Are wrist blood pressure monitors accurate? This is a question that I set about answering some years ago. Not out of medical research curiousity but as a patient myself.
Apart from knowing the answer to the accuracy of wrist monitors, I also explain why my answer is what it is and finally I’ll tell you if I recommend wrist BP monitors as a home blood pressure monitoring kit or not. That’s what you are going to get on this page.
Being a doctor and someone who suffers from high blood pressure, I accidentally found the answer to the question: are wrist monitors accurate for blood pressure; more out of luck rather than by design.
My curious search for an alternative to upper arm blood pressure monitor led me to discover the truth about wrist blood pressure monitors. The long and short of my short adventure was that the wrist blood pressure monitors are not accurate.
So, if you want to know the real answer to the question: are wrist blood pressure monitors measurements accurate? The answer is; No, wrist monitors are not accurate for blood pressure measurement.
My claim is based on my personal experience of 4 different brand of wrist monitors. These wrist monitors kept giving wild blood pressure readings. Usually BP readings that would suggest I am about to have a stroke or heart attack.
With doubts in my mind as to such ridiculously high readings, I had to do a validation of the readings. Fortunately I had an upper arm monitor at home.
When I checked my blood pressure with my upper arm monitor at the same time as the wrist monitor, I had normal blood pressure.
So, whereas the wrist monitor was producing BP readings that would suggest I needed to go to ER (A&E) immediately for medical attention, my upper arm monitor was giving readings that were perfectly normal.
The contrast between the wrist monitor and the upper arm monitor was as clear as the Biblical ‘Red Sea parting for Moses and his troops to go through’.
When you have recurrent episodes of false readings with different brands, it is not unreasonable to reach that conclusion that wrist monitors are not accurate for blood pressure measurements.
Mind you on each occasion, I validated with the upper arm monitor. Occasionally, there was a close match of the readings from the wrist monitor and the upper arm one.
But these episodes of the close match were very few and far between. Scenarios like that meant I had to reach that conclusion, that the wrist monitors were inaccurate and therefore unreliable.
Why are wrist blood pressure monitors not accurate for Blood pressure reading?
Okay I won’t just make a statement like that and not give you reasons for why wrist blood pressure monitors are not as effective as upper arm monitors.
One reason for this inaccuracy of blood pressure readings from the wrist monitors is the blood vessel from which the wrist monitor is getting its reading from.
Our body’s arterial tree is a high pressure system. But the walls of our arteries have been cleverly designed by nature to maintain a pressure gradient that drives blood onwards and forwards downstream.
This means smaller vessels are more muscular than larger vessels. Larger vessels closer to the heart are lot more elastic than smaller vessels downstream. The larger vessels have to be elastic to withstand the high pumping pressure of the heart ventricles.
Larger vessels – elastic
Smaller vessels – muscular
The brachial artery is larger than the radial artery. Meaning the brachial artery is more elastic than the radial artery. The smaller arteries will have a higher resistance i.e pressure, within them than the larger blood vessels because they are more muscular.
This differential pressure is necessary for the continuous flow of blood within the arterial tree. That’s the concept of the physics of flow through vessels of different sizes.
But of course nature is very clever, you have a sudden drop in pressure when blood arrives at the very small arteries called the arterioles. This is designed to protect us from harm and keep the delivery of nutrients and oxygen efficient.
I am digressing here for good reason but the video below explains it a little bit more about the physiology.
The point I am making is that; you will more than likely get higher blood pressure readings in the smaller radial artery (that the wrist monitors measures) than the larger brachial artery (that the upper arm monitor measures).
The second reason wrist monitors give inexact readings is that they are very sensitive to positioning. Any slight adjustment of your wrist position will lead to swings in blood pressure readings.
Which brings me nicely to the third reason for wrist blood pressure monitors inaccuracy. We advise high blood pressure patients to measure their blood pressure by placing the cuffed area to the level of the heart.
Now imagine trying to place the cuffed wrist at the level of the heart. It’s not a natural position for the wrist. That causes all sorts of positional problems.
Compared to the upper arm, which is almost at the level of the heart requiring just a little elevation, the wrist monitor will need a higher elevation. That’s a recipe for errors in blood pressure readings.
