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5 Probiotic Food that Help with Depression and Anxiety

darkchocolate2In our world today, there is most definitely a pill for every ill! From Tylenol to Viagra, It seems that people love to get a prescription and take a pill to not only take care of a medical issue, but also to take care of every day issues that can be taken care of with a healthy lifestyle. For those who don’t like to take prescription drugs, there are many different herbal supplements, vitamins and powders.

One supplement that has been popular in the past few years has been probiotics. Probiotic supplements have been popular, especially with people who have to take antibiotics, or suffer with stomach issues. The fact is, probiotics are very important, and with poor diet and medications, replenishing probiotics is very important. Before you start downing probiotic pills and powders at will, here are a few natural probiotic foods that you can add into your daily plan that can surely help.  Another great thing about these foods, they can help with issues such as depression and anxiety.

1. Almond Milk
This EXTREMELY popular milk alternative is actually a great source of probiotics. Containing bifidobacterium, which helps with physical and mental ailments, almond milk on a daily basis can help keep you feeling good, and a healthier way to eat your cheerios. 🙂

2. Red Wine
This most wonderful alcoholic beverage has actually been a great way to help with heart and stomach problems, and most recently discovered to help with mental problems like anxiety and depression. Let us of course not that with all alcohol beverages, moderation is key (Sorry, I know, I had to say it).

3. Miso Soup
I know for myself Miso soup is not an everyday meal, however maybe it should! Miso soup, is packed with probiotics, and is very popular to help with digestion, and can also be helpful in dealing with anxiety.

4. Pickles
Now before you skip over to #5, let me just say, YES PICKLES! Researchers say that pickles tend to be the most popular choice to help with anxiety and depression, since it is packed with bifidobacterium. Don’t worry, if you don’t like pickles, pickled fruit will work just the same.


#5 Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is one of those “well yeah!” foods when it comes to aiding in depression and anxiety. Also packed with bifidobacterium, dark chocolate, while aids in helping against depression and anxiety, also has been proven to help with health and stomach issues. And of course, who doesn’t like chocolate!

By Chris Haro

The Mighty Power of Music Therapy

The first time I had to set foot into the cancer treatment center, I was scared. I was in a place I never thought I would have to deal with in my life. I sit in the waiting room, and just like any other medical facility, it was quiet, with just the sound of soft music in the background, sounds of intercom calls to doctors, and the sound of pages being turned from the borrowed magazines from the other patients as they wait. sitting there, all you can really do is sit and think of the situation at hand. Since this was the first time I was going to undergo treatment, I was scared of so many things; how would it affect me, how it was going to feel, and would it work. Then after a while, or what seemed like hours, I finally got called in.

EleanorAfter talking with the doctors and nurses, I headed in for my first dose. The nurse who was helping me gave me a nice comforting hug, and said to me, “you are going to do just fine.” I guess I was not good at hiding my feelings after all. Then she noticed that I had my ipod with me, and asked me, “who do you like to listen to?” I told her that I love the old standards, and always wanted to be a crooner like Sinatra, Dean-O, or even Buble. She told me that she loved that thought, and that I should use that dream, and that music to help me during this time. So before I got started, I put my headphones in, and selected that playlist, and started to imagine that dream.

Through my time of battling cancer, I used music as a way to mellow me out, or even to give me energy, or drive to continue on. From the old standards, to Metallica and AC/DC, music was always in my ears. As a musician and theater major, I have always loved music, and as emotionally attached as I already was to it, it meant even more to me to use it to help in my medical and healing process.

We all have music that helps us in some sort of capacity. I have seen small children sing along with the TV as Elmo and the Sesame Street gang sing songs to teach them how to count or do their ABC’s. As teenagers, we dive into music that moves us, helps us through our emotions and to celebrate at dances, graduations and parties. And now as adults, we use music in so many ways in our lives. As a matter of fact, I am listening to music as I write this post! Music can helps us remember the past, enjoy the present moment, and to even ponder the future. It only goes to show that music is and will always be a part of our lives.

