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Vitamins

Are You Getting Your 13 Essential Vitamins Everyday?

It’s no surprise that we’ve all been taking the extra steps to remain healthy and safe during this coronavirus pandemic. Besides socially-distancing, remaining indoors unless absolutely necessary, and wearing protective gear in public settings, there are other things we can be doing from the comfort of our homes to ensure that our bodies, and immune systems specifically, are still running smoothly. 

Did you know that your body needs 13 essential vitamins in order to stay alive and healthy? Obviously, most of us aren’t taking 13 different supplements a day, however, that doesn’t matter as most of these vitamins are commonly found in the foods/beverages we ingest everyday. That being said it’s important, now more than ever, that you’re ensuring you and your family are getting all the vitamins they need to keep themselves up and running. 

“The 13 essential vitamins your body needs are vitamins A, C, D, E, K and the B vitamins: thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyroxidine (B6), biotin (B7), folate (B9) and cobalamin (B12). The four fat-soluble vitamins—A, D, E, and K—are stored in the body’s fatty tissues. The other nine vitamins are water-soluble and therefore must be replenished regularly because they are removed from the body in your urine. Vitamin B12 is the only water-soluble vitamin that is stored in the liver,” according to Reader’s Digest Canada

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The most effective way to make sure your body is getting enough of these 13 vitamins everyday is through a balanced diet from a variety of foods, so here are some of the most commonly ingested foods containing the essential nutrients and vitamins we need:

Vitamin A: Vitamin A’s main purpose is to aid your body in growth and cell development, so if you’re a younger individual, this vitamin is especially important for your body as it navigates puberty. Vitamin A also aids your body in its nail, skin, hair, bone, and teeth growth and it’s been proven to help prevent certain respiratory diseases such as lung cancer. Vitamin A is most commonly found in cold-water fish meat, such as Salmon, or fortified dairy products like eggs. 

Vitamin D: This vitamin is most commonly thought of in relation to the sun, as  sun rays emit Vitamin D that gets absorbed into our skin, however, during a time where our government is telling us all to stay inside, we’ll have to turn to alternative ways of getting our daily dose vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for calcium development, so it’s most commonly found in milk, butter, egg yolks, and fatty fishes. 

Vitamin E: This vitamin specifically keeps your muscles and red blood cells functional, and also serves as a natural antioxidant for your body. Again, this vitamin is commonly found in eggs, you’ll notice there’s a lot of crossover food items on this list, which is great for when you need to plan your weekly meals. It’s also found in vegetable oil, mayonnaise, nuts, seeds, and certain cereals. 

Vitamin K: Vitamin K is mainly used in the body for clotting your blood. No, not in a harmful way, Vitamin K is responsible for helping your red blood cells clot when you get a scrap or cut so that you don’t continuously bleed. It’s most often found in green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, lettuce, and more. 

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Vitamin C: One of the most commonly known vitamins, vitamin C is found in most citrus fruits and vegetables as well. This vitamin is specifically responsible for strengthening your blood vessel walls, which in turn promotes wound healing and supports overall immunity. It’s why we’re often told to take vitamin C supplements when we feel like we’re getting sick. 

As previously mentioned, the following B-vitamins are all water-soluble and excreted from your body through urination, as opposed to the other Vitamins which are totally absorbed into the body, more or less. This is why they need to be replenished within your body everyday. 

Vitamin B1: Essential for maintaining a healthy metabolism/digestive system, commonly found in pork, nuts, seeds, and other grains.

Vitamin B2: Also supports metabolic health and improves on ocular health (eyesight). Most commonly found in dairy products, poultry and raw mushrooms.

Vitamin B3: Benefits metabolic health as well as the body’s natural growth throughout life (hair, nails, teeth, etc.) Mostly found in seafood products, poultry, and eggs. 

Vitamin B5: Aids metabolic health and energy while also stabilizing blood sugar levels when they seem to get too high or low. The best part? Almost every single food item out there has vitamin B5 in it. 

Vitamin B6: The following four B Vitamins are all imperative to our bodies overall immune response/health. They not only promote good metabolic function like the other four, but also play a main role in our bodies nerve function and the creation of red blood cells. Vitamin B6 specifically can be found in meat, fish, cereals, bananas, and leafy green vegetables. 

Vitamin B7: Same benefits as B6, and is found in eggs, soybeans, whole grains, and nuts. 

Vitamin B9: Vitamin B9 carries out all of the functions listed for B6 while also aiding the body in making DNA, RNA, red blood cells, and essential proteins. Vitamin B9 is also extremely important for individuals who are pregnant, as it helps prevent birth defects. It can be found in leafy green vegetables, asparagus, oranges, avocados, and yeast. 

Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is essentially the same exact vitamin as B9, very important, and is found in pretty much all food products that are derived from other animals.

