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How many hours do you have to fast to reap its benefits? –

Image: Intermittent fasting 101: How many hours do you have to fast to reap its benefits?

(Natural News)
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a popular eating pattern that offers several benefits, such as promoting weight loss and the burning of fats via ketosis. IF can also minimize inflammation by triggering processes like autophagy.

But how long do you need to fast before you experience any of its benefits?

Experiencing the benefits of IF may take time for some

Don’t feel bad if a friend who’s also doing IF loses weight before you do. Even if you’re doing it right and exercising daily, how fast you experience the benefits of IF depends on how your body responds to it. So what works immediately for one person may take a while to work for you.

Dr. Vincent Pedre, an integrative physician and gut health expert, also says that the healthfulness of your habits is another factor. What you eat, your gut health and your exercise regimen can influence how IF affects your body.

Consuming calories past your fasting window, not getting enough sleep or skipping a workout can all delay or counteract its benefits. (Related: Don’t make these 7 mistakes when it comes to intermittent fasting.)

Another thing that you should know is that entering ketosis or triggering autophagy may also take some time.

Autophagy is a natural process used by cells to disassemble, clean out or recycle unnecessary or dysfunctional components in order to create new cells. This process helps reduce oxidative stress and inflammation; it may also help lower your risk of developing chronic illnesses.

How long should you fast to reap the different benefits of IF?

The ideal fasting window varies from person to person, depending on one’s overall health and habits. Pedre advises experimenting to find a duration of fasting that works for you.

The health benefits of a 12-hour fast

Dr. Amy Shah, an integrative physician, says that fasting in 12-hour increments is the minimum.

According to a study published in the journal JAMA Oncology, people who fast at least 13 hours a day may experience a 34 percent reduction in breast cancer recurrence. This could be due to the improved blood sugar regulation that results from fasting.

The health benefits of a 14- to 18-hour fast

B.J. Hardick, a functional practitioner, says that 14 to 18 hours is the ideal range for most dieters. This attainable time frame offers significant weight loss benefits than a 12-hour fast.

However, Hardick also says that some people may need to fast a little longer to induce weight loss and enjoy the other benefits of IF.

A 14- to 18-hour fast can trigger ketosis or the fat-burning state. While the specific point at which you enter ketosis depends on several factors, including what you last ate, the process usually takes place within 12 to 22 hours after a meal, when you’ve burned through your glycogen stores. Glycogen is the form in which sugar is stored in your muscles and liver.

According to Pedre, 16 hours is an effective daily fasting window for many. This means limiting your meals to an eight-hour time frame — a practice known as 16:8 fasting. The 16:8 intermittent fasting plan doesn’t specify which foods to eat and avoid, but you should focus on following a balanced diet. Eat healthy foods, such as:

  • Fruits and vegetables (e.g., fresh, frozen or canned in water)
  • “Good” fats (from avocados, coconuts, fatty fish, nuts, olives, olive oil and seeds)
  • Lean protein (e.g., beans, fish, lentils and poultry)
  • Whole grains (e.g., barley, brown rice, oats and quinoa)

Pedre notes that you won’t experience substantial benefits until you reach the 24-hour mark.

The benefits of an extended fast

Experts don’t recommend fasting for 24 hours every day because starving yourself will do more harm than good. If you want to experiment with longer autophagy-inducing fasts, it is best to strategically space them out.

Dr. Benjamin Horne, a genetic epidemiologist, suggests doing a 24-hour fast without any caloric intake a couple of times per month. He says that this is the ideal approach for preventing chronic diseases since it is feasible to do consistently over a lifetime.

But if you’re having trouble maintaining a fast or experiencing adverse effects, reconsider your fasting plans.

Experts also say that since your fasting results will eventually stall, switching things up can be helpful. Pedre suggests increasing your fasting time to a few days a week or trying a longer fast once a week.

Fasting works best when you switch the duration of your fast so you can keep your body guessing as to when you’re going to eat your next meal.

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How to care for someone who is struggling with mental illness and addiction –

Image: The stigma around mental health is KILLING men: How to care for someone who is struggling with mental illness and addiction

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According to Mental Health America, at least six million men in the U.S. are affected by depression annually. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports that compared to women, men died by suicide at a rate of 3.54 percent higher in 2017.

In the same vein, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism notes that 62,000 men die due to alcohol-related causes every year, compared to 26,000 women. Additionally, men are at least two to three times more likely to misuse drugs than women.

Yet while depression and suicide are considered leading causes of death among men, men are less likely to seek mental health treatment than women.

The stigma of mental health

Dr. Raymond Hobbs, a physician consultant at Blue Cross Blue Shield in Michigan, said that “toxic masculinity” may be linked to the issue of men’s mental health.

A lot of men believe that admitting they have depression is perceived as a sign of weakness. Hobbs clarified that this kind of thinking is outdated and that earlier generations must be updated on “the current medical understanding of mental illness.”

Experts know more about mental health now, such as the chemical changes involved in certain conditions. One step to ending the stigma is to understand that mental illness is similar to diabetes and other health conditions.

Unfortunately, most people still have trouble grasping this concept. Rather, they think of mental health struggles as a personal issue and a sign that one lacks the strength of mind to deal with personal matters.

Due to this persisting belief and the stigma that still exists concerning mental illness, along with the pressure on men to just “grin and bear it,” a lot of men have trouble acknowledging that they may need help.

Zach Levin from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation Drug and Alcohol Treatment Centers society musk work to address the stigma of asking for help.

It’s true that there have been improvements when it comes to stigma and expanding opportunities for support, but there is work to be done concerning men who may experience shame and guilt that could make them less willing to ask for help. (Related: Mental health issues linked to higher mortality rates in men than in women.)

The repercussions of toxic masculinity

Aside from asking for help, some men also seem to have trouble establishing social connections.

Hobbs commented that when it comes to toxic masculinity, the main issue is how men are brought up. Even in movies and TV shows, stereotypical portrayals of male characters show them as strong and quiet, which can be dysfunctional in various ways.

And when the negative impact involves a greater risk of suffering from depression, substance abuse can also occur.

Levin said that if people with depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions don’t feel comfortable with healthy coping resources, they may use alcohol or other drugs to drown their negative feelings.

But how can society change men’s perception of seeking help before it’s too late?

Ending the stigma

Levin explained that a lot of men believe that they need to be “tough” to address all their problems alone. They worry that by showing vulnerability, even when physically sick, it might detract from their authority.

Because of this mentality, a lot of men resort to quick fixes that don’t really address their problems. They may even deny that they are struggling with something.

Settling this problem and teaching men that being vulnerable and asking for help aren’t a sign of weakness can only be achieved if society works to end the stigma surrounding these concepts.

Levin suggests fostering “more transparency around mental health and substance abuse issues.” After all, everyone experiences stress, and talking with someone you trust can help you practice empathy and experience camaraderie. These factors can help prevent feelings of isolation that can aggravate addiction and mental health issues.

If you are struggling with something, reach out to a family member, a close friend, or a mental health specialist. Read up on mental health and guidance for managing symptoms of anxiety and depression, and look for stories or case studies that may help you understand what other men are going through.

Hobbs added that education also plays a part in ending the stigma around mental health. There is hope, especially once people understand that these medical problems can be addressed with therapy and natural, drug-free treatments.

