Plate of healthy food

5 Health Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Start a New Diet

Plate of healthy food

You’ve heard about this great new diet, and it’s promising real results. You hope this diet will work, after having tried so many others before it, and you’re thinking about trying it out, just to see what it’s all about. Before you try out your new diet, one that may or may not work, ask yourself these 5 important questions to make sure that the diet is safe, and to make sure it’s the right diet for you.

1. Does your new diet eliminate certain food groups?

When you start to review the details of your new diet, ask yourself this question: Does the diet require you to eliminate a specific food group, or does it require you to add more of a certain food group? The majority of diets have you eliminating carbs and sugar. At first, this seems like a great solution and you might see quick results when you eliminate breads, sweets, cereals, etc. The problem is that, even after just one month, your body is going to start to react to this change and approach it’s nutrition like it’s in starvation mode. It’s going to take its store of sugars from your muscles and your liver and then it’s going to tell your digestive system to hold as much sugar as possible because you are depriving your body of this component. Now you will start to gain weight as your body starts making more fat. Instead, look for a diet that includes a well-rounded mix of the vital nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy.

2. Does your new diet promise that you only need to make a temporary change?

Does your new diet give you a way to change your eating plan for a short time, and then promises that you can return to your normal eating pattern after you lose the weight? You’ll have short-term “success” for about 6-8 weeks, and then when you go back to your normal way of eating, you will most likely gain all of the weight back, and possibly gain additional weight, as your body tries to adjust to the rapid changes. Instead, look for a diet that teaches you how to eat for life with healthy results.

3. Is it one size fits all?

Most plans are designed for a woman approximately 5’4″ who does moderate exercise. If you don’t fall into this category (i.e., if you are taller or shorter, or if you do more or less exercise, or if you are a man, etc.), you may not achieve the results you want. Instead, look for a diet that teaches you how to modify the plan to fit your specific characteristics.

4. Can I dine out?

Does your new diet allow you to eat out and still make good food choices that will fit into the diet? If not, you have 2 options: a) don’t eat out anymore; or b) go off the diet each time you are going out to lunch or dinner. Neither answer is going to help you stay on the diet long term. Instead, look for a diet that teaches you the skills to choose foods on the menu that fit into your new diet permanently.

5. Do you have to buy special foods or special drinks to stay on the diet?

It may be easy to choose a diet that gives you exactly what you need to eat in the exact portions. You may get a shake that has everything you need to replace a meal, or you may get snacks and supplements to help you stay on the diet. Unless you are prepared to purchase these items for the rest of your life, you increase the chances of failing on your new diet and regaining the weight, when you try to go back to foods that you can buy on your own. Instead, look for a diet that uses a meal plan that you can shop for in your local supermarket.

Before you begin a new diet, ask your doctor for advice on choosing the right diet, especially if you have one or more medical conditions that may need to be closely monitored, or that may be affected by starting a new diet, especially a diet that requires you to eliminate or add certain food groups. By checking with your doctor first, you can develop a comfortable long-term eating plan that balances your unique medical and nutritional needs with a plan for long-term success in terms of taking the weight off and keeping it off. 

For more informative articles on many different healthcare subjects, visit the Avidity Medical Design Blog.

To take an online healthcare course, such as “How to Prevent Disease in Your Body (By Eating Fruits and Vegetables!),” visit Avidity Medical Design Academy.

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Shot of a young medical practitioner using a digital tablet in a hospital

How to Stay Healthy If You Work in the Hospital

nurse holding patient's hand

You’ve just been hired for a new job in healthcare. Your new position involves working in a hospital in your area. It doesn’t matter whether you are working as a doctor, as a nurse, as a therapist, as a medical coder, or as a receptionist in patient scheduling or patient registration. If you work in a hospital, and you interact with patients at any level throughout the day, you have to take steps to keep yourself healthy, not only for the sake of your patients, but for the sake of yourself, your friends, and your family members as well. Staying healthy means walking a fine line between balancing your responsibilities in terms of caring for other people’s health with taking care of your own health. The unfortunate truth is that you have a lot working against you. Since the vast majority of patients are sick people, since they are coming to the hospital, this means exposing yourself to numerous communicable diseases and conditions, especially if you interact with patients, as well as other staff members.

