Probiotics With Your Pizza?

Probiotics once appeared mostly in yogurt, plugged by Jamie Lee Curtis in television commercials (and mocked on Saturday Night Live). Now, new cereals, snacks and beverages from Kraut Krisps to Gut Punches and Wellness Waters are featuring the microorganisms touted to help digestive and immune systems function.

Mariani’s Probiotic Prunes say they “deliver active cultures 10 times more effectively than yogurt.” Brad’s Raw Foods LLC’s kale chips has added “shielded probiotics to promote digestive and immune health.” The number of food products in the U.S. making a probiotic-related claim has nearly tripled to more than 500 in the last five years, according to food market research firm Innova Market Insights.

The additions come as consumers are looking for medicinal, in addition to nutritional, benefits from their food. “People now want food to be functionally formulated, not just delicious,” says Elizabeth Moskow, culinary director for food consultancy Sterling-Rice Group in Boulder, Colo. Many stores stock the probiotic-infused foods, but some retailers filter the offerings, skeptical of some of the claims that otherwise less-healthy foods may make.

New strains of probiotics don’t require refrigeration. These newer spore-forming strains produce coated cell structures that help extend probiotics’ shelf life. Still, most probiotics can’t survive heat, processing or air exposure and often degrade with time. Read more

Fun with Water

Summer is in full swing. Want to spice up your summer routine?

 

Action For Healthy Kids suggests that summer is a great time to provide your child with the practices to keep your kid happy and healthy.Here are some fun with water games children will be sure to like:

Water Relay

  • Supplies needed: 2 buckets/team, 1 cup/team
  • Put children into as many teams as needed (4-6 people per team is ideal). Fill one bucket for each team and place it at a beginning line where game will start. Place a plastic cup in the bucket of water. On “Go” the first person on each team will scoop up a glass of water and run to the other side where additional empty buckets have been placed. When the water is deposited, the child runs back to the start line with the empty cup and drops the empty cup in the bucket of water. The next person in line repeats the process. The first team to fill the empty bucket with water is the winner!

Don’t Get Wet!

  • Supplies needed: Multiple sprinklers
  • Set up a number of sprinklers in between a starting line and a finish line. Have the children try to run from one end to the other without getting sprayed. Have one of the youth control the faucet, turning it on and off at random. The one who is least wet wins!

Water Balloon Volley

  • Supplies needed: Water balloons, beach towels, volleyball net (or similar net)
  • Divide kids into two teams. Teams will stand on opposite sides of the net.
  • Within each team, have children divide into pairs.
  • Each pair gets a beach towel and each child holds two corners of the towel.
  • One team begins by placing a water balloon in the center of their towel. The object is to toss the balloon from one pair of kids to another, with the opposing side catching the balloon in their towel. This game can be played with one balloon (similar to volleyball) or with multiple balloons.

Water Limbo

  • Supplies needed: Hose, music
  • Set up a water hose in a grassy area and turn on “limbo music”.
  • Line kids up as in traditional limbo.
  • One person is in charge of the water hose, shooting a powerful stream of water for kids to limbo under.
  • Start with the hose high, and then lower the stream of water after each round.

Frozen Feet

  • Supplies needed: “Kiddie” pool, 1 chair/person, 1 bucket/person, ice cubes
  • Have kids sit in a chair along the edge of a kiddie pool filled with water.
  • Each player has their own empty bucket beside them. Dump a big pile of ice cubes into the pool and spread them around.
  • At the starting signal, players must pick up as many ice cubes as they can and put them into their own buckets…they must use only their feet!
  • The player who collects the most ice cubes within a designated time period is the winner.

How Cyclists Can Stay Safe on the Road

Read more

9 Signs You May Have A Thyroid Problem

Amy Marturana from SELF shared that the thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland in the neck, is a powerful organ. It’s part of the endocrine system, and it plays a huge role in keeping your body’s metabolic hormone levels in line. Simply put, these metabolic hormones are essential for helping cells and tissues throughout your body use energy, and continue running at the right speed.