Would I recommend Wrist blood pressure monitors?
The short answer to that question is: No, I won’t.
They both recommend the upper arm monitors and I support the recommendation as well.
Why is this?
For the same reasons that I have outlined earlier on this article. It is clear. The wrist blood pressure monitor readings are not accurate. If you want to monitor your blood pressure at home, you’d want to use a device that is reliable.
You would use a blood pressure measurement device that produces clear, unambiguous blood pressure readings every time. Not some of the time but every time.
The wrist monitors cannot be trusted to do that. The wrist blood pressure monitors are not effective home BP monitoring kit.
The last thing you want is showing results of blood pressure readings to your doctor that are ambiguous and inaccurate. Situations like that will lead to your doctor making wrong management decisions.
You don’t want that. In fact, it could be downright dangerous. Avoid!
I shall be providing answers to these questions right here.
What are the pros and cons of wrist blood pressure monitors?
Sadly, I want to start with the cons of wrist blood pressure monitors. I apologize for this because it is never a good idea to begin a journey on a negative note.
Always start with the positives; my mother always told me when I was younger. But I am constrained to do disobey my mother in this instance, because I want to tell my story of my first romance with these wrist blood pressure monitors.
Wrist blood pressure monitor cons
And my story unfortunately does not lead to pros of wrist BP monitors but rather to the cons of wrist blood pressure monitors.
I am a sucker for innovation and innovative products. I needed to say this upfront as that’s how my relationship with these wrist blood pressure monitors started.
A couple of years ago, I saw a full-page newspaper ad on a brand of wrist blood pressure monitor. I was enthralled by the ad. Mainly because the focus of the ad was the simplicity of using this blood pressure machine. I was sold. In an instant.
I must admit at the time I had not heard of these wrist blood pressure monitors, so my curiousity was piqued. Really piqued. I went past curiousity and made a purchase straightaway.
I felt such an innovative product was something I needed in my life. I should say that I am a medical doctor and also someone who suffers from high blood pressure too. Therefore my need for the product was a match made in heaven.
In any case what’s the point of having your curiousity aroused by an innovative product and not do the follow through business – make the purchase, that is. Call it impulsive buying and you’ll be right.
I should also say that up until that point, I had not heard of wrist blood pressure monitors. They were not available in the hospital environment that I work at the time and still aren’t. I shall come to this point again later on…
Anyway, the product arrived a couple of days later and I was so keen to use it, I unboxed it straightaway.
Off I went, slammed it on my left wrist, pushed the button to inflate the cuff and measure my blood pressure. Oops…I got a ridiculously high reading. I sat back, rested a while, breathed deeply, tried another reading. Same high reading.
Tried wrist number 2 – same high reading.
Called the retailer who requested I send it back for exhange as that may be a faulty item. New wrist blood pressure monitor arrived days later. Same outcome.
Now, how do I know the wrist blood pressure monitor was the issue and not my blood pressure hitting the roof at 240/135 mmHg for instance? Well, that’s because I have an older upper arm monitor that I had been using reliably in the house.
I double-checked with that upper arm monitor and my blood pressure was perefctly normal at the same time the wrist blood pressure monitor was giving me ridiculously high blood pressure readings.
As stated in the video below, I tried some other brands of the wrist blood pressure monitors and I wasn’t impressed.
As you can tell from the above story, reliability and accuracy are big cons of the wrist blood pressure monitors.
The problem with accuracy and reliability are one big disadvantage of wrist blood pressure monitors that I find difficult to overlook.
One of the reasons wrist blood pressure monitors give higher readings that are not reflective ofyour true blood pressure is the artery who’s pressure is being measured.
Wrist blood pressure monitors take the blood pressure readings from the Radial artery unlike the upper arm monitors that measure the pressure in the Brachial artery.
The radial artery is narrower and more superficial compared to the brachial artery that is deeper and larger. If you remember your physics from secondary school, you will understand why the pressure in a smaller vessel will be higher than a bigger vessel.
Another problem with wrist blood pressure monitors is the placement of the blood pressure cuff. Ideally when measuring your blood pressure at home, we advise you to place the cuffed area at the level of the heart when the blood pressure measurement is taking place. This is actually the same advice offered by the American College of Cardiology too.