Hobbs also warned that, when left unchecked, mental health issues can manifest into physical ailments, particularly if you are self-treating with alcohol, drugs and other substances.

Awareness and education are crucial if you wish to help someone dealing with mental health issues. While there are many ways to address depression and other conditions, the first step is helping your loved ones realize that it is all right to try them.

If someone you care about is struggling, or if you believe that you need help yourself, here are signs that you may need outside assistance to address your concerns:

  • Weight changes
  • Physical symptoms (e.g., headaches and stomach issues)
  • A change in mood
  • A difference in work performance
  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness or anhedonia (a loss of pleasure and pulling away from things that used to provide enjoyment)

Contact a primary care provider or a substance use disorder professional if alcohol or other drugs are being used to self-medicate.

Levin said that a single appointment with a specialist to determine if a problem exists may be more acceptable than telling a loved one to commit to an inpatient or outpatient treatment program.

Let your friends and family know that there is hope and that it’s okay to ask for help. If you have mental health issues, learn about addiction and mental health issues and understand that facing your problems and asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

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Americans in the wealthiest states are now turning to food banks for aid during the pandemic –

Image: Coronavirus woes: Americans in the wealthiest states are now turning to food banks for aid during the pandemic

(Natural News)
In less than a year, COVID-19 has infected millions of people, and the disease continues to spread across the globe. In the U.S., it has affected people from different walks of life, even those from the wealthiest states.

Due to the lockdown policies being implemented throughout the U.S., businesses have closed down and the unemployment rate has skyrocketed to alarming highs.

Households are desperate to have food to provide for their families.

Citizens from Los Angeles, Pennsylvania and New Jersey are now traveling miles to receive food bank handouts during the pandemic.

Los Angeles and Pennsylvania

On April 28, hundreds of Americans lined up to receive food handouts in L.A. and Prospect, Pennsylvania.

Countless cars could be seen waiting in line for the drive-thru food giveaway in Pico Rivera, California. Hard-working volunteers with face masks, gloves and high-visibility jackets were tasked with giving out supplies.

Images showed people in L.A. waiting in cars lined up along the edge of empty basketball courts and a football field at Ruben Salazar High School.

An aerial photo also revealed an abandoned community pool. Instead of cooling off at the pool, the crowds were gathered in the area to wait before they could enter the food bank area.

Volunteers from the L.A. Regional Food Bank and the city passed gallons of milk through car windows at the event. One of the volunteers held up a sign to remind drivers to open their trunks so volunteers can put bags and boxes of food in the cars and avoid unnecessary contact.

L.A. County is suffering the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic economically. Reports say 47 percent of jobs in the area are at risk at since, especially since 69 percent of jobs can’t be done from home.

In Prospect, vehicles stretched as far as the Big Butler Fairgrounds. Volunteers are expecting over 1,500 cars bearing people who will receive two 25-pound boxes of food every Tuesday. Another aerial image captured hundreds of cars lined up at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

Early in May, 3.2 million Americans have filed for unemployment claims.

The worrying increase in unemployment has negated all of the jobs gained during the longest employment boom in American history. Due to the repercussions of the pandemic, economists have issued warnings that the unemployment rate could surge by about 20 percent for April, which will be the highest rate since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

On April 28, California Governor Gavin Newsom declared that a number of workplaces, schools and childcare facilities can gradually reopen after the state enhances coronavirus testing and contact tracing. While other states have started easing up on lockdown rules, Newsom insisted on the stay-at-home order for the state until recently.

He explained the state’s steps for reopening, insisting that California is weeks away from being able to lift coronavirus restrictions. But even as rates of infections have slowed in certain areas of California, Los Angeles County was the hardest-hit area.

Official figures released on May 14 revealed that the death toll in Los Angeles County reached 1,659, with 34,428 confirmed cases.

Within L.A. County, the rate of deaths and infections has accelerated. About 315 people have died, with 7,218 confirmed new cases for the seven-day period that ended on April 26.

Pennsylvania was also one of the states that kept its stay-at-home order in place. The executive order ran until April 30. As of April 28, the state recorded 1,716 deaths and 43,264 confirmed cases of COVID-19. (Related: Coronavirus continues to ravage cities and the U.S. food chain: Here are five ways food security could COLLAPSE.)

New Jersey

Jean Wickham, a 55-year-old from New Hersey, has two sons in college. Her husband has worked at the same casino in the state for 36 years. But when the coronavirus pandemic hit New Jersey, every casino in Atlantic City closed, putting over 26,000 people out of work. The total makes up 10 percent of the county’s population.

Wickham, who has had a job since she was 14, is at a loss. She and her family have never had to rely on others until the pandemic. Wickham drove the family’s minivan to Egg Harbor, N.J., 10 miles west of Atlantic City. Their car was only one of the thousands of vehicles that set out to receive fresh produce and a 30-pound box of canned food, pasta and rice from a food bank.

The event was held last week and was mobbed by so many cars that traffic was backed up for almost a mile in three directions. Police reports recorded five accidents.

Data from a Monmouth University poll released on April 27 revealed that out of over 40 percent of households in New Jersey, at least one individual has lost his job due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite living in one of America’s wealthiest states, many suddenly unemployed workers report that they have been “pushed to the edge of hunger.”

In Summit, an affluent commuter town in northern New Jersey, the lines at a food pantry wound around the block every Tuesday evening. Meanwhile, a food bank on the Jersey Shore has started a text service so new users can discreetly ask for help.

The Community Food Bank of New Jersey gave away at least 1,500 emergency meal kits that provide supplemental food for a family of four for about 14 days. The distribution to casino workers was over in under three hours, but several additional truckloads of food had to be brought to the site to accommodate more people.

Sgt. Larry Graham, leader of the Egg Harbor Township Police Department’s traffic division, said another 1,500 cars were turned away.

The Community Food Bank, the state’s largest provider of emergency food, explained that this surge in demand has surpassed those that followed Hurricane Sandy and the Great Recession, which ended in 2009.

New Jersey, considered the second-wealthiest state in the U.S., had 858,000 residents file for unemployment benefits on April 23 — a staggering increase from 84,000 for the same time period in 2019. Worse, this figure is likely to increase even further.

According to a recent study by Stockton University, the pandemic’s drain on the economy in southern New Jersey could amount to $5.1 billion this year. has the latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. and around the globe.

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It promotes recovery after strenuous exercise –

Image: If you work out, you need magnesium: It promotes recovery after strenuous exercise

(Natural News)
Magnesium is an essential nutrient that plays an important role in muscular health and recovery. After a grueling workout, you need to replenish your electrolytes and magnesium levels.

Magnesium and muscle recovery

In a study involving marathon runners, researchers discovered that magnesium was the most highly depleted electrolyte in the participants, with potassium a close second.

Athletes require magnesium because the mineral is essential for muscle relaxation. If you don’t have enough magnesium, your muscles will remain in a permanent state of contraction. This is why magnesium deficiencies cause cramps.

During intense physical activity, your muscles experience stress and your body naturally loses electrolytes. Replenishing your magnesium levels will help your muscles recover faster.

Magnesium has properties that aid in muscle recovery after exercise. As an anti-inflammatory, magnesium helps minimize any swelling, joint pain and other post-workout inflammation.

Magnesium also helps your body absorb calcium, which is needed by your bones and plays an important role in nerve function.

