This is the “Health” description

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New ways to comparison shop for health care

(BPT) – As our nation seeks solutions to help improve the health care system, there is at least one goal we can all agree on: the importance of making health care quality and cost information more accessible to all Americans.

This is an important effort that has the potential to help improve health outcomes and make care more affordable — laudable goals considering the nation’s health care system ranks among the least efficient in the world, according to a recent Bloomberg analysis.

More widespread use of health quality and cost resources may be part of the solution. Providing health care prices to consumers, health care professionals and other stakeholders could reduce U.S. health care spending by more than $100 billion during the next decade, according to a 2014 report by the Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center.

That is in part because there are significant price variations for health care services and procedures at hospitals and doctors’ offices nationwide, yet a study by Families U.S.A. concluded that higher-priced care providers do not necessarily deliver higher-quality care or better health outcomes.

Fortunately, there are many new online and mobile resources that help enable people to access health care quality and cost information, helping them to comparison shop for health care as they would with other consumer products and services. And people are starting to take action: nearly one third of Americans have used the internet or mobile apps during the last year to comparison shop for health care, up from 14 percent in 2012, according to a recent UnitedHealthcare survey.

These resources are far more accurate and useful than those of past generations, and in some cases provide people with estimates based on actual contracted rates with physicians and hospitals, including likely out-of-pocket costs based on their current health plan benefits. Some resources also include quality information about specific physicians, as determined by independent standards.

There are many resources people can consider when shopping for health care. In addition to online and mobile resources, people can call their health plan to discuss quality and cost transparency information, as well as talk with their health care professional about alternative treatment settings, including urgent care and telehealth options. Public websites, such as www.uhc.com/transparency and www.guroo.com, also can help enable access to market-average prices for hundreds of medical services in cities nationwide.

These resources can help people save money and select health care professionals based on objective information. A UnitedHealthcare analysis showed that people who use online or mobile transparency resources are more likely to select health care providers rated on quality and cost-efficiency across all specialties, including for primary care (7 percent more likely) and orthopedics (9 percent more likely). In addition, the analysis found that people who use the transparency resources before receiving health care services pay 36 percent less than non-users.

As people take greater responsibility for their health care decisions and the cost of medical treatments, transparency resources are becoming important tools to help consumers access quality care and avoid surprise medical bills.

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Fighting head lice can start with a conversation with your doctor

(BPT) – “Your child has head lice” is news no mother wants to receive. Not only can this common condition affect the child at home and at school, but it can also throw a family’s life off balance for days or even weeks.

Results of the new “Facts of Lice” online survey of 1,000 millennial moms (ages 18-35) and 350 pediatric health care providers (HCPs) suggest that some millennial moms may be receiving mixed messages from various sources about managing head lice. The “Facts of Lice” survey was conducted by ORC International on behalf of Arbor Pharmaceuticals between March 28 – April 10, 2017. Respondents were members of an online panel that agreed to participate in online surveys and polls.

Nearly all of the HCPs surveyed (95 percent) said that at least one parent had reported treatment failure using an over-the-counter (OTC) head lice treatment in the past year. Still, the majority (51 percent) of HCPs surveyed continue to recommend OTC treatment as a first-line option for their patients.

Considering a report stated that some parents may try OTC treatment up to five times before successfully eliminating head lice, the time and money commitment can become significant. Approximately 68 percent of millennial moms surveyed who had experienced head lice in their households reported they had failed to treat it successfully.

While head lice are not dangerous and do not carry any diseases, the survey explored the social and emotional impact the condition can have. Almost all (97 percent) millennial moms surveyed say they worry about the consequences of head lice on their children and households, including lost time at school (58 percent), inconvenience of an infestation (49 percent), fear of their child being bullied (45 percent), personal anxiety (44 percent), criticism from other parents (39 percent), ruined clothing or property (27 percent) and their own lost time at work (24 percent). Furthermore, 77 percent of moms surveyed say that their child was negatively affected, either socially, mentally, and/or physically, by having head lice.

The “Facts of Lice” survey findings highlight an opportunity for more effective conversations between parents and HCPs about head lice management. To address these findings, Arbor Pharmaceuticals developed educational resources to arm moms with tools to encourage conversations with their child’s doctor and promote understanding of how to get a head lice infestation under control and combat associated misinformation and stigma.

