shutterstock_476940613

5 health ‘facts’ that are actually myths

(BPT) – Get eight hours of sleep at night, eat your vegetables, and an apple a day keeps the doctor away – these are all common health sayings you’ve heard and probably believe to be true. While commonly told health myths may have some truth to them, there are some that don’t hold up to further examination.

1.) Starve a cold and feed a fever. This one has been told for years, though most people can’t remember which one you starve and which you feed. However, according to WebMD, the best advice is to starve neither. You’ll recover from the flu or a cold more quickly with a healthy, balanced diet, so eat sensibly and you’ll be yourself again in no time.

2.) Small and soft toothbrushes make for an ineffective clean. This one isn’t true. The American Dental Association actually recommends using a small brush head with soft bristles. Using a brush like Oral-B’s new Compact Clean provides a small brush head that can get to those hard-to-reach places and provide a precise clean. Because of its unique ultra-dense feathered bristles which offer multiple cleaning tips per filament, Compact Clean will also gently remove plaque in a comfortable, effective way. “As a hygienist, one of the biggest obstacles my patients face is finding the balance between using a brush that is soft enough and achieving an effective clean,” says Andrew Johnston, RDH. “Compact Clean’s design allows you to remove plaque while keeping your teeth and gums safe against toothbrush abrasion.”

3.) Cold weather increases your chance of catching a cold. It seems to make sense, but it’s not true. There is no proof colder temperatures increase your chances of catching a cold, according to LiveScience.com. Instead, research shows the spike in colds during the winter months is actually due to people spending more time indoors, around one another, making it easier for the cold to spread from one person to the next.

4.) Reading in poor lighting is bad for your eyes. While it certainly makes it more difficult to focus on what you’re reading, there is no evidence that reading under such conditions will cause any permanent structural or long-term damage to your eyes according to WebMD.

5.) An aerobic workout will significantly boost your metabolism all day long. Nope, but you will enjoy a nice boost while you’re actually doing the workout along with a small boost throughout the day, though only about 20 extra calories according to WebMD. If you want improved all day benefits, strength training is actually the better way to go because it conditions your body to burn calories more efficiently.

So the next time you’re tempted to starve your cold, or only read a book with lights blazing, remember that these five commonly held health myths are now debunked! To learn more about how Compact Clean can lead to powerful results, visit www.oralb.com.

Read more
30859529_wide.jpg

5 tips to support your eye health

(BPT) – Health is a hot topic for many Americans these days, as evident by the named diets, wearable fitness trackers and apps for every possible health measurable. Yet as people show an increased focus on their weight, their cholesterol level or their muscle tone, they often forget that two of their most important organs — their eyes — need to be supported as well.

Fortunately, it’s easy to include support for your eye health into your overall fitness plan. If you’re looking to protect your eyes during national Workplace Eye Health Month and every month afterward, follow these five tips.

* Understand your family’s history of eye health and other conditions. There is evidence that many people inherit common eye conditions including nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Research also shows that more serious conditions including glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration appear to be inherited in some cases. Talk to your family members about any conditions they may have related to their eye health. While these symptoms may not apply to you, this information can help you know what to look for and any potential risks to discuss with your doctor.

* Get the eye health support and treatment you need. Like the rest of your body, your eyes need regular check-ups and insurance can help you meet those costs. One in four people have vision insurance coverage through VSP, with individual or family vision plans that provide affordable access to high-quality eye care and eye wear, typically saving you hundreds of dollars on eye exams and glasses.

* Eat a healthy diet. A well-balanced diet is important not only for managing your cholesterol and weight but for supporting your eye health as well. Leafy vegetables, nuts, eggs, beans, pork and citrus fruits include essential eye health nutrients like lutein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins C and E, and zinc. All of these nutrients have been proven to protect against vision problems like cataracts and macular degeneration.

* Schedule regular visits with your eye doctor. Just as you schedule regular wellness visits with your primary care doctor, you should do the same with your eye doctor. An annual trip to the optometrist ensures you can see your best, and can even lead to early detection of chronic diseases, like diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

* Shield your eyes from the effects of digital devices. Prolonged exposure to blue light, emitted by digital devices, can lead to digital eye strain. The symptoms of this condition include blurred vision, dry eyes, headaches and neck pain. Ask your doctor about the best options to reduce eye strain, including lenses with coatings that reflect and absorb blue light.

Focusing on improving your health is a great idea at any time and any age — just make sure your initiative targets your total body health, including your eyes. To learn more about how VSP Individual Vision Plans can provide you with the vision care you need to support your eye health, visit vspdirect.com today.

