News + Views

Have a Feel-Good Summer


To Your Health







(Family Features) For many, making better-for-you food decisions and staying physically active go hand in hand with maintaining a quality lifestyle.

According to an article published by the Mayo Clinic, those who engage in regular physical activity enjoy the benefits of improved mood, more energy, better sleep and much more. For consumers who want to maintain healthy lifestyles, the NuVal(r) Nutritional Scoring System, which is found in grocery stores across the U.S., is easy to use for identifying summer snacks and meal items to energize fitness activities.

“Consumers deserve to get the most nutritional bang for their buck,” says Mike Nugent, NuVal General Manager. “That’s why NuVal scores were developed – to support healthy lifestyles. The scores analyze the nutrition facts on food labels boiling them down to a single 1 to 100 score. With 100 being the most nutritious, higher scores mean better nutrition, allowing consumers to make at-a-glance nutrition comparisons as they shop.”

Developed by a team of recognized experts, the scoring system was created as a direct response to America’s rapidly rising rates of obesity and diabetes in both the adult and child populations.

Displayed directly on shelf price tags in the grocery store, scores are determined by an independent team of nutrition and medical experts who analyze more than 30 nutrition factors such as vitamin D, omega 3 fatty acids, saturated fat and calories. The experts do the research, so consumers can feel better about their food choices. The scores do not tell consumers what to buy or eat; but simply reflect the overall nutritional quality of a food making it easy for consumers to compare nutrition as they do price.

“No matter what their food plan, the scores guide people in shopping for anything from produce and dairy to snacks and packaged goods,” adds Nugent. “If you can count to 100, you can use the system to shop, cook, eat and feel better.”

Step up to summer fitness
While it’s important to be physically active all year, many people simply find themselves more active in summer – both because the outdoors beckons and there is more time for recreation. This creates an opportunity to fit in more daily physical activity, which generally means some potential to build lean muscle mass, lose excess body fat and get more fit.

According to Dr. David Katz, M.D., M.P.H. – founding director of Yale University’s Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center and the principal inventor of the science behind NuVal scores – the more active you are, the more performance fuel your body needs.

“The increased activity level of summer is a perfect time to think about trading up food choices, improving overall diet quality, and establishing a foundation for better overall health and vitality,” says Dr. Katz.

For optimal fueling, Dr. Katz offers the following tips:
* Pick foods with dual duties. Some foods are ideal for meeting the needs of high quality nutrition, as well as concentrated fuel for an active lifestyle. Some great food options include nuts, seeds and nut butters; fresh and dried fruits; beans and lentils; and whole grains. Protein sources are dairy (think non-fat Greek yogurt), eggs and lean meats.
* Embrace seasonal dishes. Summer is a great time for salads. Options are almost limitless. Consuming an abundance of vegetables is always a great place to start; but also consider a good protein source to provide the energy you need. Bean and lentil salads are a great fuel-up option.
* Know when to eat. Before exertion, avoid eating too much, so blood flows to working muscles rather than to digestion. Before workout, eating some fresh, seasonal fruit might be ideal. Post workout, replenish what exercise has burned with fruit, nuts, whole grains and a protein source.
* Snack small and often. Small portions of nuts and dried fruits, separately or together, make a great snack. Snack bars made from nuts and dried fruits – and little else – are a good option as well, and especially convenient when on the go.
* Be active at any age. If older and new to exercise, ease in and build up gradually. Walking, biking on relatively flat terrain, and swimming are excellent activities. All motion is good motion, so it is essential to find what you like. Dancing counts; so does yoga or anything else that has you up and going.
* Hydrate. As for hydration, water is generally best. Invest in a quality water container to have with you throughout the day – and during your workout.

