Ravens defensive backs coach Chris Hewitt has work to do!

— The Baltimore Ravens are known for having one of the more stingy defenses in the NFL. However, one area of the defense that requires improvement this year is the secondary.

Last year’s defensive backs coach, Steve Spagnuolo has moved on to become the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants. As a result, Chris Hewitt will take over as the new defensive backs coach. He was the assistant secondary coach in 2014.

Coach Hewitt has been with the Ravens since 2012. He previously served as an assistant coach for special teams. Special teams coach Jerry Rosburg first encountered Hewitt when he was an assistant coach at the University of Cincinnati and Hewitt was a defensive back. Current Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was a special teams coach with Cincinnati while Hewitt was there.

Hewitt was an assistant coach at Rutgers University before joining the Ravens’ coaching staff. He played high school football in New Jersey and has lived there since he was five years old. Hewitt’s first exposure to coaching in the NFL came by participating in the NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship Program. He completed training camp stints with the Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles and the Ravens.

The Ravens secondary was struck with injuries last season. Their biggest loss came when Jimmy Smith injured his foot and was out for the remainder of the season. Smith played corner as well as anyone in the NFL at the time of injury. Veteran corner Lardarius Webb also missed time due to a lingering back injury. Webb began to regain his form very late in the season.

As of now, Webb and Smith are set to be the starters at corner. Asa Jackson missed a large portion of last season due to injury but he will be back this year to serve as a nickel corner.

The safety position is an area that the Ravens have attempted to address by way of free agency and early draft picks and signed free safety Kendrick Lewis recently. The team used a first round draft pick on struggling safety Matt Elam in 2013 and used a third round draft pick on Terrence Brooks last year. One move that did work out was bringing in Will Hill after being released by the New York Giants.

Hewitt will be charged with getting the veteran secondary up to speed. He was very excited about the Lewis signing and expressed it when the team introduced Lewis at a press conference.

“He’s a guy that we were looking for in free agency. I think he’s a guy that’s going to come here and solidify our defense, especially on the back end. So, this was a dear addition that we needed for our team, as far as leadership, especially on the back end, and we’re very proud and happy to have Kendrick be a part of our team,” Hewitt said.

The team will likely add to their secondary by way of the 2015 NFL Draft. The Ravens have been linked to many defensive backs at the East-West Shrine game, the Senior Bowl and at the NFL Scouting Combine. The team holds the 26th pick in the first round, which could very well be used on a cornerback.

One first round option that is likely to be on the board for the Ravens is Marcus Peters from the University of Washington. Peters was dismissed from the Washington football team but has said that he has learned from his past mistakes. His man press ability is a perfect match for the Ravens scheme.

Coach Hewitt will have to be a steadying influence on Peters, if the Ravens decide to use their first round pick on the talented cornerback. The team has also been linked to USC corner Josh Shaw, who has faced some trouble as well but he has said that his focus is on football and that he realizes the opportunity that he is blessed with.

The first season as Ravens secondary coach will be a key one for Hewitt. He will need to rely on his past experience as an NFL defensive back along with his coaching history to make it all work.

Wells Fargo launches campaign for African-Americans to tell their stories

Chaquita Venable tells a compelling story about her late father Clem Venable, who because of segregation in Virginia missed five crucial years of schooling and never recovered. However, that never stopped him from strongly encouraging an academic course for his five children, all of whom he witnessed earn college degrees before his death in 2013.

Chaquita Venable stands outside the Robert Russa Moton Museum, previously the school that her father, Clem, had to leave when Prince Edward County closed its schools in 1959 instead of integrating them.

(Courtesy Photos/Wells Fargo)

Chaquita Venable stands outside the Robert Russa Moton Museum, previously the school that her father, Clem, had to leave when Prince Edward County closed its schools in 1959 instead of integrating them.

“My dad told me not to worry about people calling me a nerd because I studied hard and hit the books,” Chaquita Venable, a 2010 graduate of Old Dominion University in Virginia and a Baltimore resident.