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How To Start Practicing Healthy Habits In Quarantine

Now that we’re all spending an indefinite amount of time in quarantine and isolation, it’s important to maintain healthy lifestyle habits that we can continue on into our everyday lives when this entire pandemic is over. One of the easiest ways to incorporate healthier habits within your life is to try to repeat it everyday at the same time in a typical routine fashion, and since we’re all remaining in our homes, we now have an extensive amount of time to create these routines. 

Routines in general are really important, especially when it comes to blending your professional life with your home life in times of remote isolation. Waking up at the same time as you normally would for work, and setting up designated times for meals and other everyday chores is important for keeping yourself organized, and your mind more at ease.

It can be extremely easy to get overwhelmed during this pandemic, and understandably so, so when you give yourself an organized daily schedule, it eases the anxiety of needing to map out the many things you have to do during a given day. Instead, you know what needs to get done when, and you can work on sticking to that and creating that new at-home schedule for yourself. 

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Healthy habits that you can start incorporating into your every day routine that will help keep your mind, body and soul stay happy and healthy include getting exercise daily, eating fresh food/fruits and vegetables, doing yoga/meditation/mindfulness exercises that can give you positive affirmations everyday, and reducing overall screen times; which I’m sure we’ve all been over-indulging in the past few weeks. 

To make incorporating these habits into your routine easier, start small, and practice the new habit at the same time everyday, make sure you’re writing it into your schedule as well. Visually seeing something like “Yoga at 6 p.m.” written out on a physical schedule will motivate you more to actually do it, as the satisfaction of checking off all your “to do “ boxes everyday is just too good of a pleasure to deny yourself. 

Start by also setting small goals for yourself to incorporate these habits. For example, you could make it a personal goal to not check your phone for the first hour of your morning and instead just focus on yourself and getting ready for the day. With constant coronavirus updates clogging every feed on the internet, getting overwhelmed just by unlocking your phone has never been easier, so make it a point to step outside of that digital world as much as you can. 

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Write down your goals as they develop more and more within your routine. Maybe you start by writing the goal to not check your phone for one hour in the morning, and then later you extend that to include one hour before bed as well, and then one hour in the middle of the day, and so on. Like having a physical schedule written out in front of you can help ease your organizational anxiety, actually writing out these goals can make them seem much less scary. 

This is because once you have the general goal on paper, you can create sub-goals within that new habit that will help you to accomplish it. Be consistent about it, repetition builds habits and trains your brain to view whatever activity/habit/goal you’re working towards as much more feasible, and as time goes on you’ll eventually get to a place where you feel unsettled if you miss your daily yoga because of how consistently you’ve been doing it. 

If you mess up and miss a few days, or procrastinate all week on one assignment, or even spend 48 hours binge watching The Office, don’t judge yourself. This pandemic is new territory for all of us, and frankly, no one really knows what’s going on at all times, so find the comfort in the fact that we’re all in this together and just figuring out quarantine life as we go.

Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus: What Are The Risks Of A Virus Outbreak?

Since news broke that the coronavirus has been identified in China and has now spread further afield, many have been unsure as to what this means and the potential risks posed. So what are the risks associated with the outbreak of a new virus?

The most important factor is the nature of the virus and how it manifests itself in its host. The coronavirus is known to cause respiratory illness in humans but in the vast majority of cases the patient will recover quickly. As with all viruses, if a person’s immune system or general health is already compromised through illness or due to their current medication, there is a far greater risk of complications, some of which could be fatal.

Indications so far suggest that the coronavirus is airborne, meaning that it can be passed from one person to another through close contact. One medical professional in China who contracted the virus himself stated that the virus could be contracted through the eyes. Airborne viruses are much more worrying for health professionals and the wider community, as they are much more difficult to control. The delay between contracting the virus and displaying symptoms can also hamper efforts to contain the spread, as the longer the incubation period, the harder it is to determine who is likely to have been infected and could then be infecting other people. Health experts have suggested that the incubation period for coronavirus is around 14 days, and it has not been determined whether those infected are contagious prior to symptoms beginning.

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As more cases across the world are identified, it is natural to feel a degree of panic as to what this might mean. Naturally any spread of a new virus is of concern, as it can affect more vulnerable members of the community, such as the elderly, children or the sick. Although coronavirus is not deadly to the vast majority of healthy individuals, there will be those who contract it that could die as a direct result. This fear is further heightened by the risk of coronavirus entering hospitals and other care facilities, where the vast majority of individuals there will be considered high risk. There is also a worry with new viruses which are yet to be fully analyzed, as they may have additional undiagnosed health risks for certain people; such as the Zika virus causing birth defects if contracted by the mother during pregnancy.

When a virus is on the move, many simply want to know what steps they can take to help stop the spread of infection. In China particularly, but elsewhere too, some people choose to wear face masks to help prevent them catching viruses and other airborne bugs. The general advice given so far is similar to general viruses such as the flu; wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds with soap, avoid touching the face, mouth and nose with unwashed hands and try to avoid those who are sick or unwell.

