Month: July 2017

bees chasing a man

The Best Bee Sting Remedy is… a Credit Card?

Have you ever wondered why baking soda is used as a bee sting remedy? It’s a common misconception that the venom from some bees is acidic, while others jab you with an alkaline punch. That school of thought suggests neutralizing the bee sting with something alkaline, like baking soda. While it’s true that bee stings are acidic and wasp stings are slightly alkaline, that difference isn’t much of a factor in how you care for their stings. Keep in mind that each insect’s venom is made up of many chemicals and proteins — so the pH balance isn’t what makes their stings so painful. Take a look at some of the stinging insects in Tennessee and what you can do if you get stung. Bees Tennessee’s native bees are typically not aggressive, and are actually great to have around because they’re good pollinators. If you get stung, though, the bee will leave its stinger in your skin. The first bee sting remedy is to quickly remove the stinger before it can release all its venom. …

omega-3 healthy food

A Lupus Diet That Can Ease Your Symptoms and Improve Your Health

I was diagnosed with lupus when I was 11 years old and have been coping with it for the past 29 years. As a teen, I believed that my health depended solely on my prescribed medications. I didn’t realize the foods I put in my body could also have a significant effect. It also didn’t dawn on me that my daily consumption of junk food was terrible — and I had no idea there was such a thing as a “lupus diet.” I first learned about this diet in college. I had been feeling terrible, so my best friend suggested I eat less pizza, tacos and Chinese food, and instead consume more fruits, veggies and lean meats. I took her advice and adopted a lupus diet. With practice, I learned which foods triggered a “lupus flare,” and which ones made me feel 100 times better. Lupus and Lupus Diets Lupus is an autoimmune condition that affects the skin, tissues, joints and organs. When you have lupus, your immune system can’t tell the difference between harmful …

teens hiking

A Helpful Guide to Hiking in Tennessee

When the weather gets warmer and the cicadas begin to hum, we Tennesseans know it’s time to get outside! Emerald rolling hills, mighty rivers and shimmering lakes are just a few of the many reasons to lace up your hiking boots and hit the trail. After all, hiking in Tennessee can be one of the most enjoyable ways to get active while taking in the landscape and breathing in the fresh air. Not only can hiking in Tennessee help support your physical activity goals, but taking a trek through the woods can improve your mental health, too. A recent study showed that people who walked in nature — as opposed to urban settings — showed decreased levels of depression. So fill up that water bottle and grab a friend, because it’s time to get outdoors. Bring a Friend While you can certainly have a solo outdoor adventure, hiking with a buddy is always safer, so call up a friend and set a date to hit the trails. Once you’re trekking, don’t stray from your group …

free weights

Navigating the Gym for Strength Training

When you’re starting a strength training routine for the first time, stepping into the weight room can be a daunting task. The number (and variety) of machines may feel overwhelming, and being surrounded by weight-lifting pros might be just a little intimidating. However, stepping outside your fitness comfort zone is critical to achieving your wellness goals – and there’s no better place to get started than in the weight room. Here are some tips to help you stay stress-free about strength training. Start With Free Weights and Body Weight Although machines can make strength training seem easy, they’re often more complicated than they appear, particularly for first-time users. Instead of spending 10 minutes trying to master one complex machine (and another five waiting for someone to finish using it), spend five minutes performing a basic free weight or body weight exercise like tricep dips or weighted squats. Not only are these movements easy for beginners, but they’re also considered building blocks of a solid strength training routine. Once you’re comfortable with a handful of basic …

poison ivy plant

A Quick Guide to Poisonous Plants in Tennessee

Few things can ruin a camping trip like an encounter with a poisonous plant. As you take in Tennessee’s great outdoors this summer, be on the lookout for the ones most likely to cause painful problems. The main culprits – poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac – share several characteristics. The oil in these plants, called urushiol, is what causes a reaction when you touch it. The oil typically causes itching, blisters, rash and inflammation between 12 and 72 hours after contact. What to Do if You’ve Touched a Poisonous Plant If you think you’ve touched a poisonous plant, wash the area with soapy water as soon as possible. Oil can remain on some surfaces for up to five years, so remember to clean your clothes, tools and anything else that may have come in contact with the plant. You can soothe the symptoms with antihistamines, steroid creams and home remedies like oatmeal baths and cold compresses. For severe cases, particularly those that involve trouble breathing, seek medical care immediately. Not everyone who touches …

hiking boots

How to Overcome and Treat Foot Blisters

There’s nothing better than getting faster and stronger as a runner – and nothing worse than facing a setback due to something as bothersome as blisters on feet. As a runner, it’s incredibly important to take care of yourself from head to toe (literally!) by preventing and treating blisters with the right tools and techniques. Try these tips for avoiding painful blisters. Wear the Right Shoes Running is a simple sport that only requires one key piece of equipment: the right shoes. Before you set out on a long run, visit a local running store to make sure you find a shoe that fits your unique stride and the shape of your foot. Most running store employees can assess your cadence and form to make sure you have the right fit. You’ll want a pair of shoes that fit snugly along the sides with ample room near your toes. Because feet swell during a run, it can be a good idea to buy running shoes a half-size larger than usual. Don’t buy your shoes too …

honey in a jar

Health Benefits of Local Honey

Honey has been used as a natural sweetener for thousands of years. Today, local honey is still used to improve food and drinks, and many people also use it as a way to maintain good health. Raw, local honey contains many enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that your body needs — and it may even help prevent seasonal allergies. What Is Raw Honey? Honey is considered raw if it has not been heated during a pasteurization process. Commercial honey is often heated to kill bacteria and other contaminants. However, the heating process also destroys enzymes and other healthy components. While pasteurized honey looks clear and smooth, raw honey usually has a cloudier appearance and may contain pieces of the beeswax called cappings. Raw honey is in its pure, right-out-of-the-hive form. It’s harvested from the honeycomb using a centrifuge, and then strained through cheesecloth to remove large pieces of beeswax. Raw honey and organic honey are not necessarily the same. Organic honey is made by bees that pollinate organic flowers. It may also be unpasteurized, and …