent permitted by law, Eidetic Publishing, their employees, agents and advertisers accept no liability (even if negligent) for any injury, loss or damage caused by reliance on any part of this information.

U The Caribbean Health Digest is published 4 times a year by Eidetic Publishing, Highway Plaza, Level 2, West Wing, LP #80 Calcutta Settlement Road No. 1, Freeport, Trinidad & Tobago. Distribution is handled by Eidetic Limited.

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Hey U, Welcome to Issue 42 We hope that you all have been well and enjoying the freedom that comes with lifted COVID-19 restrictions. Here, in Trinidad and Tobago, we are lapping up some of the simple things we took for granted in the past, like a day at the beach, dining out, and the kids going back to school. This "freedom" makes such a positive impact on one's overall health and wellbeing from both a physical and mental perspective. While some of you are still being cautious and choose to wait it out until you feel entirely comfortable, try to find ways that would alleviate some of the tension and anxiety you may be feeling. We covered this subject in issue 40; if you missed it, go to our website, and it'll be waiting for you. uhealthdigest.com We are genuinely grateful to be able to bring you another issue of U; it's chock full of engaging content and information that will hold your attention and leave you much more informed and clued in on subjects that we knew very little about before. Amira and the team have done it again! Another incredible issue awaits, and she will tell you much more about them. So we invite you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the articles they have brought to you and pass them on.

"Sharing knowledge is the most fundamental act of friendship. Because it is a way you can give something without losing something." Richard Stallman

Be Safe, Stay Healthy! SHERINE & STUART

FOUNDERS



DEAREST READERS, It is with extreme pleasure I bring to you Issue 42 in ’22. I might always say this, but I always mean it; this issue is remarkable. Of course, I must first thank our amazing readers for your continued support. It is because of your excitement we remain charged and on our toes, searching for the most compelling topics on health and wellness. And to our advertisers who make this publication possible, sincerest thanks. Issue 42 talks about what I think is no stranger to Caribbean households, dietary supplements. Is it overrated? Do we need them? What does research have to say? Dr. Soraya Mohammed answers our questions, and let me say, those tiny capsules have my support. Our spiritual coach, Mica Symone, brings a refreshing perspective on holistic healing that encourages you to care for yourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually. At the same time, one of your favorite personal trainers, Andrew Wood, takes us back to the basics, walking. I heard it’s good! As you flip through the pages, you will come across an article for everyone. So whether you want to educate yourself on a medical condition, be inspired to get creative in the kitchen with our famous U recipes, or discover a new Caribbean ecotherapy destination, we covered it. As always, we are confident that we put together another issue that you will enjoy. As we enter a new season, I wish you all well. Happy reading!

Till next time, AMIRA CHENELLE MUNGAL

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF


10 The Holistic Approach to Health and Wellness Spiritual coach, Mica Symone, walks us through healing practices that incorporate our physical, emotional, and spiritual selves. This article encourages us to look at our health from a multidimensional perspective.

22 Food and Mood A foodie lover explains how the food we eat affects how we feel. He guides us to a balanced diet while explaining why each tip plays an important role in our overall mood.

26 Ageism; A Social Determinant of Health 12 Why Supplements may be needed with Today’s Dietary Choices Our feature story explains why we should be thankful for the world of supplements. Dr. Soraya Mohammed explains just why we may need supplements and how to go about properly using them.

18 Walking is Good! We take you back to the basics of fitness with this article. With all the chaos happening around us, why not take a simple approach to exercise?

20 Tobago’s Ecotherapy Destination Allow us to introduce you to this ecotherapy destination. If you were planning a mini-vacay and needed a location, this might just be it. On the other hand, if you weren’t planning a mini-vacay, we suggest you start.

This article takes a stance on age discrimination. We uncover the negative health impacts of ageist beliefs and discuss the ugly reality of dealing with ageism in healthcare.

30 Fibromyalgia Widespread pain, sleep problems, fatigue, and mental anguish. This article examines the symptoms, causes, and treatments for this often undiagnosed condition, fibromyalgia.

32 The Psychology of Addiction Addiction stretches far beyond substance abuse, and this article describes the neuropsychological explanation of addiction.

34 The Mighty Melon The name says it all. We Caribbean people love melons but are you aware of the nutritional value of them? Our founder is here once again to fill you in.


MEDICINE

| HOLISTIC HEALING

WRITTEN BY

MICA SYMONE

THERE ARE A LOT OF DISCUSSIONS THESE DAYS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF HOLISTIC HEALTH AND WELLNESS, BUT WHAT DOES THAT ACTUALLY MEAN, AND HOW CAN YOU APPLY IT TO YOUR OWN LIFE? THE HOLISTIC APPROACH CAN HELP YOU TO GAIN OPTIMAL HEALTH AND REDISCOVER YOUR VITALITY.

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From diet and exercise to stress relief and relaxation techniques, you can create a healthy and happy lifestyle. So, if you're ready to live your best holistic life, here's everything you need to know about the holistic approach to health and wellness.


