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Tips for Baby’s First Foods

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To Your Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Family Features) There are endless exciting firsts in your baby’s life, from the first smile and laugh, to the first time he or she sits up or speaks. It can be beautiful and exhilarating, but also uncertain and messy.

Introducing solid foods is no different – new and a time for celebration – but you also know that your walls, floors and clothes may never look the same. These suggestions from pediatric health expert Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP can help you decide what foods to introduce to your little one, followed by tips from Clorox on how to remove those inevitable stains that are sure to follow.

Avocados

Avocados are high in potassium, fiber and healthy monounsaturated fat, which is good for growing brains and hearts of all ages. Don’t worry if your infant doesn’t immediately take to avocado; keep offering it as most children eventually come around.

Yogurt

Dairy products are healthy for children and packed with a powerful punch of nine essential nutrients: calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B12, riboflavin and niacin. Vitamin D is crucial for healthy bones and a strong immune system, and is also linked to a decreased risk of disease later in life. Although babies under 1 year of age should not drink regular cow’s milk, yogurt and cheese can and should be introduced around 6 months of age.

Nut Butters

Nut butters are healthy and convenient options. Nutrient-wise, they offer vegetarian protein, vitamin E and healthy monounsaturated fats. Nut butters make it easy to add protein to any meal, even breakfast.

Berries

Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are high in fiber and contain vitamin C, antioxidants and other minerals your child’s body needs to function normally, stay healthy and protect against disease later in life.

Vegetables

If you do not eat vegetables, your children won’t eat them either. People who eat more veggies are linked to lower disease rates and a healthier weight. Green vegetables in particular contain almost every vitamin and mineral. Orange veggies are also packed with nutrition, and babies can quickly take to their sweet taste and bright color.

The next step is discerning how to remove those inevitable avocado and berry stains that resulted from another first in your baby’s life – a solo food fight. First, scrape away the excess stain and rinse with cool water. Next, apply a stain solution such as Clorox 2 Stain Remover and Color Booster to the stain and rub in. After 10 minutes, wash in hot water using detergent and more stain remover.

Some baby food stains are tough to remove; learn more at Clorox.com about how you can keep cherished baby clothes looking new – perhaps for future hand-me-downs.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

May 24, 2017 |

How Your Pet May Improve Your Health

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(Family Features) When you’re sick and your cat curls up on your lap, you might think you feel a little better. If you take your dog to work, you may notice that the day is less stressful. Or if you travel with your four-legged friend, maybe you think you sleep better.

Turns out you don’t just think you feel better, but your pet may actually make you healthier. A growing body of scientific research supports that this “pet effect” is real.

Animal health company Zoetis has launched a campaign called The Pet Effect to raise awareness about how pets make people healthier and how, by extension, the veterinary professionals who keep pets healthy are key contributors to human and public health. The company has launched this campaign with the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI).

“We’ve learned that human well-being is enhanced because of a healthy relationship with a pet. Now we want to educate pet owners, veterinarians, doctors, employers and non-pet owners about these overall health benefits,” said Dr. J. Michael McFarland, group director, companion animal marketing at Zoetis. “We are hopeful this will help improve policies regarding pets in public places and also improve public health.”

The research collected by HABRI shows a variety of potential positive effects of pets; for example, that having a dog or cat can lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. One study from the University of Minnesota even found that people who have never owned a cat have a 40 percent higher relative risk of death from a heart attack.

Other research shows that pets may help prevent allergies in children, strengthen the immune system, increase social interaction, benefit children with autism and provide relief for victims of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Pets may also provide mental health benefits. Studies show that dogs and cats can reduce several symptoms of depression, including loneliness, loss of interest and feelings of worthlessness. Pets are also shown to reduce stress and anxiety.

Human health professionals are starting to take notice that pets change people at more than just the emotional level. A HABRI study found that 97 percent of physicians believe there are health benefits to owning a pet and most of them had recommended a patient get a pet.

