Cut out sugar

Assurance shared that the average American sugar intake is about 32 teaspoons of sugar per day.

Since it is the #1 food additive in the foods we consume, it can often be overlooked. However, cutting down on sugar in your diet may be one of the biggest ways you can improve your health and manage your weight.

Here are steps you can take to cut down on the amount of sugar you intake:

1. Cut it out gradually: Research has shown that sugar is addictive. Use a step-by-step process so your body can adapt to the change.

2. Ask yourself: When do you consume sugar the most? Once you know what to cut down, make a plan. For example, if you normally put sugar in your coffee, gradually reduce the amount you usually add over the next couple weeks.

3. Try cooking: By cooking your own food, you will greatly reduce the amount of sugar you intake. Processed foods are full of hidden sugars and artificial sweeteners even if they are marked as “low-fat” or “no fat” foods.

4. Sleeping helps: Studies have found a relationship between sleep deprivation and junk food cravings. By getting enough sleep, you will set yourself up to avoid those sugar cravings and stay on track with your diet.

Relief from Raynaud’s Syndrome Symptoms

Jennifer McGrath, L.Ac., Dipl.OM shared in a recent newsletter that Raynaud’s syndrome, also known as Raynaud’s disease, causes a sudden constriction of the vessels supplying blood to the skin, largely affecting the fingers and toes. The symptoms, commonly known as an attack, may be triggered by cold temperatures or emotional stress. Most cases are mild and can be treated with lifestyle changes such as wearing warm gloves and socks, and avoiding rapid temperature changes. While not life-threatening, in rare cases, when left untreated, the affected tissue may become necrotic and gangrenous.

According to a small 1997 study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, acupuncture is effective in treating primary Raynaud’s syndrome. The patients that received acupuncture experienced a statistically significant decrease in the frequency, severity and duration of their vasospastic attacks. The patients in the control group showed no improvements. Researchers concluded acupuncture was safe and effective for treating the symptoms of primary Raynaud’s syndrome.

As a cold environment or object is often responsible for triggering an attack, this may indicate a Yang deficiency. When Yang energy is low, blood circulation may slow down as a result. Symptoms of Yang deficiency include feelings of cold, lower back or knee pain and a weak pulse. Treatment in this case would focus on boosting Yang energy, circulation and the immune system.

Ways to Eat More Veggies for People Who Hate Vegetables

Child and fresh vegetables

Kristina LaRue, RD, CSSD, LDNis a board certified sports dietitian located in Orlando, Florida where she specializes in intuitive and mindful eating. She is the author of the food and nutrition blog, Love & Zest where she shares {mostly} healthy recipes with simple ingredients that are meant for real life.

Kristina shared that you know how great vegetables are for you. You’ve heard all about the fiber that keeps your cardiovascular and digestive systems healthy. You know they’re a great source of antioxidants, which help prevent disease from the inside out. And you know they’re an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, all of which are necessary for a balanced diet. Blah blah blah … but knowing the benefits isn’t making you like them any more. You’ve accepted it — you hate vegetables and there’s nothing you can do to change that fact. WRONG! Here are five ways to slowly but surely work more veggies into your diet and maybe even learn to love them:

1. TRANSFORM THEM

Raw vegetables aren’t nearly as satisfying as their cooked counterparts. Raw Brussels sprouts can be pretty unappealing to plenty of palates. But slice them, drizzle with olive oil and roast at 425°F for 30 minutes and you’ve achieved a total transformation. They’ve gone from bitter to sweet. Even humble romaine lettuce, often served on a sandwich or in a salad, gets new life when cut in half lengthwise, drizzled with oil and balsamic vinegar and popped it on the grill for 5-10 minutes. If you prefer vegetables bear no resemblance to their natural form, pureeing is the way to go. Roast butternut squash in the oven, scoop the insides into a blender and season with salt and pepper. Add chicken broth to make a delicious winter squash soup or better yet … stir the purée into mac-n-cheese.

