Can Consuming Too Much Sugar Cause Obesity?

467456393 sugarThe rising consumption of sugar, specifically in the form of fructose is believed to be a contributor to obesity.  Fructose unlike Glucose is not produced by the body. This molecule is not a natural part of human metabolism and very few cells utilize fructose.   One of the few cells to metabolize fructose is in the liver, which turns it into fat.

A diet high in fructose can cause leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone that tells your brain how much fat your body should store. When we consume food, some of this food gets stored in the fat cells.  If there is a resistance of leptin; your body will not get the signal that your fat cells are full, causing you to eat more.  Excess fructose can also cause insulin resistance. The higher the insulin levels in the body, is the higher the increase of deposition of fat into the fat cells.

160294562 sugarSugar can be addictive to some individuals, especially those who are predisposed to addiction. Studies show that sugar can amplify reward-seeking behavior. When we consume a lot of sugar a large amount of dopamine is released to the brain. Dopamine plays a major role in addictive behavior and encourages the individual to eat more.

Simply consuming less sugar is one of the best approaches to improving your health and regulating weight gain. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day for men is 37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons and for women is 25 grams or 6 teaspoons. You can take steps in reducing your intake by cutting down on processed foods, eating  less sweets,  drinking  less sugary beverages such as soda and supplementing refined sugar with honey, molasses or other natural sweeteners.

Consult a physician to assess your diet and to create a plan to help you regulate your weight. To schedule an appointment with a Family Medicine physician at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718 206 6942.

Can You Dream Your Depression Away?

dreaming459379309It has been proven that depressed people dream up to three times as much as non-depressed people. They are unable to get negative thoughts off their mind. If you are suffering with depression, dreaming may be a way for you to control those negative thoughts and ruminations that keep you worried and awake.

Although some researchers believe that dreams are no more than a byproduct of sleep, many think that dreams are important for memory consolidation or conflict resolution.  There have been studies to suggest that dreams may help with mood regulation, which, in turn, can help a depressed person.

The latest scientific studies on the understanding of dreams have taught us that we dream for specific biological and psychological purposes. According to the website, emotionally arousing ruminations which are unfulfilled at sleep onset (i.e. the concern is still a worry) get ‘dreamed out’ metaphorically during dreaming. This is done to leave the ‘higher brain’ (neo-cortex) free for dealing with the next day’s events. If a depressed person wakes up every time they show a rapid eye movement, the symptoms of clinical depression can lift.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of depression and would like to seek help, call the Department of Psychiatry at The Jamaica Hospital Medical Center at 718-206-7160 for an appointment and consultation.

Asthma Medication and Pregnancy

inhaler 470750013Often times, pregnant woman living with asthma are reluctant to take their asthma medication fearing the medication will be harmful to their baby.

The contrary is true. According to, asthma during pregnancy can post health risks for you and your baby.


If you’re effectively treating your asthma and it’s well controlled during pregnancy, there’s little or no risk of asthma-related complications. However, severe or poorly controlled asthma during pregnancy might increase the risk of various problems, including:

  • Oxygen deprivation for the baby
  • Morning sickness
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • High blood pressure and protein in the urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy
  • Restricted fetal growth
  • Complicated labor
  • Need for a C-section
  • Premature birth
  • In extreme cases, the baby’s life might be in jeopardy

Prescribed asthma medication, such as asthma inhalers or allergy shots during pregnancy is strongly recommended since the non-medication alternative is much more likely to harm both yourself and your baby.

Studies regarding the safe use of asthma inhalers and allergy shots, during pregnancy, have shown positive results. With proper treatment the risk of asthma attacks can decrease and your lung function can improve.

In the majority of cases, you and your baby can look forward to a good outcome, so long as you follow your doctor’s instructions. It is very important to monitor your asthma during your pregnancy. At the first signs of breathing difficulty, call your doctor.

By following your doctor’s recommendations, you and your child can look forward to a healthy pregnancy and birth.

If you are pregnant and have asthma, you can schedule an appointment with the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Women’s Health Center at 718-291-3276.

Is There Medicinal Power in Herbs – Bay Leaf

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There are many benefits of drinking bay leaf tea. Some of the most widely known benefits are:

1.  Bay leaves are a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Also regular inclusion of bay leaves in meals promotes general health.