Veterinarians are key to educating pet owners about the many benefits of The Pet Effect. Research from HABRI overwhelmingly illustrates that pet owners have a high level of trust in their veterinarian and more than 60 percent would be more likely to visit their veterinarian if he or she discussed the human-animal bond.

So the next time you’re feeling a little blue, anxious or stressed out, maybe the best prescription isn’t necessarily from the pharmacy, but at your local animal shelter.

To learn more about The Pet Effect and how your pets impact your health, visit ThePetEffect.org. Then share the videos, data and how your own dog or cat has changed your life on social media with the hashtags #dogsideeffects and #catsideeffects.

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

 

 

May 17, 2017 |

Slide Into Summer Safety

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Tips for a fun, safe summer

(Family Features) Summer is a time for playground fun, camping, boating, swimming, biking and other outdoor activities. Longer days mean more time outside and more physical activity, which translates to increased potential for injuries. Playground falls, lawnmower accidents, campfire and fire pit burns are some common childhood injuries that can happen during summer months.

“Sustaining a serious injury can be a life-altering event for a child,” said Chris Smith, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Shriners Hospitals for Children®. “We see patients every day with injuries caused by accidents and we are committed to raising awareness about how to stay safe.”

These tips from Shriners Hospitals for Children can help your family enjoy a fun, injury-free summer.

Go Outside and Play

Outdoor play provides physical and mental health benefits, including opportunities for exercise, creative expression, stress reduction and access to a free and natural source of vitamin D – sunlight. Before sending kids out to play, make sure they are wearing shoes to protect their feet from cuts, scrapes and splinters, and wearing sunscreen to protect against sunburns and harmful ultraviolet rays.

Playground 101

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger every year for playground-related injuries. Before your kids head to the playground, keep these precautions in mind:

  • Choose parks and playgrounds that are appropriate for their age and offer shock-absorbing surfaces.
  • Teach children that pushing and shoving on the playground can result in accidents and injuries.
  • Remind kids to go down the slide one at a time and to wait until the slide is completely clear before taking their turn. Teach them to always sit facing forward with their legs straight in front of them and to never slide down headfirst.
  • Remind children to swing sitting down. Encourage them to wait until the swing stops before getting off and to be careful when walking in front of moving swings.

Make a Safe Splash

While playing poolside may be a blast, Safe Kids Worldwide reports that drowning is the leading cause of injury-related deaths for children ages 1-4 and the third-leading cause of injury-related deaths among those under 19. Additionally, the University of Michigan Health Systems estimate that about 6,000 kids under the age of 14 are hospitalized because of diving injuries each year, with 1 in 5 sustaining a spinal cord injury.

Prevent accidents and injuries with these tips to ensure your family’s safety around water:

  • Instruct children to never swim alone or go near water without an adult present.
  • Give children your undivided attention when they are swimming or near any body of water.
  • Always jump in feet first to check the depth before diving into any body of water.
  • Never dive in the shallow end of the pool or into above-ground pools.

Fun on the Water

Boating, tubing and other water sports can be great fun but can also be dangerous. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, nearly 71 percent of all boating fatalities are drownings, 85 percent of which are a result of not wearing a life jacket. Here is what you can do to enjoy the water safely:

  • Always have children wear a Coast Guard-approved, properly fitted life jacket while on a boat, around an open body of water or when participating in water sports.
  • Educate yourself. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 86 percent of boating accident deaths involve boaters who have not completed a safety course.
  • Always check water conditions and forecasts before going out on the water.

Fire Safety Simplified

According to the CDC, more than 300 children ages 19 and under are treated in emergency rooms for fire- and burn-related injuries each day. Use these tips to help keep children safe around fires, fireworks, grills and other heat sources:

  • Teach kids to never play with matches, gasoline, lighter fluid or lighters. Make a habit of placing these items out of the reach of young children.
  • Do not leave children unattended near grills, campfires, fire pits or bonfires. Always have a bucket of water or fire extinguisher nearby whenever there is an open flame.
  • Take your child to a doctor or hospital immediately if he or she is injured in a fire or by fireworks.
  • Leave fireworks to the professionals.

