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A recent study shows that magnesium deficiency has become rampant lately – almost 80% of Americans do not get enough of this precious mineral.

 

Experts say that magnesium is just as important as calcium and iron because it improves muscle functioning, supports the immune system, and plays a major role in heart health. 

To increase your magnesium intake try adding these foods to your diet: 

  • Boiled spinach
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Nuts like cashews, almonds, and peanuts
  • Black beans and peas
  • Fish
  • Prunes

It’s the age-old debate – bath or shower? Who doesn’t love a nice, hot soak in the tub to unwind? Or how about those steamy, relaxing showers? But which one is healthier? And why? 

First, we focus on the shower. Besides being timesaving and more efficient, here are some other benefits of taking a shower.

  • Reduces tension and improves circulation.
  • Gets rid of headaches and helps with sore muscles.
  • Massages your skin as the water falls.
  • Great for cleaning the body. 

Now for the cons of taking a shower. 

  • You must stand (most likely).
  • Relies on water pressure.
  • Your bathroom becomes a steam room. 

And now let’s take a look at the benefits of taking a bath.

  • Helps treat skin conditions like eczema.
  • Can improve sleep.
  • Good for muscle and joint protection and relief.
  • Helps regulate blood pressure.
  • May improve breathing.

And the cons of taking a bath.

  • Might not be clean (or as clean as a shower).
  • Can affect the body’s pH levels.
  • Strips the body of natural oils. 

So, who is the winner? Either way it comes down to hygiene. Both baths and showers have pros and cons, so it often comes down to a matter of preference and time.  As long as you are getting yourself clean, you are doing good for your body.

Happy Washing!

  • Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A in the form of beta carotene and vitamin C.
  • The nutrients in sweet potatoes are also anti-inflammatory, which means that besides being great tasting, sweet potatoes can help reduce the severity of conditions like asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • In addition, sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin B6.

Recipe: Golden Sweet Potato Brownies 

1 cup butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups peeled and finely shredded sweet potatoes

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the batter just until blended. Fold in the shredded yam. Spread the batter evenly in the greased baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Mix together the confectioners' sugar, butter and milk until smooth. Spread over the brownies while they are still warm.

Recipe: Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Fries 

6 sweet potatoes cut into French fries

2 tablespoons canola oil

3 tablespoons taco seasoning mix

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a plastic bag, combine the sweet potatoes, canola oil, taco seasoning, and cayenne pepper. Close and shake the bag until the fries are evenly coated. Spread the fries out in a single layer on two large baking sheets.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until crispy and brown on one side. Turn the fries over using a spatula, and cook for another 30 minutes, or until they are all crispy on the outside and tender inside. Thinner fries may not take as long.

Continued from Part I…

 

Over time and largely in part to public health efforts, like mask wearing and vaccination, the pandemic could just disappear – like smallpox and Polio – or it might gradually become endemic. 

Host, environment, and virus factors all combine to explain why some viruses are endemic and others are epidemic.  When scientists look at COVID, they see that it is infecting humans with no prior immunity. 

When it comes to environment, the virus transmits better in cold, dry, crowded, confined areas with poor ventilation.  Each virus has its own characteristics, from speed of replication to drug resistance, that’s why we constantly hear of new strains of the COVID virus. 

Scientists say that a virus is more likely to endemic if they become adapted to a “local environment and/or have a continuous supply of susceptible hosts.” In the case of COVID, these would be hosts with zero or low immunity.

Most public health experts currently agree that COVID is here to stay rather than likely to disappear like smallpox, at least for a while. They expect the number of infections to become constant across years with possible seasonal trends and occasional smaller outbreaks.

Experts also agree that the most important thing we can do to help reach a safe level of endemic COVID is to get vaccinated and continue to adhere to COVID-safe practices. By doing this we protect ourselves, those around us, and move together towards an endemic phase of the virus.

For more than two years now, we have been living in a world shattered by a global pandemic. We have lived in a time of masks, isolation, shutdowns, quarantines, vaccines, disease, and unfortunately death.

But at what point do we shift from a pandemic to an endemic? How will we know when the pandemic is officially “over”?

In this two-part article, we hope to answer some of those questions and give you more of an insight into what happens next after these long, scary, confusing years.

First, we need to define a few key words that we have all heard in conversation over the past 2 years.

These words cover the lifecycle of a disease and include outbreak, epidemic, pandemic and endemic.

An outbreak is a “rise in disease cases over what is normally expected in a small and specific location generally over a short period of time. Foodborne diseases caused by salmonella contamination provide frequent examples of this.” 

Epidemics are “essentially outbreaks without tight geographical restrictions. The Ebola Virus that spread within three West African countries from 2014–2016 was an epidemic.” 

A pandemic is an “epidemic that spreads across many countries and many continents around the world. Examples include those caused by influenza A(H1N1) or “Spanish Flu” in 1918, HIV/AIDS, SARS CoV-1 and Zika Virus.” 

The "normal circulation of a virus in a specified location over time describes an endemic virus.” The word “endemic” comes from the Greek endēmos, which means “in population”. An endemic virus is relatively constant in a population with largely predictable patterns.