Despite its role as a major player in cell metabolism, thyroid problems are pretty common. They’re more common in women then men—in fact, one in eight women will develop thyroid problems during her lifetime, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. When the thyroid malfunctions, and starts releasing too few or too many hormones, it can seriously throw off your body’s basic functions, including sleep, reproduction, appetite, and digestion.

There are six main thyroid conditions that can occur:

  1. Hypothyroidism—underactive thyroid
  2. Hyperthyroidism—overactive thyroid
  3. Thyroiditis—inflammation of the thyroid, which can cause over- or underactivity and often presents postpartum
  4. Goiter—enlarged thyroid, which can cause overactive thyroid
  5. Thyroid nodules—lumps on the thyroid, which can also cause overactive thyroid
  6. Thyroid cancer—a rare cancer that may present without symptoms, except for a lump in the neck or soreness

What causes the thyroid to malfunction isn’t exactly known, but it is believed that autoimmune disorders may be to blame in many cases. There also seems to be a genetic link. Pregnancy, high stress levels, and iodine deficiency (which is not something you see in the U.S.) are all connected to thyroid problems as well.

Since the thyroid has far-reaching effects, there are lots of different symptoms that can signal your thyroid is out of whack. Here are the most common ones to look out for.

1. You’re gaining weight and can’t seem to lose it no matter what you do.

Gaining weight is one of the biggest signs of hypothyroidism. That’s because when your body doesn’t have sufficient thyroid hormone, metabolism throughout all of your tissues and cells slows down. Slower metabolism means less energy is being burned.

2. Or, you’re mysteriously losing weight.

On the other hand, losing weight without trying is a sign of hyperthyroidism, thanks to your body’s amped up metabolism. It basically becomes too efficient for its own good.

Thyroid-related weight gain or loss typically happens gradually, Jason C. Baker, M.D., endocrinologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian, tells SELF, and may not be noticeable at first. If your thyroid problem develops suddenly, the change in your metabolism could be quicker, but usually thyroid conditions are slow-developing, and your weight fluctuations will follow suit.

3. Your appetite has changed.

Having an underactive thyroid can also decrease your appetite, since your body is using less energy, and an overactive one may stimulate it. So you may notice you’re eating less but gaining more weight, or vice versa.

4. Your period is irregular.

“If a woman’s menstrual cycle is normal and starts to get more frequent and lighter, it can be a sign of an overactive thyroid,” Baker says. “Less frequent and heavier can mean it’s underactive.” Any time regular ovulation is disrupted, it can potentially increase your risk of infertility.

5. You’re seriously fatigued or way too wired.

Energy fluctuations, for no apparent reason, are one of the biggest red flags that something’s up with your thyroid. Fatigue, even after getting a good night’s sleep or taking naps, is a sign of hypothyroidism. With less thyroid hormone and a slower metabolism, your body feels sluggish. With hyperthyroidism, you may experience a racing heart and feel jittery, “kind of like you’re too caffeinated,” says Baker. That’s because your thyroid hormone is signaling your body to “go” more than it should.

6. Your mood is all over the place.

Imbalances in thyroid hormones can cause your mood to change drastically. “With hypothyroidism, some people feel a little depressed,” Baker says. Research suggests it’s because changes in thyroid function impacts the feel-good chemical seratonin in the brain. Those with hyperthyroidism may experience anxiety, nervousness, or agitation.

7. Your skin is dry and your hair is brittle.

When the thyroid is underactive, skin is known to become drier than normal. “We’re not sure why it happens,” Baker says, “but it has to do with overall heath of skin cells and sebaceous glands,” being compromised when the thyroid is underactive. The hair problems, which can also mean hair loss, can happen later after the thyroid has been malfunctioning for some time, so you might not notice the hair changes until later. If your thyroid is overactive, your skin might be noticeably oilier, but hair loss can be a symptom here, too.

8. You’re constipated or have diarrhea.

“Sometimes people with underactive thyroid might feel a little constipated,” Baker says. That’s because too little thyroid hormone can slow down digestion. The opposite is true with an overactive thyroid—digestion is stimulated, and can cause more frequent bowel movements or diarrhea.