With the wrist monitors, the wrist where the cuff will be wrapped is not naturally at the level of the heart. Achieving that objective of having the cuffed wrist at the level of the heart makes for some awkward positioning.
This is very much unlike the upper arm monitors where the upper arm is almost at the level of the heart. Your arm only requires a little elevation.
Summary of the cons of wrist blood pressure monitors:
Difficulty positioning the cuffed wrist at the level of the heart
Readings very sensitive to positioning
Smaller blood vessel pressure being measured
Gives inaccurate readings most of the time
Reliable readings are few and far between
Therefore cannot be trusted as a home blood pressure monitoring kit
Pros of wrist blood pressure monitors
That said, it’s not all bad news with the wrist blood pressure monitors. They do have some advantages. May be it wasn’t a bad idea after all, that I started with the cons whilst tackling this subject of the wrist blood pressure pros and cons.
Saving the good news for last…
Anyway in the interest of a good balance of facts and without bias, here are the advantages of the wrist blood pressure monitors:
Wrist blood pressure monitors are small, therefore very easy to carry around. You can easily shove them in your handbag, briefcase and off you go. So, quite suitable for On-The-Go ambulatory blood pressure measurement.
Meaning they are very portable because they are small and lightweight.
They require very little dexterity to use them. You hardly need any handiwork to use the wrist blood pressure monitors. If you can wear a wrist watch, you can use the wrist blood pressure monitors.
Cuff size is usually not a problem with wrist blood pressure monitors. Because wrist sizes do not vary much, so you shouldn’t have an issue with cuff being too small or too big. Therefore suitable for those with big arms, although you can shop for bigger cuff for upper arm monitors too.
Practically all wrist blood pressure monitors are automatic as opposed to having to choose between manual and automatic. Meaning there’s very little learning curve involved.
This also translates to being very easy to use.
Summary of pros of wrist blood pressure monitors:
Small in size
Easy to use
Provides dual readings of systolic and distolic Blood pressure
Cuff size not usually a problem
Quite comfortable to wear and use
Little or no dexterity involved to get a blood pressure reading
Usually automated so little learning required
Wrist blood pressure monitors Vs Upper Arm Monitors: Which should I buy?
Those are the wrist blood pressure monitor pros and cons. Now, if you ask me which of these monitors to buy for your home use, my professional advice will be to go for the upper arm blood pressure monitors. Sounds crazy, right? After everything I’ve said…
See video below
As far as I am concerned, even though the wrist blood ressure monitors do have some really good advantages over the upper arm monitors, the one disadvantage I cannot get over is unreliability.
If you are going to monitor your blood pressure at home, you want something reliable. You want a blood pressure kit that gives you accurate readings that you can take to your doctor. Readings your doctor can trust.
Doctors don’t want to make decisions on blood pressure readings that are sketchy and probably accurate 25% of the time. Not even 75% of the time. We want to make decisions on readings that are accurate 99.99% of the time.
Why is this?
Doctors don’t want to make the wrong management decisions. Wrong readings lead to wrong decisions. That’s not the basis for a sound high blood pressure (hypertension) management.
Like I said in the video, given the fact that these wrist BP monitors have been around for a long time now, and are very easy to use, how come we don’t use them in hospital settings?
Let’s talk about nitrates in vegetables versus meat. Are the nitrates in vegetables Vs meat bad for you? Or are these nitrates good for you?
Is there a difference to how our bodies treat and interact with the nitrates in vegetables Vs nitrates in meat? Which of these nitrates is safer to eat? is it better to eat vegetables because of the nitrates and should we avoid meat because of the nitrates in meat?
I will endeavour to answer all of these questions in this article.
There has always been this debate about nitrates in food. We are all too concerned about our health these days and for good reason too. I’d like to know if what I am eating, especially on a regular basis, is good for my health or unwittingly damaging my health.
Time for “travelling in the dark” is far gone. The first thing to note is that there are nitrates in both plants and animal food produce.
I should say this upfront. I eat a plant-based diet.
But that is not to say, I don’t eat meat. I eat meat, fish and plants but I limit how much meat I eat. So, this article is not written with a vegetarian bias or anything like that because I am a full-blown flexitarian.
What’s the deal with these Nitrates and Nitrites in our food?