If you don’t get enough magnesium from your diet, your blood calcium levels will become elevated. This may cause heart problems and poor bone health. A long-term magnesium deficiency may also result in osteoporosis, especially in women.

The symptoms of magnesium deficiency

More than 60 percent of Westerners are magnesium deficient. Low levels of the nutrient are very common among hospitalized patients. Research shows that nine to 65 percent of patients suffer from magnesium deficiency.

Experts note that deficiency may be caused by either disease, drug use, impaired digestive function or inadequate magnesium intake.

About 30 percent of the U.S. and U.K. population consume less magnesium than the recommended daily intake.

Symptoms of low-level magnesium deficiency include:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Muscular symptoms (e.g., cramping)
  • Prolonged muscle soreness
  • Tension without improvement or recovery

Mild magnesium deficiency can also cause symptoms like:

  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Inability to relax

Cellular testing is necessary to accurately determine if you have a mild deficiency since 0.3 percent of your body’s magnesium is stored in your blood serum.

Superfoods that will help boost your magnesium levels

You can request for a blood test to determine your the levels of magnesium in your blood serum. It is also a good way to know if you are in need of supplementation.

Patients diagnosed with a magnesium deficiency or those with digestive issues that affect nutrient absorption may benefit from taking a high-quality oral supplement. If you’re not used to taking dietary supplements, consult your physician to determine possible drug or allergic interactions, as well as appropriate dosage.

Alternatively, you can add the following magnesium-rich superfoods to your diet:

  • Bananas
  • Cocoa
  • Dark chocolate
  • Dark green leafy vegetables (e.g., spinach)
  • Dried apricots
  • Dried pumpkin seeds
  • Fish
  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Natural yogurt
  • Nuts and seeds

You can also consume drinks designed to replenish electrolytes lost during exercise. However, make sure that these beverages don’t have added sugars and contain sufficient amounts of magnesium. (Related: Eat these 6 magnesium-rich foods to boost your overall health.)

Transdermal magnesium for muscle recovery

Another way for you to replenish lost magnesium is by using topical products.

Transdermal products like bath salts, lotions and sprays allow your skin to absorb magnesium for immediate assimilation by your muscles. Topical products suit those with long-term magnesium deficiency and are also great for helping sore muscles recover after intense sports or workouts.

Magnesium is an essential mineral your body needs. Getting enough magnesium from your diet or taking supplements is crucial for muscle recovery and for your overall well-being.

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Coronavirus pandemic and “rigid” food system force farmers to waste crops –

Image: Coronavirus pandemic and “rigid” food system force farmers to waste crops

(Natural News)
While millions throughout the globe are worried about Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it continues to cause chaos in the daily lives of citizens, farmers are forced to dump produce, meat and dairy because of American’s broken food system.

Rotting crops and a rigid food system

It’s not just farmers in America throwing away food: From Nigeria to India, food is going to waste because of unbalanced supply systems. But experts say that the surprising thing is, the world isn’t actually wasting more food than normal since one-third of global food production goes to landfills.

Because of the pandemic, consumers themselves aren’t the source of food waste. Rather, more food is getting dumped before it reaches grocery stores due to ineffective supply chains.

Around the world, food production is handled using “just-in-time methods.” This means products from farms are delivered to stores or restaurants within a few days, with the next batch of crops and livestock ready to take its place.

After the coronavirus pandemic hit, it exposed issues in the following chains:

  • Decreased trade
  • Labor crunches
  • Port and trucking issues
  • Restaurant shutdowns

All these problems resulted in a backlog of supply that never even reached stores that are running out of supplies. These issues may also negatively affect food security in the country.

Food prices may increase, which will be the worst thing for millions of citizens who are already struggling financially because of the pandemic’s fallout.

Marc Bellemare, a co-editor of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, expressed concern over human welfare, particularly since those who are already worried about where to find food for their families will have even bigger problems.

Pandemics and supply chain disruptions

Food production is at its greatest and global harvests of rice and wheat, two crops that makeup one-third of the world’s calories, could reach all-time highs in the upcoming season.

However, even though food is getting produced, the pandemic has made it difficult to deliver food to those in dire need. Experts point to the far-reaching supply-chain disruptions brought about by the pandemic.

Such is the case of Michael Hill, a farmer who has been growing blueberries in central Florida for five years. Hill and his wife operate two farms that produce at least 700,000 pounds of blueberries annually, which are collected from March 20 to May 1.

But due to the breakdown in the supply chain, retailers now need limited orders. On the other hand, restaurant shutdowns have cut off a lot of the demand for fresh fruits and vegetables during the pandemic.

Because of these changes, Hill was forced to leave 30 to 40 percent of his blueberry crop in the ground, leaving it to be eaten by birds or to rot. (Related: Florida farmers left with mountains of unsold food as coronavirus scrambles supply chain.)

From food waste to food banks

Before the coronavirus pandemic, approximately $1 trillion of food production ended up lost or wasted, with most of it coming from trash at home or 40 percent in America. But with people told to take fewer trips to the store and increasing prices, experts predict that food waste from homes could go down significantly and offset losses in other areas.

Bellemare, who’s also a professor at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Applied Economics in St. Paul, added that it’s difficult to determine if there’s going to be more or less food waste in total for 2020.

Food waste is another worrying factor of food security, noted Bellemare. Experts are also concerned about world hunger, which might double because of the pandemic. Fortunately, some organizations are taking action to address the disconnect between food waste and hunger.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has committed to purchasing $3 billion’s worth of surplus American meat, dairy and fresh produce. The agency has collaborated with distributors to deliver to food banks and other organizations through an initiative called the “Farmers to Families Food Box Program.”

Meanwhile, food banks and other non-profits have to deal with incoming supplies larger than those that can be efficiently dealt with using their resources.

In the second week of May, Fareshare, the U.K.’s biggest food waste charity, received 758 metric tons of food. This is more than double what the organization would typically receive before the pandemic.

Fareshare partners with regional distribution centers to redistribute food from suppliers and supermarkets to those in need at charities and community groups.

Lindsay Boswell, Fareshare’s chief executive officer, explained that when there is a mismatch between food surplus and what people need, it can be difficult to avoid food waste while also providing what the charity sector requires.

Shoppers now more conscious about food waste

Despite the doom and gloom, experts are glad to report about a glimmer of hope. Since people limit the time they spend outdoors and take fewer trips to the grocery store to avoid catching the virus, people have become more careful when shopping.

Jennifer Molidor, a senior food campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity, suggests that this can help reduce food waste at home. Molidor also hopes that these new habits will remain in practice even after the coronavirus lockdowns have ended.

According to research commissioned by Hubbub, an environmental group, almost 50 percent of consumers in the U.K. reported that they are throwing away less food.

Tips for reducing food waste during the pandemic

Do your part during the coronavirus lockdowns and follow the tips below to minimize the food waste you produce at home.

Check the supplies you already have in your pantry

Before you head out to the store again, take stock of the items in your pantry. Make a list of items organized by category.

Once you figure out how much baking and frozen products, dairy, meat, fish and fresh produce you have on hand, you can plan a menu for the next few weeks.

Use up perishables 

Check expiration dates and take note which fresh vegetables and fruit will go bad in a few days or a week. When preparing a large meal, eat leftovers within a couple of days.

