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Tips for Winter Wellness

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To Your Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Family Features) When cold winds blow, it’s essential to take extra steps to protect your health. There are a number of techniques that can help keep your immunity high and your body in good condition to support wellness all season long so that you can enjoy the chillier months.

There’s no magic formula for feeling your best, but consulting your health care provider is always a good idea when you’re contemplating new ideas to promote better health.

Get up and moving

Without frequent use, muscles and joints can weaken and grow stiff, limiting your mobility. Exercise is also an important step in balancing your caloric intake, and physical activity gets your blood pumping, which has numerous benefits for heart health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a minimum of 150 minutes each week (or 30 minutes per day, at least five days each week) of moderate activity, such as a brisk walk, yoga class or bike ride.

Additionally, winter brings fewer hours of sunlight during the day, and per the National Sleep Foundation, darkness naturally causes the brain to release melatonin, a hormone that triggers sleepiness. Exercise can counteract this drowsiness, as the endorphins released through physical activity cause a natural increase in energy levels. Studies show that endorphins can also elicit positive feelings and reduce the perception of pain, which can lower stress levels to help keep you mentally and physically well.

Spice up your routine with herbal supplements

Whether to supplement your diet with additional vitamins and nutrients or to give you a specific, targeted boost, herbal supplements can help support overall health. For example, the supplement turmeric, derived from root extracts of the Curcuma longa plant, is widely regarded to have numerous positive health implications.

“Since 2013, turmeric has dominated the market as the top-selling ingredient in herbal supplements,” said Chris Oswald, licensed nutritionist at Nature’s Way. “As research on turmeric grows, consumers continue to recognize the health benefits of this amazing botanical.”

Turmeric can be added to several foods, but to ensure a steady, adequate dose, Oswald recommends a turmeric-based herbal supplement, like the Turmerich line from Nature’s Way. The line combines a blend of premium ingredients in two unique formulas, Turmerich Heart and Turmerich Joint. Both supplements feature turmeric extract along with a strong suite of herbal and specialty ingredients for comprehensive, targeted support. Each supplement uses 400 milligrams of standardized turmeric root extract per serving to boost ingredient potency, maximizing potential health benefits.

Get ample rest

Adequate sleep allows the body to rejuvenate itself naturally, promoting a better mood, improved system function and increased stamina throughout the day. The National Sleep Foundation recommends older adults get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night for optimal health. Beyond a good night’s sleep, be sure to take some mental downtime, too, to minimize stress and anxiety, both of which can have a negative impact on your health. Find ways to relax through meditation, reading or listening to soothing music, which can help rest your mind and body.

Boost immunity

Fresh fruits and vegetables offer vitamins and minerals that can play an important role in immune health. Studies have shown that vitamin C, which is found naturally in several fruits, is essential for stimulating growth and repair in the body. During the winter months, when fresh fruit can be harder to find, supplements like Echinacea & Vitamin C from Nature’s Way can be another source of vitamin C.

Maintain skin health

As the body’s largest organ and the first line of defense against physical harm, the skin is particularly susceptible to wear and tear. During the winter, frequent exposure to harsh elements, from dry air to biting sleet, can have serious impacts on skin health.

You can take steps to minimize painful redness and flakiness or cracking by regularly moisturizing your skin with fragrance-free lotions and herbal oils. They can create a protective barrier between your skin tissue and potential pollutants and irritants, and should be applied generously to areas that are most likely to be exposed, like your hands and face. Also remember to bundle up to prevent the impact of stinging winds, and avoid unnecessary time outdoors when conditions are especially harsh.

Find more winter wellness tools at naturesway.com or Facebook.com/NaturesWayBrands.

Fast Facts on Turmeric

As a root native to Southeast Asia, turmeric has played a role in Chinese and Indian medicinal traditions since ancient times. Here are some other facts you may not know about this botanical:

  • Turmeric is a relative of the ginger root.
  • Turmeric adds the yellow color to foods such as Indian curry and yellow mustard, and is often used as a dye for its rich pigment.
  • When dried and ground, the underground stem of the turmeric plant can be used to make capsules, tablets, teas, oils and more.

