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While COVID and RSV are two conditions typically highlighted in the news and health reports lately, pneumonia is often overlooked but still just as prevalent, if not more, than the aforementioned.

This month we look at pneumonia and all of the things you need to know about this illness.

What is pneumonia?

An infection of the air sacs in one or both the lungs. Characterized by severe cough with phlegm, fever, chills, and difficulty in breathing. 

What causes pneumonia?

An infection caused by a bacteria or virus. 

How is it spread?

Bacterial and viral pneumonia spread through inhalation of airborne droplets by coughing or sneezing.

What are the symptoms of pneumonia?

Symptoms may include:

  • Cough with mucus or phlegm
  • Fever usually of high grade with chills
  • Fast breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain while coughing
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Feeling very tired or very weak
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Body pain
  • Severely affected patients my cough up blood or show cyanosis (have a blue color around the mouth due to lack of oxygen) 

What is the treatment for pneumonia? 

Both viral and bacterial pneumonia are treated with antibiotics. 

(continued in Part II…)

With February being Heart Health Month, we bring you this feature that highlights the innocent things that you may be doing daily that can be hurting your heart (among other parts of your body) and how to fix it! 

How you cross your legs…  Sitting with your legs crossed at the knees increases your blood pressure.  According to studies, leg crossing increased systolic blood pressure nearly 7% and diastolic by 2%.  Studies say that you should avoid crossing your legs for long periods of time, like 10 to 15 minutes, and get up every half hour or so to walk around and get the circulation moving. 

How you stand… If you are a person who frequently locks their knees when standing, you are no longer efficiently using the muscles that surround the joint.  Therefore, forces to the joint are increased.  Causing this additional stress to you knee joints isn’t helping your heart at all.

How you sleep… If you are a stomach sleeper, this puts your neck in a titled-back position, leading to pain or numbness in your upper extremities.  Nerves are also affected when people sleep on their stomach.  To avoid the pain, numbness and affect to the nervous system, people should avoid sleeping on their stomach. 

How you wear your belt… It sounds strange, we know, but the tighter your belt the more pressure you put on your intra-abdominal area, which can result in acid reflux.  Acid reflux could include a bitter taste in your mouth, burning or pain the upper chest and stomach, a chronic cough or even difficulty swallowing.  Doctors say that your belt shouldn’t be any tighter than your waistband.  You should be able to inhale and exhale comfortably.

February is the month of LOVE... but this month we also focus on getting FIT!

Plus, with it being a leap year you get one extra day of exercising.

You can complete the February Squat Challenge in addition to your current workout or as a standalone workout. Break down the repetitions as many times as you need to do reach the daily goal.

 

Day 1: 50 squats

Day 2: 75 squats

Day 3: 100 squats

Day 4: REST DAY

Day 5: 75 squats

Day 6: 100 squats

Day 7: 150 squats

Day 8: 50 squats

Day 9: REST DAY

Day 10: 100 squats

Day 11: 75 squats

Day 12: 200 squats

Day 13: 50 squats

Day 14: REST DAY

Day 15: 75 squats

Day 16: 125 squats

Day 17: 200 squats

Day 18: 75 squats

Day 19: 150 squats

Day 20: REST DAY

Day 21: 125 squats

Day 22: 150 squats

Day 23: 175 squats

Day 24: REST DAY

Day 25: 50 squats

Day 26: 75 squats

Day 27: 125 squats

Day 28: 300 squats

Day 29: REST DAY

  • Mangoes are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, and they are also an excellent way to replenish potassium lost through exercise or for those who are constantly “on the go.”
  • An average-sized mango can even contain up to 40 percent of your daily fiber requirement, thereby being a great way to curb constipation and irregularity.
  • Mangoes can also help to prevent certain types of cancer and help to lower blood cholesterol levels, too.

Recipe:  Jamaican Jerk Chicken Salad 

  • ½ cup prepared or purchased honey mustard dressing
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • 4 chicken breast halves without skin, boneless
  • 1 tablespoon Jamaican Jerk seasoning
  • 2 large fresh mangoes
  • 10 to 12 cups mixed greens 

Stir together honey mustard dressing and lime zest.  Cover and chill dressing while preparing chicken. 

Rinse chicken and pat dry; sprinkle with Jerk seasoning.  In a large skillet cook the seasoned chicken in hot oil over medium-high heat about 6 minutes on each side until browned and no longer pink.  Thinly slice each chicken breast.

Arrange warm chicken and mango atop greens on four plates; drizzle with the honey mustard dressing.

 

Recipe:  Mango Pork 

  • 2 medium ripe mangoes
  • 1 pork tenderloin, about ¾ pound
  • Cooking spray or olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Hot pepper sauce 

Put pulp of one mango in food processor or blender. Cut the other mango into small cubes.  Trim pork tenderloin and slice into 1-inch thick medallions.  Flatten slices lightly with hand.  Spray a skillet or medium saucepan with cooking spray or add a small amount of olive oil and heat on medium-high.  Brown pork for one minute on each side. Season each side with salt and pepper to taste.  Reduce heat and cook pork another five minutes to cook through.  Remove to plate and add mango to skillet or saucepan. Cook puree about, scraping up brown bits of pork, for about 30 seconds.  Add several drops of hot sauce and the mango cubes.  Toss cubes in puree while heating through.  Spoon sauce over pork and serve with pasta or hot cooked rice.

We are well into the cold and flu season and unfortunately everyone knows someone that has been down and out with cold and flu symptoms this year.  Or even worse, COVID, RSV or pneumonia.

Fortunately, there are some simple ways to help you stay healthy throughout the winter.

Here are five simple ways to stay cold and flu-free:

  1. Load up on garlic.  It contains allicin, which has antiviral properties.
  2. Sweat it out in the sauna.  Sweating helps to release toxins in the body.
  3. Get the proper amount of sleep.  Sleeping helps you to be more energized and helps your immune system fight off germs.
  4. Eat your chicken noodle soup.  It contains anti-inflammatory deliciousness that strengthens disease-fighting cells.
  5. Have your yogurt.  The probiotics help strengthen your immune system by increasing the number of white blood cells in your body.