Freeze fresh fruit and vegetables before they go bad and make healthy smoothies using frozen bananas and berries.

Clean out your fridge

In your free time, clean out your refrigerator. Get rid of anything that’s expired, moldy or looks unsafe to eat. Doing this also helps prevent food poisoning, the last thing you need during a pandemic.

Cook more

Save money on take-out food by cooking more at home. Learn to bake, or try recipes that you’ve always wanted to make when you didn’t have enough time.

Be more mindful of how you shop, and avoid food waste at home by cooking with what you have.

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10 Reasons why magnesium could prevent osteoporosis –

Image: Magnesium and osteoporosis: 10 Reasons why magnesium could prevent osteoporosis

(Natural News)
Magnesium is an essential mineral that promotes overall well-being. Meeting your daily requirement of magnesium — by eating magnesium-rich foods or taking supplements — also helps keep your bones healthy and prevents the onset of osteoporosis.

Research conducted in the U.S. and Europe has found that magnesium helps prevent osteoporosis in both men and women.

The (US) National Women’s Health Initiative revealed an ironic relationship between magnesium and bone health in American women. The women who had a higher magnesium intake had the highest mineral density in their bones, but they also had the most fractures. Researchers explained that this is because women in America who follow a healthy diet are also very physically active.

In the U.K. Biobank cohort, scientists tracked 156,575 men and women aged 39 to 72. Findings showed that the volunteers who had the most magnesium had a stronger grip, higher bone mineral density and lower body fat.

Studies suggest that you should take more than 400 mg of magnesium per day. An intake of less than 200 mg per day was linked to an increased risk of bone fractures.

Supplementing with magnesium

You can boost your magnesium intake by taking natural supplements. Make sure to take no more than 600 mg of magnesium per day. Taking more than 600 mg may cause diarrhea since excess magnesium attracts water and makes stools runny.

Note that the more magnesium you take, the smaller the percentage that your body absorbs. Magnesium glycinate, magnesium-L-threonate, magnesium citrate and magnesium orotate are more bioavailable, or completely absorbed, than magnesium chloride, magnesium oxide and magnesium sulfate.

Here are 10 benefits of getting enough magnesium:

1. Magnesium is crucial for bone health

Bone-building osteoblasts require magnesium to lay down the crystals that form the mineral content in your bones.

Additionally, magnesium has a role in the regulation of parathyroid hormone (PTH) that removes calcium from bones into the bloodstream.

2. Magnesium helps bones make smaller crystals

Magnesium-deficient women have larger mineral crystals in their bones. Conversely, mineral crystals in the bones of women who get enough magnesium are smaller and stronger.

Larger bone crystals can’t bear as much weight as smaller crystals. Smaller is better in bone crystallization and magnesium helps make small crystals in the mineral matrix of bone.

3. Magnesium helps your bones use vitamin D

Children with insufficient vitamin D in their bodies can achieve normal vitamin D levels by increasing their intake of magnesium.

4. Magnesium has a role in antioxidant production

Your body needs both oxidizing chemicals and antioxidants.

With magnesium deficiency, antioxidant production becomes insufficient. This stimulates the activity of osteoclasts, the bone-destroying cells, while hindering the activity of osteoblasts, the bone-rebuilding cells.

5. Magnesium deficiency may cause inflammation

Inflammation increases the activity of bone-destroying osteoclasts. This means they get out of sync with the bone-rebuilding osteoblasts. This results in bone loss. (Related: Relieve osteoporosis pain with these natural remedies.)

6. Magnesium helps prevent bone damage in people with diabetes

Individuals with diabetes usually develop circulatory problems in the legs and feet that can impact bone health by depriving them of blood vessels.

Maintaining a healthy intake of magnesium helps bones build the circulation they need to prevent diabetic vascular disease and neuropathy.

7. Magnesium is needed for the formation of cartilage

Cartilage has several functions, some of which include helping hold your bones together and cushion your joints.

With magnesium deficiency, the enzymes that help build cartilage are unable to function as needed.

8. Magnesium helps address the symptoms of dysmenorrhea

Restoring normal menstrual periods with magnesium can help women produce estrogen that helps maintain bone health before, during and after menopause.

9. Magnesium supplements and magnesium-rich foods are “alkalizing”

Your body doesn’t become acidic if you consume a lot of protein-rich foods and not enough fruits and vegetables. However, the kidneys may get more calcium from the bones to maintain a healthy pH for your bloodstream.

Take magnesium supplements or eat these food sources of magnesium to help “alkalize” the body and protect the mineral matrix of your bones:

  • Almonds
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Brazil nuts
  • Chard
  • Chia seeds
  • Dark chocolate
  • Edamame
  • Flax seeds
  • Legumes
  • Oily cold-water fish
  • Pepitas/pumpkin seeds
  • Spinach
  • Tofu
  • Whole grains

10. Magnesium promotes regular bowel movements

Magnesium helps promote regular bowel movement. You’ll need at least half as many milligrams of magnesium per day as you get in calcium from food and supplements.

Keep your bones strong and prevent osteoporosis by taking natural supplements and eating foods rich in magnesium.

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Why older adults should do resistance training –

Image: Why older adults should do resistance training

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It’s normal for the elderly to be reluctant to engage in certain physical activities since the last thing they want is to sustain injuries. However, in a position statement published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research and backed by the National Strength and Conditioning Association, researchers recommended resistance training to boost the well-being and longevity of older adults.

The effects of aging on the elderly

The position statement detailed the health benefits the elderly can get from strength and resistance training and how it can promote healthy aging. (Related: Elderly people should try weightlifting to prevent frailty, health experts recommend.)

Dr. Maren Fragala, director of scientific affairs at Quest Diagnostics and lead author of the position statement, shared that when people are asked if they want to live up to 100 years old, only a handful answers “yes.”

Dr. Mark Peterson, an associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at University of Michigan-Medicine and one of the authors of the statement, explained that this is because there are those who relate old age with “physical and cognitive decline, loss of independence and poor quality of life.”

There’s no denying that aging gradually damages the body. Even if you don’t have a chronic illness, aging is linked to many biological changes that can result in decreases in skeletal muscle mass, strength and function.

Fragala also said that these losses “decrease physiologic resilience and increase vulnerability to catastrophic events.”

But in their position statement, Fragala and her colleagues provide evidence-based recommendations for resistance training programs, or exercises focused on building muscle endurance, and the benefits they can offer the elderly.

The researchers believe their paper can help alleviate the fears the elderly may have concerning strenuous exercise.

Health benefits of exercise for the elderly

The position statement discussed 11 practical applications categorized into four main components:

  • Program design variables
  • Physiological adaptations
  • Functional benefits
  • Considerations for frailty, sarcopenia and other chronic conditions

The applications also included suggestions on training types and amounts of repetitions and intensities, patient groups that will require modifications to training models and how these training programs can be revised for older adults with disabilities or those in assisted living and skilled nursing facilities.

According to recent studies, resistance training is a “powerful care model” that will help prevent loss of muscle strength and mass among the elderly.

Peterson said that the position statement illustrates the potential benefits of resistance training, such as improving physical functioning and mobility. This kind of training can also give older adults a sense of independence.

Resistance training can also be used for chronic disease management, as well as for the improvement of one’s psychological well-being, quality of life and longevity. The researchers offered guidance on how seniors can personalize resistance training programs so they can work out safely.