“Dad said, ‘Your education will take you a long way. Get it while you can because you can’t get back missed opportunities.’ That’s what we’ve all done,” said Venable, who’s a part of Wells Fargo’s Black/African Connection Team Member Network.

Former Army Master Sergeant Harold Cole said his family has a long legacy of military service, including his grandfather who served in World War II and several cousins who served recently in the Middle East.

Cole enlisted in the military in 1942 when he was 17 because he had experience riding horses. He was assigned to all-black Troop F of the Ninth U.S. Cavalry in Texas.

“I was a bit nervous about going to Texas because I had heard bad stories about the South,” Cole said. “When I got there, I noticed that the southern officers treated us better than the northern officers. I guess they were more accustomed to interacting with black people.”

The stories of Venable, Cole and so many others are coming to life in a new Wells Fargo & Company initiative called, “The Untold Stories Collection,” a social media movement dedicated to sharing personal stories that define what it means to be African-American today.

Each of the stories can be read in their entirety on the company’s designated webpage.

Lisa Frison, Well Fargo’s vice president and African-American segment manager says the program leverages the reach, power and influence of social media to provide an intimate look into the African-American experience.

Using the hash tag #MyUntold, the aim is to create a platform for building cultural awareness and promoting healthy dialogue. It is a catalyst for self-expression that celebrates the community by showcasing the broad range of experiences among a common culture, according to Frison.

“By contributing, individuals are upholding the long-standing African-American tradition of storytelling in a way that is relevant today,” Frison said. “Being an African-American woman, when you think about our perseverance and the character of black people, there are so many stories out there way beyond what we’ve captured, so we want to continue this.”

Wells Fargo, which recently helped to bring the Kinsey Collection to the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, launched the official #MyUntold website to serve as the central hub to upload, share and view stories.

Individuals can view untold stories from unknown and more well-known African Americans across the country, including influencers, community leaders and celebrities, like Cornell William Brooks, the president and CEO of the NAACP, who shares how his life is a direct result of the sacrifices made by him and others that he will never know, according to a news release.

Actors Niecy Nash and Marcus Scribner and film director Reginald Hudlin, also shared stories about challenges they faced as African-Americans in the entertainment industry. However, it’s the stories of the not-so-famous, everyday people that are most inspiring, according to Wells Fargo officials.

“The platform is really about every day people and we’ve just launched a landing page hub where we’re inviting people to share their stories,” Frison said. “We do have celebrity engagement and great representation from across the country as well as their achievements, their accomplishments and there are a lot of great positive stories.”

Frison says that Wells Fargo officials knew that there were many who wanted to share their stories and she says the level of transparency has proven to be remarkable.

“When you think of social media, it’s like an online barbershop someone once said. A lot of people reflect the way we communicate,” she said. “What’s great is that people are talking about a lot of different things, family, education and being a business owner. We want to have more people exposed to the fact that this platform is out there.”

The #MyUntold program aims to continue the dialogue that began during the Kinsey Collection tour, which focused on uplifting the community by dispelling myths and amplifying triumphs and achievements.

“#MyUntold seeks to highlight stories of historical significance that paved the way for future generations while bringing light to modern experiences that are equally important,” said Candace McCullom, vice president of brand and advertising at Wells Fargo. “It’s storytelling in a way that is relevant.”

To tell your story, visit https://untoldstories.thismoment.com/

2015 NFL Draft Spotlight: Kansas State WR Tyler Lockett

The prototype at the wide receiver position is a big, fast player that can create mismatches. As a result, more and more teams are employing long cornerbacks that can match the size of the bigger pass catchers. The one problem is that these tall corners often struggle with smaller, quicker receivers. Kansas State wide receiver Tyler Lockett is a receiver that is average sized but plays much bigger than he is and is able to win against the physical corners on the outside.

The Baltimore Ravens lost their most legitimate deep threat when free agent receiver Torrey Smith signed with the San Francisco 49ers. Lockett would be the ideal selection for them in the second round because of his ability to stretch the field. Many will look at his 5-10 182 pound frame and jump to the conclusion that he can’t win when he lines up over top of the numbers.