9. You have the chills or are extra sweaty.

Feeling cold all the time can be a sign of hypothyroidism. What you’re experiencing is an effect of slowed metabolism. On the other hand, hyperthyroidism can make you feel hot or frequently sweaty, as your cells are working in overdrive.

Medication and Heart Disease

Certain kinds of medications can have an adverse effect on your teeth.

Long ago, children exposed to tetracycline developed tooth problems, including discoloration, later in life. The medication fell out of use, however, and is not an issue today.

The best precaution is to ask your family physician if any medications he or she has prescribed can have a detrimental effect on your teeth or other oral structures.

A condition called dry mouth is commonly associated with certain medications, including antihistamines, diuretics, decongestants and pain killers. People with medical conditions, such as an eating disorder or diabetes, are often plagued by dry mouth. Other causes are related to aging (including rheumatoid arthritis), and compromised immune systems. Garlic and tobacco use are other known culprits.

Dry mouth occurs when saliva production drops. Saliva is one of your body’s natural defenses against plaque because it acts to rinse your mouth of cavity-causing bacteria and other harmful materials.

Some of the less alarming results of dry mouth include bad breath. But dry mouth can lead to more serious problems, including burning tongue syndrome, a painful condition caused by lack of moisture on the tongue.

If dry mouth isn’t readily apparent, you may experience other conditions that dry mouth can cause, including an overly sensitive tongue, chronic thirst or even difficulty in speaking.

Heart Disease

Poor dental hygiene can cause a host of problems outside your mouth—including your heart.

Medical research has uncovered a definitive link between heart disease and certain kinds of oral infections such as periodontal disease. Some have even suggested that gum disease may be as dangerous as or more dangerous than other factors such as tobacco use.

A condition called chronic periodontitis, or persistent gum disease, has been linked to cardiovascular problems by medical researchers.

In short, infections and harmful bacteria in your mouth can spread through the bloodstream to your liver, which produces harmful proteins that can lead to systemic cardiac problems. That’s why it’s critical to practice good oral hygiene to keep infections at bay—this includes a daily regimen of brushing, flossing and rinsing.

Antibiotic Prophylaxis

In some cases, patients with compromised immune systems or who fear an infection from a dental procedure may take antibiotics before visiting the dentist.

It is possible for bacteria from your mouth to enter your bloodstream during a dental procedure in which tissues are cut or bleeding occurs. A healthy immune system will normally fight such bacteria before they result in an infection.

However, certain cardiovascular conditions in patients with weakened hearts could be at risk for an infection or heart muscle inflammation (bacterial endocarditis) resulting from a dental procedure.

Patients with heart conditions (including weakened heart valves) are strongly advised to inform our office before undergoing any dental procedure. The proper antibiotic will prevent any unnecessary complications.

When is it right to add a protein supplement?

Joshua Steckler, owner of Push Fitness, a personal training studio located in Schaumburg specializing in weight loss, muscle toning, and nutrition recently shared in the Daily Herald’s Health and Fitness section that to ensure a variety of dietary nutrients, we recommend eating a combination of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

Many clients come to us eating too many carbohydrates and not enough protein. Not that protein is more important than carbohydrates, or fat for that matter, but if you lack quality protein, you’ll have a hard time maintaining healthy body composition.

Protein is essential for preserving and building muscle, and its consumption helps reduce hunger while stabilizing blood sugar levels — all of which help you burn fat while supporting overall health.

We always preach the importance of building your diet on a foundation of natural and wholesome foods, especially protein-dense foods such as beef, chicken, fish, and eggs. Additionally, having a whole food alternative like a protein powder is a great option for a pre- and post-workout shake or convenient snack options.

So how much protein do you really need? The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that those individuals who are strength training regularly need 0.5 — 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight. You may need more or less depending on your body composition and individual goals, but this is a good rule of thumb.

We recommend the following protein powder supplements if you aren’t getting enough protein from whole foods.

• Whey Protein Powder. Whey is a type of protein derived from dairy products. It contains all the essential amino acids our body must obtain from food, so it’s a top choice of many athletes or those wanting to maintain and build muscle. Whey should be avoided by those with lactose issues or those who may have an intolerance to dairy.

