What Are Your Food Cravings Telling You?

What Are Your Food Cravings Telling You? 

Food cravings may speak volumes about your overall health. In fact, certain food cravings indicate that you may be missing out on key nutrients, vitamins and minerals in your everyday diet.

Now, let’s take a look at seven common food cravings, along with tips to treat some of the dietary deficiencies associated with these cravings.

  1. Chocolate 

Recent research indicates that chocolate cravings affect approximately 15% of men and 40% of women, according to Verywell Mind. Additionally, research shows that in most of these instances, people need an immediate chocolate fix to fulfill their craving.

Chocolate cravings sometimes occur due to a magnesium deficiency. Yet chocolate is usually high in calories, and eating it to overcome a magnesium deficiency may result in weight gain. If you continue to consume chocolate at a high rate, it may increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and other long-term health problems, too.

To manage a chocolate craving, add a spoonful of cocoa powder to a smoothie or oatmeal. This offers a quick-fix to satisfy a chocolate craving. Plus, it enables you to boost your magnesium levels and reduce the risk of future chocolate cravings.

  1. Sugar 

Let’s face it – sugar cravings are problematic, particularly for people who are trying to manage their weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, sugar cravings may occur without notice. Perhaps worst of all, sugar cravings may lead a person to snack on candy, pastries and other high-calorie treats.

Sugar cravings are commonly associated with a blood sugar imbalance. They may also occur due to a deficiency of chromium, magnesium and other minerals in the body, as well as dehydration.

If you experience a sugar craving, snack on fruit, as this provides a healthy alternative to candy and other sweet treats. Furthermore, since a sugar craving may be related to dehydration, drinking a glass of water may help you overcome your craving.

  1. Salt 

People sometimes experience sudden urges to consume pretzels and other salty snacks. However, the high volume of salt in these snacks may cause a person’s blood vessels to stiffen over time. This ultimately may increase a person’s risk of suffering a heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke down the line.

There is often a strong correlation between salt cravings and stress. Meanwhile, research shows that stress hormone fluctuations and low levels of electrolytes in the body may trigger salt cravings as well.

B-vitamin rich foods can play vital roles in managing salt cravings. Foods like nuts, seeds, legumes and vegetables are loaded with B vitamins, and they offer proven options to help balance stress hormones in the body. Also, you can consume unflavored coconut water to quickly increase your electrolyte levels and minimize the impact of a salt craving.

  1. Red Meat 

Even the smell of cooked red meat may trigger an uncontrollable urge for a hamburger, steak or other red meats. Yet several observational studies indicate that consuming too much red meat may increase a person’s risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Red meat cravings generally occur due to an iron deficiency. In these instances, people may feel tired and weak, and their immune systems may be more prone to infection and disease than ever before.

If you face a red meat craving, consume beans, legumes and dried fruit. These foods provide healthy alternatives to red meats and make it easy to immediately address an iron deficiency.

  1. Soda 

The urge to consume sugary soda may strike at any time. But people who regularly consume soda risk weight gain, obesity, blood sugar issues and other long-lasting health problems.

Soda cravings often occur due to a lack of calcium in the body. Conversely, research shows that soda may actually interfere with the body’s ability to absorb calcium.

Beating a soda craving is rarely simple. In some instances, it helps to gradually transition from regular soda to diet varieties. You also can cut down on your soda intake over the course of several weeks or months, and eventually, switch from soda to calorie-free flavored or seltzer water.

  1. Coffee or Tea 

Although the urge to drink a cup of coffee or tea to start the day may seem like a desire for caffeine, this problem may prove to be much more significant.

Coffee or tea cravings sometimes indicate that a person is dealing with an iron or sulfur deficiency. If a person consumes several cups of coffee or tea during the day, an iron or sulfur deficiency could become a long-lasting health problem, too.

Consuming a daily vitamin C supplement can help a person bolster his or her ability to absorb iron. It may also be beneficial to consume spinach, cabbage or other leafy greens, all of which have been shown to help people treat iron and sulfur deficiencies. 

  1. Fried Foods

Fried foods may be tasty, but consuming these fatty foods on a regular basis may increase a person’s risk of suffering diabetes, cancer and other health problems.

The urge to consume French fries, fried chicken and other fried foods may be linked to a fatty acid deficiency. Although fried foods can help you address this deficiency, they simultaneously increase harmful LDL cholesterol and lower beneficial HDL cholesterol in the bloodstream.