For more tips to feel your best and get the most out of those summer months, visit

Break a sweat                                                         12591_aPO
Incorporate these summer activities into your schedule and enjoy new ways to boost your fitness routine:
* Biking/ mountain biking
* Canoeing
* Hiking
* Kayaking
* Running
* Swimming
* Walking
* Tennis

12591_bPOPerfect pairings
Consuming a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables throughout the day is a great way to fuel up physical activity and add nutrients vital to keeping cells healthy and protected. Here are some summer produce picks, along with NuVal scores. (Higher scores equal better nutrition.)
* Apricots (NuVal 100)
* Avocados (NuVal 88)
* Bananas (NuVal 100)
* Blueberries (NuVal 100)
* Broccoli (NuVal 100)
* Cantaloupe (NuVal 100)
* Carrots (NuVal 100)
* Cucumbers (NuVal 100)
* Green beans (NuVal 100)
* Iceberg lettuce (NuVal 94)
* Mangoes (NuVal 100)
* Peppers (NuVal 100)
* Tomatoes (NuVal 100)

Photos courtesy of Getty Images
Source: NuVal Nutritional Scoring System





July 29, 2015 |

Find the Silver Linings in Life


To Your Health







Bestselling author, nurse and breast cancer survivor shares advice for healthy living

(Family Features) Every year, approximately 250,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer. As a vegan-eating, marathon-running, mother in her 30s with no family history of breast cancer, Hollye Jacobs was unexpectedly diagnosed with the disease. Now, the nurse turned New York Times bestselling author of “The Silver Lining: A Supportive and Insightful Guide to Breast Cancer” has partnered with Allstate to help everyone impacted by cancer receive a free guide with practical tips, important information and inspiration to inform and support people from diagnosis, through treatment and recovery, and into life after cancer.

“I am honored to partner with Allstate to empower women with knowledge to take control of their health and encourage each other along the way,” said Jacobs. “I hope we can all be there for each other and find the silver linings in life.”

12737_AAs a follow-up to her successful book, Jacobs offers this inspiring advice on how to find the silver lining and feel your best in any situation:

* Dress the part: Dress to feel your best no matter where your day takes you, from school to work to chemotherapy. Invest in pieces that make you 12737_AR feel comfortable and confident. During her chemotherapy experience, Jacobs found that cotton scarves were the easiest to tie and most effective at staying comfortably on her head when out and about.

12737_B* Exercise: Pace yourself and set reasonable goals to take control of a healthy lifestyle. Begin slowly but consistently to establish a positive habit on which you can build; even a slow stroll can be transformative for your health.

* Healthy eating: Like exercise, good nutrition helps offset exhaustion that comes with the weight of daily stresses and fatigue. A balanced and healthy diet doesn’t have to be expensive. Incorporate nutrient-dense foods like avocados and nuts, and drink plenty of water. Whenever possible, avoid alcohol, sugar and processed foods.

* Encourage each other: Jacobs’ biggest life lesson from her experience with cancer was that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. If you think that you could benefit from professional or spiritual support, pursue it. Celebrate positive thinking and remember that everyone reacts to life’s unexpected struggles and pain differently. Be kind and patient with others and, most importantly, yourself.

* Express yourself: For Jacobs, writing was cathartic. Her book evolved from her blog,, which unexpectedly reached audiences far beyond her circle of friends and family. She encourages people to write down at least three silver linings each day, from noticing the color of a flower to petting an animal.

* Educate yourself: Be an active participant in your health by learning from trusted sources and resisting the urge to blindly search online for information. When learning anything new, be patient, open, flexible and assertive to find what works best and most comfortably for your routine.

The free Silver Lining Companion Guide is available for download or for pick up at participating distribution centers and select Allstate agencies nationwide. Download or find the nearest participating distribution center at

(woman with flowered head scarf)
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Messina

(two women running)
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Source: Allstate

July 22, 2015 |

Healthy Living Begins with Ample Sleep


12729To Your Health







(Family Features) Taking steps to improve your mental and physical well-being may fall flat if you’re not spending enough time recharging your body. Sleep experts agree: adequate, regular sleep is essential for overall health and well-being.

According to a new recommendation from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and Sleep Research Society (SRS), adults should get seven or more hours of sleep per night to avoid the health risks associated with prolonged periods of inadequate sleep. For the millions of Americans who do not make regular sleep a priority, this guidance can motivate healthier lifestyle habits.