If you have received the news from your child’s school that your child has head lice, or you received a note saying he or she has been exposed and you suspect an infestation, it’s important to reach out to your doctor. Your doctor will be able to provide you with advice for treating head lice as quickly as possible. Some important questions to ask include:

1. What is the most effective way to control head lice?

2. What head lice treatments do you recommend?

3. Does my child need to stay home from school?

4. What can I do to eliminate head lice from my home?

5. How can I help so my child doesn’t feel embarrassed or isolated?

More head lice tools and information, including more questions to ask your doctor, can be found at FactsofLice.com.

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Travel tips to keep bed bugs at bay

(BPT) – Planning an upcoming trip – maybe a long weekend getaway, or a family vacation before the kids head back to school, or perhaps you’re a road warrior who travels frequently for work? No matter what type of trip you have planned, you’ve probably already put together a packing list of what to take along.

But here’s a question: Is there anything on your list you could use if you were to come into contact with bed bugs? Don’t worry, you’re not alone – insects of any kind are the last thing on most people’s minds when planning for paradise. Nevertheless, if you’re not careful, bed bugs could become a most unwelcome part of your travel plans.

Bed bug 101

Research from Ortho shows that 50 percent of Americans know someone who has had bed bugs. However, if you’ve never encountered these pests before, your first question is, naturally, what are they?

A bed bug is a non-flying insect that feeds on the blood of mammals, like human beings. Bed bugs are small — roughly the same size as an apple seed — with flat bodies. Their flat shape is what allows them to hide in small spaces.

How to spot a bed bug infestation

It doesn’t matter if you’re staying at a 2-star or 5-star hotel, bed bugs do not discriminate and infestations can happen anywhere. If your hotel room has a bed bug infestation, the first thing you may notice is an odor. Many people say it smells sweet like almonds or musty.

When first arriving at your room, place your luggage in the bathtub where bed bugs cannot reach. Then, physically look for bed bugs, checking the seams and folds of your mattress and behind the bed frame and headboard. Remember, bed bugs are very small, so they can easily hide in nooks and crevices. As you check these places, look for shed bed bug skin or black dots (fecal spots) as evidence of their presence.

To determine whether the place you’re staying has bed bugs, you can use a product like Ortho Home Defense Bed Bug Trap, a pesticide-free, portable trap that uses a newly identified attractant pheromone to lure, detect and trap bed bugs in under an hour. To use, place the trap in key areas where bed bugs may hide, such as under the bed’s headboard. Then, release the attractant to lure bed bugs out of hiding. In about an hour, check the trap to determine whether you have an issue.

Carry these affordable traps with you whenever you travel and you can go to bed each night assured you’re not sharing your room with bed bugs. If your trap shows your room has bed bugs, immediately contact hotel management to understand your lodging alternatives.

Enjoy your home alone

Remember, even the briefest stay in an infested room could be enough for some of these insects to hitch a ride home with you. Because bed bugs love dark places, the folds of your luggage make for a welcoming environment. Pack a travel-sized aerosol spray on trips, such as Ortho Home Defense Dual-Action Bed Bug Killer, and treat your suitcase before returning home.

When you return home, inspect the seams of your luggage for visible bed bugs. Finally, confirm you didn’t bring any home by placing a trap near your bed or sleeping area. Fortunately, with a little knowledge and the right tools, protecting yourself and your family is easy.

For more information about the Ortho Home Defense Bed Bug Trap, and other products to treat bed bugs, visit Ortho.com/BedBugs.

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More than fun: 5 tips for planning a healthy vacation

(BPT) – Taking a vacation is more than a fun getaway from the daily drudges of life. Turns out, travel has a multitude of benefits that can impact your health and wellness, too.

Beyond stress reduction, vacations can improve heart health, mental health and personal relationships. In fact, men who take annual vacations are 32 percent less likely to die from heart disease, according to The Journal of the American Medical Association. Women benefit too: Those who take vacations twice or more per year are “less likely to become tense, depressed or tired, and are more satisfied with their marriages,” according to the Wisconsin Medical Journal.

