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ADHD During a Pandemic: How to Help Your Child Stay on Task

ADHD During a Pandemic: How to Help Your Child Stay on Task

ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is more common than ever among schoolchildren. Children with ADHD are easily distracted, impulsive, often fidget, and struggle to pay attention or focus on the task at hand, such as listening to a class lesson or completing an assignment. Over the last few decades, great strides have been taken to help children with ADHD improve their symptoms and perform better in the classroom. However, the recent pandemic has seen an upswing in children who are again struggling to keep up with school work. 

What causes ADHD?

ADHD is a result of less activity in the part of the brain that controls attention or imbalances in brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters. Children with ADHD are either predominantly hyperactive/impulsive or predominantly inattentive. Predominantly hyperactive/impulsive children display more fidgety or disruptive behaviors while predominantly inattentive children simply struggle to focus attention. 

ADHD Treatments

Providers treat ADHD by two different methods–medication and therapy. The most successful treatment of ADHD combines both medicine and therapy. Stimulant medications are the most commonly prescribed and best medicinal treatment for ADHD. Certain non-stimulant medicines are also sometimes used but are believed to carry a higher risk for the patient. Talk therapy and support therapies such as social skills therapy can help children with ADHD learn how to cope with struggles. It may also boost their self-esteem, as well as teach them how to get along well socially. 

The role of the parent or guardian is as crucial in the treatment of ADHD as therapy and medication. Parents or guardians can help their ADHD child stay on task with the implementation of a daily written schedule or routine. This schedule should include all tasks to be completed from the time they wake up to bedtime. Tasks include basic daily activities such as eating breakfast, brushing teeth and hair, and getting dressed, as well as any home tasks such as chores or homework. 

Parents are also their children’s biggest advocate at school. They should ensure the school treats their child’s ADHD virtually through special education and modifications to help the child stay on task. IEPs and 504s should be in place for any student with ADHD.

ADHD and Coronavirus Pandemic

ADHD doesn’t place your child at a greater risk for contracting coronavirus. However, the pandemic could still affect their condition. Behavioral health experts have seen a rise in ADHD children who are struggling to keep up with schoolwork due to distance learning and other hurdles caused by the pandemic. Luckily, parents and children can implement a number of measures to help ease ADHD struggles.

  • Create a new daily schedule/clear routine for distance learning. Work with your child’s teacher or teachers to create the best schedule to manage their ADHD during the pandemic. Ensure the schedule includes breaks that detail activities for the child to do to unwind. 
  • Make sure teachers continue to implement learning modifications and adjusted them to fit distance learning. 
  • Create one space for everything. Students are using a plethora of learning and streaming programs for distance learning. A child with ADHD may become overwhelmed by the various links and programs they must access each day. They may benefit from consolidating links and schedules all in one place. Consider using a Google Document since Google Classroom is a commonly used program among schools. Parents should work with the child’s teacher to create this designated starting place.
  • Develop daily/weekly checklists and scheduled check-ins. Again, parents and teachers should work together to create daily and weekly checklists to help children with ADHD stay on top of school tasks and assignments. Ask to schedule regular check-ins between the child and their teachers to give them opportunities to address problems or questions.
  • Ask for non-screen work. It’s no secret that too much screen time is detrimental especially to children who are already struggling with attention or learning disabilities. Parents should talk with their child’s school or teachers to find out if paper assignments are available to complete and return to the school to help reduce screen time. 
  • Use tools like text-to-speech to help children stay on task. ADDitude Magazine offers a great list of assistive technology apps and extensions to help students struggling with schoolwork.

Has your child been struggling with ADHD-like behaviors for longer than six months? It could be more than just struggles of learning during a pandemic that are causing your child to have problems. At Mantachie Rural Healthcare, we diagnose and treat ADHD with combined work between your child’s healthcare provider and our behavioral health specialists. Don’t let your child struggle through another semester when help is just a call away. Request an evaluation appointment today at 662-282-4226 or through our website.