HOLISTIC HEALING

WHAT IS THE HOLISTIC APPROACH?

|

MEDICINE

The definition of holistic is "considering the whole." When it comes to our health, we need to consider all aspects: physical, emotional, and spiritual. Everything is interconnected; therefore, if we want to boost our health and look after our wellbeing, we need to consider every ounce of our being.

As such, each segment has certain treatments and techniques designed to impact those specific areas. There are many types of holistic health and wellness treatments that can encompass a wide range of modalities. While each treatment has its unique benefits, they all share the goal of helping people feel good, inside and out.

THE PHILOSOPHY AND BENEFITS OF A HOLISTIC LIFESTYLE

Physical holistic health and wellness treatments encourage the body's natural ability to heal itself. Some physical treatments include acupuncture, chiropractic care, and massage therapy. Each therapy improves the overall health and wellness of an individual by providing relief from pain, misalignments within the body, and other symptoms.

This approach to health and wellness sees the individual as more than just a sum of parts. It focuses on looking at the whole self to work on multiple issues. To be truly holistic means understanding that each of these aspects must be in balance for a person to be truly well. In addition to healing existing health and wellness blockages, one of the main benefits of the holistic approach is that it can help prevent or treat health problems before they even start. This is because it looks at all aspects of a person's life and tries to identify any potential risks or imbalances. It can often be much easier to keep these issues under control and avoid any serious problems from developing by addressing these issues early on.

THE HOLY TRINITY OF HEALTH AND WELLNESS The physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of the holistic approach are all important in achieving good health and wellness. The physical aspect includes taking care of the body by eating healthy foods, exercising, and getting enough rest. The emotional side focuses on managing stress and healthily expressing emotions. While the spiritual angle dives deep into developing a personal belief system, connecting with something larger than oneself, and finding meaning and purpose in life. All of these aspects are important in achieving good health and wellness.

On the spiritual side, these treatments are based on the belief that the body, mind, and spirit are all connected. When one part of the body is not functioning properly, it can impact the other areas. Prayer and meditation are two examples of how you can work on the spiritual side to improve your overall health. From an emotional perspective, some common treatments include talk therapy, counseling, and psychiatric help. These treatments can help people with depression, anxiety, stress, and other mental health disorders. Overall, there are many different types of alternative treatments available, so it is important to do some research to find one that is right for you. An abundance of amazing resources can help you introduce holistic healing into your lifestyle, including your doctor, a naturopath, or a holistic health practitioner.

We can dramatically improve our overall wellbeing by nurturing our bodies through exercise, nutrition, self-care, and spiritual practices. When one area is out of balance, it can have a ripple effect on the other areas of our lives. It is so important to nurture all aspects of ourselves - mind, body, and spirit. When we take care of our whole selves, we can live our lives with more vitality, joy, and balance. 11 | u


FEATURE

| WHY SUPPLEMENTS MAY BE NEEDED WITH TODAY'S DIETARY CHOICES

DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS

and why they may be needed with today’s dietary choices. WRITTEN BY DR.

SORAYA MOHAMMED

MY PATIENTS ALWAYS ASK ME, "DR. MOHAMMED, I'M EATING JUST LIKE YOU TOLD ME TO – A FULLY BALANCED DIET. NOW YOU'RE ASKING ME TO TAKE SUPPLEMENTS, TOO? IS IT NECESSARY?"

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IT'S A PERFECTLY VALID QUESTION THAT YOU MAY HAVE WONDERED ABOUT AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER. I'LL TELL YOU EXACTLY WHAT I TELL MY PATIENTS: IF YOU WANT TO FIGHT DISEASE AND ACHIEVE MAXIMUM LIFE SPAN, YOU CAN'T DO IT WITH DIET ALONE. YOU NEED THE EXTRA NUTRITIONAL BOOST THAT ONLY SUPPLEMENTS CAN PROVIDE.


WHY SUPPLEMENTS MAY BE NEEDED WITH TODAY'S DIETARY CHOICES

|

FEATURE

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FEATURE

| WHY SUPPLEMENTS MAY BE NEEDED WITH TODAY'S DIETARY CHOICES

Approximately 40% of adults take supplements today. It has become a nutritional staple, and that's not bad. Consider supplements fertilizer to plants. If you give plant sunlight and water, it will live, but the plant will thrive if you feed itsome organic nutrient-rich fertilizer. For us humans, the same principle applies. A healthful, balanced diet supplies the body with sufficient nutrients to carry out routine tasks. Supplements such as vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and phytochemicals, enrich the body's internal environment to fortify cellular protection, repair, and regeneration and support the renewal process. MOTHER NATURE'S ROLE Of course, supplements haven't been around all that long, at least as we know them. So how did our ancestors survive without them? To be painfully blunt, they didn't. You see, Mother Nature has never cared about optimum health. Nor has she concerned herself with longevity. Instead, her main objective is the survival and propagation of the species. So she programmed us humans to survive on even the crummiest diet, nutrition-wise, into our twenties, when we're old enough to reproduce. Beyond that, we're on our own. This genetic twist is a throwback to primitive times when supermarkets and refrigerators didn't exist, and food was not always plentiful. As a result, those who could stay alive on very slim pickings had a tremendous survival advantage.

