5 activities to ease your mind during tax season

With tax season upon us, it is important to stay calm during this stressful time of year. Although you may not be fully aware of the tension your body is under, your psyche will thank you by making a habit of these five activities.

1. Be aware of your thoughts: Henry Emmons, MD, author of The Chemistry of Calm, suggests focusing on your body during a stressful or frustrating experience. For example, concentrating on your breathing patterns is much more beneficial than replaying the situation over and over in your mind.

2. Be physical: Move your body in fast-paced exercises, or walk up a few flights of stairs to help balance out stress hormones. Deep-breathing also helps to keep you calm and controlled.

3. Eat carefully: Anger and frustration can lead to poor eating habits. Keeping the lid on the cookie jar during a stressful moment can also help keep your blood-glucose level down (and caloric intake!). Instead, Elizabeth Somer, RD and author of Eat Your Way to Happiness, suggests treating yourself to fruit dipped in dark chocolate. The dark chocolate can help reduce stress hormones in the body.

4. Phone a friend: Research shows good company causes our bodies to release oxytocin, a hormone that releases endorphins and brightens your mood. Creating time in the day for a friend is a great way to naturally increase your mood.

5. Before-bed writing: Once you are settled in bed, grab a paper and pen to jot down any disconcerting or troubling thoughts that are lingering on your mind. Transcribing your experiences will not only help clear your mind, but also give you a better night's rest.

So, if tax season and life’s other nuances are weighing on your mind a little more than normal, implement several of these five tips to help cope with the stress and ease your mind.

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon), Hamilton and surrounding areas.

6 lifestyle changes to boost your brain

It is never too early to start protecting your brain. According to an article in the Huffington Post, by the year 2030, 615,000 people are said to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. By 2050, that annual number is expected to be just under 1 million, with someone developing Alzheimer's every 33 seconds.

Those are very harrowing statistics. But, there are things that we can do to hopefully change those numbers.

Dr. Cindy Haines shares 6 Lifestyle changes to protect your brainpower:

1. Avoid other chronic conditions – People with other chronic conditions, like diabetes, are about twice as likely to develop dementia. Obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure are all potentially chronic problems that you can control.

2. Try Mediterranean food – The Mediterranean diet is gaining support in its use in preventing dementia. Lots of fruits and vegetables, whole-grain bread and other whole-grain foods, and beans, seeds and nuts.

3. Stay Active – Regular exercise keeps your blood vessels healthy, which can help prevent vascular dementia and forms of Alzheimer’s.

4. Avoid Tobacco Smoke – Smoking is has been proven to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, new research is suggesting that simply being exposed to tobacco smoke can also increase that risk.

5. Keep your brain busy and stay socially engaged – Studies have shown that people who keep their brains active are less likely to develop dementia. Activities like crossword puzzles and reading increase your cognitive reserve.

6. Keep an eye on depression - There still needs to be more research involving exactly how depression and dementia are linked, but studies show that there is a strong connection between the two.

Like I said earlier, it is important to start taking precautions to prevent dementia, no matter your age.

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon), Hamilton and surrounding areas.

Quick, easy, and simple butter chicken recipe

Butter Chicken Recipe

1 cup butter, divided
1 onion, minced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
3 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons tandoori masala


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Melt a few tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic, and cook slowly until the onion caramelizes to a dark brown, about 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile melt the remaining butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat along with the tomato sauce, heavy cream, salt, cayenne pepper, and garam masala. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low; cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then stir in caramelized onions.
  4. While the sauce is simmering, toss cubed chicken breast with vegetable oil until coated, then season with tandoori masala and spread out onto a baking sheet.
  5. Bake chicken in preheated oven until no longer pink in the center, about 12 minutes. Once done, add the chicken to the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes before serving.

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon), Hamilton and surrounding areas.

Nasal spray may prevent Alzheimer's

From Home Care Assistance North Houston:

A nasal spray that can prevent Alzheimer’s disease and a stroke? Too good to be true?