The film that Lockett puts out reveals the exact opposite. Simply put, Tyler Lockett is a joy to watch. The NFL blood lines that he possesses shows every time he puts the pads on. His father, Kevin Lockett held numerous receiving records at Kansas State but that was before Tyler broke them. The elder Lockett played had a six year career in the NFL.

The younger Lockett is a very smooth route runner and has the ability to make defensive backs look really bad. His footwork is outstanding. It allows him to stop and start effortlessly. He uses the footwork along with supreme quickness to get open using double moves and get a free release at the line of scrimmage.

Lockett talked about how he has been able to be successful as a receiver. “You have to be able to utilize the strengths that you have. For me, it’s speed, it’s quickness and being able to get off the release. I make them think that I am going one way and I am going the other way. I make sure that I am selling everything and catching the ball.”

There are things that stand out when evaluating Tyler Lockett. One is his route running which is accented by his footwork. He says that it is an area that he constantly works on. “One thing that I like to emphasize a lot is my route running. I have to make sure that I am getting open and making the throw a lot easier for the quarterback. There are a lot of great DBs out there so me standing as close to you like this, that’s called open in the NFL.”

Lockett is one of the better route runners in this draft because of how he sells his routes. A lot of times, he is able to get open by simply using misdirection. The video below shows him going against Jason Verrett, a cornerback that was selected in the first round by the San Diego Chargers last year. Verrett is known for his quickness and footwork but even he was a victim of Lockett’s deceptive route running ability.

Here you see Lockett get the free release and eat up the cushion immediately. Verrett sees Lockett throttles down and gets ready to jump the route. Lockett is able to stop and accelerate again after he sold the short route to Verrett. As a result, Verrett misdiagnosed the route and Lockett is wide open for a deep touchdown.


2015 NFL Draft Spotlight: Kansas State WR Tyler Lockett

The Baltimore Ravens lost their most legitimate deep threat when free agent receiver Torrey Smith signed with the San Francisco 49ers. Lockett would be the ideal selection for them in the second round because of his ability to stretch the field. Many will look at his 5-10 182 pound frame and jump to the conclusion that he can’t win when he lines up over top of the numbers.

Another thing that comes to light when watching Lockett is how he attacks the ball. He shows no fear when going up to make the catch. He is fearless when he has to make the high catch across the middle of the field as well. Most of the catches that he makes are with his hands in the right position and he allows the ball to get into his body.

Draft Projection: 2nd round

Why the Ravens should consider this prospect?

Lockett is the player that the team needs to be able to stretch the field for the other receivers to work underneath. He gives them a legitimate deep threat and a game breaker that will take the top off of defenses. Lockett also brings value in the return game.

NFL Comparison: Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers

Like Brown, Lockett is a smaller receiver that can dominate a game just as much as the bigger guys. Both of these players run smooth, crisp routes and have tremendous change of direction skills. Despite their smaller size, these are two players that can play both the slot and line up over top of the numbers.

Hezekiah Walker honored with NNPA Torch Award

— Grammy Award-winning artist Bishop Hezekiah Walker can add the 2015 Torch Award for religion to his list of accomplishments as a gospel music artist and pastor of Love Fellowship Tabernacle, a mega church in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The National Newspapers Publishers Association honored him last week at Black Press Week in Washington for his diligence in spreading the gospel through music, radio and ministry.

“I was extremely shocked when I heard that I won this honor,” Walker said. “I quickly changed my plans to make sure I was there to receive it.”

Walker, 52, was born and raised in the Fort Greene housing projects in Brooklyn, He formed the Love Fellowship Crusade Choir when he was in his 20s and has been releasing music with the choir and solo since then.

Walker is also the senior pastor of Love Fellowship Tabernacle, a church that he founded in April of 1994. The church has brought together diverse members, differing races, socio-economic backgrounds and ages.

He also launched the “Hezekiah Walker- Afternoon Praise” radio show on 1190 WLIB in New York City followed by the “Sunday Morning Celebration” radio show on 107.5 WBLS.

He received Grammy Awards in 1994 and 2001.

“I really feel in my heart that out of all the awards I’ve won, the Torch award is the best award I could have ever received in my life,” he said. “Music is the foundation of our people. Its one thing when others recognize you, but its another thing when your own people recognize you.”