• Egg Protein Powder. Egg protein is generally a powdered version of egg whites. It contains all the essential amino acids and many vitamins and minerals, so it’s also a great source for muscle-building proteins. Egg protein is lactose-free, so it may be a good option for individuals who can’t do whey protein.

• Hydrolyzed Collagen Protein Powder. Collagen protein powder is made from the connective tissue, skin, and bones of animals. It might not sound appealing, but hydrolyzed collagen is similar to bone broth or gelatin used for cooking and it contains a substantial amount of protein. Collagen has a slightly different amino acid profile than whey or egg, but it can still help repair and build muscle, while supporting bones and connective tissue. A good-quality collagen supplement may be an option for someone with both dairy and egg allergies.

• Plant-based Protein Powders. Vegetarians as well as those wanting to get more plants in their diet may benefit from a plant-based protein supplement. A combination of rice, pea, and hemp protein will give you a dose of all the essential amino acids and adds the benefit of phytonutrients as well.

With any supplement, it’s important to understand that its safety and efficacy will be dependent on the ingredients. Is the source grass-fed or raised on factory farms? Are the animals treated with hormones or antibiotics? Were chemical pesticides or artificial sweeteners used? Was the protein powder heated during processing or chemically treated? These are all important questions that should be answered before you make your purchase.

So ensure a balanced diet by eating quality protein from whole foods often, and supplementing when needed.

Five Secrets for Steadier Workouts

Rachel Bachman wrote in the May 22, 2017 edition of the Wall Street Journal that many of us vow to get to the gym—then life intervenes. But 21% of U.S. adults do manage to get enough exercise, and these people have some common traits and habits. They are consistent but not rigid. They have open minds about what defines “exercise.” And they have different motivations than the weary conscripts who enroll at the gym on New Year’s Day.

Here are some habits of those who exercise frequently that just might help the rest of us:

They work out at the same time most days. – A study published in April in the British Journal of Health Psychology examined 181 people who exercised an average of 300 minutes a week—twice the federally recommended minimum.

Most of those people picked a regular time to work out and stuck with it.

“When things become predictable you don’t need to invest in much thought,” says the study’s lead author, Navin Kaushal, a postdoctoral fellow in preventive medicine at the Montreal Heart Institute, University of Montreal.

Being in a certain environment at a certain time of day “brings up a mental script of the behaviors and you go into autopilot.”


They have a streamlined pre-exercise routine with visual cues. In another study published in 2017 and led by Dr. Kaushal, new gym members were asked to create cues to prompt them to exercise. A cue might be running clothes, shoes and headphones laid out on a dresser. The plan is that when a runner wakes up, he sees the cues, dresses and dashes out the door.

After eight weeks, members of the study’s experimental group were 1.7 times more likely to meet physical-activity guidelines than those in a control group.


 

They’re more flexible than infrequent exercisers about how long or vigorously they exercise.  Active people are less likely to have all-or-nothing definitions of physical activity, according to a study soon to be published in BMC Public Health. The study looked at 40 women, 11 of whom said they exercised at least three times or two hours a week.

“The old-school belief was, you set a goal, it’s a bull’s-eye. You hit it or you miss it,” says the study’s lead author, Michelle Segar, director of the University of Michigan’s Sport, Health, and Activity Research and Policy Center. “But life is messy. When you’re more flexible, you’re able to shift your position, your stance, do something less. It removes the psychological punishment of ‘Oh, I failed.’ ”

If a frequent exerciser’s workday spills into her hourlong spin class, for instance, she might still hit the gym to pedal 20 minutes on her own.


 

An increasing number of active people are widening their definition of exercise.

Many people think exercise has to last at least 30 minutes and make you sweaty and exhausted. Dr. Segar’s ongoing research suggests that frequent exercisers increasingly view things like walking meetings and family bike rides as things that “count” as exercise.

Steve Rabinowitz, a 41-year-old government analyst in Greenbelt, Md., has been working out about five days a week since he turned 40. He mostly does high-intensity interval training workouts using a free site called Fitness Blender, but recently tried Pilates and ballet-inspired barre workouts and enjoys them.