If you experience a fried food craving, steer clear of high-calorie fixes. Instead, snack on avocado, salmon and other foods that are rich in quality fats to correct your fatty acid deficiency.

Lastly, if you need extra help dealing with food cravings, you may want to consult with a doctor. This medical professional can help you identify the root cause of a food craving and work with you to develop a long-term plan to address this problem. Best of all, a doctor can offer tips and recommendations to help you reduce your risk of experiencing cardiovascular problems and other long-term health issues.

Ready to put your food cravings to rest? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can take the first steps to alleviate your food cravings both now and in the future.

What to Do About Those Pesky Fall Allergies.

Ragweed, mold and dust mites commonly trigger fall allergies that result in sneezing, watery eyes, wheezing, coughing and other allergic reactions. Yet there is no surefire solution to address all fall allergies, at all times. For those who are worried about autumn allergies, there is no need to stress. With a diligent approach to fall allergies, you can identify the root cause of these issues and plan accordingly.

If you try a wide range of fall allergy treatment strategies, you may be better equipped than ever before to determine the best way to manage your seasonal allergies. In fact, there are lots of things that you can do to keep your fall allergies at bay, such as:

  1. Wash Your Sheets and Pillow Cases in Hot Water 

Wash your sheets and pillow cases weekly in hot water. You also should wash or dry clean your pillows at least once a year, as well as clean your mattress regularly. Use a protective mattress cover and pillow case to help prevent dust mites from getting into your bed, too.

  1. Clean Your Blinds and Curtains 

Clean your home’s blinds and curtains frequently. For blinds, scrub them with soap and hot water. Meanwhile, use hot water to wash and clean fabric curtains.

  1. Clean Your Home Heating Vents 

Check your home’s heating vents and change the filters and clean them as needed. This allows you to remove mold and other allergens that sometimes get trapped inside heating vents in summer. 

  1. Stay Indoors During the Peak of Pollen Season 

If pollen counts are high in your area, stay indoors. Pollen.com offers a convenient National Allergy Map that displays pollen counts in cities and towns across the United States. Additionally, mobile apps are available that make it simple to check local pollen counts on your smartphone or tablet.

  1. Wear Protective Clothing 

Wear long sleeves, pants, a hat and sunglasses outdoors to keep pollen away from your skin, hair and eyes. If you are mowing the lawn, raking leaves or performing other fall yard work that could stir up pollen, mold or other allergens, wear a face mask.

  1. Use a Dehumidifier 

Run a dehumidifier in your home at a level of 45% or lower. This allows you to keep your home’s humidity level low and stifle mold growth.

  1. Keep Your Hands Clean 

Wash your hands frequently. This helps prevent ragweed and other allergens from spreading. 

  1. Change Your Clothes 

Put on a fresh pair of clothes after you return home from a long day at school or work. This helps reduce the risk of spreading harmful outdoor allergens around your home. 

  1. Shower Before Bedtime 

Wash your hair and shower before bedtime. This allows you to eliminate allergens that have accumulated on your body over the course of a day. 

  1. Get an Allergy Test 

Meet with a doctor to discuss your fall allergy concerns, questions and symptoms. That way, you can receive an allergy test to help you determine the best course of action to treat your allergies.

  1. Correct Home Leaks 

Address home leaks as quickly as possible. If a room feels damp, try to identify the primary cause of the problem on your own. Or, you can always hire a mold remediation professional to provide further assistance.

  1. Keep Your Pets Outside of Your Bedroom 

Don’t sleep in the same room as your dog or cat. Otherwise, you may be exposed to excess amounts of pet dander that triggers coughing, sneezing and other allergic reactions.

  1. Keep Your Car Windows Up 

Keep your car’s windows closed while you drive. This helps minimize the risk that airborne pollen will enter your car. Also, if your car feels stuffy, you can turn on the air conditioner to let fresh air circulate throughout your vehicle.

  1. Eliminate Leaf Piles 

Clear leaf piles from your yard. Dust and mold sometimes grows in leaf piles, so you should try to remove these piles as soon as you can. If you are worried about suffering an allergic reaction due to a leaf pile, you can ask a friend or family member to help you clear this pile, too.

  1. Avoid Fall Hay Rides 

Stay away from fall hay rides. Hay often accumulates allergens that may trigger an allergic reaction. Plus, the presence of horses and other farm animals at hay ride venues may lead to excessive coughing, sneezing and other allergy symptoms.

  1. Choose the Right Halloween Costume 

Avoid old or dusty Halloween apparel or accessories, as these items may trigger your fall allergies. If you purchase a Halloween costume at a thrift store, wash it thoroughly before you wear it. 