It seems that certain studies would agree that music can be a great healing tool. Recently, Medical News Today shared that music therapy is used to help many, and has even helped young cancer patients. Researchers conducted a study with young patients from 11-24 over a three-week period to see music had any effects as they started their treatments. Some of these patients were in the process of very difficult treatments such as stem-cell transplants. Though they were all going through these rigerous treatments, music helped keep their spirits up.

Some patients shared that the music therapy helped build improved relationships with friends and family, even after 100 days. These effects not only helped these patients, they helped the families to see what the patient was going through.  Dr. Joan Haase of Indiana University School of Nursing was quoted as saying,

“Adolescents and young people who are resilient have the ability to rise above their illness, gain as sense of mastery and confidence in how they have dealt with their cancer, and demonstrate a desire to reach out and help others.”

I would have to say that I am sure that not only the young patients benefit from music therapy during these types of moments. Many older patients reach for their favorite music, sing songs and even participate in events to help ease their pain, take their focus to a positive atmosphere, and to give them feelings of strength, courage, and determination.  Music was a part of my therapy, and I have to say, as a patient in remission, that was quite successful.

By Chris Haro



Diabetes and Contact Lenses: A Technological Connection

contactFor millions of people all over the world, diabetes has become a way of life. Not only do diabetics have to monitor their blood sugars, they must be aware of any other health issues that come along with diabetes including heart, eyes and nervous system conditions like Neuropathy.  While many diabetics with type II are able to control diabetes with diet, exercise and pills, Type I diabetics often have to use insulin, have better monitor tools to track their levels at all times. No matter what stage your diabetes is, if you are a diabetic, the key to success is truly a defensive game, monitor where you sugars are at, and do what it takes to minimize the effects diabetics to your body.

Blood sugar monitors have been a huge help for diabetics for many years. Some diabetics have also seen help in pumps, that monitor levels, and can even shoot insulin into the body when needed. These devices can be bulky, troublesome and require lots of care at times, however diabetics are willing to deal with it until something better comes out.

There are some indications that something promising is rising. Google has announced that they are working on a new device that could monitor, and could even possibly help warn you of any issues through your mobile phone and other devices. the amazing part about it is, it is a contact lens.

The thought of the contact lens is that as it fits into the eye just like a regular contact lens, these lenses will have sensors attached to them that though look like glitter, are able to use the tears of the eye to read blood sugar levels. there will also be antennae’s attached that would be no bigger than a fine hair. Developers have also talked about ways to add led lights that would give indication of low or high blood sugar levels.

Though this technology and the Diabetic contact lenses are only in the development stage, it is quite amazing to think that this is something that could be in the near future. If this kind of technology can be a reality, this could possibly open up the door for more of these kinds of devices that could help with all sorts of diseases and disabilities.

Who knows, perhaps they will come up with a cool contact lens that helps us surf the web or watch TV from anywhere! That would be cooler than Google Glass!!

By Chris Haro



Diet Soda and Calories – Empty Calories and What You May Want to Consider

FoodIt is a Thursday afternoon and you have been working heavily on a project. Lunch is way past, and dinner is soooooooo far away! You are thinking about something to eat, however the bowl of candy and left over donuts in the conference room are not on your “healthy” eating plan. The only things that are on your plan are the splenda packets next to the coffee pot and a bottle of honey. Since you are not feeling the inner Winnie the Pooh, you look for something different. Ah, how about a diet soda! Calories are low, and it is not crammed with sugar. Well, before you grab for that Diet Coke and a smile, here are a few things that you might want to consider.

Choose Your Calories
In a recent study given by Johns Hopkins, overweight people who chose to drink diet soda rather than regular soda consumed the same amount of calories throughout the day. Yes, diet soda can have fewer calories than other foods, your body will still be hungry for nutrients rather than overall calories. For instance if a can of Diet Soda has roughly 100 calories, a piece of whole wheat toast with avocado, which also has roughly around 100 calories also has more nutrients, which is what your body is truly looking for. Soda truly is just empty calories, leaving your body hungry, jittery, and can have other negative side effects.