Fragala said that she and her team, along with the hundreds of scientists whose work they analyzed to produce the position statement, have found that “in most cases, the vast benefits of resistance training largely outweigh the risks,” especially if the elderly exercise according to safety guidelines.

Peterson also said that a lot of older Americans avoid resistance training mostly due to fear, confusion and a lack of consensus for proper implementation. With the support of the National Strength and Condition Association, the researchers hope to have “a positive impact on empowering healthier aging.”

Suggestions for resistance training sessions

If you are interested in resistance training, start with two or three strength-training sessions of about 15 to 30 minutes duration each week. Refrain from exercising on consecutive days.

Before you start resistance training, warm up gently. Do 10 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise like stationary cycling or walking, then do gentle stretches to avoid injury.

Do each exercise in sets of eight to 12 repetitions. Use a sturdy chair for seated exercises and to help you maintain your balance when doing standing exercises.

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Farmers now forced to dump fresh produce as stores run out of food –

Image: Coronavirus cripples food supply chains: Farmers now forced to dump fresh produce as stores run out of food

(Natural News)
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to upend lives throughout America: Now, farmers are being forced to dispose of their crops, even as grocery stores run out of foods to sell to worried shoppers.

The global pandemic has also caused Americans to seek aid from food banks in shocking numbers, many of whom have lost their jobs amid the onslaught. It’s also caused humanitarian leaders to express concern about a looming “global starvation pandemic.”

Where did we go wrong?

Many factors have caused this scenario, experts say, including a significant drop in demand, a very consolidated supply chain and long-term industry monopolies.

“A large portion of our food is now produced for restaurants, hotels, schools, and institutional users, about 50 percent. Those markets have effectively closed up, and there is not enough demand for home use now,” explained Dan Glickman, executive director of the Aspen Institute and former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, in an interview with Fox News. “Nor is the supply chain set up for this rapid transformation.”

Glickman continued that while the move toward making food processing a centralized process has been a general trend in recent years, mainly because of efficiency and cost-cutting, the coronavirus pandemic showed a major weakness.

“We no longer have a decentralized food production process, at least not to the extent of 30 years ago,” he added. “But we now see how it is impacted by a single event like COVID-19, where workers have been so impacted.”

Food waste and lost revenue

“Before the pandemic, U.S. consumers purchased about a third of their calories and spent over half of their food dollars on food consumed outside of their home – restaurants, fast food, schools, work cafeterias, etc.,” said Dr. Douglas Jackson-Smith of Ohio State University’s School of Environment and Natural Resources. He noted that store closures and stay-at-home orders have changed where most Americans purchase and consume their food.

“Supply chains have been slow to reorganize and respond,” he added.

With supply chains ground to a halt, food producers are taking most of the brunt. According to the United Fresh Produce Association, its members are losing out on up to $1 billion per week.

Jackson-Smith also added that most of the food supply chain was designed to supply commercial and retail foodservice outlets. This makes it difficult for them to adjust their production practices and distribution systems within only a few weeks. Farmers noted that they find it easier to kill their animals and destroy crops than to let their livestock and plants rot away as summer nears.

The irony isn’t lost on food banks. Feeding America, the nation’s largest food bank, reported a 70 percent increase in demand, as the coronavirus pandemic led to record levels of unemployment among millions of Americans.

Keiko Tanaka, a professor of rural sociology at the University of Kentucky, said large-scale commercial consumption, which accounts for over 50 percent of spending, has almost been entirely lost due to the pandemic.

Addressing the sudden demand change isn’t simple. To illustrate, milk processors lack the necessary equipment to package excess milk into smaller containers for grocery stores and retail use, especially since there are also a lot of cheese and other dairy products with longer shelf lives.

Tanaka and her fellow researchers added that like fruit and vegetable farmers, dairy farmers are forced to dump excess milk. Simply put, it is hard to divert the food supplies for commercial use to household use due to decreasing prices, labor shortages and mismatches in both equipment and facilities. (Related: America’s food system in shambles in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.)

Last April, the biggest meat companies in the U.S. – Cargill Inc., JBS USA, Smithfield Foods and Tyson Foods – had to suspend production at around 20 slaughterhouses nationwide, resulting in concerns of a potential mass meat shortage. In response, the Trump administration invoked the Defense Production Act to keep processing facilities open despite the pandemic.

However, Jackson-Smith explained that these plants can only stay open if they have a labor force to rely on.

Meatpacking plants employ one of the more vulnerable workforces in the food sector. With the consolidation of the meat processing sector, the loss of some very large processing sites could affect the majority of America’s meat supply.

According to a New York Times article, out of 800 USDA inspected slaughterhouses in the U.S., only 50 factories slaughter and process 98 percent of the beef. Most of these facilities are owned and operated by the four big meat companies.

Changes must be made to concentrated food supply chains

The coronavirus outbreaks at food processing facilities confirm that food processing is a huge bottleneck in the U.S. food system. Standard regulations for food safety and health don’t always work in favor of small- and medium-scale processors and mom-and-pop retailers.

To help relieve the strain on the agricultural sector, the Trump administration announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program in April, which issued $16 million in payments to ranchers and farmers. Additionally, it allocated $3 billion in bulk purchases of dairy, meat and produce that would be distributed via food banks.

Many appreciate the federal aid, but some are worried that it will take more than this to help food producers recover from the pandemic.

The American Farm Bureau Federation, the leading farmer trade group, said that the aid package won’t cover livestock that is winnowed. In a statement to Reuters, the USDA reported that the payment program “is still being developed, and the agency has received more requests for assistance than it has money to handle.”

The relief may also take a while to roll out. Officials suggest that it may take at least one month for food to be packaged and redirected to foundations, food banks and other places in need of aid.

Experts have several recommendations to prevent far-reaching disruptions to the U.S. food economy in the future.

Tanaka and her team suggest that the country start moving away from concentrated food supply chains. They believe that more regional supply chains can adapt. To ensure that food products are rechanneled when a segment of the food supply chain breaks, diverse sizes and types of farms, processing plants and distributors should be made part of every regional supply chain.

Others warn that significant changes are also associated with certain financial concerns.

Vincent Smith, a professor in agricultural economics at Montana State University, explained that the main dilemma that needs to be addressed is the reforms that may cost more than the food waste being produced. Smith posited that it may better to let a farmer dispose of milk and compensate that farmer, but not all dairy farmers, for any losses.

Because of this short-term crisis, Smith concluded that the best course of action may be to offer food aid cash transfers to the households needing help and letting the private market respond to the pandemic in their own ways.

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How to prep for the next coronavirus lockdown –

Image: Survival 101: How to prep for the next coronavirus lockdown

(Natural News)
Lockdown orders throughout the country to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) are nearing their end, but it’s too early to rejoice. Experts even suggest that it would be wise to order second lockdowns to ensure that they are not lifted prematurely.

While the future is uncertain, here are some tips for preppers who want to get ready before the next coronavirus lockdowns are enforced.

Are extended lockdowns necessary?

Note that the coronavirus won’t just disappear after you observe lockdown orders. Even after the lockdown period is over, there’s still the chance that you can get infected if you spend time outdoors without taking precautions.