2. SEASON AWAY

Most food needs seasoning. Rosemary and lemon are a match made in seasoning heaven, and are the perfect combo to add to potatoes, carrots and onions. For those of you who like a little heat, use chili powder, cumin and paprika for a warm flavor. Toss diced sweet potatoes with a blend of these spices and then sauté to make a breakfast hash, or coat an ear of corn with the mixture and throw it on the grill. And don’t forget cheese — it can more or less mask other flavors. Try cheddar cheese melted over steamed broccoli or grated Parmesan atop grilled asparagus.

3. GET SNEAKY

With a little creativity, veggies can be hidden in some of your favorite dishes. Start by choosing those with a subtle flavor that are similar in color to what you’re making. An easy trick is to add finely chopped onions, carrots and red bell peppers to tomato sauce, or roasted and pureed squash to a cream sauce on a pasta dish. As your tolerance increases, you can get more daring. Grated zucchini and carrots can be mixed into muffins, while beets can be stirred into chocolate cake, brownie batter or blended into a smoothie with citrus and banana. Speaking of smoothies, try blending spinach into your next creation — it may add a green tint to your drink, but bananas and berries easily cover up its mild flavor. Read more

Four ways you can live healthier this spring

Dr. Amy Woike, a primary care physician at the Aurora Health Center in Gurnee, recently published that there’s something about springtime that triggers our instincts to make positive changes. Those in health care like to remind our patients that spring is a great time to take a look at your overall health, unclutter it and clean it up where you.

Here are four simple ways that you can improve your overall health this coming spring:

1. Start your day with a clean diet

Finally make a pact with yourself and your family to make healthier food choices, beginning with changing your breakfast.

Instead of eating carb-filled pastries and baked goods, opt for Greek yogurt, which is filled with protein and probiotics that help your digestive tract and improve your immune system.

If Greek yogurt tastes too plain for you, try adding fruits such as strawberries or blueberries, which are not only antioxidants but also high in vitamin C.

2. Increase your daily activity

While it is important to be consistently active, spring is a great time to start incorporating some new exercises.

Try adding a new activity to your daily routine, such as walking, swimming or yoga. Remember that exercise not only benefits your heart — you will also notice other health benefits such as more energy, increased self-confidence, better sleep, weight control and stress management.

Exercise also combats serious health problems like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. A good goal for weekly exercise activity levels should be at least 150 minutes over a seven day period.

3. Schedule your family’s vaccinations

With travel season approaching, it is important to make sure you schedule a time to meet with your doctor to know which immunizations you may need.

Spring is also a good time to get your kids updated on their immunization schedule. Remember that some vaccines weaken as you age, so adults sometimes need new immunizations to protect from getting and spreading serious diseases.

4. Take extra steps to alleviate allergies

For some people, spring is synonymous with allergy season.

Some of the most notorious offenders in our area include trees such as oak, poplar, hickory and walnut, and flowers including camomile, daisies, goldenrod and chrysanthemums.

If you are in the 30 percent of the population affected, take measures this year to alleviate symptoms.

Keep windows shut to prevent mold and pollen from coming into your house and try to stay indoors for minimal contact with pollen.

Try an over-the-counter antihistamine such as nasal decongestants, nasal spray or eye drops to reduce symptoms. Speak with your doctor if you still feel lousy.

• Dr. Amy Woike is a primary care physician at the Aurora Health Center in Gurnee, located at 7505 Grand Ave. She treats patients of all ages. She can be contacted at (847) 245-8448.

How To Treat Bunions Without Surgery Effectively

Anna Smith, anna.healthankering@gmail.com,  from Health Marketing,  shared that there are people who are not even aware that they have bunions. Some of them just think that their feet are wide when in fact these bunions can apparently be seen since they are located near the feet’s joints. The reason why they appear is because of the additional formation of the bone due to some abnormal growth on the feet’s joint. Some people think that all they need to do is to choose the right shoes to help their bunions be accommodated, which will then make their feet less painful. If you are one of the many who is suffering from bunions, then the information below will surely be beneficial for you.

What is Bunion? A deformity in the joint is what a bunion is, which is usually located at the big toe’s base part. Its medical term is known as hallux valgus. The cause is typically unknown, but it can tend to run in the families. Another thing that can contribute to bunion is wearing shoes that are too fit.