Read more
30768660_wide.jpg

Are you more than tired? 5 symptoms you shouldn’t ignore

(BPT) – Do you fight to stay awake during the day? Is exhaustion part of your everyday life? If the urge to sleep is overwhelming and irresistible, it may be a sleep disorder called narcolepsy, a condition affecting approximately one in 2,000 people in the U.S. Narcolepsy is one of the most frequently diagnosed primary sleep disorders. However, it’s not always easy to recognize.

“There are five major symptoms of narcolepsy. Many of them can be confused with other medical conditions such as depression or epilepsy, making a narcolepsy diagnosis somewhat tricky,” says Dr. Raj Dasgupta, pulmonary and sleep specialist at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine. “Approximately half of the people affected by narcolepsy remain undiagnosed. A diagnosis can take up to 10 years to receive. We need greater awareness of narcolepsy to help expedite the diagnosis process for patients.”

Everyone with narcolepsy has excessive daytime sleepiness. That’s when you feel tired all the time, making it hard to stay awake and alert throughout the day. It can be described as feeling fatigued or irritable, having difficulty concentrating, poor memory, or mood changes. Patients say it comes in waves, like a “sleep attack.” These can happen during unusual situations, such as in the middle of a meal, a conversation or bike ride.

There are five major symptoms, but you don’t need to experience them all to have narcolepsy.

1. Excessive daytime sleepiness: As discussed above, this is when you have an irresistible urge to sleep during the day.

2. Cataplexy: The weakening of muscles when you feel strong emotions like embarrassment, laughter, surprise, or anger. Cataplexy can cause your head to drop, your face to droop, your jaw to weaken, or make your knees give way.

3. Sleep disruption: When you often fall asleep quickly but wake up frequently throughout the night.

4. Sleep paralysis: Feeling unable to move or speak for a short time when falling asleep or waking up. You may also feel like you can’t breathe.

5. Vivid dreaming: Often frightening dreamlike experiences that seem real and happen when falling asleep or waking up. You may experience hearing sounds or words when drifting to sleep or have unwanted visions. Sleep paralysis often accompanies these vivid dreams.

Narcolepsy occurs equally as often in men and women. The symptoms often start between the ages of 10 and 25, but it can take up to 12 years for narcolepsy to fully develop. Narcolepsy is a debilitating disease, as it can cause difficulties at work, negatively impact social interactions, lower self-esteem, and create challenges performing everyday tasks. Contrary to popular belief, people with narcolepsy do not spend more time sleeping than the average person.

“It’s normal to feel tired sometimes,” Dr. Dasgupta says. “But if the urge to fall asleep is interfering with your job or personal life, it might be time to talk to a sleep specialist.”

For more information about narcolepsy and to take the symptom screener, visit MoreThanTired.com.

This content is provided by Jazz Pharmaceuticals.

Read more
23526329_wide.jpg

Fiber: What it is and why you need more of it in your diet

(BPT) – Eat more fiber.

If your doctor didn’t give you this advice at your last checkup, she probably should have: 97 percent of Americans don’t get the recommended daily amount of dietary fiber they need to stay healthy. But what is fiber, and why is it good for you?

Dietary fiber, sometimes called “roughage,” is a plant-based carbohydrate found in fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains such as rice and wheat. Our bodies have a difficult time digesting fiber, which is actually a good thing — as fiber passes through the body undigested, it does a lot of good along the way!

Fiber has many proven health benefits. It has been shown to improve heart health, lower cholesterol, control blood sugar, decrease the risk of stroke, help you feel fuller longer, prevent constipation and boost digestive health and your immune system.

Experts like the Food and Drug Administration recommend we consume about 28 grams of fiber each day — which, it turns out, is a lot of food. You’d have to eat about 94 baby carrots, 47 stalks of celery, or 15 slices of whole-wheat bread to get your daily dose of fiber from food alone!

To help people get the fiber they need, the FDA has approved seven ingredients that can be taken as supplements or added to food to boost the amount of dietary fiber they contain. One of those ingredients you may find on your food label is cellulose gel, or microcrystalline cellulose.

Cellulose gel is derived from cellulose, an essential component of fruits, vegetables and trees. In fact, cellulose is so important to plants in nature, it is the most abundant organic compound on Earth!

Cellulose gel offers the same great health benefits as the dietary fiber we find in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and can be found in foods such as yogurt, cereal bars and protein shakes. So when cellulose gel or microcrystalline cellulose appears on your food label, it means you’re getting the same plant fiber found in broccoli and apples — without having to eat a lot of broccoli and apples (and without the hassle of cooking and meal planning!).