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (people in kitchen, woman lifting weights)

 

January 3, 2018 |

New Baby? New Tech Can Make a Big Difference

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To Your Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

Innovative gadgets that can make parenting easier

 

(Family Features) Welcoming a new baby to the family brings with it excitement, challenges and a lot of love. It is also a lot of work. But, there is help… sometimes at the touch of a button. Amy O’Malley, MSN, RN, mother of five and director of education and clinical services at Medela, has pulled together a few tips for navigating the first few months and how to incorporate some baby (and mom) friendly technology along the way!

How many wet diapers? How long did he nurse? Use an App for That!

It is useful to keep a log of what happened when. But do you need a paper and pen? There are now apps to help moms track their breastfeeding sessions, how many dirty diapers the baby has and how long he or she slept for. Apps also offer the ability to share information with your spouse, partner and health care professional. There are also a number of new on-demand services available through apps that allow real-time access to health care professionals that focus on pediatric care or lactation services. For example, breastfeeding moms can use their smartphones to access real-time video support from lactation consultants through Medela’s 24/7 LC service.

Give Yourself Some Range with a Great Monitor

A video monitor is a perfect addition to any new parent’s arsenal of gadgets. In addition to monitoring the baby, many units feature two-way speakers, night-viewing capabilities and a temperature gauge, and offer the ability to check in on baby while on-the-go through either a website login or smartphone application.

Pump Quieter and Smarter

If you’re breastfeeding or planning on breastfeeding, a high-performance breast pump is a tool that can help make the task simpler for moms and caregivers. Double electric breast pumps are the fastest and most effective way to support a mom’s breast milk supply.

“Breast pumps have changed quite a bit since I had my children,” O’Malley said. “While a double electric breast pump is your best bet, newer models go beyond the basics and connect with smartphones to track activity. Our tech-enabled and quietest pump, Sonata, is comfortable and pairs with the MyMedela app to automatically track pumping sessions and offer personalized tips to help you succeed and monitor your baby. This pump even has many adaptions to meet your needs anywhere and anytime. It has features to help you use it late at night and can adjust based on your changing body shape to give you an effective and consistent experience.”

Find more information at medelabreastfeedingus.com.

Make Temperature Checks a Breeze

Gone are the days of placing a thermometer in your child’s ear or under his or her tongue or armpit. Temporal thermometers allow parents to simply place the gadget against baby’s forehead to get an accurate reading. Other options, such as pacifiers that double as thermometers, can also be utilized to make this task less invasive and more efficient.

You’re not alone. There is tech to help and don’t forget to ask your pediatrician and other friends or family members too. It takes a village to bring a new baby into the world!

December 20, 2017 |

7 Tips for Managing Diabetes

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To Your Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Family Features) Staying healthy can be a challenge, especially for those living with diabetes. Everyone can have conflicts finding the right balance of partaking in healthy habits, such as exercise, eating well and even keeping your teeth and gums clean. From stress to self-care, life can be up and down when you’re living with diabetes.

These seven tips from Dr. Natalie Strand, the winner of season 17 of “The Amazing Race” who lives with diabetes herself, can help you stay healthy and lead a balanced life while managing your diabetes.

Communicate with your care team. Make sure you connect with your nurse educator, endocrinologist and dietician. Reach out to them with your questions as they can often help you implement subtle changes to avoid completely overhauling your lifestyle and routine because of diabetes.

Get involved. Get a local group together to fundraise, vent or just understand each other. Groups such as Diabetes Sisters, JDRF, TuDiabetes and BeyondType1 offer ways to connect with others living with diabetes in person or on social media. Connecting with the diabetes community can be a powerful way to help ease the burden of living with diabetes.