Symptoms of Bunion?Typically the main sign of bunion is big too that is pointing towards on the toes beside it, which will then force the bone that is attached to it to stick in an outward position. Some of the other options are:

  • Bony bump that can be swollen
  • Swelling or pain over the join on your big toe and is made worse when wearing tight shoes
  • Red skin with callus that is hard
  • Sore skin at the top of bunion
  • Shape of the foot changes, which makes it difficult for you to fit in into shoes

 

So How to Treat Bunions without Surgery?Some people opt for surgery, but there are many who are looking for ways on how they can treat bunions without the need to get surgery. Here are different ways on how to treat bunions without surgery effectively.

 

  • Checking Your Shoes  One of the main reasons why people are acquiring bunions is because they are wearing the wrong shoes. Typically, if you are not dressed in a shoe that does not properly fit, the flow of blood will stop and as well as the flow of synovial fluid through your bones. For you to treat your bunion, it would be best always to make sure that you are wearing the right type of shoes. If you are fond of wearing high heels, it would be bets to ensure to give your feet a rest once in awhile.
  • Using Olive Oil  Another effective treatment is with the use of olive oil since it can help increase the circulation of the blood flow. It can also contribute to reducing the bunion’s size if you are going to apply olive oil every single day. To do this, you can start massaging the bunion once in the morning and at night. You can keep on doing this until you notice a change in the bunion’s appearance.
  • Using Ice Pack  Bunions can swell and make sure that they won’t swell more is essential. For them to avoid swelling more, you can use an ice pack to help reduce the swelling. Another good thing about using an ice pack is that it can also help to reduce the pain that you are currently feeling because of the bunion.
  • Doing Foot Exercises   If you are working out, it would be best to give your foot some time as well.
    There are foot exercises that you can do, which can help slow down the progress of bunion. These exercises can also assist in stopping the bunion’s appearance on your feet. Before sleeping, it would be best to stretch the big toe. After stretching the big toe, the next thing that you need to do is to stretch the other toes as well. Of course, repeat flexing your toes again and make sure to hold them for 10 seconds before you start moving them again.
  • Soaking in Warm Water  Bunions are forming because the feet is always too tired and soaking your feet in warm water will help the blood to flow and circulate correctly. To do this, you can start preparing a bowl of clean, warm water. Soak your feet for 20 whole minutes every single day. The warmth will help relieve the soreness and tiredness of the feet.
  • Using Epsom Salt  Another effective treatment is using an Epsom Salt. The reason behind this is because Epsom salt contains magnesium sulfate, which is known to help in getting rid of the pain and inflammation that is caused by the bunion. Using a pale with warm water, pour enough Epsom salt and start soaking your feet inside. You can also do this for 20 minutes, and you will surely notice that the pain will slowly go away. You can do this every day as this can help reduce the size of your bunion.

 

Conclusion

These are all the information on how to treat bunions without surgery. The above treatments will not only help reduce the swelling but will also help you get rid of the bunions in the soonest time possible. These tips above will also help you to start to feel comfortable again because you no longer have to worry about the bunion on your feet, which is causing your discomfort and pain.

Put in mind that if you decide to undergo surgery, you will have to take time off from work since you will need ample of time to recover. If surgery is highly not needed, then you will benefit from the treatments mentioned above. Just make sure to follow them religiously for you to reap off each of their benefits.

 

“Move More with Go4Life!” during Go4Life Month 2017

It’s not too early to start planning for Go4Life Month 2017, coming in September. This year’s theme — “Move More with Go4Life®!” — challenges older adults to step up their activity by working out more frequently, for longer periods of time, or with more intensity. Each week will target one of the 4 exercise types recommended for older adults.

Looking for ways to participate?

  • Week One (Endurance): Organize a community or mall walk
  • Week Two (Strength):  Workout to Go4Life upper body and lower body strength videos
  • Week Three (Balance): Raise awareness about balance and falls prevention using Go4Life Tip Sheets and NIHSeniorHealth videos
  • Week Four: (Flexibility): Do group stretching to Go4Life flexibility videos 

Stay tuned for more ideas, resources, and details to help you plan for Go4Life Month 2017.  