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Over thousands of years, one generation has passed its "survival genes" on to the next. So thanks to our ancestors, we are equipped to subsist on minuscule amounts of the essential nutrients, just in case a famine comes along. But as I said before, this insurance policy remains effective only into our twenties just long enough for us to reproduce. It includes no provision for aging.

By the time we reach our twenties, we have established lifelong eating habits. And because our survival genes have protected us from the adverse effects of our dietary transgressions, we have no reason to believe that what we're eating (or not eating) is harming us. So we continue feeding ourselves nutritionally vacant junk foods, unaware that they're quietly eroding our health. Often, we don't see the effects for several decades. The point here is this: even with a lousy diet, we can remain fairly healthy through our first 30 to 40 years of life. But if we want to achieve optimum health and maximum life span, the bare nutritional bones just won't cut it. We need to eat nutritious foods, and we need to take supplements.

WHAT RESEARCH IS SAYING The standard diet gets 45 percent of its calories from fat and another 35 percent from sugar. In other words, 80 percent of the calories we consume provide none of the nutrients that our bodies need. Yet, incredibly, despite our dietary excesses and an epidemic of obesity, as a nation, we are underfed. One interesting study examined the incidence of vitamin deficiencies in a randomly selected group of hospital patients. Using the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) as the standard, 88 percent of the 120 patients came up short in at least one vitamin. Many showed multiple deficiencies. Only 12 percent tested at "normal" levels. Diet is not the sole force behind the national plague of nutrient deficiencies. Other factors include the following: · Alcohol consumption (depletes B vitamins, vitamin C, most minerals, and antioxidants) · Allergies and infections (deplete vitamins A and C and zinc, among other nutrients) · Exposure to air pollutants and other toxins (depletes antioxidants) · Smoking (depletes antioxidants) · Stress (depletes all nutrients, especially B vitamins and vitamin C) Some people require more of certain nutrients than the general population does. Children and older adults need a bit extra, as do pregnant women. Others with increased nutritional demands include those who diet and exercise strenuously.


WHY SUPPLEMENTS MAY BE NEEDED WITH TODAY'S DIETARY CHOICES

Then, too, some foods that we eat because we think they're healthful have been stripped of their nutrients before they get to our plates. For example, whole wheat loses 75 percent of its B vitamins, minerals, and fiber when milled into flour. Likewise, rice loses most of its vitamins, minerals, and fiber when polished to turn it from brown to white. Even the soil that these and other plant-derived foods grow in is often nutrient-depleted.

|

FEATURE

run low on. An antioxidant scavenges free radicals, stimulates the immune system, protects against cancer and cardiovascular disease (such as hardening of the arteries, angina, heart attack, and stroke), and inhibits the formation of cataracts. For many other reasons, vitamin E is a key player in the renewal process.

THE TAKEAWAY HELPING YOUR DIET Take this, for example. Sunflower seeds have more vitamin E than any other food. However, to get 400 IU of the nutrient, which is the amount provided by a typical multivitamin or a vitamin E capsule, you'd have to eat 1½ pounds of seeds every day. Even the most ardent sunflower seed fan would find this hard to swallow. You must admit that getting your vitamin E in pill form seems much easier (not to mention a lot less filling). And believe me, E is one nutrient that you don't want to

Without optimum nutrition, you cannot achieve optimum health. And without supplements, you cannot achieve optimum nutrition. It's as simple as that. Look at it this way: for the price of a basic multivitamin, you can protect yourself against heart disease, cancer, and all the other health problems associated with chronic low-grade nutrient deficiencies. In the process, you supercharge renewal and put the brakes on aging. I can't think of any investment that pays higher dividends than that. 15 | u



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FITNESS

|

THE B ENEFITS OF WA L K ING

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WRITTEN BY ANDREW

WOOD


T H E B E N E F I T S O F WA LKI N G

| FITNESS

WHILE SOME PRESUME THAT EXERCISE REQUIRES INTENSE EFFORT AND INTENSE EFFORT ONLY, OFTEN DEFINING WALKING AS AN ACTIVITY ONLY SUITABLE FOR THE MOST SEDENTARY AND ELDERLY, THIS COULDN’T BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH. QUITE THE OPPOSITE, IN FACT. THE TRUTH IS, EXERCISE AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY DON’T HAVE TO BE COMPLEX OR COMPLICATED, NOR DOES IT NEED TO LIVE UP TO AN ELITE ATHLETE’S IDEA OF WHAT A WORKOUT LOOKS LIKE. IN OTHER WORDS, IF YOU’RE MOVING, SWEATING, AND STAYING CONSISTENT, YOU’RE IMPROVING YOUR HEALTH! Of course, it does come down to your health and fitness goals and objectives, as well as your current fitness level. If you’re an elite athlete who already exercises for hours and hours each week, walking might not be the most important implement (you’re probably already walking enough as it is!). Contrastingly, if you’re the average individual simply seeking to improve their health, walking is all but essential, and can, in fact, be used as a primary means of exercise if executed properly.