There is, however, one honor that meant way more to him than receiving both the Grammy and the Torch Award. That was finding out that his music helped to save the life of a 9-year-old boy.

Willie Myrick, 9, was grabbed from the streets last March and forced into a car by an unidentified man while playing with his dog outside his home in Atlanta.

Young Myrick, who was awarded the NNPA’s Junior Newsmaker Award, continuously sang Hezekiah Walker’s hit song Every Praise. He sang the song for three hours straight until the kidnapper finally threw him into the street and drove away.

“I have had many great things happen in my life, but just to save that young boy’s life really meant a lot to me,” Walker said. “When you begin to sing and put music out, you never know how many lives you touch across the world.”

Matt Schaub discusses why he signed with the Ravens

— The Baltimore Ravens officially introduced backup quarterback Matt Schaub in a conference call with the local media. Schaub talked about how this was his first experience as a free agent and what it was that made him choose the Ravens. The last two times that he moved from one team to another was by way of trade. This time he had control of where he went and he wanted to come to Baltimore.

Schaub called the free agent process “unchartered territory.” He said that it was hard for him to be patient throughout the process. “As a player, you want definition of what your role will be and where you are going to be.”

Both the Ravens and Schaub feel good about the move. Head coach John Harbaugh said that Schaub is a great fit because “he knows the basics for the offense” and will be a good fit with offensive coordinator Marc Trestman.

Schaub talked to both Marc Trestman and quarterbacks coach Marty Mornhinweg prior to signing with the Ravens. “A lot of the core principles are similar. Trestman told me that a lot of the principles that Gary [Kubiak] put in last year will remain the same.” Schaub continued; “Some of the subtle nuances that they said they will put in to add their own style are really appealing to me because it’s what I do and what I have done in the last year or two.”

The scheme familiarity along with endorsements from former teammates and former offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak had a part in his decision to sign with the team.

There were other teams that reached out to Schaub including his former team the Atlanta Falcons. Schaub said that Baltimore stood out the whole time. He is looking forward to working with Joe Flacco. “We will help each other get better and I think we will have one of the best QB rooms in football.”

Being a backup instead of the starter is a role that Schaub had in the beginning of his career when he played with the Falcons. This will be the first time that he is going into a season as a backup since his days in Atlanta. The mindset that is required to be an effective backup is not something that he has forgotten.

“This role, to be a backup, you have to be ready to play mentally and physically. You have to prepare each week as if you are going to be the guy that will go into the huddle and take the snaps because the drop of a hat, you can be required to play.”

All in all, Schaub is thrilled to be a part of the Ravens and to have the opportunity to be a part of trying to bring a championship to Baltimore. He said that he has heard a lot of good things about the Ravens locker room from former teammates such as Owen Daniels that played for the team.

The contract is just a one year deal worth is said to be worth $3 million. It gives him a year to distance himself from a tumultuous year last season with the Oakland Raiders. As he said; “Sometimes you have to take a step back, take a deep breath and view things differently before you move forward and grab the bull by the horns.”

Schaub is a well accomplished passer having thrown for 24,311 yards and 130 touchdowns in his career. He set numerous passing records for the Houston Texans when he was coached by Gary Kubiak. In his opinion, Schaub has a lot of football left to play.

McDonald’s gives workers a raise, but is criticized for not going far enough

— McDonald’s is once again a target for criticism. This time for giving raises to 90,000 of its hourly-wage workers.

What gives?

Critics charge that the vast majority of McDonald’s workers will not see the higher wages.

Effective July 1, starting wages at 1,500 McDonald’s-owned restaurants will be at least $1 an hour more than the minimum wage set by local law. Employees up to restaurant managers will get a pay bump, and if they have worked at least a year, they will also receive paid time off.

But 90 percent of McDonald’s workers are employed by independently-owned franchises and the plan will not apply to those workers. Critics are now calling on McDonald’s to offer all its workers better pay and benefits. Fast food workers in New York plan to protests the new pay policies outside a McDonald’s location later Thursday.

McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook seemed to anticipate the criticism, writing an OpEd in The Chicago Tribune, and releasing a similarly worded full-page ad in several newspapers Thursday.

“I understand that some may believe it doesn’t go far enough,” writes Easterbrook. “These actions demonstrate meaningful progress, and this is what we can do right now, in our company-owned stores.”

Easterbrook, who has been in the job for less than three months, described the plan to raise pay for workers at company stores as an “initial step.” He said the company remains committed to “reviewing the total employment experience we offer our people.”

Easterbrook said raising wages is part of a plan to make McDonald’s a “modern, progressive burger company.”

The company is also changing its menu, offering more healthy options, and revamping its stores.

While franchise workers won’t get a raise or paid time off, McDonald’s is extending some educational benefits to all 750,000 employees at its network of 14,000 U.S. restaurants. The company will pay for workers to obtain a high school diploma, provide tuition assistance for college courses and language training.

McDonald’s and other fast food chains have been under pressure to give workers better pay and benefits for more than two years with low wage workers staging nationwide protests, demanding pay of at least $15 an hour.

“The company needs to raise wages for all of its employees to $15 an hour and ensure paid time off for sickness and family needs is accessible to all of their workers,” said Ellen Bravo, executive director of Family Values @ Work, a group that has advocated for paid sick days.

Other big companies have responded to the push. Walmart announced plans to boost pay for 500,000 full-time and part-time associates and give them more control over their schedule.

McDonald’s has claimed that its franchise-based business model means the corporation is not responsible for wages or any workplace violations at independently-owned stores.

But a federal labor watchdog has challenged that argument.

The National Labor Relations Board in December named McDonald’s along with several franchise owners in complaints alleging “discriminatory discipline” against workers who took part in protests calling for higher wages.

The NLRB has yet to issue a final ruling. But by naming McDonald’s along with its franchise owners as violators, the group could set a precedent that would open McDonald’s up to greater responsibility for the conduct of franchise owners.

Pac-Man gobbles its way through Google Maps

— Blinky and Pinky on the Champs Elysees? Inky and Clyde running down Broadway? Power pellets on the Embarcadero?

Leave it to Google to make April Fools’ Day into throwback fun by combining Google Maps with Pac-Man.

The massive tech company is known for its impish April Fools’ Day pranks, and Google Maps has been at the center of a few, including a Pokemon Challenge and a treasure map. This year the company was a day early to the party, rolling out the Pac-Man game Tuesday.

It’s easy to play: Simply pull up Google Maps on your desktop browser, click on the Pac-Man icon on the lower left, and your map suddenly becomes a Pac-Man course.

Twitterers have been tickled by the possibilities, playing Pac-Man in Manhattan, on the University of Illinois quad, in central London and down crooked Lombard Street in San Francisco, among many locations:

Google says the game is also playable on mobile devices in certain cities. But don’t wait, because the company says the game “will only be around for a little while.”

Who cares about rush hour? When those dark red lines of expressways and thoroughfares can be festooned with Pac-Man dots, it’s a good reason to stay late at work.

Although your computer mouse is no substitute for a good ol’ arcade joystick.


™ & © 2015 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

People with Down syndrome sit for stunning portraits

— Icelandic photographer Sigga Ella wanted to show that people with Down syndrome are more than a chromosomal abnormality. They are diverse and they’re unique, just like everyone else in the world.

Ella’s series, “First and foremost I am,” consists of 21 portraits of people ranging from 9 months to 60 years old. She chose the number 21 to represent chromosome 21, the location of the most common genetic mutation causing the condition. It is currently on exhibit at the Reykjavík Museum of Photography and will be featured in May at the Warsaw Festival of Art Photography.

Ella shot the photos in 2013 and 2014 as part of a final project at The School of Photography in Reykjavik. She recently shared the images with CNN iReport.

The inspiration started with a radio interview Ella heard in which people were discussing ethical questions brought up by prenatal tests to detect birth defects. She hopes her photos shine a light on “the beauty and diversity of mankind” and make us wonder if a future without that diversity is desirable.