Teens Active in Extracurriculars Have Stronger Mental Health

Teens Active in Extracurriculars Have Stronger Mental Health

Teens who participate in extracurricular activities tend to have better mental health than those who do not, according to a recent study published in the journal Preventive Medicine. The study, conducted among more than 28,000 seventh grade students across 365 schools in British Columbia, found that those who played sports or participated in the arts had fewer mental health issues than students who spent their free time behind a screen. 

This should come as no surprise. Physical activity and practicing a hobby or art are known to boost teens’ mental health. But in a pandemic year when many activities have been greatly altered or sidelined altogether, teens must get more creative and independent with keeping themselves busy and off the screens. 

How to Maintain Extracurricular Activities During the Pandemic

Many sports and activities have managed to continue in some capacity this year while others haven’t fared as well. Whether your child is participating in an extracurricular that is active this year or holding out for next year, it’s important to keep them on track and in practice for their chosen outlet. 

Encourage them in any way you can. Be a listening ear when they are practicing their music scales or volunteer to play the catcher when they want to practice their curveball. If your budget allows, spring for socially distanced lessons to help them improve their chosen sport or art. If not, check out the many free resources online including YouTube. Yes, we know this means putting your teen behind a screen. However, this counts as productive screen time and you can monitor their progress and lessons to ensure they’re not getting distracted. 

Limited Screen Time is Key to Teens Mental Health

The British Columbian study found that boys and girls overall fared far better mentally with less than two hours of screen time in addition to participating in extracurriculars. Even if your child can’t attend a band practice or art lesson, you can still limit their screen time. And you can encourage other productive activities like reading or learning a life skill. 

We know that limiting screen time during a pandemic is harder than usual. But we and other medical experts believe that making this sacrifice will ultimately reward you and your children in the long run. If your teen is struggling to stay strong mentally, we can help. Mantachie students can begin seeking help at our school-based clinic and continue treatment at our main clinic. Dial 662-282-4226 or request an appointment online to learn more. 

Everything You Need to Know About a Plant-Based Diet

Everything You Need to Know About a Plant-Based Diet

The plant-based diet is a buzzphrase heard more and more in healthcare clinics and even in everyday conversations among friends. But what exactly is the eating strategy behind the buzzphrase? And why do more experts than ever insist that a plant-based diet is the way to go for optimum health?

The Truth About Plant-Based Diets

Despite some beliefs, the term plant-based diet is not another term for a vegetarian or vegan diet. Rather, plant-based diets are focused on eating more foods from plants than other food sources such as meat and poultry. Plant-based diets also avoid processed foods and refined sugars. People who follow this plan might be flexitarian, or semi-vegetarian, in which they mostly consume food from plants, as well as eggs, dairy, and the occasional meat, poultry, fish, or seafood. Pescatarian diets are similar to flexitarian without the consumption of meat or poultry. Vegetarians include egg and dairy products in their diet while vegans consume no animal products at all. 

Another myth about plant-based diets is that people on these diets are often tired and don’t get enough fats and proteins. A well-rounded plant-based diet includes plenty of healthy fats and proteins through certain plant-based oils, nuts, seeds, legumes, and beans. 

Why Plant-Based Diets Are Good for Your Health

Plant-based diets have been rising in popularity over the last several decades for a number of reasons. The long-standing and still highly recommended Mediterranean diet is a plant-based flexitarian diet. It also includes fish, eggs, yogurt, and cheese a few times per week with meat and poultry less often. This diet has been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndromes, and depression. It’s also been known to reduce the risk of certain cancers including breast, colon, and prostate cancers. Older adults who follow the Mediterranean diet also enjoy a lower risk of frailty and better mental and physical health. 

You don’t have to follow the Mediterranean diet to get health benefits. Any diet that focuses on whole foods from plants and other natural food sources is better for your overall health and wellness than a diet based on processed and refined foods. Plant-based diets have also been linked to needed weight loss. This also lowers the risk of certain conditions like diabetes and heart disease. 