“I push myself when I feel like I can, but when I can’t, that’s OK too,” he says. “I really try to listen to my body.”

During a recent work training he attended, Mr. Rabinowitz climbed five floors of stairs to a meeting room eight times over two days—sometimes sprinting, sometimes walking. He says he enjoys exercise more since he’s expanded his options.


 

They’re more likely to exercise for pleasure than for weight loss or other long-term health goals.

A study published in 2016 in the Journal of Consumer Research recruited 61 gymgoers at a University of Chicago weight room. Researchers randomly sorted them into two groups and gave each group six exercise options, such as biceps curls or dead lifts.

People in one group were told to choose the exercise they most enjoyed, while the people in the other group were told to choose the exercise most useful for their health goals. Both groups were instructed to do as many sets of their selected exercise as they could.

People who chose an exercise for enjoyment completed an average of 29 reps, compared with 19 reps for those who chose the exercise they thought would help them with health goals. That was true even though the two groups chose similar exercises with similar amounts of weight.

“If I really care about having a healthy heart, that’s what gets me to the gym,” says Kaitlin Woolley, the study’s lead author and a Ph.D. candidate at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. “But that’s not what keeps me there.”

The best brain-boosting foods for final exam season

Compared with the rest of the body, the brain expends an enormous amount of energy and requires ample fuel for that energy, especially during heavy-hitter exam time. A healthy human brain can process information as fast as 268 mph, can make trillions of connections to other cells and can think nearly 60,000 thoughts a day. These thoughts are being generated by the brain’s 100 billion neurons. Boy, the brain is busy.

Despite being engrossed by these facts, my boys still questioned whether healthy foods could in fact support their brainpower for exams. It worked wonders to refer them to research studies by neuroscientist, distinguished fellow and New York Times best-selling author Daniel G. Amen, who has worked with 135 active and retired NFL players. Amen put professional athletes on a special diet that included increased lean proteins and vegetables, regular exercise and adequate sleep, as well as nutritional supplements such as fish oil and vitamins. Within six months, the players showed significant increases in cognitive scores, blood flow to the brain, self-reported better moods, memory and motivation. Many athletes had 50 percent boosts in attention, information processing speed and accuracy on tests. Seems worth a try, boys.

The most important brain food is probably the omega-3 fatty acids. Healthy brains are about 60 percent structural fat, with omega-3 fatty acids and specifically DHA the most prevalent. These fats help reduce brain inflammation, build and repair cell membranes, aid with stress management, and have been shown to be fundamental to brain development in children (the reason there is so much DHA in breast milk and infant formula). The best sources of omega-3s and DHA are wild salmon, sardines, mackerel and fish oil supplements.

Brain-friendly foods:

• Protein builds new and repairs damaged tissue in our bodies and brains. Amino acids (parts of proteins) ignite certain neurotransmitters in the brain. For instance, eating the amino acid tyrosine, found in salmon, eggs, turkey and red meat, helps the body produce norepinephrine and dopamine, which promote brain alertness and activity. Other brain-boosting proteins include avocados, chicken, beans, and raw nuts and seeds.

• Antioxidants found in fresh foods such as blueberries, carrots and leafy greens strengthen the blood vessel walls in the brain. There are 100,000 miles of blood vessels in the brain, so that is no small job. Vitamin C, found in citrus and green vegetables, is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to reduce oxidative stress in the brain and helps control spikes in cortisol, leading to more stable energy levels.

• B vitamins are essential for blood and nerve health, which are important for the brain. These vitamins also provide long-lasting energy needed for exam time. Feed on spinach, avocados, beans and nuts.

• Water keeps the blood viscous and moving, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Knowing that three soda cans’ worth of blood travels through the brain every minute, it seems right to keep it moving.

Brain-unfriendly:

• The brain is vulnerable to oxidative damage from free radicals that are released in our modern-day world and also created when our body breaks down certain foods.

• Caffeine and sugar can make it harder for a child to focus and increases stress levels.

• Trans fats and hydrogenated oils have been shown to contribute to diminished cognitive function.