“I am not against prenatal/genetic testing for abnormalities but I think we need to stop and think what’s next. … It’s necessary to open the discussion and educate people more about Down syndrome. It’s not a disease or a flaw. Parents of children with Down syndrome … wouldn’t exchange them for anything in the world.”

The title of the series, “First and foremost I am,” comes from a newspaper article by Halldora Jonsdottir, a 30-year-old woman who is also featured in Ella’s project.

“I have Down syndrome but FIRST AND FOREMOST I AM Halldora,” Jonsdottir writes. “I do a million things that other people do. My life is meaningful and good because I choose to be positive and see the good things in life. I go to work, attend school and have hobbies.”

Jonsdottir goes on to say, “Who is perfect? Who can say, that we who have Down syndrome are worth less that anyone else? We are all different and would it be so great if we were all alike?”

Ella staged the portraits against a floral background because she wanted the subjects “to stand out but also underline that all kinds of flowers can grow and flourish together.” The photo shoots lasted from one to three hours. She said she didn’t give any coaching or direction for how they should pose; she just talked with them and waited for the right moment to shoot.

“My favorite part of this project was how relaxed the atmosphere was. No one was pretending to be anything, the emotions were real and some of the times, there was such genuine happiness.”


™ & © 2015 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

The worst foods to eat when you’re sick, and the best ones

When you’re under the weather the last thing you want is to eat something that makes you feel worse. But what if the last thing you want is chicken soup or crackers, and you’re craving ice cream or a glass of wine? It depends on what’s wrong with you, experts say. Here are common symptoms and expert suggestions on foods that help — and hinder — relief.

You’ve got the runs

For diarrhea caused by a stomach virus or a meal that didn’t agree with you, try the BRAT diet, says James Lee, MD, gastroenterologist with St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif. “Many different things can cause diarrhea, such as Crohn’s disease or colitis,” so see your doctor if symptoms continue for longer than two weeks or sooner if signs of dehydration appear, or if diarrhea is accompanied by fever, blood, severe pain, or severe nausea and vomiting.

Best foods: The BRAT diet: bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. Also oatmeal, boiled potatoes, saltine crackers, and baked chicken or turkey without skin are safe bets.

Worst foods: Sugarless candy and gum containing sorbitol or other artificial sweeteners, which aren’t digestible and can trigger diarrhea. Other foods that can cause gas and bloating include onions, apples, broccoli, cabbages, and beans. Dairy may also aggravate diarrhea, as well as alcohol and caffeine.

You’re constipated

Constipation can occur when not eating enough fiber-rich whole grains, fruits, and veggies, which stimulate digestion. “Adults need between 25 and 30 grams of fiber a day,” says Dr. Lee.

Best foods: High-fiber whole grain breads, nuts, beans, prunes, oatmeal, flaxseed, broccoli, pears, and apples. (Here are the 20 best foods for fiber.) Drinking six to eight glasses of water per day also helps get things moving, says Dr. Lee.

Worst foods: Chocolate, dairy products, iron supplements, narcotics (pain medications) and some blood and anti depression medications may worsen constipation.

You’re feeling nauseous

Feeling queasy makes all foods sound unappealing, but the right ones can ease symptoms by calming stomach acids, says Dr. Lee. “In general, keep food portions small and odors to a minimum.”

Best foods: Saltine crackers or pretzels can help, says Dr. Lee, as does small quantities of dry toast or cereal. Ginger or lemon tea, fresh or frozen lemon slices, and peppermint also work.

Worst foods: Greasy, spicy, or oily foods, caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated drinks can make nausea worse.

It hurts to swallow

When you have a sore throat, several foods can coat your throat and soothe the pain, says Lauren Slayton, RD, founder of Foodtrainers.com and author of The Little Book of Thin (Perigee 2014).

Best foods: Combine peppermint tea (lukewarm, not hot)—which has analgesic and anesthetic effects—and Manuka honey, which is known for its wound-healing properties. Soft, creamy foods such as cream soups, mashed potatoes, yogurt, scrambled eggs, and custards are also soothing.