 2.  They have been proven to be useful in the treatment of migraines.

3.  Bay Leaf contains enzymes that help to breakdown proteins and digest food faster, helping to calm indigestion.

      Recipe for Bay Leaf

  •  16 oz water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Juice of 1 large or 2 smaller lemons
  1. Place ingredients, together, in a pot and bring to a boil. 
  2. Drink, after it cools down

A hot cup of bay leaf tea can be very comforting. The aromatic fragrance that the leaves release is calming and the essence of the spiced tea makes bay leaf tea delicious.


What Are Advance Directives?

LivingWill.483183379Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to spell out your decisions about end-of-life care ahead of time. They give you a way to tell your wishes to family, friends, and health care professionals and to avoid confusion later on.

A living will tells which treatments you want if you are dying or permanently unconscious. You can accept or refuse medical care. You might want to include instructions on:

• The use of dialysis and breathing machines

• If you want to be resuscitated if your breathing or heartbeat stops

• Tube feeding

• Organ or tissue donation

A durable power of attorney for health care is a document that names your health care proxy. Your proxy is someone you trust to make health decisions for you if you are unable to do so.

The Office of Legal Affairs and Risk Management is responsible for all patient-related questions and concerns regarding advance directives. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. To contact the Office of Legal Affairs, call (718) 206-6858.

Benefits of Prenatal Exercise

prenatal exerciseDon’t be afraid to exercise if you are pregnant. As long as you are feeling well, and your doctor approves, it is okay to do some moderate exercising during pregnancy. Exercising is recommended because inactivity is not good for pregnant women. It can lead to excess weight gain, elevated blood pressure, frequent aches and pains, and higher risk of C-sections.

The benefits of exercising during pregnancy include:

• Better posture
• Improved circulation
• Less fatigue and more energy
• Strengthens muscles
• Helps prevent back pain

Exercising during pregnancy has to be done carefully and should be done in moderation. You don’t want to injure your body or your developing fetus. It is advisable to work with an instructor who has experience working with pregnant women. Definitely do not exercise if you are experiencing any type of discomfort, shortness of breath, or become overheated.

One of the easiest ways to start exercising during pregnancy is by simply walking. It is important to always wear shoes that are comfortable and loose fitting clothing. Walking should be done on a level surface at the beginning and slowly increase the distance and duration. For added benefit, you can try carrying light weights, increasing your speed, and walking up and down hills. Swimming is an excellent form of exercise and low or non-impact aerobics are also usually safe.

Consult with a physician before beginning any form of exercise routine. If you would like to schedule an appointment for prenatal care in our Women’s Health Center, please call 718- 291-3276.

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Ways to Fit Exercise into Your Busy Schedule

480071511work exercise 1You can gain many health benefits from regular exercise and physical activity. Exercise controls weight, improves sleep, boosts energy, and combats health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and cholesterol.  A lack of physical activity can result in your muscles becoming weak, joints growing stiff and your lungs functioning inefficiently.

93855379 work exercise 2It is recommended by the U.S. Department of Health that adults get 75 to 150 minutes of exercise each week; however, many do not have the luxury of time to work out frequently and some are confined to the office for eight hours or more each day.   Despite the limitations of a busy schedule, there are ways to fit exercise into your daily routine. Keep in mind that some exercise is better than none and that squeezing in a few minutes each day can be beneficial to your health.

Practical steps you can take in fitting daily exercise are to:

  • Wake up fifteen minutes earlier each day to work out.
  • Take 10 to 15 minutes away from time spent on the internet, connecting on social media or texting.
  • Work out while watching TV- you can simply jog or run in place.
  • Take the stairs at work instead of the elevator.
  • Sit up straight at your desk then contract and release your stomach muscles. This will give you a quick abdominal work out.
  • You can work your legs muscles by squeezing your thighs together or extending each leg in front of you for a few seconds on each side.
  • Go for a walk during your lunch break
  • Have fun. Dance to your favorite songs or play a fitness video game.

Exercise is essential to your health. Although your schedule may be hectic, try to find the time for a few minutes of physical activity into your daily routine.