  1. Use a Saline Solution 

Use a saline solution to eliminate allergens from your nasal passages and alleviate congestion. If you are unsure about which saline solution is right for you, consult with a doctor so you can evaluate all of the options at your disposal. 

  1. Pick Up an OTC Antihistamine 

Purchase an over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamine for immediate fall allergy relief. Follow an antihistamine product’s instructions. If fall allergy symptoms persist after you use an OTC antihistamine, schedule a consultation with an allergist. 

  1. Avoid Hanging Your Clothes Outside to Dry 

Dry your clothes indoors during fall. By hanging your clothes on an outdoor clothesline, you risk exposing them to pollen and other fall allergens. 

  1. Invest in a HEPA Filter 

Use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to remove pollen and other allergens from the air in your home. This may make it easier than ever before to breathe inside your home during fall.

Lastly, when it comes to your fall allergies, it is usually a good idea to err on the side of caution. If you experience severe health problems related to fall allergies, it is important to receive immediate medical support. Because if you understand how to properly identify and treat your medical symptoms, you can correct these problems and prevent them from recurring.

There is no reason to let fall allergies get the best of you. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can quickly address your fall allergy symptoms and celebrate autumn to the fullest extent.

When Do You Need Sinus Surgery?

Sinus Surgery with La Peer Health Center in Beverly HillsSinus surgery offers a safe, effective treatment to address various chronic sinus or nasal issues. Some of the reasons why a person may receive sinus surgery include:

  • Chronic sinusitis (inflammation of the cavities around the nasal passages)
  • Sinus or nasal polyps
  • Sinus disease that occurs due to a fungal infection
  • Sinus infection that spreads to bone
  • Sinus cancer

An otolaryngologist, aka an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor, may recommend medical therapy for those who are dealing with chronic sinus or nasal problems. However, if medical therapy fails to deliver the desired results, an ENT doctor may recommend sinus surgery.

Types of Sinus Surgery

Common types of sinus surgery include:

  • Septoplasty Surgery: Corrects and straightens a deviated nasal septum (separation of the bone and cartilage that divide the nasal cavity in half). During septoplasty surgery, an otolaryngologist realigns a portion of the bone or cartilage in the nasal cavity. In some instances, a septoplasty is also performed in conjunction with a cosmetic rhinoplasty procedure.
  • Turbinate Surgery: Removes the turbinate tissue in the nose. Turbinates that become too large may make it difficult for air to pass through the nose. In this instance, turbinate surgery may be used to treat a nasal obstruction, resulting in increased airflow.
  • Balloon Sinuplasty: Relieves chronic sinus problems that cannot be corrected with medication, nasal spray or other traditional sinus treatments. A balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive procedure, and it is usually performed in an office and under local anesthesia. During the procedure, an otolaryngologist uses a small, flexible balloon catheter to increase the size of a patient’s inflamed sinus opening. He or she then opens up a patient’s blocked sinus passageways.

An otolaryngologist requests a patient evaluation before he or she recommends a sinus surgery. That way, an otolaryngologist can meet with a patient, learn about his or her medical history and sinus symptoms and offer a personalized treatment recommendation.

What Is Endoscopic Sinus Surgery?

Endoscopic sinus surgery may be used to remove sinus blockages that can cause sinusitis, as well as sinus pain, nasal drainage and impaired breathing. The procedure often helps patients reduce the frequency and severity of sinus infections and improve airflow through the nostrils. It also helps patients improve their sense of smell and alleviate their sinusitis symptoms.

Some vitamins, herbal remedies and medications may increase an endoscopic sinus surgery patient’s risk of bleeding. As such, an otolaryngologist may ask a patient to avoid certain supplements or medications prior to endoscopic sinus surgery. Also, an otolaryngologist may ask a patient to take antibiotics and/or steroids prior to treatment.

An endoscopic sinus surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia. During an endoscopic sinus surgery, an otolaryngologist inserts an endoscope (a small, thin camera lens) into the nostrils; this allows an otolaryngologist to visualize and magnify the sinus tissue. An otolaryngologist


then uses specialized instruments to remove nasal polyps, scar tissue and natural blockages in the nostrils. If necessary, an otolaryngologist can remove turbinates during an endoscopic sinus surgery, too.

Endoscopic sinus surgery does not require any incisions; instead, the procedure is performed exclusively through the nostrils. Additionally, most patients can return home the same day as treatment.