Not according to researchers from Tel Aviv University. They say they’ve developed a medication that can be used as a nasal spray and protect against Alzheimer’s and strokes that are related to Alzheimer’s disease. The spray would repair vascular damage in the brain by triggering the body’s immune system.

Dr. Dan Frenkel, of the Tel Aviv University’s Department of Neurobiology, says he and other researchers are using part of a drug that was previously tested as an influenza treatment to induce an immune response against a build-up of amyloid proteins, or brain peptides, in the blood vessels. This build-up can lead to development of Alzheimer’s disease.

“In early pre-clinical studies, we’ve found it can prevent both brain tissue damage and restore cognitive impairment,” said Frenkel.

Dr. Alan J. Lerner, director of the Memory and Cognition Center at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Ohio, praised the nasal spray, adding that not all drugs need to come in a pill or a shot.

“I think we should be excited about this research because Alzheimer’s is such a major public health problem,” said Lerner, who was not involved in the study. “It affects 5 million people and the Baby Boomers will add 10 to 15 million more patients to that. “

Frenkel believes the new findings, accepted by the journal Neurobiology of Aging, may lead to a future breakthrough for a vaccine and a long-sought cure for Alzheimer’s. “This might open a new horizon of treatment targeting the immune response that can both reduce stroke incident in Alzheimer’s and also prevent disease progression,” Frenkel told AOL Health.

The vaccine activates macrophages, or large proteins in the body that devour foreign antigens. Large numbers of activated macrophages dispose of amyloid protein build-up in the brain’s vascular system. Trials in animals have shown that further damage can be prevented once these proteins are expelled from the brain, meaing existing damage due to a previous stroke could be repaired. The vaccine may also treat patients who are already experiencing Alzheimer’s symptoms.

“We’ve found a way to use the immune response stimulated by this drug to prevent hemorrhagic strokes which lead to permanent brain damage,” Frenkel added.

Researchers used mice to monitor the effect of the drug through “object recognition” tests, which evaluated cognitive function before and after vaccine injection. MRI screenings confirmed that further vascular damage was prevented after administration of the vaccine, and that object recognition tests indicated those animals treated with the vaccine returned to normal behavior. So far the vaccine has shown no toxic side effects in mice.

Lerner’s one concern is that the drug has not been tested on humans, although he says the theory behind the spray is backed previous research.

“There’s been an immune theory about Alzheimer’s around for about 20 years and it looks like this is an immune-mediated approach,” Lerner said. “In the past we’ve tried giving people prednisone and anti-inflamatory drugs. There are currently antibodies in clinical testing.”

Frenkel believes the drug may have the same effect in humans, both in preventing the diseases and in treating patients who have already been diagnosed. In fact, if further research supports the vaccine’s efficacy, it could have the potential to treat the dementia associated with Alzheimer’s in as many as 80 percent of patients.

While Frenkel was unable to comment on when the drug could potentially be available, he noted it has already been tested for safety as an influenza treatment by GlaxoSmithKline.

“The layperson should know that help is on the way,” said Lerner, whose own center at University Hospitals does a lot of research in this area. “You’re not going to be able to go out and get this right away. But we have to support Alzheimer’s research. It’s stalled in terms of dollars and students are being told to study something else.

“Sometimes we can look to other countries such as Israel for ideas,” Lerner added. “Our center does a lot of clinical trials We don’t want to keep doing the same cookie-cutter things. So this research is very germane.”

AOL Health writer Ronnie Koenig contributed to this report.
Huso, Deborah, and Ronnie Koenig. “Researchers Say Nasal Spray May Prevent Alzheimer’s, Stroke.” AOL Health. 1 Mar. 2011. Web. 03 Mar. 2011. .

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon), Hamilton and surrounding areas.

Eat Right and Get Active - Tip #2 Try Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is not only relaxing but also helps you burn calories during exercise as well. According to research from the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, exercisers who inhale strawberry and buttered-popcorn scents burn more calories than those who sniffed neutral odors.

Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon), Hamilton and surrounding areas.

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