Nitrates are naturally occurring in plant food produce but in animal foods, they are artificially added to preserve these foods.
Nitrates are relatively harmless on their own. It is when they get converted to their subunits that the potential to cause harm arises.
Nitrates have 3 oxygen molecules attached to the Nitrogen atom.
However, nitrates become bioactive when one of the oxygen atoms is removed leaving 2 oxygen atoms attached to the Nitrogen atom. A Nitrogen atom with 2 oxygen molecules instead of 3 becomes a Nitrite.
So, the bioactive form of Nitrate is the Nitrite.
This conversion from Nitrate to Nitrite is trigerred by bacteria, fermentation, acid in the gut and ensuing enzymatic activity.
Why Nitrates are good for you?
This breakdown of Nitrate does not stop at the Nitrite step.
If you have ever pondered the question: are nitrates in vegetables bad for you? Well, you are going to love this analysis below because; it explains why nitrates in vegetables are not bad for you. It will encourage you to eat more vegetables, if anything.
Here it is: The Nitrite from the nitrate is further broken down to 2 other potential compounds – Nitric Oxide and Nitrosamines (N-Nitroso compounds also called NOCs).
The first piece of good news is; nitrates in vegetables tend to get converted to Nitric oxide more by default. Nitrates in meat on the other hand, have more potential to get converted to N-nitroso compounds for reasons I will explain later on.
You should celebrate Nitric Oxide because you want and need it. Plenty of it. Nitric Oxide optimizes our health in leaps and bounds.
Nitric oxide is beneficial to our health immensely. What’s weird is that, nitric oxide is actually a free radical but a nice free radical.
Usually free radicals are a ‘nasty piece of work’ as far as health is concerned, but Nitric oxide is one free radical that you don’t want to get rid of. You want it. Why?
…because Nitric oxide is a biological signalling molecule that enhances the function of the lining of our blood vessel walls. Not only that, Nitric oxide also protects the organelle in every cell of our body called the mitochondria.
Mitochondria is where energy production takes place. Every cell needs to make its own energy to function. That production factory is called mitochondria.
As it happens, Nitric oxide made from nitrates protects these tiny mitochondria organelles. This guarantees continuous efficient energy production.
The job of the Nitric oxide is to make the blood vessels walls pliable and more compliant. This enhances unhindered blood flow inside our blood vessels. Meaning oxygen and nutrients are carried to our tissues much more readily.
This allows for optimal health because this function of Nitric oxide lowers your global blood pressure – a recipe for control of high blood pressure.
Now you know why we advice you to eat beets, spinach, kale, celery, collard greens to lower high blood pressure or maintain a normal blood pressure. Nitric oxide supplied from the nitrates in these vegetables is the reason why.
Talking about optimal health, nitric oxide from nitrates in vegetables also prevents the stickiness of blood because it prevents what we call platelet aggregation. This activity thins your blood and helps prevents strokes and blood clots.
Why nitrates may be bad for you?
Nitrates can be a double-edged sword. They can swing either way.
As I said earlier, nitrates when broken down to nitrites could either become nitric oxide which we love and covet or become N-nitroso componds (NOCs) which you don’t want to touch with a barge pole.
These Nitrosamines (N-Nitroso compounds also called NOCs) are not really health-friendly. If you ever wondered about nitrates in food side effects, it is these N-nitroso compounds that are to blame. And I will talk about these nitrates in food side effects shortly.
Nitrosamines are bad news for your health.
The good news is that the nitrates in vegetables don’t appear to form the dreaded N-nitroso compounds. It is the nitrates from meat that tend to form these nasty N-nitroso compounds (NOCs).
Straightaway that’s the essential difference between nitrates in vegetables vs nitrates in meat. I shall explain later why the nitrates in vegetables behave differently to the nitrates in meat.
There’s plenty of evidence to support the notion that nitrates in meat are harmful.
Here is one. This analysis done by the World Cancer Research Fund found that eating just 1.8 ounces of processed meat per day — about one sausage or two to three slices of bacon — raised your likelihood of bowel cancer by 20%.
Are environmental Nitrates harmful?