If you would like to share ideas, get more information, or have questions, contact us at go4life@nia.nih.gov.

Study looks at genes affecting depression

The Associated Press reports that a key advance in the study of depression,  is a  comprehensive scan of human DNA.  Findings have turned up that DnA is  apparently a  hiding places of more than a dozen genes linked to the disorder.

“This is a jumping-off point” for further work to reveal the biological underpinnings of depression, which in turn can guide development of new drugs, said Ashley Winslow, an author of a paper on the work.

Experts said the result is important not only for its specific findings, but also for its demonstration that the study’s approach can help uncover clues to the biology of depression, which is largely a mystery.

The work by Winslow and others identified 15 areas of the human DNA — the “genome” — that show signs of harboring genetic variations that affect risk of becoming depressed. That indicates where scientists can focus on identifying and studying the affected genes, which in turn could reveal what processes go awry to raise the risk of the disease.

Did You Know Each Maraschino Cherry Has 2 Grams of Sugar>

Healthy Lombard Foundation Partner Nancy Nance, CPT, WFS, NFS, CESA composed the following post for today’s blog article:

A few days ago, I had lunch with a new friend. We were at a great restaurant and had a healthy meal of salmon and veggies. As we were talking, the topic of how to eat out and choose the best options came up.  One of the things I noticed was she had three maraschino cherries in her water. She mentioned that she loved the taste of her water with the cherries.  Since we were talking about ways to cut calories and sugar intake, I mentioned to her the maraschino cherries are not helping her lose weight.  She was really shocked and had no idea they were not the best choice when trying to lose weight.

Each maraschino cherry has 2 grams of sugar. Women should keep their daily intake of sugar to 6 teaspoons a day, and men no more than 9. That sounds like a lot, but if you check the labels on the foods and drinks you have each day, you will be surprised how quickly that can add up.

Besides the sugar content, the bright red color of the cherries comes from artificial coloring. Use of red dye is a main part of the processing.  You can google more information about the processing they go through.

So, while they look really good on top of a sundae or in pineapple upside down cake, they are not good on a regular basis. I would say one or two a year.  My friend was drinking the water with cherries about twice a week.  So, that is roughly 24 cherries a month. That is a lot of sugar and red dye. Just by switching to lemon or other fruits, she can save calories and protect her body from the hazards of the red dye.  What little changes can you make in your diet, that can make big changes?

Red Flags to Red Meat

College of DuPage Nursing Student  Zach Striplin writes that in most suburbs in America, burgers and hot dogs are readily available. In my neighborhood alone, I can count 10 fast food joints within a 5-minute car ride. America is the largest consumer of red meat, and more likely than not, if you have had a cheeseburger in the last week, according to U.S Department of Agriculture the average American eats about 71 pounds of red meat a year.

Although, certain red meats, such as beef, pork and goat can be cheaper and even considered delicious, they are not the healthiest choices to have on your plate. Eating red meat regularly causes an increased incidence of hypertension, stroke, diabetes and certain forms of cancer such as colon cancer, but I am sure most of you have heard that before.

A study that was conducted by a team at Harvard School of Public Health observed a correlation between red meat consumption and increased mortality rates over the course of 36 years in approximately 120,000 individuals. The NIH states, “one additional serving per day of unprocessed red meat over the course of the study raised the risk of total mortality by 13%. An extra serving of processed red meat (such as bacon, hotdogs, sausage and salami) raised the risk by 20%”.

Now, if you are frequent red meat eater there is time for change and it is not necessary and nearly impossible to cut out red meat from your diet altogether. Red meat is a great source of protein and iron in our diet but protein should be a relatively smaller portion of our plates compared to fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy.