IN ANY CASE, WALKING. IS. GOOD. FOR. YOU! Here’s why: The Benefits of Walking Contrary to popular belief, walking isn’t just a mode of independent transportation that we as humans utilize to travel from point A to point B. In fact, walking is quite a beneficial physical activity, providing numerous health benefits for those who partake.

Whether you’re an elite athlete or an elderly individual, walking can provide you with some level of benefit, however, likely more for the latter group than the former. Nevertheless, not only is it completely free to participate but it’s easy to do, offering the lowest barrier to entry of any available exercise methodology. The following are several benefits that you can come to expect from walking on a consistent basis:

• • • •

Caloric Expenditure & Weight Loss Improved Cardiovascular Strength Increased Energy Levels Boosted Mood

Of course, the benefits listed above depend largely on several factors, from the speed at which you walk and the amount of walking you do, both regarding the time elapsed and distance covered, to the frequency and consistency at which you walk to the intensity of the walks themselves. To illustrate this a little further, it’s suggested that a brisk walk of 15 minutes can burn up to 60 calories for the average individual. Similarly, for those who regularly and consistently walk for a mere 30 minutes daily, the risk of heart disease decreases by almost 20%. Other benefits of walking include but are certainly not limited to improved blood flow, lower blood pressure, joint pain relief, and an increase in overall immunity. If you’re someone who is of an older age, you might even see a noticeable increase in leg strength and musculature.

Walking is Good! No matter your age, health status, or current fitness level, walking on a regular basis is a great supplement to the daily recommended level of physical activity. If you’re someone who finds it difficult to find the time to go for a walk, there are several ways to do so throughout your busy day. A few of the most common include taking the stairs where possible, walking your daily commute where possible, and taking more breaks throughout the day to walk. In short, walking isn’t only good for your health, it’s amazing for your health! If you’ve already implemented walking into your daily life, great job! If not, let today be the day you start.

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ECOTHERAPY DESTINATION

|

TOB AG O

T

he Caribbean islands is without a doubt one of the world’s best treasures. It’s like a playground to many, not just the rich and famous but to anyone wanting to soak up the sea, sun and, sand. The Caribbean islands have one of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems and rightfully referred to as a “biodiversity hotspot”. There are few other places that can claim to have as many endemic species (plants and animals that are native and completely unique to that place) like the Caribbean islands, with over 13,000 species of plants with more than 6,500 said to be single island endemic. There are over 600 bird species in the Caribbean of which an estimated 160 are endemic. The little island of Tobago is home to one of the oldest legally protected forest reserves in the Western Hemisphere, Main Ridge Forest Reserve, established in April 1776.

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There is a distinct feature about the fauna of Tobago. Although it is an island, the fauna are continental in origin and this is due to the fact that both Trinidad and Tobago were once connected to the South American continent some one million years ago. Since then considerable endemism has resulted; in fact, 31% of the birds that nest in Tobago are endemics.

WRITTEN BY STAFF

WRITER

Main Ridge Forest Reserve is referred to as the backbone of Tobago. It is the main mountainous ridge on the island. It is a 29-kilometre chain of hills which runs from southwest to northeast between the Caribbean Sea and the Southern Tobago fault system and reaches a maximum height of 572 m (1,877 ft). Main Ridge provides important habitat for native plants and animals, including several species endemic to Tobago. Tourists from all over the world seek to retreat and interact with natures creations in Main Ridge. It is selected as an ideal eco-tourism and eco-therapy destination for birdwatching and hiking with a network of 9 trails. Main Ridge receives over 15,000 visitors a year. Together with the Northern Range (in northern Trinidad), both these areas of the country support the largest numbers of globally rare plant species. The Reserve was voted the "World's Leading Eco-Tourism destination" by the World Travel Awards in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, illustrating it’s intrinsic ecological value within the global eco-tourism sector.



DIET

|

EATI NG FO R YOU R MOOD

mood &food 22 | u

WRITTEN BY NIGEL

HARRIS


E AT I N G FO R YOUR M O O D

|

DIET

Can what we eat affect how we feel? Based on experience, yes! I’ve been jolly a lot after a meal.

“hangry” countless times, sleepy and

A proper diet helps to improve your mood, provide energy, and increase your focus. It’s what science says, and I don’t doubt it. Here’s why your mood is asking you to maintain a proper diet and how to.

Eat regularly.

When our blood sugar drops, we tend to feel tired and often irritable. Eating regularly and selecting “slow-release energy foods” helps keep your sugar levels up, so you feel less tired. Slow-release energy foods include pasta, oats, wholegrain bread, nuts, and seeds.