Keep doing what you love. Just because you have diabetes doesn’t mean you have to give up doing what you love. Make efforts to continue sports, travel and other hobbies, even if there is a learning curve to adapting with diabetes at first.

Maintain good oral health. People living with diabetes are two times more likely to develop gum disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Colgate Total toothpaste is FDA-approved to help reverse and prevent gingivitis, an early form of gum disease.

Get into a routine. Find a routine that works and stick with it. This way you don’t have to make new decisions each day. Anything that can ease the mental burden of diabetes can help. For example, pick a time each year for your annual visits: eye doctor, endocrinologist, renew prescriptions, etc. Picking the same time of year every year can help ensure you don’t forget to take care of yourself.

Make self-care a priority. It can be hard to keep diabetes care in the forefront. It can be boring, exhausting and also fade into the background. Remind yourself that one of the best things you can do for yourself, and for your loved ones, is stay healthy. Use your family as motivation to exercise daily, eat better-for-you foods and maintain a healthy weight.

Manage stress. Diabetes can be a big stressor. Add jobs, kids, relationships and it can become overwhelming. Find an easy and effective tool for stress relief and do it often. Even 5-10 minutes of guided meditation daily can have a big impact on stress management.

For more information and ways to lead a balanced life with diabetes, visit OralHealthandDiabetes.com.

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

 

December 13, 2017 |

7 Ways to Plan for Cold and Flu

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To Your Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Family Features) Declining temperatures can bring fun, cool-weather activities, but they also mean cold and flu season is lurking. While everyone hopes to stay healthy, it can be difficult to completely avoid viruses and bugs.

Dr. Deborah Gilboa, a board-certified family physician and Braun spokesperson, offers some simple suggestions to help your family plan for cold and flu season.

Dispose of Expired Medicine

Spend some time checking the medications you already have at home. Review the expiration dates and if any need to be thrown out, research how to properly dispose of them according to local government guidelines.

Stock Up

Before cold and flu season, make sure to stockpile must-haves like ginger ale, ice pops and recommended cough suppressants. Thinking ahead means you won’t have to rush out when you or a family member comes down with something.

Practice Healthy Habits

Encourage the entire family to maintain healthy habits such as regular hand washing, following a nutritious diet, drinking plenty of water, and coughing or sneezing into a tissue to help minimize the spread of cold and flu viruses.

Use a Reliable Thermometer

Reading the temperature of a person who feels ill can help provide confidence and peace of mind. Make sure you have a reliable thermometer like the Braun ThermoScan 5 Ear thermometer, which takes professionally accurate temperature readings via the ear canal and, based on a survey, is the number 1 brand recommended by pediatricians who recommend a brand of thermometers.

“It’s important to carefully monitor potential illnesses to make sure children get and stay well, and taking an accurate temperature reading is a necessary part of this process, which is why I trust my Braun thermometer,” Gilboa said. “As a doctor and a mom to four boys, it gives me the confidence to know that I’m accurately taking my child’s temperature before I take any next steps, like administering medication.”

Have Important Information on Hand

To save time when your child is ill, keep a reference of your child’s allergies, prescribed medications, dosage amounts and current weight handy. Health care providers typically need this information to correctly prescribe and dose most medications. Other items to keep on-hand include school sick day policies, operating manuals for medical devices and a reference of temperature readings that classify a fever.

Manage Humidity Levels

Control your home’s humidity levels with a humidifier to help prevent the survival of flu viruses on surfaces and in the air.

Keep Contact Information Accessible

Keep a list of important phone numbers and addresses inside your medicine cabinet door or on the fridge so they’re easily accessible to family members, babysitters and caretakers. Include your family doctor or local clinic, schools, pharmacists and anyone else you may need to reach in an emergency.