Wellness travel is growing 50 percent faster than travel as a whole, according to a survey from the Global Wellness Summit. This includes spas, adventure and fitness-themed trips. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to go on a yoga retreat to get the healthy benefits of travel. Consider these five tips for adding a healthy dose of wellness to your next vacation.

Intentionally disconnect: A whopping 42 percent of employees feel obligated to check email during vacation and 26 percent feel guilty even using all of their vacation time at all, according to Randstad. Make it a point to focus on the present and ignore your phone or limit checking it to once per day. If email or social media is hard to resist, sign out of those apps for the length of your vacation.

Relax by the water: Water is a natural element that inspires relaxation, but also provides lots of opportunity to play. For example, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, offers visitors an incredible 60 miles of ocean to explore, including the famous Intracoastal Waterway. Go to visitmyrtlebeach.com to learn more about how to relax on the sand by day and fall asleep to the calming waves of the ocean by night.

Try a new activity: Trying something new can have positive mental and physical benefits. Never tried kayaking or paddle boarding before? Give it a whirl. Want to take a yoga class? Sign up for an introductory lesson on the beach. Feeling brave? Go skydiving, zip-lining or parasailing. Whether you end up discovering a new hobby or just have a one-time adventure, you’re sure to fully enjoy the experience.

Get into nature: Many health studies show the benefits of being outside, so make sure to plan plenty of time to explore Mother Nature on your trip. In addition to fresh air, take a hike at a local park and explore new scenery. When in Myrtle Beach, for example, you can take a morning jog through Huntington Beach State Park, meditate at Brookgreen Gardens or plan a family bike ride at Myrtle Beach State Park.

Eat well by eating right: Going out to eat is a fundamental part of vacationing for most people, but that doesn’t mean you need overindulge so much that you feel sluggish throughout your trip. To eat well, plan sensible meals that feature fresh local ingredients, such as fruit, vegetables and the daily catch of fish. You’ll enjoy regional flavors that tantalize the palate without the heavy foods that drag you down.

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Looking for balance? Fighting fatigue? Your diet might be a place to start

(BPT) – Adults today are constantly searching for balance in life. While balance can be broadly defined, in simple terms it is rooted in equal proportions. The human body demands an equilibrium in order to sustain proper mental, physical and spiritual health. But, achieving balance can be difficult when everyday personal and environmental stresses (such as work, poor diet, harsh sunlight and pollution) expose the body to cell-damaging oxidative stress.

The obstacles to reaching balance are only growing due to shifting lifestyle choices. Today’s adults are active and trying to cram more into a 24-hour day than ever before. In fact, fatigue is a common issue for working adults.

Meanwhile, an increasing number of adults are not getting the nutrients they need to keep their bodies properly fueled to meet the demands faced in a single day. In fact, according to a survey from Instantly, more than 53 percent of Americans skip breakfast at least once a week, while 12 percent never have breakfast at all. The World Health Organization recommends eating at least 400 grams, or five servings, of fruits and vegetables per day, but approximately 75 percent of people worldwide fail to meet that minimum recommendation, creating significant nutrient gaps.

Let’s face it, it can be tough to eat a healthy and well-balanced meal morning, noon and night. For that reason alone, supplements, which fill in nutrient gaps, can ensure you get the right quantities and varieties of nutrients your body needs. Supplements are becoming a critical part of the everyday routine for those looking to do it all and still ensure optimal nutrition. When you incorporate the adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals into your diet, particularly plant-based supplements that add phytonutrients, you can easily fill nutrient gaps and achieve optimal nutrition. By following a few easy steps, you can be on the path to achieving balance.

Educate yourself on your body’s needs

The first step in achieving nutritional balance is understanding the nutrients your body needs to function properly. Knowing what phytonutrients are, and the health benefits associated with them, is key. Phytonutrients are nutrients found in fruits, vegetables and other sources. They are associated with a variety of health benefits, such as eye, bone, joint and heart health, as well as supporting the immune system and brain health. Many phytonutrients are also powerful antioxidants that help fight cell-damaging free radicals.