How to Start Following a Plant-Based Diet

Beginning a plant-based diet is actually easier than it sounds. The first step is to add more fruits and veggies to your shopping list and incorporate servings into each meal or snack of the day. You’ll also want to include other plant-based foods like good fats such as olive oil, olives, nuts, nut butter, seeds, and avocados. The next step is to increase the number of fruits and veggies on your plate while reducing the amount of meat to a garnish rather than the main course. Make sure you’re including at least one good portion of greens on your plate each day. Try to mix it up among different greens like spinach, kale, or collards. Keep your diet fresh by changing up how you cook your veggies for each meal. 

Experts also recommend consuming at least one all-vegetarian meal per week that includes whole grains, beans, and veggies. You should also build at least one meal a week around a salad and consume whole grains for breakfast each day. Yummy whole-grain breakfast options include oatmeal, quinoa, buckwheat, and barley, which can be paired with fruit, cinnamon, and other plant-based flavors. 

Although a plant-based diet is considered to be good for just about everyone, it’s always best to discuss any new diet changes with your healthcare provider or dietitian first. We can discuss your diet concerns and proposed changes at your next wellness appointment with Mantachie Rural Healthcare. Call 662-282-4226 or click here to request your wellness visit now. 

Who Will Be the First to Receive the Covid-19 Vaccine?

Who Will Be the First to Receive the Covid-19 Vaccine?

As this is being written, the first round of British citizens has received a new COVID-19 vaccine by the Pfizer company. If approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the same vaccine could be shipped to the U.S. by mid-December 2020. Another vaccine by the Moderna company is also in line for approval. If all works out, both vaccines will be in use by January. The question is, who gets the first round of vaccines in the United States?

Two elderly people were the first to receive the vaccine in the UK (Britain). The US, however, plans to take a slightly different path with the first rollout of immunizations. Instead, US healthcare workers, who are considered at the highest risk for contracting covid-19, will receive the first round of vaccines along with residents of nursing homes and long-term healthcare facilities. Residents of these facilities have so far accounted for 39% of deaths caused by Covid-19 in the US. 

What We Know About the COVID-19 Vaccines So Far

At this time, both Pfizer and Moderna have vaccines at the ready to be distributed upon authorization by the FDA. When approved, the first doses will be shipped out within 24 hours. Both vaccines will require a second dosage. Pfizer’s vaccine requires a boost three weeks after the first dose. Similarly those who receive the Moderna vaccine will need a second dose after four weeks. 

Who will Decide Who Gets the COVID-19 Vaccine First?

Choosing which healthcare workers will be the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine is a decision that will be left up to each state. Right now, each state has a designated group of experts deciding who is at the highest risk. Some states may elect to vaccinate critical care nurses and physicians along with respiratory therapists and other workers who risk the most exposure to the virus. Others could decide to vaccinate their oldest healthcare workers first along with those working the frontlines. At this time, Mississippi plans to issue the first round of vaccines to frontline healthcare workers. 

After frontline workers and long-term care residents have been vaccinated, essential workers will be the next to receive the vaccine. Essential workers include but are not limited to employees in law enforcement, emergency response, food and agriculture, transportation, manufacturing, and education. Some states may prioritize certain industries that have been more affected. Arkansas, for example, intends to prioritize poultry workers, who have taken a hard hit during the pandemic. Each state will make these decisions based on its individual needs and demands. 

Adults with medical conditions that place them at a higher risk for serious illness as well as adults over 65 will be the next group to get immunized. Some states may elect to prioritize vaccinating elderly over 75 first. After that, the vaccine will be open to all healthy adults in the US by May or June if all goes accordingly. 

What You Can Do Now to Protect Yourself

By publication of this article, the first rollout of vaccines should be available in the US. However, it will still be months before all of those at risk of the virus can receive the vaccine. That means we must continue to wear masks and socially distance from one another until the vaccine is readily available to all. Continue to avoid large gatherings and be smart when you must go out in public. If you develop symptoms, quarantine yourself from others immediately, and contact your healthcare provider to schedule a testing appointment. 

Mantachie Rural Healthcare is available Monday through Friday. If you are sick and need an appointment with us, dial 662-282-4226. 

Vitamin D, Coronavirus, and Your Overall Health

New studies reveal interesting and pertinent information about vitamin D and the coronavirus that could just save lives.