Make A Game Plan For Snacking
If you are on a plan to lose weight, or to just be healthier, just like everything else you do… make a game plan. Plan out your meals throughout the week. Not only does it help you feel more organized, it mentally puts you in a mode of success, rather than being scattered. You have a goal, a mission, and planning you way through it will help you towards success.

Also, make sure you are eating enough calories. Many dieters think that by skipping meals, or eating less than 1,000 calories a day is safe, and in fact it is not. It is important to eat a good amount of calories that works right for you. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting a new health plan.

Always remember, choose healthy snacks such as healthy nuts, fruits, or even a healthy shake! They may have a few more calories than the 100 calorie soda, will be much better calories, more nutrients and will leave you feeling better and more satisfied throughout the day.

So before you grab for you 12 oz can of bubbly empty calorie goodness… check to see if there is a better option first ;).

By Chris Haro



5 Tips to Getting Your New Year’s Resolutions Started in 2014!


It is that time of the year, the time when we look closely at the things that we want to start changing for the new year, and most of the time it is revolving around our health. Giving up smoking and losing weight are definitely at the top of the list for most resolution makers. I am sure you have experienced, or would know that as commending and wonderful these resolutions are, they are most definitely very difficult to maintain. Here are a couple of great tips to get you started on the right track.

1. Don’t spend too much money to get started.

One of the worst things people tend to do is to go crazy with spending on their resolutions. The beauty part of making a resolution for the new year is, you have the year to work out the steps on how you are going to make changes. It is in a sense, your resolution should more like a marathon than a 100 yard sprint. If you are new to exercising or have been gone for a long time, don’t go crazy with spending money on tons of equipment, gym memberships and other stuff. One great note I learned is to start with simple changes, and get some equipment for home. You can get great stuff like jump ropes, speed ladders, dumbbells and stability balls, all each for a great price. Start there, and make your way up as you make those positive changes and increase your healthy habits.

2. Be Transparent
Big changes mean you really need to understand why you have put yourself in the position to make these changes. Many times, these are not easy to swallow answers. The best method truly is to be transparent, and open for change. Get into a group, or find an accountability partner in which you can share your thoughts, concerns, frustrations and victories with! As Brene Brown writes, “Transparency is the birthplace of creativity, innovation, and change.”

3. Do Your Research
A great way to learn and change the way you do things or learn is by consistently researching your subject. If you are looking to lose weight, there are tons of great resources out there to help you with tips on eating right, exercise and focus. Just like in school, the more we focus, study and apply, the more we learn and become successful.  Don’t just make your resolution happen, understand how and why, so you can become more successful in your changes in the future.

4. Journal Your Journey
Learn from your resolution this year and journal your thoughts and circumstances. The amazing thing you will see as you journal is that you can literally see your changes come to life. You can see not only when your biggest changes happened, you can see the changes of your mindset from the beginning of the year to the end. Learn from your past, learn from step one and be encouraged by how far you will have come. The most inspirational moments come when we show ourselves that that we can do it, and then making it happen!

5. Have Fun!
But of course! Your resolution must be fun! It has to be if you are going to make it a change in your life. Find creative ways, ways you will enjoy moving toward your resolution and making it come to life. We are all individuals, so this has to be unique for you. Don’t just do what others are doing, do what works for you, and have a blast doing it. The more you move along in your resolution changes, the more fun you will have with it. So once you have your resolutions, Start to come up with a few things you would like to do that you find interesting to help you along the way, and get it started! Your journey is always better when you are smiling!

Good luck on your journey, and remember, you are worth every effort!

By Chris Haro



Government Shutdown = Healthcare Crisis? How the Shutdown is Already Hurting Families

white mother and infantThe biggest news these days is most definitely the government shutdown. It seems to be that the big focus seems to be who is to blame and who is going to get the federal government working again, however there are many stories that are unheard. Many programs that are set up to help low-income families for food, shelter and health care are either closing or are in danger of being closed with the recent government partial shut down.

Forbes Magazine recently shared that the WIC, the Special Supplemental Nutrition program for women, children and infants, has stopped getting funding from the government. Over 8.9 Million moms and kids under the age of five, who recently live under the poverty line, use the program to get vouchers for healthy food, formula and other items needed through the WIC nationwide.