An 8oz. steak has roughly 78 grams of protein and the recommended daily value is around 56 grams! One average sized steak puts a person over the daily threshold of what is recommended. Healthier alternatives or methods should be used to reduce the risk of potential health problems attributed to red meat. One method is reduction. Some alternatives for protein to replace your red meat intake would include poultry (chicken or turkey), eggs, peanuts or peanut butter and fish. Beef can also be purchased, but it is best to purchase lean meat rather than fat. Lastly, although bacon and many processed red meats are delicious and trendy, if not avoided, they should be eaten rarely or treated like a sugary snack.

There is nothing more American then going to Cubs game in the summer and having a ballpark frank, but instead lets make the conscious decision to settle with the peanuts.

96 Year Old Twins Share Health Tips

Keith Hartenberger from Edward-Elmhurst Health shared the story that as twin sisters, 96-year-old Tracie Banser and Yolanda “Lonnie” Buseman, who now live in Elmhurst, have been nearly inseparable for much of their lives.

“We’ve only been separated when she got married,” Lonnie said. “We didn’t dress alike any more, but we would call each other up every day.”

“We were very, very close,” Tracie recalled. “We never were alone. I went someplace, she went with me. We’d go together all the time. We just didn’t feel right going any place by ourselves.”

Double-crossers

Tracie and Lonnie were born Oct. 1, 1920, in Matoka, West Virginia, a small town in the southern part of the state.

In their teens, they moved to the Chicago area where, as identical twins, they enjoyed trading places to see whether their unsuspecting victims would notice.

Lonnie recalls the time she and Tracie were on a double date at the Aragon Ballroom.

“We danced all evening, changed partners and had a great time,” Lonnie said. “They did not know who they were dancing with, at least ’til we got home and kissed us good night (when we told them). They got very angry and said they weren’t going to ask us out again if we ever did that again.”

Tracie ended up marrying her real boyfriend from that double date, Anthony “Tony” Falduto, in 1942. They were married for 25 years until Tony died. Tracie later remarried; her husband of 12 years, Henry Banser, died in 1981.

Tracie, who has three daughters and three granddaughters, is proud to note that while working in the personnel office at Motorola, she sold war bonds to employees to support the country during World War II.

Lonnie and Onno Buseman married in 1947 and were together 55 years until Onno died in 2002.

Lonnie, who has three daughters and two sons, and six grandchildren, was a part of history at Motorola, where she was part of the team that built the first Motorola TV that came off the production line in 1949.

Family first

Tracie and Lonnie have done just about everything together, including staying healthy. They acknowledge good genes have a lot to do with their good health and longevity, but they also credit having a very positive family life during childhood, maintaining their happiness as adults, having a healthy diet, staying active and having friends.

Tracie and Lonnie say they were very happy all of their young lives. They both say their mom and dad were wonderful, and that even though they were a family of nine, they did not want for anything.

The twins live in separate units at the Lexington Square Senior Living Community in Elmhurst — Tracie since 1998, Lonnie since 2000. They check in with each other every morning and are active — swimming, exercising, dancing, playing cards (to keep the mind active) and helping at bingo.

Prior to moving into Lexington Square, the twins lived most of their adult lives in Chicago’s Western suburbs — Tracie in Oak Brook and Westchester, Lonnie in Franklin Park.

Healthy living

The twins say their health histories, fortunately, have been largely uneventful.

In 2014, Tracie had a transcatheter aortic valve replacement to treat advanced aortic stenosis, a dangerous narrowing of the aortic valve that affects blood flow. A year before she had a pacemaker implanted to maintain a normal heartbeat.

And, in keeping with their history of doing everything together, each had surgery to remove their gall bladders — Lonnie in July 2015 and Tracie in January 2017. Both procedures, naturally, were performed by the same physician, Brian McCann, a general surgeon with Elmhurst Clinic.

“Operations like this in nonagenarians (people in their 90s) were nearly unheard of just a decade ago,” McCann said. “Our assessment of patients nowadays is not simply of a chronological nature. These women were actively involved in their own health care and decision-making. They accepted the need for surgery, and were steadfast in their desire to overcome this obstacle and move on.

“As a parent of identical twins myself, I understand that their own ‘universe’ together is very special. For them to be able to be at each other’s side for these challenging times in their lives was wonderful to observe. They are models of family and friendship in our community.”

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