Stay hydrated.

Constipation is directly linked to lack of water, and no one likes to be constipated. If you don’t drink enough fluid, the body tends to find it challenging to focus. It’s recommended that you drink 6-8 glasses of water a day, and while juices, teas, smoothies, etc., count toward your fluid intake, try meeting your minimum of 6 glasses of water per day.

Five-a-day.

This term refers to five portions of fruit per day. Fruits and vegetables contain loads of minerals, vitamins, and fiber which boosts our health, both physically and mentally. Try having one handful of fruit or vegetable five times a day. These can include fresh, frozen, or dried fruit. Feel free to substitute one serving for a glass of juice if you prefer.

Eat your proteins.

Proteins contain amino acids, one of the chemicals responsible for regulating your thoughts and feelings. A good protein intake will keep your mood boosted, plus it’s very filling. Find your protein in lean meat, fish, eggs, cheese, legumes, seeds, and soy products.

Eat fats

(the right ones). Yes, you heard me. Your brain relies on fatty acids to keep it functioning, so it is recommended to get your serving of healthy fats. You can find these in nuts (walnuts, almonds), olive, sunflower oils, avocados, milk, poultry, and oily fish. There is a lot of scientific evidence that suggest that our mood can be heavily dependent on what we eat. I recommend everyone try practicing a balanced diet, if not for your mood, then for your overall health. If you plan to make changes to your diet, be patient. It will take a couple of weeks to see an improvement, but I promise you, your mood will thank you.

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SUM M E R R O LLS

|

RECIPE

VeieSummer Rs RECIPE BY

STAFF WRITER

Think of these as a hand-held salad. Make them as a snack, a light meal, or appetizers for your next party. They’re simple, delicious, and of course, healthy. YIELDS 8 ROLLS INGREDIENTS: 1 pack Spring Roll Wrappers 1 cup Baby Butter Lettuce 1 cup Purple Cabbage 1 cup Shredded Cabbage 1 Red Bell Pepper (julienned) 1 Cucumber (julienned) ½ cup Fresh Basil ½ cup Fresh Mint

INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Fill a bowl large enough to fit one rice paper sheet with water. 2. Soak one rice paper sheet in the water for about 15 seconds until it softens. 3. Place the sheet on a flat surface (such as a wooden cutting board). 4. Add the fillings to the center of the wrapper, being sure not to overstuff. 5. Fold the sides inward and roll the rice paper over making sure the filling is tightly stuffed. 6. Repeat the process until you have gotten to your desired number of rolls. 25 | u


HEALTHCARE

|

SHATTE R ING AG E IS T B E L IE FS

AGE

;

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A SOCIAL DETERMINANT OF HEALTH WRITTEN BY AMIRA

CHENELLE M. M


SH AT T E R I N G AGE I ST B E LI E FS

STEREOTYPES, PREJUDICE, AND DISCRIMINATION. We can all agree that none of that sounds healthy, but it’s the reality behind ageism. Ageism describes how we think, feel and act towards others, or even ourselves, based on our age. Unfortunately, most of us are guilty of altering our views or actions based on whether we think it’s age-appropriate. While that is no crime, ageism certainly impacts our health, and spoiler alert, it’s not positive. WHAT IS AGEISM? By definition, ageism is prejudice and discrimination against people based on their age, and this doesn’t just apply to the elderly. There are many types of ageism, and the one thing we know for sure is we must end it for the sake of our health.

TYPES OF AGEISM: Institutional Ageism This occurs when institutions, such as the workplace and medical establishments, enact policies that promote ageism.

|

HEALTHCARE

Here are a few examples: + INFANTIZING PATIENTS – The elderly are often spoken to in “baby talk,” which refers to the oversimplification of basic language. This reinforces unequal power dynamics between caregivers and the people receiving care. + INACCURATE PERCEPTION OF AGING – Studies reveal that medical professionals are less likely to treat elderly patients for mental health disorders due to the ageist belief that older folks are wiser or more logical. This assumption often leads to improper medical care. + LESS ATTENTION – Studies also reveal that significantly less time is spent with older people than younger people. + LOWER LEVELS OF HEALTH – A person’s views about their age have been found to impact their health. For example, longitudinal studies found that younger adults with ageist beliefs are associated with higher rates of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, memory impairment, and an overall lower level of enthusiasm to live older.

CONSEQUENCES OF AGEISM Apart from the negative health impacts of ageism, there are far-reaching consequences. It contributes to overall higher rates of illness, higher healthcare spending, poverty, and lower life expectancy.

Getting Rid of Ageist Beliefs Interpersonal Ageism This describes ageism in social settings, for example, in interactions.

Internalized Ageism This is when we internalize ageist beliefs and apply them to ourselves. Unlike other forms of inequality such as racism or sexism, ageism can involve anyone in very hostile manners. For example, some may have public opposing views about teenagers being violent or irresponsible, while others may view the elderly as childlike.