To learn more about cellulose gel and other food ingredients that make our favorite foods better for us, visit www.foodsciencematters.com.

Read more
23527251_wide.jpg

Is seaweed the next superfood?

(BPT) – There’s a new superfood in town. And it’s not kale.

Seaweed may be a hot new food trend in the United States, but this leafy green from the sea has been used in Asian cuisine for thousands of years. Not only is seaweed low in calories and fat, it’s also packed with essential nutrients like vitamins A, B and C. Better yet? Research shows it’s a good source of antioxidants and calcium and can prevent and reduce inflammation.

You may know seaweed as a crunchy, salty snack or the wrap that holds together sushi rolls. What you may not know is that seaweed is an important food ingredient that improves the taste of foods, makes them better for us and benefits the environment.

For example, carrageenan, an ingredient naturally derived from red seaweed, makes our ice cream creamy, keeps chocolate milk from separating and is the reason the ground nuts in our nut milk don’t settle to the bottom of the carton. It can also be used instead of sodium in deli meats and to replace fats and sugar in other foods.

Some sweets, like puddings and gummy candies, get their unique texture from gelatin, an animal-based ingredient. But what about those who follow a vegetarian or kosher diet? Have no fear, seaweed is here! Plant-based carrageenan can be used in place of gelatin to make sure these tasty snacks are vegetarian, vegan, halal and kosher.

Another way seaweed improves the foods we eat every day? Alginates, also a seaweed-based ingredient, are added to baked goods, such as bread, and even your favorite energy bars to make them taste better and stay fresh for longer. Alginates are also used to make beer foamy and replace the fat in low-fat ice cream.

But seaweed doesn’t just benefit the foods we eat; it’s also good for the environment and the people who farm it.

Seaweed is one of the most sustainable and eco-friendly crops on the planet. It requires none of the fertilizers, pesticides or other chemicals that are used in land-based farming. And seaweed sequesters carbon and cleans ocean water of phosphorus and nitrogen. Some scientists and researchers believe seaweed might even be the biofuel of the future.

More than 75,000 farmers around the world rely on seaweed farming to support their families. Before they started farming carrageenan seaweed, many coastal communities lived at or below the poverty level. With the income they earn harvesting carrageenan seaweed, these farmers are able to improve their homes, enhance their diets and send their children to school. And in some countries, seaweed harvesting provides a way out of poverty for women who do not have access to other jobs.

Seaweed isn’t just a healthy snack or ingredient that makes our favorite foods better tasting and better for us. It’s revolutionizing dinner plates and economies around the world, restoring our oceans and improving lives.

For more information about the benefits of seaweed, including how it is used in foods we love, visit www.foodsciencematters.com.

Read more
23528437_wide.jpg

Decoding food labels: Scary additives or gifts from nature?

(BPT) – Food-ingredient labels are getting shorter. Why? Because the people have spoken: We want fewer, better ingredients in our foods. We asked, and the companies that make our food responded by replacing artificial colors and flavors, removing what’s unessential, and using naturally derived ingredients.

But even shorter “clean” labels can still read like a technical manual. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing — just because a food ingredient is unfamiliar or has a difficult-to-pronounce name doesn’t mean it’s not good for you.

For instance, you might not have heard of cholecalciferol, and it sounds a little scary. But cholecalciferol is just another name for Vitamin D. You might not have heard of rickets, either; that’s because this once-common childhood disease became nearly obsolete when Vitamin D, which prevents rickets, was added to milk (Vitamin D also helps our bodies absorb the calcium in milk).

Another ingredient with a somewhat strange name is carrageenan. This seaweed-based ingredient makes some of our favorite foods more nutritious. It replaces the sodium in lunch meat and can take the place of fats, oils and sugar, which is why that nonfat yogurt you had for lunch tastes just as good as the full-fat option, without the guilt.

Microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) might look like a mouthful, but MCC — also called cellulose gel — is just cellulose derived from fruits, vegetables and trees. Cellulose, which is the most common organic compound on earth, is one of only seven FDA-approved sources of fiber. So when microcrystalline cellulose or cellulose gel appears on a food label, it means your food contains the same plant fiber found in broccoli and apples.

Other ingredients that might not ring a bell? Turmeric is a plant in the ginger family that has been used as a medicine and spice in India for thousands of years. Modern science has shown it is also a powerful antioxidant that settles upset stomachs and may lower cholesterol and prevent heart attacks, all while brightening your food with its deep yellow color.

Some of the unfamiliar ingredients on your food label might literally be found in your own backyard. Pectin, for example, comes from the peels of lemons or other citrus fruits and is commonly used to thicken jams and jellies.

