Balance Screen Time with Green Time

According to by  in  The New Nature Movement –   nature experiences can be a perfect antidote to the buzzing distraction of modern childhood. After a trip to the forest or the beach, the mind seems reinvigorated. Here’s why.

Attention Restoration Theory, first developed by Rachel and Stephen Kaplan, asserts that people can concentrate better after spending time in nature or even looking at scenes of nature. Turning the theory into practice, by encouraging people to spend time outdoors in urban parks or wilderness areas has been shown to help many people.

Students can experience significant benefits. According to Attention Restoration Theory, resting in green environments allows students to regain the attentional focus they need for academic success in school. Concentrating in the classroom requires the brain to work in a way that cannot be maintained forever. The longer the brain must hold focus and ignore distraction, the more it loses the ability to concentrate. Read more

Today is Global Handwashing Day

The Center for Disease Control invites you to celebrate Global Handwashing Day to promote handwashing with soap in your community and around the world.

Established by the Global Handwashing Partnership in 2008, Global Handwashing Day is celebrated each year on October 15 as a way to increase awareness and understanding of the benefits of handwashing with soap. Global Handwashing Day is an opportunity to get involved in creative ways to encourage people to wash their hands with soap at critical times.

Handwashing is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many germs that can make people sick are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. Handwashing is especially important during key times, such as after using the bathroom or before preparing food.

Handwashing in Communities

Handwashing with soap is not only simple and inexpensive, but also can dramatically reduce the number of young children who get sick. Teaching people about handwashing helps them and their communities stay healthy. Handwashing education in the community can:

  • Reduce the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by about 23-40%
  • Reduce diarrheal illness in people with HIV by about 58%
  • Reduce respiratory illnesses, like colds, in the general population by about 16-21%

Read more

Have You Heard of Teal Pumpkin?

Born out of one mom’s desire to help ensure that children with food allergies would not feel left out on Halloween, the Teal Pumpkin Project®, now in its fourth year as a national awareness campaign led by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), has spread far and wide – reaching millions across the U.S. and beyond — in an effort to help create a happier, safer Halloween for all.

For millions of children with food allergies and their parents, the Halloween trick-or-treating tradition can sometimes be fraught with anxiety because many candies that are handed out contain major food allergens such as milk, peanuts, tree nuts and wheat. FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project promotes safety and inclusion for all trick-or-treaters by encouraging people to provide non-food treats on Halloween. A pumpkin painted teal, the color for food allergy awareness, signals that children will find a fun, non-food treat that anyone can enjoy.

“One in 13 children in the U.S. has at least one food allergy, and reports show that anaphylactic food reactions have climbed dramatically in recent years,” said Lois A. Witkop, Chief Advancement Officer at FARE. “It’s clear that food allergies are a serious public health issue that we all must take seriously. The Teal Pumpkin Project provides an opportunity for all of us to show empathy for kids who often feel excluded. We would love to see at least one teal pumpkin on every block – and it’s a terrific way for communities to come together to celebration inclusion.”

For Westlake, OH mom Vikki Meldrum, the Teal Pumpkin Project has already provided an unforgettable experience for her and her 4-year-old daughter Lyla. Meldrum spread the word about the initiative among her neighbors, who have now shown their support for the last two years, with at least 30 teal pumpkins in her own neighborhood.

“The Teal Pumpkin Project made the holiday inclusive for kids like Lyla. Teal pumpkins empower her to not only feel safe on Halloween (even with so many allergens present), but also that she is truly a part of the holiday,” Meldrum said. “So often we have to bend a typical situation around Lyla’s allergies. This movement has allowed Lyla to freely participate, and that is amazing.”

Being part of the Teal Pumpkin Project is simple. Supporters can:

  • Provide non-food treats for trick-or-treaters.
  • Paint a pumpkin teal or buy a teal pumpkin at your local craft store or pharmacy, or print a free sign from FARE’s website.
  • Place your teal pumpkin or sign in front of your home to indicate non-food treats are available.

Launched nationally in 2014, the Teal Pumpkin Project has attracted supporters from 50 states and more than a dozen countries. The campaign was inspired by a local awareness activity conceived by Becky Basalone and run by the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee.

FARE thanks the following Teal Pumpkin Project official 2017 partners: Ahold USA (including its brands Stop & Shop, Giant Food and Giant/Martin’s), CVS Pharmacy, Michaels and Savers.

FARE has a number of resources to help individuals and families get involved, including:

For more information about the Teal Pumpkin Project, visit www.tealpumpkinproject.org For more information about food allergies, visit www.foodallergy.org.

Crunch An Apple Today!

Healthy Lombard is encouraging everyone to crunch into an apple TODAY  in a unifying action to raise awareness about eating better diets for our health and the environment, access and affordability of fruits and vegetables, and supporting local farmers.

Hundreds of thousands of school students in Illinois will crunch into an apple at lunchtime on TODAY.   Parents and other healthy-minded individuals will also join in the fun by crunching into an apple either in corporate cafeterias, their place of business, or at home.

Even the residents of LexingSquare of Lombard are participating.  Check out their great photos!

Last year over 600 Lombard Elementary School District 44 and Glenbard High School District 87 students as well as parents, residents, and employees at local businesses participated.

Healthy Lombard Foundation Board President Jay Wojcik is hoping to greatly increase that number this year.  “We are so grateful to Jewel/Osco on Main Street (in Lombard) who has agreed to provide District 44 students and St. John Lutheran School students with FREE Apple Coupons,” said Wojcik.  “They partnered with us in Apple Crunch Day 2017 and, now that the community is aware of this special day, we are looking forward to much more participation.”