“Sleep is critical to health, along with a healthy diet and regular exercise,” said Dr. Nathaniel F. Watson, AASM president and moderator of the expert panel that developed the recommendation. “Our consensus panel of 15 of the nation’s top sleep experts found that sleeping six or fewer hours per night is inadequate to sustain health and safety in adults. We also agreed that seven or more hours of sleep per night is the recommended amount for all healthy adults.”

No limit for certain individuals
Recognizing that some adults need more sleep than others, the panel did not place a limit on how much sleep people should get per night. For example, people who may need nine or more hours of nightly sleep include young adults with growing bodies, individuals trying to make up for lost sleep, or those who are sick.

“More than a third of the population is not getting enough sleep, so the focus needs to be on getting at least seven hours of nightly sleep,” added Watson. “In general we want people to get more sleep, not less.”

Tips for successful sleep
What are some easy ways to ensure that you get the sleep you need for a productive and healthy life? Check out these five healthy sleep habits provided by the experts at AASM. Following these tips can help you develop a healthy sleep pattern:

* Be consistent. Go to bed when you are sleepy and try to wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
* Limit time in bed. Don’t use your bed for other non-sleep activities, such as watching television or checking email.
* Make your bedroom a sleep haven. A quiet and relaxing bedroom environment will help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Keep the bedroom at a comfortable temperature but slightly cool.
* Limit the caffeine. Avoid coffee, tea, soda and other caffeine sources in the afternoon and evening hours.
* Get at least seven hours. Go to bed early enough to allow yourself to sleep seven hours or more each and every night.

Live life awake and refreshed with the proper amount of sleep. You’ll be putting your best foot forward every morning.

Visit to learn more about healthy sleep from the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project, a collaboration between the AASM, SRS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Source: American Academy of Sleep Medicine

July 15, 2015 |

Activate Your Summer with These Simple Tips


To Your Health








Fitness ideas to power up your season12716_b

(Family Features) When short-sleeve shirts, tanks and shorts make their way into your everyday wardrobe, summer has officially arrived. And looking and feeling your best for all of those warm weather activities is important.

Busy women know that being active means more than just picking up a few healthy habits; it requires daily dedication. But sometimes despite best laid plans, real life gets in the way. You miss that gym visit or sleep through that workout class. Make the most of your summer days with these tips that are not only fun, but will get you moving, even on the busiest days.

Establish a summer schedule. With kids out of school, it can be easy to fall into a more laid-back routine. Fight the urge to turn on the television and create an active schedule with your children. After dinner, have a family walk around the neighborhood or plan for weekend outings to your favorite local nature preserve.

Schedule a walking meeting at work. If sitting in an office is part of your daily routine, make a point to be active. Need to go over some items with a co-worker? Avoid booking the conference room, and plan a walking meeting outside or around the building. Getting your heartrate up and taking in some fresh summer air may be just what you need for successful brainstorming on the job.

Find motivation in all forms. Seek the help of like-minded individuals who also want to establish healthy routines. Look online for health and fitness blogs from other women who can share their own journeys toward better health. Or, invest in a wearable fitness device that offers a personalized experience, such as a Mira Fitness tracker, that understands your fitness level and offers tips and inspirational boosts relevant to you. For more information and to check out their blog visit

Plan for an active vacation. Don’t let travel plans justify inactivity. Use your vacation as an opportunity to get moving, and create new healthy experiences. Visiting a historic town or city? Check out a walking group tour to sightsee. Hitting the beach? Try beach volleyball, surfing or stroll beside the water every night. No matter where your travels take you, you can always find a way to be active.12716_a

Find ways to beat the heat. Don’t let the summer sun be your excuse to stay indoors on those extra hot days. Set your alarm early to get your morning run or hike in before those afternoon temperatures rise. Seek a refreshing, cool workout, such as water aerobics at the gym or paddle boarding at the lake when the temps are soaring.

Let the inviting sun rays lure you outside and get moving. You may discover your next favorite workout, and other life hacks for a healthier you.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (woman doing yoga)
Source: Mira

July 8, 2015 |

Can a Dentist Resolve Your Headache Symptoms?