Taking a multivitamin or multi-mineral supplement each day is a great way to fill in nutrient gaps. Amway’s Nutrilite Double X, for example, is a supplement that delivers a comprehensive and balanced range of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients to help your body’s natural antioxidant defense mechanisms fight cell-damaging free radicals and support whole body health. Nutrilite Double X contains 12 essential vitamins, 10 essential minerals and phytonutrients from 22 fruits, vegetables and herbs sourced from plants grown on Nutrilite-certified organic farms and Nutricert-certified supplier farms.

The vitamin B family is made up of eight B vitamins, each of which helps your body form energy. Your body requires a regular supply of B vitamins in order to support energy-yielding metabolism. Most importantly, B vitamins need to be taken in the right amounts and at the right times. Amway’s Nutrilite Vitamin B Dual-Action supplement provides your body with an instant and extended release of B vitamins to create and sustain energy within the body. Knowing when to take vitamins and supplements and the right quantities you need is critical to achieving optimal health.

“Amway’s Nutrilite Double X supplement is strategically designed to provide key vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients your body needs,” said Steve Missler, Principal Research Scientist at Amway. “Together with Vitamin B Dual-Action, these two products help provide the body with the quality nutrients needed to function properly and maintain a healthy balance. However, as with all nutrition plans, it is important to consult with a medical professional or health expert to determine your specific nutritional needs.”

Achieve nutrient balance

When it comes to finding the right supplement, another tip is to look for third-party verifications of product quality. Nutrilite Double X and Vitamin B Dual-Action supplements are certified by NSF International, an independent, accredited organization that conducts rigorous tests to assure consumers that products contain what is stated on the label.

It is important to ensure that the supplement you choose is also gentle on your stomach. Starting your day with a healthy breakfast along with a supplemental source of phytonutrients and B vitamins can help ensure you get optimal nutrition throughout the day.

Achieving nutrient balance and fighting fatigue do not need to be uphill battles. Coffee and energy drinks can be effective for short-term needs, but are not the solution. There are many ways to proactively supplement your diet with the nutrients you need and to help fight fatigue before it begins. Supplements are an easy, safe and effective way to ensure you get enough vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, while also ensuring you get the right B vitamins to help fight fatigue. Jump start your day with essential phytonutrients and B vitamins and help your body endure your active life.

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Is your child protected from preventable illnesses at school?

(BPT) – Fall is an exciting time for kids — seeing old friends, getting to know new classmates, learning new skills and exploring classrooms. But with all this fun and interaction, it’s important to remember one of the best ways to keep your child safe and healthy is to make sure he or she is up to date on their vaccinations. Vaccines have made many once-common serious childhood diseases rare today. They are safe, effective and they save lives.

“It’s critical to make sure that you and your children receive vaccinations according to the schedule recommended by the Centers for Disease Control,” says John Meigs, Jr., MD, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “Vaccines are important not only for school-age children, but for babies and young children, pregnant women, teens and pre-teens, adults and seniors.”

How exactly do vaccines work? According to the patient education website familydoctor.org, “Vaccines contain weakened versions of a virus or versions that look like a virus (called antigens). This means the antigens cannot produce the signs or symptoms of the disease, but they do stimulate the immune system to create antibodies. These antibodies help protect you if you are exposed to the virus in the future.”

Much like how an athlete trains to prepare for competition, vaccines train your immune system to respond in case the body is exposed to the virus. If it is, it knows exactly how to fight it off. Vaccines help you stay healthy, and if you do get sick, it might be less severe or for less time when compared to others who have not been immunized.

The CDC lists recommended immunizations for the prevention of 17 diseases to protect people from birth through old age. All states require children to be vaccinated against certain communicable diseases in order to attend school.

Information about recommended immunization schedules for people of all ages is available at familydoctor.org. On aafp.org, you can find an interactive map showing vaccine-specific coverage levels for each state.

If anyone in your family is behind on their vaccinations, it’s easy to catch up. Speak with your family physician about creating a plan. You might even be able to schedule vaccine-only visits, meaning you won’t even need an exam.

Concerned about costs? Vaccines are typically covered by health insurance, so it’s likely you won’t have to pay anything. If you don’t have health insurance, reach out to your state public health department. Many offer assistance programs that provide vaccines at a reduced cost.

Visit familydoctor.org for health information the whole family can use.