If cold or flu reach your household this winter, it’s always important to consult a doctor if you have any questions regarding the health of your family members. For more information, visit braunthermometers.com.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Mother and daughter)

December 6, 2017 |

5 Things to Know About Milk and Non-Dairy Milk Alternatives

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To Your Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Family Features) Adults and kids take in about 400 calories per day as beverages, according to the USDA’s Choose My Plate program. Beverages can be a key source of nutrients, and when it comes to nutrition, moms want to make informed choices for themselves and their kids.

With so many options available, it’s no surprise moms have questions. Some moms choose to serve alternatives to milk rather than real dairy milk, but it’s important to know that milk and non-dairy alternatives are not created equal. In fact, these beverages differ in five key areas: nutrition, ingredient list, added sugars, price and taste.

  1. Farm-fresh, real dairy milk is naturally nutrient-rich.

Unlike many non-dairy milk alternatives – farm fresh, real dairy milk is naturally nutrient rich. Milk naturally provides calcium, phosphorus, high-quality protein, potassium and B vitamins. It is also fortified with vitamins A and D, creating a nutrient powerhouse of nine essential nutrients. Non-dairy milk alternatives, on the other hand, vary in their nutritional profiles, some containing little to no naturally occurring nutrients, so most are fortified.

  1. Dairy milk is simple.

When you compare the ingredient list of milk to non-dairy alternatives, you may be surprised to find that many alternatives have 10 or more added ingredients, including salt, sugar or thickeners like gums. Dairy milk, a minimally processed and farm-fresh beverage, has just three ingredients: milk, vitamin A and vitamin D.

  1. There are no added sugars in regular dairy milk.

When you look at the nutrition label on a gallon of milk, you will find sugar listed. However, that sugar is not added – it’s naturally occurring lactose. But people may not realize when a food or beverage has added sugar. For instance, many types of non-dairy milk, like almond milk, contain added sugar. Ingredients like cane sugar or cane juice on the ingredients list indicate sugar has been added to non-dairy milk.

  1. Dairy milk can help stretch your grocery budget.

At just about a quarter per serving, milk delivers more nutritional value per penny than just about any other beverage. Compare that to almond milk, at about $0.45 per 8-ounce serving, and other non-dairy alternatives like rice milk that can cost as much as $0.79 per serving.[i] The average American household spends about 10 percent of their budget on food – nearly $80 a week for groceries. One year of dairy milk will cost the average family $628 vs. $1,222 per year for vanilla almond milk. That’s nearly $600 per year in savings.[ii]

  1. Dairy milk has the taste kids – and chefs – love

Milk is the foundation for many classic recipes and tastes from around the world. From creamy macaroni and cheese to classic alfredo sauce and delectable creme brulee, milk adds dimension, accentuate flavor and serve as a decadent base to many of your favorite dishes. If you want to swap real dairy milk for another ingredient, remember that each non-dairy milk alternative has a different flavor, which can change the flavor profile or the consistency of your dishes, even for pancakes, oatmeal and smoothies.

To learn more about the differences between milk and non-dairy milk alternatives, visit milklife.com/knowyourmilk.

 

1 Sales data from IRI, calendar year 2017, and average online grocery prices for top markets.

2 Based on the recommended 3 daily servings of milk and milk products and an average family size of 2.58 people per the 2010 US Census. Additional Reference: U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration. U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census Summary.

 

 

November 29, 2017 |

A Closer Look at Vision Health

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To Your Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the number of Americans with visual impairment is expected to double by 2050, vision health has an obvious role in the national health conversation. Uncorrected vision is highly noticeable among certain groups, like the elderly and workers who rely on vision for safe and effective job completion. According to the Vision Impact Institute, two other groups significantly impacted by poor vision are drivers and children.

 

Drivers

A study from the British Journal of Ophthalmology found that one of the major causes of visual impairment is uncorrected refractive error (URE), and that preventable URE causes nearly 80 percent of the global burden. The number of people impacted by URE is especially troubling when taking into account day-to-day activities such as driving. A report from the American Academy of Optometry revealed that even moderate visual field loss causes drivers to have significantly poorer capabilities in completing tasks such as matching speed when changing lanes and maintaining lane position.