To Your Health








Relief for the pain of headaches and migraines              12735_A

(Family Features) For millions of people, the pain of frequent headaches is no small matter. In fact, the National Institutes of Health estimates that about 80 million Americans suffer from symptoms which could be described as “headaches.”

These painful signs include chronic headache, migraines, tinnitus (ringing of the ears), vertigo or temporomandibular (TMJ) dysfunction. Many sufferers have seen multiple specialists to try to identify the cause of their symptoms. Few, however, have asked the medical professional who might be most likely to help them – their dentist.

For many patients, the only answer has been the use (and overuse) of over the counter pain medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin or acetaminophen. Others have been prescribed more powerful pain medications. However, while these pharmaceutical approaches may temporarily ease the pain, they do not resolve the underlying cause – often untreated damage from trauma.

Getting to the root of the problem
Many doctors are now learning that dentomandibular sensorimotor dysfunction (an imbalanced or improper bite often resulting from head, neck, face or jaw trauma affecting not only the teeth, but also the muscles, tendons, nerves and ligaments) is often the cause of these long-term pain symptoms. This condition is often evident in patients who have experienced some type of minor or major head trauma, years or even decades ago.

Something as simple as a minor auto accident, a fall or playing sports could be the underlying cause of the pain. Unfortunately, these causes often go undiagnosed by many medical specialists. But dentists can often provide the answer using a painless diagnostic procedure that can quickly determine if their symptoms could be dental force related.

A new solution for sufferers
Dentists and orthodontists began using the TruDenta system of care more than five years ago to successfully treat these patients. The treatment uses a combination of proven sports medicine technologies and advanced dentistry to rehabilitate the damaged muscles, tendons, nerves and ligaments of the head, neck face and jaw. Thousands of patients have found lasting relief from chronic pain symptoms with properly trained and equipped dental professionals. The system uses no drugs or needles and patients often see immediate results even after the first treatment.

“My wife suffered from chronic headaches for more than 10 years. We visited every specialist with no answers. After her first treatment, she has not had another headache,” said Dr. Jeff Mastrioianni, an orthodontist in Glen Carbon, Illinois, who now uses TruDenta for many of his patients.

12735_BPatients eligible for the treatment will typically exhibit one or more of the following signs:
* Limited mouth opening
* Restricted cervical range of motion (the ability to tilt, turn and tip their head)
* Clicking or popping of the jaw or clenching and grinding their teeth at night

The treatment is available nationwide and may be covered by insurance. To learn more and find a doctor near you, visit or call 855-770-4002 to learn more.
Photo Courtesy of Getty Images
Source: TruDenta

July 1, 2015 |

Folic Acid Plays Vital Role in Babies’ Health


To Your Health








(Family Features) Each year, more than four million women in America give birth and 2,600 infants are born with neural tube defects. While there are simple preventative steps women can take, Americans are generally unaware of the impact that diet, specifically enriched grains, has on pregnancy and infant health.

An October 2014 Grain Foods Foundation (GFF) survey conducted online on their behalf by Harris Poll uncovered that only two in five Americans (38 percent) are aware that consuming folic acid is a key step a woman can take for a healthy pregnancy. If all women consumed the recommended amount of folic acid, up to 70 percent of neural tube defects could be prevented. Still, over half of Americans (51 percent) are unaware of the positive benefits folic acid provides in preventing birth defects.

With an aim to advance the public’s understanding of the important role that folic acid plays in birth defects prevention, GFF has partnered with the Spina Bifida Association (SBA) for the third year running to share educational tools with consumers. Folic acid is needed for spinal cord development in the first three weeks of a pregnancy, often before a woman even knows she is pregnant. While most Americans understand the role that folic acid can play in having a healthy infant, only one quarter (27 percent) actually take folic acid into consideration when choosing what to eat.

“All women of reproductive age need to follow a healthy lifestyle, whether or not they’re planning to have a baby” explains Dr. Bruce Young, M.D., a leader in obstetrics and gynecology and GFF Scientific Advisory Board member. “It is important that women, even at an early age, become vigilant about having folic acid in their diets. Most of the folic acid and B vitamins actually come from enriched grains in our diet, so fortified foods made from enriched white flour are great sources.”