Over 80 percent of hospitalized coronavirus patients also have a vitamin D deficiency. These patients also have higher blood levels of inflammatory markers However, there is no link between lower levels and severity of the disease. In another study, Spanish researchers gave 50 patients a prescription of vitamin D. One participant went into intensive care. No participant died. Half of the 26 patients who did not receive the vitamin needed intensive care and two of them passed away.

Another US study found patients with adequate vitamin D levels were less likely to become unconscious or die from covid-19. 

What the Latest Research Means for Treating Covid-19

So what does all of this research mean in the treatment of covid-19? The answer is still unknown. Many new studies are being conducted as we speak. Some research suggests a link between vitamin D and the C-reactive protein, a marker for severe covid-19. Others are looking at how vitamin D relates to coronavirus’ cytokine storm. A cytokine storm occurs when the body’s immune system starts attacking its own cells and tissues rather than fighting the virus. 

Interestingly enough, researchers who took a look back at the 1918-1919 Spanish flu pandemic found that patients with sufficient vitamin D levels were also able to fight off the disease rather than succumb to it. This and other recent studies on vitamin D and its effects on overall health lends more credence to the fact that vitamin D is a significantly vital nutrient to our wellness. 

Vitamin D is also crucial in fighting other diseases such as multiple sclerosis and heart disease. It helps strengthen your bones and prevent osteoporosis, a bone disease that causes the bones to be brittle and weak. Vitamin D can also decrease depression and boost weight loss. It’s important to note that people with vitamin D deficiencies are more likely to experience depression. If you are a frequent sufferer of depression, talk with your healthcare provider about your vitamin D levels. If they are low, your provider can help. 

Why People Have Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin. That means people with a deficiency must suffer from lack of sunshine. Right? Well. You’re not totally wrong, though there are other factors that can contribute. For instance, people with darker skin have a harder time absorbing vitamin D from the sun. Pollution, sunscreen, and living in big cities where buildings block the sun also contribute. And yes, staying indoors too much is a factor. 

How to Get the Vitamin D You Need

First, talk with your provider before beginning any supplement and find out if you need one. Vitamin D overdose is a real thing and it’s just as dangerous as being deficient. In addition to supplements there are many delicious food alternatives that provide the vitamin D your body needs. Options include salmon, sardines, shrimp, egg yolk, and fortified milk, cereal, yogurt, and orange juice. 

Concerned about your vitamin D levels? This another great subject to discuss with your provider during your annual checkup. The end of the year is quickly approaching. If you haven’t scheduled a wellness visit this year, now is the time. Give us a call today to schedule your appointment.

How Will Covid-19 Precautions Affect Flu Season?

Covid-19 continues to spread as traditional flu season approaches. Many are wondering, will covid-19 precautions affect flu season?

As the start of the average flu season begins, epidemiology numbers are the lowest they’ve been in recent history. The only states in the US to show moderate flu activity at the time this was written were Iowa and New Mexico. Current CDC data shows an average of 0.1% of specimens testing positive for the flu.

These incredibly low statistics are likely due to current social distancing, handwashing, and mask guidelines. This data shows that the measures do work to slow the spread of contagious illnesses. 

Numbers are considerably low this year compared to most. But the flu is still something everyone should take seriously. Covid-19 and influenza are similar illnesses with equally similar symptoms. However, each require their own treatment. 

Who Should Be Concerned About Flu and Coronavirus?

Everyone young and old should get the flu shot as a precaution. Pregnant women, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are still the most critical recipients of the flu vaccine. Practice the same social distancing, mask, and flu guidelines already in place to help slow the spread of flu germs. 

Both viruses can be deadly for some and mild for others. It’s those who are more likely to suffer from serious consequences who must be considered. 

What Should I do if I Develop Flu or Coronavirus-related Symptoms?

Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you develop a fever, chills, nausea and/or vomiting, or cough. You need to be tested for both viruses and get treatment for your symptoms. Follow their guidelines for social distancing while you are at the clinic. Some clinics will treat and test you from your car. You should quarantine yourself for at least 10 days to help prevent the spread of illness. Exposed household members should do the same for precaution.