When you consider how changing technology and business models like ride-sharing companies and delivery services are adding drivers to the road, this impact becomes all the more crucial. If eye exams were part of the standard for renewing driver’s licenses then these issues could be called out by an eye care provider in advance of potential accidents on the road.

Children

Today, vision impairments and eye disorders are the third-leading chronic conditions among children in the United States, with costs for direct medical care, vision aids, devices and caregivers amounting to $10 billion per year. In the U.S. alone, the total economic burden of eye disorders and vision loss was $139 billion in 2013.

Uncorrected vision problems in children can have serious negative impacts on their educations and future employment opportunities. In 2014, researchers studied the impact on academic performance after providing a vision screening and free eyeglasses to low-income and minority elementary school children in the U.S. The study found that among fifth-grade students both the screening and eyeglasses significantly improved student achievement in math and reading.

As 80 percent of all learning occurs through vision, a simple pair of eyeglasses could correct poor vision and drastically change the course of a child’s life.

There are many correlations between vision health and the financial, educational and safety implications it can have on society. To learn more about vision standards and giving vision a voice in the national healthcare dialogue, visit visionimpactinstitute.org.

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

 

November 22, 2017 |

Managing High Blood Pressure During the Holidays

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To Your Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Family Features) Managing blood pressure can be difficult, especially during the holidays and winter months. A change in routine, family visits, traveling, illness, holiday menus and financial concerns can all conspire to derail your best efforts at keeping chronic conditions, like high blood pressure, under control.

If you are one of the millions of American adults with high blood pressure, it is vital to keep your blood pressure stable. Drastic changes can put you at risk for heart attack or stroke.

Here are three ways to control your blood pressure throughout the holiday season from the American Heart Association:

Be Wary of Decongestants

Decongestants are in many over-the-counter cold and flu medications but they have some harmful side effects. They can raise blood pressure and decrease the effectiveness of some prescribed blood pressure medications. It’s best to use them for the shortest duration possible and avoid in severe or uncontrolled hypertension. Consider alternative therapies, such as nasal saline, intranasal corticosteroids or antihistamines, as appropriate.

Keep Track of Medication

The winter months tend to bring an increase in both heart attacks and strokes. According to research from the Journal of the American Heart Association, a 4.2 percent increase in heart-related deaths occurs away from a hospital from Dec. 25-Jan. 7.

“Factors like cold weather, sudden increase in activity like shoveling snow, stress and dietary indiscretion can contribute to a chain of events leading to more stress on the heart during the winter months, potentially triggering a heart attack or other cardiac event,” said Jorge Plutzky, M.D., director of Preventive Cardiology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a volunteer with the American Heart Association.

It is vital to keep track of your medication and take it as prescribed by your doctor to decrease chances of heart attack and stroke. The American Heart Association’s Check Change Control Tracker is one way to monitor your health, as it allows you to set up text message reminders, text in blood pressure readings, connect with volunteers or providers, and receive messages from volunteers or providers.

Maintain Healthy Eating Habits

The holidays can be a bad influence on healthy eating habits. However, it is important to stay active during these times and continue eating healthy. While you are enjoying holiday feasts with family, be aware of sodium, often found in seasonal foods like bread, cheeses and prepared meats, which can increase blood pressure. Don’t feel like you can’t indulge a little, but make sure to incorporate healthy meals.

Staying active while traveling can be a challenge, as well. Try bringing simple exercise equipment like a jump rope or resistance band with you. Consider walking to sights or restaurants nearby, or finding a local park or indoor walking path.

For more information and tools about blood pressure management, visit heart.org/hbp.

Bayer’s Consumer Health Division, maker of Coricidin HBP, is a sponsor of the American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure website.

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

 

November 15, 2017 |
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