According to experts, it is likely that the country will suffer a “second wave” of coronavirus infections. Some suggest it might occur soon after lockdown ends, but others say that there could be a seasonal link and that it will happen sometime in the Fall.

There are rumors from China about a possible second wave of coronavirus, but reliable reports from the country have been hard to come by since the pandemic began.

Researchers have yet to determine if recovering from coronavirus grants former patients immunity to the disease. Conflicting data notes that it’s impossible to develop immunity, while other reports say antibodies in the plasma of recovered patients can benefit those who are currently infected.

Signs hint at an incoming second wave of infections. As a prepper, it is your responsibility to prepare for the worst and to learn from your experiences during the first lockdowns put in place to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Things you need to do differently

Regardless of when the second surge of coronavirus infections happen, you need to be prepared for the second round of lockdowns.

Learn from your previous mistakes and how you handled scenarios such as:

  • Running out of food during the lockdown.
  • Not having essential non-food supplies in your stockpile.
  • Not having access to items you’ll need to repair appliances in your homestead.
  • Not having toys or books to entertain kids or other family members.

Review the preps you were satisfied with, and do them again to get ready for a second lockdown. (Related: A prepper’s guide to surviving a coronavirus lockdown.)

  • Having enough cash in your emergency funds.
  • Being able to cook delicious and nutritious meals using your food supplies.
  • Not needing to leave the house for emergency supply runs.

Review your two lists, then make a third list of the things you need to buy or need to do before the second lockdown.

  • Replenish your supply of ingredients for favorite meals.
  • Buy more items that you ran out of first.
  • Restock your pantry so you have what you need for another long-term lockdown.
  • Purchase tools and repair materials for your gear.
  • Buy things that will keep your family entertained.
  • Finalize an inventory of supplies so you can replenish your stockpile.

Review your budget

You may be one of the millions of Americans who experienced dramatic changes in their incomes over the last few months.

If you’re barely able to cover your bills, you may have trouble stocking up for another lockdown. If this is one of your concerns, review your budget. Take advantage of whatever the government via financial assistance.

Don’t waste money on things you don’t need, and see if you can cut any fixed expenses.

Items to buy for the next lockdown

Here are some supplies that you might need more of. Once you have reviewed your budget, set aside some money, and start stocking up before things get any worse.

  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Bleach
  • Canned fruits – Opt for canned fruits with no added sugar. The vitamin C levels will vary from 45 percent (peaches) to 90 percent (grapefruit) of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) per serving, depending on the type of canned fruit you buy.
  • Canned fish – Fish is rich in both protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Canned fish like anchovies, salmon, sardines and tuna can be used in sandwiches for lunch and main dishes. If the nearest store is offering promotions or discounts, buy dozens of cans that have a long shelf life.
  • Canned vegetables – Vegetables like carrots, corn, green beans and peas are full of fiber and vitamin C.
  • Disinfectant cleaners
  • Dried fruit – Dried fruit is another source of essential nutrients. Use dried fruit as toppings for cereal, oatmeal and yogurt. Alternatively, you can bake with dried fruit for a much-needed sweet treat during the lockdown.
  • Dry foods (e.g., pasta and rice)
  • Flour
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lysol wipes
  • Meat
  • Paper plates
  • Paper towels
  • Toilet paper
  • Vitamin C supplements

If your area doesn’t enforce a second lockdown, you can still use these items in your stockpile for the next long-term SHTF scenario.

Start replenishing your supplies immediately. Don’t buy these things all at once so you don’t use up too much of your funds. If your tools and appliances need some repairs, get them taken care of before the next lockdown takes effect.

Prepare your family before SHTF again

Make sure your family members are better prepared for another lockdown. Note how your family behaved during the first lockdown, and see if any of them had trouble dealing with the changes, such as not being allowed to come and go as they please.

If a loved one was depressed, anxious, or feeling lonely during the initial lockdown, talk to them in private and let them know that their feelings are valid, particularly during times of dramatic change.

Teach them that being prepared for a second lockdown is one way of helping themselves move past these feelings and accomplish the things that must be done for the survival of your whole family.

Monitor the news and get your family used to the possibility of another lockdown. You don’t need to scare them, but make it known that they should be ready for whatever happens in the next few weeks.

Visit for more tips on how to get ready before the second wave of coronavirus hits the country.

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Fast-growing vegetables to plant in your home garden during the coronavirus pandemic –

Image: Fast-growing vegetables to plant in your home garden during the coronavirus pandemic

(Natural News)
As many homeowners in America are starting to realize, now is a good time to start a home garden since the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is starting to disrupt food supply chains throughout the world. To make the most of your home garden, follow the tips below and plant fast-growing vegetables to ensure that you have access to fresh produce even during this worrying pandemic.

Don’t just rely on the food in your pantry or the supplies in your survival stockpile. As preppers already know, being self-sufficient allows you to be prepared before SHTF.

Even if the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t cause food shortages, there are many benefits to starting a home garden.

Basic gardening tips

Adding more fast-growing vegetables to their backyard should be a piece of cake for experienced gardeners. But if you’re fairly new to gardening, or if you want to make sure your home garden does well, the tips below should help.

Seeds vs. seedlings

Purchase seedlings or bedding plants from small local gardening stores if you want to harvest your crops immediately. For pepper and tomato, it’s better to start these as seedlings in your garden since these vegetables should be started indoors for about six to eight weeks before the last frost date.

The crops suggested below can be direct-sown in your garden, and you don’t need to start them indoors or transplant later. (Related: Start square foot gardening and remain self-sufficient even during the coronavirus pandemic.)

Plant the right vegetable varieties

If you’re buying from local garden stores, you may only see the most popular varieties of vegetable seeds. These seeds won’t always be the ones that work with your climate, or they may not be fast-growing ones.

If you want fast-growing veggies in your garden, you need to prioritize variety. When buying seeds online, check seed packets and descriptions to find out how long it takes for each type to reach maturity.

Pick certain vegetables early

A garden with fast-growing crops is ideal since you can start harvesting them even earlier than the “maturity” date indicated on the back of the seed packet.

If you have kale, lettuce and other greens in your garden, you can pick them earlier than their actual harvest dates. Note that greens and some root veggies are more tender and taste sweeter when picked young.

Grow sprouts or microgreens

Sprouts and microgreens are great alternatives if you don’t have enough space for a full-sized garden. Sprouts grow easily, and you only have to wait for a couple of days before they’re ready.

Add the following sprouts to salads and sandwiches for a quick and easy nutrient boost:

  • Adzuki bean sprouts
  • Chickpea sprouts
  • Kidney bean sprouts
  • Lentil sprouts
  • Mung bean sprouts
  • Pea sprouts

Use quality garden soil

Vegetables must be planted in high-quality garden soil so they can grow healthy and strong. Plant fast-growing vegetables in raised garden beds or traditional plots.

Alternatively, you can grow smaller plants in container gardens. Improve soil quality organically by adding aged manure or compost.

Be sure to water your plants regularly and expose them to direct sunlight.

Fast-growing vegetables for your home garden

Once you’ve set up raised garden beds or selected a good spot in your backyard, it’s time to start planting fast-growing vegetables such as those listed below.

Arugula (Ready to harvest within 25 days)

Arugula gives salads a peppery flavor. You can also use it to make a pesto sauce for noodles.

Direct sow the seeds and start harvesting the leaves after 25 to 35 days.