Are you experiencing symptoms related to flu or covid-19? Contact Mantachie Rural Health Care immediately to set up an appointment for testing and care. 

The Top 10 Medical Innovations of 2020

2020 has been quite the year for the medical world with the world’s first true pandemic in a century. You may have missed the many new innovations in medicine, surgery, and medical technology that improve the health and lives of patients all over the world. Today we’re reviewing the top 10 medical innovations of 2020, according to Cleveland Clinic. 

Dual-Acting Osteoporosis Drug

Osteoporosis causes the bones to become weak and brittle resulting in the patient being more susceptible to fractures. Unfortunately, the symptoms of osteoporosis are silent and the patient has no control over preventing fractures. This new medicine has bone-strengthening power which helps prevent future breaks. 

Expanded Use of Minimally Invasive Mitral Valve Surgery

In about 1 in 10 people over the age of 75, the heart’s mitral valve is defective causing regurgitation. The mitral valve pumps blood from the left atrium to the left ventricle. This year, approval for the minimally invasive corrective surgery to repair defective mitral valves was expanded to a wide new range of patients giving more people access to this much-needed treatment. Medical experts and heart patients alike consider this a huge win for the healthcare field. 

Introductory Treatment for Transthyretin Amyloid Cardiomyopathy

Known as ATTR-CM, this cardiovascular disorder is progressive, underdiagnosed, and potentially fatal disease that had no medication or other successful treatment option until this year. But after breakthroughs in 2017 and 2018, the FDA finally approved the drug tafamidis for treatment. 

New Treatment for Peanut Allergies

Peanut allergy is a terrifying food allergy affecting millions of children causing them to be unable to breathe after contact with the allergen. So far, emergency epinephrine is the only treatment to stop allergic reactions from peanut allergies but now a new treatment could help. An immunotherapy drug that builds up a tolerance in the body to peanuts has been successfully developed and is being tested as we speak that could save the lives of peanut allergy sufferers. 

Closed-Loop Spinal Cord Stimulation

A popular treatment for chronic pain and alternative to opioid medication is a spinal cord device that provides electric stimulus to the spinal cord. However, overstimulation and subtherapeutic results are a common downside from the treatment. New closed-loop spinal cord simulation technology allows for better communication to the device and better treatment results.

Biologics in Orthopaedic Repair

Recovery from orthopaedic surgery can take months, but developments in the use of biologics–cells, blood components, growth factors, and other natural components–are showing promising signs of speeding up the process. 

Antibiotic Envelope for Cardiac Implantable Device Infection Prevention

Each year, about 1.5 million patients around the world receive an implanted cardiac device. Unfortunately, infection remains a potential issue for these patients as long as the device is implanted. Now, antibiotic envelopes will encase these devices, preventing infection. 

Bempedoic Acid for Cholesterol Lowering in Statin Intolerant Patients

High cholesterol causes heart attacks and strokes. Statins are drugs used to lower cholesterol in people who are unable to do so with proper diet and exercise. Though statins save lives, the drugs also cause muscle pain in many patients. Bempedoic acid has been proven to be a viable alternative to statins without the painful side effects. 

PARP Inhibitors for Maintenance Treatment of Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is one of the most deadly cancers affecting women today. PARP inhibitors block the repair of damaged DNA in tumor cells, increasing cellular death and slowing disease progression. This treatment is key in improving progression-free survival of advanced stages of the disease and is now approved for first-line maintenance treatment for patients. Several large-scale trials of PARP inhibitors in the treatment of cancer are currently underway. 

Drugs for Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction

Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, better known as diastolic heart failure, occurs when the ventricular heart muscles contract normally but do not relax as they should. This causes the heart to be unable to fill up with blood properly. Previously, there were no treatments that increased life longevity. SGLT-2 inhibitors, a treatment currently used for diabetes, is being tested as the first real treatment option for this deadly condition. 