From the epidemiological standpoint, nitrates are seen as harmful to human health. That is the reason there are regulations as to how much nitrate can be allowed in our drinking water. The amount of nitrate allowed in drinking water should not exceed 50 mg/l.
Because there is a risk of blue baby syndrome or what in medical parlance is called Methemoglobinemia. Young babies especially under 6 months of age are not able to deal with a large nitrate load. That environmental nitrate regulation is therefore essential.
The amount of nitrates in the soil is also subject to regulation. Why is this?
Excess nitrate in the soil will lead to a huge concentration of nitrates in our fruits and vegetables. We want some nitrates in our vegetables but we do not want excess nitrates in these plant produce.
More evidence to support the difference in Nitrates in Vegetables Vs Meat?
Well, the truth of the matter is research seems to tell us that there is a difference between nitrates in vegetables Vs meat.
The most studied vegetable is beetroot. There’s plenty of research evidence to support the beneficial effects of beetroot. This study even went further to look at the dose-dependent response of athletes to beetroot juice. It looked at cardiovascular health enhancement of beetroot juice and exercise performance.
The evidence seems to support the view that nitrates from vegetables like beet, celery, spinach, kale etc are safe and actually good for you.
Gunter Kuhnle, a professor of food and nutritional sciences at the University of Reading in the UK says:
“The nitrates in vegetables may be beneficial. When you eat nitrates, they are converted to nitrites by bacteria in your mouth”
Nitrates from animal sources however are not really naturally occurring. Nitrates in meat are added as preservatives.
The most commonly used nitrate in animal products is Sodium Nitrate. This and other nitrites are added to the meat to stop the growth of deadly bacteria. That way, you can eat your meat safely without the risk of food poisoning.
The nitrates and nitrites in meat also enhance the flavour of the processed meat whilst conferring on it a red or pinkish flavour. What kind of meat are we talking about?
We are talking about hot dogs, bacon, chorizo, pepperoni, ham, bacon, sausages, pastrami and salami. These processed meats contain artificial nitrates or nitrites in them. The nitrates in these processed meat are thought to be harmful to health.
This study examined the association of red meat, processed meat, and poultry consumption with the risk of early death in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).
The study conclusion:
“The results of our analysis support a moderate positive association between processed meat consumption and mortality, in particular due to cardiovascular diseases, but also to cancer”
Why are the nitrates in vegetables like beet, celery, kale, spinach, arugula not harmful and the nitrates in meat harmful?
This question is not a very straightforward one but I shall do my best to clear the muddy waters.
For a start, it doesn’t matter the source of the nitrates. Whether you get your nitrates from vegetables or from meat, the increase in the amount of nitrates or nitrites absorbed into the circulation is essentially the same.
So, something else must be going on for this differential outcome between plant nitrates and meat nitrates.
Here’s what’s going on:
About 12 g of proteinacous material is offloaded into the large intestine every day. 50% of that is from dietary sources. This amount might vary a little bit depending on how much dietary protein is consumed and the physical form of the food consumed.
A careful breakdown of all of this consumed protein load takes place by bacterial action leading to deamination, decarboxylation and fermentation.
This process is dynamic, hence a higher concentration of amine byproducts are found in the tail end of the gut – the colorectal region compared to the earlier aspects of the intestines.
These amine substances react with nitrosating compounds leading to formation of N-nitroso compounds(NOCs) which are basically nitrosamines. These nitrosamines are not nice.
Nitrosamines (N-nitroso compounds) have been implicated in mutations and hence carcinogenicity.
This explains why the damage by these toxic substances is a lot more serious. For instance, cancers in the colorectal region. Mainly because the large intestines is a very fertile site for nitrosation and formation of nitrosamines, phenols and cresols.
But why does the nitrate in meat cause harm to health and nitrate in vegetables not lead to harm?
A scholarly explanation for nitrates in meat causing cancer has to do with the presence of heme-iron in meat as opposed to presence of non-heme iron in vegetables like celery, spinach, beet, kale, arugula.
Here’s what I mean.
We’ve already agreed that bacterial action in the large intestine acting on nitrates and nitrites leads to formation of toxic compounds like nitrosamines, phenols, cresols etc through fermentation.
Obviously this fermentation foisted by bacterial action applies to both meat and vegetable foods, right?
But the essential difference is the heme factor.