Arugula doesn’t do well in hot temperatures, so it needs to be planted in a shady spot in your garden during summer. Sprinkle some more seeds in the arugula garden bed every couple of weeks for a constant harvest of arugula greens.

Beets (Ready to harvest within 30 days for leaves or 55 days for beetroots)

Roast beets to make a tasty side dish or pickle them. Young or small beets often taste better than mature ones.

Beet greens are great additions to salads. When you harvest them, make sure not to take all the leaves in one go, or the root won’t develop. Check the labels of beet seeds to figure out which varieties of beets mature earlier than others.

Carrots (Ready to harvest within 55 days)

Carrots take a while to mature, but some varieties can be harvested while they’re still small. Baby carrots are often sweeter than mature ones.

Carrot tops are also edible. Use young carrot tops to make pesto sauce or as a substitute for parsley.

Cress (Ready to harvest within 15 days)

Cress is another peppery-tasting green. Start harvesting cress leaves when the plant is at least two inches tall. You can also grow cress as a microgreen or as sprouts.

Take note that cress doesn’t like heat, and it needs to be grown in early spring and then again in the fall.

Green onions (Ready to harvest within 60 days)

Green onions are a quick-growing onion. They look like chives, but with thicker stems.

You can harvest one plant several times.

Lettuce (Ready to harvest within 30 days)

Lettuce greens are to easy to grow. Depending on the variety you choose, you can start harvesting after only 30 days.

Make lettuce plants last a long time into the gardening season by harvesting only a few exterior leaves from each plant. Choose a variety that will grow best in your gardening climate. Some types of lettuce bolt in heat quicker, while others are hardy in cold climates.

Radishes (Ready to harvest within 25 days)

Homegrown radishes that are picked early are crunchy and flavorful. There are many radish varieties — some are white, others are similar to carrots, and some are sweet instead of spicy.

Spinach (Ready to harvest within 30 days)

Spinach can grow in part shade, which is ideal since this vegetable bolts easily in hot weather. Add spinach to salads, sautee it as a side dish or put it in green smoothies.

If you make mistakes while gardening, don’t feel disappointed, remember what you did wrong the first time, and take notes so you can improve your gardening skills.

Starting a vegetable garden is the first step to self-sufficiency and food freedom during this coronavirus pandemic. Plant fast-growing veggies in your garden, and, in time, you’ll soon be able to harvest fresh and nutritious veggies for your whole family.

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America’s food system in shambles in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic –

Image: America’s food system in shambles in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic

(Natural News)
Because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Americans are now dealing with unemployment and food insecurity. At the same time, businesses are struggling to stay afloat and meet the ever-changing demand of consumers across the country.

Coronavirus and the new normal

The pandemic has forced businesses throughout America to adjust to the new normal.

Sherry Bonanno, executive director of the Hollywood Food Coalition, explained that the organization had to adapt their practices to effectively help those in need.

The pandemic has caused significant changes in California, where over one-third of America’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts are grown. Adding to the pandemic is the state’s currently existing issues of hunger and homelessness.

To address these concerns, food producers, distributors, retailers and advocates are continuously trying to come up with new ways to sustain the nation’s food supply and their own bottom lines, at the same time minimizing food waste and want.

Farmers and wasted produce

On March 16, Gov. Gavin Newsom implored restaurants to close. This then resulted in huge losses for the foodservice industry that supplied restaurants and bars, along with schools, hotels, production studios and catering services.

While worried consumers rushed to grocery stores to stockpile food and retail demand skyrocketed, the business wasn’t enough to meet all the lost demand from restaurants.

Scott Grabau, president and chief executive of Tanimura & Antle, a Salinas-based lettuce producer, said that the pandemic has flipped his business upside-down.

Tanimura & Antle grows year-round in California and Arizona but has recently had to stop harvesting entire fields. Grabau is considering planting more iceberg and romaine lettuce, two vegetables that are more popular among shoppers, and less of the boutique leaves offered to chefs.

Meanwhile, Cathy Burns, CEO of the Produce Marketing Association that represents produce companies, explained that crops planted months before based on pre-pandemic demand went to waste because of a lack of buyers. Produce worth billions of dollars had to be tilled back into the soil.

To reduce food waste in your own kitchen, categorize vegetables into groups: Use now, later and latest. Store hardier ingredients towards the back of the fridge and more fragile ingredients near the front.

If you have enough vegetables for at least one week, you can manage the ingredients better. Pay attention to each vegetable’s “internal clock,” so you can cook with them before they go bad.

Truckers with uncertain futures

According to Zach England, the chief operating officer of C.R. England, a Utah-based company that transports produce and meat in refrigerated trucks throughout California and other states, his company experienced the pandemic’s “seesaw effect.”

At least 4,000 of England’s 6,000 drivers haul food routinely. The demand for their services skyrocketed during the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic when grocers had to work double-time to restock shelves, but the demand has settled down. (Related: Coronavirus infections at meat plants are already leading to grocery shortages.)

Greg Dubuque, president of the California Trucking Association and owner of Liberty Linehaul West in Montebello, shared that trucking companies continue operating in the hopes that the situation will improve soon.

Grocers and employee safety

During the first weeks of the coronavirus shutdown, shoppers quickly emptied store shelves. Grocers raced to restock, even as inventory was coming in from suppliers. Worried consumers were purchasing four to eight weeks’ worth of food at a time.

These last few weeks, Kroger and other grocers continue to keep stores stocked, even though dozens of workers have become ill. Unions protest that they report are management failures to ensure their workplace safety.

Food banks and hungry citizens

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a significant decrease in the supply of free food to food banks. At the same time, millions of Californians have become unemployed due to the pandemic, with a lot of families going hungry.

During the first three weeks of April, over 265,000 Americans applied for government food assistance under the CalFresh program. The California Department of Social Services, which administers the program, reported that the figure is more than twice the number of applicants during the same period in 2019.

On the other hand, grocery stores are selling more of their stock and donating less food. While restaurants and other businesses that closed had lots of supplies to give to food banks when the shutdown first began, the supply has now petered out.

Advocates work twice as hard to keep food banks operating

Bonanno from the Hollywood Food Coalition is constantly working on a new model that will allow clients to receive their food outside in a to-go bag.

Bonanno is also at a loss since her normal supply chains were cleaned out. Pre-coronavirus times, her group often received food from the movie studios, where one day of production on a film or television set results in enough leftover meals for hundreds of people.

But now, all the studios have closed and caterers, restaurants and groceries are providing the Hollywood Food Coalition with fewer resources.

Hope for the future

Throughout the American food system, citizens from all walks of life have expressed their fears and concerns. Despite this great need, experts remain hopeful about reducing food waste.

Chris Tang, a supply chain expert and professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, noted that countries and organizations around the globe are trying to think of efficient ways to “rebalance the supply and demand.” Tang added that efforts must be made to prevent food waste and get the food to those in need.

Currently, producers and those on the front lines of poverty and hunger are collaborating to address this issue. Tang expressed hope that the government and the private sector will work harder to connect the two.

He suggested that California, which has tech hubs and plenty of farms, could pave the way for possible solutions. With a new, nationwide online platform, there’s a chance that those who have access to food can quickly offer aid to those in need.