To see more tips, find activity pages and learn how to become a “Superhero of Summer Safety,” visit shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/safesummer.

When the Unexpected Happens

It was a beautiful, sunny day when Jordan Nerski headed to the playground with his mother, like millions of other kids on summer vacation. One minute Jordan was climbing on the jungle gym and the next he was on the ground with a broken elbow.

Accidents like these are why emergency room doctors and staff refer to the summer months as “trauma season.” During these warm, action-packed months, kids spend more hours active and outdoors, often without adult supervision, increasing the chance of injury. When these accidents occur, parents want the best care possible for their children.

Jordan’s mother Jackie received a recommendation from a friend who suggested that she bring her son to the Shriners Hospital for Children — Portland walk-in fracture clinic.

“The experience we had was truly amazing,” Jackie Nerski said. “It was a stressful time since he was in a lot of pain, but everyone from the greeter at check-in to the doctor made it the best experience.”

A simple and streamlined process, Jordan, equipped with an X-ray documenting his break, was checked-in at the fracture clinic, treated and casted in under 2 hours. Jordan returned with his mother for follow-up visits to ensure his elbow was healing properly and they found every visit to be stress-free and informative.

“At each visit, every care was taken for his comfort and to answer all my questions to appease my anxiety,” Jackie Nerski said. “It was an experience that was fantastic; though one I hope we don’t need again, but if we do, we know where to go.”

Including the Portland location, there are 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children in the United States, Canada and Mexico that provide specialized care to children with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate, regardless of the families’ ability to pay. Of these 22 hospitals, 13 also offer walk-in fracture clinics.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (5 children on slide)

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (grandfather and 2 children on slide)

 

 

 

May 10, 2017 |

Natural Sleep Solutions to Dream About

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(Family Features) It’s no secret: Americans are desperate for sleep. In fact, the U.S. sleep aid market is expected to grow to $44 billion by 2020, according to data from Persistence Market Research. However, achieving better sleep may be as easy as changing what you eat.

A survey commissioned by the Cherry Marketing Institute and conducted online by Harris Poll in January 2017 among more than 2,000 adults suggests that Americans may be open to alternate sleep solutions. An overwhelming 83 percent of Americans would prefer to improve their sleep through diet rather than using over-the-counter sleep aids.

One promising solution that doesn’t require a trip down the pharmaceutical aisle: Montmorency tart cherry juice, which has been scientifically studied for its ability to help improve sleep quality and duration. Montmorency tart cherries are one of the few food sources of melatonin, a sleep-regulating hormone.

“Melatonin plays a big role in the sleep equation,” said Dr. Michael Breus, a nationally renowned sleep expert. “Without it, our bodies aren’t triggered to regulate the sleep cycle and therefore, we can’t get the rest we need. One simple, delicious and natural way to incorporate melatonin into your sleep routine is with Montmorency tart cherry juice. Research has shown adding two glasses of Montmorency tart cherry juice to your daily routine can improve your sleep quality and duration.”

A growing body of research suggests Montmorency tart cherry juice may help with sleep-related concerns, such as:

  • Improving sleep efficiency
  • Reducing the severity of insomnia and sleep disturbances
  • Increasing sleep time

Tart cherries are available year-round in dried, frozen and juice forms at retailers across the country and online. For additional information, including more recipes like this soothing bedtime tea, visit choosecherries.com.

Tart Cherry Turmeric Bedtime Tea

Recipe courtesy of Kristina LaRue of LoveandZest.com

Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 7 minutes
Yield: 2 cups

1        cup Montmorency tart cherry juice

1        cup water

1/2    teaspoon ground turmeric

1/8    teaspoon freshly grated ginger

2        bags chamomile tea

1/4    cup frozen Montmorency tart cherries

In small pot or tea kettle, bring tart cherry juice and water to boil. Stir in turmeric and ginger, and pour over tea bags and frozen Montmorency tart cherries. Steep 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and drink warm, at room temperature or chilled.