It would appear that the heme in the meat products up-regulates the formation of these potentially carcinogenic substances. You end up with more of these toxic mutagenic substances that are harmful to health when you consume meat.
Plus meat has saturated fat which may play a contributory role too.
Here’s what Professor Kuhnle had to say on the subject:
“What makes processed meats so ideal for forming N-nitroso compounds is that they have a combination of nitrite and proteins from the meat. And the meat’s heme seems to help convert them into N-nitroso compounds”
In contrast, plant foods like beet, celery, spinach, kale, collard greens (even though have nitrates) have non-heme iron and no saturated fats, so you have lower levels of these potentially harmful substances being formed. The levels do not reach a threshold that could induce colorectal cancer.
In addition to that; plants have hundreds of micro-nutrients that meats do not possess and these extra micronutrients in vegetables may offer our bodies a protective effect against cancer.
For instance, vegetables have Vitamin C and polyphenols that make it a harder task for nitrosamines to form. Meat hasn’t got Vitamin C nor does meat have polyphenols. This point should not be underestimated.
Hence, in the nitrates in vegetables vs meat debate, vegetables nitrates are safer for the human body to deal with. Meat nitrates on the other hand are potentially carcinogenic.
What can you do to make your meat safer?
See video below. You can make your bacon safer by using that preparation technique in the video below for your bacon.
Frying your bacon, baking it, broiling it or cooking in a baconer produces the most nitrosamines. The method in that video according to research produced the least amount of nitrosamines, hence it is recommended.
You may also use nitrate-free bacon, nitrate-free sausages, nitrate-free ham, nitrate-free hot dog. Use any of those, if you are someone who cannot do without processed meat in your diet.
Well, it’s easy when you know how. Being a doctor and working in a hospital environment as a result, I am always in close contact with the flu virus, if you like.
Being in contact with something contagious and at the same time trying to avoid catching it can be a challenging sport.
A sport I have been playing for over 3 decades. Sometimes I succeed. Other times I fail miserably.
The usual advice we get offered as medical personnel is to get the flu vaccine. Even the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine as the “first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses“. The CDC also says:
“Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations”
Great advice. Except that using the flu vaccine to prevent a flu attack is a bit ‘hit or miss’.
What do I mean by that? Let me illustrate with a short story.
I have a female friend who used to work in a Call Center. Let’s call her Lisa. You know how Call Centers can be really busy with Incoming Calls. At least working in a Call Center dominated by Incoming Calls is way better than handling Outgoing Calls.
You know, the ones who always seem to interrupt you at home when you are right in the middle of something important. Like when you are having a nice hearty meal and the blinking phone rings because some folk somewehere wants to sell you Life Insurance that you don’t need.
Those are the unfortunate folks made to undertake Outgoing Calls. Not an attractive proposition. 99.8% rejection.
Anyway, because of the busy nature of the Call Center, anyone working in Lisa’s office needed permission to leave their desk…even if you needed to visit the bathroom. Because the phones have to be answered as they were very keen to cut down on Caller’s Waiting Time.
Decent strategy for great customer service. Not so great, if you are one of those manning the phones.
You pushed a button if you needed to exit your desk for any reason. Your boss received the signal and hopefully he gives you the green light to go.
Sadly, according to Lisa, if you needed to visit the bathroom, you have to cross your legs because this “kind boss” nearly always ignores your shout out. Yep, 9 out of 10 times, he simply ignored your request.
Makes you ask the question: what’s the point of such a policy if the boss just ignored your request. How bizarre!
Well, the flu vaccine is like that. The flu virus simply ignored my flu vaccine protection. Every year I had the flu vaccine, I still had a flu attack.
Makes you wonder: what’s the point of receiving the flu vaccine, if I still get sick every year.
That’s why I have not had the flu vaccine for the last 5 years and have not had the flu over that period. Now I am not saying you should not use the flu vaccine as a means to protect yourself.
You can still go get the vaccine route but there are other ways you can prevent the flu virus from attacking you with or without receiving the flu shot. Natural flu prevention.
This is what this piece is about. It’s about how you can actually prevent a flu attack naturally. Yes, there are natural means of keeping the flu virus away from you easily.
So, how can you prevent the flu naturally?