What Happens When You Quit Smoking: A Timeline

What Happens When You Quit Smoking: A Timeline

Following through on your decision to quit smoking is hard. Especially in the beginning. But, if you can tough it out through those crucial first few days and weeks, your body and health will reward you later. You don’t have to wait long to start noticing (good) changes in your body. In fact, your health begins improving just 20 minutes after your last cigarette. Here’s what you can expect.

20 Minutes

Your blood pressure and pulse rates return to normal a mere 20 minutes after your last puff. Your hands and feet warm to normal temperature, too. 

8 – 12 Hours

Your blood now contains half the nicotine and carbon monoxide it had after your last smoke. Unfortunately, you’ll be able to feel this change through cravings and doubts about quitting. Push through it. These cravings typically only last about 5-10 minutes. Four short hours later, your heart is rejoicing because it no longer has to pump as hard. Your carbon monoxide levels are also now completely normal.

24-48 Hours

Your risk of a heart attack has lowered after just one day. After 48 hours, your sense of smell and taste have sharpened as the nerve endings in your nose and tongue heal. Your lungs are also expelling nasty mucus and gunk. You may feel tired, hungry, anxious, or dizzy. These are normal withdrawal symptoms. Warning: These symptoms will worsen before they get better. Keep going. After a couple of weeks, you’ll notice great improvement. If you have asthma, you may experience worsened symptoms in the first 48 hours. This is also normal and symptoms typically improve around day 3.

72 Hours

By day three your lungs are stronger and clearer. The fatigue you felt the day before is gone and you’ll have notably more energy.

Two Weeks to Three Months

The worst withdrawal symptoms should be over and your risk of a heart attack continues to decrease. Your blood flow has already improved and if you exercise you’ll notice you are less winded. 

Three to Nine Months

Your breathing is deeper and clearer. Your coughs are now helpful and you’ll likely have fewer colds and other respiratory illnesses. 

One Year

Congratulations! You’ve hit a major milestone. Your body rewards you with a better heart. Your risk of heart disease is cut in half. Celebrate your achievement!

Five Years

In half a decade, your risk of a stroke and cervical cancer are equivalent to that of a person who has never smoked. Your risk of mouth, throat, esophageal, and bladder cancer has also decreased by half. 

10 Years

You are now half as likely to die of lung cancer as a smoker. Your risk of developing laryngeal or pancreatic cancer has dropped significantly. 

15 Years

Your chances of heart disease are now the same as a person who has never smoked. Time to celebrate again!

What You Need to Know About Antibiotics

What You Need to Know About Antibiotics

Antibiotics are one of the most misunderstood types of medicine in the world. Many people misuse them simply because they don’t know any better. However, misusing these medications can result in serious consequences which is why the information in today’s blog is so important. Take a look at what you need to know about antibiotics.

What are antibiotics?

These medications stop bacterial infections. First discovered about a century ago during the 1920s, they advanced modern medicine forever. Surgeries became safer and doctors now cured bacterial infections many of which they considered deadly before the discovery.

Doctors prescribe two main types of antibiotics, broad-spectrum and narrow-spectrum. As the name suggests, broad-spectrum treats a wide range of infections while narrow-spectrum treats specific types of infection. The varying types of antibiotics are important reasons why you should never give someone else one of these medications which were prescribed for you.

Types of infections treated with antibiotics include:

  • Strep throat
  • Bacterial meningitis
  • Dental infections
  • Skin infections
  • Whooping cough
  • Bacterial pneumonia
  • Bladder or kidney infections

You’ll notice that illnesses like stomach viruses and colds are not listed because these medications cannot treat viruses. In most cases, your provider will tell you to wait out the virus or prescribe an anti-viral drug if one is available for your particular infection.

These drugs can pose a number of side effects including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite. In rarer instances, antibiotics can result in hives, coughing, wheezing, or trouble breathing. These symptoms are signs of an allergy to the specific medication you are taking or they could also be a sign that you are allergic to more than one or all antibiotics. People with known allergies are especially at risk when given an antibiotic prescribed to someone else and they should never, ever take these medications except under the strict prescription and observation of their healthcare provider. 