If you have been in contact with someone who has since been diagnosed with coronavirus, don’t panic. If you are not displaying symptoms, there is nothing that can be done yet, so there is no need to visit a health facility. If you do begin to display symptoms, phone your health care provider and explain your symptoms and the reason why you are concerned it could be coronavirus – this will either be because you have recently traveled to the affected area, or because you have been in contact with someone who then became unwell with the virus. There are different regional procedures in place for handling potential new cases of coronavirus, so check online to determine what the next steps are in your particular locality.

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There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus, and the focus is on managing the symptoms until your immune system is able to naturally fight it off. For the vast majority of people infected with the virus, they will experience a short period of feeling unwell, accompanied by a headache, runny nose, cough, sore throat and fever. Very much like with the panic surrounding Bird Flu several years ago, there are countless viruses circulating at all times of the year, and so just because you are displaying flu-like symptoms, does not mean that you have contracted coronavirus.

If you or someone close to you is displaying flu-like symptoms, ensure that they rest up, take plenty of fluids and take regular over the counter pain relief to ease any discomfort. Usually the symptoms will subside after a few days, but if there are any causes for concern or health begins to deteriorate, call your healthcare provider as soon as possible for advice.

A final point to note is upcoming travel plans. To help contain the virus and avoid it spreading further, it is normal procedure to place limitations on travel both in and out of the affected areas. If you are planning to travel to China in the near future, be sure to check the latest travel information and advice with your airline well before your planned journey.

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The Annual Doctor Visits You Need To Stop Avoiding

If you find yourself in the privileged position of being young, healthy, and fully able-bodied, then it’s easy to take advantage of how well you have it to the point where you can’t even remember the last time you went to get a standard physical exam. The fact is, as we grow older, it’s easier for us to mentally push off going to the doctor for our annual check-ups because we find ourselves so busy with the real world. 

This can become an issue because we end up only ever going back to the doctor when we deem it extremely necessary, like when we have a severe fever. Pushing off standard exams decreases the chances of catching more serious medical ailments that you might not even know you have as well. How many horror stories have we seen where an individual would have received a better diagnosis had they not pushed off going to the doctor. 

Life can get extremely busy as we grow older, so it’s understandable that going to the doctors just for a physical would be relatively low on your list of priorities, however, it should be the opposite. To make the process easier, try to set a fixed time of year that you can make all of your appointments for to get them all out of the way. Many chose to get their annual check-ups at the beginning of the year, as that’s when newer insurance policies also tend to go into effect.  

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So what appointments should you be making to ensure that you remain completely happy and healthy with the new year? As mentioned, it’s extremely important to stick to getting an annual physical exam from your primary care physician (the doctor you would go to when you’re feeling sick). 

“Typically, these appointments will simply involve your doctor checking your vitals, including your heart rate, cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight to make sure everything looks good and normal. During these appointments, your primary care physician can assist in creating health goals with you, which your doctor will check on at the next annual appointment. These examinations are usually quick and painless, and almost always covered by insurance,” wrote Mackenzie Dunn, a lifestyle content creator.

Next, you’ll need an oral exam from the dentist, which is normally followed by a cleaning. Brushing your teeth twice a day accompanied by flossing is the standard for oral health, however, getting a real cleaning and exam from your dentist ensures that your teeth and gums are as healthy as they can be. 

The American Dental Association recommends you get a cleaning twice a year, or every six months. Oral exams and cleanings will ensure that you don’t show any signs of cavities, gum disease, or dental decay, and if you are showing signs, your dentist will be able to provide the best course of treatment for returning your oral health back to what it should be. 

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Next you’ll need a dermatologist appointment. Typically, people think you should only go to the dermatologist if you suffer from acne or any other skin irritations/abnormalities, however, this could not be further from the truth. One in five people develop skin cancer at some point during their life, even if you have the clearest skin out of everyone you know, you never know what beauty mark or mole could have the potential to grow into something much more serious. Luckily, melanoma can be one of the most treatable forms of cancer, when it’s caught early; hence the emphasis on getting an annual exam! 

Finally, if you’re biologically female, it’s extremely important that you visit the OB-GYN at least once a year for an annual pelvic exam and pap smear, especially if you’re 21 or older and/or sexually active. These exams ensure that your reproductive health is normal, and like any other exam that everything is functioning the way it should be. 

“At this visit, you can expect to have a breast exam and a pelvic exam. Your doctor will check for any lumps or abnormalities in your breasts and examine your reproductive organs both internally and externally, but the entire process lasts about 10 minutes and is fairly painless,” says Dr. Taraneh Nazem, a reproductive endocrinologist at Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York. 

While these exams can often seem like an annoying obligation, it doesn’t excuse avoiding them for the sake of laziness. Your health is a privilege and one that should not be taken advantage of, so do what’s best for you and your body and take all the sick days you need to get them all done. When you’re much older and able to witness the birth of your great-grandchild, it will surely be worth it.