May 3, 2017 |

Take a Mindful Approach to Fighting Spring Allergens

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(Family Features) While springtime means blooming flowers, warmer temperatures and more time spent outdoors, it also means allergies and pollen. Tackling dust mite matter, tree pollen and animal dander is completely different from protecting your home against the winter flu and requires a new regimen of preparation and cleaning.

Take on spring allergens by refreshing your home with these simple practices, and help get your family ready to enjoy the warmer months.

Prep for Bed. Allergens don’t go to bed when you do; they can continue to irritate even while you’re sleeping, causing a restless slumber. To help ensure allergens and pollens aren’t tracked into bedrooms, leave a laundry basket in the hall and have family members remove their clothing before entering their rooms. A quick rinse in a warm shower before bed can help you relax and wind down while also washing away any unwanted pollens still stuck in your hair or on your skin.

Freshen Fabrics. Clothing, towels and bed linens – items you come in contact with multiple times a day – can trap pollens, dust mite matter, allergens and dander. It’s important to not only rinse these items but to use a detergent that removes allergens and is gentle on skin, like all free clear liquid and mightypacs laundry detergent for sensitive skin. The liquid detergent removes 99 percent of everyday and seasonal allergens, including the top spring allergens: tree and grass pollen, and is the No. 1 recommended detergent brand by dermatologists, allergists and pediatricians for sensitive skin. To view the full line of laundry products, visit allfreeclear.com.

Ingredients Matter. Taking preventative measures against spring allergens can start in a surprising place: the refrigerator. While most people think about treating allergens in their homes and on their clothes, they tend to forget that a good diet is also a good defense. Avoiding aged, pickled or fermented foods like blue cheese and kimchi with naturally occurring histamines can help prevent coughing, sneezing and itching triggered by spring allergens. Instead, look to boost your meals with ingredients found in the Mediterranean Diet, such as fresh fruits and vegetables like apples and broccoli as well as nuts and fatty fishes that have essential vitamins and nutrients known to fight allergy symptoms.

Give Pets a Makeover. Your furry friend may be one of the biggest culprits for sneaking allergens and pollen into the house, so this season make sure to give pets twice-a-week baths to wash out dander and pollen. Remember to also wash pet beds and chew toys that are thrown around the yard to help prevent allergens from being transported into and throughout your home.

With these four steps to help protect your home and family against spring allergens, you can start enjoying a healthy, clean spring.

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

 

April 26, 2017 |

4 Tips for a Healthy Heart

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(Family Features) Your entire body, including your heart, brain and muscles, depends on healthy blood flow to help you feel and perform your best. Taking steps to promote healthy blood flow is particularly important as you age, and the arrival of spring and summer often provides the inspiration needed to pick up healthier habits. Focusing specifically on a healthy circulatory system for a healthier heart can be a smart initiative and a simple first step.

Dr. Lori Mosca, a leading authority on heart disease prevention, provides these tips for getting a jumpstart on maintaining a healthy heart.

Get Enough Sleep

Getting sufficient, quality sleep can help reduce stress, positively impact your metabolism and improve your body’s overall function, thereby reducing the demands on your heart. Most doctors recommend 6-8 hours each night for adults. To achieve the recommended amount of sleep, aim for a consistent bedtime each night. If necessary, create a routine that allows you to unwind, such as meditating or reading a book to clear your mind. Eliminate unnecessary light and noise, including leaving the TV or your cellphone on overnight. Avoid alcohol and stimulants such as caffeine before bedtime. If your partner’s snoring keeps you awake, have him or her get checked for common breathing and sleep disorders.

Exercise Regularly

Feeling more energetic and maintaining a healthy weight are important reasons to make exercising regularly one of your top priorities. Exercise not only helps burn pesky extra calories, it gives your circulatory system – including your heart – a workout and keeps muscles in good condition. Regular exercise also releases feel-good endorphins that help boost your mood and energy.