Here are some things you can do to try to minimize your risk of getting sick in the hospital (and consequently becoming a patient yourself):

Hospital Work Can Be Stressful

If you are new to working in a hospital, it means not only opening yourself up to potential physical illnesses but also opening yourself up to potential mental issues as well, in the form of stress. Although for some positions, a stressful job with long work hours typically “goes with the territory,” so to speak, some jobs are more stressful than others, especially in the hospital setting.

Work stress is associated with a number of physical and medical issues, including:

  • Weight gain, possibly leading to obesity.
  • Stomach problems.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Headaches or migraines, depending on your stress level.
  • Fatigue or insomnia.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Worsening health conditions that may already exist, apart from working in the hospital setting.

Stress on the job is also associated with mental health issues such as:

  • Inability to focus.
  • Irritability.
  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Isolationism.
  • Drug and alcohol use.

If you work in a hospital, you may be more susceptible to the effects of stressful situations, especially if your work involves caring for patients in life-or-death situations.

Maintaining healthy exercise and eating habits can help you minimize the effects of physical illness and work-related stress, especially if your stress involves making decisions on behalf of patients in crucial situations where time is of the essence. Maintaining a healthy personal life outside of work can also help you operate at maximum efficiency when you’re on the job. Starting a new job in a new hospital means a fresh opportunity to start off right. 

woman doing meditation at park during sunrise

Also consider doing deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, and other relaxation techniques to stay balanced, focused, stress-free (to the greatest extent possible), and most of all, on track, even if you do not work directly with patients.

Maintain a healthy social life outside of your job, that doesn’t conflict with your work schedule. Take a vacation by yourself if you choose to, without family members or friends at the beach or on a faraway resort, just to unwind, regroup, regather, and refocus.

For more informative articles on healthcare, visit the Avidity Medical Design blog.

To enroll in an online course in healthcare, visit Avidity Medical Design Academy.

The Surprising Link Between Poor Oral Health and Heart Problems

woman brushing teeth in mirror

You try to stay relatively healthy while eating right and exercising occasionally. But did you know that oral health plays a major role in our overall health as well? It turns out that poor oral health can affect your entire body, including your heart.

The relationship between poor oral health and heart problems is an issue that seems to be validated by numerous studies. Although the reasons are not entirely clear, researchers have some evidence-based beliefs about how it might happen. So let’s take a look at how poor oral health might lead to heart problems down the line.

Poor Oral Health May Lead to Bacterial Infection

One study found that poor oral health might lead to bacterial infection. These bacteria can travel through the body and then seep into the bloodstream, over time. Researchers think that the same bacteria that causes gingivitis and periodontitis can also cause inflammation and damage to our blood vessels. As a result, tiny blood clots might develop, which can in turn lead to a heart attack or a stroke.

The same study found a correlation between gum disease, heart disease, and smoking. This was a study that examined almost a million people and at least 65,000 cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks. The study found that there was a link between tooth loss and heart problems. However, this study also found that smoking was also just as strong (if not a stronger) predictor of cardiovascular problems as was tooth loss.

Still, other studies have found links between gum disease and heart disease, tooth loss, coronary artery disease, and high blood pressure. And it’s not just heart problems that seem linked to oral health.

They’ve also found links between diabetes, pancreatic cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis and heart problems. More research is needed to further illuminate the connections, but we do know that taking good care of your oral health is a safe bet.

Brushing, flossing and regular dental appointments can go a long way towards influencing your oral and overall health for the better.

For more informative articles on a variety of healthcare subjects, visit the Avidity Medical Design blog.

To enroll in an online healthcare course, visit Avidity Medical Design Academy.