Tip #1 Wash Your Hands More Often or Use Hand Sanitisers
This is the most obvious advice regarding natural flu prevention. Yes, the flu virus may be an airborne one but most of the spread of the flu virus is by hand from one person to the next.
Simple as this advice is, this is one of the most skipped advice ever. People just don’t wash their hands often enough. I don’t know why, but it’s just the case.
Even hospital workers who are dealing with sick people don’t wash their hands between handling patients. One of the commonest causes of bacterial spread in hospitals believe it or not is staff not washing their hands.
If staff are spreading bacterial infections, how much more a viral one.
The good news is that; things are changing. Campaigns by Infection Control Departments of hospitals have paid off. Hospital staff now wash their hands more than they used to years ago.
Well, this simple rule does not apply to hospital staff alone. The general public need to take this life-saving measure seriously too.
Just wash your hands more often please, especially during the flu season.
And do use soap as well please. Not just plain running water.
To make life even easier for folks, now you can buy hand sanitisers off your supermarket shelf. Small plastic containers of hand sanitisers are now readily available for individuals who would rather rather use this option.
Hand sanitisers usually contain active ingredients (like alcohol and other germicides) that are capable of killing bacteria and viruses. You simply squeeze a little out and rub on your hands as you see in the video below. No hand washing is required.
Hand sanitisers are a nice substitute to hand washing. Particularly ideal in scenarios where there’s no running water available or hand-washing is not practical to carry out.
Have a bottle of these innocuous liquids in your pocket, your handbag, your purse, your car’s glove box, at home, on your desk in the office etc.
Just rub on and go…
Tip #2 Slow Down On The Booze
Well, you may love your alcohol and alcohol may be a good past time for you. But alcohol is not a good mix for an impending cold nor does it offer any protection against the flu virus.
Alcohol, for a start, actually dehydrates you. I’m sure you know that already. When you drink and you happen not to be drunk (in which case you will have fallen asleep), you will agree that you tend to feel thirsty just that little bit more.
That’s because alcohol is a diuretic sending your kidneys into overdrive to make more urine.
Peeing more will leave you dehydrated. Your body cells need to be well hydrated to function optimally.
That’s not all, alcohol is not good for your immune system. Alcohol has a habit of dampening your immune system. Here’s what Dr Stephen Pruett, from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University in the US has to say about alcohol being bad for our immune system:
“Drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short time inhibits the production of signalling molecules that are vital to the immune system. The proteins, known as pro-inflammatory cytokines, have a host of functions that are supposed to kick in when the body is under attack. They include maturing, activating and increasing numbers of immune cells which target invaders such as bacteria and viruses”
How else does alcohol affect our immune system badly? Well, let’s hear it via the next tip below…
Tip #3 Get Adequate Sleep
I was talking about how alcohol negatively affects our immune system in the last natural flu prevention tip. Well, the way alcohol does that is the negative impact booze has on our sleep.
Yes, the relationship between alcohol and sleep is sort of complex but the long and short of it all is that alcohol is not good for sleep. Not at all.
Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Yes, alcohol will make you fall asleep pretty quickly. You know that already, don’t you?
And that’s where the misconception comes from. Because alcohol makes us fall asleep when we consume it, the belief is that alcohol is good for sleep.
No, it isn’t. Alcohol is bad for sleep. The quality of the sleep is badly affected.
Anyway the point here is; you need adequate sleep to keep your immune system ticking nicely. Poor sleep will wreak havoc to your immune system.
How much sleep are we talking about? How much sleep do we need to prevent a flu attack?
If you can help it, get a minimum of 8 hours sleep every night. I know it’s hard with so much distraction around us but 8 hours sleep a night is protective of your immune system. This is not some conjecture. It has been proven by science that sleep is good for our immune system.
I am living proof of that because every time I have had a flu attack, there’s always been a link to lack of sleep. Not because of alcohol, I should add, but because of working night shifts as a doctor.
Research has shown that sleep and circardian rythm do impact our immune system without doubt. When you get a good amount of sleep, the T-Cells in the body are made much more readily available and these T-cells are also widely redistributed to lymph nodes.
This simple action is similar to sending these protective soldiers to sentinel posts and positions ready to fight any oncoming flu virus or any other virus for that matter.