Dietary Patterns Matter

When taking aim at developing healthier habits, placing importance on the foods you use to fuel your body is key. Dietary guidelines from the American Heart Association recommend a healthy dietary pattern focused on nutrient-dense foods, such as a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, nuts and skinless poultry and fish.

Another healthy option to consider adding to your diet is cocoa flavanols, which are the beneficial plant-based nutrients (phytonutrients) found naturally in cocoa that work with your body to maintain healthy levels of nitric oxide, which helps maintain the healthy flow of oxygen and nutrients to all parts of your body. Numerous studies have demonstrated that cocoa flavanols promote healthy blood flow* – and supporting healthy blood flow is essential to helping you maintain who you are for years to come. One way to add cocoa flavanols to your routine is by incorporating a daily cocoa extract supplement, such as CocoaVia supplement, which delivers the highest concentration currently available in a cocoa extract supplement. Visit CocoaVia.com for more information about cocoa flavanols and ways to add them to your daily routine.

Out with Bad Habits

Some of the most important steps you can take toward healthier living are the habits you stop. For example, both smoking and excessive alcohol consumption increase the risk of multiple health conditions. An important part of your heart health is avoiding smoking altogether or to begin taking steps to quit; and while you don’t have to give up alcohol entirely, only consume it in moderation.

By committing to keeping a regular sleep schedule, regular exercise, a balanced diet and ditching bad habits, you can help support not only your heart, but overall health.

Dr. Lori Mosca is a paid educational consultant for CocoaVia supplement and her statements do not imply promotion of any product(s).

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

April 19, 2017 |

8 Ways to Optimize Your Sleep

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(Family Features) While a healthy lifestyle requires a balanced diet and exercise, sleep is another pillar of overall wellness that is both essential to your health and success, and often overlooked.

By simply making small changes to your daily routine you can improve your quality of sleep. Follow these tips from Dr. Sujay Kansagra, Mattress Firm’s sleep health consultant and director of Duke University’s Pediatric Neurology Sleep Medicine Program, and get on your way to better rest and a healthier life.

  1. Manage your sleep time. Rather than trying to accomplish everything on your to-do list at the expense of sleep, reverse your approach. As the average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep each night, make sure to set aside the time needed for a full night of rest.
  1. Stay on schedule. Try to keep your bedtime and wake time consistent on both weekdays and weekends. With time, your brain and body will acclimate to these set times, but until then, rely on an alarm – not only to wake in the morning, but to keep you from staying up too late at night, too.
  1. Find a routine. A routine performed 20-30 minutes prior to bed every night can subconsciously ease your brain into sleep. Unwinding with a book, taking a warm bath or meditating are all ways to slow your mind and transition toward peaceful rest.
  1. Brighten up the morning. Getting plenty of bright light in the morning helps keep your sleep timing on track, particularly if you wake up early. Make opening the drapes and blinds your first task each morning.
  1. Ditch the clock. Fixating on the time can create stress and keep you up at night. Instead, set your alarm, turn your clock around and forget about the time.
  1. Get moving. Research shows that exercise can act as a natural sleep remedy, often leading to a more sound slumber. However, if you exercise late and have difficulty falling asleep, consider moving your workout earlier in the day. The increase in body temperature from exercise tends to be prolonged, sometimes making it hard to fall asleep.
  1. Kick the caffeine habit. Morning caffeine can linger in your system until it’s time to sleep. Coffee, tea, dark sodas and dark chocolate are the main offenders for most people.
  1. Pay back debt. If you are chronically deprived of sleep, allow your body extra sleep time to make up for the loss. In these cases, even 8-9 hours each night may not be enough. Allow your body to catch up then commit to more consistent sleep patterns in the future.

 

Find more resources to help improve your sleep, including tips on how to purchase a new mattress, at DailyDoze.com.

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

April 12, 2017 |
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