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Focusing on Family Health: August is National Immunization Awareness Month

(BPT) – National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), held each year in August, is a great time to review your family’s vaccination records. NIAM was established to encourage people of all ages to make sure they are up to date on the vaccines recommended for them and their family members.

Vaccination is considered to be one of the greatest public health achievements of the last two centuries. Over time, successful vaccination campaigns have contributed to the elimination (or near-elimination) of some diseases in the US.

Eating well, staying active and getting enough sleep are all great ways to help live a healthy lifestyle. But keeping up-to-date with recommended vaccines is an important part of doing everything you can to help protect your family’s health.

August is an ideal point in the year to consider seasonal health check-ups, to address the upcoming flu season and back to school time.

Flu season occurs in the winter; but flu outbreaks can happen as early as October and can last as late as May.

Today vaccines can help to protect against 14 diseases before age two, but it is also important to know that vaccines are not just recommended for infants. There are vaccines recommended for school-age children, from preschoolers to college students. Making sure that children receive all their vaccinations on time is one of the most important things you can do as a parent to help protect your children.

In the US, most young children receive many of the recommended vaccines, but there is room to improve vaccination rates among all groups, including adolescents and adults.

It’s important to help make sure that everyone in your family gets their recommended shots, at the recommended time.

To learn more, talk to your healthcare provider about vaccines that may be recommended for you and your family, and visit www.vaccinesandyou.com.

This information was provided by Merck

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7 ways to snack like a pro this football season

(BPT) – Football season is quickly approaching, which means it will soon be time for tailgating or watching the big game on TV. For many of us, this time of year is tough on our diet and exercise plans, but it doesn’t have to be, according to Bryan Snyder, registered dietitian and director of team nutrition for the Denver Broncos.

Snyder, who is responsible for keeping the year-round nutrition strategies for the team’s players on track, also knows the pitfalls for fans. “Nutrition goals can fall by the wayside when leisure time includes snacking or party fare,” Snyder says. “We tend to make poor choices when it comes to snacking, earning it a bad rap. But in fact, by picking healthy and tasty options, anyone can come out a winner on game day.”

Snyder recommends these tips for better snacking in his healthy eating playbook for football season and throughout the year.

1. Plan ahead.

Cut and slice your fruits and vegetables the day before you plan on eating them. That way when you find yourself hungry and ready for a snack, you will already have the hard part finished. Grab your pre-cut veggies and dip them in low-fat ranch dressing or hummus to help get you through the day. This is a great way to add some healthy vegetables to your tailgate menu. Perhaps you could make a strawberry banana smoothie with Greek yogurt the night before and leave the pitcher in the refrigerator for a quick grab-and-go snack as you run out the door.

2. Snack on foods that are healthy and will fill you up.

How many times do we eat a snack and 10 minutes later we’re hungry? The perfect snack strikes a great balance of healthy carbohydrates along with protein, fiber and antioxidants. One of the healthiest and best snacks is pistachios. With 1 ounce of pistachios, you get 6 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, healthy fats and 6 percent of your daily value of iron. Plus, pistachios contain antioxidants, which help our immune systems stay strong and fight off diseases. One serving of pistachios contains only 160 calories.

3. Aim for whole grains.

The last thing you probably think about as you get ready for the big game is setting out snacks that contain whole grains. However, eating whole grains may reduce your chances of developing chronic diseases like heart diseases, and incorporating whole grains isn’t as hard as it seems. One option you could have available is whole grain crackers and cheese. Try whole grain Wheat Thins instead of potato chips as a healthy substitution.

4. Stay hydrated with water.

Our bodies have a difficult time distinguishing between being hungry or thirsty. Often, we feel like we are hungry when in reality we simply may be thirsty and/or dehydrated. One study found that people who drink water 20-30 minutes before starting their meals eat about 75 fewer calories per meal. Considering we may be snacking for three hours while watching the game, these calories will add up.

5. Replace fatty protein with lean proteins.

Hamburger sliders are a staple of many tailgating menus across the country, but sometimes we just want a good burger. While eating a fatty hamburger in moderation isn’t the worst thing in the world, there are certainly some leaner options to choose. Instead of going to the grocery store and picking up the first piece of beef available to grill for the game, look at either a leaner beef option or a different meat altogether. For example, a better option for protein would be a 97 percent lean ground beef to make sliders or hamburgers. Another option would be to simply choose ground turkey instead of ground beef to make patties to throw on the grill.