Understanding what goes into our food is important. But it’s also important that we don’t say “no” to a product just because we don’t recognize every ingredient on its label. When we research the ones we’re not familiar with, we might come to find that those “scary additives” are actually delicious gifts from nature.

To learn more about what’s in your food, visit foodsciencematters.com.

Read more
29989673_wide.jpg

Cooking essentials: A peek inside a professional chef’s kitchen

(BPT) – From spices and oils to gadgets and gizmos, it seems like there are always new, trendy items that you should add to your kitchen. Trying to separate the handy from the hype, however, can be a time-consuming and expensive process.

Professional chefs know not everything is worthy of space in their kitchens, but it’s not always easy for home cooks to figure out what they need and what they don’t.

That’s why Devin Alexander, New York Times Bestselling Author and professional chef, gives a peek inside her kitchen. Find out what’s really worth your while, as she shares the top items she uses, as well as recommends to her clients to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Chef Alexander’s top kitchen must-have’s include:

Reusable oil sprayer: An oil sprayer allows you to cook with fats in a healthful and efficient way. You can fill the sprayer with your choice of oil – from olive to canola to whatever suits your current taste preference and cooking needs.

Kitchen scale: You don’t have to weigh everything, but a countertop scale is a handy tool that can help you sustain your healthy eating goals. It’s great for measuring portions of lean meats, seafood and cheeses, so you can stay in check while whipping up recipes or prepping snacks.

Truvia Nectar:My favorite liquid sweetener is blended with stevia leaf extract and honey, and has 50 percent fewer calories than sugar,” says Alexander. “It’s twice as sweet so you only need half as much when you’re adding it to tea or drizzling it on yogurt. I also love to use Truvia Nectar in salad dressings, marinades and cocktails.” Learn more at www.truvia.com/nectar.

Oatmeal: Oatmeal isn’t just a morning food, but a healthy way to add texture to recipes. Use it in meatballs and baked goods for a tasty, whole-grain boost.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon is an extremely versatile pantry essential. Sprinkle the spice here and there to liven up your favorite beverages and recipes without too many added calories.

Cocoa powder: “I’m a huge chocolate lover! Using 100 percent cocoa powder, which has minimal calories and some fiber to boot, is a great way to get your chocolate fix while staying fit,” Alexander says “You can add it to oatmeal and sauces, but the possibilities are endless.”

Instant coffee: Did you know instant coffee can be used for more than just your morning jump-start? It’s a quick and easy way to give your protein shakes a java-flavored makeover.

Stocking your home kitchen with the right items is essential for achieving your healthy eating goals.

Read more
30587100_wide.jpg

Feel good about satisfying your sweet tooth

(BPT) – With growing concerns about diabetes, obesity and dental health issues, many Americans are trying to limit their sugar intake and are turning to other types of sweeteners. But with so many alternatives out there, how do you know the choices you make to replace sugar are actually healthier options?

Customers may be wary of one particular non-sugar sweetener because of its complicated, chemical-sounding name. But erythritol is actually a naturally-derived, zero-calorie sweetener made from plant-based sugars that is not only a great alternative for taste and caloric reasons—it’s also proven to deliver oral health benefits and is easy to digest. That is why erythritol is starting to appear in everything from toothpaste and mouth rinse to gum and lollipops.

Erythritol: What the dentist ordered

Erythritol is often selected for products where dental health is key, such as toothpaste and sugar-free candy. A three-year clinical study by Cargill found that children who used erythritol products have less dental plaque, oral bacteria and tooth decay than those using two other common non-sugar sweeteners, xylitol and sorbitol.

The difference is even more dramatic when comparing the non-sugar alternatives with sucrose, or common table sugar. Why? Sucrose ferments in oral bacteria, leading to tooth decay, while erythritol does not ferment in oral bacteria.

Both erythritol-based toothpastes and candies are appearing in medical, pediatric and dental offices as doctors set them out as samples and refer patients to sugar-free sweets.

“Parents bring kids to their dentist hoping to reduce or eliminate dental decay,” said Dr. John Bruinsma, DDS, founder of Dr. John’s Candies and creator of THRIVE(TM) nutritional lollipops, the first line of natural, sugar-free lollipops that incorporate erythritol. “While parents could just say ‘No more sugar, period,’ that is awfully hard for kids to do. Erythritol-based options let kids enjoy sweet treats, without the negative side effects.”

Dr. Bruinsma also has many patients, from children to adults, who complain of dry mouth. He finds erythritol can provide a solution.