AGEIST VIEWS AFFECT EVERYONE. The consequences of ageism are widespread and can be very damaging to one’s health. Studies revealed that ageist views manifest in even healthcare settings, altering the level of care each patient receives.

1. Education – we must educate ourselves and each other on the myths and stereotypes of ageism to raise awareness of the negative impacts. 2. Intergeneration Interventions – this involves open conversations between the younger generation and the elderly to create cooperation and understanding between the groups. 3. Policy Changes – this involves law and policy changes within institutions to reduce the levels of inequality and discrimination.

CONCLUSION As ageism continues to grow, specifically within the healthcare industry, it is important that we enforce change. Paying mind to how we treat ourselves and others based merely on age is something we should all be more mindful of. And don’t be afraid to call someone out on ageist beliefs. After all, it is for the sake of one of the most important things, our health.

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Q&A

| YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, WE HAVE ANSWERS

ASK U

ANSWERED BY DR.

BASIL MANGRA

I was recently diagnosed with hyperglycemia, what are some simple things I can do? Hyperglycemia or high blood glucose means that there is too much sugar in the blood due to a lack of insulin in the body. Those with hyperglycemia tend to experience high blood sugar, increased thirst, headaches, fatigue, and blurred vision most commonly. I would recommend consulting your health professional if you think you may be at risk. However, I would encourage exercise to lower blood sugar, following a meal plan and staying away from alcohol and smoking.

What is Long COVID? Most people who test positive for COVID-19 recover within a two-week period. Long COVID, while it still isn’t fully understood, refers to long-term symptoms a person may experience after recovering from COVID-19. Symptoms vary from person to person but would usually continue for more than 12 weeks.

We always enjoy hearing from you!

Email your questions to register@uhealthdigest.com


DISORDER

| FIBROMYALGIA

a fibromyalgi WRITTEN BY

TANVI LODHIA

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Fibromyalgia is a pain regulation disorder, often classified as a form of central sensitization syndrome. It is characterized by chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain and is often accompanied by fatigue, cognitive disturbance, psychiatric, and multiple somatic symptoms. The prevalence of fibromyalgia in the United States is 6.4% and is more common in women compared to men.


FIBROMYALGIA

T

he principal complaint of a patient with fibromyalgia is widespread musculoskeletal pain, which is bilateral and involves both upper and lower parts of the body. The pain may be localized initially in the neck and shoulders. While the predominant description of the pain is muscle pain, patients may also experience joint pain. Another notable symptom of fibromyalgia is fatigue, which is especially prominent when waking up from sleep. Minor physical activities may exacerbate the pain and fatigue. However, inactivity for a prolonged period may also contribute. Cognitive disturbances, or "fibro fog," is another symptom patients may face, where they may have trouble with attention and with doing tasks that require rapid changes in thought. Another predominant factor to note is that 30 to 50 percent of patients have anxiety and/or depression at the time of diagnosis with fibromyalgia. More than 50 percent of patients have headaches. In addition, patients often complain of paresthesia, or tingling/prickling, in both the arms and legs. Although more research needs to be conducted regarding the etiology of fibromyalgia, alterations in the pattern of sleep, and changes in neuroendocrine transmitters such as serotonin, growth hormone, and cortisol, suggest that regulation of the autonomic and neuroendocrine system appears to play a role. Some musculoskeletal conditions that are associated with fibromyalgia include non-dermatomal paresthesia, hypermobility syndrome, restless legs syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus. Irritable bowel syndrome and esophageal dysmotility are two gastrointestinal conditions associated with fibromyalgia.

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DISORDER

Genome-wide association studies have investigated genes potentially involved in fibromyalgia pathogenesis that are possibly responsible for up to 50% of the disease susceptibility. These include SLC64A4, TRPV2, MYT1L, and NRXN3. However, more research needs to be done on universally validated single nucleotide polymorphisms and the genetic hypothesis of fibromyalgia. Some non-genetic factors that may play critical roles in a person's risk of developing fibromyalgia may include psychological and social factors such as a history of childhood abuse or neglect, exposure to war or other catastrophic events, and low job or life satisfaction. In addition, physical inactivity, obesity, and sleep disturbances also contribute to increased risk. The risk of fibromyalgia is also about eight times higher for first-degree relatives of affected individuals (siblings or children) than for the general public. It is also noted that many people with fibromyalgia also have relatives with headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, and other conditions that cause chronic pain. The FDA has approved three drugs that are indicated for the treatment of fibromyalgia, including pregabalin (Lyrica), duloxetine (Cymbalta), and milnacipran (Savella). Other medications, including amitriptyline (Elavil) or gabapentin (Neurontin), are considered first-line treatments prescribed for other conditions, such as depression or nerve pain. It is recommended that patients with fibromyalgia should also use non-drug treatments, along with any medicines their doctors suggest. One of the most effective treatments for fibromyalgia is physical exercise like regular aerobic exercises. Other forms of physical exercise include Tai Chi and yoga and low-impact physical exercise. Aside from exercise, another form of non-drug treatment for fibromyalgia is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT-related treatments, such as mindfulness, can help patients learn symptom reduction skills that can help alleviate pain. Mindfulness-based stress reduction has also been shown to improve symptoms of fibromyalgia significantly. While more testing needs to be done to assess the efficacy, other complementary and alternative therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage therapy, can be useful for managing fibromyalgia symptoms. If you or someone you know have symptoms of fibromyalgia, be sure to talk to your doctor.