6. Don’t be afraid of veggies.

Despite what your buddies may think, it is not against the law to eat vegetables at a tailgate party. More than likely, there will be some grilling before the big game. Don’t be afraid to throw some zucchini, mushrooms or even asparagus on the grill to complement the other items you are cooking. You can also chop up some veggies and serve with low-fat ranch dressing or hummus.

7. Have a backup plan

You might be heading to the game on Saturday or Sunday, and you plan on meeting up with some friends before the game to tailgate. In this case, you may have zero healthy choices to pick from while you are snacking and eating before the game. It is always good to have a backup plan. Healthy bars, nuts or a piece of whole fruit are easy and portable so you have a go-to backup plan. Trail mix and pistachios are easy to throw in your bag for the game or to have around your house for a snack. Plan ahead and bring some small snacks with you, so you don’t indulge in hours of unhealthy snacking, like my Pistachio and Date Energy Bites (recipe below). Great for tailgating, this portable and delicious snack is healthy and gives a great variety of protein and antioxidants to not only fill you up, but give you an immune system boost as well.

Pistachio and Date Energy Bites

Serves 20-25

Ingredients:

1 cup dried cherries

8 ounces dates

1/2 cup local honey

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 tablespoon flax meal

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 cup pistachios (shelled)

Pinch of Kosher salt

3/4 cup pistachios (Finely ground)

Instructions:

Combine dates, honey, chia seeds, flax meal and salt in food processor and mix. Add small amount of honey if it’s too thick.

Remove and add to mixing bowl. Incorporate pistachios, cherries, oats and dark chocolate chips, and mix until combined.

Use desired portion scoop or portion by hand. Roll bites in finely ground pistachios, coating the whole bite. Store in the refrigerator.

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One man’s struggle with PTSD, 40 years later

(BPT) – Bobby Barrera’s career as a Marine ended abruptly at age 21. While in Vietnam, on his first mission, a land mine explosion took his right hand at the wrist and left arm at the shoulder, and left him with severe burns over 40 percent of his body and face.

Coping with the physical challenges of his injuries and struggling to find a new purpose for life was almost easy compared to dealing with the psychological impact of war trauma: something that would remain with Bobby for the next 40 years.

Bobby went on to marry and have a family. His children had children, and he created a fulfilling and meaningful life for himself. He returned to college to earn a master’s degree in guidance and counseling. For nearly four decades, Bobby counseled veterans with mental health challenges caused by war and volunteered with DAV (Disabled American Veterans), a veterans service organization that helps veterans of all generations get the benefits and services they’ve earned. He went on to become the national commander of DAV in 2009. What Bobby didn’t realize — or want to admit — was that for more than 40 years, he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

It wasn’t until Bobby and his wife moved to San Antonio, Texas, to retire that his PTSD symptoms became overwhelming. After moving, Bobby felt immediately lost. Being new in town, losing his network of friends, no longer working and coping with chronic pain triggered long-suppressed symptoms of PTSD. Soon, the nightmares began. Then came mood swings, increased anxiety, and feelings of isolation and hopelessness — and eventually, thoughts of suicide.

Bobby’s wife pushed him to seek help — which led to a PTSD diagnosis. He questioned how he could have overlooked his own signs of PTSD for so many decades, while helping countless other veterans who struggled with it.

PTSD symptoms are caused by experiencing traumatic events and not by an inherent individual weakness. Roughly 15 percent of Vietnam veterans are impacted by PTSD, and an estimated 20 percent of recent war veterans have symptoms of PTSD or depression. It can lead to a higher risk for unemployment, homelessness or suicide.

Bobby is learning how to cope with his diagnosis. He is meeting more people, getting involved at church and spending time with his family. He began to volunteer again. His recovery is ongoing. Bobby credits his wife for encouraging him to ask for help and believes that doing so gave him yet another chance at life.

If you are struggling with symptoms of PTSD, you are not alone. Resources are available at www.DAV.org/veterans/resources. If your situation is critical, please call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255.