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Regular exercise can bring long-term relief from pain caused by arthritis –

Image: Regular exercise can bring long-term relief from pain caused by arthritis

(Natural News)
Arthritis often causes severe joint pain, which can be debilitating. In some cases, the pain may even put off people from exercising. But a study has found that regular physical activity is key to naturally relieving the symptoms of arthritis.

Joint pain and quality of life

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that at least 15 million adults in America with arthritis suffer from severe joint pain. The symptom is categorized as pain at seven or higher on a scale of zero to 10.

Findings from the CDC show that even though physical activity can naturally reduce arthritis pain, almost 50 percent of adults with arthritis and severe joint pain are physically inactive. Both severe joint pain and physical inactivity are associated with poor mental and physical health outcomes.

Suffering from joint pain can affect quality of life and a person’s ability to do normal tasks like holding a glass of water or carrying a bag of groceries. This means that exercising can be a challenge, which may put you off from working out altogether.

Natural pain relief through exercise

Over 50 million adults in America have arthritis, and the majority of patients with the condition use medication to manage joint pain. But according to researchers, exercising regularly, which can be difficult to do if you have arthritis, is just as effective as prescription drugs at reducing pain caused by arthritis.

Randy Siy, a physical therapist and the outpatient program coordinator at Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital, explained that patients with arthritis will benefit from increasing their physical activity more gradually compared with someone without the condition.

Siy added that working with a physical therapist will help them develop a program that will specifically meet their level of function and address their health goals.

Additionally, exercise is an effective and inexpensive way of reducing pain. Unlike arthritis medication that causes negative side effects, such as heartburn, internal bleeding or high blood pressure, exercise can help delay or prevent disability and limitations without any adverse effects.

Exercising may also help boost mental health, physical functioning and overall quality of life for those who suffer from painful arthritis.

Exercises for arthritis pain management

Detailed below are low-impact exercises that adults with arthritis can try.

Aerobic exercises

Aerobic exercises help promote overall fitness, along with your heart health, weight management, energy and stamina.

Cycling, walking and swimming are forms of cardiovascular exercise that help relieve arthritis pain. When starting a new fitness routine, gradually work your way up to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise once a week. (Related: Here are 9 natural ways to treat arthritis in the comfort of your own home.)

Strengthening exercises

Doing weight training and resistance exercises regularly will help strengthen the muscles that support and protect your joints.

For patients with arthritis, particularly those with severe joint pain, refrain from working out the same muscle groups two days in a row. Siy advises resting for one day in-between workouts. If the joints are still painful or swollen, rest for another day or two.

Those new to a strength-training program should try related exercises three times a week. Siy notes that if you simply want to maintain your strength despite your condition, you can exercise two days a week.

Patients with knee arthritis should focus on increasing quadriceps strength. Try exercises like mini-squats and sit-to-stand from a chair.

Range-of-motion exercises

These exercises include movements like finger and wrist flexion/extension, leg kicks and marching, all of which help minimize stiffness.

Range-of-motion exercises also help increase your ability to move your joints through their full range of motion. Siy suggests doing these exercises daily.

For more tips on how to manage arthritis pain naturally, visit

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Water storage tips for lockdown scenarios –

Image: Coronavirus prepping: Water storage tips for lockdown scenarios

(Natural News)
Lockdown policies throughout the country are keeping most people inside their homes, to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

As a prepper, you should have enough food in your stockpile to last you for at least a month.

Besides food and survival gear, you’ll need clean water for drinking, cooking, cleaning and other tasks. You’ll also need to provide enough water for yourself and your family for a long-term survival scenario like a pandemic.

Even though you currently have running water at home, you must make the necessary preps in case of water service outage in your area.

Water filters and purifiers

When storing water long-term, it’s important to have water filters and purifiers at home. Stock up on supplies such as:

  • Water filters (e.g., personal filters and water filter systems)
  • Water purifiers
  • Water treatment tablets/drops (e.g., chlorine, chlorine dioxide and iodine)

When storing water for your stockpile, avoid using containers made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) that can leach bisphenol A (BPA), a known hormone disruptor, into the water.

Exposure to BPA is linked to health issues like heart disease and reproductive disorders.

Water storage options

Urban preppers face certain challenges when setting up supplies, such as limited storage space. Detailed below are water storage options for preppers, whether you’re living in the city or a homestead in a remote location.

Store-bought bottled water

Bottled water is a popular water storage solution for many preppers since they can easily stack cases or boxes of bottled water to maximize storage space. However, this isn’t the best option if you want to save money on your preps.

To save money, take advantage of sales and buy from big-box chain stores.

Always check if the plastic bottles are BPA-free when buying supplies for long-term storage. Rotate your stockpiled water every eight to 12 months. (Related: 13 Healthy and inexpensive foods to stockpile during the coronavirus outbreak.)

Multi-gallon jugs

Multi-gallon water jugs are cheaper than bottled water, but they’re bulkier and harder to stack.

Because most gallon jugs are made of clear plastic, you will have to deal with algae growth when storing supplies long-term.

Bathtub containers

Water containment systems like the WaterBOB are also popular with preppers and survivalists. A WaterBob is a bathtub-sized food-grade plastic container that fills a whole tub so you can store about 100 gallons of tap water.

Water barrels

Water barrels with added manual pumps are another great option for water storage. Protect your water barrels with 55-gallon plastic bags made from opaque plastic that are BPA-free and UV-resistant.

On average, two barrels can provide a month’s worth of water for a family of four. One downside is that these barrels are heavy and hard to move once filled with water.

Rain barrels

Make sure you always have access to water in your homestead by setting up rain barrels. Check if doing so is legal in your area since the practice is illegal in some states.

Rainwater from barrels can be used for cleaning and other chores that don’t require purified water, like watering your vegetable garden.

Note that rainwater from roofs made of asphalt, concrete, steel and wood may contain a high concentration of copper, lead and other dangerous metals. Additionally, asphalt shingles may contain small amounts of benzo[a]pyrene, a known carcinogenic compound.

Water cisterns

If you have the funds, you can prep a large cistern tank on your property. A water cistern can hold at least 10,000 gallons of water. Used sparingly, this can last for about three years.

However, most cisterns are not food-grade. The water must be thoroughly filtered before you can drink it.

Useful tips for storing and acquiring water

To ensure that your water stockpile is safe to drink when SHTF, store it properly and protect it from contaminants.

Algae, bacteria and chemicals can ruin your stockpile within days. Make sure your water doesn’t get contaminated by storing it in sealed and air-tight, opaque containers.

Don’t open the containers unless you plan to use the water. Store water containers in a cool place where temperatures don’t fluctuate.

If you’re using tap water to supplement your stockpile, you don’t need to treat it with iodine or chlorine since tap water should be already treated. To make sure that the water is clean, add 1/8 teaspoon of chlorine per gallon of water before you seal your containers.

Water stored for long-term survival will lack oxygen, giving it a flat taste. To address this, stir the water a bit before drinking to aerate the water.

When in doubt, boil water or use a UV water purifier to make it safer for consumption. Never drink water that has questionable quality.

Whether you’re facing a long- or short-term survival scenario, you’ll need clean water in your survival stockpile. Before things get worse during the coronavirus pandemic, set up the necessary preps so your family has access to clean water.

Unlike food storage, planning ahead for water storage solutions is cheaper. Don’t wait until SHTF to set up a clean water supply for yourself and your loved ones.

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