Enjoying an apple can be done at any time as well as anywhere – classroom, home, office.  And when you do, Healthy Lombard is encouraging participants to post their Apple Crunch Selfies.  They can be uploaded to the Healthy Lombard Instagram site or sent to Healthy Lombard at jay@healthylombard.com to be posted on the foundation’s Healthy Lombard Facebook Selfie page.

Home Safety and Alzheimer’s Disease

The National Institute on Aging shared that over time, people with Alzheimer’s disease become less able to manage around the house. For example, they may forget to turn off the oven or the water, how to use the phone during an emergency, which things around the house are dangerous, and where things are in their own home.

As a caregiver, you can do many things to make the person’s home a safer place. Think prevention—help avoid accidents by controlling possible problems.

While some Alzheimer’s behaviors can be managed medically, many, such as wandering and agitation, cannot. It is more effective to change the person’s surroundings—for example, to remove dangerous items—than to try to change behaviors. Changing the home environment can give the person more freedom to move around independently and safely. Read more

Any kind of regular physical activity can lengthen your life

 

 huge international study has confirmed that physical activity may really be the best medicine.

Moving, lifting, walking, sweeping, scrubbing, or doing almost anything physical for the equivalent of at least 30 minutes five times a week can cut your risk of dying by at least 20 percent, compared with being less active.

The Study

More than 130,000 healthy men and women aged 35 to 70 from urban and rural areas of 17 countries, including Canada, Brazil, Turkey, Zimbabwe, China, and Poland, volunteered to fill out questionnaires about their regular physical activity. None had cardiovascular disease.

Over the next seven years, those who reported being physically active for 2 ½ to 12 ½ hours a week were 20 percent less likely to die. Those who were active more than 12 ½ hours a week were 35 percent less likely to die.

The physical activity included housework, walking to work, job-related exertion, as well as jogging or going to the gym. It all counted toward better health.

Read more

The Definitive Guide to Zinc

 

Susan Melony shared with NIfty Benefits that Zinc may not be as commonly discussed as other vitamins and minerals, but that doesn’t devalue its importance. Zinc is a highly useful mineral that’s responsible for helping to maintain many of the functions in our bodies.

Today we’re going to tell you all the fantastic things that you might experience if you start supplementing with zinc.

The following benefits will be particularly apparent if you aren’t getting enough zinc in your diet already.

Afterward, we’ll tell you a bit about the mineral so you can learn the best ways to get it in your diet and stay safe when taking supplements. Here are the health benefits of zinc.

Nine Unbelievable Health Benefits of Zinc
1. Enhances Immunity
One of the reasons that zinc is often associated with fighting colds is because it’s an important nutrient for maintaining the health of your immune system.

In fact, zinc is more of an effective remedy than vitamin C, which isn’t actually a miraculous cold-fighting remedy as many people are led to believe. Read more

All About Your A1C

The Center for Disease Control shared that the A1C test—also known as the hemoglobin A1C or HbA1c test—is a simple blood test that measures your average blood sugar levels over the past 3 months. It’s one of the commonly used tests to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes, and is also the main test to help you and your healthcare team manage your diabetes. Higher A1C levels are linked to diabetes complications, so reaching and maintaining your individual A1C goal is really important if you have diabetes.

What Does the A1C Test Measure?

When sugar enters your bloodstream, it attaches to hemoglobin, a protein in your red blood cells. Everybody has some sugar attached to their hemoglobin, but people with higher blood sugar levels have more. The A1C test measures the percentage of your red blood cells that have sugar-coated hemoglobin.

Who Should Get an A1C Test, and When?

Testing for diabetes or prediabetes:
Get a baseline A1C test if you’re an adult over age 45—or if you’re under 45, are overweight, and have one or more risk factors for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes:

  • If your result is normal but you’re over 45, have risk factors, or have ever had gestational diabetes, repeat the A1C test every 3 years.
  • If your result shows you have prediabetes, talk to your doctor about taking steps now to improve your health and lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. Repeat the A1C test as often as your doctor recommends, usually every 1 to 2 years.
  • If you don’t have symptoms but your result shows you have prediabetes or diabetes, get a second test on a different day to confirm the result.
  • If your test shows you have diabetes, ask your doctor to refer you to diabetes self-management education and support services so you can have the best start in managing your diabetes.

Managing diabetes:
If you have diabetes, get an A1C test at least twice a year, more often if your medicine changes or if you have other health conditions. Talk to your doctor about how often is right for you. Read more

Food safety tips for power outages and floods

An open refrigerator door showing a full stocked fridge loaded up with food and fresh ingredients.

The staff at Nutrition Action Healthletter share that you should keep your refrigerator door closed as much as possible. Food should be safe if the power is out for no more than four hours.

If you’re expecting an outage, freeze water in plastic bags—or buy frozen cold packs—in advance. Move them from freezer to refrigerator as soon as the power goes out. A few packs of ice on each shelf and in the fruit and vegetable drawers can help keep the food below 40°F for longer.

When should you throw food away?

Toss anything perishable (like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, or leftovers) if it has been above 40°F for more than two hours.

What about the freezer? You can safely refreeze thawed or partially thawed food (even meat or fish) if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40°F or below when the power comes back on.

When in doubt, check our chart for tips on specific refrigerated or frozen foods.

And take note: some homeowners insurance policies or power companies might cover the cost of food lost during an extended power outage. Check with your insurance company or power supplier to see if you can be reimbursed. Read more