Because more than half of pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned, experts advise women of reproductive age to follow a healthy lifestyle, including a diet rich in folic acid, whether they are planning on having a baby or not. Ensuring your diet contains ample enriched grains, such as white bread, tortillas, pasta and cereal, is the easiest way to up your folic acid intake. Other foods that can reduce one’s risk for having a child with birth defects include leafy green vegetables, dried beans, peas and fruits.

Enriched grains, such as white bread, are the No. 1 source of folic acid in the diets of most Americans, and can contain two times as much folic acid as their whole grain counterparts.

“Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps cells grow and develop, which is why it’s so important for a healthy pregnancy and preventing spina bifida,” says Sylvia Melendez-Klinger, registered dietitian and GFF Scientific Advisory Board member. “The single biggest step women can take to prevent spina bifida from occurring is consuming enough folic acid before getting pregnant.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) credits enriched grains with lowering the rate of neural tube birth defects in the United States by approximately one-third since the Food and Drug Administration began requiring fortification of enriched grains with folic acid in 1998. In fact, the CDC recently named folic acid fortification of enriched grains as one of the top 10 public health achievements of the first decade of the 21st century.

To help generate awareness for the role enriched grain foods can play in preventing birth defects, the Grain Foods Foundation is continuing its public service announcement, “Bread Trail,” which will air on local broadcast stations and on YouTube: The Grain Foods Foundation will also be sharing social messages, highlighting measures for lowering risks of birth defects using the hashtag #HealthyBaby.

For expert information on how folic acid can reduce neural tube defects and tips for including more wholesome bread and grain foods in a healthful diet, visit the Grain Foods Foundation’s website,

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Source: Grain Foods Foundation

June 24, 2015 |

Power Up Throughout the Day with Protein


To Your Health









(Family Features) As the building blocks of life, your body requires protein to function properly. But protein is also an important nutrient for those who wish to stay satisfied and full throughout their busy days.
Why protein is essential
A vital part of every diet, proteins are made up of a chain of amino acids which work to repair damaged cells and create new ones. According to the National Institutes of Health, the right amount of protein can be found in a well-balanced, complete diet.
While sources of protein are often found in meats, eggs and fish, they can also be found in a variety of plant-based foods, such as soy, nuts and certain grains. As the average American’s schedule grows busier by the minute, it’s important to know the many convenient sources of protein available.
Fuel the day
A successful day at work requires the focus and energy from a complete, balanced diet, including the addition of protein sources when possible. Try these tips and meal ideas for filling your morning and afternoon meals with smarter, more powerful food picks:
* Breakfast. Check one item – having a wholesome morning meal – off your list of things to do each and every day. Perfect for those rushed, on-the-go mornings, opt for a protein-packed smoothie. Available in many flavorful varieties, they’re easy to throw in your bag and enjoy as you commute.
* Snack. A satisfying snack is one that will keep energy levels up and carry you over to your next meal. Some smart and satisfying options include Premier Protein 30g Bars and Fiber Bars. They are gluten-free and a good source of fiber, available in a variety of flavors and offer up to 30 grams of protein per bar. Keep them on hand in your desk or computer bag so you’re always able to snack whenever hunger hits. For more satisfying snacks, visit
* Lunch. Amp up the protein on your turkey sandwich by replacing mayo and mustard with hummus, and use high-protein bread instead of regular whole wheat. For salads, add sliced hard boiled eggs and chickpeas. For a sweet power-packed side, try cottage cheese topped with sliced peaches or Greek yogurt topped with fresh blueberries.
* Post-workout fuel. Whether you exercise in the morning or after a long day at the office, give your body the fuel it needs to recover. A rich and creamy Premier Protein Shake, available in chocolate, vanilla and strawberries & cream, offers up 30 grams of protein and contains only 160 calories and 1 gram of sugar.
Make balanced meals and snack options a part of every day with the various protein-packed sources available. No matter what your social or work life demands, there are always simple ways to help you stay balanced, fueled and healthy.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Source: Premier Nutrition

June 17, 2015 |
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