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Mangos bring families together around the world

(BPT) – Ayesha Curry was raised by great women who instilled in her a passion for cooking. This passion has helped Ayesha both launch her career and prioritize spending time with her family in the kitchen. But even as a celebrity chef, author and foodie, Ayesha sometimes struggles to think of new, wholesome and delicious meals to bring to her table. When she finds herself needing a little food inspiration, Ayesha turns to the experiences and flavors of her childhood.

Mango love runs deep

Ayesha grew up with a Jamaican grandmother who had mango trees in her backyard, so eating and cooking with the fruit reminds her of home. A lot of people don’t know this, but mango is the world’s most popular fruit and iconic in many cuisines across the globe. While its sweetness and versatility make it a perfect addition to any favorite dish, mango is also delicious on its own and is often simply paired with the spices of the country.

In Ayesha’s home, not only does everyone love mango for its incredible flavor, but because it’s a superfruit. At 100 calories per cup, mangos are packed with vitamins and nutrients, and are a good source of fiber, making them a perfect food for any family.

Make it with mango!

When Ayesha is in the mood for something special and with a little cultural flare, she whips up her Jerk-Rubbed Chicken Skewers and Mango Salsa. Jerk chicken is a family-favorite recipe for Ayesha, and adding the sweet flavor of mango gives it a delicious twist.

Jerk-Rubbed Chicken Skewers with Mango Salsa

Servings: 4-6 skewers

Ingredients:

Mango Salsa

2 cups mango, chopped

1/4 cup red onion

1/4 cup cilantro

1/2 tbs lime juice

1 tsp jalapeno, finely diced

1/4 tsp salt and pepper

Jerk Chicken Rub & Skewers

3 cloves minced garlic

3 tbs olive oil

1 shallot, finely minced

1 tbs fresh thyme leaves, finely minced

1 tbs brown sugar

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp ground clove

1/2 tsp ground allspice

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 pound chicken breast, cubed

Skewers, soaked in water

Instructions:

Mango Salsa

Combine all ingredients. Let sit and allow flavors to meld while you prepare the chicken.

Jerk Chicken Rub & Skewers

Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl. Coat cubed chicken well with the rub. Marinate for 30 minutes or more. Skewer 4-6 pieces of chicken per stick. Cook on a grill pan at medium high heat. Turn frequently to avoid burning. Cook for about 15 minutes or until juices run clear. Place the chicken on or off the skewer and spoon the Mango Salsa on top.

Get your hands on a perfect mango

Mangos are available year-round, so you can always get your hands on a perfect mango. If you’d like to make mango your go-to ingredient, here are some tips and tricks Ayesha shares with family and friends:

  • Selection. To find a ripe mango, just squeeze gently. A ripe mango will be slightly soft like a peach or avocado.
  • Ripening. Keep unripe mangos at room temperature. Once ripe, mangos can be moved to the refrigerator to slow down ripening for several days.
  • Cutting. To cut a mango, simply slice off the sides of the fruit, avoiding the large seed in the center. Once you have these two sides, you can slice or dice as needed. Then, simply scoop it out of the skin. You can also cut around the seed to get two extra slices of mango and let your kids gnaw on the seed!

Mangos at the grocery store

While there are many mango varieties to covet, Ayesha’s kids love Honey mangos because they’re super sweet and creamy! Here’s a quick look at the most common mango varieties you’ll find in U.S. grocery stores:

Honey. Sweet, creamy and vibrant yellow. Small wrinkles appear when fully ripe. Peak availability is March – June.

Francis. Rich, spicy and sweet, with yellow skin and green overtones. Peak availability is April – June.

Haden. Rich in flavor with fine fibers, often bright red with green and yellow overtones. Peak availability is March – May.

Keitt. Sweet and fruity, with juicy flesh, limited fibers and green skin. Peak availability is July – September.

Kent. Sweet and rich, dark green mangos with red blush. Peak availability is December – February and June – August.

Tommy Atkins. Mild and sweet, these dark red mangos are the most widely grown variety coming into the U.S. Peak availability is March – July and September – October.

Who will you share the mango love with today?

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Visit www.mango.org for additional information on mango nutrition, selection tips, cutting methods and much more.

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