Other Crucial Information

If you’re a woman on birth control, your healthcare provider should warn you to use other methods of contraception while taking an antibiotic. They can disrupt the effectiveness of your birth control medication. They can also cause vaginal yeast infections in some women.

Overuse of these medications is one of the most common ways people misuse these powerful medicines. Unfortunately, overuse can result in a sometimes deadly resistance to antibiotics. How does this happen? Over time, bacteria adapt and become “super bacteria” that are untreatable with medication. The best way to avoid overuse is to only take medications as your provider prescribes them. If your provider tells you you don’t need this type of medication, listen to them. 

Patient education is important to us and your health often depends on understanding basic health information like today’s details on antibiotics. One way you can increase your understanding of health information is to visit your healthcare provider each year for a primary care checkup. During this appointment, you will have the opportunity to ask any questions you have about your health or general health information. To schedule your primary care appointment with us, click here.

Heart Disease and Artificial Sweeteners

A recent study revealed those who drink sugary and artificially sweetened drinks are at a higher risk for stroke and heart disease. That’s right. A link has been found between heart disease and artificial sweeteners.

The new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology studied 100,000 participants in the Nutre-Net Sante, an online and ongoing cohort study in France. Participants recorded their diet, activity levels, and health status at six-month intervals for the study. The research also found that consumption of sugary beverages are on a rise all around the world and with it, the detrimental effects on consumers’ heart health. 

What You Can Do About Heart Disease and Artificial Sweeteners

The best thing you can do is to stop drinking sugary or artificially sweetened drinks, which is much easier said than done, we know. What’s the best alternative to these beverages? Water, water, and more water. But people who regularly drink sugary drinks have a hard time converting to water drinking. Luckily, there are some great ways you can “sweeten” your water without adding harmful sugar or artificial sweeteners. Take a look at these options. 

Fruit-infused Water

Have you ever soaked a lemon and cucumber wedge in a bottle of water overnight? The results are divine. Lemon and cucumber isn’t the only combo you can use. The great news is, most home retailers offer fruit infusion pitchers just for this purpose. You can even find inexpensive ones at stores like Five Below. These special pitchers come with a tube for fruit that is placed directly into the pitcher of water. Overnight, you will have a new beverage concoction with very little effort on your part. All you have to do is slice the fruit! Here are some other fruit combo ideas that make delicious infused water. 

Strawberry, Basil and Lemon

½  cup of strawberries, five large basil leaves, and one sliced lemon is perfect for strawberry lemonade lovers. 

Honeydew, Cucumber, and Mint

For this concoction, use ½ cup of cubed honeydew, 1 thinly sliced cucumber, and about 10 torn mint leaves. 

Blackberry, Ginger, and Orange

One thinly sliced orange, a half-pint of blackberries, and one two-inch piece of ginger peeled and thinly sliced makes a spicy sweet beverage that’s great for ginger ale lovers. 

Blueberry, Lemon, and Rosemary

½ pint of blueberries, a thinly sliced lemon, and four sprigs of rosemary are all you need. 

Pineapple, Coconut, and Lime

You put the lime in the coconut and drink it up. Not quite but you can throw 1 cup of pineapple chunks, 1 cup of coconut chunks (fresh or frozen), and one sliced lime into a pitcher of water for a nice beachy concoction. 

Watermelon, Kiwi and Lime

One cup of cubed watermelon, one spiraled or diced kiwi, and one lime sliced into circles makes another fun summer drink. 

Pomegranate, Grapefruit, and Mint

½ cup of pomegranate seeds, one sliced grapefruit, and 10 torn mint leaves are a daring combo you should at least try once. 

Mango, Ginger, and Raspberry

For this you’ll need ½ pint of raspberries, 1 peeled and cubed mango, and one two-inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced. 

With all these great recipes, you can fill your fridge with deliciously flavored drinks your entire family can enjoy every time guilt-free. The best part? You can drink as much of these as you want and your healthcare provider will thank you! For more great water infusion recipes check out Pinterest or a quick Google search. 

To learn more about the link between sugary and artificially sweetened drinks, click here.


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