At the current moment, the WIC is still operating, and helping their current active case load of 50,000 moms. Though they are OK for the moment, at the pace they are going, if they will be in dire need of support if the current government shutdown goes for the long haul.

Other departments are also starting to suffer. The national program, “Head Start” has said that any any chapter that has their fiscal year begin October 1st are in danger of closing, with some closing already. Head Start is an important program for children who live in low-income homes, and suffer with life threatening diseases. Head Start assists these children get the support and medication needed to fight and recover from diseases like cancer.

Many of these programs are listed as “Non-Essential” in the government and therefore are some of the first programs to find funding removed at hard times like these. So as the two sides of the government continue to battle it out, many Americans are looking to find a second game plan to deal with these very serious problems.  Many amazing people have stepped up to help assist, however with all the individuals and families who count on these programs, a need to end the Government shutdown and reformat the financial obligations is needed as soon as possible.


By Chris Haro



Eating Fruit May Help Prevent Aneurysms

FruitIt is not any surprise to hear that consuming fruit, at least 2 servings a day is good for our health. Along with vegetables, fruit has more vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients than anything else we eat.  A new study now shows that eating two servings of fruit a day may also help reduce the risk of aneurysms, specifically an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

With an abdominal aortic aneurysm, the lower part of the aorta that runs through the abdomen becomes enlarged, and if not carefully monitored and treated, you run the risk of it bursting, causing risk of bleeding to death.

Just recently, the journal Circulation conducted a research, analyzing more than 80,000 people between the ages of 46 and 84 from Sweden. In this 13 year study, 1,100 participants had aneurysms, 222 of them which ruptured.

The study showed that those who had two servings of fruit a day had a 25% less chance of developing an aneurysms, and a 43% less chance of having the aneurysm burst. Counsel and Heal, who conducted the study, stated that the antioxidants found in fruit helps fight the inflammation, fighting against the aneurysm.

Counsel and Heal also was quoted by saying,


A high consumption of fruits may help to prevent many vascular diseases, and our study suggests that a lower risk of abdominal aortic aneurysm will be among the benefits,” lead author Dr. Otto Stackelberg, a Ph.D. student in the nutritional epidemiology unit of the Institute of Environmental Medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, said in a press release.”



By Chris Haro



Probiotics Proven to help with Antibiotics side effects


From time to time, we all tend to get that dreaded virus, illness or other issues that cause us to take antibiotics. I know for myself, I do not look forward to these times. Plain and simple, antibiotics kill bacteria, which in turns helps ease viruses and infections. From the beginning of time, there have been many ways that mankind has used any type of “Antibiotics.” In ancient Egypt, many infections were treated with moldy bread, and through the ages folks have used moldy food and soil to treat many types of issues. It was not until the “wonder drug” Penicillin was created that started the antibiotic drug movement.

Though antibiotics have been proven to help rid of the infections and nasty bacteria that builds up, it also has been known to kill good bacteria, giving us a few unpleasant side effects.  It also causes bacterial resistance and many harmful side effects. Though some antibiotics can bring serious effects, many antibiotics are relatively harmless, with at times bring some side effects such as nausea, upset stomach, diarrhea and sensitivity to sunlight.  Be sure that when taking an antibiotic to understand what side effects it potentially may have.

Many researchers today have been showing that if taking antibiotic drugs, it is helpful to take probiotics to help build healthy bacteria in your system.  In a recent study shared at BBC News, researchers found that probiotics helped reduce the percentage of folks who developed C. Difficile-associated diarrhea compared to the 6% of patients that took placebos.  Professor Brendan Wren of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine stated, “The Probiotic approach is a good idea. It could provide a preemptive strike to make sure the balance in your gut is fine.”

There are many different ways to get probiotics today. Of course naturally there is great probiotic foods you can take, such as yogurt, Kefir, Miso soup and Kombucha tea that help get probiotics naturally into your system. In the way of supplementation,  you can find probiotics in many pill, powder and liquid form that costs an average of $15-$40 per month. Probiotics are not only a great idea to combat the conditions associated with antibiotics, it also is a great way to keep your system running great and helping you feel great.