Oh, and let’s not forget breakfast. If you want to increase your chances of focusing during exams, don’t even think about skipping breakfast. Test scores of children who miss breakfast are generally worse than those who eat a well-balanced meal. Children who eat breakfast show better academic performance, longer attention spans and reduced hyperactivity in class.

Even though the secret to success and good grades is not as simple as baked salmon, it clearly can’t hurt to enter exam time with a well-fed brain. So our grocery cart this month will include plenty of that brain-boosting salmon, plus leafy greens, blueberries, eggs and avocados, and we will be putting a premium on healthy breakfasts. Perhaps I’ll start sounding a little smarter this month, too.

• Seidenberg is co-founder of Nourish Schools, a nutrition education company, and co-author of “Super Food Cards,” a collection of healthful recipes and advice.

Register Now for Flat Apple 2017

What Is Flat Apple?

Healthy Lombard’s Flat Apple Summer Program is designed to motivate kids (and their parents since adults are children’s role models) to start, or continue physical exercise,  participate in healthy group activities, and practicing healthy habits. The program is designed to encourage kids to keep their bodies moving when they are on summer break from school.

The summer activity is called Flat Apple because participants need to show the Healthy Lombard logo (a one-dimensional apple) to receive their participation raffle ticket and/or find the Flat Apple 2017 logo at weekly geocaching sites.

Children ages preschool through high school were eligible to participate.


DIRECTIONS (as easy as 1,2,3)

STARTING JUNE 1 2017:

EITHER Click on the Facebook link at the top of this  website and then click “Sign Up”or use THIS LINK TO REGISTER.

WHEN REGISTERING, PLEASE REMEMBER AFTER YOU FILL IN THE STUDENT INFORMATION TO COMPLETE THE PARENT/GUARDIAN INFORMATION. Once registered you will receive confirmation and a copy of the 2017 logo.

Like us on our Facebook Healthy Lombard Selfies page (so that you can post your Selfies and Videos).

  1. Participate in any or all of the Flat Apple Activity. There are 4 ways to have fun:
    Go to a designated site BETWEEN June 1 and August 10. ( i.e. Guest Services Desk, Located Lower Level below The Eatery at Yorktown Mall, show the Flat Apple logo, participate in their activity, and then fill out a raffle ticket. SITES AND DATES OF ACTIVITIES ARE LISTED BELOW AND ON OUR HEALTHY LOMBARD CALENDAR.
  2. Find our Geocache sites. (The coordinates are listed below and will also be emailed out to participants.) Take a selfie with the Flat Apple Geo Sign, post it on our Facebook Healthy Lombard Selfies Page. (We will fill out one raffle ticket for you per site/per day.)
  3. Create a 1-minute or less video on a healthy topic using Facebook Live, Instagram, or similar app. (ideas are on the Healthy Lombard Flat Apple 2017 website). Post it to our Facebook Healthy Lombard Page (We will fill out one raffle ticket for you for each posting we approve.) Remember to add in your family password so we can find you!
  4. Take a selfie of YOU doing something healthy (swimming, playing ball, etc.) using Instagram or a similar app. Post it to our Facebook Healthy Lombard Page. DON’T FORGET to add in your family password so we can fill out a raffle ticket for you. Limit – 1 photo per day.)

THE FINE PRINT:

The participant (preschool – high school age individual) MUST BE registered by a parent or guardian to win.

Although Flat Apple activities are open to children from preschool to high school, some events are age-specific so please check event information on the Flat Apple 2017 Page of the Healthy Lombard website.

Individuals participate in activities at their own risk.

Students may participate in more than 1 activity per day but cannot repeat an activity (i.e. student could do 1 geocache photo, 1 selfie photo, 1 video, and 1 site activity each day, but cannot do 2 or more of the same type of activity each day.)

Registering grants permission for photo of participation to be posted on the Healthy Lombard Internet sites.

Raffle drawing will be held at the August Healthy Lombard Partner Board Meeting. Winners’ will be notified by email or phone and their FIRST names will be posted on the Flat Apple 2017 page of the Healthy Lombard website.

Winners and their families will be invited to a prize reception in September.