HERBS FOR HEALTH MANAGEMENT

Herbs are a foundational root in medicine and health treatments, dating back thousands of years throughout every culture around the world. Modern Western herbalism comes from ancient Egypt. The Greeks developed a comprehensive philosophy of herbal medicine by 100 BCE and the Romans built upon it to create a variety of medical practices, some of which are still used today.

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE IMPACTS PSYCHOLOGICAL HARDINESS

Psychological hardiness is an individual’s resistance to stress, anxiety and depression. It includes the ability to withstand grief and accept the loss of loved ones. Alternative medicine is a more popular term for health and wellness therapies that have typically not been part of conventional Western medical approaches but are often used along with conventional medicinal protocols.  Coping and dealing with stress in a positive manner play a major role in maintaining the balance needed for health and well-being.

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ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

Interest in complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing as consumers and health care professionals search for additional ways to treat anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. Some of these remedies include:

St. John’s Wort.  More than 30 studies show it to be effective for treatment of mild forms of depression,…

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Iron-Fortified Foods for Baby

Full-term babies of a healthy birth weight usually have plenty of iron stores from mom, and breastmilk or formula has enough iron to keep up with baby’s needs for the first six months of life. However, healthy babies can be at risk for iron deficiency in the second half of their first year. Most infant cereals are fortified with iron for this reason. Talk with your pediatrician about the best time for the gradual transition from bottle to table foods. To start, cereals can be added in small amounts to formula or breastmilk and offered with a spoon.


If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, talk with your obstetrician about testing hemoglobin levels and preventing iron deficiency anemia.

IRON: AN ESSENTIAL MINERAL FOR MOM AND BABY

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Dave Schnell is a research analyst in the Department of Athletic Training and Clinical Nutrition in the College of Health Sciences at the University of Kentucky. Sara Police is an assistant professor and associate director of graduate studies in the Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.

psychological and social effects (National Institutes of Health, 2018). Anemia in mothers is also associated with increased risks of low birth-weight and preterm labor (Peña-Rosas, De-Regil, Dowswell and Viteri, 2012).


Supplementation and Dietary Changes for Mom

One way to prevent IDA is to regularly eat iron-rich foods, such as spinach, beef, tofu, broccoli, lentils and cashews. Most pregnant women take in around 14 milligrams of iron per day (below the recommended daily allowance) during pregnancy. Thus the Institute of Medicine recommends all pregnant women supplement their diet with 27 mg/d of iron during the second and third trimesters and 10 mg/d during lactation. These low-dose supplementations are less likely to cause gastrointestinal discomfort.


The foods you eat affect how efficiently your body uses iron. For example, calcium and caffeine interfere with iron absorption. Take your iron supplement with something besides coffee, tea or milk. In general, iron is best absorbed between meals as a single supplement or combined with vitamin C, which helps improve iron absorption.

During pregnancy, blood volume increases by about 1.25 liters. That’s a 50-percent increase from normal levels and it’s just shy of 3 pounds! Increased blood volume is essential for carrying oxygen and nutrients to a growing baby. With all this new blood comes the need for more red blood cells, and with red blood cells comes a demand for hemoglobin, the iron-containing protein in red blood cells that binds oxygen and carries it throughout the body. Because iron is so important, moms-to-be have a special need for extra iron in their diet.


Iron Deficiency Anemia

Why do expecting moms need extra iron? If iron stores are too low, the body cannot make enough hemoglobin to keep up with red blood cell production, and red blood cell counts drop with rapidly expanding blood volume. The ratio of red blood cells to the total volume of blood is called hematocrit. Low hematocrit due to iron deficiency is called iron deficiency anemia (IDA). It causes extreme fatigue, shortness of breath and pica, a strange urge to eat things such as dirt or clay. Pregnant women are at higher risk of IDA because the natural expansion of blood volume puts extra demands on red blood cell production. IDA is the most common nutritional disorder in the world among pregnant women and affects approximately 18 percent of pregnant women in the United States (National Institutes of Health, 2018).


Low iron can also cause problems for baby. Anemic moms often have babies with anemia, which can have negative cognitive,