See your T- cells as your soldiers…because that’s what they are, really.
You need a good supply of Vitamin C to keep your T-cells and other germ fighting cells in top form. Not surprising therefore that lots of people take Vitamin C supplements.
The problem is that a lot of the regular Vitamin C supplements in circulation are simply not effective. This is mainly because of absorption issues. Most regular Vitamin C supplements are poorly absorbed.
Enter Liposomal Vitamin C.
Liposomal Vitamin C are superior to regular Vitamin C because liposomal VItamin C are more readily absorbed from the gut and are therefore more bioavailable for your body cells to use.
My advice is: if you want to give yourself the Vitamin C cellular protection against the flu naturally, then use liposomal Vitamin C. Liposomal Vitamin C is better absorbed and you get the natural protection against the flu virus that your body deserves.
Well, ideally I should say; a nice way to prevent flu naturally is to get adequate Vitamin D. However, not all of us are lucky enough to be living in places where there’s adequate sunshine all year round.
Because the best way to get your supply of Vitamin D is to get it for free. Through the sun’s ultraviolet B band rays. All you need is 20 minutes exposure to those ultraviolet rays 3 times a week and you are done. I should be so lucky.
If you are like me who lives in a part of the world with very little sunshine, then the easiest option to get your Vitamin D flu protection is via supplements.
Not only do olive leaf extract provide you with natural protection against flu attack all year round, these supplements also offer a cardioprotection and anti-oxidant properties. Not a bad investment for your health, if you ask me.
Cacao nibs cookies can be a great way to get in the groove and hop on the cacao nibs train. I love original raw cacao nibs and orginal raw cacao powder.
A cool way to consume these wonderful gifts of nature is to come up with a recipe that will make the cacao, the heart of the final product. Hence, the birth of these cacao nibs cookies.
I set myself this challenge and I’d like to think I succeeded with this cacao nibs cookies recipe. You should try it out and see for yourself what I am talking about.
These cookies are tasty, healthy and balanced in terms of macro-nutrients. The cookies have got carbs, proteins and healthy fats. All the good stuff plus micronutrients.
And they store well too…for days.
So, what do we need to make these cacao nibs cookies?
Whole oats X 2 – 3 cups Wholemeal Rye flour X 2 cups Peanuts X 5 handfuls Baking powder X 2 tbs and half Cacao nibs X 3 handfuls Cinnamon powder X 4 tbs
Bananas X 10 fingers Vanilla Extract X 3 tbs Coconut oil X 3 tbs
How to make the Cacao Nibs Cookies
Start off with the wet ingredients.
>> Peel your bananas and place in a bowl
>> Add Vanilla extract and coconut oil into the bowl with the bananas. Now mash up all 3 ingredients to create a banana paste. You may use a food mixer instead of doing the mashing up of the wet ingredients manually.
>> Now put all the dry ingredients into another bowl – the whole oats, Rye flour, Peanuts (you can use any other type of nuts), Cacao nibs, Baking powder and Cinnamon. Mix together.
>> Add the mixed dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients.
>> Now mix all together to form a thicker brown paste. How brown the paste and the eventual cookies become depends on the amount of cinnamon added.
>> So, do not worry if the cookies are paler than mine. It’s the cinnamon. I like to add cinnamon because cinnamon will slow down the release of glucose from the cookies upon digestion. That prevents blood sugar spikes.
>> Having made the thick brown paste, it’s time to make the cookies into moulds. You can go crazy with creativity here. Mold them into any shape you like.
>> Place cacao nibs cookie moulds on a lined baking tray. If you are not using a Parchment paper like me, line the baking tray with aluminium foil and spray the foil with oil spray to stop the cacao nibs cookies sticking on to the aluminium foil.
>> It’s time to bake the cacao nibs cookies. Bake them at 180 – 200 degrees for about 15 – 20 minutes.
>> But please check on the cookies intermittently to ensure they don’t turn out to be too dry. You want the banana moisture to be retained. So, you want to check on the cookies so, they are crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside. Yummy!
Get the cacao nibs cookies out when you are happy with them and serve with a cup of tea, coffee. Use as snack or as a meal. The possibilities are endless. Enjoy!
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