So if you need to take that dreaded antibiotic for that nasty bug or infection, be sure to try some probiotics as well and see for yourself  if it helps you not get that BLAH feeling! Let us know how it works for you!
By Chris Haro

Women and Smoking – Smoking Risks Greater for Women

woman and smokingWhen it comes to equal opportunity for men and women, I am all for it, but apparently it is not so good in terms of smoking. Recent studies has shown how women and smoking post a great health risk than the men. Woman who become smokers have a highter risk of cancer than men. The biggest stat, shared by Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention shares that while men have a 9% increased risk, women have a much larger rate of 19%.

In a study provided by the University of  Tromso in Norway, many of the findings showed that women, even those who smoked less than men, still had a greater risk for cancer and other related health problems. Though there were unable to factor in other risks such a alcohol and diet, they were able to show that out of 600,000 patients recorded, they discovered that the bowel cancer risk was linked to smoking twice as high for women then for men.

So with the new information, many researchers and doctors are asking and debating on whether women are biologically vulnerable to the toxicity effects of smoking tobacco. They are also unsure at this time as to why women who start smoking increase their risk of a heart attack more than men.

Though many studies are still continuing to discover new insights on the effects of smoking on men and women, these recent studies pave a great source of information for women to stop smoking, or to never start.  If you are a current smoker and looking for a way out of it, there are many ways to break the habit, effectively and safely. Many can cut it cold turkey, however there are many that need assistance. Patches, natural methods and also taking medications such as Chantix have been a great way to help people cut the habit and get back to a healthy lifestyle.

Smoking is not a path to a long and healthy life, and when it comes to women and smoking, it looks like there are more reasons for women to cut the habit!

By Chris Haro

E-Cigarette – Healthy Option or Too Risky?

E-CigaretteYou may or may not have noticed a trend in the past few years of smokers who don’t fill the air with harmful smoke, and pollute the air with the nasty cigarette smell, but rather puff on the new e-cigarettes. Many folks claim that the newer e-cigarette is a healthier option, but really not much is known quite yet about the effects. Since 2007, many smokers have switched from traditional tobacco cigarettes to e-cigarettes. Thousands have claimed that it has helped them dramatically reduce the amount of smoking they do, as well as help them quit smoking all-together. If you are a smoker, and want to try out the new e-cigarette, here are a few things to know before you jump in and give them a try.

What is the difference between tobacco and e-cigarettes?
The biggest and most notable difference is the fact that the e-cigarette contains no tobacco. There is no smoke that comes out of the cigarette, and no need for a lighter or match to get started. The e-cigarette is made using a technology that ignites liquid nicotine and turns it into a vapor. Each e-cigarette is made with a rechargeable battery, nicotine cartridge, and a sensor and atomizer that helps turn the liquid nicotine into a vapor to inhale just like cigarette smoke, without the lingering smoke and smell.

Pro’s and Cons of E-Cigarettes
The biggest benefit of the e-cigarette is the elimination of tobacco. Also, traditional tobacco cigarettes have over 300 harmful products in them, that cause more than just bad lungs. With e-cigarettes, you escape from all the harmful chemicals, all except nicotine.

Nicotine, though is not as not as “harmful’ as many of the chemicals in traditional cigarettes, is highly addictive. Though many have been able to get off traditional smoking, many e-cigarettes have just as much nicotine, if not more as tobacco cigarettes.

Not much is know yet about any effects of inhaling tobacco, and e-cigarettes are not regulated by the FDA, making many worried about the lack of studies and any health claims given about e-cigarettes. Many will venture into using the e-cigarettes, however you may want to be cautious about where you use them. Many business still frown on people using them, since many people still see it as smoking. In fact, in DC, a pair of congressmen are working to ban the e-cigarette from indoor business use just like the traditional cigarette.

What are your thoughts? Have you moved to e-cigarettes? Would love to get your feedback on what you think of the devices and if it has helped you quit or reduce smoking, or if it is just another fad.

By Chris Haro

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