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ADDICTION

| THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ADDICTION

For many of us, when we think of addiction, we immediately associate it with substance abuse disorders but, addiction spans beyond chemicals. It is considered a neuropsychological disorder characterized by the persistent use of a substance or engagement in a behavior despite substantial harm and adverse consequences. Addiction can involve alcohol, opioids, caffeine, gambling, sex, or videogames, to name a few, and despite the seemingly obvious negative health impacts of addiction, many of us still succumb to the disease. Why is that? Psychology has an explanation.

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WRITTEN BY

BRANDON PERE PEREIRA RE EIRA IR R


THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ADDICTION

THE BRAIN’S ROLE As defined by contemporary neuroscience, addiction is a phenomenon of faulty reward processing. Reward processing is mediated by dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter, signaling in the brain’s prefrontal cortex. This is where the executive systems of your brain work to translate the incoming stream of sensory inputs into an outgoing stream of motor output. The involvement of the feel-good neurotransmitter, dopamine, is particularly significant in addictive behaviors as it contributes to feelings of pleasure and satisfaction, boosts motivation, regulates movement and influences emotional responses. Addiction is distinguished by the repetitive pursuit of short-term reward. This is considered a case of dopamine signaling malfunction, where positive (pleasurable/beneficial) sensory inputs are being incorrectly routed to negative (self-destructive) motor outputs. It is both a failure to inhibit faulty signaling, and a failure to promote functional signaling. WHAT DO PEOPLE BECOME ADDICTED TO? This question is best answered with a list: Cocaine, amphetamines, music, fentanyl, sex, sugar, nicotine, caffeine, cannabis, alcohol, opium, oxycontin, benzodiazepines, masturbation, validation, money, fame, gardening, gambling, exercise, video games, and a variety of behaviors under the ‘self-harm’ umbrella including cutting and starving oneself. All pleasurable behaviors are subject to a balance that addiction seems to interfere with, by inducing a sort of tunnel vision where someone pursues a single pleasure source far beyond reasonable indulgence, and to the exclusion of other important facets of their life. This can exacerbate the emotional difficulties that it often arises in response to, such as anxiety and depression. Financial security, good health, and a sense of connection with friends and family are just some of the bridges that addiction readily burns. CAUSES OF ADDICTION Addiction has a variety of causes based in both nature and nurture. There are in fact, specific genes that are highly correlated with the occurrence of alcoholism, for example, as well as epigenetic (molecular) factors that influence the expression of those genes. Addiction also has a high comorbidity (rate of co-occurrence) with trauma, specifically trauma in early childhood, or trauma later in life that develops into PTSD. Addiction is intimately tied with perception

|

ADDICTION

of mood, happiness, fulfillment, and purpose, which makes it hard to localize specific causal forces that can shift a person into an addictive state. EFFECTS OF ADDICTION Addiction acts on the systems which maintain homeostasis, the body’s tendency to remain at a stable state. This explains why tolerance so universally arises in response to intense indulgence – as your central nervous system downregulates those systems which have been firing on high. For example, the receptors that different drugs target become depopulated in response to intense exposure, so that the drug has a reduced ability to affect how you feel. Homeostasis is also responsible for producing the experience of a recurrent hedonic baseline, where no amount of indulgence can produce the desired high anymore. The intense pursuit of an experience which is no longer possible produces a state of disorder in the brain, as the failure to inhibit faulty impulses leads to damage. But these neurological changes are not irreversible. With time and abstinence, healthy pathways resume development and functional dopamine signaling can be repaired. RECOVERY The road to recovery is by no means easy but very possible. In fact, studies report that more than 75% of people addicted to drugs and alcohol recover. There is no one recipe for recovery. Each person varies based on many factors including emotional, financial, psychological, and environmental. The most important step to recovery requires a shift in behavior, coping skills and interests. While some people opt for clinical treatments and rehabilitation facilities, others choose to recover on their own. Either way, a strong support system is always helpful. If you are struggling with addiction, reach out to someone you trust. If you know someone struggling with addiction, start by educating yourself on what the person may be going through and learn about treatment options to offer. THE BOTTOM LINE Addiction is difficult but there are ways out. Fostering conversations about addiction and substance use disorders is one step in the right direction for confronting the disease. Remember, if you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, reach out to your healthcare providers for guidance and support. You are not alone. 33 | u


FRUIT

|

WATERMELON

It’s over 4000 years old with almost 50 varieties found around the world…

Reintroducing

The

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WRITTEN BY

SHERINE MUNGAL


WAT E R M E LO N

Now, here is a fruit that can’t be defined by any shape, color, taste, or texture. I read somewhere once that if fruits had personalities, the melon would be sweet and happy with a clean and fresh vibe.