There are minimal side effects associated with endoscopic sinus surgery. Some patients experience postoperative discomfort, congestion and drainage after surgery, but these problems generally disappear on their own within a few days of treatment.

An endoscopic sinus surgery provides a viable option to treat sinus blockages, and recent research indicates most patients experience significant improvement following endoscopic sinus surgery. For those who find traditional treatments fail to address their sinus blockages, meeting with an otolaryngologist may be ideal. An otolaryngologist can determine if a patient is a good candidate for endoscopic sinus surgery and help this individual permanently address his or her sinus problems.

Schedule a Sinus Surgery Consultation at La Peer Health Systems

The otolaryngologists at La Peer Health Systems can teach patients about sinus surgery and provide personalized sinus surgery treatment recommendations. To find out more, please contact us today at 855.360.9119 to schedule a consultation with one of our friendly, knowledgeable otolaryngologists.

Diagnosing Prostate Cancer

prostate cancer diagnosis doctor

Prostate cancer is one of the most prominent types of cancer in men. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates approximately one in nine men will receive a prostate cancer diagnosis in his lifetime. Additionally, ACS states roughly one in 41 men will die of prostate cancer.

A proper prostate cancer diagnosis is crucial. Research indicates the relative survival rates of prostate cancer patients decrease as cancer spreads throughout the body. Fortunately, with a proper diagnosis, a patient and urologist can work together to effectively treat prostate cancer before it escalates.

What Are the Warning Signs of Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer generally causes urinary problems. Some of the most common urinary symptoms of prostate cancer include:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Reduced flow or velocity of urine stream

Prostate cancer sometimes spreads to nearby tissue and bones, too. In this instance, prostate cancer may cause one or more of the aforementioned symptoms:

  • Pain or numbness in the hips, legs or feet
  • Persistent bone pain
  • Difficulty getting an erection
  • Blood in the semen
  • Pain during ejaculation

If a person experiences any of the aforementioned prostate cancer symptoms, it is usually a good idea to err on the side of caution. Thanks to a prostate cancer screening, an individual can quickly identify prostate cancer. If prostate cancer is detected, a patient and urologist then can determine the best course of action to treat this issue.

How Is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed?

A urologist uses various tests to identify prostate cancer. These tests include:

    • Physical Exam: Enables a urologist to analyze a patient’s current health, medical history and potential prostate cancer symptoms.
    • Digital Rectal Exam (DRE): Provides a simple, effective test to evaluate a patient’s prostate. During a DRE, a urologist inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into a patient’s rectum. Next, the urologist feels for any bumps or hard areas on the prostate; this allows him or her to identify cancer on one or both sides of the prostate. If cancer is found on both sides of the prostate, the cancer may have spread beyond the prostate to nearby tissue.
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Blood Test: Measures the amount of PSA, a protein produced by prostate tissue, in a patient’s blood. A patient who has a PSA level of 4 or higher may be more susceptible than others to prostate cancer.
  • Transrectal Ultrasound (TRUS): Uses sound waves to visualize the prostate and surrounding tissue. A TRUS is commonly performed if a patient has elevated PSA levels or if a patient’s DRE results are abnormal. During a TRUS, a urologist inserts a small probe into a patient’s rectum. The probe then produces sound waves that enter the prostate and create echoes. Finally, a computer produces a black and white image of the prostate that a urologist can use to analyze a patient’s prostate and nearby tissue.
  • Prostate Biopsy: Removes samples of suspicious tissue from the prostate. A urologist uses a prostate biopsy needle to collect tissue samples. Then, he or she reviews a patient’s prostate tissue samples under a microscope to identify any cell abnormalities.

A urologist may use one or more of the following tests to identify prostate cancer. If prostate cancer is discovered, a urologist will offer a personalized treatment recommendation based on a patient’s symptoms.

When Should You Start Screening for Prostate Cancer?

The right time to begin prostate cancer screenings varies based on an individual’s family history, ethnicity and other risk factors. However, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) offers the following recommendations for men to begin prostate cancer screenings:

  • Age 40 for men who have a family history of prostate cancer
  • Age 45 for African American men
  • Age 50 for men who do not have a family history of prostate cancer and are not African American

USPSTF notes that men between the ages of 55 to 69 should receive prostate cancer screenings based on a urologist’s recommendation. It also does not recommend prostate cancer screenings for men over the age of 70.

Schedule a Prostate Cancer Screening at La Peer Health Systems

La Peer Health Systems offers comprehensive prostate cancer screenings and custom prostate cancer treatments. To find out more, please contact us today at 855.360.9119.