“Many people turn to sugar candies when they have dry mouth—yet using sugar-based candies is like putting gasoline on fire, as both dry mouth and sugar are leading causes of tooth decay,” said Bruinsma. “Instead, erythritol-based candies stimulate salivary flow and help reduce dry mouth symptoms, without promoting dental decay.”

An option for cancer patients

Avoiding sugar is important for everyone, but especially for those battling cancer. Dr. Bruinsma and the MaxLove Project have joined together to provide erythritol-based lollipops to children in cancer treatment.

“We have found that THRIVE lollipops work within the dietary guidelines of most pediatric cancer patients,” says Bruinsma. “Perhaps just as important, the sweets bring a moment of joy and smiles to these kids as they experience one of the simple pleasures of childhood—a lollipop.”

When it comes to sugar alternatives, erythritol is a powerful option that proves pronounceability isn’t as important as performance. Whether you want to satisfy a sweet tooth, address tooth decay, reduce sugar consumption or calories, relieve dry mouth or just brighten someone’s day, you can feel better about reaching for a product sweetened with erythritol.

Read more
30885840_wide.jpg

7 reasons why millennials love gardening (and you should, too)

(BPT) – The stereotype: Millennials spend more time interacting with the digital world than the natural world around them. The reality: Five million of the 6 million people who took up gardening in 2015 were millennials, according to the 2016 National Gardening Survey.

More millennials (people between the ages of 21 and 34) than any other age group are falling in love with gardening. As a hobby, gardening is a great fit for the millennial mindset and lifestyle that emphasize individuality, independence and value. However, the advantages of gardening that attract millennials are also relevant to every age group, and anyone who wants to begin growing a nutritious, healthful food garden.

Here are seven reasons why more millennials than ever are taking up food gardening, and why you should, too:

1. Gardening fosters better nutrition.

Millennials care about good nutrition and knowing where their food comes from. Multiple studies show members of the generation are health conscious, and understand the relationship between the food they eat, good nutrition and good health. Millennials know fresh vegetables deliver great nutrition, and millennial gardeners know that growing their own veggies and herbs also means they can put more nutritious food on the table. With transplant purveyors like Bonnie Plants offering more than 250 varieties of popular, heirloom, hybrid, new and tried-and- true vegetables and herbs, it’s easy to grow a garden full of healthy, nutritious, economical veggies and herbs.

2. You can save money in the grocery store.

Millennials are into saving money. Eighty percent have a budget, 72 percent are saving for retirement and 51 percent have an emergency fund, according to a TD Ameritrade survey. Gardening can allow you to spend less in the grocery store produce aisle — and that kind of saving savvy appeals to millennials as well as any other age group!

3. Gardening is good for the environment.

Awareness of environmental issues and a desire for healthful products that contribute to ecological balance are hallmarks of the millennial generation. A Nielsen study found millennials care about environmental issues and find ways to personally support a healthy environment. When you grow your own vegetables and herbs, “food miles,” the distance a food item is transported from producer to consumer, shrinks substantially and includes only the distance from your kitchen to your own backyard. Choose plants in biodegradable containers, like those from Bonnie Plants, and gardening is even more environmentally friendly.

4. You can grow a garden anywhere.

While many millennials are city dwellers, others live in suburbs. The fact that they can garden anywhere — on a city balcony, urban patio or suburban backyard — makes gardening the perfect hobby for them. Using transplants from Bonnie Plants, all gardeners can create a backyard garden plot, a vertical garden in an alleyway between city buildings, or a container garden on a balcony or deck.

5. The garden is a great place to come together as a family.

It’s true that millennials make the most use of digital devices of any generation; they also value deep family relationships. Planting a garden with their children, significant others or friends allows everyone to spend enriching time together, working toward an enjoyable, shared goal.

6. Gardening can be a challenge anyone can achieve.

Working toward a goal, and having a vision, are very important qualities for millennials. Gardening takes time and effort but with the right resources and information, it’s something virtually anyone can succeed at. Millennials turn to online resources, like Bonnie Plants’ vegetable and herb growing guides, gardening how-to’s, videos and recipes to help them achieve and ensure success.

7. Gardening can be an adventure.

Sixty-four percent of millennials say they love to cook, and 75 percent enjoy eating cuisine from other cultures, according to a survey by Barkley. For a generation of adventurous eaters and cooks, gardening can be an opportunity to grow and try new things, from edible flowers and exotic herbs, to new types of vegetables, all the while saving money by growing their own.

With millennials now dominating the workforce, and many starting families and reaching their peak earning years, it’s likely their interest in gardening will continue to grow.

Read more
1 2 3 29