Worst foods: Avoid hot liquids and hard, scratchy foods such as potato chips, nuts, and granola. The acidic juices from raw fruits and vegetables, as well as orange juice, grape juice, and lemonade can also irritate a sore throat.

Your entire body aches

Foods that ease muscle aches depend on the specific reason for the body aches, says Kristine Arthur, MD, internist at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Calif. “For general muscle aches, food containing magnesium or calcium may help ease soreness,” she says.

Best foods: Magnesium-containing foods include nuts, bananas, beans, leafy greens, and avocados. Foods high in calcium such as canned salmon, yogurt, dark-green leafy greens, and orange juice fortified with calcium also lessen muscle cramping and pain.

Worst foods: Anything that dehydrates you can worsen muscle aches, says Dr. Arthur, particularly alcohol and caffeine.

Your head hurts

Dehydration is one of the leading causes of headaches, says Dr. Arthur, so it’s best to treat that cause first and see if it relieves your pain.

Best foods: Water and other fluids are your best bet. “Drink a bottle of water and wait 20 minutes to see if you feel better,” says Dr. Arthur. Caffeine is known for drying you out, but ironically, it can help in small doses. “But for each cup of tea or coffee, drink an equal amount of water to avoid dehydration,” Dr. Arthur says.

Worst foods: Headache-triggering foods include artificial sweeteners, MSG (found in sauces and soy sauce), aged cheeses (blue, stilton) that contain tyramine, plus chocolate, red wine, hot dogs, deli meats, and dried fruit. MSG is metabolized to glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain, says Dr. Arthur. Tyramine links to increased blood pressure, which can trigger headaches.

You have an earache

Earaches typically accompany other symptoms, says Dr. Arthur. “So they’re not correlated with any food in general.” Since they occur most often with upper respiratory infections, however, foods that clear up congestion can help earaches as well.

Best foods: Clear fluids and chicken soup ease congestion by loosening up mucous in nasal passages. Omega-3s found in salmon and nuts decrease inflammation, and vitamin C found in dark leafy greens, berries, and citrus boost the immune system, says Dr. Arthur.

Worst foods: Dairy can thicken phlegm and worsen congestion, with the exception of yogurt, which contains probiotics, says Dr. Arthur. “Stay away from processed and packaged foods, too, which increase inflammation and lengthen the recovery process.”

You’re red and itchy

A rash could be a symptom of an allergy, says Dr. Arthur. “Keep a detailed food journal to look for links to foods that seem to trigger a rash.”

Best foods: Omega-3 containing foods such as fatty fish (salmon, sardines) and walnut and flax seed oils, as well as foods high in protein are all important for skin health, says Dr. Arthur. “Skin is made up of proteins, so a diet adequate in protein is necessary for skin protein synthesis.”

Worst foods: The most common foods that cause itching are nuts, chocolate, fish, tomatoes, eggs, berries, soy, wheat, and milk, says Debra Jaliman, MD, dermatologist and author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist ($9, amazon.com).

You have a runny nose

When you have a cold, the worst symptom might be a nose that just won’t stop running. Aside from taking a steamy shower, Slayton suggests drinking warm tea—it may not slow down the drip, but a soothing tea will make you feel better.

Best foods: Try Wakaya ginger tea, suggests Slayton. Ginger contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may help clear up a cold faster than just waiting it out. “Apple cider and lemon in water works well, too,” she says.

Worst foods: Spicy foods can cause an immediate runny nose (which then turns into congestion), as may alcohol.

You’re stuffed up

A cold, flu or sinus infection can irritate and inflame blood vessels in your nose, making it hard to breathe. Aside from inhaling steam from a hot shower or using a humidifier, if you’re stopped up due to mucous, some foods can help.

Best foods: Slayton recommends “golden milk,” which includes turmeric, a spice known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Place 2 cups of coconut or almond milk in a saucepan with 1 tsp dried turmeric, 1 tsp dried ginger, a dash of black pepper and honey to taste. Bring to a simmer, allow to sit for 10 minutes and serve warm.

Worst foods: Skip dairy, spicy foods, and sugar, all of which can aggravate symptoms, says Slayton.