Some of the more popular or commonly found types of melon include Honeydew, Ananas, Camouflage, Cantaloupe, Casaba, Galia, Canary, Bitter, Crane, and SkyRocket Melons, just to name a few.

Who knew that this plump and jolly fruit would have such an extended family that has taken root in so many other parts of the world? In the Caribbean the variety of melon that we traditionally grew up on was the Classic Watermelon. I’m talking about the one that ripens to the most beautiful and brilliant red that mother nature has ever created. Although sometimes we would see watermelons with the yellow insides, those are the ones that were mostly grown and sold in many Caribbean islands like Trinidad and Tobago. Either way, it was always and still is a favorite to many now, however, we are much more exposed to other varieties of melon and their benefits.

Melons have found their way on the social scene and some things would simply not be the same without them. From smoothies and charcuterie boards to salads and sorbets, the nutritional value and benefits vary from one variety to the next, but one thing is for sure, each melon is packed with essential vitamins, minerals and water, making them some of the most thirst quenching and mightiest fruits around.

It is said that melons can be traced back to 4000 years and originated in Africa and Egypt or the hot valleys of South Asia, India, and Iran. A melon is any of various plants in the Cucurbitaceae family, whose fruits are fleshy and sweet and grow on vines sprawling across the ground. It gradually began to appear in Europe and is one of the first plants to be domesticated in the old world and among one of the first to be brought by westerners to the new world. If this history is accurate then we are surely grateful that it did happen that way because can you imagine a hot summer without a juicy wedge of watermelon at a barbecue, or a fruit bowl with no melon? What about Jolly Rancher’s watermelon hard candy and of course my personal favorite, watermelon mint mojito? Melons can be shy and humble, but some varieties scream opulence. The Yubari King and Densuke Melons are among the most expensive in the world due to the insanely sweet taste and demand but mostly because it is only grown in specific regions of Japan.

| FRUIT

Nutritional Facts Per 100G Principle

Energy Carbohydrates Protein Total Fat

34Kcal 8.2g 4g 1g

Vitamins

Percentage of RDA* Folates 5% Niacin 4% Vitamin B6 4% Vitamin A 67%

Minerals Copper Iron Phosphorus Manganese

2% 1.2% 1.5% 2%

*Recommended Dietary Allowances

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TREAT

|

V EGAN MELON SO R B ET

Veg Mel Sorbet RECIPE BY

STAFF WRITER

A three-ingredient sorbet recipe that is perfect for a hot summer day?

Yes, please!

YIELDS 4 SERVINGS INGREDIENTS

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4 cups cubed melon or cantaloupe 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 tablespoon maple syrup

INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Cube and freeze the melon for two hours. Place the pieces on a lined baking sheet in a single layer. 2. Add the frozen melon to a food processor and process until crumbly in texture. 3. Add the lemon juice and maple syrup to the processor until fully incorporated. Feel free to add more maple syrup to taste. 4. Once smooth, enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container for later. 5. Allow to thaw for 15 minutes before enjoying from the freezer.


Dietary Supplements

TEN

and their WRITTEN BY STAFF

WRITER

Benefits

1.

MULTIVITAMINS Multivitamins are excellent supplements for overall nutrition and health.

6.

PROBIOTICS Probiotics are famous for their bacteria which is known to promote gut health, skin health and immune function.

2.

OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS These supplements are believed to contribute to the health of the heart, eyes and brain and some studies associated them with cancer prevention.

7.

VITAMIN D Vitamin D has been associated with mood, bone health and immune function. The body usually intakes vitamin D from the sun but let’s face it, some of us need more.

3.

MAGNESIUM Magnesium, an important mineral, supports bone and heart health and promotes normal digestion.

8.

4.

IRON Iron enables proper cellular growth, development, and functioning. Many women suffer from low iron levels or anemia and require supplements to boost their iron. This supplement should be discussed with your doctor prior to taking.

COLLAGEN Collagen is the protein responsible for healthy skin and joints. As you age, collagen breaks down, making it harder for your body to produce more.

9.

TURMERIC Turmeric is well-known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Many people with arthritis claim to benefit from taking just one turmeric supplement per day.

5.

FIBER Many people find it challenging to consume sufficient amounts of fiber from whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Fiber supplements make it easy to maintain digestive balance.

10. APPLE CIDER VINEGAR Many claim to experience reduced cholesterol, lower blood sugar levels and weight loss with ACV supplements. What makes these so popular is being able to avoid the unpleasant taste of ACV in its raw form.


THE NEXT U July to September 2022

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