Decoding Caffeine, the Nectar of the Gods

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on 9/29/16.

It’s no surprise that many of us love caffeinated beverages – many of us thrive (or survive, depending on the day) on the wakefulness and can-do attitude provided by our morning cup o’ joe. I’m personally obsessed with tea, and in the mornings, I’m a struggle to talk to until my cup has kicked in. My fingers are currently flying over the keyboard thanks to a handful of chocolate-covered espresso beans.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone: more than 90% of American adults use caffeine regularly. But how much do you actually know about this substance that you ply yourself with every morning (and afternoon… and some evenings…)? We’ve taken it upon ourselves to decode caffeine – what it actually is, its effects on the body and our health, and the many ways to consume it.

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September is Food Safety Education Month! Keep Yourself Safe With These Tips

Did you know that September is Food Safety Education Month? Food safety might not normally be on the forefront of our minds, but I know after losing power for several days after Hurricane Irma blew through Florida, figuring out what I could and couldn’t eat from my refrigerator was a real concern. Many of you might have found yourselves in similar situations. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), 1 in 6 Americans get sick from eating contaminated food every year. Today we’re sharing some tips from the CDC on how to keep you and your family safe from foodborne diseases.

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Image from CDC.gov

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Become an Informed Patient with These Reliable Health Information Resources

We may not all be physicians here at the College of Medicine, but there is one thing that all of us can relate to: each and every one of us has been a patient at some point. As patients, it’s so important that we listen to the advice of our health care providers so that the we get the best outcomes for our own health. But it’s equally important for us to be informed patients. And that means knowing where to look to find reliable health information. These days, we all turn to the internet, and we all know that everything on the internet is true, right? Today we’re going to steer you in the right direction and show you some great health information sites you can actually trust.

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What’s New: Where to Find Health News Online

If you all have been following our blog, you’ve noticed that we have a reoccurring series called the Monday Morning Round-Up, in which we round up interesting news stories about health and medicine from around the web.  We like to keep up-to-date on what’s going on in the world of healthcare, whether that’s a new treatment that’s undergoing research and trials, news about global health threats, or updated health and wellness tips, and we bet our readers do too! We decided to round up a few of our favorite online health and medicine news sources for you so that you can keep yourself abreast of discoveries and events in healthcare!

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Stress-Busting Activities Under 5 Minutes

Stress can sometimes be a good thing – giving you that final push to make it through the end of your workout or finish a project before the deadline; however, intense or chronic stress can wreak havoc on your physical, emotional, and mental health. The best way to manage stress long-term is to make lifestyle changes like exercising regularly, sleeping enough, and regularly checking in on your physical, mental, and spiritual well being.

All of these are great practices, and can help bolster your resilience against stress; however, if you’re in the middle of a busy workday, halfway through an exam, or struggling to meet a project deadline, checking out to sleep 8 hours, eat a healthy meal, or fit in an hour long sweat sesh is usually anywhere from impractical to impossible. In this way, it’s good to master a couple of quick stress-busting exercises to employ when you need a fast fix for your stress levels. We’ve rounded up several practical stress relievers that take less than 5 minutes – try out several to find the ones that work for you!

Try these tips to manage your stress levels

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Sunscreen, SPF, and Skin Cancer: Be Safe in the Summer Sun!

It’s summertime here in Florida, and that means tons of sunshine! We certainly earn our nickname of the Sunshine State: on average, we can expect to have more than 260 days of beautiful sunshine every year. All of that sun is great for outdoor sports, beach days, and ensuring you reach your Vitamin D needs, but it can also wreak havoc on your skin’s health. So how do you protect yourself? In today’s blog post we’ll explore what the sun damage actually does to your skin, how sunscreen works, and various techniques to protect your skin from the harsh sun rays.

Fun in the summer sun can mean skin damage – learn how to protect yourself through sun safety!

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Monday Morning Round Up #12

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Welcome to Monday Morning Round-Up, featuring what’s new in health and medicine from around the web!

Why poor workplace posture can lead to pain (and what to do about it) via The Washington Post 

Forward head, slumping shoulders, tilted pelvis. Sound like the Hunchback of Notre Dame in 15th-century Paris? Maybe, or just your average Joe and Jane glued to their cellphones and computer monitors in 21st-century Washington or just about anywhere in the world. “Bad posture can contribute to things like disk herniation, pinched nerves, tingling, arthritic changes in the joints, and tissue getting shorter and tighter,” says Haim Hechtman, a doctor of physical therapy and the co-founder of Point Performance, a physical therapy practice in Bethesda.

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8 TED Talks to Improve your Wellness and Work-Life Balance

Improving your overall wellness and striking a good work-life balance are wonderful goals – they can help you be happier, healthier, and more successful! However, actually achieving what you consider to be a well and balanced life can be easier said than done. To inspire you and give you practical tips and tricks, we’ve rounded up a set of TED Talks from experts on wellness and work-life balance:

How to Gain Control of Your Free Time

In this talk, Laura Vanderkam discusses practical strategies to help us “build the lives we want in the time we’ve got.”

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This Summer, Try Eating Seasonally

“Eating seasonally” has become a trendy thing and you’ll likely see this phrase on many magazine covers at the grocery store. But what does it really mean and why should you eat seasonally? Seasonal eating is just what it sounds like—eating foods that are in season, right now. Most of us are lucky enough to have access to big grocery stores with a wide variety of fruits and veggies available all year round. But we don’t often stop to think: Are these tomatoes actually in season? Especially when we can go to the store and get those tomatoes even in December, where most of the country is under a blanket of snow.

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Monday Morning Round-Up #11

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Welcome to Monday Morning Round-Up, featuring what’s new in health and medicine from around the web!

Measles outbreak in Minnesota surpasses last year’s total for the entire country the Washington Post

Minnesota’s measles outbreak has exceeded the total number of cases reported in the entire United States last year, with no sign of slowing. Health officials worry that the holy month of Ramadan, which began Friday night and brings Muslims together in prayer and festivities, will accelerate the spread of the highly infectious and potentially deadly disease, which is plaguing the close-knit Somali American community.

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